Four years ago, I was just getting started on The Couch Gymnast Blog. Back then it was a scrappy (it’s still a little scrappy and that will never change!) little space on Blogger where I wrote down whatever came to mind on gymnastics and where maybe a small handful of people a day would read what I had to say. It was a big old mess. But it was a mess that I loved and spent hours each week dreaming up and writing. It had that ridiculous black background with white writing that readers complained made it impossible to read. The photos were all over the place because I didn’t even know how to position them. There were SO many typos (you think there are a lot now- you ain’t seen nothin’?!).
This blog has changed a lot in the last four years. It is hosted on a different site. It looks different. It includes a lot of different voices. It has definitely evolved- and for the better, I hope. I don’t want to get all sappy and stuff (okay, I will a bit), but I am really proud of how much TCG has grown in the last four years. I am so, so glad I decided to make it a space for other writers, too, who have enriched the site with their talent, their enthusiasm and their diverse points of view. It is a big commitment when you decide that you are going to really, properly cover a sport with no money and little access, and it is only with incredible help that it has been possible to become a known information source in the gymnastics media world. I am so grateful for all the contributors’ hard work. Only they and I know how much work keeping TCG together is. I am also so glad it is a space where fans can express their point of view. Gymnastics is a sport where many fans know what they are talking about, and can often have unique, interesting and informed takes on the sport. I want TCG to be a place for it. And I am glad you all seem to enjoy reading it.
So, although the blog has changed, our love of gymnastics has not changed. Nor has the importance of the Olympic Games in ruling our sport. We still work in four year cycles. We anticipate every Olympics. We view each gymnastics event in light of what it will mean come the next Games. And when it finally does come we savour each gymnastics event as if it is the biggest thing that ever happened (and maybe it is!).
Four years ago, when on my blogging training wheels, I was writing a post called ‘The Beijing Awards’, which were my own personal ‘Awards’ given to gymnasts for their performances at the Games. In this article, I gave Chellsie Memmel the ‘Why-oh-Why’ Award, Anna Pavlova the ‘Weedy Pigeon’ Award, Ksenia Afanasyeva and Bridget Sloan the ‘Please Don’t Run Out of Steam’ Award, Elsa Garcia the ‘Wish You Were Here Award. The list goes on.
At that time I didn’t really have readers- or if I did, I certainly didn’t know about them. Later, when Rick from Gymnastics Coaching linked to my blog (the way most gym bloggers are made!!) and a friend introduced me to Google Analytics, I realised people were reading and that meant I could get others take part in the fun. So began the annual TCG awards at the end of each year. But I kind of feel like the Olympics, our big behemoth gymnastics meet needs its own awards. In our sport, it is not the passing of years that punctuates the sport, it is the passing of Olympic Games. So it needs its own space of celebration.
I think it safe to say that enough time has passed, enough distance has been achieved, enough dust has settled for us to look back at the Olympic competition we spent countless hours anticipating, debating and discussing over the last four years since Beijing and think about the moments, the performances and the gymnasts that made it such an incredible competition. So here we have it, folks, the TCG London 2012 Awards.
This post is an introduction to the Awards, but it also serves as a commitment.
TCG will take you through the next four years the same way it did the last four years. Sure, it might be messy sometimes. It might be quieter some days than others. There will still be typos (there will always be typos- live with it). There will be fans who know more than writers. There will be meets we can’t find video for. There will be trolls. There will be laughs. There will be translations. There will be a day now and then when there is no new content because I need a day of rest. But one thing I can promise is that we will be here, and we will be doing our best to always bring you something, even when it feels like there is nothing out there. There will be opinion (always opinion). There will be history. There will be debate. There will be context. There will be attempts to unravel the mysteries of the code. There will be stories wherever we can find stories. So, if there are new fans out there, stick around in the time between the Olympics. Hopefully we can make it worth it. If you loved these Olympics, imagine how great the next ones will be when you have the lens of context through which to experience it.
Now, go and vote for your TCG Olympic Awards. And REMEMBER, folks! It is not a popularity contest. It is not an exercise in patriotism. It is not a place to pick your ‘most favorite gymnast in the world’. It is acknowledgment of the effort, brilliance and beauty we witnessed during our long-awaited Olympic Games, by the gymnasts we made watch the long hard journey over four years to get there. Let’s give them their due.
Thanks to all TCG contributors over the last quad, and thanks to those who are coming along for the ride into the next one.
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Article: Brigid McCarthy
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