A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

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. 

How kind.

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.


  1. Yep.

    That's pretty much exactly the way it looked to me.

    Hopefully, she'll be motivated and dominate the Olympics. But with such misdirected adult leadership in her life, ... I'm a bit worried for her psychological stability.


    Except - do you really want to use the Stanley Cup as an example of sportsmanship in any form?
    Remember last Stanley cup finals where players fought, took dirty hits when the refs weren't looking, sent a player to the hospital with a fractured spine, called each other out in interviews, bit each other..

    But I guess in the end they lined up and shook hands so maybe you're right..though this was while the losing team's fans went out and completely trashed their own city.

  3. Fantastic post! Thank you!

  4. Great post! Loved the Kanye reference!

  5. Great post and I agree with you but where was ALL of these complaints about lack of sportsmanship in gymnastics community after the 08 olympics?! Its the same debacle of one style gymnast winning over another gymnast. Now granted Nastia and Shawn didn't have this type of issue but the fans in the gymnastics community are acting the same way.

  6. AWESOME! I feel exactly the same way. People are dissecting the actual AA competition, which I realize it was determines the champion whether we like it or not, however...if you look at Komova's routines and Wieber's routines over the entire Championships, who performed better? Jordyn. Also, we knew it was going to be close. It was extremely close after prelims. Jordyn came out .033 ahead just like Komova very well could of. I also feel that Jordyn's mistake on UB, although disappointing, was not as bad as everyone made it out to be. I like Komova, but I think her floor is way overrated. Everytime I've seen her, it's like she's saying "Okay, gotta get back up here. UGHH, okay. I suppose I gotta do my pass now. UGH! Good, it's over..." I think Komova has the potential to beat the crap out of everyone in London, but she has some growing up to do, and some gymnastics to get under control. Jordyn had it together for this Worlds, Komova didn't.

  7. So true. I laughed out loud at the Kanye comment. Her expression on the podium was priceless.

    Great article.....can't wait to read what else you have to say about Worlds.

  8. I felt so so bad for Komova when I saw the coverage on TV. From her smile after her floor routine, you could tell she thought she won it. So the look of shock and disappointment on her face when the score came up broke my heart for her!

    However, her pouting was a little extreme. She reminded me of Alicia Sacramone when she won the silver medal on floor behind Shawn Johnson at the 2007 Worlds. I feel embarrassed for the athletes when they put on a childish display like that.

  9. Oh, Spanny, I love you.
    Thanks for putting so eloquently, and hilariously into words exactly what I was feeling.

    In the moment, I blamed Komova, but after re-watching and hearing interviews I blame the adults around her. Shame on them for being assholes and not only allowing her to act like that, but seemingly encouraging it. They all look like idiots.

  10. Great post Spanny. Couldn't agree more.

  11. Komova reactions were not the best and she needs to mature as a competitor, but I understand her after all. I mean, there was a lot of expectations on her, and when she had finished the floor routine her expression was like: "Thank God, I got it". And then the result came. I think she was so devasted that was totally absorved by disappointment. I think it's excusable for a teenager. Anyway, I was glat when her personal coach, Elfimov said that the result was not unfair, that Komova had mistakes, and Komova herself addmited it later.

  12. As you american idiots смеете so speak?! Komova has won! Wieber проигала!!!!! As so possible not to understand in atheletics?! Wieber on free estimation have obviously drawn, after all in command play-off she has did better, but estimation less! And shut their own рты on cause Komova! THE ARTICLE GAVNO!!!!!

    1. komova is just too full of herself....!! she acts as a baby girl not a possible world champion!! and the next time...please speak english!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Amen! Problem for me with the whole situation is that being a coach/parent/mentor to a bratty 16 year old means setting a good example, and seeing that she smiles, hugs, shakes in front of the cameras, by any means necessary. The sulking can happen later in private. Love em or hate em, Martha Karolyi, Belu, or the Chinese coaches would never ever have stood for this kind of behavior from one of their athletes.

    Instead, the Russian coaches/delegation behaved even more obnoxiously and immaturely than the teenager herself! Notice that no scores were actually protested, just a firestorm of unfounded hearsay, almost all of it from the supposed adults.

  14. Great article, as usual.
    Everyone seems to be arguing over a floor score. In qualifiers, where Vika performed better, she scored a 14.49. In finals she scored a 14.333. I don't remember people overly complaining by how underscored she was in qualifying, but of course she came out on top then, so the result was what they expected. When suddenly their choice of winner comes second (a huge accomplishment in itself), then that's when the outcries start.

  15. Absolutely correct! I started calling Komova Icky Vikky because of her shitty attitude. I also thought that after she finished the floor ex, her smile was like, "yeah, I got this." And then the absolute horror of being the second best gymnast in the whole world. Yikes!
    It's not her gymnastics, it was her craptacular reaction.
    I remember Jon Horton getting silver on high bar in Beijing. That was a graceful silver smile. (And a case of me thinking he got royally screwed out of gold, but I digress...)

    Anyways, thanks for the insightful comments :)

  16. Ummmmmmmmm........does anyone care to comment on this???

    "As you american idiots смеете so speak?! Komova has won! Wieber проигала!!!!! As so possible not to understand in atheletics?! Wieber on free estimation have obviously drawn, after all in command play-off she has did better, but estimation less! And shut their own рты on cause Komova! THE ARTICLE GAVNO!!!!!"

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this blog is written in English from what I have seen......so I'm not sure they got their point across. I can't decide if that comment is happy or angry? E for effort though.

  17. oh, and if the random person was in fact angry and ranting about Jordyn not deserving the medal.....then don't bother with the translation :)

  18. The men have more sportsmanship and moral courage.

  19. We don't believe in Mustafina anymore? I was hoping that she could come back and wipe the entire competition. I really don't like Komova...

  20. Great post. At first I felt bad for Komova, as it is always hard to come in second. But after all of the pouting and bad attitude, she deserved it. Wieber would have been gracious and polite had she lost.

    If Komova was my daughter and she acted like that, she could kiss gymnastics goodbye. What a disgrace to sports and the meaning of world competitions.

    Russians have consistently acted entitled and bratty. Were they proud of Khorkina and all of her bitchy unsportsmanlike behavior? Komova, Mustafina, and the Ksenias appear to be the next bitches in line.

  21. '...the maturity and grace of a slender, Soviet Kanye West.' OK,that officially won the best line of the week contest. I can't wait to use it on some of my friends. Also, it's worth mentioning that during the workup at the ranch for the US athletes they do get some class time on how to present themself to and in front of the media. Maybe the Russians should hire Kathy Kelly for a coaches ed session.

  22. omg you read my crazy gymnastics mind! great piece.

  23. Anonymous, Ksenia Afanasyeva was very polite with the other gymnasts, she kissed Weiber after the AA final and hugged Raisman in the floor finals; Nabieva said "good job" to Raisman at some point of the team competition and Anna Dementyeva always acts very nicely to the others despite her shyness. Ksenia Semenova was not there... About Komova, yes, she could acted better, but being immature is forgettable when you are a 16 year-old teenager. Fortunately, Komova's personal coach was very objective an sensible about the results, he admitted that his pupil had mistakes and didn't talk about unfair judging like the Russia head coach did.

  24. Victoria Komova future Olimpic Champion A.A.

    1. nooooooo, please!!!!!! she has to understand she's not the gymnastic queen as she thinks! Vika you lose...get a reason!

  25. I cringed when I watched that part where Weiber hung around waiting to see if Komova would acknowledge her - definitely brought back that these are just teenage girls.

  26. Wonderful post, love your humor and snark!
    Think about this, Komova is 16, expected to replace Mustafina even though she's not physically ready, and came so close to a Gold. So she was upset and rather ungracious, and highlighted by the cameras shoved in her face. Cut her some slack.

    It is all very easy to demand grace in defeat when we are just seating there watching the competition. But they train their whole life for this, doing one of the hardest sport, its understandable to get caught up in the disappointment. Even ASac, who is normally fantastic and nice, had her "unsporting" moments, like after FX EF in 2007.

    But what's the excuse of the legions of fans (especially online), who sits behind computers spouting vitriol at the girls? Komova is called "a bitch", "spoilt brat", "entitled" and a "disgrace to sports"? Or on the flip side, people calling Wieber "underserving" and even a "cheater"? What's their excuse for being so rude (a lot worse than Komova actually) and unsporting? Rather hypocritical in demanding good sportsmanship while exhibiting none.

  27. So well written, so funny and so true.

  28. A lot of people across the internet have been talking about the cultural differences and about how Komova's behavior represents Russian culture. I think we need to keep this is mind when criticizing her.

    That being said, I feel like the behavior of Komova, certain members of the Russian delegation and Kolesnikova wouldn't be acceptable by any other country. While I think that culture accounts for much of it, if John Geddert can high five Yao, at the very least, the Russians should have the class to refrain from calling "foul" against the Americans to the press.

  29. I didn't like people on the internet calling Komova a "bitch", since she is only a 16 year old teenager. However, she acted like a royal brat, and this is the reason why I can't stand the thoughts of her winning in London. Despite the heartbreak and dissaspointment, she could have shaken Jordyn's hand and left her medal on for some pictures before going back to her hotel and throwing a fit. Shame on the adults in her life for not correcting this and letting her know the gracious way to act when you don't get what you want. One would think that this would be something coaches, who spend more time with these gymnasts than their families, would discuss with their athletes - but I guess we've seen enough girls rip their medals off their necks to know differently.

  30. In response to "Anonymous", who posted a comment on October 17,2011 11:50 AM:
    First of all, I can tell that you are russian, so naturally, you wanted Komova to win. I understand that, but Komova did not win. Maybe you thought Komova SHOULD have won and I respect your opinion.
    However, you can't say that Komova won because Wieber officially won whether you like it or not.

    Personnaly, I didn't watch the meet live, so when I first saw clips of it I didn't really question the result because I have confidence in the qualified judges who made the desision.
    People are allowed to have their opinion about it but one doesn't have to go and brag or complain about it all over the internet.
    Have a nice day.Goodbye.

  31. Komova's attitude isn't Russian culture. I didn't see Ksenia Semenova break down when she got fourth place at the olympics, or when she failed to defend her bars title. Ksenia Afan was good about congradulating the other athletes, and the entire Russian team this year aside from Komova showed decent sportsmanship. Komova's just too full of herself.

    Komova, you may think you are the best, but you are actually just one of the many gymnasts who are the best. You may idolize Khorkina, but please don't copy her attitude. You may have gotten quite a few gifts during your junior years (have you really never questioned your bars title at the YOG? Are you that full of yourself? Not saying you shouldn't have won, but it was close and controversial) but don't start whining just because you get judged equally like everyone else now.

  32. OMG the first photo -- it could be a "YAO IS NOT IMPRESSED" meme!

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