Sunday, October 16, 2011
i need to catch up on my strange addiction episodes and your voice has this nasally quality i can only take so much of.
This is just the first of what I'm anticipating will be several AA recap blogs from yours truly. There is just too much to say for one entry. I have about 70 pics to post, but for tonight, I'm just going to rant.
Now, be forewarned, I am biased. I don't think it's appropriate for a 16 year old teenager, or the entire internet, to have a complete meltdown when things don't quite go as planned. So if this offends your delicate sensibilities, I'd suggest reading something else for awhile.
People are assholes.
I have never read such biased, uneducated nonsense in all my life. Adults, children, fans, coaches. Everyone seemed to take a bite of the asshole pie. It was offensive and EMBARRASSING to the sport of gymnastics.
A 16 year old beat another 16 year old by a very slight margin. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Now, I know everyone was previously wishing for a close, exciting race, but what I think they meant to say is "I hope it's a close, exciting race, as long as who I like wins. Or else I will LOSE MY FUCKING MIND!!!"
It's great to have a rivalry. It's fun to choose sides. It's great for the sport for people to get involved, and to get so invested in the results.
It is not cool, however, for people to sit and trash a bunch of teenagers. To discredit their hard work. To bitch to whoever will listen that Gymnast X WUZROBBED and that the judges are a bunch of lousy, blind cheats.
Let's start there. Now, I know I started with a preface that I was a bit turned off by Vika's temper tantrum on the podium. Yes, I thought it was inappropriate, and yes, I thought it was immature and tasteless. That said, about 99% of 16 year olds are inappropriate, immature and tasteless. I do not see her reaction as being the definition of who she is. When I think of Viktoria Komova, I won't think "Oh, she's that little brat who had a meltdown on the podium because she lost." Because I don't think that's what happened. She was very understandably shocked, disappointed, and upset. Watching her, and likewise, Jordyn cry was such a refreshing and honest moment. Girl, get it out. Let those tears flow.
Disappointment is not, however, a free pass to go all emo and stomp and pout in front of the world. People will surely counter and ask "Well, how would YOU like it if you were 16 and all the cameras were in your face?!" To which I reply, that's what elite gymnasts sign up for. They are very aware that they are performing in front of the world, hence the name World Gymnastics Championships.
So you're disappointed. You've had a good cry. Now it's time to pull up your big girl panties and finish the rest of the meet, which YES, does include obligatory handshakes and standing on a medal podium.
Congratulating your opponents certainly is not something that is specific to gymnastics. Pretty much every sport all over the world offers some sort of post-game "Way to go!" from pee-wee up to the Stanley Cup. We teach our children that after a game, regardless of result, you shake hands and acknowledge your opponent, because it is, after all, only a game.
No one wants to lose. Every girl out there has dedicated her entire life to this sport. A medal does not mean more to one girl than it does to another. Some of the girls were defending their titles...
And other were expected to take them.
With the rare exception, this year's field consisted mostly of teenagers. For years, that dried up old assmunch Bruno Grandi has been grumbling that sixteen is simply too young to be able to handle high level gymnastics. This year's crop of girls proved that Grandi is still completely insane, and more importantly, wrong.
Except for one.
Despite being nearly a year older than the meet's youngest competitor, Viktoria Komova handled her loss with the maturity and grace of a slender, Soviet Kanye West. Upon receiving the news of her second place finish, Vika crumpled into tears, stopping only to ignore every other athlete in the building.
Prior to her score being flashed, when Vika assumed she had won, she did manage to allow Jordyn to touch her knuckles.
Afterwards, however, she could not muster up the courage or class to congratulate the new world champion. Or anyone else.
Despite my lofty expectations for young adults to handle themselves with grace even in the throes of loss, I can still cut Vika some slack, up to this point. The loss is still fresh, she's emotional, she's tired. I get it. As I mentioned earlier, this sort of honest reaction if refreshing in a sport full of "I just wanted to try my best, and hit 4-for-4" crap.
But then she continued her little pity party throughout the rest of the festivities.
She pouted as she marched in. She pouted as the medalists were announced. She pouted as she walked onto the medal stand. She pouted as she received her medal. She pouted as the anthem played. She pouted for all of the pictures. She pouted as she walked off of the medal stand. Then, she made not one, but two shows of taking off her tainted silver medal.
After pouting and taking it off once, she was asked to put it back on for more pictures, which she pouted throughout. Finally, she took it off yet again, and finished it off by pouting some more.
It wasn't cute when Khorkina did it, and it was NOT cute when Komova did it.
All that said, she's sixteen. She's a tremendous athlete, and meltdown aside, she will always be respected for being one of the best in the world.
The real shame is not her reaction, but those of the adults in her life. Her coaches, her mother, and Russian journalists are not sixteen. I have never in all my years of being a creepy gymnastics freak seen such uneducated, mean-spirited, and offensive responses to a loss. It wasn't enough to blame the judging, or the current code. No. These people, these "adults" felt the need to come out swinging and discredit the winner. They made it personal. It's one thing to say "My girl should have won." It's quite another to say "That girl shouldn't have won."
And the funny thing is, Vika blamed no one but herself. She didn't come out and blame the judges, or Jordyn. She acknowledged that she gave it away on beam and floor. She took responsibility for her own performances, and for that she deserves a good deal of respect. I wish I could say the same for those around her.
I hope that, in time, the gymnastics community settles the fuck down, accepts and appreciates that our current world champion won her title fair and square. No controversy, no shenanigans. Yes, it was a desperately close race, and it could have gone either way.
Such is the thrill of gymnastics, and sports in general.