sport scientist Natalie Barker-Ruchti

Do you know the name?

Natalie Barker was a Swiss gymnast.

Natalie’s research interests include learning in high-performance sport, sport coaching and sport coaches, and the coach-athlete relationship. The perspective she adopts to analyse these areas is socio-critical in nature. Currently, Natalie is conducting research on coaching practices in high-performance sport, coaching careers of top-level women football coaches and the trend of ‘older’ gymnasts in women’s artistic gymnastics. …


Click PLAY or watch an interview on Vimeo.

Here’s one of her research projects – “They Must Be Working Hard”: An (Auto-)Ethnographic Account of Women’s Artistic Gymnastics:

… observing six Australian women’s elite artistic gymnasts and their two coaches.

Using creative nonfiction and auto-ethnography, the stories’ plots describe the gymnasts’ daily training realities and include personal reflections on the author’s gymnastics experiences and reactions to what she saw during the observations.

The stories illustrate how, despite differing levels of authority, the coaches’, gymnasts’, and parts of her own identity and behaviors are shaped by a dominant gymnastics model.

This ideal coerces the coaches and gymnasts to regulate their selves and behaviors according to its dominant characteristics. Although potentially beneficial and satisfactory, the training model’s discourses and practices can have debilitating effects.

1st American Collegiate competition 1899

The 24th of March, 1899, New York University hosted what we think is the first important College Gymnastics competition on record.

Yale was announced the “winner” of 19 participating schools at the Eastern Intercollegiate Association Championships though no official team competition was calculated.

Yale gymnasts won 4 out of 6 individual events, shared a tie for victory in one event and also won the individual all-around.


Horizontal Bar, E. B. Turner, Princeton, and R. G. Clapp, Yale, tied, 12 points

Side Horse, F. J. Belcher, New York University, 10 5/6

Parallel Bars, R. G. Clapp, 12?

Flying rings, R. G. Clapp, 11 1/6

Club swinging, R. G. Clapp, 13½

Tumbling, W. L. Otis, Yale, 10

All-around championship, R. G. Clapp, Yale, 7 5/6 points.

Dr. R.G. Clapp
Dr RG Clapp

Dr. Raymond G. Clapp from Yale went on to coach Track & Field at Nebraska 1903-1909.

If you’d like to see the source of all that, download a PDF of the Columbia Spectator newspaper from March 21, 1989. It cost $.05 at the time, published twice a week. But it’s FREE for you today. 🙂

Leave a comment if you know any more about those earliest meets.

trivia – Nastia Liukin is going to school at NYU today

(via Jerry Wright on the NCAA MEN’S GYMNASTICS ALUMNI Facebook page)

Georgia over Florida

The top-ranked Florida gymnastics team inexplicably frayed under pressure, falling flat in the meet’s final rotation and dropping a scintillating tilt on the road to the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs on Friday by a final score of 196.400-196.350. …

The usually consistent Sloan pulled up lame on her final tumbling pass, stumbling on the landing with an upper thigh cramp. …

Florida gymnastics comes undone, loses thriller to Georgia

Georgia had 4 consecutive career highs on Floor in the comeback win.