Thursday, August 19, 2004

Everything I Haven't Yet Said About Gymnastics

- D'you think when Carly Patterson watched the instant replay of her bars routine, she thought, "Hmm, how can I wipe that chalk off my crotch without betraying my cool exterior?"

- We call them the "uneven bars."  According to the Athens2004 website, they are the "asymmetrical bars."  Sounds snootier, but still not quite accurate either.  (I'm sure they're symmetrical if you find the right axis of rotation.)  They're "a couple of bars at different heights" -- not catchy enough, I guess.

- When did that thing they vaulted off of change from a horse to a platform?  (Also inaccurately named.  It's a platform like Salvador Dali would paint.)

- OK, I understand that they're girls, on TV, and they want to look nice and pretty.  So I understand the makeup.  But when did the sparkles in your hair become part of the standard gymnastics uniform?  You wouldn't catch a track athlete putting sparkles in her hair.

Suspensions for Drug Use

We hear a lot of talk around these Games about suspensions for performance-enhancing drug use.  (Either people getting suspended or people returning from suspensions.)  Here's my position on that:  There should be no such thing as a suspension for drug use.  It's either expulsion or nothing.

Here's my reasons:  1.  Drug use should not be tolerated.  2.  Athletes' careers should not be messed with.

Which is to say -- if there's someone who you catch dead to rights willfully using performance enhancing drugs, their career should be over.  End of story.  It shouldn't be something they can come back from.  Willful use of a banned substance should prevent you from ever setting foot on the competitive stage again.  It's sorta like betting on baseball when you're playing it -- you should be banned for life. 

On the other hand, maybe we can't prove you willfully used a performance enhancing drug.  Maybe you accidentally popped a sudafed.  Maybe you missed a test (which gets counted as a positive).  In these cases, I don't think you should be suspended at all.  Because we don't really know that you took a banned substance, and we shouldn't take years of your (all too limited) athletic career away from you if you didn't actually do anything wrong.

So ... set up some rules as to how a bad test is proven -- or presumed -- willful.  And if someone has a willful bad test, kick 'em out of the sport.  But if they didn't do anything on purpose -- fine 'em, disqualify them from the particular competition that generated the dirty test, and test them frequently and randomly to make sure they stay clean.  But no suspensions.  It isn't fair.

The seats are still empty.

Just so you know, tickets for Torino 2006 go on sale this November.  You know you wanna.


cneinhorn said...

Your comments about the gymnasts had me laughing......I didn't get what was up
with the sparkles either.......overkill in my opininon, plus it made the girls look about 10 years old.....usually the age set that goes sparkle crazy!


pegluh said...

What I don't get are the sparkly eyeshadow and glitter patch on the side of their heads.  It's just weird.  Track starts may not put sparkly bits in their hair, but I think it was Jackie Joyner-Kersey who had those freaky long decorated nails.  I always wondered about the drag coefficient on those puppies...