I've watched more Olympic coverage this year than any year since the Montreal Olympics back in 1976.

It was those games that first introduced me to the amazing things that could be done by the human body, Nadia Comăneci of Romania and Nellie Kim (picture to the left) of the USSR being the main teachers. It was the year of the original "10" and gymnastics would never be the same. After this the dance like grace of traditional European gymnastics would be far less important and in would come strength moves and incredible tumbling skills. Athleticism from girls and young women that the world had never seen before on the International stage.

Back in the 80s it was Mary Lou Retton that dazzled audiences at the 1984 games in Los Angeles with her dynamic gymnastic prowress. Her muscular form is nearly duplicated in today's Shawn Johnson and they also share an infectious smile. Johnson probably won't be seeing Olympic gold but there's little doubt that she's a marketer's dream so there'll be gold coming to her soon.

The male gymnasts are interesting too. While the males don't have the amazing symmetry they used to have--the changes in events have forced a big increase in upper body strength--they sure are impressive. The Still Ring event is ungodly in how much strength is required. The Iron Cross used to seperate the winners from the losers--now it's just the entry into a routine. The Maltese Cross, a much more difficult strength move, is now de rigueur. It's no wonder that the male gymnasts have upper bodies that bulge like sacks of potatoes.

Has anyone else noticed how much the USA gymnast Justin Spring looks like the actor from In Plain Sight, Fred Weller? It's uncanny particularly since they're such different ages (24 versus 42).


GA Girl said…
I recorded the competition but haven't had a chance to look at it yet - heard we won the silver. :)
Shephard said…
I love sacks of potatoes. TMI?

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