Friday, August 22, 2008

Shiny stuff

Last night I went to discover the joys of the sport of rhythmic gymnastics (RG). Well - mostly just to figure out what the heck it was and why it was so popular in Europe. Yes, apparently RG is huge in Europe. Much like David Hasselhoff

First off - I was completely blinded by the overwhelming glare from the sequins.

There is a very sad housewife in Oklahoma who can't bedazzle her jean jacket because rhythmic stole all of the worlds sparkles.

I was looking forward to a match-up between Russia and Ukraine as apparently they're death rivals. RG has a lot of drama. The Russians (with all their awesome jackets that they won't share - jerkbutts) were out in full force with the flags and the chants of "Rush-ee-AH! Rush-ee-AH!" ('russia' said like U-S-A - copycats.... give me your stuff!!) They were very loud for their people - but they were also extremely supportive for the girls that train in Russia, like the two girls from Azerbaijan. Who even knew that place had sequins? I believe the two girls who compete from Azerbaijan were actually born and live in Russia, but because it's so hard to qualify for the Russian national team, they compete for Azerbaijan instead. And they are still ranked top ten in the world!!

You can only send two girls per country to compete in the Olympics and the third ranked girl in Russia was actually a gold medal favorite in RG in Beijing.... and didn't even qualify. Russia is a great place to be a super flexible freak - and since the mafia is heavily involved in RG, when you retire, you can marry a mob boss! ... I'm only half kidding.

I was sitting next to a couple of media dudes from Azerbaijan (which is really hard to spell, btw) and they were these grizzly old, giant-mustached, Borat-wannabes totally into the RG performances. Literally on the edge of their chairs when the group was performing, practically about to pass out from the nerves.

Again - huge in Europe.

So the poor Ukraine girl who's one of the gold medal favorites, Anna Bessonova, had to go immediately following this stream of Russia-love-fest. It was back to back russians and then the Azer girls and then some other random country that they were cheering for and then Bessonova enters the arena and the Russians all jump to sit on their hands and stare stone faced at her willing her to either drop the hoop, drop the rope or better, just drop dead. So since the Russians hate her and also hate me - she's my favorite.

I actually don't have access to the arena that the RG event is held in so I had to borrow one of intern's credentials who had access. You know how American's can't tell Asians apart? Well the same in reverse for Asians. Honkeys have been swapping credentials left and right to sneak into events because the volunteers can't tell us apart. hehe

so rhythmic - what an awesome freak show!!

Those girls are flexible beyond what is even human. I wonder if they miss their spines?

I actually really, really enjoyed the group routines. 5 girls, 5 ropes, one very complicated game of cats in the cradle. It was almost more fun to watch the teams that were less skilled because you could kind of get an idea of how they were getting their ropes in the various places. With the really good teams like Belarus and Russia, you couldn't see any sort of set up! Just, whoop - 5 ropes in the air! whoop - 5 ropes being flung off 5 leaping girls' feet! whoop - 5 ropes spelling out the complete word "orange".... wild stuff. I highly recommend going to and watching the rope group routines.
Group video

A gallery from last nights competition

One kind of wild thing about Chinese sporting events is that no one really eats in the arena. I wasn't sure if they even sold food in the place so I took a walk to see. Well - they do sell food but ummm... anyone up for a 'spicy beef stick'? Or perhaps a 'biscuit'? Maybe a piece of 'bread'? Well, now I guess I know why no one chows down in china.

Also - the arena smells like feet.

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