The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Off-topic’ Category

I am leaving for a long trip in four days, and upon my return will be trying to finish my dissertation proposal while preparing to apply to medical school.

I was planning to continue The C Score anyway, and have a number of posts prepared for while I am gone, but I’ve been really disappointed in the way things have been going recently. I have worked extremely hard to provide timely coverage and accurate information, and I haven’t gotten the sense that people feel it is particularly useful. As a former journalist, I’ve been trying to myself to a high standard on this blog and to include analysis in most posts. I’ve tried to cite my sources and attribute things as much as possible, and to make sure I have my facts right. I just haven’t gotten the sense that the gymnastics Internet community necessarily values this particularly highly. (To be clear, what I’ve just said is not a comment on any other blogger. I’m just saying that I think that the type of news, or gossip, gymnastics fans are looking for may be more suited to message boards than blogs.) Which is fine, but is not the business I am in.

Anyway, I really enjoyed writing this blog and I really loved the comments I got from readers. I had a great time.

As you likely all know, Triple Full has the best news coverage of non-American gymnastics. Coach Rick is by far the best aggregator. There are other blogs (see the sidebar), but few are updated regularly. Other sources of news are the forums, including WWGym.

I’m going to at least take a bit of a break. Back on January 16th. See you all around.

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This will be brief brief brief because I have to study biochemistry (which is clearly going very well).

On December 1st, the Times published an article citing evidence that gymnasts suffer “a broad constellation of injuries” to joints causing inflamed cartilage and stress fractures, things that could lead even to necrosis.

Anyway, some doctors wrote in from the National Osteoporosis Society to report on their own study, which shows that girls 8-17 engaged in “high intensity gymnastic training” had bone densities 13-28 percent higher than matched controls. They also didn’t find evidence of stunted growth or that gymnasts were not receiving adequate nutrition.

Overtraining is a real risk in gymnastics because of the early start age. You don’t see many football players being home-schooled. But honestly, I haven’t read the American study, and media reports about studies tend to be misleading at best. In either case, I think it’s telling that they then go on to say that “Previous studies have suggested that the rate of injury in gymnastics is almost as severe as that in contact sports.” Almost as severe? Sounds to me like gymnastics is still better!

On the other hand, one should also be skeptical of the other study (and of any study that one hasn’t read — someone recently found that some massive percentage of medical studies were misreported in the media). Naturally, the “stunted growth” question is a sticking point in the gymnastics community — it’s the classic chicken-or-egg question: which came first, gymnastics, or short height? But there is conclusive evidence that high-level sports delay puberty, and I think that suggesting that elite-level gymnastics has no effect on development is laughable.

And finally a place to sneak in this tidbit: while Chellsie Memmel has been on her fruit-and-chicken diet, what has Beth Tweddle been eating? According to this article, lunch might be lasagna, spaghetti bolognese or sweet-and-sour chicken. Dinner could be soup-and-sandwich or a “chicken and bacon salad.” It’s never been clear to me that the level of intensity and craziness of American gymnastics has reached across the pond, and on that note, who were the subjects of the NOS study? It’s not clear that British gymnasts have been subjected to the same harsh diets we see in some American gyms, and certainly former Soviet gyms, so it’s not clear to me how translatable the findings might be. Certainly it’s interesting that the positive findings come out of Britain while the negative ones come out of the the United States.

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) to Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), who is considering “dating” a rich agoraphobe named Gavin Volure (played hilariously by the good ole’ Steve Martin):

“You’re gonna work this thing like a Chinese gymnast: wear something tight, force a smile, and lie about your age ….”

If you don’t watch this show, incidentally, you probably should.

In my other life, I do political science. In that capacity I’ll be appearing on the morning show for France Culture, a public French radio station, to commentate the American election. I’ll be on from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. EST (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. French time) on this Tuesday and Wednesday.

So if you speak French and are interested, click here and click “France Culture” under “Diffusion en MP3 avec données associées” or here for an MP3 live stream.

This year I convinced my roommate (and one of my best friends) and her boyfriend to go as a group of gymnastics-related people for Halloween. Kelly’s boyfriend looks uncannily like Bela Karolyi minus grayness and mustache and refused to go as anyone but that. We wanted to be U.S. gymnasts so I chose Shawn Johnson. The other two are gymnastics neophytes, so they kept getting confused about who they were. Sometimes Kelly would go on and on to people about how she was Alicia Sacramone (because she knew about her falls at the Olympics), but other times they would pose as Karolyi carrying Kerri Strug. Aaaanyway …

Bela and gymnasts

Bela and gymnasts

I don’t plan to make this kind of announcement a habit, but today I’m celebrating 1,000 visitors since this blog’s debut on September 3, 2008. Thanks for reading!

I have some more good stuff in the pipeline, and I’m looking forward to keeping track of retirements/skill changes/gym hops/media appearances, etc., plus thinking through the new Code of Points a little more. (Plus, in October, a live report from the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars!)

Let me know what you think. I’m having a great time!

Stay tuned!


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

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