Romanian gymnastics – crisis what crisis?

You’ve probably seen the recent eye-catching headline:

Comaneci no longer inspires Romanian gymnasts

While making great press, it makes no sense. No thinking person would believe for a second that little girls in Romania do NOT dream of becoming the next Nadia.


National coach Nicolae Forminte has said similar things in the past. He seems to like downplaying expectations for the Romanian team. I’m not sure why.

Octavian Belu before him did something of the same thing.

difficulty and execution calls this “typical Romanian drama-mongering”. That’s exactly right.

Romania will be a contender at the 2008 Olympics.

The country does not have a large base of athletes. Yet the Romanian economy has improved since it joined the European Union in 2007. The day of crisis is not here yet. And there’s hope for the future.

100,000 euros ($157,394) and a car for each gold medal in Beijing will inspire the current team and coaches. Even if Nadia doesn’t.

Pacific Rim begins – Where is Korea?

Lots of buzz on the internet right now about this competition. (There is much more interest than in the American Cup, for example.) Results are important for those athletes wanting to qualify for their respective Olympic Teams.

For example, the Canadians have only two berths for Beijing. Who will get them?

Canadian women’s artistic team at San Jose City Hall for opening ceremonies on March 26. From left: Christine/Peng Peng Lee, Kristin Vaculik, Charlotte Mackie, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Nansy Damianova, Brittany Rogers.


posted on Facebook – 2008 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships – by Grace Chiu – GraceClick

Related post: Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships – NBC TV

Former coach, now Gymnastics Canada boss, Jean-Paul Caron, president of the Pacific Alliance Gymnastics Federations, was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. JP is always the diplomatic gentleman:

Missing is South Korea. Caron denied that the Koreans are skipping the Pacific Rim Championships to protest the presence of Paul Hamm on the U.S. team.

“They almost always participate,” Caron said. “I don’t know why they’re not here. They’ve always been here.”

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Hamm became the first American male gymnast to win the gold medal in all-around, but almost as soon as the medal was around his neck a scoring controversy erupted.

It was discovered that the bronze medalist, Yang Tae Young of South Korea, had been given an incorrect score in the parallel bars. He should have received a credit of 0.100 for a move at the start of his bars routine. Because Hamm won the closest competition in Olympic gymnastics history – 0.012 – that was the difference between first and third for the South Korean.

The International gymnastics federation said in a letter to Hamm that it would be an “ultimate demonstration of fair play” if he would give his gold to Young. An outraged U.S. Olympic Committee refused to even pass the letter on to Hamm.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ultimately ruled Hamm could keep his gold. …

Pacific Rim event is Olympic in scope

(via mandmsjello on Gym Chat)

Americans are always surprised to hear me speak truth about Paul Hamm. But the fact is that many individuals and nations (not just Korea) are still ticked off about how he “won” the Olympics in 2004.

The best answer to those critics would be for Paul to do his best to win Olympics 2008.

UPDATE: As Coach Sommer says in the comments, the primary error was made by the Korean coaches. That’s true. But the nations of the world did not hire nor elect the South Korean coaches. We did elect Adrian Stoica from Romania as Chairman of the Men’s Technical Committee. It was on Stoica’s watch that the blunders in Men’s Judging occurred in Athens.

Why did so many judging mistakes happen at the 2004 Olympics Mr. Stoica?

Related posts:

  • how to contact the FIG Technical Committees
  • Chris Grabowecky cleared by FIG
  • Romanian coach banned for ONLY 1-year
  • coach Newt Loken – 60yrs perfect attendance

    Here’s a record that will never be broken:


    Could there possibly have been more going on at Senior Night for the Michigan men’s gymnastics team? I tend to doubt it.

    Before the meet, the team honored former coach Newt Loken for 60 years of perfect attendance at home meets. Coach Loken was completely surprised–although everyone else had known about it for weeks. His wife, Dottie (who he calls “a gem”) came with him, along with his usual companion, Bob Willoughby. Willoughby, a gymnast on one of Loken’s first teams, regularly drives the coach to and from the meets. In front of both the Michigan and Ohio State lineups, Willoughby presented Loken with a plaque honoring him as the “ultimate superfan.” All the Michigan gymnasts bowed as if they were being knighted, down on one knee with a hand over the heart. Even Ohio State head coach Miles Avery came over to shake Loken’s hand. And the entire crowd gave him a standing ovation. …

    Michigan Daily

    Loken was NCAA all-around gymnastics champion in 1942. That’s so long ago that he was also NCAA champion on the now defunct apparatus called Flying Rings.

    He coached University of Michigan gymnastics team for 36 years from 1948-1983. Loken’s gymnasts won the NCAA championships in 1963 and 1970, as well as 12 Big Ten championships. His record as Michigan’s gymnastics coach was 250-72-1. Loken also coached the Michigan trampolining team to NCAA championships in 1969 and 1970.

    He was also an All American Cheerleader and on the diving team.


    Newt Loken Gymnastics Training Center – more photos

    He published a number of books (now out of print) including:

  • Cheerleading
  • Advanced Tumbling
  • Gymnastics for Girls and Women: Instructor’s Guide
  • Congratulations Newt. You are an inspiration to all us “young” coaches.

    world record for human flag?

    Can you beat 42sec with your legs together?

    Click PLAY or watch Dominic Lacasse on YouTube.

    (via Flip Catch)

    Actually, I can find no listing on the Guinness world records website for “human flag”.

    Leave a comment if you can confirm what it is at present.

    UPDATE: Here’s a certificate from Guinness posted for the OLD record. It’s on Dominic’s website.


    Thanks Leif.

    Related post: Dominic Lacasse strength and acrobatic videos

    199 Lives – The Travis Pastrana Story

    by Rick McCharles

    Normally I do not post acrobatics done on motor vehicles. Those are just too dangerous.

    Many of the stunts done by Travis Pastrana are way over the line.

    His “life story” will be released in American theaters nationwide on April 16-17th.

    Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

    If you admire Travis, you’ll want to see it. If not, you’ll want to decry the documentary.


    I shudder to think how many young people will be hurt and killed emulating him.

    World Floor Champion Hypolito – knee surgery

    Diego.jpgOlympic Floor Champion Kyle Shewfelt was injured at Worlds 2007 and is making a comeback for Beijing.

    Diego Hypolito then won Worlds. And now he will be doing the same thing as Kyle. Coming back after injury.


    World champion gymnast Diego Hypolito from Brazil has to undergo knee surgery.

    The operation is a right-knee arthroscopy which will put him out of action for four weeks.

    “We don’t know exactly when the injury happened,” his coach Renato Araujo said. “He began feeling the pain last Friday and medical exams showed the surgery was necessary.”

    “Obviously it will be a problem,” Araujo said. “He will have to miss training sessions, and practice time is always important. He will have to overcome this.” …

    Beijing Olympic Games blog

    photo original – flickr

    On the bright side for Brazil, 25-year-old Daiane dos Santos is healthy and making a run at the Olympics. She was 2006 World Cup Finals gold medalist on Floor.

    top gymnasts NOT going to Beijing

    If you, like me, have been confused about the controversy regarding Olympic selection, read closely the best article posted to date. From Inside Gymnastics:

    … The wild card announcement confirms that three silver medalists from Stuttgart–Aljaz Pegan (high bar, Slovenia), Yuri Van Gelder (rings, Netherlands) and Krisztian Berki (pommel horse, Hungary)–will not be in Beijing. Pegan, the 2005 high bar world champ, has never made it to a Games, despite more than a decade as a superstar on his best event.

    All told, 11 men, all of whom were/are either event finalists at the 2007 World Championships or currently ranked in the top ten of the World Cup standings (as of 2/15/08), will NOT be in Beijing. That number includes three former world champions, four 2007 world medalists and one defending Athens medalist. That’s almost a dozen legitimate medal threats shut out of what is supposed to be the sport’s preeminent event.

    In addition to Pegan, Van Gelder and Berki, also MIA in Beijing will be…

  • Regulo Carmon (Venezuela): Fifth on rings in Stuttgart and currently ranked 2nd in the World Cup standings.
  • Vlasios Maras (Greece): The 2001 World Champ and silver medalist in 2006, he’s currently ranked 2nd in the World Cup standings and was a finalist in Stuttgart.
  • Ri Se Gwang (North Korea): The bronze medalist on vault in Stuttgart.
  • Ri Jong Song (North Korea): Fourth on vault in Stuttgart.
  • Philippe Rizzo (Australia): Currently ranked fourth in the high bar World Cup standings.
  • Yevgeny Sapronenko (Latvia): The current Olympic silver medalist on vault and 3rd in the current World Cup rankings.
  • Robert Seligman (Croatia): Currently ranked 6th on horse in the World Cup standings.
  • Jeffery Wammes (Netherlands): Stuttgart high bar finalist, currently ranked 4th on vault and 9th on floor in the World Cup standings.
  • Yernar Yerimbetov (Kazakhstan): Eighth on vault in the current World Cup standings.
  • Filip Yanev (Bulgaria): Tenth on vault in the current World Cup standings. …
  • Inside Gymnastics

    Not to mention Prashanth Sellathurai (Australia) who everyone knows could win an Olympic medal on Pommels.

    These are potential Olympic finalists. Frustrating the fans in those countries is a mistake. Obviously FIG has to rework the selection criteria for Men. Perhaps only 6 full teams should qualify, instead of the current 12 teams. That would make room for more individual competitors.

    Does it make sense to you to leave a superstar like this out of the Olympics? Click PLAY or watch Sapronenko on Vault on YouTube.

    UPDATE: See Van Gelder win rings at Doha with 16.650 – YouTube video

    It’s not an issue on the Women’s side:

    … none of the female event finalists from Stuttgart, nor any women currently ranked in the top ten of the World Cup standings on any event, is shut out of Beijing.

    Fact is that far fewer nations are able to train female gymnasts to the Olympic level. The rules are simply too tough.