Sunday, August 14, 2011
Must See Documentary
A friend sent me Gymnast, a British documentary covering the selection of the 2008 Olympic Team. As a documentary alone, it is worthy of viewing. As a gymnastics documentary, it is superb. The film captures the emotional stress on the British girls as they train and compete for a spot on the Olympic Team. The never-ending stress at home and in the gym is palpable.
Andrian Stan is the star of the film. His blunt candor is horrifying, refreshing, amusing and brutally honest.
"You will never be the most beautiful team. You are not the Chinese. You will not likely medal."
It is downright disturbing to hear them dote and watch them oogle over Hannah Whelan for her pixie frame, while the other girls struggle in vain.
Posted by OlympicEffect at 9:29 PM
Labels: Becky Downie, Beth Tweddle, Documentary, Hannah Whelan, Imogen Cairns, Marissa King, Rebecca Wing
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Yeah, the conversation about Whelan was the real jaw-dropping moment of the film. But I agree that it was a nicely-made doc (and the professionally-shot 'filler' material of Jenni Pinches and Danusia Francis was basically gym porn for me).ReplyDelete
However, it seemed weird to try and put a big smiley face on Team GB's efforts in 2008 -- which were really a disappointment, due to the team not qualifying for the Team Finals and Tweddle coming 4th on UB. The much more interesting story has been GB's rise to competitive standard *since* 2008. But that's just me nitpicking.
The film was about the Olympic Selection, which is much more interesting and marketable for the mass public than the rise since 2008. The film makers would have no way of knowing about that and frankly, not many would likely care (unless it was for a TV program and solely about Beth.) I think fans lose touch with reality in some ways. Great Britain still did have its highest finish ever at the Olympics.ReplyDelete
I'm only 20 mins into it, and I'm horrified by the parents.ReplyDelete
In my eyes the best gymnastics documantary ever....!ReplyDelete
I think it's interessting to compare the announcement of the team to the public announcement of the 2004 US olympic team. The US girls all sitting on their chairs facing Martha and the camera. And the ones who did'nt make it tried to hold back their tears and had to mannerly congratulate the team members in front of the camera.
And on the other side you have the British girls sitting on a hallway floor holding hands and than collectivly desolving into tears. Nice to see that they were allowed to show their feelings in front of a camera.
I didn't know Andrei Stan had a secret gymnastics analysis center in his garden shedReplyDelete
Loved it. Though also horrified by some of the parent's comments. I found the announcement of the team okay - minus the cameras it was a private moment between the girls, coaches, and selection committee. However, having the happy parents go back to congratulate their daughters while the non-selected girls were still there, standing about seems cold-hearted. Do they not think logistics over? That being said, I would LOVE to see something similar done for Team USA 2012.ReplyDelete
I thought it was interesting that they commented, when talking about Hannah Whelan's frame, that society won't allow gymnasts to be pushed to be thin anymore and that they'd have to be naturally small to get the "ideal" physique.ReplyDelete
Sorry but since i'm not english or american and I didn't understand every single word.What conversation about Whelan??ReplyDelete
Wow, that was heartbreaking but definitely a great documentary. I felt so sorry for the girls who didn't make the team that it was hard to be happy for those who did. I can't imagine working all your life for that and then not being selected (or in Laura's case, being selected and then having to withdraw due to injury).ReplyDelete
The parents were definitely horrifying. "We've booked tickets to the Olympics and booked flights and accommodation, but no pressure"...um what?!? No pressure?!
I felt really bad for Laura Jones too and her parents were absolutely awful.
Oh, my gosh, Laura's parents were SO awful. They reminded me of bad guy parents or something from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The poor girl. I just wanted to give her a hug.ReplyDelete
Sadly, every parents are like that...except those who watch practice and/or coach.ReplyDelete
Way too much camera time for Laura Jones and her chav family. Wish we'd seen more of the Kings and others.ReplyDelete
The way people were reviewing I expected to see some sort of abuse from the coaches and/or parents. The Hannah Whelan conversation goes on a daily basis at competitive gyms. Some kids are just built better for gymnastics. It was between two adults and not the kids. No big deal.ReplyDelete
I have heard twice as bad comments from parents of rec and lower level kids. The parents in the film have their WHOLE lives revolving their kids gymnastics. It is hard not to get wrapped up. Plus, there were more positive interactions then negative.
Hannah was just like a little doll, i hope to see her doing well in 2012. Poor Laura, its just so hard to think of all that hard work for nothing, I don't know how I could get past that first month or so, life must seem so meaningless. But the pure joy and feeling of being on top of the world when you are named to the team. Wow. What that must feel like.ReplyDelete
That doc was so well done! Perfectly structured, really well-framed in terms of those awful, tight close-ups of the parents' faces looming into their kids' during those pressure-filled convos---kudos to the makers of the film.ReplyDelete
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