Elegance, Your Name is Milena

I have watched gymnastics for more than three decades now. I have experienced some high and many low moments as a fan. Sometimes the athletes and coaches you admire disappoint you. Sometimes the judges cruelly deprive the best of what they deserve. Sometimes a talented person chooses not to develop her talent further. Sometimes you watch what you considered a future star turn into a mediocre person with heavy make up and lots of plastic surgery. It isn't easy to be a fan, believe me, it's actually hard work. I struggle with it all and there are times when I am about to give up.You have to keep your heart open and keeping expecting the best of people. You have to let go when disappointment settles in. You have to deeply appreciate beauty and never let go of hope. 

For the last couple of years I have watched the Averini sisters run around the carpet fast and perform with no regard to the music whatsoever. I have watched them get high scores with major errors and I have watched them come out in kitschy leotards and do element after element, not cleanly, but cleanly enough to win. Every time.  I was about to give up on rhythmic gymnastics and think that we are doomed to see the same movements and style again, and again, and again.

But then, Milena Baldassari stepped on the carpet. Honestly, she's the reason I am staying a fan now. She is that ray of light I needed in order to believe this sport is still worth it. Because she is different in her elegance and elegant in her difference from others. She brings her own style and expression, she moves and lives with the music, she glides from one element to the next.  She looks as though all of her movements come from a fairy tale about elegance

All I want to do now is wish her the best of health and luck and say: Milena, you will one day receive the medals you have already deserved. People who make a difference eventually receive recognition. You are supremely talented and you have chosen to try to compete with yourself: to become better. That choice is all that matters. For someone as gifted as you, the rest is a matter of time.