Girls Write Out
Monday, August 18, 2008
Having been a tumbler myself since the time I could walk, I've watched every olympic gymnastics in my lifetime. So it was great eagerness I awaited the 2008 events in Bejing China.

The men's and women's team and all-around competitions have passed and with them, my hopes for a fair and interesting competition.

The first day of women's team, my husband says, "There's no way that girl is 16." That's the minimum age requirement for women's gymnastics. Younger girls are lighter and smaller, giving them an advantage.

The girl in question wears heavy blue eyeshadow that makes her look like she's been playing in mommy's makeup, and there's at least one other Chinese gymnast who doesn't look a day over 14.

Curious, the next day I did some research. Turns out there are 3 girls on the Chinese team whose ages are in question. There have been registries found online with birthdates that put the girls at under 16. But China provided "official passports" that list the girls as 16 and the Olympic Committee accepted them.

Between that and the judging, which seems heavily weighted against the US gymasts, the events haven't been very exciting. Last night when a vaulter landed on her knees and scored higher than the US gymnast who merely took a small hop on the landing of an otherwise beautiful vault, I could only shake my head. I'll stay up late and watch the other events in support of our US gymnasts, but I'm not expecting fairness. That went out the door a long time ago.

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:10 AM  
  Comments (15)
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At 8:45 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I, too, was frustrated by the judging. I also wonder if anyone will make a case of the Chinese team's "underage" problem.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

The anti U.S. bias is unbelievable!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I hate it when the judging is so obviously biased. Who really cares which country the kid is from? I'm thrilled with anyone's fantastic performance. These are kids, all deserving of a fair chance.

I'm so digusted with how politics has taken over the world. Whatever happened to the humanity of man?

Don't bother to answer that. We all know what happened. I just think it's a crying shame.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I was astounded in the team finals when the commentators made no comments on the bias at all. Finally they started interviewing Bela Karoli (sp?) and making comments themselves when it got totally out of hand.

I don't understand how the judges can get away with it. Surely they have to account for each deduction.

And you're right Ane. I don't like seeing any of the girls falling or stepping out of bounds. I want them all to do their best. It would be so frustrating though to have done your best and then get all kinds of undeserved deductions.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

We were having much the same conversations in our house. It is frustrating and really jades our view of the Olympics.

Anyone see Phelps and his near miss win?? If it hadn't been for the electronics involved in that, I doubt he would have one. Hard to argue with a computer I guess. Those pictures were just too close to call! Glad Im not a judge.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Yes, Andrea, it makes a person really jaded.

I did see Phelps near miss. At least swimming has electronics to do most of the work. Gymnastics is just subjective enough to allow bias.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

This is why they made the movie Stick It (which is a REALLY good movie, by the way). I was so happy that Michael Phelps won. It's so amazing to me that in the times of stress over the economy, election and war, God allows someone like Phelps to rise up and inspire and unify a nation.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Chelf said...

Eventually, if they make the Olympics unbiased, they will have to take away all creativity. They will make the routines the same out of necessity.

I know the world isn't fair, but the Olympics was supposed to surpass that. Ice Skating and Gymnastics are the most subjective, creative, and questioned.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Pattie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Pattie said...

Part of the issue, I think, is that the Chinese count age differently than we do.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

I know - I've been so disgusted. Then when Nastia Liukin tied (but should have scored higher) and got bumped to a silver, that just really rubbed me wrong.

That's been the beauty of Michael Phelps' awards - the clock is straightforward!!

Add to the gymnastics debacle the story of the precious girl who was deemed "not cute enough" to sing on camera in the Opening Ceremonies, and it's evident that ethics are sorely lacking in this world.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Amen! Thank you for posting this, Denise. It's unbelievable to see how unfairly the US gymnasts are getting scored. Sure, they're making mistakes and faulting, but when you've got Chinese girls doing more obvious faults and still ranking higher? It's ridiculous!

I watched the event finals last night for the uneven bars, and there was a TIE for gold. When the computer took the actual numbers fed into it, China came out on top because of same insane rule of dropping the next lowest judge score until the tie is broken. Tell me, what would they have done if all the scores were even to the last one? I say award 2 golds or have them go again.

And don't even get me started on the event final for the vault. GRR! To have a girl that didn't even LAND on her feet make a BRONZE? Not to mention the other obvious mistakes that should have meant much larger deductions.

They need to work on training their judges adequately and take the politics of being in Beijing somewhere else. It does NOT belong in the Olympics. (sigh)

At least Michael Phelps has been given his well-deserved due and has attained his victories! But even on his near-miss win, the coach for Cavic was going to file a protest. Why can't they do that in gymnastics? Especially on the vault final!

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I think the reason no one is commenting on tv is it's so easy to get your Visa revoked and you're outta there, so I think when our journalists come home we'll get more of the real story. I never will understand someone who wants to win unfairly. What's the point? You know you didn't really do it properly?

At 6:33 PM, Blogger laurelaggie said...

The US coaches chose not to file a protest about the vault and the uneven bars judging. I don't know the reasoning, but it does show good sportmanship.

At 10:37 PM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

seems they have to be 16 in the olympic year.
I will agree your usa girl should have won the bars i think she had the same score. The crowd has a bit of sway it seems always does.
Im glad Shawn Johnson won the beam last night she was really good.
Just wish an aussie had made it.
Our commentators were saying the new scoring system is so different that if you have a much higher degree of difficulty start you can still win cos of that.
Phelps is amazing I have to admit i wanted the aussies to beat him but he is something special. (too bad hes not aussie).


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Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

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Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

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Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

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Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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