Friday, August 15, 2008


Nobody can ever accuse me of lacking national pride, any more than anyone could ever accuse me of rooting for college football teams other than The Ohio State University Buckeyes and, in the alternative, UCLA!

There have been many gums flapping, frequently in a manner not calculated to achieve anything other than further uproar and hard feelings regarding the age of the female Chinese gymnasts. And believe it or not, I think this kind of uproar should be quashed firmly until after the games.

In the first place, the blathering by Bela and Marta Karoyli is far too easily interpreted (including by me) of reeking of sour grapes. And while they may even be correct in their suspicions, there is a time and place for everything and their braying and bloviating accomplishes nothing.

In the second place, did the American gymnasts screw up in the “team” portion of the competition? You bet your ass they did – and they screwed up unequivocally. Did the Chinese gymnasts perform more competently? Also yes.

And yes too, the Chinese may have had the unfair advantage of gymnasts who were too young to have a sense of fear or pressure as a more mature gymnast might have and they may have had the additional advantage of being more flexible than an older gymnast and absolutely, it is almost certain that in their later lives they will experience tremendous physical difficulties due to the abuse of their tiny bodies at such a tender age. And yes, the rules were promulgated to protect them from that physical abuse but - in the end - isn't it the responsibilities of their parents (or the Chinese sporting authorities acting in loco parentis or just plain loco) to protect them?

But again – this is not the time. The Summer Olympics should be a celebration of youthful competition, unaffected by national politics of any nation, including the host nation which is clearly doing everything in its power to tilt the playing field and sell their repressive and authoritarian way of life to the rest of the world. But to the athletes, politics are essentially irrelevant. These athletes have worked their whole (sometimes too brief according to the rules) lives to arrive at this pinnacle of international competition and sport. Let them celebrate their youth, their strength, their physical brilliance without the rest of the yada-yada-yada weighing them down.

Enough already! Figure out - if you can - a way to prevent this kind of cheating at some later date. Not now. Later. And yes, I agree, a few athletes might be cheated out of a deserved medal - but solely based on my experience of the team competition of the female gymnasts - the correct result ended up happening anyway.

One final note: I don't know whether this was started by the French although I suspect them based on prior actions on their part but rumors about Michael Phelps taking steroids were happily spread by the French at the very least. It is also a sober fact that because Michael Phelps is not an idiot, he has voluntarily been submitting to testing every two weeks for the past three years. So sorry jealous trolls - you aren't going to tarnish Mr. Phelps achievements in that manner!

Final note #2: To those athletes, starting with James Blake, quit your fricking whining. Someone has to win and someone has to lose despite what you were taught in your elementary schools where everyone gets a medal or a certificate on the mistaken notion that competition is somehow not healthy for children (which is pure bullshit). At the Olympic level, anyone can beat anyone at any time on any given day - you're all the best of the best so if you don't live up to your own sense of entitlement, shut the fuck up! You went to the freaking Olympics! How many people get to do that? That alone should be a rush to last a lifetime. So if you didn't live up to your own lofty (and frequently overblown) expectations for your experience - suck it up. That's how life works. Deal.

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