Let’s talk Chellsie Memmel for a second. Or, I’m gonna talk Chellsie Memmel for a second.
The breaking news this evening, besides the fact that Nastia turned out a great beam set, is that Chellsie Memmel’s petition to the National Championships was denied. I suppose I can see both sides of the coin on this, but in other ways I really don’t.
Chellsie is a smart girl. I like to think that if she saw herself unable to bring her A-game this late in the journey, she would bow out with grace. She doesn’t want to humiliate herself and I don’t want to see her do that either. She couldn’t have anticipated her beam routine this evening; nobody wants to train that hard for so long and get up to do one event, one time and come apart. There is no telling what the issue was. She may still be injured; the podium may have been giving her problems (and considering the other beam routines this evening, that is not an unlikely possibility.) She could’ve been nervous, she could just not be there yet - if she’s ever going to be.
But she’s earned the right to try. Chellsie has been a senior member of the elite since 2003; almost ten years. She has helped Team USA bring in countless medals and gained many for herself; a total of six world and one Olympic, four silver and three gold. She’s competed on mangled shoulders and broken ankles, adhered to rigorous and absolutely unnecessary training schedules set by the administration when she had more than gained her placement. She’s answered the call and done her job on more occasions than I can tally up. And yet, she has just been told that she doesn’t deserve the opportunity to make another attempt.
I don’t understand who it hurts to allow Chellsie admission to another meet. The only person it may hurt is Chellsie herself if she were to get injured, but that’s a risk she takes. If Martha and her supposed committee have already made up their minds, what do they care if she continues on? If she doesn’t make the team, she doesn’t make the team but I don’t understand withholding the possibility. I don’t understand how a girl who has given so much to this sport over so many years can be denied the prospect to compete for them one more time.
I was at the 2008 Olympic Trials when Chellsie was the last competitor on floor during night two, and she had the entire place screaming; she earned a standing ovation. It was a truly priceless moment, and she has now been robbed with another chance to go out in style. Long live ya, Memmel. You’re one of the team with me - now and always.