playing basketball makes you TALL

That’s just common sense. You only have to look at basketball players!

That kind of illogic we hear all the time: “Gymnastics stunts your growth.”


Here are the facts:

There is no evidence that intensive training can hold back the physical development of young female athletes, say UK experts.

Demanding training programmes for athletics, gymnastics and other sports may be delaying the onset of puberty, it has been suggested.

It is important that they have a proper rest and recovery period – and that they are well nourished while they train

However, Professor Nicola Maffulli, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests there is no evidence of a link.

The professor writes: “In general, the differences observed in stature between athletes and non-athletes are mainly the result of nature rather than nurture.

“With regard to pubertal development, the evidence suggests that the tempo is slowed down in some sports, but it has not yet been possible to identify whether this is an effect of nature or nurture.”

The professor said that the fact that so many elite gymnasts were smaller than average was probably at least partly due to the fact that smaller girls were most likely to progress to the heights of the sport – and taller girls more likely to drop out or take up other sports.

And while many female athletes experienced a later than average onset of puberty, the authors said there were other potential reasons for this which at least cast doubt on excessive training as a cause. …


BBC News | HEALTH | Training ‘no harm to young athletes’

The FIG Olympic Academy curriculum addresses the myth that “gymnastics stunts your growth” and others like it in their Growth and Development section.

gymnastics coach Vladislav Rastorotsky

Jenn Isbister of recommended the page of historical articles on

I am working my way through them now. Here’s a sample, from a 1981 article on coach Vladislav Rastorotsky.

I saw him live at a competition once — big, gruff. A brute of a man. The last person I would call a “great coach”.

Yet he trained Turishcheva, Shaposhnikova, Yurchenko and others. He must have been a genius in his time.

I’ve always been fascinated by the guy.

A Real Coaching Talent

Soviet Life, October 1985

… What is the basis for Rastorotsky’s long-lasting success? According to his wife, the closest person to him: “Vladislav loves children more than anything else in the world.” His right-hand man, assistant coach Gennday Malayev says: “He takes his time in whatever he’s doing. Today too many people are in a hurry, but not him.” Another assistant Elena Rylkova says: “Everyone of his workouts is a heated competition.” Overall world champion Natalya Yurchenko says: “He has faith in us like no other coach has faith in his athletes, and we also believe in him.”

He must have been a great motivator. A master of the psychology of the gym.

Rastorotsky was a story teller. I liked this one:

… Coaches usually try to make use of every minute of practice time. But not Rastorotsky. Suddenly he calls the girls into a huddle and begins to tell them a story: “It was at the Youth Festival in Berlin. Everybody, including me, was running a cross-country race. I finished last. Lyudmila Turishcheva came in first. One of our runners, a sprinter, came up to me and asked: ‘Vladislav, did Lyudmila ever train as a runner?’ I told him no. He couldn’t believe what he heard. ‘You’re lying!’ he said. ‘I’m a champion, and she’s beaten me!’ You see, girls, the character she had. She couldn’t lose in anything ever!

Gymn Forum: Soviet Life – Rastorotsky

Check out the entire list of Gymn-Forum articles.

Leave a comment if you whatever happened to Rastorotsky. I’d love a photo, as well.

David Belle on Parkour

Scott Bird linked to a free running video with a difference. A personal look into the life of a legend. He still lives at home with his Mom, unable to make a living from the activity he popularized.

Via Parkour Videos : A great 10 minute TV report [.avi, 45mb] featuring David Belle explaining the ideas and history behind Parkour. In French, with English subtitles.

Click PLAY or watch it on Google Video.

I saw it here – Straight to the Bar: David Belle explaining Parkour

gymnastics for your developing preschooler

Superb article on the benefits of our sport.

Originally posted in American Fitness, May-June 2004 by Myrna Beth Haskell.

Most experts agree that motor skills, listening, following directions and increased attention span are important faculties your child should develop in order to be successful in kindergarten. If you want your child to develop a variety of physical and social skills without having to enroll him or her in several activities, gymnastics is an excellent choice.

Many sports teach commitment, dedication and time management. However, gymnastics, because of the complex skill progression and vast number of physical techniques required to master elements on different events, teaches more perseverance, patience and discipline than most other physical activities. When a child participates in a gymnastics class, he or she develops a variety of motor skills (e.g., speed, strength and agility) while learning balance and grace. A student must also develop acute listening skills in order to transform verbal instructions into complex, physical movements.

The balance beam event, in particular, teaches students to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time. Gymnasts tend to do well in school because they utilize this ability while studying. …

Funtastics, Idaho

read the whole article – Tumbling tots: gymnastics is a great sport your developing preschooler American Fitness – Find Articles

It may be worth printing this and posting it at your gym. Or excerpting a section for your parent newsletter. It’s very well written.

Myrna Beth Haskell
is a former Level 10 judge, choreographer and athlete. She had a daughter in recreational gymnastics.

Gaylord 2 on bars

Gaylord 2, Geinger, Pak, Tkachev. Some new Chinese up-and-comer?

Nope, Zhou Duan competing at the 1997 East Asian Games. That’s 10yrs ago.

Did she compete it first?

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Linked from (profanity warning). That guy has excellent taste.

Chelsea Otto competed Gaylord 2 in 1999.

We’re still waiting for the first Kovacs in competition from a woman.

huge gymnastics meets 2008: Beijing and Athens

The Beijing Olympics. And NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia.

I’d love to go to both. But expecting only to get to Athens. It just might be the more thrilling of the two.

The best gymnastics writer working today by far is Dwight Normile, editor of International Gymnast magazine.

His Women’s NCAA Preview article is perfect:

Suzanne Yoculan’s Gym Dogs are the team to beat, whether she likes it or not

Courtney Kupets and Suzanne Yoculan

Though the women’s preseason rankings are not yet out, Georgia is considered the favorite at the NCAA Championships next April. It has to be. The Gym Dogs have won the last three titles, they will play host to the 2008 NCAAs in Athens, they lost no routines from last season’s Super Six Final and they just began training this year in a new, state-of-the-art facility named after their coach, Suzanne Yoculan, who will retire after the 2009 season.

That’s a lot of upside for one program, but Yoculan knows that a ninth team title, which would tie Utah for the record, is far from a done deal. She says that in 1997 she had her “best team ever” but lost the meet because of mistakes. “I saw how our team reacted to that,” Yoculan explains.

Yoculan … won’t feel too relaxed at home. “I’m not crazy about hosting if we’re No. 1,” she says. “There are some high expectations for us on campus. (The pressure) is constant.”

Read the entire article on International Gymnast.