Wednesday, August 4, 2010

History Lesson: 1996 US Olympic Trials

For every newer fan who has ever asked why Jana was ''screwed'' in 2008, this meet is for you. There are standards when picking an Olympic Team. Everyone always debates whether or not scores should determine who makes the Olympic Team. No matter how it is chosen, the powers that be will always get who they want on the team. Miller and Moceanu did well at Nationals but were not perfect. Notice how the scores were significantly more conservative during Trials. Neither National Champion was biting their finger nails waiting to find out if their scores would hold up.

Dominique Moceanu didn't compete in Boston, but still managed to garner two fluff pieces and more face time than any other gymnast. It has been fourteen years since Bela said he'd give his leg for her, yet I still can't get the imagine of his hairy leg on her nine-year-old-looking body out of my head. And to think that she'd badmouth him after all that he was willing to do for her! He was so worried and she was just climbing the sugar mountain waiting to see the star shine.

Note to Self: I still haven't figured out what the hell a sugar mountain is. Obviously, Bela thought it was an apt metaphor considering that he even called Dominique a "little piggy'' when congratulating her on her 9.850 beam routine during Olympic Team Optionals three weeks later.

Tom Forrster made the Olympic Trials all about himself and put undue pressure on his athletes after Doni Thompson retired nine months before the Games. He didn't manage to get an athlete on the team, but he does get props for still managing to make catty remarks about Kerri Strug. Because he is so on Bela Karolyi's level.

Amanda Borden was one of the athletes chosen to demonstrate the 1993-1996 compulsories to the rest of the world in 1991, yet she still looked positively ready to wet herself when it came time for that shoulder roll on beam. Need further proof that Ludmilla Tourischeva is evil and sadistic? Watch Kristy Powell's compulsory beam routine and then envision Eileen Diaz doing it.

"Yes, Tourischeva thought it would be a great idea to do a Cartwheel connected to a Y-scale. Then you will do a tour jete and a scale on the end of the beam. Nice woman."- Catty Comments

Note how the commentators like to bring up Amy Chow's Asianness whenever possible. John Tesh loved to bring up her skills as a pianist, her academics and her competing with back spasms as though she was an employee at a sweat shop. I was waiting for a fluff piece with her playing violin as a toddler. Note how David Michaels chose the Oriental sounding part of the Optionals Fluff music to introduce Amy.

How was it that we had two Dominiques on the team and neither was a latina with attitude?

Such a shame that Jennie Thompson had to suffer being around Steve Nunno without Shannon Miller. Peggy sat on her knees for years to get them to straighten enough to do that compulsory beam and the judges still never would've put her on the team. Notice how she rocks her optional beam and Dawes wobbles like hell on a double turn and still outscores her.

Also note the looks of scorn Shannon gives Jennie. "Great, thanks to you I'll have to have more one-on-one time with Steve."

Mary Lee Tracy actually seemed nice and genuine during this meet. Perhaps Steve Elliot was her one true love? God truly did take care of Amanda. It wasn't like Bob Colarossi was president of USAG yet.

Kelli Hill looked practically femme in '96.

Katie Teft had three broken ankles by age 14 at Geddert's. Jordyn Wieber is lucky to still be walking.

Way for NBC not to show Kristen Maloney during compulsories. How were they to know we'd all be dying of curiosity years later? She actually managed to outscore Powell, Pickens, Fontaine and Bhardwaj.


  1. Little discussed facts:
    Amanda earned the highest floor compulsory score given at the '94 Dortmund Worlds.
    Jaycie earned the highest bars compulsory score at the '95 Sabae Worlds.

  2. wow Maloney had a pretty nice double front, why didn't they keep it?

  3. who thought Jana should've been on the '08 team? why?

    I wish we still had compulsories.

  4. what is with all the husband wife coaching teams? sheesh

  5. Kelli Hill and Jen Bundy are NOT a husband and wife coaching team!

  6. I wonder if Bela tells Martha "that was a big one" in bed.

  7. I always thought that Tom Forrster=1996's Steve Rybacki

    or perhaps Beth, I could never decide.

    A few years ago, I drove by an ice cream stand called The Sugar Mountain in Plano and I immediately wondered if Dominique had just been breaking into someone's ice cream stash down in Houston all those years ago. I was pretty disappointed. I had always imagined that the sugar mountain was something a bit more abstract.

  8. Oh, and I remember first seeing Kristen Maloney at this competition and hoping it never happened again. Then she became our national champion. WHHHHHHYYYY.

  9. This meet is one of the few times I ever remember seeing Kristen Maloney fall (other than her first vault in Sydney, which NBC shows again and again and again.)

  10. Watching Amy Chow was SO PAINFUL. Her terrible form, her slow and awkward movements..shoot me now.

  11. I'd forgotten that compulsories were 60% of the total score - so different from today!

  12. I am sorry but you are wrong Aunt Joyce. The routines at trials were not under scored. Dawes and Strug and everyone were so overscored at trials it was a joke. There were overscores at Nationals but Dawes was a mess on beam and still scored ridicuously high.Her compulsories beam is all I have to say to REST MY CASE.

  13. I just meant that that Trials was not scored on the same scale that Nationals was. The scores at Trials were ridiculous...they gave people whatever they wanted in order to assure that they people they wanted made the team. Dawes optional beam...