British Gymnasts Snap Skid; Offer Hope

July 31, 2012 – 1:47 am by Hickey

There is hope, Cubs fans. And not just because Geovany Soto was traded for something more valuable than a bag of weed.

This hope comes from a bunch of Brits wearing leotards.

Another group that has gone quite a long time without winning anything ended its own streak of futility on Monday as Great Britain’s men’s gymnastics team medaled for the first time since 1912 in winning the bronze in front of Princes William and Harry and thousands of cheering fans in London.

Britain upset far more established gymnastics powers such as Ukraine, Germany and the United States thanks to a strong finish in their final routine, the floor exercise. In fact, it temporarily appeared that the effort was good enough to net silver, but the Japanese won a scoring appeal to raise themselves from fourth to second.

The Japanese appeal had the appearance of a bribe to most watching on TV since the form was handed over to the judges along with a wad of cash. However, it turns out those are the rules — if you lose your appeal, the gymnastics federation keeps the money, and if you win it you get the money back.

I’m thinking NFL replay challenges would be a whole lot more interesting if coaches had to attach a few dollars in that red flag.

If you’re wondering about the last Olympiad in which British gymnasts stood on the podium, we’ve dipped into the fun facts file:

– A total of 48 nations participated, which I suppose was quite a lot for that era considering that at least half of the countries participating in this year’s Olympics were under the bootheel of some empire at the time.

– The men’s 100-meter dash was held up by seven false starts.

– Jim Thorpe was the runaway star of the Games, winning both the heptathlon and pentathlon. Another key American athlete in the pentathlon? George Patton.

– Britain also won bronze in 1912. The gold medalist was Italy, while Hungary took silver. (The Hungarians competed as their own entity despite being part of the Kingdom of Austria-Hungary, which is probably a good sign that arrangement wasn’t going to last much longer).

– Team member Charles Simmons was the father of actress Jean Simmons, who is not to be confused with KISS lead singer Gene Simmons.

-Team member Charles Vigurs was killed in World War I, five years after winning the gold.

– Events from 1912 missing in this year’s Games include Tug of War, literature, sculpture, painting, architecture and music.

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  1. One Response to “British Gymnasts Snap Skid; Offer Hope”

  2. I really and honestly think Tug-of-War should be brought back.

    By MJenks on Jul 31, 2012

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