Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters Paperback – Aug 1 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Sports columnist Ryan presents an expose of the physical and psychological suffering endured by young Olympic hopefuls.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA?In an attempt to focus attention on the high price paid through pain, pressure, and humiliation to become an Olympic champion, Ryan has researched the stories behind some of the young female superstar gymnasts and figure skaters. The extraordinary cost to these young women in body, mind, and spirit is dramatized through the intense subculture dominated by gyms, trainers, parents, and sports officials who press for excellence and success without regard to the health and well-being of those involved. This anecdotal account serves as a warning to all those engaged in competitive sports that children should not be sacrificed to adult egos and the thrills of victory. A book to be pondered by coaches, parents, and young people.?Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School Library, Upper Marlboro, MD
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There is a lot of backstage dish in the book that is interesting. True life stories, some of which are heartbreaking, flesh out the allegations asserted by the author. The emphasis on being tiny and elfin has had enormous impact on elite female gymnasts. One sees the difference in just by looking comparatively at the women's U.S. Olympic gymnastic teams from 1976 and 1992. The photographs in the book best illustrate this and the comparison bespeaks volumes. Elite gymnastics went from being a woman's sport to a girl's sport, as the author has sagely noted, and the photographs corroborate that assertion.
Moreover, while some measures have been taken, such as raising the age for Olympic competition in 2000 from fifteen to sixteen, at the same time the minimum level of difficulty has increased, making an already dangerous sport more dangerous. Remember, elite gymnastics is a sport fraught with the potential for devastating spinal cord injuries. The author recounts a number of these heartbreaking injuries and the circumstances under which they occurred, leaving the reader to ask oneself, "Just what were these coaches thinking?
The pressure that some of these girls and young women endure is truly unbelievable.Read more ›
But then I decided that if I was going to become a true fan on gymnastics, I might was well read about both sides of it, and I borrowed this book.
Before I say anything else, let me just mentioned that this is a very interesting book. One night I planned on reading one chapter and ended up reading several. So if you do read this book, you will not be bored.
But aside from that, this book tells you about gymnast's trouble with anorexia and bulimia, and how some girls starved themselves to make themselves look thin.
I think if you're going to show the bad side to gymnastics, you have to show the good side as well. Yes, girls did starve themselves, and coaches did call them degrading names, but the author didn't tell about the girls who didn't starve themselves, about the coaches that treated their gymnasts firmly but with respect, and the rewards that came with that. This book was entirely one-sided, and it could leave you with a bad taste in the mouth if you're not careful.
I was in a webchat with Shannon Miller not too long ago, and I asked her what she thought about the book. She said that she hadn't read it because she 'preferred not to read fiction', and that she knew what was true and what wasn't. I believe her! One of the things I read in there said that Steve Nunno was only into coaching to get what he could get out of it. Joan Ryan, the person who wrote this book, has some serious catching up to do.
I also think that some of the comments about Bela Karolyi were exaggerated.Read more ›
Gymnasts and figure skates live a very tough, pressurized life, and Joan Ryan unzips the media's hype. As she explains, they only have one chance to win. One chance to be perfect. This book will explain to you that not everyone who participates in this sport ends up retiring winning five Olympic medals, being happy, and feeling great. This book is a must read for all gymnasts, parents, coaches- basically anyone whose involved in these two sports.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was very effective in showing the world some of the truths about gymnastics and figure skating. Read morePublished on June 24 2004
What an extremely biased, unfiar, and untrue this book was! First of all, lets start with the title. It was so misleading. What about figure skaters? Read morePublished on June 3 2004
Though I am not a gymnast or an iceskater, this book was touching for me. I wouldn't know the true things that go on during practices, or if the stories choosen were only the ones... Read morePublished on March 7 2004
Having competed in the upper ranks of the fiqure skating world, I have seen much of what Ryan speaks about in this book. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004
This is a heartbreaking book about gymnasts and (and to a smaller degree) ice skaters who sacrificed everything to get to the top of their sports, but somehow fell short when the... Read morePublished on Dec 30 2003 by yizzy99
where's the video? i liked the movie better than the book. has it been released yet?Published on Dec 27 2003
Yes, it is true that some gymnasts, figure skaters, ballerinas, and other athletes (such as wrestlers, cross country runners, etc.) have suffered from EDs. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2003
I have to agree w/ the other people who gave negative reviews for this book. I don't know much about this author, but I would assume she was never a gymnast or figure skater. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2003
I believe Ryan is correct in the life of gymnasts and figure skaters...I have been a gymnast for 15 years now, and have seen more people quit the sport because of feeling to... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2003 by Rebecca W