SLAM!Sports
 


 SPORT INDEX
 

 Previous Olympics
 










Fri, August 20, 2004
Dream on, pal
By -- Toronto Sun

DAY 6

Canadian sprinter Nic Macrozonaris told a news conference yesterday that he had a dream in which he won the 100-metre sprint in 9.83 seconds.

He has never broken 10 seconds flat.

Which means the only way he's going to win in 9.83 seconds is ... in his dreams.

DAILY DOOFUS REPORT

Five weightlifters yesterday failed drug tests and were thrown out of the Olympics.

Maybe the IOC could save everybody a lot of time and just give us the list of people who passed.

DO NOT BEND, TWIST OR MUTILATE

They flip through the air with a sense of the greatest ease. They fly like Peter Pan. They bend and twist in a manner that most human bodies could never endure. They compete in one of the Games' most popular sports.

They are female gymnasts -- and their mortal enemy is a growth spurt. When it comes to world class women's gymnastics, the term "women" is definitely stretching reality. The worst thing that can happen to a gymnast is going to the family reunion and having Aunt Nellie remark: "My, how you've grown."

These days, to be a successful gymnast means not only fighting off other athletes, but also the onset of puberty and any inclination to have a hearty meal.

These aren't women. They're girls. Kids.

Sure, there are a few exceptions. Canadians Kate Richardson, who competed yesterday in the women's all-round competition, and Amelie Plante are 20. By most gymnastic standards that qualifies them for a rocking chair and a nice hot cocoa before they go to bed. Let's put it this way, the definition of a gymnast is somebody who thinks a teddy bear is the best thing to take to bed at night. You figure it out.

This is not to deny their incredible skill. Not too mention, they're so darn cute. But is it worth the price they must pay? Is it right that children -- and that's what they are -- are placed in positions of incomparable pressure and tension?

The average age of members the Canadian Olympic gymnastic team listed on the Canadian Olympic website is just over 17. That's middle age by world gymnastic standards.

The United States does have two women in their mid-20s. But the average age of the team is 17.8 and its star is Carly Patterson -- 16, going on 30.

These girls are expected to fight through injuries that would bring a grown man to tears -- torn muscles, broken bones, daily bruises, bloodied hands and knees -- while shouldering the burden of expectations from well-intentioned family, friends and coaches.

Is it right for a responsible society to inflict such psychological trauma on kids whose biggest problem should be the zit that pops out on their nose on prom night?

True, they may enjoy where they are but, maybe, they should be going there a little later in life. Just like a 16-year-old shouldn't be in the NHL, or the NFL, neither should they be on an Olympic stage. Maybe the IOC should let children be kids instead of athletic lab rats.

According to Gale Group Inc., in 1976, the average female U.S. Olympic gymnast was 5-foot-3, 106 pounds. By 1992, the average was 4-foot-9, 83 pounds. And 65% of elite female gymnasts admitted to having an eating disorder.

Is that still sport? Or systemic child abuse? Just wondering.

GAMES PANORAMA

Brad Rock of the Salt Lake City Desert Morning News says for a sport to be part of the Olympics it should have "at least a half-million participants. Otherwise, it's no different than stuffing six or eight crayons up your nose, then phoning the Guinness Book of World Records."

- Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News: "Now the Olympics are about payoffs, scenery for shoe ads and soft drinks, and even less about patriotism than they once were. In fact, shoe affiliations are so dominant that I have taken to introducing myself as 'Lincicome, Florsheim.'"




Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

Results



CANOE home | We welcome your feedback.
Copyright © 2004, CANOE, a division of Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.