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Cheering in the press box

August 9, 2008 |  8:31 pm

Chinese  gymnast Yang Yilin

BEIJING -- It is a pretty hard and fast rule in the United States that if you have a seat in the press box, whatever rooting interest you have is kept to yourself, and that mostly works unless you happen to be in an SEC football press box.

That's what it's like here at the National Indoor Stadium where the Chinese women (or girls depending on whose birth certificates you believe) compete. On each completed somersault or double twisting layout there are oohs and aahs; and when each routine is completed, there are standing ovations and table-pounding galore in the press seats. Even when Yang Yilin finished her routine several seconds after her music stopped, the men and women in the Chinese section of the press box clapped and cheered.

The point of the no-cheering thing is to at least give the impression your story will be balanced. It will be interesting to read some of these stories. If I can find a translator.

After two rotations in the first subdivision, China, which has done balance beam and floor exercise, leads Romania, which has done vault and uneven bars, 123.800 to 118.175.

The United States will compete in the second of four subdivisions later this afternoon.

-- Diane Pucin

Related: While insisting there is no evidence that any underage gymnasts are participating in the Olympics, Bruno Grandi, president of FIG, the international governing body of gymnastics, said Saturday that a new licensing system will be instituted within the next year.

photo of teen Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin by How Hwee Young / EPA

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