FIG Academy – Level 3 “Special Brevet”

Keith Russell filled me in on the recent FIG Academy coach education course hosted at the Karoli ranch in Texas. (That’s where Bela keeps his camels!)

Seventeen coaches from five countries attended this Academy and an additional 15 USA High Performances coaches were permitted to observe all of the sessions. …


Valeri Liukin taught tumbling and uneven bars, Tammy Biggs taught balance beam, Stephen Rybacki taught vault and sport theory, Antonia Markova taught choreography and artistic preparation, Dr. Bill Sands taught biomechanics …

Artistic Academy in Houston – FIG

The FIG Academy is the arm of the International Gymnastics Federation which provides coach education.

Some terrific courses have been held in developing countries. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear of this new initiative where coaching “brevets” are being offered to the top coaches in the world who attend a course.

From the L3 course held in Japan:

FIG Office / Tokyo, June 13, 2006: The Academy held in early June in Japan was originally scheduled for October 2003 to be the first of the “special brevet” Academies, where coaches from the world’s most successful gymnastics nations would immediately receive an FIG Coaching Brevet on the successful completion of the course. For a number of reasons the Academy was postponed until this year and was now the last of the three “special brevet” Academies. …

A disappointing total of only 14 coaches from four countries attended this Academy. There were 9 MAG coaches from Japan, Korea, USA and Canada and only five WAG coaches from Japan and Canada. Considering the signifigance of the FIG Coaching Brevet and the long time that invited nations had known about this Academy, the low turn out was a big surprise. …

Nevertheless, the combination of the top coaches from the participating nations and the services of nine of the world’s top experts in the technical and scientific aspects of gymnastics made the Academy a big success. The first time attendance of Japan and Korea brings to 59 the number of federations that have attended an FIG Academy. The course was conducted in English.

The course leader was Hardy Fink the Director of FIG Education and Academy Programs. Octavia Bellu taught the women’s apparatus and Edouard Iarov the men’s. Special presentations were made by Corina Morosan for choreography and by Japanese gold medal Olympic team coach Minoru Kano on rings. Dr. Peter Brüggemann made two biomechanics presentations; Dr. John Salmela taught Psychology; Dr. John Atkinson taught Sport Theory and Dr. Keith Russell taught Medical Issues.

FIG РF̩d̩ration Internationale de Gymnastique

(photo) Minoru KANO, Octavian BELLU, Hardy FINK, Edouard IAROV and Keith RUSSELL

FIG seems somewhat confused on the purpose of the coaching “brevet”.

But anything which furthers coach education is a good thing.

new invention – “Flipping Wings”

Former Canadian Olympic gymnast Phillipe Chartrand has a great new invention to show you.

He calls it “Flipping Wings“. A training device to practice multiple somersaulting.

Click PLAY or watch Flipping Wings demonstrated on YouTube.

After retiring, Phillipe went on to perform in Cirque du Soleil as an aerialist. And his two sons, both gymnasts, currently perform in Cirque’s newest show Love.

Flipping Wings is not yet available for sale through retail distributors. If interested in putting one in your gym, contact Phillipe directly through the official website:

I’ve linked to FlippingWings from the right hand navigation of this blog under Circus for future reference. It is going to be popular.

Phillipe’s device is similar to the bunjie twist belt set-up built by Ed Vincent at Altadore.

On a personal note, one of the most electrifying moments in sport for me personally was judging the 1983 WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES at Edmonton, Canada when Phillipe won the gold medal on Horizontal Bar. The crowd went nuts. And Spieth awarded Phillipe the bar!

video – suspended “twisting belt”

Coach Ed Vincent at Altadore Gymnastics built (and tweaked) his own twist belt based on those he saw in old Russian training videotapes.

Suspended on bunjie, it works surprisingly well.

Click PLAY or watch Ed demonstrate how it works on YouTube.

(via Altadore Weightlifting and Fitness Club)

more videos

2007 Canadian Championships

Despite their low population, Saskatchewan is the best host for Nationals in Canada, in my experience. And I have great confidence they will do a wonderful job this time. The venue is the huge new Credit Union EventPlex in Regina. Dates are May 21-26th.

Again Championships for Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline and Tumbling will be combined.

Regina will welcome over 1100 gymnasts, coaches and officials to the 2007 Canadian Gymnastics Championships where four disciplines will hold their championships together for the first time in history. We are looking forward to hosting Canada for this celebration of gymnastics!

… Participants will be fed and housed at the University of Regina.

Over 800 volunteers will be needed to make this event a success.

2007 Canadian Gymnastics Championships – General Info


great website – Gymnastics Unlimited

banquet061.jpgThis is Heather from Memphis, TN, the young editor of the astonishing Gymnastics Unlimited website.

At first glance Gymnastics Unlimited looks like many other “fan” sites. (Heather is ShanFan and also edits Shannon Shines, the web’s biggest Shannon Miller photo gallery.)

When you dig a little deeper into Gymnastics Unlimited you find a sprawling wealth of coaching resources and information. I will be linking to it frequently in future.

At first I could not believe Heather could have put together so much content herself. But it turned out she has been posting to the internet since age 14 — long before me.

Where to start?

03pcub1.gifThe most unique and valuable resource for coaches, I think, is her huge skills video clip archive. These are available from many places on the site — start with her Gym Glossary page. Then browse the Cool Skills page. Or her Perfection page.

Heather has edited many terrific videos. Start from her video Montages page.

This just scatches the surface. It would take days to browse the sounds, music, coaches, birthdays, tributes, trivia, biographies and everything else Heather has assembled.


Heather competed at a high level into her 20s. Right now she is the head coach of a level 4 and level 5 competitive team, and also coaches classes of level 1s, 2s, and 3s.

I really hope she keeps up her work on the internet. And starts a blog. She has a unique knowledge set after studying so much video.

Check out Gymnastics Unlimited for yourself.


NCAA – Georgia Gym Dogs the team to beat

The performance of that team in last year’s finals victory was unbelievable. Coach Suzanne Yoculan is earning her salary.

Looks like this year the Dogs are even better.


Georgia snagged two of the three eligible Olympians from the 2004 U.S. women’s team that captured the silver medal.

Sophomore Courtney Kupets, who won a bronze on uneven bars, and freshman Courtney McCool will compete for the No. 1 Gym Dogs in the season opener today against Stanford.

ATHENS, Ga. – The top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Gym Dogs opened their 2007 slate in impressive fashion, cruising past No. 8 Stanford, 197.375-194.600, Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum in front of a crowd of 9,002.

The score of 197.375 topped last year’s opening mark of 195.700 and is the highest total of any Gym Dog team in history in a season-opening meet.

The other Olympian, Terin Humphrey, who won the silver on uneven bars, is a junior at Alabama.

Gymbrooke Sports News

Gym Dogs Open 2007 with Win – photo

Men’s Gymnastics Study Guide 2006-2008

NOTE: Judge Doug Hills has updated his excellent CD-ROM for the men’s code.

Updates, available on Doug’s web site, are made three or four times a year. These are free including rule changes, new videos, new features and corrections.

It covers all skills in the new code of points; 500 video illustrations, 1200 skill displays and over 750 questions & answers. The CD is a great resource for coaches, judges, athletes and fans. It includes two kinds of shorthand symbols: FIG and a better one created by Mike Cook.

The video player has slow motion and will play full screen.

There is a second player to show side-by-side video comparisons. You can play your own video and compare against his library of videos. Now that’s cool!

More details on Doug’s Sports Training Systems website.

Doug is working on German, Chinese and Japanese versions. And looking for a good French translator who knows gymnastics. You can email him directly at douglashills @

Cost — US$95.00 from Amazon.

The women’s version should be ready soon.