Thursday, August 14: The Age of Chinese Gymnasts is Fascinating

It seems like all anyone’s talking about these days are young looking Chinese gymnasts, attractive Americans falling on the balance beam, Michael Phelps, and the idiotically-named Redeem Team, so I thought I’d see what players thought about some of the Olympic drama.

“I’m a track and field guy,” says Fred Smoot, “And you know I’m gonna watch the basketball.” How about the gymnastics? “Eh, my girl might watch, you know, but me … I can’t say I’m gonna sit there and watch people flip off of trampolines or whatever they do.”

Matt Sinclair is optimistic. “I’ll give [the Chinese women’s team] the benefit of the doubt, because it’s the Olympics and I want to believe it. I love the Olympics.”

And London Fletcher is more cynical. “My wife and I were looking at the Chinese women, like … yeah?!? And then you see the American girls, and there’s a tremendous difference.”

For a large group of players chatting after practice, though, the video of American gymnast Alicia Sacramone punching a guy in the face makes up for any other Olympic disappointments. It’s a difficult point of view to argue with, really.

(Published at 7:55.)

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Redskins Watching Olympics

Among the Redskins, there are two major reactions to the Olympics. The first is exemplified by Todd Collins: “I’m watching when I have time. Maybe now that we’re done with two-a-days I’ll watch more.”

Others are not only engrossed, they can relate. “I’m glued to the TV watching some of the gymnastics,” says Santana Moss. “I was a flipper growing up. And I love watching track and field. That’s what I’m gonna pay attention to.”

When Moss watches track and field, he knows what to look for. “In ’98, I made to the Olympic trials in long jump. I jumped 26 something. I made it to nationals, and didn’t jump well in nationals, but my jump in the Big East championships qualified for the Olympic trials that year. I was pretty good in long jump and triple jump in college.”

“I never liked to run that much – I was better at jumping – but I ran the indoor 60 and won that a couple of years. Outdoor, my events were mostly the 4-by-1, the first leg, and long jump and triple jump.”

Chris Cooley has a similar reaction to a different event.

“I think I probably could’ve been an Olympic wrestler,” says Cooley, who was an undefeated state champion and All-American in wrestling in high school. I suggest that he probably made the more lucrative career decision, and he laughs. “Ha, yeah. Rulon Gardner probably isn’t doing so great now.”

(In fact, Rulon Gardner owns a very well-reviewed food shop in Afton, WY, which is just like being a multimedia star and Pro Bowl tight end.)

Matt Sinclair also relates to the athleticism of one of the summer events, just on a slightly different level. ” I swam and was a diver growing up. Springboard diving. We’d do flips and stuff in grade school. I could do about one and a half … the degree of difficulty wasn’t too high.”