Confusing Stuff in Sports: Why Not Heavyweight Gymnastics?

Heavyweight Gymnasts

Heavyweight Divisions in Gymnastics

The Olympic sport of gymnastics has always confused me.

The sport’s language and scoring are tough to follow. Plus, I believe the Olympic Games discriminate against bigger boned body types.

That’s why heavyweight gymnastics somersaults into a special spot in my new sports comic book Confusing Stuff in Sports.

MIKE Top 10 Book 6 ConfusingHere’s an excerpt from Confusing Stuff in Sports…..

…..Let’s start with the scoring. I don’t get it!

Scoring in gymnastics is always calculated by stern looking Eastern European judges with totally unpronounceable names. These judges never smile. They always wear uniforms more suitable for a funeral parlor than an exciting gymnastics meet. And, most importantly, there’s no logic in how and why they keep score the way they do.

Does it bother you, too, the way these judges can confidently distinguish between a 9.7 score versus a 9.8? Who on earth can precisely rank – to a fraction of a point – a little Romanian girl effortlessly flittering across the mat during a fast paced floor routine?

In addition, this Olympic sport’s terminology sounds like a foreign language to me. It’s supposed to be a sport, so its lingo should be easy to understand. But, it’s not!

No red bloodied NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL fan knows the difference between a gainer and a geiner, a pike and a pirouette and a tumble and a tuck. And, if they do, they’re lying.

Like every other American sports fan, I only tune into gymnastics once every four years during the Summer Olympic Games. Otherwise, the sport would totally exasperate me if I watched it more regularly.

I struggle badly to understand the differences between a Tsukahara vault, an Arabesque stand and a Yurchenko loop. Seriously, that’s what those gymnastics moves are called.

Plus, am I the only fan to wonder why the motionless rings hanging from the ceiling are called still rings? The pommel horse and the parallel bars don’t move either. So, why aren’t they also called still?

If that’s not irritating enough, it seems as if extra happy former gymnasts, the size of munchkins, always serve as Olympic announcers. A little too haughtily, they remind viewers that gymnasts wear leotards not tights, they salto rather than somersault, and they perform on an apparatus and not a piece of equipment.

Well, excuuuuuuuuuuse me!

But, all this gymnastics mumbo jumbo isn’t confusing enough. I’m further perplexed as to why the sport discriminates against bigger boned bodies. Yes, I’m lamenting why larger ladies and girthier guys who would like to wear leotards, too, are getting shafted.

If boxing and wrestling have a myriad of divisions ranging from pint size featherweights to hulking heavyweights, why can’t the same be true of gymnastics?

Gymnastics discriminates against big people. Have you ever seen a gymnast taller than 5 feet or heavier than 100 lbs? Of course not!

The only gymnasts you ever see competing in the Olympics are tinier than Bob Costas, and that’s pretty tiny by anybody’s standards.

Olympics announcer Bob Costas

NBC Sports’ Bob Costas

I say we petition the International Olympic Committee to widen the balance beam, reinforce the parallel bars and prepare the pommel horse for some pretty powerful pounding.

Let’s start making XXXL tutus, or in gymnastics lingo, extremely large leotards instead.

Let’s propose a new heavyweight division in gymnastics. Then, we’ll witness television ratings skyrocketing to Olympic sized proportions.

Imagine eager audiences drooling over the prospects of witnessing a 300 lb. hairy-backed Russian named Boris barrel down the mat to mount the uneven bars.

The giant gymnast would not only test the strength of the balance beam, but he’d also somersault, I mean salto, to seismic shakes in the floor exercises.

The entire arena would tremble from his dramatic dismounts.

Like WWE spectators, a new breed of frenetically frothing gymnastics fans would be born overnight.

High browed gymnastics judges would probably chafe at the audacity of including beefier competitors in such a dainty sport.

However, this once confusing sport would become instantly popular.

A heavyweight division in gymnastics would be awesome.

It would be the Summer Olympic Games’ next perfect 10!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Footer Olympics


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