Cirque du Soleil – LOVE Gala Premiere

Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison were special guests.

“I am very happy, it went well. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were seated behind me and they had a blast the whole time. It really makes you feel good inside. And the big reunion at the end with Paul, Ringo, Yoko, Olivia and the Martins, it was like a dream to find myself in the middle of that. A magical moment that was completely unexpected.”

– Dominic Champagne, Show Concept Writer and Director

Details on the new Cirque blockbuster Beatles Vegas show on the Cirque website.


video – cliff jumping

Dave Adlard, Head Coach of Funtastics Gymnastics in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, takes all his gymnasts to the lake cliffs every summer. This is great psychological preparation for gymnastics. Kids overcome fear and build confidence.

I love activities that appear dangerous but which are actually very safe. Bunjie jumping is another example.

The club record for degree of difficulty was double back tucked by coaches Derek and George. But Kaila, a Level 10 gymnast, upped the bar this year with a double pike.

Click PLAY on the video below or watch the clip on

Chris Grabowecky cleared by FIG

A sidebar to the sad, incompetent performance of the Men’s Judges at the Athens Olympics (In my opinion they got the medals wrong on 5 of 6 apparatus and the All Around.) was a surprising letter of reprimand sent to Canadian judge Chris Grabowecky.

Two years after the Olympics, the FIG Appeal Tribunal over-ruled the FIG Executive Committee and the Disciplinary Commission. The Tribunal revoked the warning and, I hope, apologized for the error.

Chris is a friend of mine and I am happy to see his name has been completely cleared.

Details on

I continue to have no faith at all in the FIG Men’s Technical Committee under Romanian chairman Adrian Stoica. Expect more problems.

X Games – the future of professional sport?

Rick McCharles

I was in California for X Fest and the summer X Games last year and will be going again this summer. It’s more of a festival than a traditional sporting event.


X Games are very television and internet-driven. Spectacle and high TV ratings are the goal — not necessarily finding the best athletes in each of the current summer sports:

* Freestyle BMX
* MotoX
* Skateboarding
* Surfing
* Wakeboarding
* Rallying

I criticize the X Games for not including inline skating. This is the activity done by more of the spectators than any of the sports above. And it is more exciting than any of the current sports.

Also, I do not like acrobatics done on motor vehicles. This is simply too dangerous. I urge the X Games to drop MotoX.

gymnastics trophies – UPDATE

I ordered this years ago from an International Gymnastics magazine advertiser. My favourite gymnastics trophy.

It’s a gymnast doing an Endo on Bars. Very fine glasswork.

Carole Abrahams wrote to inform us that the principle artist is Don Merrell and that you can order his work from Incentives For Excellence (North Carolina):


post-season competition

I have always scheduled at least one post-season FUN competition for all competitive gymnasts.

There are many benefits in competing after the peak meet of the year. Often you can compete at the next highest level of competition. Or compete new skills which were not ready for important meets.

Dan Niehaus started a post-season classic for boys called “The Macho Meet” which included a hotdog rotation, a chance to drop your coach into a dunk tank and $5 cash “speeding ticket” prizes for anyone who ran full-tilt on vault. Gymnasts, coaches and judges all wanted to attend desperately.

I loved the boys vs girls “reversal meet” my club hosted at the end of the season — boys competed the girls events and girls competed any 4 of the boys events. As I recall, the girls won every time.

For years we took gymnasts late season to Great Falls, Montana where Hal Halverson hosted a FUN post-season competition. Recently I spoke with ex-gymnasts (now over 20-years-retired) who still raved about Hal’s meets — including the year hosted in Butte, Montana with the teams staying at the Fairmont Hot Springs resort. Great memories.


gymnastics – flat parallel bars

In Canada all the top boys gyms have built flat parallel bars.

University of Calgary

The National Coach, Edouard Iarov, feels they are essential for learning correct swing technique.

Instead of gripping wooden rails, boys must use the lean of the shoulders to generate swing. Also — flat padded bars are much more forgiving in case of a fall.

wall climbing

At gym camp in Idaho, the Funtastics Gymnastics club took over 135 gymnasts to a high ropes course.

Wall climbing is one of my favourite cross training activities, especially for girls. Working at these heights is great psychological training. Kids are far more confident on the beam after topping a high wall.

Gymnasts excel at climbing. They are light, flexible and can keep their centre of gravity close to the wall.