"Survivor" gymnastics

By Gary Kamiya



Salon Staff
September 26, 2000 11:04PM (UTC)

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Gary Kamiya fails to mention one crucial fact in his article: The vault was set five centimeters too low during the beginning vault rotations. The mistake was found and corrected after Russian Svetlana Khorkina and Americans Elise Ray and Kristin Maloney had already vaulted disastrously. The gymnasts moved on to their next rotation before they found out that the equipment had been at fault. However, it was too late -- Khorkina and Ray had already completed their next routine, and it was obvious they had been shaken by their failure at the vault. Khorkina fell off the uneven bars, and Ray fell off the balance beam. Those affected were then offered another chance at vault, but many of them had already lost their chance at Olympic success.

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We'll never know if Khorkina would have won the gold had the equipment been properly set.

-- Laura McMasters

It was unbelievable that for such an important event something as critical as the bar height for the women's all around vault competition should be allowed to be set wrong. The competition should have been stopped, the competitors given a few days to rest and then the competition should have been rescheduled. Because this competition is such a big seller and people had paid a high price for tickets is no excuse to leave these unjust results on the books. If the athletes had to compete in a bare auditorium in front of only TV cameras, they should have all been given a fair chance to compete.

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Sydney's opening ceremonies were wonderful; this one competition was a disgrace. For some of the competitors this will be their only Olympic opportunity. They deserved better.

-- Ana Villa

Hats off to Gary Kamiya for getting right to the heart of the matter in his coverage of the women's gymnastics. It's a sport that requires strength, flexibility, guts and a will of iron, and everyone out there on the floor during the individual finals -- medallists, also-rans and not-even-in-contentions -- WAS a champion in my book.

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-- Gayle Stamler


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