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Maria Guillermina Morfin

1996 Research

Abstract: Child Labor Laws: The Entertainment Industry and Elite Gymnastics

Mentor: Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, Political Science Department, University of Utah

As the 1996 Summer Olympics progress, people gather in front of the television set to watch young women performing their routines in gymnastics. Some spectators watch the Olympics rather than missing out on a thrilling event. Spectators attentively listen to television commentators glorify the extraordinary performance of Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu and Shannon Miller. The incredible performance is a glorious moment for most of the country. However, what about all the troubles these elite gymnasts have gone through in order to be in the Olympics? Does anybody address these issues the physical and mental stress young Olympic hopefuls must endure? The media portrays pride and patriotism with elite gymnastics. Gymnastics is a sport where young athletes make their countries proud by striving to win the Olympic gold. Gymnasts are seen as striving to fulfill their lifetime goal: winning the gold medal. What have their countries done to protect them from child labor exploitation?

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