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Daughters of Bela Karolyi (Women's Gymnastics)


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#201 Ananti


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 02:47 AM

How does Bela feel about doping? I mean, ideally we'd like not to have doped athletes competing, but because countries (and athletes on their own) will invariably cheat and use drugs, it places everyone who abides by the rules at a huge disadvantage.


The analogy doesn't really work, because at least one can theoretically come up with effective means to test athletes for doping and other PEDs, if the government in China is complicit in making fake document there is no means to challenge the false age claims.

#202 Gehenna


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:32 AM

Bela is hilarious. I loved when he was interviewing with Costas and he flat out said that half the Chinese team is underage.

I'm a huge gymnastics fan, and I know age absolutely makes a difference in performance. Should 12 year olds be competing? Probably not at the Olympic level, but it's a hard thing to determine. I think 15 is probably a good limit for Olympic games.

Regardless, you see what these girls do. They are absolutely punishing their bodies and that's why they peak at 16 or so. Not many girls even see more than one Olympics because of injuries that force them to retire. Last year's All-Around winner Carly Patterson was only 16 when she competed and is now retired due to devastating injuries. I admire what they do, and love watching it, but I can't even imagine how their bodies are going to feel when they're old and grey.

I think Shawn Johnson has the best chance for All-ARound Gold.

#203 Ananti


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:53 AM

Just to punch the point home, here is a link to a English language newspaper in China published in May of this year :

http://www.chinadail...ent_6707927.htm

It clearly states that this particular gymnast in question is 14. So she was 14 in May and she's now 16?

#204 Gehenna


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:57 AM

Man, that really just pisses me off.

#205 Sille Skrub

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:13 AM

The hot chicks always fuck us in the end.

This is a good thing, no?

#206 gaelgirl


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:01 AM

I feel terrible for Sacramone. She didn't single-handedly lose the competition and it's disturbing to hear her tearfully explain how she was the only one to make a mistake so it must be her fault. The Chinese were near-perfect. There was really no way the U.S. could have beaten them unless they were perfect (they'd have to overcome the start value difference, leaving virtually no room for even smallish errors).

If my math is correct, here's what would have needed to happen to win. Let's suppose Sacramone earned the 15.95 she got in qualifying on beam. That adds .85 to the score, bringing the total to 187.375 overall. The Chinese finished with 188.9 overall, so the U.S. team would have needed to get 1.55 more points on floor to win the gold (a 45.975 combined score). That would have been .775 better than they did in qualifying and .175 better than the highest-of-the-finals scores that the Chinese got.

For context, the higest score on floor in the finals was 15.55 from some Romanian chick. So, if you add the 1.55 all onto one U.S. routine, it would have meant a 15.675 for Sacramone, a 16.65 for Johnson or a 16.75 for Liukin. Dividing the 1.55 roughly equally among all three, it's 14.645 for Sacramone, 15.62 for Johnson and 15.72 for Liukin. It's basically impossible. There's nowhere else they could really get points, either. These calculations already added .85 to the overall beam score and floor was the only other place the team really faltered.

As for age: I don't think Bela necessarily thinks 12-year-olds should be competing (well... maybe. he's pretty hardcore), but that it is very easy for countries to falsify documents to make them whatever age they want. So, he feels they might as well just scrap the rule and let anyone compete. Plus, the difference between 15 and 19 in gymnastics is huge.

Here's the advantage to being young: first of all, they're pre-pubescent, which means they aren't dealing with those pesky balance-altering physical developments and growth spurts. This is an issue in ice skating as well -- the center of gravity when you're 4'11" is different than when you're 5'2". If you grow three or four inches in six months, it takes time to figure out how to control the new height, weight and proportions.

Since that 13-year-old is smaller, lighter and more flexible, she is putting less stress on her body and is thus less likely to be injured. Major and minor injuries are very common in gymnastics, especially as the gymnasts get older. Look at the U.S. team: Alicia Sacramone, 20, has had major knee surgery as well as back problems. Chellsie Memmel, 20, has a long injury history. Nastia Liukin, 18, already had ankle surgery. Bridget Sloan, 16, had arthroscopic surgery on her knee. Shawn Johnson, 16, had some leg injury problems (her shins were developing stress fractures). Samantha Peszek, 16, doesn't seem to have had any major injuries yet. At the selection camp, a 17-year-old, Shayla Worley, broke her leg.

It'a real advantage to throw a 13-year-old out there instead of a 17-year-old. The 13-year-old is far less likely to have gone through knee surgery, shoulder reconstruction, suffered a dozen stress fractures and/or sprained their ankles 30 different times.

Also, kids that young are still pretty much fearless. I've read some stuff about teenage car accidents, and some study showed that teenagers can't really fully comprehend the risks of their actions. Apparently the risk-realizing part of the brain isn't fully developed until we're 23-25ish (it's a bit earlier in women than men). So, while a 17-year-old doesn't fully understand the immense risks she's taking with a triple-twisting double back whatever dismount from the uneven bars, a 13-year-old understands it even less. They just go for it.

#207 bsj


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 07:40 AM

gael, good post but I think you may even be overthinking it...

Here's what would have had to happen for the US to have a chance. The IOC would have had to move the gymnastics competition out of China.

The US made it easy, Sacramone specifically, but even if she had not fallen a single time, the general theme of the night was that the US was nailing their routines and gettting scores that were .2 to .3 below what was expected, and China was nailing their routines and getting scores similarly higher than expected.

I think that nearly every single "judged" sport gold has gone to China thus far.

Keep in mind, the US benefitted from this in 1996, as does every host nation...so this isn't sour grapes but rather, something that I hope Sacramone is smart enough to understand, if for no other reason than so she can sleep at night.

I felt, heading into the last 2 events, that the only chance that the US had was to be perfect the rest of the way and China to have 2 major errors. China had to be so bad that there was no way the judges could give it to them. And the US had to be so good that there was no way it could be taken away.

Edited by bsj, 13 August 2008 - 07:42 AM.


#208 3.2.itch

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:33 AM

after watching the gymnastics finals last night i come away with a couple observations:
1. china looks young but most asians look younger than there age so it is hard to judge their true age
2. the us women look like athletes with muscles, the Chinese look like anorexic sticks, it looks a lot easier to stick a landing when you only weigh 60lbs
3. the women rarely look happy, i feel like they are in a constant struggle to hold back tears of frustration
4. i'm glad the women didn't embarrass them selves like the men (horton) did by talking to the camera and basically humping the camera.

#209 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 09:35 AM

Communists cheat? And this is news? I realize many here aren't old enough to remember when you could see the East German 'female' swimmers with curves in all the wrong places.

#210 Ahriman


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 12:32 PM

The age limit is a joke. If a gymnast is good enough to compete in the Olympics, they should be allowed to do so.

Suppose everyone was abiding by this age limit, whoever won wouldn't really be the best gymnast(s) in the world. Granted, the Chinese are brazenly drawing from a larger talent pool which gives them a bit of an advantage. However, if there are 2nd graders who do not fall on their faces during every single rotation/event/whatever in this country, then, let them compete.

#211 reggiecleveland


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 12:59 PM

This is nostalgic for me. The USA losing to a hated power for world domination and claiming they cheated. I also like the old timey state sponsored type "we have passports" cheating explanation.

As for the "communists cheat" comment. What breakaway republic were Flo Jo, Jackie Joyner, Marion Jones and for that matter Ben Johnson from? I admire American cheaters in that we never catch then until later, and when you do they tie it up in the courts until you forget anyway they get the medals. In that way Barry Bonds in the prototype of the American cheater. Bad taste in your mouth but no official sanctions and you can't take his name out of the record books.

The thing about the Soviet commies is that they had no finesse when it came to cheating it was so obvious. They never had a market economy where cheat or be cheated was a daily event. The worst was the 72 Basketball final, I mean a good old NBA ref would have called a push off on the USA hoop, thrown in a few Ts and the Russians would have won going away. But the dumb ass commie cheater played the end of the game twice, etc. Terrible cheating.


China of the other hand had a market economy while whitey was rubbing two sticks together. They should make exceptional cheaters. Windows 3.1 was not available on the streets of Moscow before microsoft released and we had trouble when they cheated.

Let's just hope the Chinese don't decide to go into the Tour de France

Edited by reggiecleveland, 13 August 2008 - 01:01 PM.


#212 slidingsideways


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 01:14 PM

I'm just stunned. As far as I can recall, Alicia hasn't made a serious mistake in a major competition since 2004. Her beam mount is risky, but Marta let her keep it because she just never missed it. This was like watching Beckett suddenly throwing everything to the backstop.

I'm fine with the silver medal. The US couldn't have beaten China this year. I just wanted everyone to have a good meet. I've been watching these girls/women for years. They don't usually look so unhappy.

I'm embarrassed to see the Karolyis bitching to the media. I can't wait until USA Gymnastics is Karolyi-free.

Posted Image

... and in happier times at 2007 World Championships.

Edited by slidingsideways, 13 August 2008 - 01:16 PM.


#213 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 01:39 PM

This is nostalgic for me. The USA losing to a hated power for world domination and claiming they cheated. I also like the old timey state sponsored type "we have passports" cheating explanation.

As for the "communists cheat" comment. What breakaway republic were Flo Jo, Jackie Joyner, Marion Jones and for that matter Ben Johnson from?

Ben Johnson? Jamaica, of course...

In all seriousnes, there is a fundamental difference between state sponsored doping systems of the eastern bloc and the individual doping offences of US and "Jamcian Born" athletes like Johnson - that is; In the 1980s, if a person had little pictures of work tools on their uniform, they were doped. Period. It wasn't their fault, and I don't blame the athletes, but it was like that. You could be in an international sports competition, take out the results sheet and cross off the names with URS, GDR, CSR next to them, then count down and see what place you REALLY came in. The biggest victims in this? Certainly not the upper middle class white kids from North America playing exotic sports who got knocked off the medal stand. The people I feel bad for are the poor bastards who were forced to put dangerous drugs in their bodies and cheat at sports. I doubt most of them would have chosen to cheat, if they had the knowledge western athletes did, or the freedom to choose not to....and yes, many GDR et al athletes from the 1980s are experiencing serious health problems now, due to the state sponsored doping sytems they were part of.

On the other hand, you have, say, the Americans. Yes, there was, and still is doping in US sport - the difference being that the doping isn't systematic. Just because one guy was dirty doesn't implicate the guy next to him - with the GDR/USSR et al guys, if one was doing it, they all were (and history bears this out. they all were...). Basically, there's ought to be a special cavern in Hell for those who choose doping, and another one for those who thrust doping unto others...

Edited by Fred not Lynn, 13 August 2008 - 01:43 PM.


#214 lexrageorge

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 02:05 PM

Winning the silver in the women's gymnastics competition in "hostile" territory against an equally powerful (if not more so) team is a huge accomplishment. The Olympics are littered with stories of favored competitors having an untimely fall or, worse, a disqualification, and finishing out of the medals altogether (anyone remember Dan and Dave during 1992?).

I take exception to anyone saying that Sacramone "let down her team". Stuff like this happens; for every team member to perform every event flawlessly just doesn't happen. The Chinese team performed as a gold medal team should, and was rewarded. This is not like the pathetic US men's basketball team "winning" the bronze in Athens. The silver medal is an accomplishment that this team, and we as Americans, should be proud of.

I do agree that some of those Chinese girls are barely 12, let alone 14 or whatever the supposed age limit. Then again, there is always some controversy in gymnastics. I remember some mediots in 2004 bleating that Hamm should give up his gold medal because of a scoring mistake from which he benefited (never mind, of course, that the mistake was not his fault at all). While I do think an age limit is reasonable and should be enforced, the time to do that is during the qualifying rounds. Personally, I wouldn't feel any better if the Chinese team was somehow DQ'ed and the gold awarded to the US.

The Chinese home court advantage was real, but that is part of the Olympics as well in other judged competitions. In the LA games in 1984, some American boxers were awarded some fights in which they had absolutely no business winning (they won 36 of 37 decisions); I remember one case in which even the LA crowd boo'ed the US winner. Then there was the Roy Jones fiasco in Seoul in 1988, which caused the Olympics to computerize the scoring of the boxing rounds in the future.

#215 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:16 PM

I feel bad for Sacramone...she really blew it for the team and that's something she's going to have to live with for the rest of her life. This is her last olympics, no doubt, and she let a ton of younger girls down.


Holy hyperbole Batman. Aside from the fact the US team was likely fucked no matter how you cut it, this is an example of someone taking this shit way too seriously - they won a silver medal. Christ, this is like Michelle Kwan practically breaking down in '98 after Lipinski basically pitched a perfecto.

I mean, really?

#216 LateRally

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:37 PM

He did the same thing in the swimming thread.

#217 DJnVa


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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:47 PM

Must be a Red Sox fan.

#218 gaelgirl


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:54 AM

Holy hyperbole Batman. Aside from the fact the US team was likely fucked no matter how you cut it, this is an example of someone taking this shit way too seriously - they won a silver medal. Christ, this is like Michelle Kwan practically breaking down in '98 after Lipinski basically pitched a perfecto.

I mean, really?

While I agree with your overall point here, a high percentage of serious ice skating fans (an intimidating group, for sure, especially if you run out of their favorite doughnuts or Marie Osmond dolls) would say Kwan deserved the gold. Lipinski wasn't perfecto. It drives me fucking nuts. She had all these little errors that you wouldn't notice unless you were best friends with a competitive ice skater and learned all about it. Lipinski fucked up some of the jumps, taking off on the wrong edges. It's not entirely uncommon and some people are notorious for it on certain jumps (Sasha Cohen, for example). But, considering the only thing that differentiates some of the jumps is the edge at takeoff, it's an annoying error. It's sort of akin to a shortstop making a phantom tag yet the runner still gets called out. It's especially annoying because Lipinski was rewarded for the "difficulty" of the jumps when she didn't really execute them and Kwan was downgraded for "tenative" landings on properly executed ones.

By contrast, Sarah Hughes had some of the same jumping problems, but she fucking nailed that routine and absolutely deserved the gold medal. Kwan fucked up and screwed herself out of winning, but even if she hadn't, Hughes still would have had the best program of the night (though not the gold due to convoluted scoring systems).

Anyway, I hope Sacramone is getting some sports psychologist visits and can realize that she couldn't have won the team the gold even with spectacular routines. I doubt she will, though, judging from those commentator people who haven't competed in years and yet still have warped perceptions of the sport, prompting them to criticize little Romanian teenagers for having fun with it instead of the "dedication" and "discipline" (and "misery and depression?") that the Soviet-era Romanians had. Or the line about how one of the Chinese gymnasts "begged her parents to let her come home... and with programs like that, what a benefit for us all that she wasn't able to do that." Yeah, it's great that she had to stay in the Communist sports camp to be athletically tortured day after day so that one day her years of misery will pay off with a stuck landing and a gold medal that can be a source of pride and propaganda for the entire nation (provided she's cute enough and doesn't have to be replaced with a cuter gymnast for televised competitions).

Good luck on vault, Alicia!

Edited by gaelgirl, 14 August 2008 - 11:56 AM.


#219 SaveBooFerriss


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 12:01 PM

If I was a gymnastics judge, I would give extra points for a promenient camel toe.

#220 Naehring11

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:44 PM

At least if anybody gives Sacramone any shit in person she can handle herself.

2QA6s7p-zU8

#221 TrishPike

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 07:46 PM

I'm just stunned. As far as I can recall, Alicia hasn't made a serious mistake in a major competition since 2004. Her beam mount is risky, but Marta let her keep it because she just never missed it. This was like watching Beckett suddenly throwing everything to the backstop.


A punch-front mount is a lot more interesting than those stupid tuck jump mounts that all the Chinese (and Shawn Johnson do). I mean really, can't you just do a simple press-handstand instead of the old level 6 compulsory mount? Also, Alicia did it because it gave her more difficulty (.4 more for her "A" score for the "D" move).

I really dislike the new Code - there isn't any time for choreography on beam or floor, and they have to do some of the ugliest looking combinations for bonus points.

#222 shawnrbu


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:40 PM

Shawn vs. Nastia start values:

Vault: Shawn (6.5), Nastia (5.5)
Bars: Shawn (6.4), Nastia (7.7)
Beam: Shawn (7.0), Nastia (6.7)
Floor: Shawn (6.3), Nastia (6.2)
Total: Shawn (26.2), Nastia (26.1)

#223 SoxScout


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:15 PM

Showtime

#224 DJnVa


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:16 PM

LIUKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

#225 shawnrbu


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:17 PM

LIUKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!


I like pink.

#226 SoxScout


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:19 PM

stuck it

#227 DJnVa


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:19 PM

Nice for NASTY Liukin

#228 Ahriman


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:21 PM

How is that a four tenths deduction? What the hell is wrong with this sport?

#229 shawnrbu


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:22 PM

Would it kill NBC to show the current scores on a scroll at the bottom? This isn't 1993.

#230 gingerbreadmann

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:23 PM

Calling the French judge?


Edit: I mean, look at these Chinese girls, they're absolutely flat.

And she gets a 14.875 out of that? Oh well, one down at least.

Edited by gingerbreadmann, 14 August 2008 - 10:26 PM.


#231 DJnVa


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:24 PM

THE TODDLER GOES DOWN!!!

#232 Obscure Name


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:24 PM

There goes one Chinese girl.

#233 DJnVa


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:28 PM

There goes one Chinese girl.


Sniper got her.

#234 kartvelo

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:31 PM

Sniper got her.

Is this the Claudine Longet Invitational?

Edited by kartvelo, 14 August 2008 - 10:31 PM.


#235 kartvelo

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:35 PM

Liukin looks like she'd rather be somewhere else.

#236 Carmine Hose

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:35 PM

Tim Daggett would be a great football announcer.

#237 DJnVa


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:39 PM

Liukin looks like she'd rather be somewhere else.


She misses me.

#238 Obscure Name


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:44 PM

Damnit Nastia, you need to stick that!

#239 tims4wins


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:44 PM

Damn, almost perfect

#240 Gehenna


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:46 PM

NICE.

#241 tims4wins


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:46 PM

Stuck it!

#242 Obscure Name


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:46 PM

Now that's a dismount. Go Shawn!

#243 Obscure Name


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:48 PM

Oh that's fucking bullshit. BULLSHIT.

#244 njingles3

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:48 PM

Hooray for biased judging!

#245 Gehenna


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:48 PM

WTF.

#246 tims4wins


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:49 PM

It kind of sucks watching sports when we have NO clue how the judges operate.

#247 neil

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:49 PM

I miss Alicia Sacramone :)

Lot of BS judging thus far.

#248 Deathofthebambino


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:49 PM

Seriously, I don't what's been worse this year, the judging in gymnastics or the judging in boxing. At least we knew going in that the boxing would be a joke, but women's gymnastics is a marquee event and this is an absolute travesty.

#249 phrenile


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:49 PM

"She looks like a little kid playing in a playground."

You think?

#250 Carmine Hose

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:50 PM

Daggett always makes the "little kid" remark when the Chinese go.