GYMN-L Digest - 15 Apr 1996 to 16 Apr 1996
To: Recipients of GYMN-L digests <GYMN-L@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
There are 9 messages totalling 245 lines in this issue.
Topics of the day:
1. Kim Zmeskal
2. Oprah and the sport
3. Oprah (5)
4. NY Times article on Li Dong Hua
5. All Around magazine - mail problems
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 17:06:20 CST
Subject: Kim Zmeskal
I just returned from Region 4's 8-9-10 Regional meet in Kansas City,
Missouri. Kim Z. was there to sign autographs, etc. & rode with us (the
judges) in from the airport, so I talked with her.
#1--She has written NO E-mail to anyone. So put that idea to rest and know
that someone "faked" her response. She was rather surprised to hear that
someone was doing that.
She said that she's going to a local junior college & taking basic
courses. She's interested in nuitrition. She is working out some to keep
up for professional events.
Kim said that she, Betty Okino, Kim's boyfriend and another guy may move to
San Diego to Sea World for the summer and do some shows there.
The gymnasts were thrilled to have her at their competition, and Kim was
gracious and kind to everyone. She ate lunch with us (the judges) and we
tried to recruit her to judge. I don't think she's ready for that yet, but
says she wants to stay involved in gymnastics.
Hope you all had a great weekend. I'm bushed! We judged 24 hours and
hundreds of girls in 3 days.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 23:42:03 UT
Subject: Re: Oprah and the sport
I just want to say for anyone who is still watching Oprah they should turn it
off now. Since we anounced it would be on we wouldn't want the ratings on
this topic to go up. It might give them the idea to do it agian.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 20:14:38 -0400
I just watched the tape of the show and I wanted to put in my 2 cents.
First, my heart goes out to all of the families whose children have
suffered as a result of their involvement in gymnastics. I always find
myself in tears when I see Christy H.'s fiancee-her story is certainly a
tragic one. However, no one mentioned the fact that injuries and anorexia
affect young women in all areas of life, even those who are not athletes!
Second, did anyone else find Kristi Philips a bit contradictory? The
audience didn't need to go after her like they did, but she didn't
convince me that her life was so bad. I am sure she was depressed after
she didn't make the team but she didn't really discuss that! She believes
that she is strong, and that overall, she gained good lessons from
Third, I felt that Betty Okino should have stood up for herself more! She
made it clear that the sacrifices and risks that she took were all of her
own volition. She would have been the perfect person to represent the
other side of gymnastics that was so obviously left out.
Overall, the show made me mad-I won't even go into what I think about
Joan Ryan. I also felt bad for the young girls in the audience who only
heard bad things about the sport they loved. They should have asked some
of them what they thought instead of editing that gym footage to show
only negative comments about gymnastics.
Thanks for listening. Now back to lurking!!
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 20:24:47 EDT
I forgot to change the time on my vcr, when we switched to daylight
saving times, so I taped the news instead of Oprah, I would be
grateful to anyone if I could get a copy of the Monday show. I will
pay for the tape and shipping.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 21:13:51 -0500
A few points that made me mad:
1. Oprah, who I believe should be serving as a facilitor, started
attacking Kristy Phillips and when she said she could handle Bela's
style. She said basically that it appear that Kristy couldn't handle as
evidenced by her suicide attempt.
2. Making the statement that kids couldn't chose. There are those who
are force, I truely believe that, but implying that Betty Okino couldn't
chose her own gymn at age 14 is wrong! I managed to chose my own
boarding school at that age and even younger. I made a mistake once, but
I got out of the situation. Betty could make her own decisions too.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 22:57:28 -0400
Subject: NY Times article on Li Dong Hua
Well, I missed the Oprah (work schedule will do that to you, but I'm
definitely not quaking for a tape) -- but I did catch a terrific article
in the 4/14 Sunday New York Times (section 8 (Sports), p. 8 of the
edition I receive, by subscription in DC) on Li Dong Hua, the
Chinese-born gymnast who now competes for Switzerland -- having met his
wife, Esperanza Friedli, a Swiss tourist, in 1988 while he was in
Beijing instead of the Seoul Olympics, due to an injury. The next year,
given the message that he should dump his foreigner fiancee if he wanted
to continue to compete for China, he and Esperanza, there on a short
visit (I'm oversimplifying drastically -- there's lots of great detail
to this love story) left on the trans-Siberian railway and moved to
Switzerland. His impression of the Swiss training facilities at the
time (1989): "It looked like gymnastics was a hobby for these people."
Li missed the 1992 Olympics -- foreigners must wait 5 years after
marrying a Swiss citizen to became eligible to compete for Switzerland
-- but won PH at the Swiss nationals in 90, 91, and 92, and the AA in 93
(I think I'm reading that right, but the dates for the PH titles are
ambiguous -- could be 91, 92, 93); and finally was able to compete again
internationally at the Brisbane worlds in 94, where he won bronze on PH
-- and then, of course (for those of you who were paying more attention
than I was!) gold in the same event at Sabae.
Anyway, it's a compelling story, and covers 60% of the page (the bottom
40% speculates in the headline about whether Tony Gwynn can hit .500, or
"only" .400 this season (the article gets more realistic) -- how often
does gymnastics beat out baseball?! I suppose the "Atlanta 1996 Olympic
Profile" subtitle had something to do with it, but still.).
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 23:00:14 -0400
I really liked Don's suggestion of a possible class action suit. Even if
only to get her to show the entire uncut footage of the interviews they did
in the gym. I really felt these girls were used and manipulated (speaking of
child abuse!) so that the show could carry off its agenda. We were required
to sign waivers giving total control over to the show of the material they
shot, but it would seem to me under some type of fairness doctrine they
should be required to come clean.
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 06:24:19 GMT
This is the first time ever I'll say anything bad about what was my
I think it's awful the way that "The Oprah Winfrey Show" portrayed
gymnastics! All they showed was the negative side. It seemed that no one
could understand that just because a few gymnasts are possibly abused and
mistreated that not all of them are. It also sounds like all the positive
comments were cut out of the broadcast.
I truly don't comprehend how Joan Ryan can say that Bela Karolyi is
an abuser, especially when Kristi and Betty were there defending them. I
mean they should know, right? Joan Ryan probably has no idea what she's
even talking about. I don't see how Bela could be abusive because there are
so many athletes training under him, and I doubt that Kim, Betty, Kristi,
Dominqiue, Kerri, or Svetlana would take abuse if there ever was any. How
many teenagers do you know that allow themselves to be pushed around like
Joan Ryan said they all were? None! I have no doubt in my mind that Bela
pushes his athletes hard, but obviously it was not too hard or he wouldn't
have so many terrific athletes in his training program.
No one ever believes the gymnasts when they say that they made their
own decisions. Of course they did! It's impossible to make someone's
decisions for him/her. Can you imagine anyone but the gymnast making
his/her own decisions? I think not. Few people are that manipulative or
controlling, I think. Certainly not the parents who simply love and support
their children, and of course the coaches don't have the power to "make"
someone do what they don't want or what isn't required. Gymnasts have the
option to quit at any time if there ever is any hint of abuse, which Joan
Ryan doesn't seem capable of comprehending.
I think the "Oprah Show" should have done it very differently. They
should have devoted half the show to the positive side of gymnastics...the
joy the gymnasts receive from it, as opposed to making gymnastics seem like
a grueling, horrible, abusive sport, which it is not for most gymnasts.
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 09:15:05 +0200
Subject: All Around magazine - mail problems
The first release of the European version of All Around
magazine has been sent to all our European members.
There were problems sending mail to the following people:
Luis Miguel Rodrigues Lopes
We would like to know the correct e-mail address of these
people, so we can send this magazine agian. Please use
our web form (http://www.pi.net/~cetate/subscribe.html)
to announce us your correct e-mail address. At the form
please select 'moving'. (This is the same web form to
subscribe to Cetate World Gymnastics/All Around magazine)
Soon we will send the International release of our magazine
to all members. Sorry using the Gymn Forum for this.
End of GYMN-L Digest - 15 Apr 1996 to 16 Apr 1996