gymnastics competition facility set-up

Is there any sport that takes more time, money and effort than gymnastics? We’ve been at it for two days preparing for the Canadian Gymnastics Championships.


Gym looks good. Our biggest problem was laying out the Rhythmic floors. They need a flat, smooth base below the carpet. But not concrete. We tried a number of different base layers before deciding on an interlocking plastic grid material.

Keith Russell had a brilliant idea. Instead of using concrete blocks for anchor weight on the apparatus, he suggested we use concrete parking barriers. These are possibly twice as heavy as the typical 800 – 1000lbs normally used. These bars won’t be rocking.


FIG girls begin training tomorrow. I will have regular updates from Regina, Saskatchewan.

preventing dumb injuries

I know this sounds like heresy — but are minor injuries part of the learning process of children?

If we keep kids completely cocooned in protective bubbles, will they appreciate greater potential risk?

Do we need to shut down playgrounds?


Consider the athletes you know. Some have had “dumb injuries”. Some have never had a major injury.


What are the least injured athletes doing right?

Leave a comment if you have an opinion on this.

video – superb acrobatic stunts

I especially like how they use a car as a gymnastics apparatus.

Many of the free running / Parkour videos you see are dangerous. YouTube is the “Olympics” for reckless kids.

But check this video featuring some of the best acrobats in the world including Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle.

These guys are as physically prepared and technically trained as any gymnast.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Canadian Nationals 2007 LIVE

by Rick McCharles

I am blogging live from Regina, Saskatchewan, host of the 2007 Nationals.

Long ago I worked for organizer Gymnastics Saskatchewan and have always been impressed with how they host major competitions. (i.e. Nationals 1991, 2001)

This time I’m a technical volunteer so I’ll have a good chance to see all athletes in all disciplines and say HI to many coaches. - Create custom images

rings – muscle-up tutorials

The the best muscle-up tutorial on the internet was posted by a non-gymnast, Tyler Hass, on the Power Athletes Magazine site.

Tyler called muscle-up the one upper body exercise that reigns supreme.

Now, building on that article, strength guru James Bathurst posted an exhaustive tutorial on his excellent Beast Skills site. Once again we gymnastics coaches have been bettered at our own game.

Of course James takes a fitness rather than a gymnastics approach. You need not keep your feet together and feet pointed on his drills.

From his long tutorial, here are a few visual highlights:


With beginners, I always introduce the skill on the very end of the Parallel Bars. It is easier to learn the false grip and the “outward” action of the elbows there.

His tutorial includes that drill as well, but on a machine in a weight room on the chin-up handles of a squat rack.


In the culture of men’s gymnastics, you are nothing until you can get above the rings by yourself.

LATER … you need to do muscle-up on a bar.


What really caught my eye, however, was muscle-up on a bar in UNDERGRIP. I’d never seen it before.

Check the tutorial for yourself – The Muscle-Up – Beast Skills

I’ve seen a few female gymnasts do muscle-up, but not many. I’d love to get a video clip of a girl doing it on rings.

10 reasons for NCAA popularity

The perfect 10 blog posted this list in 2005 assessing why College girls can draw a bigger crowd than almost any other gymnastics competition.

Top Ten Reasons Why Women’s NCAA Gymnastics is So Popular

1. Crowd involvement.

2. The enthusiasm & emotion of the athletes.

3. The floor routines. The choreography and crowd appeal of women’s NCAA floor routines is unsurpassed.

4. The ease with which the audience can understand the scores.

5. The artistry & beauty of the gymnastics.

6. Team loyalty.

7. Stuck landings.

8. Most of the athletes are older.

9. Fan base.

10. Television coverage.

perfect 10 » Top Ten Reasons Why Women’s NCAA Gymnastics is So Popular

A more recent post lists the top 10 highlights of NCAA Women’s Championships in Salt Lake City 2007.


I am on my way to the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Regina, population 180,000. Lets see what kind of audience we attract.

gymnast hands

Originally uploaded by la_mamacita_81.

“The chipped nail polish says ‘third-grader,’ but the callouses and rips and uncanny grace say ‘competitor.’

She qualified for the competition months ago, and the exhale and jubilation after that triumph were brief. Now the days are few and the pressure is on. I try to minimize it for her, keep it in perspective, but she feels tenfold of whatever nerves I’m feeling at any given time. ”

amputee sprinter: Disabled or Too-Abled?

Amanda Sciandra wrote with an excellent question:

What Olympic-level athlete isn’t an anomaly of the human species?

She was referring to the case of a para-olympic amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa who wants to compete in the Olympics. Not the Paralympics. The Olympics.

The “fastest man on no legs”, his times are already good enough to qualify for his country competing against so-called able-bodied athletes.

Sole of Africa

Amanda asks:

If a GENETIC defect or anomaly (such as with Lance Armstrong) that makes an athlete almost super-human can pass by Olympic regulations, why can’t a double amputee with prosthetics? Don’t both have unfair advantages?

I am NOT saying neither should be allowed to be Olympic athletes. But where should we draw the line?

Anything that makes “normal” humans lose? What is “normal”? And why define it? (This notion actually scares me.)

I’m happy NOT to be on the Technical Committee ruling on cases like this either, Amanda.

In any case, it seems Oscar will be denied his chance :

Track and field’s world governing body, based in Monaco and known by the initials I.A.A.F., has recently prohibited the use of technological aids like springs and wheels, disqualifying Pistorius from events that it sanctions. A final ruling is expected in August.

The International Olympic Committee allows governing bodies to make their own eligibility rules, though it can intervene. Since 2004, for example, transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics.

News- Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled? – AOL Sports

What kind of “disabled” gymnast would have an advantage? On rings, for example?

Who remembers Jim Holt, the one-legged gymnast? (I’m still ticked-off with Francis Tally for deducting him for “missing scissors” on pommel horse.)