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July 23, 1996

The Thrill Of Victory
Copyright 1996 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

If the U.S. men take gold in Middleweight Boxing, I win an Arch Deluxe at McDonalds. Therefore I'm rooting for the Ukraine. But Sunday I found myself watching what most men were watching... Women's Gymnastics.

As the commentators spoke about America's Dominique Dawes, they mentioned how she'd grown a whole five inches (12.7 cm) since the last Olympic Games. It was only later that they explained she'd gone from four-foot-seven (1.397 m) and 75 pounds (34.1 kg) to five-foot-nothing (1.524 m) and 90 pounds (40.9 kg).

But that was pretty big when China's gang of eight-year-olds came out on the floor. Okay, they weren't that young, but they were so small. I kept expecting a house to fall on their coach. All along, John Tesh was calling them "the little..." and "the tiny..." I was actually yelling at the TV: "Thanks for overstating the obvious. Now give us some dang numbers!"

Some men watch Women's Gymnastics because it is, shall we say... "stimulating." But first, I tend to like women who are of voting age or older, so that cut out most of the gymnasts. And another thing I like is height. The taller the better. Yet as they discussed a Russian gymnast who was five-foot-four and a half (1.63 m), they said that if she grew any more, she'd no longer be able to compete in all-around events. That's pretty much the cap. And since I didn't find her attractive, I'd eliminated just about everyone but Svetlana Boginskaya. And as good looking as she is, that's not enough to make me watch hours of gymnastics. So there had to be something else.

Could it be that these diminuitive ladies are incredible athletes and I was awestruck by their amazing talent? Could it be that this is a sport that has enough drama and tension to capture and hold my interest? Yes on both. But there was one more thing that aided in my channel choice. My other options were home-shopping, a re-run of "Night Court," and a movie about the Beach Boys. In comparison, even Olympic bass fishing would have been dramatic.

So for the next couple of weeks I'll be watching the Olympics. Not because of the drama and intensity. Not because of the thrill of international competition. Not even for Svetlana Boginskaya or a couple of German women I spotted at today's swimming relay when I flipped away from the HBO airing of "Body Slam," a low-budget comedy about professional wrestling. I'll be watching the Olympics for one reason and one reason only... everything else sucks.

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