GYMN-L Digest - 25 Jul 1996 - Special issue

There are 16 messages totalling 630 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

  1. GYMN-L Digest - 24 Jul 1996 - Special issue
  2. What did he say?
  3. Quick Comments (was EEUROSPORT VIEWERS)
  4. General thoughts
  5. To all Non-Americans...
  6. To NBC
  7. NEJM gym article
  8. Coverage and crowd...
  9. The US Crowds
 10. tapes (2)
 11. Kerri
 12. Olympic Questions...
 13. <No subject given>
 14. The crowd at Georgia Dome (fwd) (fwd) (fwd)
 15. Day and Date


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 16:59:55 +0700
Subject: Re: GYMN-L Digest - 24 Jul 1996 - Special issue

At 21:56 24/7/96 -0400, you wrote:

>Does anyone have complete coverage of the women's optional team competition
>including awarding of medals/playing of national anthem?  If so, please
>email me privately.  I would like to copy it, I will be willing to pay for


Oh man, I have the same request. Please -any body- help me !
I use PAL and Beta system.



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 06:30:21 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: What did he say?

Bela Karolyi is such a liar!  While we all sat in our livingrooms on Tuesday
night, we saw him yell to Kerri, "Kerri -- listen to me -- you can do it!"
(Perfectly acceptable words for a coach to tell his athelete).  Then in two
separate interviews he makes it sound like he had a five minute conversation
with her to determine whether or not she felt she was able to perform a
second vault.  He said (and I quote loosly), "I asked her ,'Kerri, can you do
it?  Are you good to do another vault?' and she said, 'yes, yes!  I can do

What a bunch of crap!  We all saw Kerri nodding in agreement to his words
"You can do it!"  Is he a little paranoid about his media image?  Maybe he
believes what others say about his attitude toward his gymnasts.  He is so
two-faced!  I always took the criticism of Bela with a grain of salt,
considering everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, but his guilty
conscience is showing through.

I have no doubt in my mind that he remembers it his way -- freeing him of the
guilt he would otherwise feel for encouraging her to perform the vault.  He
can't see that her injury is not his fault.  Kerri alone knows her limit.
 Bela's pain threshhold must be a great deal lower than his gymnasts if he
can't even tolerate the *idea* of a media lashing.



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 05:47:14 -0400
Subject: Quick Comments (was EEUROSPORT VIEWERS)

Jeff writes (in part):
>According to cetate's WWW page (
>they are showing the womens' AA alive.

I thought I'd use this to segue into a comment I wanted to post yesterday.
For those who missed it, the European broadcasters doubled their rights $
to the IOC for getting gymnastics coverage live OVER THERE.  However,
individual event finals will be shown live here in the US.

Did anyone watch or tape MSNBC last night?  I saw an item in one of the NY
papers that Katie Couric was scheduled to hold a roundtable to discuss
women's gymnastics on "InterNight" last night.  Cathy Rigby and Erica
Stokes were scheduled to participate.  We taped it - no guarantee when I'll
finally have tie to watch it.

Actually, Tuesday's Team finals reminded me of the US men in 1984, crows

That's it for now...


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 08:05:49 -0400
From:    ***@GARDEN.NET
Subject: General thoughts

Some random thoughts on what we've seen so far:

Amanda Borden should definitely get the "Classiest US
Gymnest" award. It was so great to see her cheering on
the others, and congratulating every one at the end of
their routines. During Shannon's FX, just before her
dismount, you could see Amanda behind her yelling
out encouragement.  Classy lady! (yes, LADY, I am so
sick of John Tesh and his "little girls").

Was it me, or did Shannon Miller look relatively miserable
most of the evening? She did *not* look happy to be there.

Back to the team spirit thing, my best friend complained
that he thought all of the American ladies were "mean" to
each other. I told him he should have seen them four
years ago!  BTW, what is it with those semi-hugs they
give each other??? Is that the gymnastics equivalent of

Thought it was very funny at the end of the medal
ceremony when everyone stepped down, and Shannon
was standing there with Kerri, with this look on her face
like: "Uh, guys, I can't get her down myself. . . ."

Have mentioned the possible rudeness of the US
audience at the Georgia dome to non-gymnastics
following friends, and they didn't seem to think there
was anything wrong with the behavior -- a combination
of excitement and patriotism.

I spent what seemed like the whole day yesterday
trying to explain to people that Kerri Strug did *not*
need to do the second vault for the US to win.

John Tesh -- <sigh>.  Okay, we all know that there
are FOUR things going on at once, really, you don't
have to tell us any more.  And learn the names of
the moves, please. I keep wondering if all of the
general viewers out there think that it's strange that
all of the "Release Moves" look so different. . . .(as
in, look how high she gets on this Release Move).

"Plausibly live": I'm convinced this is an evil plot
designed to keep me from sleeping this week. But,
let's face it, NBC is out to make money on this
thing, and this is the way to do it. They got a 30
share on Tuesday night -- that is HUGE. And if I
get too frustrated, I just go check out the web site.

Can't wait 'till tonight!!!!!

(Wow. I wrote a lot there. Sorry!)



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 08:17:21 -0400
Subject: To all Non-Americans...

To all Non-Americans, and for that matter, Americans who are judging the
U.S. response to foreign competitors by what they see on NBC

I'd like to see first of all that I cheered everyone (and that's
difficult when there are 4 events going on at the same time) - didn't
you hear me, I was only 10 rows from the top?

You saw one round of 3 televised by NBC. The rounds with no Americans
saw all atheletes getting very enthusiastic cheering.

Khorkina, you wouldn't have been able to tell from the coverage,
finished her beam routine 4 seconds before Dawes finished her floor -
that's why most eyes were not on her, it was timing. The other team
members received applause, and Khorkina received a very warm response in
all her other efforts, and very often felt very loved by the crowd.

Keep two things in mind. The first is that the American press has hyped
Shannon and Moceanu to death the last two years, so you had a sell-out
crowd that came (to that round) to cheer them. Also, you can't compete
the cheering to other sports where you don't have to try and watch 4
people at once.

I agree that the crowd was too loud, but I cheered for all athletes, and
louder for all my favorites: Borden, Marinescu, Boginskaya, etc.

[the other] Jeff


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 08:24:22 -0400
Subject: To NBC

Dear NBC big-brothers,

Since you ARE monitoring this traffic, I want to be perfectly clear.
1. Your coverage could be much, much better
2. You could show other routines in the time it takes to show athletes
   waiting for their scores, and then bounce back and show the one-
   second response to their score and not the 3 minutes of waiting
3. You COULD keep the other cameras running, and sell each event to
   the cable companies as pay-per-view (much more limited exposure if
   you do it by event, or even event round, than the last fiasco)
4. John Tesh is a weenie. I'm sure he appeals to the mass population
   as an entertainment personality, but is this or is this not a
   sporting event as opposed to a variety show? He's like Dick Clark
   on American Bandstand.
5. NO coverage of rounds 1 and 2 in the women's team optionals? Almost
   NO coverage of the other teams in round 3 - you can sit there
   smugly and say we don't understand 'the business' and write an
   e-mail thanking people for their support, but the fact is that
   sports fans are NOT getting what they want or deserve, and you just
   happen to be in a monopoly position and we can't do a damn thing
   about it.

Steaming and depressed in ATLANTA (I live here and can't see it all),
[the other] Jeff


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 07:09:21 MDT
Subject: NEJM gym article

The following article has been forwarded from a sportsmedicine
internet group...

Tofler IR, Stryer BK, Micheli LJ, Herman LR:  Physical and emotional
problems of elite female gymnasts.  New Eng J Med
1996; 335: 281-3

        Within the last 5 years, two US female Olympic level gymnasts
died from medical problems related to their sport, one from
complications of anorexia nervosa and one from a spinal injury
sustained in a vault.  More than 2 million children and adolescents
participate in competitive gymnastics in the US each year.
        The development of a champion requires hard training,
stringent coaching and, often, parental pressure.  Overtraining,
injuries and psychological damage are common consequences.  Parents
and coaches experiencing success vicariously risk "achievement by
proxy".  Elite gymnasts begin training between the ages of five and
seven and are often involved in serious training regimens by age 10.
        Intense, repetitive, high-impact events result in injuries to
every young gymnast.  The risk of injury increases with longer
practices, increased degree of difficulty, and age-related
vulnerability of the skeleton.  Minor physical insults to cartilage
may accumulate into permanent injury or deformity, made worse by the
pressure to compete while injured. Overtraining while injured can
result in reflex sympathetic dystrophy, characterized by an
exaggerated response of the sympathetic nervous system.
        Gymnasts are at risk for nutritional, endocrine, and
psychiatric disorders, the 'female athlete triad' associated with
substantial morbidity and mortality.  While anorexia is reported in 1
per cent and bulimia in 3 percent of adolescents, they are reported
to be between 15% and 62% in female gymnasts.  Unequivocal pressure
on female gymnasts to be thin and muscular encourages atypical eating
behavior.  Oblique or deliberate comments by coaches, judges or
parents that the loss of a few pounds will improve scores exacerbate
the problem.  Disordered eating and intensive exercise may contribute
to primary and secondary amenorrhea, and the emotional stress of
competition may have further effects on menstrual function,
increasing the risk of premature osteoporosis.
        Adults are often seduced by dreams of Olympic gold, and the
young athlete may perceive her entire identity and self-worth as
depending on her participation and success.  Highly organized
gymnastics programs can impede the athlete's ability to think or act
independently.  Pain, somatiform disorders, and self-inflicted injury
may be the only way to escape.
        Elite gymnasts tend to be be extremely obedient and
disciplined and to strive for adult approval.  The quest for Olympic
success ensures that these girls may be driven beyond their physical
and emotional limits.
        The recently published report of the Female Athlete Triad
Task Force is a modest start in monitoring the sport.  However, the
political and financial goals of the governing bodies conflict with
the protection of the athlete.
        At its best, elite gymnastics can provide a profound
experience for the athletes.  At its worst, the sport can result in
serious life-threatening physical and emotional disabilites.  As role
models for other children and adolescents, elite gymnasts offer
examples of the very best, but the drive to be like them can be
harmful. Talented youngsters at every level need support, not
crippling injuries as they enter adulthood.


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 14:36:00 0BS
From:    ***@SHU.AC.UK
Subject: Coverage and crowd...

In fairness, I don't think NBC overdid it too much with coverage of the
American gymnasts.  You'd expect it of any host country.  What was
unforgivable was that no thought seemed to go into what else they showed.
 It seemed to be completely random, as if it would keep the rest of the
world happy as long as they showed Scherbo and Nemov and a couple of others
in the all-around.  No Yuri Chechi on rings, and I can't believe they got as
far as the fourth rotation before they showed Voropaev, who at that point
was in a medal place, and who they should have known was going to be in
contention from the beginning.

As for the crowd, you would expect them to be biased, but when fantastic
routines go completely unacknowledged it really is too much.  I've not
noticed this degree of bias in any other sport in Atlanta so far and I think
all that the predominantly American crowd in the Georgia dome have done so
far is to show themselves up to be completely ignorant. From the other
messages I've read on the list, it seems as though the genuine fans of the
sport were all watching it at home on TV.

Just a (British) point of view.



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 07:02:14 -0700
From:    ***@IX.NETCOM.COM
Subject: The US Crowds

                        I have to say, I knew that you guys couldn't do
it. Instead of writing comments about the wonderful job the Americans
did and how proud you are of them, you all decided to complain-AGAIN. I
dpn't mean to be rude or hateful but I wish that you guys would grow
up. The Olympics are about cheering on your country and hoping that
they win the gold. If I were in the crowd, I would cheer for the
Americans as well. Don't even tell me that they didn't cheer for anyone
else at all because I know that they did. Maybe not as loud, maybe not
as enthusiactly but they did.

                        It's hard for me to understand you guys
sometimes. It's hard for me to understand why you are always picking on
Moceanu or whining about the US crowds. Why can't you just accept the
fact that the people who were sitting in those stands were Americans
and they wanted to show their country how proud they are of them. And I
am sorry to those people who don't complain all of the time and who
choose to be postive that I am taking up your time.

                        I can't believe that we are arguing during the
Olympic Games. I can't believe that you guys aren't showing how proud
you are of the US team. I can't belive that you have found some way to
complain during one of the most hisorical sports events in history.



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 16:59:28 +0700
Subject: tapes


Artistic gymnastic is not popular in my country. So I always find problem if
I loose one of international gymnastic event. People in my country loves
football -US citizens call it Soccer- and badminton, but not gymnastic.

And this time -the Olympic- gymnastic is out from TV stations' list to
cover, so I will not have any documentation about it. Is there somebody
inform me how to get the copies of it -from preliminaries to finals-
especially performs USA, Romania, Russia, ex-Soviet states and France ?

Thanks and regards from Indonesia,


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 16:59:07 +0700
Subject: Kerri

Greetings, everybody !

What a Kerri ! That is why I like watching gymnasts, because every time I
can learn about self determination and strong motivation to win.

I do not know exactly about Kerrie's present condition, but I will pray for
her, because she had denied her existence and gave all to her country.

Congratulation US citizens, you should be proud having her !!

Warm regards from Indonesia,


Date:    Fri, 26 Jul 1996 00:29:40 +1000
From:    ***@JCU.EDU.AU
Subject: Re: tapes

Does your VCR system use PAL,SECAM or NTSC. I'm in Townsville , Australia
and while our coverage isn't great I'm getting copies of the BBC coverage
which is pretty good, so if you use PAL or are willing to covert then
email me back

On Thu, 25 Jul 1996, Dayan wrote:

> Greetings,
> Artistic gymnastic is not popular in my country. So I always find problem if
> I loose one of international gymnastic event. People in my country loves
> football -US citizens call it Soccer- and badminton, but not gymnastic.
> And this time -the Olympic- gymnastic is out from TV stations' list to
> cover, so I will not have any documentation about it. Is there somebody
> inform me how to get the copies of it -from preliminaries to finals-
> especially performs USA, Romania, Russia, ex-Soviet states and France ?
> Thanks and regards from Indonesia,
> Dayan.


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 15:37:29 +0100
Subject: Re: Olympic Questions...

>I would have liked to have seen the Romanians and Russians get their medals
>along with the Americans.  I'm curious if they were congratulatory towards
>the AMericans or if they were ambivalent.
Led by Khorkhina, the entire Russian team walked around the podium and
shook each American by hand before stepping up to get their silvers. The
Romanians followed suit, shaking hands with each American and each
Russian (the latter more warmly, I thought) before getting their

It was a moment of great dignity and sportsmanship, the more so for the
way they had been treated that night. I would like to think that it
might have shamed some of the crowd. More likely though, they regarded
it the way NBC obviously did, when they left the scene on the cutting-
room floor.

I would like to applaud the clear majority of Americans on this list who
have posted to condemn what has been going on in the Georgia Dome. Where
those of us posting from overseas ran the risk of being dismissed as
anti-American (hilariously so in my case; I remember how many rows I've
had over being regarded as very pro-American), you ran the risk of being
condemned as "traitors" at a moment of national triumph. I am also glad
to hear that parts of the American media are beginning to tell it like
it obviously was...especially to those of us who saw the unedited

To those who still don't get it, ask yourselves if you'd have liked to
have been in the Russians shoes tuesday night. What was it someone said?
They should have prepared themselves for it? Tell me how. By walking
into the roughest bar in Dallas wearing a 49ers t-shirt? Most, though
not all, of their girls were experienced internationals, used to
appearing in big arenas overseas before big, but appreciative,
audiences. Sadly, tuesday night was Christians being fed to the lions

So what?

So you guys were *hosts*, that's what. You arranged the party. You sent
out the invitations. You said please come. And, when they did, what
happened? You shoved them in the corner and treated them with frosty

Last time I looked, the USOG web page is still featuring de Coubertin's
"not the winning but the taking part" line. Maybe someone should replace
it with Al Davis. "Just win baby."



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 11:11:40 -0400
From:    ***@GNN.COM
Subject: <No subject given>

Can anyone who was there or has non-NBC coverage write a little something
about the earlier rounds of the Womens Team competition? Bogi, Piskun,
France, China, Greece, etc?  Or is there a web-site I can go to?

Do people think the Womens Team Gold/Kerri Strug story is going to be gymnastics
Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan?  By that I mean do you think this is going to
 create a
greater interest and larger audience for gymnastics in non-Olympic years, or is
all just going to blow over?  Could we see Worlds live in prime time, scores of
exhibitions on TV?  I think its admirable that a lot of the U.S team wants to go
college this fall, but think of what they could do for the popularity of
if they toured for a year and rode the popularity wave.


Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 09:50:22 EDT
From:    ***@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: The crowd at Georgia Dome (fwd) (fwd) (fwd)

Ilene said:
>>>I just wanted to say that I, too, am disgusted with the crowd at the
>>>Georgia Dome and with NBC for turning this into the "go USA" show.
>>>Whatever happened to the Olympic spirit?

Beth said:
>>I'm sorry to say the Olympic spirit ends about 1 second after the end
>>of the Opening Ceremonies and everyone is very naive to think otherwise.

Orion said:
>Am I the only one who's appaled by this statement? I find it viciously
>cynical. To say that the olympic spirit ends at the end of the opening
>ceremony? I find the olympics to be a tremendous display of honor and
>sportsmanship for almost everyone involved. I don't understand people who
>think that the olympics is entirely a money-making or myopically patriotic
>venture. If that's all you see when you watch athletes reaching their life
>goals who will never make money from their sport, then I don't get it.
>The world who compete in these games, and I don't think I'm "very naive" to
>see the beauty in these people. Apparently some people truly believe that
>the olympic spirit only exists in the opening ceremony, which means that
>their idea of olympic spirit is very different from mine.

I didn't mean to imply that I didn't believe in the Olympic spirit .....
why else would I stay up until 2:00 each night watching snippets of events
that I don't normally ever have any desire to watch just because I admire
the desire/efforts/skills of the athletes involved.  Even though they have
been criticized by some on the List, I enjoy the fluff stories regarding
all of the athletes (because I do watch so much of the Olympics I
unfortunately have to watch some of them more more than once!!).  But
I also  realize that people have different ideas of what the "Olympic
Spirit" means and I've found it irritating to read some of the comments
that have been expressed on the List the last few days.  To some
fans, excessive cheering for the USA team (especially if the team is in
contention for the Gold Medal for the first time) would be considered
showing their olympic spirt -- evidently to others it is not.  I do
think supporting the gymnastics team is a unique situation in that
in showing your appreciate for your home team, it might also be seen
as not showing respect to the other team because of the fact that
four events are going on at the same time.  Just out of curiousity,
is gymnastics the only sport that has events going on at the same
time?  The individual finals should be a much more fair/appreciative
situation since they are conducted one at a time (right?).  Also,
does anyone know if the size of the crowd at the Georgia Dome is less
than, equal to or more than attendance at past World/Olympic competitions?
I read the posting about Bart Conner's comments regarding the crowd the
other night at the Georgia Dome and wondered if the size of the crowd
and popularity of the sport since 1984 and the fact that it was the first
gold ever for the women's team might have a little to do with the current
experience compared to what he "remembers" from 1984.  I went back last night
and watched my brief snippets from 1984 and the crowd seemed pretty loud
(and waving HUGE U.S. flags which were banned from the Georgia Dome)
to me -- I wonder if 12 years might have decreased his memory of the
experience.  :-)  :-)   I find it very hard to believe that Bart back
in 1984 would have made those same remarks regarding the crowd
support shown the other night to the women's team.  When a team wins,
the home advantage is always used as the reason why but unfortunately the
home advantage can also put so much pressure on the athletes that they
falter under the expectations.  With all of the pressure/expectations
put on the U.S. girls the other night, they came through and that IMO seems
to have gotten lost in all of the "noise" on the List about the crowd noise
at the Georgia Dome.

For 99% of the athletes involved in the Olympics and the fans that
watch their performances, the Olympic spirit is alive and well.  Howeve, IMO
it is the 1% which involves medals/professionals that seems to get the
most negative responses from fans/media regarding the lack of olympic

As someone dear to my heart once said, "If winning is not important, then
commander, why keep score?"  (Lt. Worf, Star Trek-The Second Generation).



Date:    Thu, 25 Jul 1996 11:23:58 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Day and Date

I know this has probably been discussed way too much already, but with this
and several critical articles in the local paper, I wanted to make one

Jennifer writes:

>What Kerri
>did last night was not abuse. It was her own decision, and at 18,
>she is an adult, and capable of making them. I've seen track athletes
>do the same thing, athletes in other sports dig into themselves
>like Kerri did last night and find some personal reserve to keep
>going. Kerri did this for herself, for the team, and had no regrets.

I strongly agree that at the age of 18 (old enough to drive, vote, get
married, serve in the armed forces), Kerri is certainly able to make her own
decisions.  Moreover, she is not the only one at these Olympics to make this
sort of decision.  In the cross country portion of the equestrian three day
event, an Australian rider fell at one of the obstacles, breaking her
collarbone and several ribs. She then remounted and completed the course,
ensuring that Australia woud have enough riders complet the course.  She also
refused to take any pain medication that evening so she wouldn't have a
positive drug test if the team needed her to compete in the stadium jumping
phase the next day.  (Australia went on to win the gold.)  Kerri is simply
another example of a tough athlete making a gutsy decision to help her team.
 The fact that she is less than five feet tall and a gymnast does not make
her less of adult (perhaps if John Tesh would stop calling the gymnasts
"little girls" and the newspaper would stop calling them "pony-tailed pixies"
it would help people understand that.)


BTW, for those of you complaining about the gymn coverage - you should have
seen the equestrian coverage (of course if you blinked you probably missed
it).  The voiced over intro began by saying "Every horse is different..."
(probably most of the general population could have told you that) and
proceeded to worsen from there.


End of GYMN-L Digest - 25 Jul 1996 - Special issue