Entries Tagged 'ethics' ↓

Dipa Karmakar | Gymnastics in India

India Express – Shrivani Nayak:

‘Dipa is great, but for India to succeed it must look beyond the specifics.”

Jim Holt has coached 7 nations at a fourteen World Championships over the last quarter century, developing gymnastics in far-flung corners. Currently, employed by the Sports Authority of India, the former University of Washington coach has been overseeing the Indian programme. Based out of New Delhi, and frequenting the NIS in Patiala for conducting coaches courses, the American from Seattle puts into perspective Dipa Karmakar’s performances this season, but urges that much more needs to be done if gymnastics has to become a mass-sport that consistently fetches medals for India.

I can state with certainty, given that I’m well connected internationally, and that Dipa Karmakar is currently one of the best-known female vaulters in the world. It is a testimony to her achievement and to coach Nandi’s ambition that she has accomplished a bronze medal at Commonwealth Games and finished 10th (by far highest placing of all gymnasts in India’s history — men or women) at the 2014 World Championships on this event. …

Indian gymnastics is not and should not be Dipa Karmakar and Ashish Kumar. There are a couple thousand kids (in at least 24 or 25 of the states) right now that are India’s future pipeline. …

Personally when I think of Dipa attempting the difficult Produnova, I do not think skills should be competed without achieving mastery of the same.

That said, I only have the highest personal regard, respect, admiration and affection for Dipa. I’ll repeat — I wish she could compete for the men and I’m totally serious about that. Heck, I’d put her on the men’s floor and vault team tomorrow if the rules would allow …

Nandi and Karmakar
Coach Nandi

read more – Vaulting ambition, soaring dreams

Click through to see how and why gymnasts from developing nations like India are the ones, so far, risking the dangerous handspring double front vault.

Click PLAY or watch her Commonwealths double front on YouTube. (15.1)

Click PLAY or watch her Asian Games qualifier on YouTube. (15.2)

Click PLAY or watch her Asian Games Final on YouTube.

So that’s a vault that either scores 0.0. Or 15+. :-(

Nonsensical, in my opinion. That kind of deep, dangerous landing must be deducted more.

Simplest solution is to ban the skill. Next best would be to devalue significantly.

Beam – Teramoto v Mustafina

One of the more controversial decisions at Worlds 2014.

Who should have won the Bronze medal in the Beam final?

Aliya Mustafina missing a 0.5 EGR or Asuka Teramoto?

Click PLAY or watch Aliya on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Asuka on YouTube.

3 MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 5.500 + 8.666 = 14.166
4 TERAMOTO Asuka JPN 5.600 + 8.500 = 14.100


“I knew my beam routine was not the most difficult one and I had no expectations to make it to the podium today. It was sheer luck.”

things your athlete needs to know about you

Anne Josephson:

Here are my top ten quick tips.

1. Be happy to see them, greet them and say goodbye to them no matter how practice went.

4. Set high, but realistic expectation and goals for them.

5. Discipline them with consistency, compassion and fairness.

10. Put their physical, emotional and psychological well being ahead of gymnastics. The development of the child must always take priority over the development of the gymnast.

In short, as the great coach John Wooden said, “seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”


Click through to read the rest.

High School in Leavenworth, WA

Grandi on the Code of Points

You may have read accounts of FIG President Grandi’s Press Conference at worlds.

Editorial | Another band-aid from Grandi

That’s The All Around, a site that has closely followed Grandi’s experiments with the Code of Points starting 2006.


I was there and did not leave with the same impression. For one thing, he spoke in broken English rather than being translated. There was not much nuance.

He both stated that the Artistic Codes were not working and that we’ve had enough drastic change.

His idea of dividing the difficulty score by two and adding it to the E-score was simply an example, not a proposal.

One point was clear:

acrobatic content is weighted too much compared with artistic content

I agree.

Uncle Tim’s data shows that difficulty does not always trump execution, however. Uchimura and Ross are two gymnasts who very well competing against higher start scores. They do not fall.

Solutions are being widely debated.

Women’s judges at Worlds attended a presentation on Artistry led by Armine Barutyan Fong, Carol-Angela Orchard and others. As I said to CA, artistry is by its very definition, subjective.

To me Simone Biles’ Floor routine is artistic as it moves me emotionally. Many others disagree.

I highly doubt that any kind of Code definition of artistry is ever going to work. :-(

Instead, the execution judges must rank gymnasts by quality. Apply the Code as written. The range of E-scores must be greater, not tightly clumped the way they are now.

How do we prevent cheating if E-score range is increased?

Publish individual scores for each judge. Most other referees in sport are subject to the court of public opinion. Why are FIG judges so protected? So unaccountable?

I do like the proposal that E-judges be able to deduct 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 (currently it’s 0.1 or 0.3 or 0.5)

That worked in the past. It would help in the future.

One last thing. Grandi was careful to include the talking point that this is his last term in Office. Conspiracy theorists are still postulating that he plans some kind of Putin strategy in the next election.

Jake Dalton – Artistic Gymnast

One of the big complaints in 2014 is the lack of artistry in Artistic Gymnastics. Beautiful and compelling routines are not often winning.

Personally, I’ve given up on evaluating and rewarding “artistry“. I’d be happy simply to deduct execution errors (legs crossed on twisting, poor body position, etc.) as specified in the Codes.

Here’s one of the best executed routines in Nanning. Geo-blocked in many nations. Sorry about that. Leave a comment if you know of a video of this routine not posted by USAG.

Click PLAY or watch Dalton’s Team FX routine on YouTube.

15.900 = 6.7 + 9.200

That was the highest E-score on Floor. (Uchimura was 2nd highest.) But the gap between Jake and the rest is too small.

full results

Whitlock to replace Wilson

Back in the day, it was common practice for some nations to take out one of their finalists and replace them with a team mate with a better percentage chance of results.

It’s normal in team sport, of course. The coach makes the decision who to put in for the big game.

British Gymnastics:

Nile has been carrying a sore wrist throughout the competitions in Nanning, China, that has been superbly managed by the medical staff. However, in light of this and with the priority being Nile’s long-term gymnastics career, Max Whitlock will replace Nile in the all-around final. Max qualified by right as the third placed GB gymnast but was initially excluded from the final by the “only two gymnasts per federation” rule. Nile still intends to compete in the high bar final on Sunday 12th.

Nile said “I’m obviously very disappointed, as I’m feeling great otherwise and have been really enjoying my first World Championships but my wrist was pretty sore today so I made the decision to pull out and save myself for the high bar final. The medical staff and coaches are unanimous that this is the right decision to make. I’ll be right behind Max and Dan Purvis in the all-around and can’t wait for the high bar on Sunday.”

Max Nile

(via Full Twist)


Zhang Chenglong competed only his specialty in the Team Final.

Last competitor. Last apparatus.

He hit.

The host team China won the meet with that routine. He’s a National hero today.

But when his final score was flashed and the score was exactly enough for Team China to win by 0.10, I was angered and outraged. It looked very suspicious to me (and many).

We were in China. The apparatus supervisor was from China. Thousands of local fans were raising the roof with their cheering.

Was the score manipulated?

Were the Execution judges swept up in the moment?

Because the E-score for ZHANG Chenglong was too high.

Click PLAY or watch the big moment on YouTube.

ZHANG – Difficulty 7.500 + Execution 8.466 = 15.966

UCHIMRA – Difficulty 6.900 + Execution 8.500 = 15.400

Click PLAY or watch Kohei on YouTube.

Uchimura’s routine is cleaner. His angles are better. Kohei has fewer unnecessary hand placements. Kohei’s landing is better. The difference is far more than 0.034.

The judges got it wrong.

FIG MTC will review the scores from this meet, as they always do. Perhaps some action will be taken. More likely not.

Uncle Tim posted the best summary of the JPN vs CHN Team Final – 2014 Men’s World Team Finals: When Difficulty Edges Out Execution:

… Sure, judges will mess up from time to time. They are human – just like the gymnasts. When it is crystal clear that the judges did mess up, they should be castigated.

But was Zhang Chenglong’s high bar score as painfully wrong as the Marian Dragulescu’s 2004 vault score situation?

No. … Don’t be so dramatic. …

Perhaps I did get too wrapped up in the competition myself. Too emotional.

But FIG Judges are not nearly held accountable enough when they make mistakes. I was a Brevet Judge myself for decades.

Here are the official results if you want to do more analysis yourself.

In my opinion Japan were the rightful winners of the Team competition at Worlds 2014. Just as I felt Japan should have finished 4th in Team at the London Olympics. The judges got it wrong there, as well.

And if anyone would like to put up a contrary opinion on this site, I’m happy to post if for you.

congratulations ZHANG Chenglong

The former World Horizontal Bar Champion competed only his specialty in the Team Final. Last competitor. Last apparatus.

He hit.

The host team China won the meet with that routine.

Zhang Chenglong

That pic is from Inside Gymnastics excellent MEN’S TEAM FINALS photo series.

ZHANG Chenglong is a National hero. My interpreter next morning was thrilled with that performance. And with Gymnastics.

He upped his difficulty to a massive 7.50 to be competitive with Zonderland, Hambuchen, Uchimura and the best of the rest. Respect.

That all said (if a day late) the judges got his score wrong.

Japan was robbed


How disappointing.

A fantastic Men’s team final at the World Gymnastics Championships was ruined by the Horizontal Bar judges.

Team Results

full results (PDF)

The battle for team gold came down to the final routine on Horizontal Bar, former World Champion Zhang Chenglong.

He hit. But not perfectly. It was clear that Japan had won the team competition.

Yet (somehow) the H Bar panel came up with an impossible score of 15.966.

15.966 was far too high. The highest score of the competition, so far. Impossibly high.

It will be obvious to anyone when we compare Uchimura’s vs Chenglong’s routines and scores.

ZHANG – 7.500 + 8.466 = 15.966
UCHIMURA – 6.900 + 8.500 = 15.400
(full results)

When we compare the E-scores. :-(

Japan was robbed.

I’ll forever regard JPN as the legitimate winners of the World Championships 2014.

Here’s the Judging panel.

HUANG Liping (CHN) – Horizontal Bar Supervisor

E1 TSAI Heng Cheng (TPE)
E2 LESIV Genadi (BLR)
E4 IANEZ RAMOS Miguel Angel (ESP)
E5 ??

The E panel should be sanctioned for handing out an impossible score.

This is worse than the Uchimura pommel dismount scandal at the 2012 Olympics.

On par with the Dragalescu 2nd Vault scandal at the 2004 Olympics. Four judges were sanctioned that time.

I’m disgusted. :-(

Mykayla SKINNER – Vault

I’m thrilled for Mykayla, a super talented gymnast who’s suffered a lot of criticism online for lack of artistry. And for doing her Cheng vault with 1-hand.

The quality of her gymnastics has improved a lot. She hit 4/4 in prelims at Worlds. And her push on the Cheng vault is not a major problem, perhaps not even a major deduction.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Vault 1 : 15.666, Difficulty : 6.400, Execution : 8.300. Vault 2 : 15.033, Difficulty : 5.800, Execution : 9.233)

Hands are square. She touches but does not push, wrapping into the twist quickly. In full speed it’s very difficult to see.

Good chance for a vault medal.

Compare with SOSNITSKAYA’s Cheng. (VIDEO)

teach kids not to use the R word

In Canada, our Olympic Trampoline Champion and many others are pushing a campaign called Yellowcard.

Of the 60+ nations I’ve traveled, Canada is least racist. The most ethical. Sport is the best way to educate youth, not school.

Commonwealth Games Durban 2022

On 22 January 2014, The BBC reported that the organisers of the Commonwealth Games were concerned about the future of the event, after no member country had expressed serious interest in hosting the 2022 edition with only two months to go before the March 2014 deadline for applicant cities. …

Happily, two cities are prepared to take on the Games:

Edmonton, Canada
Durban, South Africa

Edmonton has hosted CWG in the past and did a great job. I know, as I was there as a volunteer. :-)

It’s Africa’s turn. Let’s hope the Games go to South Africa when announced September 2015.

Click PLAY or watch their bid video on YouTube.

Everything shown in that video is true. (Aside from the boast about internet connectivity. It’s crappy throughout South Africa.)


In a related story, two Durban gymnasts are struggling.

Siphamandla Ngcobo and Siphesihle Biyase are quality guys just arriving at an international FIG level. Both competed Commonwealth Games Glasgow. They are trying to raise $5000 in donations to support their full-time training with coach Jesse Kitzen-Abelson, former Temple co-captain.

It’s not much to ask. These are young men trying to live Mandela’s dream for them.

Aussie school bans cartwheel

Not for the first time Down Under, overprotective staff at Peregian Springs State School in Queensland banned handstands and cartwheels on the playground (unless they were supervised) after two children were injured.

Not surprisingly, Principal Gwen Sands was “held up to ridicule by the media“.

It was a bad call.

Anna Cartwheel

Unfortunately upset parents at the school launched personal attacks on the Principal via Facebook and Twitter. That’s also wrong. :-(

Thanks George.