Sports World Records
posted by August 18 at 11:13 AMon
OK, this is my last (or second-to-last) post about gymnastics, I swear.
But after the event finals in vault (go North Korea! what?) and floor last night, I went on a YouTube bender, calling up famous routines from the ’70s and ’80s to demonstrate to my friends how much the sport has mutated in the last thirty years. If there were world records in gymnastics, the current crop of athletes would be smashing them on every event, even without corset swimsuits and deeper pools or whatever they’re blaming the speedy swim times on. It’s insane how much more difficult it is to be an Olympic gymnast in 2008 than it was in 1976.
The most hilarious changes are on the uneven parallel bars. Check out Olga Korbut in 1972. Standing on the bar? GOOFY.
Here’s He Kixin earlier this year (click here for English commentary; I can’t embed it):
Or try Nadia Comaneci in 1976 (14-year-old gymnasts at the Olympics were A-OK then):
And Nastia Liukin now:
It’s almost a different sport.
Finally, because you know you want to see someone dislocate their hip on purpose in an Olympic sport (check out the girl at 2:14), here’s a disgusting rhythmic gymnastics montage:
The American team failed to qualify in rhythmic gymnastics, so don’t expect much from NBC. But other channels should show a few routines later this week.
UPDATE: OK, it is simply a bizarre coincidence that Savage was scoping the rhythmic gymnasts on YouTube while I was composing this post. My opinion is that rhythmic gymnastics is circus performance with an extra helping of eating disorder, that athletes should not attempt to attain this level of flexibility without developing the muscles to support their joints, and that the group routines are fucking amazing. How do they get all the equipment to fall in different places at the right time? Crazy.