Commentary on news, texts, articles and other forms of media.
USA Today October 2, 2008:3C
“Maybe now China will quit cheating”
Andrew Charniga, Jr.
The author’s commentary about the Beijing women’s gymnastic (possible under age Chinese women entries) controversy was an ignorant, racist rant. At best, it was a pathetic, cheap, diatribe of sour grapes.
The USA gymnastic team was beaten by a better gymnastic team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. .
“Let’s not blame the kids for this controversy; they merely were pawns in the hands of their conniving government who happily encouraged them to risk injury humiliation and who knows what else in the future…”
Potential injury at the elite sport level is a risk everyone involved recognizes and accepts.
You only risk “humiliation” competing in women’s gymnastics at the Olympics if you are unqualified or unprepared; neither of these applies to the Chinese.
“Perhaps the term ‘growth plate’ doesn’t translate into Mandarin.” So, what does this author know about growth plates and what science is cited?
The fact that none of these young women were injured (growth plates considered) is lost here. The athletes were biologically mature enough and extremely well prepared to compete at this level and at this competition This was strongly evident by their gold medal performance. This is not “their fault” nor the result of some communist conspiracy.
Ms. Brennan spews that the “under – aged” (whether true or not) youths were pawns of the communist government who allowed them to compete at the Olympics in total disregard of the rules and with a perceived danger to their health.
The basis for the rule against participation at the Olympics by females as young as 14 years is that female bodies are generally perceived to be fragile and can more easily be injured because of their chronological age.
What is missed here is that in order to reach such an extraordinarily high level, the girls’ tendons, ligaments, and bones would have had to adapt, or they simply could not have executed a sufficient volume of training to reach such a high level.
In other words, the training required to make it to the Olympics is the objective measure. A gymnast can not make it to that level without a huge training volume; a gymnast can not execute the volume of necessary training if the body, bones, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues are not biologically mature enough to handle it.
This age rule may simply be outdated in the first place. Consequently, it may be imposing artificial restrictions and limitations on the physiological potential of female athletes. In his paper “Catching up the Men,” Kenneth Dyer states that, “ Science therefore follows and does not predict human achievement.”
The Olympics is not now nor has ever been a stage owned by the United States. When our athletes win, they are always presumed to be clean, wholesome All American kids. The American media propaganda, when we lose, is pathetic. The words of Tara Magadalinski are appropriate to this line of thinking. Ms. Brennan’s propaganda involves what Magadalinski calls an “othering” mentality. “Othering” creates an “us” and “them” binary in which the “us” is configured as clean and proper and them as grotesque and improper.
Had these situations been reversed, the USA media version would have involved all sorts of scientific proof for including girls as young as 14 in the Olympic games. There would no doubt have been numerous references to the literally thousands of 14 and under young girls in the USA who compete in gymnastic competitions on various levels all the time, all over the country, without any fuss over growth plates.
The fact of the matter is the USA lost the team title. Someone else’s athletes worked harder; they were better prepared.
The simplest way for USA gymnastics to retain any credibility for their argument, that they were cheated out of the gold medal, would have been to produce a group of American 14 year old potential gold medalists who were left home because the USA wanted to follow the rules. They are the ones who would have been cheated because they would have been left home and missed out on winning a medal.
“So the Chinese are celebrating today with their team gold and their other gymnastic medals safe and secure and worth about as much in the world’s eyes as all those East German swimming medals from the 1970s and 1980s; the ones earned through what was later learned to be state sponsored steroid use by its young female athletes.”
To equate a possible below minimum age athlete and what possibly constitutes an arbitrary rule, which may be rescinded in the future, to the use of performance enhancing drugs are the ravings a buffoon. By the way, so who certified all of the competitors (especially American) of the East German swimmers of that era, clean, steroid free, some 30 years after the fact?
This pathetically misinformed, misguided author, must be all knowing, all seeing, because she knows only the “others” cheated.
This author is clearly out of touch with reality. In male dominant societies it is the role of the men to place artificial restrictions on the female body, not women.
At the very least Ms. Brennan should make some sort of apology to Chinese people.