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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sanne Wevers Revolutionizes Gymnastics:

By winning gold on the balance beam using old school mounts, dismounts, and spins, Sanne Wevers personally saved the sport of gymnastics from becoming 'men's strength contests light,' returning it to its roots of feminine grace and appeal.

Sanne Wevers won balance beam despite Laurie Hernandez doing more flips and a crazy dismount, which opens the sport back to all the people who maybe can't do all those flips because their bodies are not built like Mark IV Panther Tanks, but do have their own brand of gymnastics beauty they still want to express on the world stage.

I haven't seen a beam routine like Sanne Wevers' in my entire life.  In the 70's and 80's, they never did so many spins so well, and by the 90's and 00's no one was doing them at all.  The modern synthesis of ancient moves done at a dizzying level of difficulty (one was even invented by her and is thus called the 'Wevers') can hopefully take gymnastics into a whole new direction on other apparatuses as well.  The floor mat, for instance, could more authentically dance to the music, or the vault could focus on doing simple things well instead of falling on your face trying the impossible.  Shannon Miller's 1992 vault still stands out after all these years.

Wevers had an even more difficult routine planned, which if she had somehow landed would have been even more beautiful, but it was scrapped after her main competition, Simone Biles, put her hands on the beam and thus required little to beat anymore.  I'm glad it was scrapped, because this way it was performed perfectly from start to finish, but boy do I wish that someday she'll perfectly execute the more difficult routine as well, just so the world can see what old school gymnastics is truly capable of.

I thought Kocian's uneven bars routine was better than Mustafina's, but it's probably better for the sport if the USA doesn't win gold in every gymnastics competition, thus driving all the other countries to just give up in disgust.  If a competitor from a different country is even arguably better than the American, I suspect she'll win, because there has to be some incentive to keep competing against the USA looking towards the future.

Overall the P&G championship had more good gymnasts and better routines than the Olympics, but Wevers wasn't at the P&G championship so the Olympics was still worthwhile.  It's important to keep cultivating unorthodox talents like hers that the USA training program would never develop in that direction to widen the scope and appeal of the sport.

Meanwhile, Sweden is ruining the sport of soccer by sitting back on defense and beating obviously better teams by forcing draws and then penalty kicks, which they keep winning through some infernal luck.  Without even attempting to win the games legitimately, they make it impossible for any sort of flow or flair to occur on the field, treating the game like some sort of immobile World War I trench battlefield.

What's the use in getting gold with tactics like these?  It will just drive away the viewers and end the entertainment value of the sport, which is the entire purpose of sport, for both the players and the fans.  There are tons of sports where unsporting tactics are technically legal but never done -- like walking batters in baseball or going for extra touchdowns when you've already clearly won the football game -- and only Sweden appears to have not gotten the memo on this rule.  In soccer, both teams are supposed to go on offense and try to score a goal, leaving only a few defenders on their side of the field while in possession of the ball.  This leaves enough space on the field for attackers to find open lanes and get quality shots on goal.  If your team simply aims for 0-0 and penalty kicks from the very start, it's virtually impossible for anyone to score, thus obliterating the entire sport from existence.  Penalty Kicks is not soccer.  Soccer is goals scored in the run of play.  Sweden's new sport of 120 minutes of waiting followed by penalty kicks is an abomination.

Sweden can get away with it because it's just one team using this tactic, free riding on the fun matches other teams provided playing fair between each other.  But how would they feel if every team acted like they did?  What if no one even advanced the ball for 120 minutes every game, and everyone just lazed around on the field napping until the penalty kicks phase arrived?  Do you think the sport of women's soccer would be in the Olympics then?  From a Kantian point of view, Sweden is immoral, even though what they are doing in the short term and from a narrow perspective is getting them to unprecedented heights of success.  I hope Germany can somehow beat them in the finals, but I doubt they can.  10 people on defense all game long just isn't possible to beat, no matter how good you might be.  Even if Germany beats them on penalty kicks after Sweden forces another 0-0 overtime draw won't be satisfying in the least, since it obviously could have gone on a coin flip to Sweden instead.  If we reach penalty kicks a third time in a row, consider women's soccer as a sport dead.  Everyone will, per force, have to switch to this new winning tactic, and then every game will be as dull as Sweden's are.  Once that happens, no one will give a flip about it ever again.

Meanwhile, the last episode of Durara was finally subbed, so be sure to check that out.

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