Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mixed Emotions

While one should never condone cheating, I must admit that any excitement over the 2000 American Team being awarded belated bronze medals has worn off and reality has set in.

I lived through that era and remember what a miracle that fourth place finish was to begin with. Hell, there was a real chance the US wasn't going to make team finals.

One of the reasons Dominique Dawes was chosen was that we needed a strong vaulter...

I give you, Amy Chow...Two-Time Olympian

Tasha Schwikert, Level 9 Balance Beam Champion

The Floor Anchor

Considering that almost every major medal-winning team from the last century contained underage gymnasts, I just can't swallow this sudden change of heart by the FIG. The American Team may have been of age, but their performance certainly wasn't medal worthy. Revisionist history may award them bronze medals, but we won't be able to erase that quad from our memories.


  1. I have the same mixed emotions as you.

    I really think the main reason the FIG went after the 2000 team was because they were pissed and embarrassed at the blatant cheating in 2008. China made a mockery of the rules. They couldn't touch He Kexin because her papers were in order, so they went after the 2000 team instead.

  2. FIG's choice is to punish the Chinese or eliminate their age rule- and we know that FIG is stubborn when it comes to revising their unpopular rules.

    As for Dawes, she was chosen b/c she was the last one standing and a veteran. The team needed a vaulter and that was supposed to be Atler, but obviously she couldn't be on the team and there wasn't another good enough vaulter to be picked. Instead Bela chose someone who wouldn't fall apart in TF. Unfortunately, Ray's and Chow's struggles in TF's and the loss of White is what primarily prevented team USA from medaling.

  3. FIG could actually punish the Chinese AND change the age rule. It's not either/or, because even if it were changed tomorrow, China still broke it.

    AJ, I think you may be overstating it somewhat with the comment about almost every medal winning team of the last century having someone underage in it. Bear in mind the pixie era didn't start til the mid 70s, and the vibe for the 15-20 years before that was the more mature athlete. Additionally, who do you think was underage on, say the Soviet 91 team and Unified team 92? Given Galieva's propensity to hysteria and washing dirty linen in public, don't you think that would've come out in the wash by now? What about 88, 84? I suspect the true figure is probably no more than half, if even that.

  4. I feel sorry for the Australian team. IMO they were the team truly robbed here. The US got a second chance because the Aussies screwed up royally in prelims. Austrailia is the team that could have won a bronze medal but never got the chance to have a come back because the Chinese cheated.

    I want to know why this team was the team that the rules were fixed for. We have known about ALL the other cheating for years like Gutsu not being inujured and the ages of the Romanians for YEARS but no one wants to fix those. We knew about Gutsu and Roza in 96 yet no one cares about those.

    Why is this 2000 team so special that they get medals when no one else gets them?

    In 91 Gutsu and Miller should be UB world champs. They never took the title from Gwang Suk even though they suspended her team for 3 years.

    I know that the Olympics and FIG have separate committees but it is still cheating. The FIG reccomended that the IOC take China's medal but when they knew about the cheating (1991 UB is an example) they didn't take the medal.

    I am with you Aunt Joyce. Something is suspicious here and the thought of horrible gymnasts like Kristin Maoney having an Olympic medal makes me throw up in my mouth.

  5. Technically, the coaches could make the decision to substitute their athletes in '92. It removed Galieva from the AA but they chose to do that. It was within the rights of the coaches. They did the same thing at '85 Worlds. It is just tough Soviet love.

    Kim Guang Suk's medal from the 1991 Worlds was absolutely taken away. The FIG did not choose to redistribute the medals. They left it vacant, like Tonya Harding's 1994 National title.

    I think it is a slippery slope. We know Bicherova was underage in '81. We know Eberle was underage. We know Gogean was underage. At what point do the results just stand? The 2000 Olympics are officially THE biggest joke after the AA results and now the team competition. Liu Xuan being an AA bronze medalist is enough of a joke as is.

  6. Teams like Ukraine and Spain were royally screwed by the fucked up team finals format used in 2000. They finished competing before China and Russia even began. They had qualified ahead of the Americans, yet they were competing in a sorry situation where their scores would definitely be lower and the energy in the building was nowhere near what it was during the later rotations.

  7. There's nothing remotely suspicious about the 00 China team getting done by the FIG, except for the fact they were actually punished more leniently than precedent allowed for.

    Historically, for better or for worse the FIG have always ignored mere admissions of guilt- hence Yang Yun wasn't punished, just like Marinescu, Bicherova etc. They've only ever stepped in when an athlete's DOB has been changed- that is, with Kim Gwang Suk and Dong Fangxiao. North Korea actually got BANNED because of Kim Gwang Suk. China only lost a medal, and you know they'd have chosen that over a ban. A ban in 2010 would've meant they couldn't qualify a full team to 2012.

    Like it or not, they actually got away very leniently. This probably has to do with the fact that China have more political clout than North Korea, but interestingly enough the Chinese fans tend not to mention that.

    And whoever thinks Australia had a shot at bronze is being very kind to them.

  8. It was against the rules to switch gymnasts in 92. You couldn't just switch anyone because you felt like it. They could only switch because of an injury and Roza was NOT injured. They changed the rule later on but in 92 it was against the rules. The Soviets cheated.

  9. Cheating is cheating. Breaking any rule is cheating. Just because the FIG and IOC change the rules when they want to doesn't mean it isn't cheating.

    The fact that they keep switching around the punishments proves to me that the sport is a joke.

  10. Illegal subbing and illegal entry to the competition are not the same thing, I'm afraid. The former involves an athlete who legitimately has the right to compete, the latter one who doesn't. Although certainly the sport is increasingly a joke. The fact that China got away so leniently with 00 is evidence of that.

  11. 1. Maloney wasnt a bad gymn. She is 1 of the best tumblers to compete the sport, yet she did have very ragged form. Her problems, unlike Dawes bowed legs, or Bross' knocked knees, werent genetic.

    2. Spain was screwed left and right. They had the goods and happened to be competing for a country that wasnt given gift scores. Moya 00 fx ef...nuff said.

    3. China should def be stripped because they've been doing the underage thing for too long.

    4. Its 1 thing to fix a wrong from 2000, but 1985 or 92 is too far down the pipeline.

    5. The Soviets were about the best competitor..and while it is fukd, I kinda can't blame them. Galieva didnt deserve to be in the AA over Gutsu just because Gutsu had a fall. Do you want to see the best fight it out, or the one's who qualified? Let's be honest ppl, Gutsu not being able to compete AA would have been a travesty.

  12. Anonymous - re: #5. What's the point of sport if people who f-- up during their competition can just go ahead and compete, even if they didn't qualify? If you couldn't cut the mustard that day, well, tough luck. That's the nature of the game -- you win some, you lose some. Don't you think that's a LITTLE unfair to the person who legitimately earned their spot in finals???

  13. It would not have been a travesty if Gutsu hadn't competed AA. Perhaps the person she replaced would have had an amazing day and won the all-around. Galieva, despite her youth, had beautiful form and was doing quite well in her Olympic debut - who knows how far she could have gone in 1992 if her country hadn't cheated???

  14. I am a huge Galieva fan but Gutsu deserved that spot. Galieva would not have finished higher than sixth.

  15. Anonymous at 8.13pm, Gutsu DID legitimately earn her spot in finals, or she couldn't have been subbed in. It's that simple. Gymnasts who miss out because of 2 or 3 per country rules have actually qualified to the final, they just aren't able to compete. That doesn't compare, at all, to gymnasts who aren't entitled to be in the competition in the first place.

  16. I completely agree! There is nothing wrong with being a fan for your country, but this sorry excuse for a team being olympic bronze medalists is insulting for those of us who actually take this sport seriously. They fell, they faltered and FIG can do whatever they want about it, what is on the videos of this TF will stand in ten/twenty years and that is a team that should have been very thankful the format screwed everyone else over and they walked out with a fourth place. And please Tim/Elfi/Al spare me the sob story about the team that was forgotten and worked so hard bs...