2008 Team Final Watch-Along

Have I not watched this team final since the night of the competition? Possibly.

Which we were required to watch on tape delay on the west coast, by the way.

Actually, I’m not sure if we HAD to or if I CHOSE to, but I do know I was not watching live and got spoiled as to the result by the gymternet.

These things stay with you.

Anyway, now I’m already cranky. NBCSN, 7:00pm ET.

Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson ARE HOUSEHOLD NAMES.

The US entered “in what was expected to be an extremely tight showing.” Now. We’ve decided.

LOL did they cut out Bela? Excellent.

“China has made a switch. This will be Bridget Sloan.” Already nonsense.

“This is the Martha Karolyi era.” FUNNNN.

Tim just told us China has replaces Jenfg Bluyeyn with Dang Glinfjdn. Cool?

The US strategy at this point was hoping Jiang Yuyuan fell on her Amanar, and then when they pulled her, it was like…

Yang Yilin opens for China with a solid, mostly pretty DTY but not a lot of amplitude. Tim and Elfi V thirsty for deductions.


Cheng Fei “has been taken away from her family.” FUN

Not Cheng’s very best Amanar, landing it a little squatted down, but it’s 2008 and it’s better than the other stuff we’re going to see.

Al is not happy that China and the US are mingling on the floor. HATE EACH OTHER MORE.

Cheng Fei gets a 16.000 and a 9.5 E score and Tim thinks it should have been higher.

DLL basically sticks her DTY and NOW WE ALL THINK IT’S A GREAT IDEA who was questioning it before probably no one.

“You simply must judge for herself whether you think Deng Linlin is 16 years of age.” SOMETHING YOU CAN DEFINITELY TELL BY LOOKING AT HER FACE. You know, how humans are notoriously great at that…

Tim thinks the US will beat China because of TEH EXPERIENCE.

I really don’t like that the numbers on the bibs have 1s that look like capital Is.

Did you know someone who isn’t the US/China exists? Ksenia Semenova, the great victim of transliteration. Was Semyonova so hard?

That orphan stalder 1/2 work in Semyonova’s routine kills me, but her dismount is my crack.

Sac is like “Shawn stop kicking me in those handstands”

“THIS WILL COUNT” says Al. No, we thought this was an intrasquad…

Bridget “they’re picking her for the final spot on the team for bars” Sloan does, vault, her only event in the team final.

Martha is on the floor because LADY. None of the athletes traveled with female coaches.

Shawnmanar follows by hitting with the pee-pee step. Everyone is surprised that she vaults the exact same way every time, but we can’t say it’s because she’s under-rotated because MERICA.

Alicia is the MOM of this team. At least they didn’t call her the great-grandmother of the team or whatever?

The pretty typical rudi for Alicia, good control with a small hop, some chest down, not the most distance but great height. Al asks if her hop was a hop.

Dude, I know there’s a lot of jargon, but some of this is just obvious English words.

I was going to say, I really need some Romania bars in my life right now.

Steliana Knee-Store.

What has happened to Romanian gymnastics. “We have to treat the athletes different.” And this is still being constructed as a bad thing…

You guys, it’s SO HARD to coach gymnasts when you can’t just ruin their livessssss all day. How you make champion?

Romania hasn’t kept up with the trends in gymnastics like “the handstand skills.” Also, the being good at bars…?

“Nasta” is here.

Shawn just happened to be “a great bouncer.” And walked into the gym of a CHINESE.

Flashback to Chellsie falling on a Tkatchev in qualification. WHICH WE WILL OVERCOME. It’s almost like she wasn’t…healthy…in Beijing. Or something.

“This will be the last thing that she does in gymnastics” LOLOLOLOL.


“Shawn is Shawn Johnson.”

Who has to go on bars in TF because…what else we gonna do? Everything at 2008 trials was about finding that third bars routine, but no one really bothered to acknowledge that it didn’t exist.

Dear Jana Bieger, we would rather take an entire team of injured athletes than you the end.

“This is a routine that Valeri has composed after losing the world championship title.” Remember that time Valeri Liukin competed on uneven bars and didn’t win the title?

But WHERE could the E score deductions for Shawn have come from?!?!?!

This routine from Nastia is so beautiful and amazingggggg and artistic and perfect (which is why we ignore the Tkatchev and the dismount and pretend they didn’t exist)

Martha gives it two head slaps and a neck pinch

Tim does acknowledge that Nastia’s dismount is a piece of shit, but you kind of had to with that slow-motion.

Elfi would like you to know that you can’t question Nastia’s start value. Tim is maddddd at this ugly low 9.2 E score can you imagine somthing so harsh.

Ugh, they kept the Bela parts. Why. Guys, you had a chance to

Bela sees a good outcome for the United States.

“Chepdis falling and then Nastia doing that ridiculous.” GREAT ANALYSIS BELA.

It’s definitely not an act from Bela you guys. No act. He’s definitely the way he is on the floor in the gym. Yep yep yep.

Also “Bela’s wife.”

Here’s what happened a few moments ago…Bela introduces like there was a mistake, but Jiang hit a normal routine.

Jang Yuwanwan so gooooodddd

Yang Yilin’s hair clips would have had SO many twitter accounts.

“How would you describe the difference from being a Chinese gymnast to being an American gymnast.” This sounds like a productive line of questioning.

“They are put into a machine.” Ow?

Well that routine was glorious.

Tim contends that this shouldn’t match Nastia’s score for no reason?


“What a difference four inches can make.”

Checking in on Cheng Fei falling on her back full series.

15.150 with a fall. 2008, kids.


Casual best layout ever.

Back to He Kexin’s bars and it’s scary good you guys.

Her layout jaeger is the dream. The Jaeger 1/2 to jaeger gets the most attention, but the nature of connecting out that inbar jaeger makes it low. The layout jaeger is actual perfection.


You guys this format is crazy the US and China are next to each other…

Who’s a Russia? Why’s a Romania?

I don’t think Li Shanshan’s dance elements were every strong enough to put her in the category of the LET’S CONTINUE SHARING THIS BEAM ROUTINE ON TWITTER beamers, but her acro is a delight.

How much time did we spend pretending that a C-value L turn was the easiest skill in these routines…?

Now it’s time for Alicia on beam IT WILL GO FINE.

She’s having to direct the placement of the springboard. THAT’S WHY YOU GUYS.

Tim is nerding out about the judging range and I feel seen.

Elfi soothsaying the mistake.

“Absolute 8 tenths.” ABSOLUTE.

“Not happy” says Elfi. I WONDER WHY.

Don’t worry we wont still be doing replays of this skill. Forever.

All I can think about is the story Alicia told at the NCAAs live show about being in the elevator with Sam and Martha right now…

Meanwhile, I prefer Nastia on beam over bars and I will die on that hill.


“She feels this should be named after her.”

Nellie Kim is like “ha ha cute.”

Remember when we had to pretend it was unfair that Shawn was getting chest position deductions for her tuck full? Sometimes, the passage of time is nice…

If you weren’t part of the gymternet at the time, gymnastics was OVER because someone with leaps as bad as Shawn’s could win an Olympic beam title.

Are we treating this FTDT dismount as though it’s unprecedented?

Martha keeps yelling “DOING GOOD” which means “YOU’RE NOT DOING GOOD.”

“I don’t know where they’re finding deductions.” Give me STRENGTH.

China leads by ONLY A POINT you guys.

Alicia is going to show us how injured she is. I mean, how short a memory she has. Yes. That it.

Do we know why they ditched her double L turn for a triple turn for the Olympics?

Alicia falls on a double arabian and Elfi…stabs herself in the intercostal muscles about it?

It’s just so obviously watching this now that this is an athlete whose legs are NOT OK.

Martha definitely giving Alicia what she needs right then.

“She gets hammered.” No, that’s afterward.

Nastia goes out of bounds. IT’S PROBABLY ALICIA’S FAULT.

I know it was basically impossible to do anything good on floor in the five-pass era, but I’ve always felt like this routine is the poster-child for seeing Russia-looking-gymnast and hearing violins and stamping ARTISTRY on it even though…

The OOB sisters in this team final.

She does a DOUBLE DOUBLE can you believe it.

The part where she writhes on the ground for a second to WII sirens is my favorite.

Bela is telling us what a disappointment Alicia is and probably not because of her injuries or anything.

BUT WHAT IF SHE’S UNDERAGE is going on floor and being probably underage.

It was true in WAG in 2008 and it’s true in MAG now. This random 2/1 side pass isn’t really telling me anything.

“It’s almost like the roar of approval.”

Uh…yeah…it’s called…cheering?

“Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are in a playoff series.” Nothing like it but go off I guess.

What little kid is doing Jiang Yuyuan’s routine out in the yard?

They’re all smiling except for Alicia. Because I know you wanted the SMILE update. Wouldn’t be a meet without the Smile Police.

It tells you what you need to know that China was not AWESOME in this team final (Cheng beam fall, some ragged floor landings, not going for full difficulty on vault) and still beat the US by 2.4, a.k.a. more than Sac’s falls were worth.

The expectations really should have been different heading in. Which, I mean, they were, unless you listened to NBC.

Cheng’s warrior scream is my hero.

“Newly emerged superpower China” is…a take?

I’m not going to do the AA, but…that’s happening now if’n you want.

65 thoughts on “2008 Team Final Watch-Along”

  1. Can someone remind me of all the injuries that led to this weird composition of competitors in team finals? Weren’t like Memmel, Peszek and Sloan all injured?

    1. Sloan was injured a few months before Nationals. Chellsie broke her foot(???) in training in Beijing. Sam injured her knee(???) literally right before prelims. TBH this was always a lopsided team and I think even if Chellsie and Sam were healthy, the only lineup change would be Memmel over Liukin on floor. Maybe Memmel over Sacramone on beam.

      1. Yes, I don’t even see a healthy Sam making team finals on any event. She was a pretty useless team member but there also wasn’t really a better alternative either. Memmel maybe could have contributed on more than just bars, but it probably would have depended on whether she beat ASac on beam and/or floor in prelims. Since Nastia did well on floor in prelims and made EF over ASac, she was probably doing floor even if Chellsie was healthy.

      2. The fifth and sixth spots on that team truly were throwaways. Liukin/Johnson/Memel/Sac were a clear top tier and it was a big step down from there.

      3. I think Sam said she got injured after listening Steve Rybecki talk to her about her Yurchenko technique. Sam tried to make the adjustments at camp and got injured. She said she flew to China in pain and was actually surprised Márta stil took her with them (despite the injury).

    2. Memmel has a foot injury, so she did only bars. Peszek got injured just before march in I qualifying, so she could compete in finals (did just bars in QF). Those were the only injuries reported on at the time.

  2. This may be a silly question, but I noticed that in this olympics, Martha is on the floor with the team, while in 2016 she was in the stand, even though she was technically still the NTC at that point. Why is this?

    1. None of the personal coaches were female, allegedly. Although…Shawn had one?

    2. You need to have a female coach on the floor at all times.
      In 1988 it was Donna Strauss
      In 1992 Marta Karolyi was Asst. Coach
      In 1996 it was Marta (Head) and MLT (Asst.)
      In 2000/2004 it was Kelli Hill (Head Coach)
      2008 it was Marta (listed as Asst. Coach) Liang Chow was Head Coach
      2012 Jenny Zhang (Asst. Coach)
      2016 Aimme Boorman (Head Coach) No named Asst. Coach

      I can’t recall 100% if this is accurate or not, but I believe the head coach and assistant coach have to have World or Olympic experienced in order to be named as one of the coaches. Hence why Marta was on the floor in 2008 instead of Liwen Zhuang.

  3. Off-topic but was reading about 2008 trials…WTF happened to Darlene/Darling Hill? She appeared and disappeared like a fever dream.

    1. Darlene Hill was supposed to attend either Maryland or North Carolina IIRC on NCAA scholarship but forfeited her eligibility when she signed with team Gattaca in 2008. After missing 2008 Olympics, Darlene continued into 2009 but injuries (shoulders?) kept her out of competition and she never returned after that.
      Eventually she started going by Darling Hill again and now goes by the name Sweetheart Princess Hill.

  4. I love seeing the different arenas throughout the games. I really loved London’s and I love the colors in this Beijing arena.

  5. What is the Alicia NCAA live show story with Martha and Sam in the elevator that Spencer is referring to?

    1. Martha was yelling at Alicia and Sam for consorting with men or something and distracting Nastia and Shawn, Sam started crying and Alicia yelled at Martha. It’s in Alicia’s interview on Sam’s podcast I Have Cool Friends.

  6. There’s something darkly humorous about Alicia’s OMG I’M BOUT TO GET MURDERED face when she’s leaving floor. She scares us all too, girlfriend.

    1. Although by the time team finals came around, they all knew that China had them defeated. They showed up with that Uneven Bars lineup that was going to slaughter them (much like the United States of Amanar slaughtered London) and once Memmel went down with injury and then Peszek was limited to UB, the writing was on the wall. Could they have beaten China without Sacramone’s falls? Yes. But only because Cheng Fei fell. After UB it was clear China was going to win going into BB with a 1.125 lead.
      China had at least 1.5 over the US team on UB. Both teams were even on BB and FX and the US, while the best team on VT in Beijing, couldn’t use that to their advantage as much as China did on UB.

      There is a reason why China changed He Kexin’s DOB…her UB routine.

      1. I’ve crunched the numbers on this competition several times, and have come to the same conclusion: China’s team victory was all but assured due to their significant score advantage on bars.

        Of course it’s worth noting that they were able to preserve this advantage by fielding uncharacteristically strong (for China) vault and floor rotations.

        But back to bars for a second. One critical component of this new scoring system is that during that initial quad, more UB skills were counted toward the score, which had the effect of elevating the few elite gymnasts to a totally unreachable echelon of nearly 17 points (!!) while the merely “very good” bars workers were scoring in the mid-15s. In this way, the scoring system itself really provided a brief window for the team with the best bars workers to rack up tons of points. And China took full advantage of that opportunity.

        So, in sum: they had the best bars workers during a quad when the scores probably over-rewarded just the top handful of girls, they were uncharacteristically competitive in vault and floor, and they simply delivered on the day in front of their home crowd.

  7. I love that 16 year old Shawn believed with all her heart that August Rush was this iconic movie with iconic music that would make the perfect, iconic floor routine and not one adult in her life had the stones to be like, “honey, no…”

    1. Yesssss. I’ve watched that routine dozens of times and never loved that music for her. It neither complements her powerful style, nor is very interesting on its own.

  8. can you please gif the butt shelf, ive never been able to tell what it is

    1. It’s a pose in which the gymnast leans forward or arches her back while sticking out her bottom, thus creating a bit of a ‘shelf’ with her bottom and lower back.

  9. I never understood why He Kexin became the poster child for CHINA IS CHEATING when you have DLL standing *right there*

    1. DLL, Yang Yilin, and Jiang Yuyuan were likely all under age in Beijing.
      He Kexin became the poster child for being underage because her DOB in 1994 and not 1992. In 2007 it was reported in the Chinese press that He Kexin was born in 1994 and was a talented junior gymnast. She wasn’t in any conversation for the 2007 World Team. All of a sudden she gets really good on UB, the event that USA was weakest on, and suddenly she shows up with a 1992 DOB. The initial news reports that had listed her DOB as 1994 completely disappeared from online. A British computer hacker was able to recover the files and brought them forward as evidence. Chinese Gymnastics Federation claimed it was a clerical error made when He Kexin switched provinces teams. People all over the message boards in 2008 were all in agreement that she was underage as there were threads about her when she was a junior with a 1994 DOB. It was even more obvious that she was underage in Beijing when Dong Fangxiao was caught (in Beijing ironically) with a different DOB than she had when she competed in 1999 and 2000.

    2. It’s because a short time (less than 2 years) before the Olympics, there was an article from a Chinese newspaper that listed her age as being 13 (I believe) and then this article suddenly disappeared from the internet and she was 16 in 2008. I can’t remember all the details right now but 16 year old me was very worked up about the whole thing.

      1. Was there ever any evidence for DLL or JYY being underage, besides a bunch of sour, racist Americans deciding that they didn’t look old enough?

        Like yeah Chinese gymnasts, selected for being tiny, from ethnic backgrounds that tend to look “younger” than most Europeans, are not going to look like what you think 16 year olds should look like. That doesn’t make them all cheaters. If we just get to decide that our perceptions are what matter, then Ragan Smith was also underage for half her senior career. And the ‘milk teeth’ nonsense… I lost baby teeth in high school and I wasn’t even that young looking – just a slightly late bloomer in the dental department. That’s not proof of someone’s age.

        He Kexin’s situation at least had some evidence, but I still find it pathetic to allege that that’s what cost the US gold. If it was such obvious cheating, then the US should’ve declined to participate in the Olympics. And if we are still going by looks – she looks 18 to me at worlds in 2010 and 20 in 2012, and how old a Chinese gymnast looks to an American fan is the determining factor, right? 🙄🙄

      2. If China cheated, it didn’t cost the US the gold but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences.

        Same with 2000. Could the four eligible Chinese athletes (yes I know Yang Yun was never formally busted), plus two other eligible athletes have come in third anyway? Maybe! But it doesn’t matter. They chose to cheat and stripping the medal was appropriate.

      3. I love how people pull out the “racist American” card when China’s blatant and unapologetic cheating is discussed. There is nothing racist about citing the truth about China’s history of age falsification in gymnastics.

        Is it racist to state the East Germans were major dopers in the 1980s too? Nope. It’s just reciting facts.

        Unfortunately, dishonesty, counterfeiting, and propaganda are ingrained in Chinese culture. This is not a put down of individual citizens, but simply stating what their government has established.

        The only reason China was not investigated was because they were running the Olympics. You never criticize the Olympics hosts regardless of how heinous the misdeed is. (I.e. Sochi fiasco and Tokyo logo plagiarism to name a couple of recent scandals)

      4. “If China cheated, it doesn’t mean it cost the Americans gold”. Yes, it did actually. He Kexin should not have competed, her UB helped the team tremendously on that event. Cheng Fei wasn’t doing UB and DLL was horrible on them. Li Shanshan wasn’t doing UB either IIRC as China only put up 4 UB workers in qualifications and counted all 4 scores. if they didn’t have He Kexin they would have needed a different UB worker and someone to VT in qualifications. Not to mention that Nastia Liukin would have been bumped to UB gold, although Yang Yilin was most deserving of UB gold IMO.

  10. “How would you describe the difference from being a Chinese gymnast to being an American gymnast.”

    Um… the American gymnasts got to see their families more often in between being abused by their national program?

  11. I agree, Nastia’s beam > Nastia’s bars. And omg the NBC commentary has always been horrible, any one of us gymnastics fans with no TV experience would do a better job.

    1. ikr? sometimes when i’m in a narcissistic mood and watching ncaa or a meet where tim dagget is commentating i feel like i could do a much better, unbiased job 😳 (don’t come at me y’all)

  12. Here’s what’s infuriating to me about the Chinese age controversy in 2008 and how it was handled: with Marinescu, Gogean, Dong, Yang, etc., the age falsification was not unearthed until years after they’d stopped competing. They/their federations successfully pulled a fast one on the FIG/IOC, and the deception wasn’t uncovered until it was too late. And so you can make peace with the FIG generally choosing not to upend history (the Dong thing was really too blatant to ignore, but they could and did ignore the rest, including Yang Yun).

    But He Kexin? She was a known quantity in gymnastics circles in 2007 and was generally known to be ineligible for 2008. People started sounding the alarm about her (and possibly others on that team, can’t remember) BEFORE THE OLYMPICS. And yet no one wanted to do anything about it, presumably for fear of pissing off the host nation. But this was the rare instance where age falsification was staring the authorities in the face, it WASN’T TOO LATE TO FIX IT FOR ONCE, and yet they only did the most half-assed “investigation” that was clearly geared toward making the whole issue go away.

    I feel the same way about Kim Gwang Suk. The FIG threw the book at North Korea when she was 15 years old for three years in a row. They should have caught that and taken action a LOT earlier than they did.

    1. I don’t necessarily think you’re wrong about FIG doing a bad investigation, but I also don’t believe that any investigation would have been enough to satisfy the realms of people who think their personal ability to judge the age of an Asian teenager outweighs any formal decision. How exactly do we know that FIG did a poor job? I’ve never heard anyone explain what they actually think FIG should have done other than convict China. China being found guilty cannot be a requirement for a “good” Investigation.

      1. I agree with that. FIG clearly half-assed the whole thing but at the same time there’s no winning a paperwork battle with an authoritarian government (particularly one as powerful as China), and I’m sure they were hyper-aware of that.

      2. Actually, I meant that Americans who decided China was cheating wouldn’t have been happy with any kind of proof that they weren’t, because they already made up their minds that China was guilty. If you’re not willing to accept that the outcome might be different than your expectations, then it’s not an investigation. I don’t think anything FIG did would’ve convinced people like you who assume that China’s fucked up government must be cheating and can’t possibly not be.

  13. The comments in this thread really showcase how exhausting American fans are…12 years since the event and 10+ years after the start of American domination in the sport.

    Just a reminder that the statue of limitation for age falsification investigation is 10 years…maybe we can finally move on now?

    1. Oh, there IS an statute of limitation? Now I kind of want He Kexin to be like “yeah I was born in 1994 lol”, Silivas-style, just for the internet shitshow.

    2. Citation, TROLL? It’s really exhausting how you anti-American dickwads just make it up as you go along, and ignore facts, evidence, clear changes of data, etc. Perhaps you could move your tired hatemongering ass right on off this site?

    3. So exhausting. I honestly wish they could’ve skipped these rebroadcasts just because it’s so tiring hearing the whining AGAIN.

      There’s literally video evidence that DLL and JYY are of age. HKX you can argue about… I guess… (and there are legit reasons why her paperwork might have been out of sync, in addition to the suspicious ones) but FIG made that decision. It’s over. No amount of whining is going to give your shittier team the gold medal.

      Also holy crap both Liukin and Johnson were overrated. It was a good rivalry and they were great gymnasts but why does anyone still care about them? They were promptly eclipsed by Mustafina and then by Douglas and Biles and yet they’re STILL lurking around 10+ years later. Carly Patterson doesn’t reanimate every major competition to make stupid comments or talk about herself.

      1. Because Carly isn’t using her medal as her meal ticket in the same way (I don’t actually know what if anything Carly does for a living but I’m guessing her spouse is more employable than Shawn’s). I don’t know how well Nastia’s NBC gig pays, but in Shawn’s case at least, if the general public doesn’t pay attention to her the bills don’t get paid.

      2. My beef over the age thing is less about the “shittier team getting the gold medal” (seriously IDGAF) and more…the futility of age rules in general, which was REALLY exposed here in a way it hasn’t been before or since. There are basically two types of countries: (1) countries where it would be impossible to pull off age falsification because of the nature of official/public records (most democracies), and (2) countries where not only is it doable, but the government will have the ability and incentive to completely cover it up and evade investigation/punishment (most authoritarian nations). This is a rule that’s only enforced against the dumbest of violators (North Korea, Dong Fangxiao).

        It’s like having a doping rule without the benefit of drug testing. You’re basically on the honor system.

      3. Then why are you here if you are exhausted of hearing “whining again”.

        No one is forcing you to watch or participate in this blog.

        But yet here you are…

        Literally video evidence of Yang Yilin and Deng Linlin being of age? Where? You state it but yet post no links to evidence.

        I wish I could be as naive as you. China didn’t get caught with Dong Fangxiao until after Beijing, in 2010. if they thought they got away with it in 2000, you are telling me they didn’t cheat again in 2008 in order to win gold medals in their home country? Give me a break. Wake up.

      4. @shamrockstar81 Denial is not a river in Egypt. For toxic trolls like ‘Anonymous,’ facts don’t exist. Nor do the shenanigans of totalitarian regimes. Bet you a billion dollars it’s a dRUMPfazoid–it’s too stupid to be otherwise. Probably TRASHTON Locklear, no, wait, she’s too stupid even to muster this level of discourse…

      5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/thescorecardreview.com/tsr/review/film-reviews/2009/02/15/dreamweavers-beijing-2008/2511%3fformat=amp

        Documentary, 2003. You can also find it on YouTube if you take a moment away from ranting on bulletin boards and do a little of your own research.

        I’m not surprised by the set of commenters here who are most adamant about pronouncing DLL and JYY guilty based on their own conjecture. You’re not known for contributing much of substance on a normal day of NCAA discourse, so it’d be a lot to ask for you to consider that some of all of your strongly held beliefs might actually be wrong. And given the amount of anti-China propaganda from US media during 2008, you might actually be misinformed.

        I’m not too adamant that HKX wasn’t underage, there’s definitely some evidence that she was. I am also not willing to join in a chorus of people declaring that she definitely was even after she was cleared by FIG and there were at least a few possible reasons that she could have been legit (borne out by her subsequent career).

        Are you all this mad about Russia continuing to compete in the Olympics despite their state-sponsored doping program in several sports? Do you consider Silivas’s medals to be illegitimste? Or… is it just bc China and bc they beat the US?

      6. @AnonymousTROLL–A fluff piece of Chinese STATE PROPAGANDA and you’re evincing it as a) a ‘documentary’ and b) proof of any of your asininity about the Chinese gymnasts’ and government’s CHEATING?Your idiocy is worthy of dRUMPf!

    4. For the record, I think Russia should be banned outright, with no “neutral flag for the non-dopers” exception.

      No opinion on Silivas as I was a toddler when she competed and I feel totally unqualified to opine on that era. But I’m generally in favor of rules being enforced. And if a rule is unenforceable (which the age rule mostly is), then you have to question its utility.

      1. Agree on Russia. The entire federation should have been disqualified after the doping scandal. It’s painful – I’m a big fan of the Russian gymnasts, and I hate to see so many great athletes in other sports as well prevented from competing fairly – but the consequences imposed on Russia thus far have really been just a slap on the wrist. This was a highly organized doping program – not just a few people cheating, but a systemic problem.

  14. “I know it was basically impossible to do anything good on floor in the five-pass era, but I’ve always felt like this routine is the poster-child for seeing Russia-looking-gymnast and hearing violins and stamping ARTISTRY on it even though…”

    THANK YOU!!! While Nastia had any admirable qualities, artistic was not one of them.

    1. I absolutely loathed Liukin’s floor routine and was disgusted at her constant success with that awful recycled schtick. Her tumbling was none too marvelous either.

      1. There was a lot of undeserved love for WOGA choreography in general during the early-mid 2000s.

  15. Half of the USA ‘s team was destroyed/injured by Martha’s never ending selection and camps and they made several costly mistakes. According to the Interviews Sam did with all of her teammates, they all knew they were not a gold medal team that day. Probably that would have stayed the same even with all the Chinese being age eligible. I Agree though that this is infuriating because it wasn’t investigated just because it was a home Olympics for the Chinese. I think it should have been investigated just to make a point for the future. Whether the Americans would have won or not I don’t care about because we all know they didn’t deserve a gold.

  16. Weighing in on the Chinese cheating conversation even though it’s like walking into a minefield…

    I have mixed feelings over this whole thing. I really like this Chinese team – they are awesome and totally deserved the win in TF. However, that He Kexin was underage has been well-documented, and there’s a proven history of age falsification in Chinese gymnastics. This strongly suggests that the Chinese knew He was too young but put her on the team anyway to boost their medal chances. That’s cheating, plain and simple.

    As for American outrage over the whole thing – ugh, what a mess. On the one hand, yeah, we were salty about losing the gold, but cheating is horrible and it is totally fair to be angry about it. On the other hand, much of the American coverage of the Beijing Olympics had an anti-Asian bias, and this heavily influenced the indignation over the age issue. For people to announce that they could tell the Chinese were underage just because they “looked” young is stupid and racist and ugly. It was hard to listen to then and it’s even harder to listen to now.

    To be honest… even as a fan of Team USA, and a fan of Nastia, and Shawn, and Alicia Sacramone and all the rest… I’m not that upset about the cheating. To me, the most important thing is that the performances on the day were judged fairly and that superior routines were rewarded. That happened. The Chinese won with better gymnastics. There should be consequences for breaking the rules, but in the grand scheme of things, doping and rigged judging make me far angrier than age falsification.

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