Two Canadians on podium – World Cup Final

World-Cup-FX.jpgAfter missing the Final last year due to scheduling conflicts, Kyle Shewfelt took the silver medal on Floor Exercise joined by team-mate Brandon O’Neill in third.

Kyle congratulates winner Diego Hypolito who was under tremendous pressure competing in his own country. Diego delivered.

photo – Sam Sanford Blades

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World Cup Final – Brazil

Originally uploaded by cats_in_blue.

World Floor Champion 2003 and 2004, Daiane Dos Santos is one of the biggest sports stars in Brazil.

She will be competing at the 13th World Cup Final of Artistic Gymnastics, December 15 & 16, 2006 in Sao Paulo.

The “All Star Game” of our sport, only 8 of the best gymnasts in the world on each apparatus are invited.

women –
women’s results – Longines

men –
men’s results – Longines

video – University of Utah training

Utah.jpgAnother great video was posted on, this time a montage of the women’s team at University of Utah. They look good. First competition with be a dual meet with UCLA.

Coached by Greg Marsden (video interview), Utah is always a powerhouse. They finished second last year behind impossible-to-beat Georgia.

Utah Gymnastics – official website

movie – Dogtown and Z-boys

I thought the Hollywood version — Lords of Dogtown — of the true story of the birth of vertical skateboard was great.

But, as George Novak told me, the documentary version — Dogtown and Z-boys — is much more powerful.

In fact, this is the second best documentary I’ve ever seen. Fantastic.

Truth is better than fiction.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

Dogtown and Z-Boys – wikipedia

(My favourite documentary of all time is Touching the Void.)

Happy Holidays from Tom Burgdorf

Tom Burgdorf is National Clinician – Business Leader for USSSA Gymnastics and runs GYMNET Sports.

His letter to member clubs has a good message.

To: Owners/Coaches/Judges

Another family season rolls around. Busy & bustling.

I am proud of our industry. I have been there from pretty much the beginning when Olga cried on bars and got people excited about the sport of gymnastics. Not many gymnastics clubs back then. Not many meets. Not many judges either. But it was a special time as we saw pockets of gyms start springing up around the country. There was something magical about competing in grade schools, running down a hallway, passing 2 doors, into the gym and vaulting over the horse.


Some of us can still remember the sound of the squeak of a gymnast grinding rosin into her footies so she could stick on the wooden beam better. Enough of this dating myself.

Today we continue to change the lives of the children who are lucky enough to be brought to our gyms. I wish all of the parents realized how special the gyms are. Instead of nit-picking and being overly sensitive and sometimes overly competitive, they should be counting their blessings. I am proud of our industry.

For those who know me through my newsletter, seminars and lectures, you know that I am never satisfied. Can we be better? Of course. We can always be better. And we need to continue to develop gymnastics professionals who want to see things get better. To keep things in perspective and to continuously strive to do what is right for the kids.

Sometimes I think we get pulled along by others who may have different agendas but I have confidence that there are enough sensible coaches and owners out there who know what makes sense. That is why I am still so excited about now and the future.

We are doing a terrific job. The professional judges I see out there are so much better now. They care, they train, they want to be a positive part of our sport. And they are. And thankfully, they are resilient as we coaches sometimes let the competitive side get the best of us. Judges, keep pushing to make your part of this sport better and better. You are appreciated even though you aren’t told that often enough. Keep your standards high.

Our sport is bigger than any one of us. We will all eventually leave the sport but the sport will continue. Will it be a better place because you were involved? I think so.

Through our gymnastics the kids get more discipline. The desire to pursue their dreams in sports. We teach them the hard work ethic. How to succeed. How to fall down and get back up. And that the “getting back up” is more important than a score. These kids will fall down a lot during their lives and they will push on as they get up because that is the right thing to do.

Because of us they will be more aggressive. More selective. They will reach higher. They will be more determined and more confident in their abilities. They will be better students. They will be more fit. They will be more capable of making their lives what they want them to be. Because of us.

Get real. But we do make mistakes. We don’t take enough time off. We allow the people at the gym to become our “family” which cheats certain other people who are close to us. We work too many hours. We cater to the team parents too much. We work too many days in a row. Life is about more than gymnastics.

A little more time away from gymnastics will make the gym even more fun. The kids more fun. The parents more fun.


This holiday season I want you to get a little selfish. Appreciate YOURSELF. That’s right. Take a moment to remember how terrific you are. How you had a dream once and you are making it happen. Appreciate your talents. Your hard work ethic. Your compassion for others. Go back to your younger days when you “followed your gut feeling” a little more.

I believe we can take this sport to the next level. Both in business and in competition. That means make the gym more profitable and more fun to work in. That means to use common sense in the competitive side and keep the kids in mind as much as the trophies. I believe in the gymnastics professionals in the country.

I am proud of our industry. We are making a difference.

Happy Holidays.

Tom Burgdorf

George Novak recommends Tom’s GYMNET Sports Gymnastics Business Newsletter. It’s free, a weekly publication by email.

trampoline – Thriller, Turgeon, Killer, Polyarush

The “Miller plus plus” is a double back somersaults with 5 twists. It is sometimes also called “Thriller” or “Turgeon”.

A double back with four twists is a “Miller plus” or “Killer” or “Polyarush”.

(I’ve never heard of most of these names.)

Of course all this is academic because who could possibly compete skills like those?

Jason Burnett of Skyriders in Toronto, for one.

Click PLAY or watch double layout with 5 twists on YouTube.

I recall Boris Verkhovsky teaching us twisting years ago with imagery of turning a hula-hoop, or steering wheel.

Jason Burnett takes that concept to the MAX, holding an exercise ball throughout a routine.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Thanks Jeremy.

get info on a specific “apparatus”

We’ve just added Categories (in the right hand navigation column) for most of the Artistic gymnastics events.

For example, you can now click on beam, or rings, to see posts specifically on those events.

It’s interesting to note that the only apparatus where girls and boys could compete directly against one another is vault. (Especially since Jr. Olympic girls in the USA are allowed to raise the horse to the men’s height.)

rings – Muscle-Up

Back in the day, we didn’t consider you a real gymnast until you could get above the rings by yourself.

CrossFit coach Tyler Hass posted a very comprehensive overview on what he calls the one upper body exercise that reigns supreme.

I might argue that rope climb is even more important than Muscle-up. But I can’t dispute Tyler’s article. It is excellent.

The Muscle-up —

youth weightlifting – is it safe?

The old blanket objection to any prepubescent athlete using any weights is slowly disappearing.

It’s obvious to me from personal experience that very young children can condition in very similar ways to adults.

My objection to youth weightlifting is not that it is unsafe, but that it is inefficient. Take identical twins. Put one in the weight room 10hrs / week and one in a gymnastics program 10hrs / week.

Within a month you would see a conspicuous advantage in most motor and physical traits for the gymnast.

I often recommend free weight and even weight machines for young athletes — but normally only as a general conditioning supplement to the “real” conditioning in the gym using their own body weight as resistance. Or to correct a muscular imbalance.

Safety is a slight concern for me. The worst accident I have seen in years was a gymnast who dropped a free weight on his toe. (He was fooling around without permission at the time in socked feet.)

Still, it is worth checking this article to see what the most recent research is showing:

… There are still those who insist that training with weights and particularly the sport of weightlifting should be avoided until a person is fully developed. …

The lack of data is the issue; the alarmist negative response by well-meaning physicians and scientists has done an immeasurable disservice to the sport of weightlifting.

The sport is actually safer than is generally believed, especially if training and competition are appropriate for the age group and properly supervised …

USOC Olympic Coach E-magazine article


photo – CrossFit Kids