(Warning: This post has little to do with Kinshasa, the DRC, or my internship.)
I don't know how many of you have been closely following the olympics. Moi, j'adore les jeux Olympiques. As you may have read in my previous post, all the good stuff, aka swimming, gymnastics and diving, has unfortunately been airing here from 1-5 am. You might be thinking, only a crazy person would stay up to watch the olympics when it is airing at that ridiculous hour. Well, I suppose then I am a crazy person.
Crazy or not, I have many thoughts about the China vs. USA showdown in the gymnastics stadium. As you may have heard, the Chinese are clearly dominant. The Chinese men decimated the competition in the team finals, while the American men were thrilled to have won bronze. Simultaneously, the Chinese "women" comfortably won against a mistake and injury-marred American team who were clearly devastated with taking silver. (Comment: It was NOT, I repeat, NOT Alicia Sacromone's (GO BROWN!!!!!!!) fault that they lost gold. Sure, she screwed up royally on the beam and floor. But they wouldn't have come out on top anyway, they would have just lost by less of a margin. If you don't believe me, do the math. GO BROWN!!!!!!) In the men's individual all-around, Chinese star Yang Wei expectedly dominated earning the 3rd gymnastics gold men for China so far (yes, so far). Americans Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are expected to go 1-2 in the women's all-around competition, but we will see what actually happens, because China certainly has the momentum.
Many people have been discussing this gymnastics showdown as if whichever country comes out on top will be the next great superpower (aka China, since they've been dominating). However, I think that this competition shows only how desperate China is to show the world how awesome they are amidst a highly censored press, controversial human rights abuses, investing in oil in Darfur, Tibet, etc., etc., etc. To prove they are a legit world power, the government has invested a shitload in gyms, coaches and finding the best possible "kiddie" gymnasts. They desperately want to be taken seriously, but so far all they have been proving that they are serious about winning olympic medals and can put on a damn good opening ceremony. Kids are taken from schools/daycares and away from their families to train 8 hours a day for 15 years (much like the former gymnastics superpower, Romania). Moreover, Bela Karolyi has stated, and most people would agree, that at least half the Chinese women's team is underage, and that the government is aware of this and probably changed their passports without blinking. Is that impressive or pathetic? I think pathetic.
So the American women may have won silver, but at least we know that they are all of age, and are getting an education (though they might still be training 8 hours a day). Alicia Sacramone even goes to that FANTABULOUS school called Brown. Moreover, the best all-around female American gymnasts in the world are American.
That is all I have to say about gymnastics and China. GO MICHAEL PHELPS!
Note: Sorry if anyone is offended by comments. I'm not trying to hate on China, but rather, the Chinese gov't.
p.s. Did anyone watch the Georgia vs. Russia match in women's beach volleyball? That must have been super awkward.