Saturday, November 7, 2009

"IF I WAS DOING THIS FOR FAME OR MONEY......"




Just another reason to appreciate Britain's new world floor champion, Beth Tweddle.  Not only has she come back at least as many times as original comeback kid Chellsie Memmel, proved age is no obstacle AND won a world championship on the apparatus she wasn't expected to win it on, but she has also proved she is not afraid to tell it like it is.

According to many news sources, when Beth took her WC gold, there was an expected media frenzy at the championships.  But things were a little quiet outside the o2.

Britain had many reasons to celebrate that weekend.  Not only had Britain whooped some serious gymnastics butt, but British driver Jenson Button won the Formula 1 world title.  Button of course, got plenty of accolades, much media attention (hell, even I heard about it) and the golden prize, a statement issued by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, offering his congratulations to Jenson Button.

Beth  received no such congratulations.  And she wasn't afraid to say so to the media at large, drawing attention to the fact that gymnastics, as a less popular sport, and, dare I guess, one of the few sports dominated by the women's side, just didn't seem to get the attention it deserves in Britain.

Beth conceded to the press that Button's sport was much higher profile, and that compared to when she won her last world championship title, where there was a brief mention in the results page of the paper, with no picture, things had changed a lot.

But as for the congratulations from the Prime Minister?  "Maybe the letter is on its way.  Maybe it got lost in the post?" She joked to reporters.

Beth did concede that F1 was a far more popular sport, and that gymnastics though gymnastics is getting more high profile, it is still nowehere near the elevl of F1.  She also pointed out that Jenson Button would have earned far more than Beth will ever earn for her gymnastics, and that it is hard to take.

She did tell journalist Donald McRae; "If I was doing this for fame or money, I would have retired a long time ago."  It is about her love for the sport.  But I am sure the lack of attention to gymnastics irks her from time to time, just as it does we the fans.

She was quick to assure reporters; "I don't really mind.  I'm very happy."

Wether Beth ever actually got that congratulations from the Prime Minister is not as important to me as the fact that Beth wasn't afraid to point out the discrepancy in the treatment of a Worlds champion in a popular male dominated sport and the world champion in a less high-profile women-dominated sport.  Good on her.

I understand that often gymnasts are too young, too closeted in the world of gymnastics to actually understand or speak out about the politics of our sport, but Beth is an adult, and a fiesty intelligent one at that.  I am so glad she is willing to apply that plucky spirit she uses in her gymnastics to the advancement of her sport as well.

3 comments:

  1. I think it's weird... I think of Gymnastics as more high profile than diving, especially in the US but at least the papers around my area or even the local/world news made ANY mention of the Worlds.

    Was there any mention of Keatings Silver?

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  2. I guess you meant 'driving'. I think formula 1 racing is big in Britain because they have won, like, ten world titles and it's a bit of a thing there. These articles I read were particular interviews with Beth, and she mentioned Keating's medal but i bet he didn't get a letter either! They were both on the news the night of their medals though.

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  3. oh yah... I can't read... I didn't see the "R" in driver ;)

    F1 racing isn't all that big here in the States but it does get slightly more press than gymnastics.

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