Everyday it seems that I am reminded of another reason why the selection process for the US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team is a comedy of errors. (See “How To Best Make Your Sport Irrelevant” for a full blown rant on the subject.) For the past few days, the Olympic Team alternates – Jana Bieger, Ivana Hong, and North Shore’s born and bred Corrie Lothrop – have been mired in a web of confusion about where exactly they are going to train while the Olympics are ongoing. (The alternates can be subbed in for designated team members up until a certain day prior to the actual start of competition for women’s gymnastics – and for the life of me, I can not find the exact date.) Because they were selected so close to the actual start of the games, these alternates, who would need a travel visa to get into China, have missed the deadline to secure such a visa. However, USA Gymnastics thought that maybe they could get the three alternates into Japan instead, have them train and wait there, and then if one of them was needed, get them into China on an Olympic credential (which acts as a visa.)
But all this trying to maneuver around the system was adverted when they were able to work out a deal with the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Chinese government on Tuesday. Great. Now the alternates can go to China to train and stick pins in voodoo dolls of their teammates. (I kid, I kid…)
Did the men’s Olympic gymnastics team have such a problem? No, because they picked their team and alternates like a normal team would – through their Olympic Trials a month and a half before the Olympics begin.
Really, USA Gymnastics, do these girls need any more drama in their lives at the moment? Why wasn’t the process begun to obtain travel visas for all of the gymnasts invited to the selection camp last weekend? Those names were selected June 22nd. Sure, you would then obtain visas for a handful of girls who would never need them, but then you would have been sure that whoever you ended up choosing as alternates would actually be able to go.
Oh well, what do I know? Maybe there is a method to their madness, and jaded me just doesn’t realize it.