:: Olympics and Gymnastics - The Pain Behind The Scenes ::
I am not sure if you felt the same way as I did when I watched the male gymnasts
Compete on the horizontal bars during the London 2012 Olympics. With a grimace.
As each gymnast aimed to outdo one another with their risky repertoires,
I watched with trepidation, fearing that a lapse of concentration, for just a split of a
Second, would send a gymnast flying head on - to the ground. As the gymnasts swung
Themselves up into the air, did a double twist, and then reached for the horizontal bar again,
They could have missed the bar, or worse, they could have crashed onto the bar.
The sport, while being visually stunning (in more ways than one), is definitely becoming a
More dangerous and risky one. Interestingly, Bloomberg Businessweek carried an article
On the cost of elite training a few days ago. Dominique Moceanu, who was part of the team
That won gold in Atlanta in 1996, and recently published her memoir "Off Balance",
Shared on the cost of competing at the elite level. Some of her excerpts:
"I don't think ethical people deal with intimidation as a method of achieve success.
We're light years away from defining what abuse is in our sport, light-years away from
Facing the realities of being at these elite training camps."
"I think hiding injuries is still a problem. There's this win-at-all-costs mentality.
I came into the Atlanta Games with a leg injury that had hurt my performance at the
U.S. Nationals. I said it hurt; I was told to ignore it. As a 14 year old who was 70 pounds and
4 foot 4, I was made to feel fat all the time. I was weighed in front of my teammates and felt
Humiliated. That shouldn't be how we achieve success."
I guess while this is not always the case for all competitors, I believe there must be much
Blood, sweat, tears, and pain. For those that went through the pain and got themselves a
Medal, good for them. But for those that dedicated a decade or more of their lives to the sport,
But never able to win a medal, I am sure the pain would be not only a physical one,
But a mental one. And maybe a life-long one.