Gymnastics is one of the most popular, and consistently controversial, sports in the summer Olympics. But, despite Buzz Bissinger's scathing New York Times column from last week decrying the many corrupt elements of gymnastics — the eating disorders, the injuries, the possibility that the Chinese are allowing underage girls to compete — if you watch Shawn Johnson's near-flawless balance beam performance in yesterday's qualifying round, all that criticism falls away. Johnson finished first in the qualifiers, and even though two members of the U.S. team were hobbled by ankle injuries (Samantha Peszek and Chellsie Memmel), the team managed to qualify in second place behind the Chinese.
What was less lovely, however, was the series of tips we received about some of the commentary during the gymnastics competition. Both Anna and I were watching the event, but we missed out on this piece of lameness. Reader Lauren writes, "I heard commentators compare the heartbreak of being unable to compete due to a last minute injury to 'a tear in your wedding dress right before you walk down the aisle.' Can you imagine that kind of comparison if it were a male athlete? Why is it that even when women are achieving amazing physical feats, some of which men couldn't possibly accomplish, they still have to be reduced to feeling only the pain of a bridezilla?"