We praise these young athletes when they succeed, so we might as well call it like it is when they don't. Last night, with the Chinese women's gymnastics team's lead slipping to just 1.00 point with just the floor exercise remaining, American gymnast Alicia Sacramone completely choked, falling on her butt and stepping out of bounds. Her score was a miserable 14.125 and the Americans' hope for gold was over. This followed Sacramone's fall off the balance beam. Her mistakes in these two events were the difference between gold and silver. Choke.
Afterward, coach Martha Karolyi said the Chinese had messed with Sacramone's head, stopping her from taking the balance beam twice before letting her go.
"They put her name up with a stop sign," an animated Karolyi said. "She couldn't go once, she couldn't go twice, and in my opinion it was intentional. Alicia's a little bit too emotional. I told her, 'They tried to break your focus, and you let them do it.'"
Whether the Chinese did it intentionally is probably a 50-50 proposition. If they did do it intentionally, Sacramone certainly fell for it.