Little Raj Happy At Last

August 25, 2008

Raj BhavsarWhen Raj Bhavsar returned from the Beijing Olympics to his home in Texas, he was met by a large group of family, friends, and well-wishers. Houstonians came to the airport to let him know how proud they were of his accomplishments and how well he had represented them and his country. A banner read, “Fairy Tale Team!”, “Raj’s Remarkable Journey!”

I would agree that Raj Bhavsar’s journey has been remarkable, although for those that knew what the American team was capable of, it was not so much fairy tale as it was the conclusion of an inspirational movie script.

Seeing the welcome party, Raj remarked that it was just starting to sink in that he really is an Olympic medalist.

With a little goading, Raj pulled his bronze medal from his bag and displayed it for the crowd. When asked how he felt to receive the medal on the award platform he said, “You know, I wanted to cry but I couldn’t, because I was just so happy. You know, it was just all smiles.”

That’s a sentiment shared by many Americans as they saw a great gymnast and role model receive the award that he had deserved for so long.

In an interview with India-West newspaper Raj is quoted as saying, “I think my story is very uplifting for people. In life, it doesn’t really matter where you come from, how much money you have, what your title is in life. Sometimes, life is gonna give you lemons, and we are all taught to make the lemonade, but sometimes we’re never really told how, and I believe I have assembled a formula for picking yourself up and dusting yourself off and starting over and dreaming again. I believe that that message can uplift people, and I think some day I would love to share it with people. If it means public speaking, or writing some articles or a book, then I would love to do that, because I think my mission in life is to uplift the human spirit.”

It would be great to hear Raj Bhavsar do motivational speaking as he has an amazing story to tell.

See Olympian Raj Bhavsar for more background information.

Horton And Artemev Put U.S. In The Money

August 14, 2008

In the artistic gymnastics men’s team competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the United States was able to earn a bronze medal through superior achievement by Jonathan Horton, solid performance by Raj Bhavsar and a nerve-wracking clutch routine by Alexander Artemev.

Among other things, Jonathan Horton‘s high bar routine was stunning and his triple twisting double layout dismount was absolutely breathtaking. After doing his twists while hurdling towards the ground, Horton manged to stick his landing as if the floor was a super-magnet and his feet were made of iron. The mat and Horton’s feet locked and his 5’1″ body wasn’t going anywhere except to an erect display of triumph.

Raj Bhavsar did everything he needed to do to show that he had always deserved to be representing America, delivering his usual high quality results. This despite his age and the mind games that USA Gymnastics have played with him in selecting the Olympic team.

Alexander Sasha ArtemevSasha Artemev came through when he needed to, on his specialty apparatus the pommel horse, in the last rotation, as the last American to perform. The American’s medal chances rested on Artemev’s shoulders and it was anything but certain on how well Artemev would do. He had had widely inconsistent performances on the horse in 2008, at the national championships and the Olympic trials. Would he be the dazzling gymnast he has shown he can be or would he be the choking goat that cost him teammates a third place finish? Fortunately for all involved, except for the fourth place Germans, Artemev was on top of his game and wowed the crowd. It was enough to ensure the U.S. team would stand on the medals platform.

Alexander Artemev and Jonathan Horton also qualified for the all-around competition and two of the finals for individual apparatus (Artemev on pommel horse and Horton on horizontal bar).

In the all-around, Horton finished 9th out of 24. He was 4/10s of a point away from a silver medal. If he could have gotten even a middle of the road score on his lowest apparatus, the pommel horse, he could have easily gotten second place. Artemev ended up in 12th.

Three days later in the pommel horse final, Artemev finally flung himself off of the apparatus in what may become known as the Artemev Fling, as he does it so often. Fortunately, it occurred on the apparatus final and not during the qualifications or team final. He finished 7th out of 8. While it would have been nice for an American to win a medal, Louis Smith’s bronze was the first individual medal in gymnastics in a 100 years for Great Britain, so he and his country probably needed it more.

Raj Bhavsar Proves His Mettle

August 10, 2008

Raj BhavsarIn the men’s gymnastics qualifications at the Beijing Olympics, Raj Bhavsar proved once again how worthless is the selection committee for the USA Gymnastics organization. The committee had made Raj only an alternate for the 2008 Olympics (just as they had screwed him the same way in 2004) despite Raj’s clear superiority over some of the other athletes that were selected. After Paul Hamm had to drop out because of incomplete healing from an injury, the governing body used an objective computer program that had no problem picking Raj as the right replacement.

Many people have used deductive reasoning, ruling out every other possible reason for worthy Raj not to have been previously selected, and the only reason that seems to remain was his ethnicity. If true, it’s disgusting and the USA Gymnastics organization needs to clean house to figure out why prejudice is allowed to be a factor in selection.

Looking at the results from the qualifications on day one of the Beijing games, it can be seen that Raj beat some of his team mates on every apparatus except floor, and that was mainly due to the lower difficulty score of Raj’s routine. In fact, if Raj had been allowed to compete on the high bar, he would have even qualified for the all-around competition. Remember, he was only consider worthy of being an alternate by the numbskulls on the committee.

usa gymnastics

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