Gold Medal Gymnast Performance Just OK!

Congratulations to Gabby Douglas on winning Olympic gold.  She was clearly better than all of the girls she competed against and deserved to be standing on top of the platform.  She will certainly be immortalized in US Olympic history.  That being said, I was not all that impressed with the overall competition.  There were miscues everywhere and not just on the most difficult moves.  There were balance issues and a multitude of others for all of the competitors.  I thought perhaps I was I was being a little too critical so I decided to look back at the 72 games with Olga Korbut and the 76 games with Nadia Comaneci and I realized I was not wrong.  If you look at both of those competitors, you will see ultimate perfection.  The argument the routines are more difficult today can be made but doesn’t really apply, since many of the miscues were simply ones of balance.  Korbut and Comaneci not only didn’t have any balance issues on the beam,  they made it look four feet wide.  Why are we not that much better thirty years post from the 72 games?  Was it the discipline, the harsh Soviet athletic training?  Not really since we had our greats as well, like Mary Lou Retton.  Were there fewer distractions?  It’s anyone’s guess.  But if the excuse is the gymnasts now do more difficult routines, that’s a poor excuse.  And if it is the case, I would prefer to watch a simpler perfect routine, like Comaneci’s perfect 10, than an imperfect, difficult one.  There was a clear winner last night but her performance simply was better than the next, not so perfect performance, which is too bad.  While it seems like competitors in other sports are continually improving, (world records in the pool have been falling for example), competitors in gymnastics seem to have hit a plateau, certainly not getting better.  Of course steroids and doping can’t help you while standing on a four inch wide beam.

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