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T he story of women in sports is like the story of women in many other activities. First they were ignored, and then gradually became accepted. Now they are just taken for granted as part of any sporting events.

T ake gymnastics, for instance. When women first took part in the Olympic Games in 1928, they were not allowed to do gymnastics. Women’s gymnastics was then thought ‘indecent’.

T he first woman to attract attention to this sport was a Russian girl called Olga Korbut. In the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich she amazed everybody and won a gold medal. The next girl who surprised the whole sporting world was the Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. In the 1976 Olympic Games she won the overall title. She was then 14. Girls’ popularity in this sport was here to stay.

H owever, if these girls get glory at such an early, they pay for it. They work hard. What’s more, they give their lives, quite often from the age of seven, to the sport. They are considered ‘old’ at the age of twenty.

P erhaps you are wondering what they do when they ‘retire’. For some, fame continues. Olga Korbut, for instance, became a film star and married a Rock musician. Others fall back into obscurity and have to adapt to a new way of life.

W hen asked in an interview whether she regretted her career, Nelli Kim, an ‘old’ gymnast answered, “No. For the rest of your life you always remember the wonderful sensation of flying through the air, after a good routine on the bars. It really is a moment of perfection.”

A. What do the underlined words in the text refer to?

  1. the sport (§ 4)
  2. Others (§ 5)

B. Answer the questions.

  1. Why weren’t women authorized to go in for gymnastics in the 1928 Olympic Games?
  2. Why does the writer think women gymnasts are ‘old’ at 20?

C. Put the events in the order in which they are presented in the text.

¨ A Romanian sportswoman stood out in gymnastics.

¨ Nelli Kim gave an interview as a retired gymnast.

¨ A Russian gymnast became an actress.

¨ Women were not allowed to go in for gymnastics in 1928.

¨ Olga Korbut won a gold medal for the Soviet Union.

¨ At present we can see women’s gymnastics in many sporting competitions.

Key

Exercise A

  1. ‘the sport’ refers to gymnastics.
  2. ‘Others’ refers to women gymnasts.

Exercise B

  1. Women weren’t authorized to go in for gymnastics in the 1928 Olympic Games because women’s gymnastics was thought indecent.
  2. The writer thinks women gymnasts are ‘old’ at the age of twenty because their careers end at an early age.

Exercise C

  1. At present we can see women’s gymnastics in many sporting competitions.
  2. Women were not allowed to go in for gymnastics in 1928.
  3. Olga Korbut won a gold medal for the Soviet Union.
  4. A Romanian sportswoman stood out in gymnastics.
  5. A Russian gymnast became an actress.
  6. Nelli Kim gave an interview as a retired gymnast.