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But these tiny, prepubescent girls were paying a price for this chance of a lifetime. Kerri Strug's career came to a halt after a long struggle with anorexia. In 1991 15-year-old Olympic hopeful Julissa Gomez died after breaking her neck after a misstep on her vault. A fellow gymnast, 15-year-old Christy Henrich, developed anorexia as she struggled to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. She retired at 18, without a medal, and died last year at 22 weighing less than 50 pounds. In a sport where the careers are painfully short, many of these young gymnasts are subjected to the combined pressures of ambitious coaches and parents, and the ideal of the tiny wonder that was Nadia Comaneci. Unlike their male counterparts, who have to grow into their roles; "women" gymnasts are encouraged to stop growing.

Don't even get me started on the disgusting, exploitive, unnatural and dangerous world of "women's" gymnastics. At least they've moved the age limit up over time from 14 to 16, but verification is something of a joke, and I refuse to consider any "sport" where being obviously post-adolescent means you're ready for retirement from top level competition to be a "women's" event. They should just rename it "overly-coached-small-girls-who-are-doing-permanent-damage-to-their-bodies gymnastics".

-synchronicity
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