And I do mean that in a lesbian way. Oh, Svetlana Khorkina. What will gymnastics be without you? A continuing parade of pert, graceless inherently-jingoistic automatons in a continual contest to out-little each other? While Carly Patterson is probably joining the W. campaign trail (for some reason she looks like a Republican to me, something about her face screams, “It’s your fault you’re poor!”) and counting endorsement deals, Svetlana is planning to go back to college and eat.
She’s a mere three years younger than me (and my geriatric twenty-eighth birthday is in SIX SHORT DAYS, people, and I do love presents) and yet she still almost dethroned that klunkomatic7000 from Texas. Sure, she biffed it in the bar final, but maybe she, as someone old enough to drink legally, was hungover or something. Who knows?
All I know is that she was everything gymnastics is not (but should be): sexy, legitimately sexy and not fetishized little-girl I-hate-myself-and-have-to-cut-you-into-little-pieces sexy; dramatic and defiant in a sport that values conformity and obedience; intelligent in a sport that yanks little girls out of school as young as ten here in the U.S.; and, most importnatly, at a whopping 5′ 5″, tall.
Who will replace Svetlana as gymnastics’s next swan? Before her it was another (and slightly more playful) Svetlana, Svetlana Boguinskaya…so there obviously seems to be some sort of rule here. So, which one of you is going to change your name to Svetlana and save gymnastics forever? Which one? Which one? I can’t do it, my legs are like tree stumps.