China women gymnasts are still in diapers
The Olympics in Beijing have been quite surreal, what with the lip-syncing anthem singer, the fake fireworks and China's attempt to convince the world that the stuff people think is smog is actually just a light mist, like fog in San Francisco.
To really enjoy this summer's games, you have to be able to suspend reality. And I've been trying really hard to do that. I've almost convinced myself that synchronized driving and that strange water-less water polo game they call "handball" are actual sports. I think they could be made into better sports with a little tweaking. Like, why not combine synchronized diving with synchronized archery? I think watching two guys trying to avoid a hail of arrows during a dive would be kind of cool. It definitely would be more sporting.
But just when I think I've been able to suspend reality, they bring out the "Chinese women's gymnastics team." Most of these "women," despite their garish eye makeup, look to be about 9 or 10 years old. The Chinese claim they are all at least 16, the youngest athletes can be to compete. But that argument falls apart when you see the coaches taking away blankies and stuffed animals from the "women" before they march onto the tumbling mats. You don't have to worry about any of these "women" being on steroids. Most of them don't even look like they're on solid food yet.
I want to believe, I really do. But to see a "woman gymnast" sucking her thumb during a triple back flip in the floor exercise is disconcerting. And I think I heard one of the Chinese "women" refer to a certain apparatus as a "pommel horsey."
The Chinese organizers tell us not to believe our eyes. These are not children we are seeing. But I actually raised a daughter. I know a little girl when I see one. And on the Chinese women's gymnastics team I see a lot of little girls. Talented little girls. But little girls nonetheless.
And why does it matter if the Chinese want to sneak little girls onto their women's gymnastics team? Because these little girls are kicking the United States women's gymnastics team's butts. We don't care how old members of the other team is as long as we can beat them. But as soon as they toss one Chinese gymnast out of a baby carriage onto the balance beam to beat us, another one jumps out of her crib to beat us in the vault.
If you've ever seen the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," you know what's going on here. In that movie, the Chinese stunt women can actually fly and run across the very tops of trees. Obviously, these girls competing on China's gymnastics team are simply in training for when they actually will be able to carry on a kung fu fight in midair. Aerial kung fu fighting competition ... now THERE's an Olympic sport I can believe in.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at email@example.com