Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"FEASIBLE BUT DIFFICULT" or "LET THEM EAT CAKE!!"


You know what, I am all about there being more teams allowed into the Olympics.  Why not sixteen, FIG?  It is (somewhat unfortunately) the pinnacle competition of the sport, why not let more teams be involved?  These days, with the incredible predictability of outcomes, the team competition is one of the most interesting parts.  Sure, the top two spots were pretty much sewn up at Beijing- in fact they nearly always have been- but more teams means more participation and more surprises over who qualifies to the finals- which to me means more pleasure in watching the sport.

I say everyone should come to the party!

And here's another reason;

 The Online paper Globe Sports reported this week that the Canadian Women's Olympic aspirations have been thwarted by funding issues.  The "Own the Podium" sports funding program that had supported women's gymnastics to the sound of 500, 000 dollars dropped its funding after the results at Beijing were somewhat less than expected.  While the program continues to support men's gymnastics and trampolining, the women's program must find funding elsewhere. That is no easy ask for ANY gymnastics program.



Funnily, the women's program is the most popular of the gymsports in Canada and comprises, according to the article, 70% of the participation rates.  But the Own the Podium Program want more reason than that.  They want proof that the podium is a possibility, but this is difficult, as the article explains.

The women’s artistic gymnastics team is in a Catch-22, because of the nature of the sport. Own the Podium targets medal possibilities for the future, to be backed up with data from past successes. But the lifespan of a female gymnast is so short, histories can be non-existent. It’s easier for a male gymnast such as Kyle Shewfelt or a trampoline competitor such as Karen Cockburn, who stay in the sport longer
“It’s always a challenge with women’s gymnastics to predict the future, because we turn them around so fast in four years that the national team or the Olympic team changed completely,” Caron said. Women aren’t allowed to compete at world championships or Olympics until they are 16, but by the time they turn 20, physical changes or injuries catch up to them and they leave the sport. 



The Canadian women's team needs to produce top results, both at Kamloops this week, and also at World this year to be among the top 24 this year, and then in the top twelve next year in Tokyo to earn a team place to the Olympics (According to The Gym Examiner- the writer of the article told her that being in the top eight would make the program reconsider its funding pull).  With the steady competition between a number of top ten teams like Great Britain, Australia, Italy, France and Japan, this will be no mean feat.

Think, if teams like Canada, or even the smaller gymnastics nations, like Malaysia, Singapore, Portugal, South Africa got a chance to take a team to the Olympics, how much training and facility funding might improve in each nation to accommodate their chances of success?  I say, let them all eat cake!

4 comments:

  1. I agree completely. Their funding is being stripped and its not their fault that others are better. I hope they find somebody who will not judge the results so harshly and actually give them a chance to shine. Women are under so much more pressure than men and to support one team and not the other is unfair to say the least.

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  2. In all other sports the adminstration is blamed when teams fail to qualify. Only at Gymnastics Canada are the athletes blamed! This is outrageous! Blame those responsible for the loss of funding...blame the adults...not the children!!

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  3. Sometimes it sucks to be Canadian. I really think this new batch of seniors is exciting and the juniors even more so. Vaculik(x2), Pegg, Gill....not to mention some of those cute litte novice girls. The future looks really bright for canadian wag - if only those with the grip on the purse strings could catch a clue.

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