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Gymnastics - got a trick back!

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#41
I think the Russians have generally put more emphasis on ballet training, or at least that is the impression I've gotten. I wonder if they still are? I think most gymnasts get ballet training at some point (or used to), even here. I know I did, and I wasn't even all that good. I was even worse at ballet. lol. As far as recent Americans, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin are 2 more of the more graceful gymnasts I can think of. But like we discussed above, it seems like difficulty is quickly killing the "artistic" portion. :frown:
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#42
I just really love gymnastics. Never could do it - waaaaay too tall and uncoordinated - but I never thought I'd get to know people who are big in the sport. It's my little brush with greatness. :smile:
Me too, though I thought I was very coordinated at the time, lol. My two petite little girls showed me up at ages 5 and 3 (back walkovers at 3???)
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#43
Maria Filatova, circa 1980:
Much more graceful than what we see now. But I think I've read that the Russian girls received solid ballet training.
Very graceful and great flexibility! This has given way to extensive tumbling passes with "breathers".
They did receive extensive ballet, as did the Romanians.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#44
Dang. My mom made me quit gymnastics when I was 10 and take up ballet instead to make me more graceful. If only I'd kept up the combination! :smile:

Me too, though I thought I was very coordinated at the time, lol. My two petite little girls showed me up at ages 5 and 3 (back walkovers at 3???)
Lol. The three-year-old is closer to the ground than you are.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#45
Me too, though I thought I was very coordinated at the time, lol. My two petite little girls showed me up at ages 5 and 3 (back walkovers at 3???)
I gave myself black eyes trying to do a diving forward roll. And I sprained my wrist trying a front handspring. Why they even had me try it is beyond me.
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#46
I kind of figured she'd have to - but I was wondering what kind of career she would have had, based on her age and whatever the state of competitive gymnastics was when she was a kid. The things she did on pbars kind of reminded me of a "posing" style - which isn't exactly the term I'm looking for and anyone that can pose in the plank thingy she did is amazing - but I think what I'm getting at is that "artistic" gymnastics is more "athletic" gymnastics today, and maybe what she's able to do now is the same as when she was competing. I mean, do you think she competed in an era when she would have don a back handspring on floor? I need to do some googling.
Look at this link:


Bars and vault have changed the most from when I did gymnastics, at least in terms of the general aesthetic of both the equipment and the skill level. When I was in elementary school, "posing" bar routines would still have been common in non-competitive high school gymnastic programs (see the 1964 Larysa Latynina). The class III vault was just a squatting jump over (no flips), and the class I vault was a basic front handspring over the vault. In 1978 when I was in 5th grade, my "optional" vault which I performed as a class II was a "half-on, half-off" (see Lyobov Burda 1970). I'm talking about compulsory gymnastics routines - which to be honest, I'm not sure even exist anymore. I certainly don't remember seeing them at the Olympics in several years. The class I bar routine circa 1979 (compulsory) looked very similar to some of the bar routines from the link (say, Linda Metheny - who, BTW, coached the competitive team at my very first gymnastics school). By that I mean the fluidity and between-the-bar movements, not the actual progression of tricks.

I can't remember when women's gymnastics added the "giant swing" to the bars - but that's when women started setting the bars far enough apart to do a giant on the high bar and no longer set them to fit for a "belly whip". In our gym, only one girl had added a giant swing to her optional bar routine by 1980. She was at the "elite" level. The round-off onto the vaulting springboard (which turns you around so you are flipping onto the vault) occurred only at the very highest level by 1980... maybe 1/2 dozen women were doing it nationally in their optional vaults, I'm thinking.

So, that's why I say that those two events have changed the most. Beam tricks are better - it's true - but mostly a matter of fitting MORE tricks in a row, or combining them without stopping. There are one or two "new" dismounts, but even in 1980 the best US gymnasts were doing double-backs as dismounts. Same with floor - there are now more tumbling passes - but even so, most of the passes have elements that existed (even if only the men were doing them) in gymnastics.

Olga Korbut and Nelli Kim took bars and beam to a new level in 1972, and Nadia didn't so much add tricks in 1976 as much as she added the concept of perfection.

Lesson over! Enjoy the older footage.
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#47
Sorry, got the link wrong...

Go to You Tube and search "1950-1971"

It'll show a playlist of older gymnastics from 1950-1971. An excellent overview... by youtube account jajadore. It's a whole playlist of short videos which is why I wasn't getting the link right...

Maybe this'll do it...


You can watch just a few...
 

deannatoby

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#48
I loved watching gymnastics when I was young, as I think most girls do. I have miserable flexibility, something that all the stretching in the world can't completely fix, and my back does not arch nearly enough to do gymnastics. I tried and tried, but I was made for other things.

MoR, your synopsis was great. Sometimes I watch gymnastics events today and the thing that sticks out most to me is not how amazing the skills are, but how much is being asked of the bodies of young girls, and how much permanent damage is done by taxing those bodies too much. It just seems like they are putting so much stressa and force on bodies that are growing. Am I wrong?
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#49
Ooooh, thanks for the links. I'm going to have to make some time to watch those on the desktop, so they're big enough that I can focus on them.
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#50
They did receive extensive ballet, as did the Romanians.
Back in the early 1970s, the gym run by Linda Metheny and her husband had a ballet teacher - for an extra fee - you could pay to add a ballet class either before or after your gymnastics class. It was very progressive at the time - I doubt many other teams did that. [As an aside, I'm pretty sure their gymnasts were fairly consistently at the top for years - until Karolyi defected and raised the bar so to speak. Their club actually had gymnasts who lived with the coaches and trained away from their parents. That's pretty standard now (didn't Gabby Douglas do that?), but it wasn't nearly as common back in 1974 or so.]

When I was in 6th grade, I and two other teammates left the gym early 1 day/week for a ballet class - I have no idea if it helped with my floor exercise and beam scores, but that was the plan. I DO remember that we had to perform in a recital for the ballet studio and our parents howled about how different our arm movements were (more marked and rigid I guess) from the rest of the class!

Even back in the day - some gymnasts were more graceful than others. Maybe it came from maturity and a different body type? Gymnasts were older - and often it was the older gymnasts on our team - NOT the great tumblers and so on - who had the grace. Honestly I think that was one thing that marked Maria Filatova as exceptional - by the time she came along - it was the older, taller gymnasts who had her grace and the younger ones were far more "bouncy" in their style. But Maria Filatova was both tiny and graceful - a real anomaly even in her own time.

The most recent "graceful" gymnast I can think of was Svetlana Khorkina (Belarus). Early 2000's, I think...
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#51
Ooooh, thanks for the links. I'm going to have to make some time to watch those on the desktop, so they're big enough that I can focus on them.

If you want to march back in time - it'll help to know the names of the top gymnasts, if you don't know of them and want to search on you tube...

Laryssa Latynina - USSR 1960s
Ludmila Tourischeva - USSR late 60s/early 702
Nelli Kim - USSR 1972, 76
Olga Korbut - USSR 72, 76
Cathy Rigby (top American 1972 - long time peter pan on Broadway)
Nadia Comaneci - 76, 80 (but find videos of her in 1978 and see when puberty hit her, LOL)
Maria Filatova - 76, 80
Emilia Eberle - Romanian, 80 or therabaouts

China hit the scene in 1979 at the World Championship - although they were pretty much one trick ponies on bars for awhile...

Romania surpassed the USSR in 1979 at the World Championship - and then superseded them fairly regularly after the USSR disintegrated into all the smaller republics and states/countries...

Top US gymnasts before Mary Lou Retton in 1984:

72 Cathy Rigby
76 (can't remember)
78 Marcia Frederick won a medal at a world championship
circa 1980 - Kathy Johnson, Leslie Pyfer, Tracee Telavara and Julianne McNamara (the latter two were both too young to compete at the world championships in 79 and then of course lost their chance in 80 with the boycott)... I do believe Julianna McNamara was still hanging in there internationally by 1984, but no longer the best on the US team - the window is VERY brief for female gymnasts...

As far as I know - the US gymnasts were never TRULY competitive internationally until Karolyi came to the US and raised the bar. Prior to that, the idea of "perfection" was not exactly a strength of the Americans. Beam was always a waterloo when compared to the solid performances of the USSR and Romanians.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#52
MOR - recognized all the names except Maria Filatova, Marcia Frederick and Leslie Pyfer, and I would have been paying attention by then, too. Wonder if I'll remember them after seeing a picture?

Went and googled the 1976 US teams and don't recognize even one of the women's names but do remember several of the men. That would have been the year Nadia took the Olympics by storm, though, so I guess it's no real surprise she's the one I remember.
 

gr8outdoors

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#53
Julianne McNamara was on the 1984 Olympic team, although I can't remember if she won any individual medals (I don't think she did). I was rooting for her back then. That was about when I stopped doing gymnastics and it really is so different now - the bars and vault.

Two of my nieces are doing gymnastics and I have been to their "fun meets" and barely even recognize the vault these days.

Getting used to the new classes instead of IV - I and elite is something too - the numbers now go in the opposite direction of back in my day!
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#54
I HATE the new vaulting table. Did I mention hate? :smile: While logically I can appreciate that it is safer than the old horse, I'm so freaked out that I'm not going to land my hands far enough back on the table (it seems so deep to me) and won't make it over. So for now I'm only vaulting using a spring board and giant mat. If you put a table there, I bail out every time.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#55
I can imagine that thing would look huge and take some getting used to. It just looks like a big tongue to me - which probably doesn't help you want to put your hands on it!
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#56
I HATE the new vaulting table. Did I mention hate? :smile: While logically I can appreciate that it is safer than the old horse, I'm so freaked out that I'm not going to land my hands far enough back on the table (it seems so deep to me) and won't make it over. So for now I'm only vaulting using a spring board and giant mat. If you put a table there, I bail out every time.
I'm amazed you even tried to use it! :thumbsup:
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#57
Sorry, got the link wrong...

Go to You Tube and search "1950-1971"

It'll show a playlist of older gymnastics from 1950-1971. An excellent overview... by youtube account jajadore. It's a whole playlist of short videos which is why I wasn't getting the link right...

Maybe this'll do it...


You can watch just a few...
This IS a compulsory routine, which is not meant to be difficult skillwise, but performed to perfection. It would be interesting to see an optional routine from the same year (1964) to see how much they "stretched the bar", so to speak. But I'm too lazy to search for it...
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#58
Maggie198, you said your girls were gymnasts... so maybe you can tell me whether compulsories even exist anymore? And if not, when they got rid of them? Seems like when I watch the Olympics, the women are all starting "even" with whatever events are televised... which suggests to me there are no more compulsories. Is that true? I'm not sure how I feel about that - or about the "specialization" of certain gymnasts who have only a couple areas of strength. It's mind boggling to me to think that gymnasts might not be working on perfecting 8 different routines at once...

I don't actually remember how often they changed the compulsories, but I do know that during my years as a Class III, II and then I, they never changed. They might have changed soon after I quit. And while I do agree that compulsories aren't nearly as hard as optionals, I do think that sometimes a few of the the compulsory skills at the next level might have been beyond you... I remember trying to master the "eagle" on bars (part of the Class I compulsory routine) as a Class II in anticipation of moving up to Class I as soon as the Class II State meet was over. My team was taking a bunch of Class I's to Long Island for a big meet and I was going to be included as long as I could make that catch, LOL. And I also remember watching the elite compulsories as a Class I and thinking that a pretty big chunk of the bar routine was beyond me...
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#60
Just wanted to share that I am sooo close to having my kip on bars back. Like this.close. I've made it 3 times on my own sporadically, the 3rd time being the best kip I've done on my own so far. Just have to get more consistent with it now. :smile:

Supposedly, this coming Sunday our coach wants me to try a flyaway on bars. So if I don't come back, I probably died.
 

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