Bulgaria's Golden Team Deserves More and They Aren't the Only Ones

The Bulgarian team won a much deserved gold in the mixed group routine today. But we all saw that the judging in the all around and ball final was not great. While fans are not experts, fans are the heart of this sport. If nobody watched gymnastics, gymnastics would not exists. And if fans watch a routine with mistakes that gets an unexpectedly high score, fans have every right to feel indignation and anger.

I write about the issues with judging here not because I like certain gymnasts more than others. I have always written heartfelt and inspired posts here, not just about Bulgarians but about gymnasts Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Italy, Israel, South Korea, USA, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and many other countries. Even about gymnasts from countries that do not have a strong tradition in gymnastics, like South Africa, Australia or Argentina.  But I am getting really tired of watching teams make serious mistakes and still win medals.  The Bulgarian team has tremendous difficulty built into their routines. When they perform cleanly, they should not be outscored by teams with mistakes. The situation is very simple and the injustice is visible for all of the fans. I would imagine that the gymnasts themselves want to win fairly, not receive medals from "gifts" from judges, as fairness is the fundamental principal of athletic competition.

Many fans, myself included, are also getting tired of the sisters Averini making drops, stumbling on pivots, and wiping the carpet with the ribbon, only so as to win another gold. We have fantastic gymnasts like Linoy Ashram and Katya Galkina who have routinely been prevented from winning gold when they deserve it. The truth is that if we want fans in this sport to still enjoy it, all of this should stop. These comments don't mean that Dina and Arina are not wonderful gymnasts. They are.  But if they want to continue to earn the admiration and respect of fans, they need to win fairly and be scored fairly. Just like everyone else.

Sports should be an opportunity for those who are the best to win, not a place where scheming and machinations among judges determines the winner.  If the interpretation of the code of points  or the code itself results in unfair treatment, we need to revise the code to make our sport attractive and loved by the viewers, rather than mocked and despised because of constant drama related to judging. It should not be that hard to see those who are the best take the podium!