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Archive for April, 2010

Chinese Gymnast Dong Fangxiao

Chinese Gymnast Dong Fangxiao stripped of medals from the 2000 Olympics due to age falsification

The 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia that is. China has been stripped of its team Bronze medal for women’s gymnastics at the 2000 Sydney games because China’s Dong Fangxiao was not really 16 yet – the minimum age for Olympic competition for the sport of gymnastics. Her documents had been forged – most likely without her knowing. I feel bad for the gymnast. The coaches, team coordinators and the ADULTS in charge are the ones who really need to be punished – just as those who take illegal substances in sport are – by being banned.

And, if the Chinese cheated in 2000 by altering the ages of their athletes, what makes us think that was an isolated incident? I tend to think it was not isolated, rather standard practice for them. The IOC needs to really take a closer look at their teams in 2004 and 2008, too. Just sayin’!

The members of the 2000 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team are now the Bronze medalists. The team members are Amy Chow, Jamie Dantzscher, Dominique Dawes, Kristin Maloney, Elise Ray and Tasha Schwikert, along with Morgan White, who was named to the team but was injured prior to the Games and alternate Alyssa Beckerman. Bela Karolyi was the national team coordinator, with Kelli Hill as head coach and Steve Rybacki as assistant coach.

I’m sure none of these athletes ever expected to get an outcome like this!

What do you think? Will more minimum age and document falsifications come to light? Should gymnastics even have a minimum age for Olympic competition?

Categories : Gymnastics, Olympics
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I raced an Olympian today - what did you do

I Raced a Gold Medalist Today – What Did You Do?

A few weeks ago we signed my daughter up for the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic that was being held at the pool she trains at. She was so excited to get to swim with Olympians Kate Ziegler and Matt Grevers that all she talked about in the weeks leading up the clinic was the clinic. The clinic was yesterday afternoon and let me tell you, it lived up to every last expectation in her mind!

Matt Grevers Signing Shirt

Having Matt Grevers Sign Her Shirt While Wearing His Olympic Medal

Not only was the clinic super organized, but I don’t think we could have had two better athletes – Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Grevers and World Record holder Kate Ziegler were so personable, patient, inspirational and really connected with the swimmers! Actually I think my daughter must have made Kate’s day during Q & A when she asked Kate about her last meet – which was at the Ohio State Grand Prix meet. When Kate said, yes that was her most recent meet, my daughter mentioned the comment made by the announcers that they had not seen Kate in a while. Kate laughed and said that was a bit embarrassing hearing that over the loud speaker, but loved that this information was noted by an 8 year old (who by the way, tivo-ed that meet and has watched at least 5 times).

Matt Grevers Swim Clinic

Matt Grevers Answering Questions at the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic

The clinic was comprised of getting to know the athletes and their swim careers, stroke work in the pool, question and answer time with the athletes, more stroke work, races with the Olympians (how cool is that?) as well as autograph and photo sessions. Each swimmer got a t-shirt – love the back – “I raced a gold medalist today – what did YOU do?”, a bag, 2 DVDs of swim meets the Olympians and other were swimming in, and athlete bio cards. Great value for the $65 clinic fee!!

Kate Ziegler and Matt Grevers signing autographs

Kate Ziegler and Matt Grevers signing autographs

Clinics like the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic can be such a great way to really connect athletes with their heroes, boost their confidence and help reinforce the positives in their individual sports.

Has your athlete done a clinic like this? Did you think it was beneficial? Personally, I know the memories from yesterday’s clinic will not be forgotten any time soon!


Categories : Swimming
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Links Worth Noting

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So it has been a bit quiet at Sports Girls Play for the past few weeks. I have been crazy busy! It seems like just about every weekend recently has been consumed by a gymnastics meet (either me coaching or going to watch my daughter compete), a swim meet or clinic (for my other two children), or dealing with home projects. And since I have to be out the door in a few hours for both a swim clinic and a gymnastics clinic, I am just going to share some links to interesting reads this week:

  • The Womens’ NCAA Gymnastics titles were awarded this week with UCLA taking 1st as a team and LSU’s Susan Jackson winning All Around. For the best highlights/recaps, check out and
  • Mark Folger of Folger’s Gymnastics has started sharing some of his coaching tips/philosophies/observations and all I can say is that his gymnasts are very lucky to have a coach with such compassion and understanding of his athletes, the process of becoming an athlete and the daily ups and downs in sport. A recent favorite and must read for every coach of any sport – Never Give Up on a Child.
  • Youth Sports Parents reminds us again, Why Kids Play Sports. And to win is not even close to #1.
  • USA Swimming has come under fire recently regarding inappropriate behavior by male coaches towards female athletes. The allegations/law suits have prompted USA Swimming to take a hard look at the processes they have in place to protect their athletes. While I am deeply disturbed by the allegations, I want to remind parents that there is the potential for inappropriate behavior by adults in power (coaches, teachers, den leaders, youth group leaders, etc)  in EVERY sport, EVERY activity and EVERY organization. You must educate your children, keep the lines of communication open, reduce the risks (like not allowing athletes to be in an unsupervised one-on-one situation with a coach), and don’t just hand your child over to anyone.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ll definitely have some good updates this week!

Categories : Great Resources
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