history of artistry in Artistic Gymnastics

Dance educator, Circus and Gymnastics choreographer Chris Houston put together a research paper for an undergraduate degree titled The Art of the Sport.

Here’s an excerpt:

… A significant area of research that merits further investigation is the exclusion of the women’s compulsory program. This program demanded that the gymnast perform fundamental skills with the highest form of precision possible. These routines distinguished the technically proficient gymnast from the gymnast with poor form and substandard artistry.

The floor routine required exquisite dance technique, superior flexibility, and exceptional acrobatic execution. Each nation brought their own ‘flavor’ in the presentation of these exercises; they tried to stylize the movements to look different from other countries.

The interpretation of the routine allowed each gymnast to demonstrate their unique personality – it encouraged the individual’s artistry.

In 1996, the compulsory program was cut. Since its removal, there has been a gradual decline in the execution of dance …

Download The Art of the Sport as a PDF.

What is artistry?

Click PLAY or watch some of Chris’ work on Vimeo.

FIG Men – 8 counting skills?

The number of skills required in a Men’s Artistic Gymnastics routine may shrink from 10 to eight after the 2016 Olympic Games, FIG Men’s Technical Committee President Steve Butcher (USA) has confirmed.

Difficulty scores in Men’s Gymnastics are currently calculated based on the 10 most difficult skills shown in an exercise. …

“Regarding safety of the gymnasts, this potential change would reduce every exercise by 20 percent. This could result in fewer overuse injuries,” Butcher said. “Improving the safety of the gymnasts is always my primary concern. Reducing the amount of elements also brings the D-scores of the top gymnasts even closer, requiring even better execution in order to reach the finals and award podium.” …

The MTC is expected to make its decision regarding the number of elements for the next Olympic cycle during its September meeting in Krakow (POL). Any definitive change would also need to be approved by the FIG Executive Committee, however.



Grandi has always wanted MAG and WAG to require the same number of skills.

My gut feeling is that both Floor and Horizontal Bar would be instantly better with fewer counting skills. But those two could hardly be worse with any Code change.

Pommel Horse and P Bars are amazing now. They might be less amazing counting 8 skills.

Rings might be slightly better with eight. And safer. Gymnasts who cannot do multiple major strength holds would be more competitive on that apparatus.

Vault would not change, I assume. But right now there is far too much reward for difficulty, not enough credit for execution.

Marvin Sharp charged with child molesting

A one-time US Women’s Olympic coach who owns a gymnastics academy in Indianapolis is facing several felony charges relating to sexual misconduct with children.

Marvin Sharp, 48, is charged with four counts of child molesting, three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and knowing possession of child pornography. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office says the crimes took place beginning in May 2013 and up until May 2015, at times with victims younger than 14.

Sharp, the owner of Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy, was taken into custody Sunday night. …

Former Olympic coach of the year Marvin Sharp charged with child molestation, child porn possession

That’s a shocker for me. :-(

He’s made no public statement, so far as I’ve heard.

Pommel Horse in the rubble

Nick Blanton:

This photo is really quite powerful in the emotions it sparks…. What do you think?

Pommel Horse

Click through to the Facebook page to comment.

UPDATE: As I feared, that’s a Gym in war torn Yemen. See more photos. :-(

Lyn Heward on Artistry

The former Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil, who has spent the better part of two decades helping create the spectacle of one of the world-renowned circus, has teamed with music specialist Lasse Nettum of the Norwegian College of Sports Science in Oslo to re-infuse artistry into Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.

Through a series of Artistry Workshops, given at FIG World Championship events beginning in 2013, Heward and Nettum have attempted to guide judges and coaches in the creation of original, artistic works, particularly on Balance Beam and Floor Exercise …

Interview: Lyn Heward

That’s an excellent read. I agree with Lyn Heward, of course.

And I’ve seen some of the material from those presentations. Very interesting. But I’ve not yet seen any of them posted online.

The problem is evaluating artistry in Artistic Gymnastics. I’m not convinced it’s possible. No panel of judges will be consistently able to arrive at the same “Artistry deductions” from meet-to-meet. :-(

Brenna Dowell
Brenna Dowell

Since it’s impossible, my proposal is not to include artistry in the Code of Points. Instead the judges or – better – a computer video program – deduct only those things that can be reliably evaluated: height, distance, line, leg position, elbows, etc.

Brenna Dowell can keep her feet stretched on Tkachevs. The great majority who cannot should be deducted.

related – The artistry question

BAN pay-for-play Trampoline facilities

Trampoline and Gymnastics professionals recommend parents get an experienced, certified coach.

Sending kids in to a barely supervised free-for-all Trampoline facility is dangerous and irresponsible. :-(

Christopher McKenna broke his neck at a Trampoline centre
Christopher McKenna broke his neck at a Trampoline centre


classy Nia Dennis

She posted this photo on her instagram. With Gabby and her former coach Kittia Carpenter.

Still my family😊❤️😘

A photo posted by Nia💋 (@niaadennis) on

With both girls on National Team they’ll be spending a lot of time together still.

via GymFever2012