12 August 2008

Oh, Bela...

You have to love Bela Karolyi. He gets so excited watching a routine (he also can be a twerp when one goes wrong, but anywhoo). He had me in stitches with his commentary on the women's gymnastics final because he kept going after the age of the Chinese gymnasts. He can't let it go and I tend to agree with him. Only one member of the Chinese team actually looks her age and she's twenty; the rest look like they barely scrape fourteen. Either Chinese women mature very late or someone is seriously trying to cheat the system.

I also agree with Bela on another point: even if these teens are younger than sixteen, they can do the job and they do it very well. What those women do is amazingly hard and I know first-hand how hard you have to push the body to get to Olympic-level gymnastics. My parents made me quit gymnastics at eleven because they were worried that my kamikaze mindset would get my neck broken. I was heart-broken at the time but I now realize they were right; I would do anything asked of me at 110%, no fear. I might not have made it to the Olympics, but I might have contended for a college scholarship....but at what cost to my body? By the time I quit, I had separated my shoulder practicing backflips on the beam - I never told my parents because I was told never to show pain, all at the age of ten. Guess what body part hurts now? I had also knocked myself out because I slipped off the springboard during a vaulting session. Didn't tell anyone about that, either (Mom probably had some idea what was going on because I'm exactly like my Dad).

So I went full-tilt into dancing, go figure.

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