horizontal bar judging – looming disaster

After Worlds 2006, I understand Men’s FIG technical committee received permission to make some “minor” Code of Points adjustments.

The adjustments turned out to be much more than minor. In fact, on horizontal bar, start value, construction, expectations for performance and deductions for routines were changed drastically. Horizontal bar has become such a mess that coaches no longer know what-is-what related to the catch angle of pirouette into el-grip elements.

After decades of assuring that el-grip regrasp need not meet an amplitude requirement, now the deduction for most such elements is 0.5 !!

Many gymnasts need completely change their routines.

For example, here’s Aljaz Pegan’s high bar routine at the 2006 Worlds finals. He finished second with a score of 15.900.

Pegan’s same routine today would score around 12.90 !! (6 deductions at 0.5 each)

Is that fair? Is that smart?

Click PLAY or watch Pegan on YouTube.

I believe the IOC has a rule that there can be no new regulations within 2 years of the next Olympic Games.

Logically and ethically, once the Olympic selection process has begun (as it did in Aarhus) no major changes to the rules are acceptable.

Who’s to blame?

I’d start with Technical Committee Chair Adrian Stoica, the man in charge during the “Paul Hamm Fiasco” in 2004. The black eye on gymnastics named one of the “Top 10 North American Olympic follies” by Sports Illustrated.

Next I’d ask FIG Executive to quiz the MTC on just what they are trying to do? Set-up another huge scandal for 2008 in Beijing?

And if FIG refuses to recognize the problem, perhaps it’s time coaches contact IOC directly.

Everyone wants to see fewer turns to el-grip and mixed el-grip. But this ruling is nuts. I cannot believe the technical “experts” of the MTC would want to be party to it.

Leave a comment if you know more about the issue.

looking for an NCAA scholarship?

It’s a fantastic opportunity. A number of Canadian gymnasts go each year. But, in general, foreign coaches are not up-to-date on how to apply.

Dan Kendig is a good friend to gymnastics in my country. He coached Canadian Richelle Simpson to an NCAA AA Title in 2003.

Dan Kendig is in Regina this week with options for some of the competitors at the Canadian gymnastics championships.

Kendig is the head coach of the women’s gymnastics program at the University of Nebraska. He’s scouting the female gymnasts taking part in the artistic portion of the Canadian championships, which are being held at the Credit Union EventPlex. Kendig’s also selling the concept that gymnastics doesn’t have to end after high school. The American universities and colleges offer full scholarships to male and female gymnasts.

Kendig looking for athletes who can make jump to U.S.

At Canadian Championships I met and was much impressed with Oregon Beavers coaches Tanya and Michael Chaplin.

SCOHVGHUQQUMCWE.20061017205028.jpgThey brought Canadian Laura-Ann Chong just off NCAA Championships.

(Yeesh. It’s not easy to finally finish an intensive season, an academic semester — then change your routines for a new code of points and get “up” for another meet. Congratulations to those athletes who can do it.)

The Chaplins recommended that coaches contact any of the 88 Women’s NCAA schools directly. Ask for advice. Some gymnasts, for example, may be eligible for academic scholarship. (I had a male gymnast get into the school of his choice that way myself.)

There is room for more foreign gymnasts in the NCAA.

World Cup Moscow

Gymnasts from 38 countries competed at the most recent World Cup.

Coaches are starting to finalize routines in preparation for the World Championships in September. Many decisions are being made: consistency vs. increasing A-score.

Chinese gymnasts on Saturday took two titles at the finals of the artistic gymnastics World Cup in Moscow.

Zhang Hongtao won the men’s pommel horse with a score of 16.100 and Yan Mingyong took gold medal in the men’s Rings with a score of 16.400. Chinese girls also performed well and gained medals in the event.

Liao Huifan took the silver medal in women’s vault and Zhou Zhuoru, second in uneven bars. But Chinese team failed to gain high scores in other games such as women’s floor and beam.

On parallel bars the French Yann Cucherat beats the p.bars’ specialist Mitja Petkovsek from Slovenia.

The 31-years old German Oksana Chusovitina won the women’s vault decision….


Yann Cucherat – French Gymnastics Federation

Cirque du Soleil supports gymnastics excellence

As usual, Cirque du Soleil had a kiosk set up in the training gym at Canadian Gymnastics Championships 2007. Cirque’s always been a big booster of gymnastics and trampoline sports in Canada.


This year Cirque handed out over $5000 in prize money to Canadian National Champions.

The company is all about excellence. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in athleticism and artistry.

And what’s good for gymnasts and coaches is good for Cirque du Soleil.

Dana Brass from Cirque du Soleil Casting in Regina.

Canadian Gymnastics Nationals 2007 WRAP-UP

Nats-logo.jpgJust home from a LONG week at Nationals in Regina.

I had hoped to post more from the competition floor — but got too busy after being asked to be a commentator for local cable TV. (Fun, irreverent, unscripted, amateur.)

This was the biggest Nationals ever: 1100 athletes in Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline and Tumbling — all in one venue. The level of competition in Artistic was strong in Senior despite the new Code of Points. I was less impressed with the level of athletes below Senior though, of course, their are many individual superstars coming up. Especially some of the Jr. Artistic Women.

For many Artistic gymnasts, this was the first chance to see the best Rhythmic girls in the country. Gymnasts easily relate to Trampoline and Tumbling, but Rhythmic is a foreign culture. Personally, I really appreciate the artistry. It was a treat to see superstar Alexandra Orlando compete in person.

Super scorer Stu Cram has posted all results in all disciplines on his Gym Score Depot website.

For me this is the only way to find out what happened. (It was impossible to follow any one athlete or apparatus in the 14-ring circus.)

Some news stories on the competition are linked from the official meet website.

The best photos were taken by Grace Chiu.

And I have some (not very good) photos from the meet posted on Flickr.


Nationals 2008 will be hosted at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta.