Thursday, 29 October 2015

Judging and the Name

Being a brevet judge for the last 18 years myself I sometimes question the judges especially when it comes to the BIG names lets look at this example from Glasgow.

First Icelandic gymnast from a no name federation with no power in international gymnastics. A gymnast often very close to major finals with many titles from smaller meets on vault.

Not perfect but high and pretty clean in the air. Good body position in the air.

Second a Big name gymnast whom I have high respect for.
Not perfect either sloppy form not great hight from the top of the table and piked in the hips throughout. Maybe a slightly better landing.

Yet the second vault scores higher from the Judges than the first one .

Makes you wonder.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Variety in routine composition

Most gymnasts stick to the same routine composition for most if not all their carrears. Most put in few skills or take some out but the routine stays for the most part the same. But some very talented gymnasts like Beth Tweedle shuffle the skills around and the new routine is completely different from the old one. Another on is Charlie Fellows also of Great Britain. Her routines during the seasons 2012, 2013 and 2014 are very different and show extraordinary talent.

Charlie Fellows 2012

a fairly normal routine with a Tkatchev a Gienger and a Double Layout

Charlie Fellows 2013 routine

During that year she learned a Ray and Maloney and the elgrip giants are later in the routine

Charlie Fellows 2014 routine
This time round the el grip is out and in come stalder Shaposhnikova (? Memmell) and Khorkina.

Really the only thing that stays the same is the dismount. This shows that the coaches at Liverpool are not afraid of trying new things and combinations. Although these routines are not very original compared to some it is highly entertaining to show gymnasts willing to change their routines. This way the sport stays interesting and fun for all : Gymnasts, Coaches, Judges and Fans.

The Brits headed by Liverpool continue to be the most interesting bar workers in the world.

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Art in Artistic gymnastics

Over the last two weeks in Nanning the question about artistry and sometimes the lack thereof was often hotly debated. It is true that people will never agree what is artistic and what not. Few routines whether or not in the finals are worth mentioning and they show how different great artistry can and should be different.

Simone Biles
The best gymnast in the world today. She is no ballerina and she does not pretend to be one and she should never try. Her routine  shows her explosiveness, lively character and great personality. The composition is great and suits her perfectly. The music is wisely chosen and fits the routine. She shows confidence, uses the music perfectly and is a joy to watch. And we are not talking about the tumbling which is as difficult as it is seems to easy for her.

Marine Brevet
A totally different routine to Simone´s. She shows grace, maturity and artistry. Her use of the music and her strength is feel for the beat of the music and good feel for movement and feeling.

Martha Pihan Kulesza
Her maturity and endless charisma is a joy to watch. The confidence to use the Pink Panther which is one of the most overused piece of music in gymnastics. This could go so horribly wrong but is so perfectly right.

Three very different routines from three different young women who show that artistry can be different and unique.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Years Resolutions

After a long year it is advisable for all gymnasts and other athletes to look back on the year that just passed and look forward to the year ahead and make some new years resolutions.

We encourage our gymnasts to set realistic goals that are measurable and in their own control. The goals should be their own but we try to steer them into the right direction.

Some of my favorite are:

  1. I will stay positive and productive
  2. I will always arrive to practice on time 
  3. I will stay the whole practice
  4. I will leave problems / disruptions from the outside word out of  the Gym
  5. I will make every round count
  6. I will make every practice count 
  7. I will be better today than I was yesterday. I will be better this week than I was last week 
  8. I will always be ready for any assignment be it a workout selection or competition
  9. I will be a role model for my younger teammates 
  10. I will be .......
Try to make the resolutions be what you want to do not what you do not want to do. Er can then take the best resolutions and use them as weekly goals for our gym.

Of course it is also possible to set specific goals like

  1. I will finish my level
  2. I will make the national team
  3. I will have all the special requirements on all pieces
  4. I will stay on beam 
  5. I will ....
Just make sure that the goals are attainable and realistic. When the goals are set work out how to reach them brake them into small steps and list them also. 

Happy new year 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Stay fit over Christmas break

For athletes working out almost every day of the year staying fit over the holidays may seem difficult at times. For some it is the longest holiday of the year including traveling and a lot of family dinners and other parties. The season is just around the corner and we do not want to return unfit back to practice.
There are a few rules that make things easier without having to miss out on all the fun. The break days might not be 12 but here are 12 easy rules to follow.

  1. Begin the day with a healthy breakfast
  2. Take a brisk walk with a family member every day 
  3. Before a party have a healthy snack 
  4. Eat slowly - enjoy the things you choose to eat 
  5. Pick a seat far away from the candy bowl 
  6. Pick the things that you really want to eat do not eat them all 
  7. Do not stuff your plate have smaller portions 
  8. Drink a lot of water 
  9. If people are dancing join them 
  10. If people are singing join them 
  11. If it is snowing go out to play 
  12. Gymnastics is the living room sport find some space to do push ups, presses handstands some ab work etc
These are my 12 rules for Christmas - have a happy healthy holiday

Merry Christmas 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Now in Local News - GYmnastics nr 4

The Icelandic Sports and Olympic committee has just released its statistics for participation in 2012. A country of about 320.000 yes that is right we are not even a million for those who did not know. Like in most countries Football/Soccer is by far the largest with some 19000 then Golf and horseback riding but finishing just outside the podium Gymnastics with 9656!!! almost ten thousand out the three hundred thousand do gymnastics of some sort and are registered into the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation. I would think that is some kind of a world record.
In the Reykjavik area there are at least 6 specialized gymnastics halls and two being built or planned to supply the demand. Quite a lot for a city of 150.000 inhabitants. The federation has now more staff members including a National team director for all disciplines WAG, MAG and TeamGym and National coaches for these sports although only in a part time positions.
The biggest job for all involved will be to keep those already taking part and increase visibility and international results.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Olympic effect part 2

The legacy created at the Olympics is hard to escape. Since it is the only competition that really matters especially in women´s artistic gymnastics coaches of the high level teams and their organisations make every effort to make a big splash at the games. It even came down to coaches not wanting their gymnasts to take part in major competitions before the Olympics as was the case in 1983 when neither Mary Lou Retton nor Dianne Durham two of Bela´s best hopes of getting medals in the 1984 games. This was of course before the boycott of the Soviets was announced and the medal hopes of these girls were greatly hightened. Not only was there home advantage but also no real competition. In Mary Lou´s case it might have been right to hide her from international judges especially in compolosories where her lack of grace and flexibility were obvious. As we all know Bela managed to prime her to her abilities for this competition and she became a legend not only in the gymnastics world but also in the real world. But she never even competed in a World Championships. Bela did not really want to send his next generation to worlds 1987 but was forced into doing so. He was quoted saying worlds are just another competition with a different format. Maybe realizing that his gymnasts were not in their best shape and far and away from the standards set by the Russians and the Romanians.

In 1991 Kim Zmeskal was the reigning world champion coming into the Barcelona Olympics. She even won two titles at the strangely timed Paris worlds hosted in the spring of 1992. Obviously beaten up by the time of the games Kim and the girls that survived the strangest and in the opinion of many (ask the other Kim) were injured and over worked. Zmeskal the reigning world champion on beam fell off on a back handspring and with it the dreams of Olympic glory fame and fortune.

Few now remembers Kim the world champion of Indianapolis those who remember her remember the girl who didn´t win the Olympics. At those games another American stole the show Shannon Miller but she also lost to an ex-Soviet gymnast. Shannon however won the next two Worlds and becoming one of the few to do so. A fact only gymnastics fans are aware of. By the Atlanta games Miller was past her prime but managing to win an additional gold on the beam to go with her Team medal. The star of the team became as we know Kerri Strug. Not for her great gymnastics but for her courage and fighting spirit. Much to the dismay of her better and higher scoring teammates she became the most famous of them all. Kerri never won an individual world or Olympic medal but her story is maybe the most frequently told and watched on youtube.

It makes no difference that the US would have won the competition without her risking her already injured ankle.
But this is the Olympic effect. If you stand out (although you might not win) at the games it does not really matter what else you do are have done to the common viewer. Just remember Nadia was never the AA world champion nor was Olga or Mary Lou or Nastia but those are the names remembered till this day. This is the unfair spell of the only gymnastics competition that really matters.