introducing giants to flyaway

One of the goals of the Funtastics Summer Gymnastics Camp is to do new skills and sequences for the first time.

A secondary goal is for coaches to practice spotting new elements.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

What a luxury to have so many coaches on bars!


Related post: video – spotting “giant” swing

China beats USA in virtual Olympics

Andrew Thornton is making my prediction that the USA will win the Beijing Olympics look dubious:

The first “virtual gymnastics meet” is now over, and the best girls from China have beaten the best from the USA.

Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor, Team (3-up, 3-count Team Finals)


… I’m sure you can see that this competition was won on uneven bars!!! Does this make it more clear exactly why the U.S. is still in need of improvement here? It does for me at least. Chellsie Memmel’s bar routine has certainly helped close the gap a little, but we still have a long way to go to catch this team that not only has a 1.4 advantage in start values on bars over us, but clearly has superior execution as well. …

I would have a hard time believing the Romanians or Russians can challenge these two teams, but you never know. Romania could show up again with another incredibly well-prepared team that is ready to nail every routine in the team finals like they did four years ago. Combine another performance like that with some mistakes from the U.S. and China, and maybe there could be some surprises. As of right now, though, I clearly see the U.S. and China as the ones to beat, and I would expect Romania and Russia to battle for the bronze.

Is the 1.45 difference I came up with in this virtual meet too much for the U.S. to make up? Absolutely not, but it definitely shows where we could potentially get beat by China if we don’t do something about it fast. I hope Martha Karolyi gets a chance to watch this virtual meet so she doesn’t toss out a gymnast like Bridget Sloan, who could potentially score a 16.0 on bars. Though it’s still going to take a team effort to make the improvements necessary to catch China on this event, this game has emphasized to me even more the need for the U.S. to find that elusive third bars score. …

Bridget – AP Photo by Mary Schwalm

elite gymnastics training video

At summer gymnastic camp right now, my overriding feeling is the sense of awe I get just to be in the same facility with so many fit females.

Gymnasts are by far the most impressive athletes.

But why?

It’s the training, obviously. We hardly ever compete in comparison with other women’s sport. Gymnastics is all about what kids can do during workout.

cccam spent time putting together this serious clip.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

(via WIDLES)

USA better than China on Beam?

Who da thunk it?

Projection for the Olympics:

China: 48.0
USA: 49.3

That’s the guesstimate by Andrew Thornton on

… The U.S. girls, on the other hand, do tend to get credit for everything, and in fact have shown much more consistency on beam this year than China. I’ve seen Cheng Fei, Xiao Sha, and Li Shanshan all fall this year, while Shawn, Nastia, and Chellsie have hit every routine I’ve seen them compete. My point here is that looking at hit percentages and the chance of actually getting the “expected” start values, I would say that the U.S. is probably a little stronger on beam than China. If China nailed three perfect routines with all connections, it might be a different story, but it is VERY rare to find routines where they actually do this. …

details and video routines: Virtual Meet – USA vs China Balance Beam

Andy has previously run virtual meets between the two top Olympic teams on Vault and Bars.

Three Event Totals Thus Far:

China: 146.45
USA: 144.6

Final event yet to come is Floor.

It doesn’t look good for the USA. The difference between the two teams on Bars is HUGE.


coaches get PIE IN THE FACE

One of the highlights of the Funtastics Summer Gymnastics Camp in Idaho is the “firing squad”.

All week gymnasts can win whip cream pies. Then gift them to any coach at the end of week.

Here are the winning coaches for 2008:

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I will be uploading more videos and photos to the official camp website over the coming days:

explaining Olympic gymnastics scores

UPDATE: Some think the Panel A-score assessment is wrong. Check the comments.

Dominique Dawes on Yahoo! Sports uses Shawn Johnson’s Floor routine at the 2008 U.S. VISA championships as a sample:

Johnson’s total score was determined by adding her difficulty score of 6.6 and her execution score of 9.6 for a 16.2. Her high difficulty skills and solid performance allowed her to capture another national title on the floor.


Keeping score with a new system

related post: confusing and lame and everybody hates it

Olympic Gymnastics documentary

George pointed me to this gem:

history of artistic gymnastics from 1956 to 1996. It’s in French.

Posted on YouTube in 16 parts, the first is the 1956 Olympics, Melbourne (Australia).

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Gymnasts: Takashi Ono JPN, Viktor Chukarin URS; Ágnes Keleti HUN, Larissa Latynina URS

If you enjoy it, the links are on YouTube for the following 15 episodes.

Viagra not on the banned list?

I first heard that high altitude mountain climbers were using Viagra to prevent frostbite.

Now other athletes are using it?

It seems that athletes and coaches are always one step ahead of the drug testing authorities. Athletes have discovered that Viagra might do more than just enhance bedroom performances.

The drug not only increases blood flow to that important part of the body, but also the lungs. WADA is still conducting tests on whether Viagra, or ‘Vitamin V’ as it is known to athletes, enhances performance on the sporting field.

The results of WADA’s research will not be known until next year, so athletes in theory should be able to use the drug without repercussion at the Beijing Olympics.

Beijing Olympics blog