one-way mirrored windows in the gym

A coach — Nick Checker — resigned his position after 21-years with his club to protest a management decision that opened his gym to spectators, including parents.

Checker had argued that he covered the viewing window “so parents didn’t distract children and to reduce risk of injury”.

Personally, I prefer children’s sports clubs to be open to spectators at all times, even at risk of distraction.

But there is a great compromise, one with which almost every coach can agree. Spectators sit behind one-way mirrored glass.

Parents can see in. But the gymnast sees a mirror.


Altadore Gymnastics has used them for years (originally installed by Dave Holmes, I seem to recall) and they have been very successful.

The Gym Chat Forum has a thread on this topic with links to the Nick Checker situation: A coach that doesn’t want parents to watch?!

Rebecca Bross – next gymnastics superstar?

Coach Rachael Tart from Funtastics recently travelled to WOGA in Texas to see what she could learn in what I consider the most interesting gymnastics club in the world.

She came back raving about USA Jr. Champion Rebecca Bross — especially her huge double Arabian dismount off beam. (Recall Carly Patterson’s beam dismount?)

They say big things come in small packages. Words were never more true than for national team member Rebecca Bross. Becca, as she is more commonly know, is the youngest of 2 children born to Terry Bross & Donna Brugge. Becca was born on July 11, 1993 in Ann Arbour, Michigan. At the age of 6 Rebecca’s parents put her in a gymnastics class, where she fell in love with the sport. Since then Becca has been steadily climbing the ranks as one of the USA’s top gymnasts at the Junior International level.

In 2003, during Rebecca’s level 7 season she moved to Plano, TX to train at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA), under Valari Liukin and Natalya Marakova. …

bio – Rebecca Bross Online |


The Gymblog speculates that one of the big rivalries of the 2012 Olympic quadrennial just might be Bross vs Russian Aliya Mustafina:

… Mustafina, meanwhile, hasn’t had the breadth of competition experience Bross has, but everywhere she’s appeared, she’s stunned with her elegance and big skills.

read more … Gymblog

I hope so. But it is far better to be born just old enough to qualify for the Olympics (like Shawn Johnson) than just too young, like Rebecca Bross.

Valeri Liukin will have a long-term training plan leading to the London Olympics.


more photos

what do you think of mixed martial arts?

Many gymnastics coaches, many of my friends, are seriously into mixed martial arts.

This is my first ever post on MMA. I’m still not convinced I’m on board with where it’s going.

On the other hand, I just watched a TV interview with GSP, Georges St. Pierre, a superstar of the sport. Obviously he is a superb and serious athlete.

Georges “Rush” Saint-Pierre (born May 19, 1981), often referred to as GSP, is a French Canadian mixed martial arts fighter and former UFC welterweight champion.

… He is ranked by Sherdog as well as MMAWeekly the #2 170lb (77kg) fighter in the world …




In some towns in North America, mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing youth sports.

And don’t be surprised if the IOC decides — once skateboard is in for 2012 — to add some form of MMA to the Olympics one day.

What do you think of mixed martial arts?

Leave a comment below.

BBC TV – Imagine…The Beatles in LOVE

Fans of Beatles music should check out this documentary. It uses footage from creation and performance of the Cirque du Soleil show LOVE.

Click PLAY or watch Imagine…The Beatles in Love (part 1) on YouTube.

Part 2 – YouTube includes a glimpse of Head Coach Dan Niehaus and the amazing roller skating act in creation.

Part 3 – YouTube
Part 4 – YouTube
Part 5 – YouTube

LOVE – Cirque du Soleil

photos – Shawn Johnson, Carly Patterson

Photoshop whiz Amber posted tributes of two of her favourite gymnasts to Flickr.

She put them under a Creative Commons licence so you can use them for non-commercial projects with attribution to the author.

Here are screenshots of parts of the “wallpaper” photos.

Shawn Johnson – larger photo

Carly Patterson – larger photo

Thanks Amber.

gymnast Vanessa Ferrari – what a FIGHTER

Somehow I missed this.

My favourite to win the World Gymnastics Championships 2007 was Vanessa Ferrari from Italy.

She had problems.

You won’t believe this video. During the TEAM COMPETITION, the Velcro on one of Vanessa’s hand guards tape grips began to unravel mid-routine.

Instead of jumping off the bars — she finishes the set, dropping the hand guard tape grip. Dismounting with one grip on, one grip off.

What a fighter!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Thanks Jeremy Mosier.

This reminds me of the psychological toughness of another great World Champion, Ludmilla Tourischeva at 1975 Worlds.

That said … Vanessa and her coaches should be reprimanded for not putting athletic tape (or an elastic) over top the Velcro for the competition routine.

Perhaps she should switch to buckle-on grips rather than Velcro.

UPDATE – Kat on the Gym Chat forum has more on this incident.

cheering Christchurch School of Gymnastics, New Zealand

Canadian coach Sheena Steacy is recently back from a stint with my former club in New Zealand. Just today we were wondering how CSG fared at Nationals.

DSC_0161_sm.jpgIt went well …

… The honours board of overall individual champions included Kathryn Lewis (women’s level 10), Karla Singh (level 9), Holly Moon level 8, Maddison Lafutianai (level 6), Justine Shawcross (level 5), Aaron Clutterbluck (level 7) and Jorden O’Connell-Inns (level 5) and Logan McKenzie (level 4), all from the Christchurch School of Gymnastics …

Canty gymnasts clean up – Sport – The Press

CSG has been the biggest and overall most successful Artistic Gymnastics club in New Zealand over the past 2 years. Congratulations to Avril Enslow and her team at Christchurch School of Gymnastics.

Photo – Kathryn Lewis, Level 10 Champion

new Adult Gymnastics program

n5214781143_4901.jpgGood news.

Coach, personal fitness trainer, and fitness competitor Tanis Hill is coaching a new Adult Gymnastics program in my town, Calgary.

(Stampede City Gymnastics – directions)

More and more gyms seem to be dropping their Adult recreational program. Almost always due to liability insurance worries.

It’s nice to see another opportunity for Adults open up in my area.

Thanks Tanis.

Note. I learned of the new club on Facebook when Tanis posted a new group – Wednesday Night Adult Gymnastics. (free membership required)