I Could Totally Do That: Olympic Gymnastics

Has anyone else ever noticed that none of these girls seem to have bones? Or ligaments? They definitely don’t have spines. There’s no way a spine could bend like that.

Gymnastics is probably my favorite part of the summer Olympics. I love watching it. I am convinced this is the hardest sport of the 26 represented. Almost every other event is definite. You get to the goal you get a point, most points win. You get to the finish line first, you win. Gymnastics is purely subjective, and it requires both blatant and subtle full body strength. I mean full body. From their toes to their fingertips, these girls are beasts without looking like beasts.

The men are impressive too, don’t get me wrong.  The raw strength they have to have to do things like the pommel horse and the rings is incredible.  I’m just biased towards being impressed by the women because of the requirement coupling grace with the power they hide in those limbs.

The pressure on these girls is ridiculous.  While it is not unheard of to have 15 or 16 year olds in other sports it’s not too common.  Gymnastics though?  That’s the norm.  It’s rare to see someone in their 20’s.  Some of these athletes are on the Olympic stage and they can’t even drive yet.  It’s so hard on the body that many have to have joints replaced by their 30’s.  These athletes are kids, and by the time they’re adults the career is over.  It is outrageous that if a female gymnast wants to leave a legacy she has to do so before she’s even graduated high school.

The problem with watching the girls is they don’t look like they’re straining when they pull off these crazy moves.  They make it look so easy.  I am very convinced that with a few weeks practice I could totally do all of that, despite the fact that my splits are more of a 110° angle and the last time I did a backbend I got stuck and just had to fall over sideways.  The way they just pop around I am convinced that they don’t really have bones, and anything that looks like it might be a bone is actually a spring.  It’s the only reasonable explanation.

Between the blatant disregard for the laws of physics, the amazing power in their muscles, the composure under enormous pressure, and the apparent lack of connective tissue in their bodies, I will defend to the death the idea that female gymnasts are the all around most impressive athletes in the Olympic games.  I have the greatest of respect for them all, regardless of country.

Congratulations to the US team for their gold and to Gabby for her all around performance, but moreover congratulations to everyone who is able to pull off such an astounding feat.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try to do a handstand or something, just to confirm that no, I can’t really do any of that.

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Posted on August 6, 2012, in Life, Misc. Topics (Life), Olympics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. My brief encounter with gymnastics classes as a child left me with three major impressions: 1) I am not even remotely coordinated, 2) I will never be truly flexible, and 3) Olympic class gymnastics are insane aliens from outer space because no human should be capable of that. Not only do they have to perform superhuman feats of flexibility, strength, and balance, they have to make it look graceful and effortless. Kudos to anyone who can pull it off, whether they walked away with a gold medal or not, they’re phenomenal people.

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