Sometimes you witness moments in athletics that you know are great. The Flea Kicker, the Miracle on Ice, the Immaculate Reception, etc. Then, there are times when you witness something that you suspect is not only great, but will change a sport completely.
Such is the dominance of the U.S. Women's gymnastics team.
I am a very casual gymnastics viewer. I watch every four years at the Olympics and that is about it. In other words, this is your heads-up on the level of "expert" analysis you are about to get.
Not so long ago, Russia and Romania were dominating women's gymnastics with teams of pixies that were graceful and would look as comfortable on a ballet stage as a gymnastics apparatus. Not to say they weren't strong, but they built an empire emphasizing the art as much as the athlete.
The U.S. women's teams have always been a little bit different. They have always had at least some athletes who looked insanely strong but struggled to incorporate the fluidity of their Eastern bloc counterparts. Occasionally, someone like Mary Lou Retton powered their way to the top of the podium and kept the U.S. women on the map. The Russians and everyone else kept doing their thing with their type of athlete and held off the Americans more often than not.
That has changed.
This U.S. women's team has insisted on a new ideal in gymnastics. Any of the women on this team (if they were six inches or a foot taller) would look right at home on a basketball or volleyball court.
There was very little Bach or Beethoven played in routines. There was only the most cursory nod to the "dance" aspects of their routines. These women are all about jumping higher, tumbling faster, and landing more difficult moves. The level of dominance they displayed sent a message to other teams. "Be like us, or else we will continue to kick your butts".
I can already imagine Russian gymnastics coaches carrying around a picture of Simone Biles as they scout kiddie gymnastics meets for their prospects.
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Have a great Wednesday everyone!