Degrees of Difficulty by Georgia Cervin

How Women’s Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace

How the Cold War era changed the trajectory of women’s gymnastics

Georgia Cervin is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and a former international gymnast.

Electrifying athletes like Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci helped make women’s artistic gymnastics one of the most popular events in the Olympic Games.

But the transition of gymnastics from a women’s sport to a girl’s sport in the 1970s also laid the foundation for a system of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of gymnasts around the world.

Georgia Cervin offers a unique history of women’s gymnastics, examining how the high-stakes diplomatic rivalry of the Cold War created a breeding ground for exploitation. …

Cervin also charts the changes in style, equipment, training, and participants that transformed the sport, as explosive athleticism replaced balletic grace and gymnastics dominance shifted from East to West. …

Buy it here.

Morgan, Kinsella & Gadirovas


Many are disappointed that Beckie Downie was not selected. She would have been an ideal plus one competitor, but GBR did not earn a 5th spot for Tokyo.

Some are questioning the reasons WHY Beckie was not included.

more options for gymnastics apparel

UPDATE – Canada already allows tight fitting shorts in competition for Trampoline sports.

Geman gymnasts good good press for wearing full-body uniforms at Europeans 2021.

For some that was a statement against sexualization of female athletes.

The better athletes feel about themselves in competition, the greater the chances for a safe and successful routine.

Sarah Voss

Canadian company DNA Performance Wear feels this was a step forward. But calls for FIG — in addition — to allow “partial leg coverings” and “shorts”.

Good idea.

Many gymnasts train in leotard and bike shorts. And many would feel comfortable doing the same in competition.

Click over to DNAperformancewear on Facebook to read more.

Or DNAperformancewear on Instagram.

Tom Elder on coaching ETHICS

Ethics in coaching is critical for all our clubs and organizations.

Many Federations are under investigation at the moment, for example.

Our goal is keeping everyone safe, while bringing the most benefits to the greatest number of participants. Fairness. Equal opportunity. And more.

Tom Elder is assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bioethics scholar.

Click PLAY or watch some highlights of Tom’s interview on YouTube. (16min)

Watch the entire interview. (79min)

Gymnastics Australia report

An independent review into gymnastics in Australia says the sport has enabled a culture of physical, emotional and sexual abuse which many participants have described as “toxic”.

The report, carried out by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), made 12 recommendations …

… the report explored power imbalances between athletes and coaches, body-shaming and bullying, and a culture which it said helped “create an environment where abuse and mistreatment can thrive”.

In response, Gymnastics Australia said it “unreservedly apologises …”

Gymnastics Australia report reveals ‘significant cultural challenges’, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse

related – Gymnasts Kirsty-Leigh Brown, Emily Little, and Mary-Anne Monckton are speaking out about their experiences as young professional athletes and the ‘toxic’ culture in gymnastics

FIG working group on ‘safeguarding’

This working group, chaired by Ms Donatella Sacchi, President of the FIG Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee, aims to propose and support various projects to drive positive cultural change in the Gymnastics world.

… a living group, meaning that rather than … permanent members, people from different backgrounds will be invited to take part in meetings depending on the main focus of the discussion.

… having athletes involved is crucial for the success …

 interested athletes to send their applications directly to the Safeguarding Unit at by 10 June 2021.

New working group on safeguarding – Information for athletes who want to contribute

LSU addresses racial inequality

Volunteer Coach Ashleigh Clare-Kearney Thigpen is one of those interviewed by the LSU athletic department following the murder of George Floyd.

“Over half of Black full-time employees [53%] reported witnessing racial or ethnic discrimination in their workplace and 27% reported experiencing it, compared to only 12% and 4% of white full-time employees.”

LSU’s racial climate survey opens door for dialogue in athletic department

They look serious about making improvements in diversity and inclusion.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

FIG value of Yurchenko double pike

Exactly nobody ever claimed the Women’s Code was logical.

They can’t even find consistent spellings of named skills.

6.6 is the provisional value.


… It’s low for me.

I’ve mentally had this at 6.8 since we heard about it, and I still agree with me. But honestly it’s not as low as I thought they were going to go, and not as egregious a case of undervaluing as the beam dismount from 2019.

The problem with Simone’s double double beam dismount in 2019 being given an H value is that it did not adhere to any kind of recognizable precedent or logic established by previous values of other beam dismounts.

On beam, a double tuck dismount is a D.

Adding a full twist to that bumps it up three tenths to a G.

And then adding another full twist bumps it up…1 tenth? To an H?

Any logical progression falls apart pretty quickly, and the FIG’s post hoc explanation of the value as an effort to preserve the safety of gymnasts was fully laughable coming from an organization that, for example, doesn’t allow a touch warmup for event finals …

Balance Beam Situation

Dom Cunningham on missing Olympics

GBR Men had 3 selection events, all behind closed doors. (Same as other Olympic teams.)

Only 4 gymnasts compete Tokyo.

Dom was not picked.

The reserves have not been named, so far as I know.

Of course in most other sports like basketball, team selection is even MORE subjective. I wouldn’t want to be a selector.

It’s important to listen to the process from Dom’s point of view. He’s very passionate.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.