TP detailed the The Obvious Decline of Quality in modern women’s Artistic Gymnastics.
That’s a fact.
My pick as best gymnast at the 2004 Olympics, Courtney McCool, had virtually perfect form, even on 2 1/2 twist.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
… There looks to be a slight crossing on 3/1 twist.
By 2008, after the introduction, of Grandi’s open ended code, here’s our Olympic Champion.
And here’s the 2010 World Champion.
Taller gymnasts like these two often rely on more twisting than somersaulting elements. It’s difficult to keep the feet together past double twist. And there may even be a slight biomechanical advantage in both the scissoring action and increasing rotation.
That said, both Nastia and Aliya are gorgeous and virtuous on most elements they compete. You can only deduct so much for this form error.
Update. There are some interesting comments on this post.
The feet are crossed partly as a result of the ‘torque’ takeoff. The same thing happens in figure skating.
But in Artistic gymnastics we’ve always deducted that as an ‘error’, not called it a ‘technique’.
Personally, I’d rather continue to discourage crossed feet with deduction. If we allow it, we’ll likely increase the number and severity of landing injuries.