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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympics: Keep it, Toss it, Bring it on

I don't have time to build a comprehensive list, like a responsible blogger would, of the best and worst aspects of the Olympic gymnastics competition. So it's all pretty random. And I'll add more as I'm able.

Keep it: Shannon Miller did an excellent job as a commentator. She didn't generalize, she didn't make big mistakes (Oksana Chusovitina is originally from Uzbekistan, Al Trautwig), she remained impartial and offered up praise for gymnasts of all nationalities. Most importantly, she knows her stuff. Unfortunately, if you weren't lucky enough to watch the live feed and instead had to rely on NBC, you were stuck with the Trio of Doom....

Toss it: Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel, and Al Trautwig continued their reign of terror by ensuring that every gymnast was insulted or stereotyped, and confusing the hell out of anyone without a working knowledge of the sport. Tim and Elfi could be heard spouting off gems like, "Gymnastics 101: Stick the landing!" while a thoughtful Al mused after one performance, "Balance beam, balance beam."

Keep it: Meanwhile in the Twittersphere (gawwwd, I hate Twitter), Samuel L. Jackson offered up hilarious one-liners and called out the the commentators for their inane remarks and glass-half-empty attitudes. He's the only reason I have Twitter.

"Dance element trouble?! She was dancing in there somewhere????!!"
 "That was the "wait up Gurl y'all walkin' too fass " stagger on the beam! W/ a WTF DISMOUNT!"
 "Uh Oh, Pommel Horse next! Thass like Balance Beam for dudes! Horse def has US men's numba! Oh well, Go USA!"
"Luvvin' Tim's Positive Analysis of Gabby's chances!....NOT!"
I hope Tim's HAPPY!!! He's the Largest DEDUCTION in my Joy! HEMORRHOID!"
Toss it: Samuel makes a great point when even he questions the presence of any dance at all. Hitting a pose is not dancing. Running clear across the floor for a switch leap, also not dancing. I actually think the American team does a pretty good job of fitting some actual dance into their floor routines. But I cringe when watching Catalina Ponor, a fantastic tumbler who has the most embarrassingly poor choreography. Her teammate Sandra Isbaza hardly seemed to notice there was any music playing. (I guess she was hoping for a Silvia Mitova moment--what with the very similar, understated bluesy music--but the movement and music seemed completely incongruous.

Toss it: The jumps out of the tumbling passes are killing me. Even worse are the standing back tucks out of tumbling passes. Limit routines to one rebounding jump out of a tumbling pass. Deduct for lack of continuity when a back tuck or other skill that seems out of place is performed.

Toss it: Why are we still wearing paper numbers? Completely unnecessary. I know this is nitpicking. But it's stupid, right?

Bring it on: PLEASE. We MUST develop a way to reward artistry. My vote would be to give artistry/choreography bonus: 0.0 bonus for unsatisfactory artistry (Catalina Ponor, Beth Tweddle) 0.1 for acceptable artistic presentation (Gabby Douglas), 0.2 for excellent artistic presentation (Aliya Mustafina, etc.), and 0.3 for outstanding presentation and choreography (Victoria Moors, etc.).

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