Netflix Review "Athlete A." The Welfare of Children, Ain't no Shame and a Gold Medal Incentive.

Updated: Jun 29

Netflix Review: “Athlete A” Changed My Life.

It all happened so fast.

I believed pound for pound

girl gymnasts are the most superior athletes on earth.

They've pushed the limits of their art

Beyond what we thought was possible.

And although I still believe that...

I have to question now:

At what cost?

1976 was a big year: for gymnastics, college basketball

(and the Bi-Centennial of U.S. Democracy).

And Bela Karolyi was the coach of a little girl

Named Nadia Comeneci

who snatched the world's attention

in the ‘76 Olympics.

She was 14 years old.

She changed the landscape.

And women were gone

from World Class Gymnastics.

Bela Karolyi chose little girls based on three criteria:

Flexibility. Strength.

And fucking fearlessness

(The expletive is mine, not his, and expresses degree.

A level of fearlessness likened

to Inner City Youth, Big Wave Surfers,

MotoCross and Downhill Skiing).

The girls were also ultra-competitive

Type A perfectionists and bound to please...

Anything to please.

Coaches, parents

(in that order)

And all for approval…

an Olympic Jacket

and a chance at a medal?

No.


A chance at Gold.

Not so much the jacket

or a podium.

Gold Medal.

Go get em little girl!

It's a heady incentive.


Given the incentive:

What are people willing to do?

The kids? The parents?

What are they willing to say?

And not say?

And under different circumstances?

How would they act.


Check out The Milgram Studies and


"The natural inclination to appear cooperative even when acting against their own better judgement."

And the birth of modern day

Ethics in Psychology.


Here's an Atlantic Article from 2015.



Open the Dialogue about Private Parts.

Watching the film and the interview with Nasser.

He provided a possible reason for

Anally penetrating an athlete:

To adjust the Coccyx.

Tenuous but viable?


But undoubtedly worth a dialogue

Between the Doc, the child and the parent.

About touching private parts.

And a conversation about

Penetrating our private parts.

Under no circumstances

Is vaginal penetration permit-able

And that happened to girl athletes

By Nasser.

The cases against begin in 1997

and pop up every few years.

And in between?

Parents complain to USA Gymnastics

Whose position is:

We do nothing until

A parent makes a Police Report.

What started with 3 known victims for a trial.

Became 140.

And then 500 in total came forward.

The take away from the #MeToo

Movement is to open the dialogue.

Particularly with kids, athletes, actors

All of them.

Come forward. Report. Right Away.

Ain't No Shame.

Tell your parents or the coach.

You have a responsibility to yourself.

And for parents…

Seek out that dialogue with yer youngin'.

Go to the police.

File the report.

There is a dignity.

And an honor.

In saving others from

Experiencing that

Which we have suffered ourselves.

The truth shall set freedom;

And the healing can begin.

Here is the Link to a complete list of Mandated Court Reporters

People required by Law to Report a Complaint

to Law Officials...

Teachers, Parole Officers, Social Workers, Principals,

Clergy. Animal Control Officers.

A Security Guard at the Social Security Office.

And if one doesn’t work?

Tell another one.

And another one.

Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway...


https://www.childwelfare.gov/


And seek out a continuing dialogue

with your child.


And Report.

Right Away.

___________________

More than a couple million girls

Participate in gymnastics every year.

Every 4 years

Five make the U.S Olympic Team

and three are alternates.

Champions separate themselves

the first time they step on a mat.

And people shake their heads

in awe of a four year old.

By the time the little girl is ten

she's weeded through regionals,

cart-wheels throughout the house

without breaking anything

and has been scouted

by any of the 100's of gymnastics schools.

“You gotta see this one!”

So by the time they’re 12

There’s a serious family conversation

about Going for the Gold in

the next 2 or 3 Olympics.

“You only have now little girl”

Is the message.

And by natural ability

and facility

and the desire for approval.

The little girl keeps winning

and getting better.

(Or they get hurt:

Which is a passive retirement.)

They train full time.

40 hours a week.

And camps in the summer

that run 7 days a week, 6-8 hours a day

for at least six weeks.

Elite Military Grade fitness

for underage participants.


Separated from their family;

Manson style isolation.

And these little girls do that

for 4, 6 or 8 years.

And then they're 18.

Have just reached the age of consent

have never had a consistent menstrual cycle

but have worked harder

than most people

will ever work in their whole entire lives.

A Gold Medal?

That’s the incentive.

To be the best in the world.

She was only 14.

______________

1976 was also the year

that Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers

men's basketball team

went undefeated.

Only seven teams have done that in NCAA History.

It takes many stars to align

And talent is only one part of many.

The prevailing historical leadership attributes

were work hard, work harder,

Discipline discipline discipline.

Driven by passion and intensity.

That’s what created the undefeated team.

In “Athlete A”

The first Victim's Statement at the end of the Nasser trial

started like this:

“Larry you saw all the physical, mental and emotional

Abuse we suffered from our coaches and USA Gymnastics Staff.”

Mental, Physical and Emotional Abuse.

Here is a glance at Emotional Abuse

From the National Domestic Violence Hotline:



Everything you need to know right there.


Criminalizing Emotional Abuse

Is tricky...

with kids and parents

and husbands and wives.


And coaches.

Bobby Knight is one of the most successful

college basketball coaches of all time.

I have no doubt many former players

have PTSD from Coach Knight.

The nightmares

of failure.

Or flashbacks of running till you vomit

or are lucky enough to get wobbly and pass out

(this before Gatorade kept us going).


They were all surely pushed out of their comfort zone.

Some got the message and quit.


A bunch of them are also

the best version of themselves

that they could have ever dreamed to be

and have flashbacks of glory.


Thanks to Coach.


________________

And Bela?

By today's standards

Bela Karolyi the great defector

who looked for strength, flexibility

and fearlessness in little girls

And produced a canon of the greatest gymnasts

the world has yet known…

Anyways, the documentary film, "Athlete A" is worth the time.

Worth a view.


Now Available on Netflix.

Big Shout out to all the little girls.

Thank heavens!



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