I love the Olympics, always have. The first summer Olympics I remember was in 1992, I was 5. My brother Stephen was almost two and who also shared my love for the 'Lympics (Yee-mpics) as young Stephen called it. (We still call it the 'Ylmpics among my family, gotta love those familyisms.)
A cherished memory of mine is watching the women gymnastics in '92 with my then small family with overwhelming childhood enthusiasm. Before the final landing was "stuck"my brother Stephen and I began competing in our home-style 'Lympics. Walking along the edge of the coffee table for the balance beam, cartwheeling in the open area in the family room for the floor competition and somersaulting into the Lazyboy for the vault. All ending with a dismount with arms raised to the sky, with smiles on our faces.
Fast forward 16 years later and my love and enjoyment for watching the gymnastics competitions in the Olympics is still strong. Unfortunately that enjoyment is often also thwarted by spikes of extreme frustration with the judging system.
I feel just awful for our United States female gymnasts. My family and I have audibly expressed my frustration as Alicia Sacramone, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liuken have all experienced heartbreak due to undeniable judging errors.
The only girl from China who actually looks over 16, Cheng Fei, practically kneeled on her vault landing and gets the bronze. Where Alicia Sacramone stuck both of her landings and gets fourth place.
Shawn Johnson is slighted in the floor individual competition when, although small, visible errors are evident in Romania's Sandra Izbasa who took home the gold. Leaving Shawn Johnson, who lives just a couple hours away in Iowa left with a silver.
Finally the most recent demonstration of the U.S. getting slighted was tonight in the Uneven bars competition.
First let me go over the current way of judging. Recently the judging of gymnastics has been changed and the "Perfect 10" of old no longer exists. Before the routine begins the judges determine the degree of difficulty of their score. After the gymnast competes they are judged on their execution. The highest and lower scores are removed leaving the final score. Also there can not be a judge and a competitor from the same country. Leaving the judges to be from fairly weak gymnastic countries, such as South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, et. al. to determine the scores.
Nastia Liuken did a fantastic job with only one minuscule error (her legs separated slightly). Whereas HE Kexin of China (who I swear must be 12) had in my and the opinons of the commentators more visible errors. Nevertheless Nastia Liuken and HE Kexin received TIE scores.
Heads began to turn trying to remember what is done in a tie with the new system. In addition to the standard of removing the highest and lowest scores (seen in red), the next lowest score is removed (seen in green). Leaving only the scores of 3 judges to determine the winner.
Not only did Kexin HE receive a higher score than she should have, because of this poor tie breaker system Nastia left with a silver when she fully deserved a gold.
Despite these frustrations, I still enjoy watching the gymnastics and hope the poor judging will cease with the beam competitions tomorrow.
What are some of your favorite Olympic memories from this Olympics or others? Frustrations? What remaining event are you looking forward to the most?