Toronto Boy Plans To Become First Male Olympic Rhythmic Gymnast
TORONTO— If you saw Toronto’s Leo Sung Li you would have no idea what his Olympic dream would be. If you were given a hint about it having to do with gymnastics you may guess rings or possibly vaulting.
Sung Li, 17, is a male rhythmic gymnast.
“I am very good with the hoops and ball but have always enjoyed building routines with the ribbons.”
While it is not all that uncommon to see males compete in the junior level in rhythmic gymnastics, there are never any who go beyond that point as the Olympic Games will only allow females to compete in the sport.
“It is unfair of the IOC to prevent young boys such as myself from being able to move to the next level with a sport we have loved all our lives.”
Sung Li’s trainer and coach, Valeri Spetakus, says they have hatched a plan to get Sung Li to the Olympics without bending the rules or causing much concern from the IOC.
“We look at sex change,” Spetakus said with a heavy accent.
“Sung Li has the talent. He just needs an adjustment of his equipment to qualify. If that is sex change, then sex change it will be.”
The 17-year old gymnast agrees with the idea.
“I have no worries about it as I know I can win the gold but cannot do it as a boy. I have to be transformed into a girl in order to make my dream come true.”
When the suggestion was made that this seemed to be more than an extreme makeover, Spetakus explained it has been a common practice in some European countries.
“You ever look at East German women’s teams? They are not all women. Well, they didn’t all start that way. This I am sure.”
Sung Li says he’s okay with changing his name from Leo to Leona and says he’s rarely called by his name anyway.
“I am known as Feather or Lightfoot as I am so graceful when I perform my routines.”
The IOC was unavailable for comment.