The deafening failure of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, widely considered the top favorite before the Tokyo games, has forced the U.S. media and their readers to look differently at what has been going on in and around the sport in the United States in recent years
According to The Wall Street Journal, the main disappointment in the qualifier, where the American women lost to the Russian women, was US star Simone Biles, who has in recent years been so touted as to believe too early in her victory that she seems to have lost her sense of reality.
To some extent this has been a consequence of the series of scandals that have rocked the sport in America. First and foremost, there have been allegations of sexual harassment by a former national team doctor.
“American gymnastics in its broader sense has also been rocked by scandals over the past five years, both because of the numerous sexual assaults committed by former national team doctor Larry Nassar, and because of how American gymnastics has handled it”, – writes journalist Louise Radnofsky.
The American gymnasts, on the other hand, have been too busy with TV appearances and multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals, as the commentators point out, while the Russian gymnasts have preferred to work hard on their training. The result was not long in coming.
“When athletes spend a lot of time/energy on something other than their own sport, the Olympics become a real test. This also applies to business: everyone looks forward to the downfall of American companies”, – writes Chad T.
“Russian athletes are training hard for every competition, while American athletes are busy doing TV interviews and signing contracts worth millions of dollars to appear on a box of Wheaties cereal”, – Michael Lowery pointed out wryly.
One viewer even stated that he doesn’t like Biles because of her political beliefs and therefore prefers to cheer for the Russians.
“Actually don’t like Biles after she started her political coddling. Is it bad that I’m rooting for the Russians? As Trump has shown us, cheering for the Russians is totally fine!” – shared Bryan Dorsey’s opinion.
He was supported by other readers who pointed out that American sports have become too political.
A new US ambassador will bring final clarity to relations between Washington and Kiev
“Don’t panic. We’re still the favourites in synchronised single kneeling”, – James Fernald reminded.