Saturday, August 16, 2008

No, No, Noonan

Those of you that know me (and my fine volume of written works) know that I don't take oversights and criticism of gymnasts or gymnastics lightly.

Well, one Mr Graeme Noonan of Phillip Island is going to open his funny pages in the coming days to read a finely-crafted (yet sadly-culled-to-200-word-limit) piece of MezMail. I had a bit that went along the lines of "Bronte Barratt and Emily Seebohm are teenagers, and they sport tight-fitting attire. Do we ever criticize them?" but it wouldn't fit. So here's what I cranked out:

I disagree with Graeme Noonan's remarks regarding women's gymnastics. Noonan makes it sound as though competitors are paraded naively like child beauty pageant contestants for adult male judges.

Had Mr Noonan been paying attention to the changing nature of the sport rather than buying into antiquated armchair commentary that rolls around every quadrennium, he would realise that many elite gymnasts are not "pre-pubescent", rather, still competing well into their 20's because they love it. They may be petite but they are far from pre-schoolers. The minimum age requirement for major international competitions is 16. One of Australia's Beijing team members is 18, another is 19. The USA boasts a world champion who put aside college studies for the Olympics. Germany's best gymnast is 32; a mother who competes to raise money for her son's leukemia treatment.

Furthermore, tied hair and leotards are gymnastics requirements, they cater for freedom of movement. Glitter serves as eye-catching fun.

These are not children raiding mum's wardrobe for high heels. These are well-adjusted young women who are fine examples of athleticism and sportsmanship, alongside any footballer or basketballer.

Advantage, Meredith.

Your move, NoonFace.


mistysakura said...

Uh... Yeah. By the way, I also wrote a letter, just something short and sweet. Seems they're more inclined to publish shorted pieces. Damn, forgot about Chusovitina.

Athelets, not sexual objects
No, Ekke Martini (Letters, 16/8), gymnastics is not the sexualisation of pre-pubescents. Gymnasts must be sixteen to compete at the Olympic Games; the women's all-around champion, Nastia Liukin, is eighteen. They wear age-appropriate make-up and uniforms allowing for ease of movement, which are no more revealing than swimsuits. It is a shame that in the twenty-first century, our strong, independent female athletes cannot compete without being associated with sexualisation.

Anonymous said...

Who is Noonan of Phillip Island? Some journalist? A talk back radio annoyance?

Whichever, that is a great letter Mez. I so detest people who only comment everytime the Olympics rolls around, thinking they are so in the know, when it is you and me who have followed it every day for the four years since the previous Olympics.

Great job. I hope your letter gets published!

Anonymous said...

dasha was on yum cha just now - apparently sporting two black eyes covered with make-up. Very well spoken.

Mez said...

*sigh* My attempt at a print debut and I get it wrong!

Thanks for correcting me on the name, MS.

Poor Mr Noonan, he'll be getting incorrectly-directed vitriol My bad, folks! I misread the letters and bagged out the wrong person! (Damn, and I had so many 'Noon'-related puns as well....)