Gymnastics is Hard (to Watch)

Let’s cut to the chase, gymnastics is bothering me more than in previous Olympics. I’ll admit, I really respect the work ethic and skill that these athletes display. Yet, Gymnastics just feels hard. Would you believe a gymnast if they said it is fun? I don’t. And that’s just the beginning of my troubles.

Until the Beijing games, gymnasts had to earn their score. When scandal ripped through the sport after Athens (were we shocked?), the days of the Perfect 10 were declared over. Now we are left with a system in which an athlete begins with a perfect score for an element based on difficulty. And then we watch the judges subtract points like its Facebook stock.

Subtraction is harder than addition.

When watching gymnastics, we are watching teenagers not wanting to fail. You can just sense the tension in the arena. I can see the look in their faces, just don’t screw this up. This is not a good tension. It’s not the same tension that is there before a game winning field goal or penalty kick or final event in the Heptathlon. It’s stress.

Stress is hard on the mind and negatively affects performance.

Also, the artistic performance used to be a factor in the old system. Granted this sometimes went over the top, but it made events like the floor exercise a bit more exciting. In the current scoring system all a gymnast needs to do is complete the events like a robot. There are no more hand movements and dance elements.

Where the is no art, life is harder.

Maybe I’m just tired of hearing the word deduction for two straight weeks.

Gymnastics is just hard to watch.

Bonus reasons why Gymnastics is hard to watch:

  • Seriously only two competitors from a country can compete in the all-around, even if three had the top three qualifying scores? Bogus.
  • A tie goes to the person who had fewer deductions, meaning it goes to the person who played it safer. Take a cue from swimming, let them share the medal!
  • Also, doesn’t it feel like gymnastics events are in the wrong order? I think they should start with the individual apparatuses. It would introduce us to the competitors and allow a healthy tension to build before the big events (the all-around and team). It’s kind of like how Nascar starts with Daytona and can’t get the general public to follow the rest of the season.

Bonus Video…

Two top notch routines, one from the era of Perfect 10s, one from the new scoring era. Do you see what I’m seeing?


NOTE: Gabby Douglas is performing the same routine she uses in the Olympics

Please let comment below if your disdain for gymnastics is equal to or greater than mine! And if you disagree, even better.

5 Responses to Gymnastics is Hard (to Watch)

  1. Troy

    I had no idea that the scoring changed after athens!
    I did think it was bogus that our 3rd American could not get in because we already had 2 Americans in the finals. Every other sport would allow that.

    But i dont know if the stress would be any lower if the old scoring system was back. They are still being watched by millions.

    But i will watch gymnastics over horseback riding or synchronized swimming.

    • @Troy, Glad to help you learn more unimportant factoids! But, I don’t think being watched by millions adds stress, it adds pressure. The great athletes know how to deal with pressure, but stress is something else entirely.

  2. i love that you used the word BOGUS i forgot about that word. and 110% agree with you – its painful to watch these girls…first they have to wear those awful outfits and the whole all around thing this year was indeed BOGUS! we weren’t even able to send OUR best because of a 10th of a point…please!

    • @kortknee, that’s the spirit.

  3. susan hundt

    I have a problem with all sports that have judges from gymnastics to diving. I prefer crossing the line 1st, jumping higher or farther, scoring more points

Submit a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *