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You Won't Believe Your Eyes
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IG Online Editor Amanda Turner kicks off her blog, "Out of Bounds," by sharing with you incredible feats of artistry and idiocy.

I've been intending on starting a blog for some time, but what finally got me writing were two items that fell before my eyes in the past 24 hours.

The first was when I came across a genuine gymnastics treasure. Gymnastics treasures are archaeological finds of routines that — like other historical artifacts — were once known to all, but had been left buried and forgotten with the passage of time.

Fortunately, an Indiana Jones of gymnastics fandom dug up this routine and posted it on YouTube for the betterment of mankind. Please check out Czechoslovakia's Monika Zabrzova at the 1989 European Championships, with a beam routine so gilded in artistry and style, it deserves its own museum exhibit alongside King Tut.

Monika Zabrzova, 1989 European Championships finals


Does anyone remember this beam routine at the time? Were we so spoiled in 1989 by the likes of Olesya Dudnik, Yang Bo and Svetlana Boginskaya that a routine like this was simply average?

That I was so blown away by this routine is a testament to how far the sport has degraded in artistry, and particularly on balance beam and floor exercise. Too many gymnasts today lack the details that artistic gymnastics requires: the relevé, the toe point, the straight legs and proper arms and hands. You won't find one finger out of place in Zarbzova's routine.

Outside of a few examples, you rarely see a routine so pretty today. You tell me: Are most of today's beam and floor routines of such poor artistic quality because the Code of Points requires nonstop tricks? Or because artistry and originality are not rewarded? Or because there are coaches who don't understand that gymnastics is supposed to look like this? Is it that there are no more compulsories? Tell me what you think, and what should be done.

The second find was e-mailed to me today by an old friend. Subject line: Idiot

It contained a link to a June 22 opinion piece by L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers. In his column, "On victory parades and child Olympians," Simers blasts gymnasts as "pygmies" suffering from child abuse, horribly deprived by cruel parents and forced to do a sport instead of go shopping. Comments like this inevitably appear every four years, but this latest uninformed rant was particularly idiotic.

Everybody loves a good freak show, writes this man. Well, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and meet: The World's Dumbest Opinion Columnist! You won't believe your eyes as this man pushes the limits of human ignorance. Don't miss this amazing feat of idiocy!

Read "On victory parades and child Olympians"

Let's note that the column is not by journalists Helene Elliot or Diane Pucin, who actually reported for the L.A. Times at the U.S. Trials in Philadelphia. Since this man has clearly never covered gymnastics, nor spoken to a gymnast, nor been in a gym, I assume he must use his time reporting on more worthwhile sports, like NASCAR.

He also has only 14 responses, which probably means nobody reads his column. But I'd rather he had 10 times that many comments, not full of insults, but of personal tales explaining to him why he is so very wrong.

So, readers, please stop by Simer's column and give him a show of what he lacks: knowledge and experience with the sport of gymnastics.

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