Well the last two days I've had the pleasure of watching the men's and women's gymnastics competition at the Olympics. Well I should specify from the comforts of my living room arm chair so as not to confuse matters. >.<
The men's competition was brutal to watch from a U.S. perspective as our team struggled early with some errors and continued to falter as their confidence waned. It was amazing for me to witness the level of mental wear and tear with each mistake and how it can really mess with each passing performance. It was like a boulder rolling down hill and once it got moving there was no stopping it. Interestingly enough for me, I was really impressed by how supportive the men were of eachother after the mistakes that were made early on. I sincerely believed that the open support and enouragement was going to serve them well as the competition went on. Unfortunately for U.S. fans and myself that was not the case. The women had their qualifying tournament the same day and when Jordan Wieber the reigning world women's all around champion lost out on qualifying for the women's all around final and I really felt like the other U.S. women were not very publically supportive of her. The two young ladies who made it could have been a bit more gracious in my opnion and yet I think that what I may have taken for a bit of "selfish pride" may really have been a toughness and determination that the U.S. women possessed. Perhaps that was something the U.S. men didn't possess as strongly? Still, I felt badly for them, knowing that they underperformed and could have done much better.
I was very happy to see the performance of the British men's team. It was particularly awesome to see the unabashed excitement of the British fans at seeing their men's team win their first ever team medal in modern history. To me the controversy over the final placement was disapointing. I felt very badly for the British men, their fans and the Ukranian Men. I know this would NOT be a popular solution, but in a situation like that, where they were originally given the Silver and Bronze medals only to drop a spot when the Japanese score was adjusted, I feel like perhaps two Silvers should have been given. One to Japan and one to Great Britain, but alos a Bronze should be issued to the Ukraine. It's a terrible thing to give something to people who have worked very hard for four years for something, only to take it away.
The U.S. women have always impressed me in the Olympics, in the 7 or 8 I have seen since I was little. I don't know if I credit the coaching or the young women or both more. They always seem to be prepared and have both a sense for performing on the big stage and a mental toughness that the U.S. men's team has struggled to find. I hope my criticism of the U.S. men doesn't come off too harsh. I am proud of all the athletes who put in the long hours that I can't even imagine to represent our country in disciplines they have given much of their young lives to. I really respect that. I can also respect partaking in sports and coping with failure, something of which I had my fair share of in athletics. I never quit though and I was glad that the U.S. men did not quit and took 5th overall I believe. I was disapointed that NBC did not show coverage of the U.S. men on the network after they were essentially eliminated from medal contention.
I was also much more proud of the way the U.S. women stood together publically during the team finals. If there were any lingering feelings about missing out on the individual finaly for Jordan Wieber, she didn't show it. Her teammates were also extremely supportive of her, as she was of them. They all really came together and represented our country with class and dignity. The fact that they performed at such a high level and won the team gold was like the cherry on top of a sundae. I also miss seeing the gymnastics competitions live, because a lot of coverage from the other countries gets cut so we can see U.S. medal performances in other sports. Of course if I were home to watch on line, I could watch all the coverage live. I also DO enjoy seeing all the medal performances for U.S. atheletes.. so I suppose I should not expect to have my cake and eat it too? >.<
I hope that all our Olympics fans enjoyed the gymnastics competitions as well as whatever other sports interest you most as you watch the Olympics. OH BTW it was cool to see princes Harry and William enjoying the men's competition and their countrymen/women's reaction to the Bristish Men's performance. Best of luck to all.. and Go U.S.A.!!!! YAY! =) oh and go Australia too!!!! YAY!