Above, a screenshot I took Friday night of a beaming Anna Li,
the UCLA senior gymnast, the best in the Pac-10, holding the
2010 NCAA Championship trophy in Gainesville, while jubilant
teammates show everyone who's number one this year.
Above, Bruins Rock, Los Angeles magazine, November 2006
Before I get to what was going to be the main point of
my post today, a few comments are in order about some
sports realities in the year 2010.
First, despite whatever awards they claim to have won,
the simple fact is that the Miami Herald's sports section
has long been among the worst in the country, and an
absolute embarrassment for its circulation size and the
amount of resources they have at their command.
(Future blog posts here will get into lots of details about
the whys of that, something I'm sorry to say I blame myself
for, since I've written something about it often and saved
it to Draft, but then thought that it was too petty.
But then I remembered that I'm my own Executive Editor
and Sr. VP of New Media.)
Second, the most-popular spectator sport at the Winter
Olympics is Women's Figure Skating, while the most popular
sport at the Summer Olympics is Women's Gymnastics.
We all know this even if we didn't like the sports because
the American TV networks would constantly remind us
of their primacy with their constant teasers of upcoming
action before fading to commercials, often going to shots
of petite gymnasts or leggy skaters pacing in the arena
hallway or of them contorting themselves in various
ways to get completely loose, before fading to patriotic
It a TV sports production cliche as old as Olympic TV
itself in the Roone Arledge era of "Up close and
Myself, I love both sports and have been involved with
both on a high-level to an extent that would probably
surprise many people reading this, though to be sure,
that's more true with gymnastics than figure skating.
When I first got to Bloomington in late August of 1979,
the only person I actually knew and had ever met who
lived in Indiana was former Miami Central High School
grad and Indiana State and Olympic star Kurt Thomas,
though it's not like we were friends or anything.
But despite loving gymnastics and figure skating, or even
still having the old U.S.F.S.A. address in Boston still stuck
in my head, like a flashlight rolling around in a car trunk,
I also know that both sports have suffered over the years
publicly for many of the same reasons: less-than-scrupulous
judging, nationalistic chauvinism and frequent prima donna
athletes who defy belief with their massive egos and sense
of superiority, even when it's no longer justified.
That said, I think it's very sad that in the year 2010,
the two spectator sports that are most popular with
American women are ones that 99.99% of them have
NEVER competed in on a competitive level, whether
K-12 or college.
It's rather inconceivable that the two most popular
spectator sports for American men would ever be ones
that 99.99% of them had never participated in.
That's just one of those things that we know but don't
really ever talk about at length because we all have
experience with girls or women who have a complete
aversion to sports of any kind.
Which also explains the obesity situation with Hispanic
and African-American K-12 girls to an extent that
never gets discussed when it's so much easier to write
stories blaming McDonald's or Coca-Cola.
I mention these things because the 2010 NCAA Women's
Gymnastics Championship have been held at U-F in
Gainesville since Thursday, with the team title decided
on Friday night.
Despite this NCAA championship of one of the two most
popular spectator sports for women being held in-state,
in a place that we are used to seeing stories from, the
Miami Herald had not one word about it on Friday.
Despite the Gators having one of the better teams in the
They just couldn't be bothered.
In fact, they didn't just avoid writing anything about it,
they also didn't even run the results of the two Semi-finals
on Thursday night on their Scoreboard page, page 11A,
the traditional dumping-ground of the Herald sports
section, going back to the 1960's.
This is not surprising when you consider that the night
of the two NCAA Women's Basketball Semi-finals a few
weeks ago, while the New York Times was able to
print their South Florida edition in Fort Lauderdale
and managed to not only get the story, but also photos
of that second Semi-final game in their Monday print
editions, the Miami Herald had zero information
about the second game.
Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you
saw a photo of a female athlete -who wasn't a golfer,
tennis player or Danica Patrick- who was on the
front page of the sports section of the Herald?
Was Don Shula still the Dolphins head coach then?
Just wondering out loud.
If you have a few minutes, you might want to bring
these and many other items you may've noticed
yourself with the Editor of the Herald's mish-mash
of a sports section, Jorge Rojas, jrojas@Miamiherald.com,
since this guy keeps a lower profile than any sports
editor of any newspaper where I've lived.
He's a veritable ghost.
And the sports section is getting worse not better.
Everyone seems to know this but the people at One
More on this topic over the weekend.
Above, a shot of the NCAA Channel I watched Friday night's
With the Five-in-a-Row defending champion Georgia
Gym Dogs not qualifying this year, the Women's NCAA
Gymnastics title is returning to fashionable Westwood,
one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country,
for the sixth time.
See http://tweetphoto.com/19647726 and
Super Six Team Finals from Friday night,
April 23rd, 2010: UCLA, Utah, Florida, Stanford,
The videotape starts immediately with audio, visual comes
on at about the 0:01:17 mark
Final team results:
UCLA Bruins 197.725
Oklahoma Sooners 197.250
Alabama Crimson Tide 197.225
Stanford Cardinal 197.100
Florida Gators 197.00
Utah Utes (Red Rocks) 196.225
Individual All-Around Champion -award at 2:45:23 on tape-
Susan Jackson, Senior, LSU with a score of 39.625, winning
every event but Floor Exercise.
the championship trophy to the crowd.
Now THAT'S the way you want to end your college career!
The Daily Bruin
UCLA gymnastics wins sixth NCAA championship title
By Mansi Sheth
April 23, 2010 at 10:31 p.m
Highlights -NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Semi-final #1 and 2
Go to http://all-access.cbssports.
and click Event Guide in upper left.
and official blog at: http://www.ncaa.com/blog/