Little girls in pretty boxes: The Making
And Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and
When it came to choosing a second book to read I took into consideration that in this essay I would have to choose a passage that I connected with, so I thought to look at books that had to do with gymnastics. I wanted to look at a book about gymnastics because I was a gymnast from age three to thirteen and I was a competitive gymnast from age eleven to thirteen. Then I also had to think that I had to choose a passage that I didn’t understand. So I couldn’t pick a book that was just about gymnastics and that’s why I believe that, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes was the perfect choice. It had gymnastics which was a big part of my life, and figure skating which I don’t really know anything about. With this book it discusses the “ugly” side of these Olympic sports. It touches upon the rough spots. These girls who appear beautiful on stage and in public are actually empty shells, girls being bulimic and anorexic to fulfill this ridiculous image that America and the World has set for them. It brings all this horrible information into light and really makes you think. It shows the journey of young girls from happy and wholesome individuals into robots. Sandy Henrich once said she would never put her daughter, Christy, back into gymnastics once she got well because the coaches and judges, who were supposed to protect her, took her soul and still have it.
”Gymnasts get hurt so often because the sport demands ever-increasing training hours and ever-diminishing bodies. Dr. Lyle Micheli, a pediatric orthopedist at Harvard Medical School and former president of the American College of Sports Medicine, says gymnasts who train more than sixteen hours a week are at high risk for repetitive stress fractures, most dangerously in the back. Most elite gymnasts train between thirty and forty-five hours a week, and nearly all complain of back pain. A 1990 study of Swedish male gymnasts found they had as many degenerated discs in their spines as the average sixty-five-year-old man, leading the researchers to suspect that the spinal damage had occurred during the young athletes’ growth spurts. The muscles of children can develop the strengthen like those of adults, allowing them to perform difficult maneuvers, but their bones do not keep pace. ” (Ryan, 43) Even though I was not an elite gymnast, and did not spend between thirty and forty-five hours a week training at the gym I did spent quite a while there, and with spending time there I did get injuries. Where as the only back issues I have had because of the sport is every once in a while I have a painful twinge, my sister wasn’t so lucky, because of the sport and her doing so many back-walkovers she is now missing tissue in between two of her back vertebras. Considering the absence of a back injury I did get quite a few things that’ll stay with me forever, for example I have an indent in my right shin from falling off the beam and hitting it exactly on the corner of the beam. While we are talking about my shins I also have shin splints, and basically shin splints are pains along the inner edge of the shin bone. Now where shin splints aren’t exactly injuries they still hurt whenever I run, and that is where I can make connections to the girls in the book and most gymnasts out there.
“In truth, the perfect skater is a combination of Twiggy and Barbie, thin enough to perform the difficult jumps and desirable enough to fit skating’s cover-girl image. Dating back to Sonia Henie in the 1920s, when she introduced dazzling fur-trimmed costumes, skaters have fed the cultural fantasy of the ideal female: young, beautiful, refined, glamorous, wholesomely sexy and, of course, thin. Creating a skating star, like creating a movie star, is as much an exercise in politics and public relation as it is in coaching and training. “it’s a packaging process, very much so,” Scotvald says. “You’re trying