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.

Kenzo has retired age-24

One of the most decorated MAG gymnasts all-time, he’ll be long remembered with so many named skills in the Code.

Dianne Durham to Hall of Fame

Dianne Durham, the first Black gymnast to win U.S. Nationals, will be inducted four months after her death at age-52.

  • The 2004 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team
  • Jim Aamodt – Longtime trampoline & tumbling coach and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
  • Rebecca Bross – Six-time women’s artistic World medalist
  • Dianne Durham – 1983 U.S. women’s artistic all-around national champion and pioneer
  • Chris Estrada – 2008 Olympian in trampoline
  • Gene Watson – Longtime men’s program coach and volunteer

The 2021 class will be inducted on Saturday, June 26 at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will also include the induction of the 2020 Hall of Fame Class, whose ceremony was forced to be postponed last summer.

The event will also coincide with the 2021 National Congress & Trade Show, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, and the USA Gymnastics Championships, which serve as the national championships for the acrobatic, rhythmic, and trampoline and tumbling disciplines.


American World Champions

Still competing.


Japan names Men’s Olympic team

Hashimoto Daiki
Kaya Kazuma
Tanigawa Wataru
Kitazono Takeru

And Kohei, age-32, for the plus one pick.

In the complicated and very competitive Japanese selection procedure, Kohei tied with Yonekura Hidenobu, the Vault specialist.

Kohei got the tie-breaker for his higher world ranking.

Simone and Kohei Uchimura will be the biggest NAMES in Gymnastics at the Olympics.

Kohei 15.766 H Bar

The best Horizontal Bar routine ever competed.

Prove me wrong.

His Kolman is now more like a “timer” for Bretschneider.

AND he could add a 5th release to increase difficulty. Any time.

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.

Victor Levinkov invented Yurchenko

I’m one of those who feel we should resist calling out mainstream media when they make mistakes.

Bite your tongue for a few months. Let’s take advantage of increased attention.

After Tokyo, popular media will go back to mostly ignoring Gymnastics.

Natalia Yurchenko:

“This vault is in the code of points under my own name.

Indeed, I was the first gymnast to do this vault during an official competition. It was in Moscow during the Competition in 1982. …

Few people know that the first gymnast who performed this vault was a male gymnast!

It was invented by Russian gymnast Victor Levinkov during a national competition in Former USSR. 

But this vault was not well accepted in the male Russian gymnastics. So my trainer has decided that I should do it and I began to learn it.

First I thought that my coach has gone crazy and wanted me to break my neck. …

Click PLAY or watch Natalia in 1982 on YouTube.

Yurchenko on Simone

I was lucky enough to see Natalia Yurchenko compete in person. She instantly became one of my favourite gymnasts.

Natalia was the first woman to compete her eponymous vault, at 1982 Moscow News.

The element was controversial at first, Yurchenko explained. Another parallel to Biles’ daring innovations.

“There were a lot of debates to allow it or not to allow it,” Yurchenko recalls. “I performed it in America, and the American judges, some of them, were really against it because it seemed way too dangerous …

A boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles meant Yurchenko never got the chance to compete her element at the Olympics.

Natalia Yurchenko on Simone Biles’ feat: “I was dreaming about seeing it”