Intro for July 12, 2016
On Sunday night I intended to be asleep by 11pm. That didn’t happen because Marta Karolyi and her hilarious little backpack took longer than expected to select the US gymnastics Olympic team. They will be stars in Rio. But Marta? Marta’s getting some spotlight too. Perhaps it’s because she’s retiring. Mostly it’s because she is a f-cking BOSS, a woman who calls the shots. But also, maybe, it’s because she’s a character. Buzzfeed already dedicated an amazing post to her yesterday. And here’s a good profile of her career that was published this weekend. She is a stickler for details and form, striving for perfection…but it must be sequined. Marta believes winners must never skimp on sequins.
We’re still just over 3 weeks out from the start of the Olympics but most people have already declared the US gymnastics team a slamdunk for team gold, that they will “obliterate the competition”, led by Simone Biles who is already being called the greatest gymnast of all time. I get anxious about favourites in gymnastics and figure skating going into the Olympics though. It’s permanent scarring from the heartbreak of Michelle Kwan never winning Olympic gold.
That said, the US team already feels like a victory in its diversity. Of its five members and three alternates there are two black athletes, one First Nations athlete, a Jewish athlete, and an Hispanic athlete heading to Rio to represent America. Laurie Hernandez, on Sunday, became the “first US-born Hispanic female gymnast to make the US Olympic squad in more than 30 years”. And she understands her position, telling The Guardian that:
“Si Dios lo quiere (If God wishes), to represent the US as the only Latina gymnast would be such an honor. I feel I could be a role model to other Hispanic gymnasts interested in the sport but I also want them to understand the importance of being focused, determined, and not giving up, despite all the struggles.”
Her ma knows the significance too:
“It means a lot to our family,” says her mother, Wanda Hernandez. “As it can open doors to other young Latina girls that would like to try gymnastics.”
The last article I read last night was about the potential of youth. So. Is this the team that’s needed in these times?
Yours in gossip,
Ezra Shaw/ Getty Images