Wegatta.com – cheer and dance

In December 2007, Madison and her sister Morgan, with plenty of help from their father, started a web site like Myspace — but for cheerleaders and dancers.

Over 1600 people have registered, so far.

Check out Wegatta.com


… I had to chuckle at this graphic. My suspicion is that the site is mostly girls chatting about football players at school.


finally, USA Gymnastics JO Championships

After many years trying to get myself to Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships, I’m here.

Watching two sessions of podium training today, the quality of gymnastics is excellent. It’s amazing the depth of gymnastics in the USA. Level 10 is as high as you can go before entering into Elite or NCAA.


All the College coaches are here. First year gymnasts are just getting on to the NCAA radar. in my mind, the sooner you can get to JO Nationals, the better you compete, the better are the chances of landing a good place on a College team.

Vault looked strong. Bars mixed. Some brilliant work but many Level 10s would tell you bars is their weakest apparatus. Surprisingly few Pak saltos. Most are still using shoot 1/2 from high to low with conspicuous deduction.

Tumbling is quite good. Beam is beam, as always.


May 17-18, 2008

Meet Hosts: Orlando Metro Gymnastics
Jeff Wood, Owner

Meet Location: Osceola Heritage Park Silver Spurs Arena

official meet home page

College gymnastics coaches are looking for …

The NCAA wants consistency, precision, perfect form and personality. Difficult skills are far less important.

University coaches I talked to at the College Bound Invitational felt most gymnasts were not showing their “best” routines.

College coaches want to see a routine of excellent quality. Most gymnasts showed too much difficulty. Execution suffered.

It’s a mistake to show a bad Geinger. Better to go “clean” on bars with no release part.

It’s a very bad idea to fall during a performance routine. Leave out double back on Floor if there is any chance you might fall on it.

Here’s one of the best Floor routines I saw at the meet. This is what College coaches are looking for:

Click PLAY or watch Emily Reichert from Orlando Metro on YouTube.

That said, there were a couple of unique skills shown at College Bound:

  • back layout triple twist dismount off bars
  • split leap to the end of the beam -> immediate punch front layout 1/1 twist
  • looking for an NCAA scholarship?

    At the 8th annual College Bound Invitational in Orlando I attended a free College Recruiting Seminar for Parents with Tom Kovic.

    tom_kovic.jpgTom was an NCAA gymnastics coach for 19 years. He runs a company that offers an educational service for gymnasts, coaches and parents. He consults for male and female gymnasts, as well as other sports in the NCAA.

    College gymnastics is a great opportunity. But NCAA regulations are complex and strictly enforced. Tom can help you navigate the murky waters to help find the Team that best fits your athlete. And helps you “market your gymnast”, putting together the best possible video and application.

    Tom says you must look “big picture”, not only at possible scholarship opportunities. He recommends you ask potential University coaches for a “financial pre-read” — an estimate of all costs for the athlete / year. (Travel, accommodation, books, etc.) Scholarship covers only part of the total cost. Fortunately, at many Universities there are other bursaries available for student athletes.

    For example, Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships. They have other ways to help you pay for your degree. I was surprised when Tom told us that only 30% of the 360,000 (approx.) NCAA athletes are on athletic scholarship.

    I specifically asked Tom about foreign athletes. He said NCAA coaches are very interested in signing non-American gymnasts right now. It’s almost a “trend”. The major difficulty for the non-American athlete is that the cost to the family (after scholarship) is often higher than for American students. Foreigners, in particular, must consider the “financial pre-read” closely.

    If interested in learning more:

  • buy Tom’s 41 page Recruiting Manual “Reaching for Excellence” ($20)
  • contact Tom and ask for his email newsletter (free)
  • After that, if you want to try it, buy a Victory Recruiting 4 Hour “Block” Advisement. From that introductory session, you can decide if you want to do more.

    Ideally you would do this when your child is in Grade 10. With 2 years of High School remaining.


    The best way to reach Tom Kovic is by email via VictoryRecruiting.com

    introducing the Handspring on vault

    The Gym Press — Journal of Gymnastics Education and Development — latest edition has a good article by Warren Milburn called Preparation for Handspring Vault.

    It includes this excellent, though challenging, preflight drill:


    The article is available as part of a free PDF download TheGymPress May 2008 Issue from the TheGymPress.net.

    High School Gymnastics Showcase USA

    Kathryn, a coach from Minnesota, introduced herself to me at NCAA Championships.

    And told me about the vibrant state of High School gymnastics there. I was very happily surprised as High School gymnastics in my region is long dead. And buried.

    But not everywhere. The National High School Gymnastics Association is hosting their Senior Showcase Invitational May 22 and 23, 2008 at Eckerd College in Orlando, Florida.


    I’d love to promote that event, remembering how much fun I had doing gym for my school. Leave a comment if you are attending and know of photos or video posted from the meet.

    National High School Gymnastics Association

    China dominates World Cup in Tianjin

    China won eight of 10 possible titles Thursday in the finals of the World Cup in Tianjin, China.

    Cheng-Fei.jpgCheng Fei won vault, balance beam and floor exercise.

    I was thinking Cheng Fei might not be at her best in Beijing, being the “elder” of a fantastic team. She’s certainly proving me wrong.

    … Top uneven bars qualifier He Kexin withdrew from finals, citing exhaustion after two World Cup victories this season and the Chinese National Championships over the weekend. Teammate Yang Yilin, second in qualification, stepped up to win the title by a healthy 1.6-point margin of victory.

    Canada’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs won the silver, her fourth World Cup medal this year. Russia’s Ksenia Afanasyeva, second to Cheng on vault, won the bronze (Shaposhnikova-half).

    Cheng won beam over Russia’s Kristina Goryunova, the bronze medalist on vault, and 2006 world champion Irina Krasnyanskaya (Ukraine).

    commentary and Men’s highlights – International Gymnast

    Finals results – Women
    Finals results – Men

    The favourite in the Olympic All-Around Yang Wei withdrew because of a minor shoulder injury, a preventative measure we’re told.

    Next World Cup meet is in Moscow, May 29-30.

    Olympic Gymnastics draw – Women

    The U.S. women drew the second of four subdivisions and will begin on floor exercise. “There are better starting positions,” said U.S. national team coordinator Marta Karolyi, when IG informed her of the draw. “But pretty much, if you prepare, you have to handle any kind of start. So that’s the approach that I really like to take. Certainly, we will start training based on this information.”


    Karolyi said she prefers starting on vault, and that balance beam is the hardest event because of its inherent pressure. “We started in Stuttgart (at the 2007 World Championships) on beam, and we made the special preparation and it really worked,” she said.

    While most teams favor the final sessions, the U.S. can take comfort that its main challengers, China and Romania, drew the short straws this time. In Subdivision I, Romania will begin on vault, China the balance beam. Asked if she was glad the U.S. didn’t get China’s draw, Karolyi laughed and said, “I don’t know, because it worked for us in Stuttgart.” …

    Dwight Normile – International Gymnast – Olympic draw not ideal for U.S., but not bad, either

    I feel the draw is much less important for women than it is for men — because the men’s competition is much more fiercely competitive. By that I mean the ability level of men from top to bottom is more equal. There will be a HUGE range of competitors in the women’s competition from lowest A-score to highest.

    Lu Shanzhen, coach of the Chinese gymnastics women’s team, …

    “It is the worst draw!” Lu expressed his disappointment after the draw. “We are in the first qualification and will start with balance beam.” …

    People’s Daily

    Olympic Gymnastics draw – Men

    On Gymnast.com

    Men’s judging was terrible at the 2004 Olympics. Quite good at the 2000 Olympics.

    No doubt FIG and IOC are putting pressure on the Men to NOT SCREW UP in Beijing.

    Bad judges sometimes tend to let scores escalate over the day. If that happens, Germany, Korea and Romania would benefit, being in the third flight. (Romania already gets far too often the benefit of the doubt, in my opinion.)


    With the new code, it’s much more difficult to over score the undeserving. Escalation of scores should be much less a problem this time than it’s been in the past.

    The biggest worry for a team like the USA (first flight) is that apparatus finalists are chosen on the first day.

    more details on Gymnast.com