It's been a couple of weeks since the IOC announced it was stripping China of the 2000 Olympic team bronze, and therefore the USA women would move up one spot and receive that medal.
Most of the US team has been approached by the media and given an opinion on the events. And the reaction seems to be pretty mixed, and also, to bring up some bad memories from 2000.
2000 US national champion Elise Ray told AnnArbor.com, "At first when I heard, I was really excited," she said in a phone interview last week from her Maryland home. "But on the other hand, it's like this swarm of emotions hits you have to deal a lot of memories and emotions that a lot of us had swept underneath the rug."
She goes on to talk about difficult memories from the Games, and hints that the team felt robbed of their Olympic experience by team coordinator Bela Karolyi. "I tend to forget all the success I had that got me there because of one bad memory. It's interesting to look back because there are things I wish I would have done or spoken up, but at the time, I just couldn't do it...And just because that one competition didn't go the way we hoped and because the whole experience was kind of taken from us, it doesn't erase the experiences I had that got me there."
Meanwhile, The Allentown Morning Call, ran an editorial in which the author writes an open letter to Karolyi, blasting him. It includes lines like, "You tried your best to douse the competitive fire that made America's 2000 Olympians some of the best female gymnasts in the world. And when they struggled on the first day of competition of the Sydney Games as a result of the relentless pressure you put on them, you ripped them." The editorial has a quote from Kristen Maloney (the 1998 and 1999 US champ) saying, "10 years of feeling like we failed. They didn't treat us very well."
Maloney also told the New York Daily News that she sympathized with the Chinese gymnasts. "It's not their fault. It's not like in other sports when athletes are taking steroids voluntarily. They do what they're told. End of story."
Three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes echoed a similar sentiment to Yahoo! Sports. She says, "When I look at it, there are two things that bother me. One, my teammates. This is their first medal and they didn't get to stand on the podium and have those medals put around our necks and have America watching on TV and be so proud of them, and number two, it's the Chinese gymnasts. The one thing that everyone's ignoring in this situation is that these gymnasts don't have a voice. They don't have a say. They're told that they're going to compete, and they're supposed to say they're a certain age, and it's sad. They are stripping these athletes, and they don't have a voice."
Dawes also mentions some disappointment felt by the team's original fourth-place finish, "It was very difficult not just for the gymnasts, but the coaches as well. When we got to Sydney, we didn't have gold medal on our minds, but we knew there was a possibility for us to get on the podium. It is good to know that now, 10 years later, we did achieve the goal that we had set out to do."
Tasha Schwikert, the youngest member of the 2000 team, also talked about how she felt about achieving the goal of winning a medal. From the Los Angeles Times: Schwikert... said she'll like giving a different answer to the question, "Did you win a medal? I've always said, ‘No, we got fourth.' Now it will be nice to say, ‘We got bronze.' We worked hard for that. I do believe we earned it."
What do you think about this ruling? Was it the right decision? Share your thoughts.