Wed, 22 Jun 94 Volume 2 :
*Scott Keswick's inconsistency* (8 msgs)
*Scott Keswick's inconsistency* /world cup
A new member we'd all love to influence...
Need names help
Rise of Women's Collegiate Gymnastics (Long)
usa/rom (2 msgs)
This is a digest of the email@example.com mailing list.
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 08:49:30 -0400
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
>I'm not saying this to be mean, either, but if (sic) defense of the *other* US
Has anyone ever thought that *maybe* if the other US gymnasts got any *better*,
then the coaches would put them up later in the rotation? This has been my
major contention with the state of US men's gymnastics. I see a total lack of
energy, ambition, guts, consistency, competitiveness, etc. Ever since the LA
Olympics when the US won the gold, the state of men's gymnastics in this
country has been pitiful. Those gymnasts were excellent, inventive,
hard-working and competitive. They competed against each other as hard as they
competed against the rest of the world. *That's* how you develop into a
consistent gymnast, by *always* trying to the best. I long for the day when
there is a rivalry between US gymnasts like that of Kurt Thomas and Bart Conner.
Until then, you'll see the US gymnasts hanging around 6th or 7th place, and be
happy that they didn't end up in 10th.
I give Scott Keswick alot of credit for still being put up last even if he does
fall all the time; he's not getting any pressure from the other guys to be any
Just my view,
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 17:20:12 EDT
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
>Ever since the LA Olympics when the US won the gold, the state of >men's
gymnastics in this country has been pitiful. Those gymnasts >were excellent,
inventive, hard-working and competitive. They >competed against each other
as hard as they competed against the >rest of the world.
Well I'm sorry and all but at this point I just *must* step in (I'm sure you
were all just waiting with baited breath, eh?)...The gymnasts from '84 did
*not* - I repeat *NOT* compete against the rest of the world and that is
exactly why they were so successful. This is not a pro-Soviet anti-American
feeling; this is a fact. I'm not trashing the American guys...they were a
far far better team then any we've fielded before or since.
The '84 men's team was - relative to the rest of the world - better then our
teams of today but it wasn't number one either. Maybe on a great day with the
home crowd cheering them on and a little built in home advantage scoring bias
they would have finished third (esp. if China fell apart the way we saw they
did) but never in a zillion trillion billion years were they "the best in
the world." Most of the guys on that team would agree with me after a few
The 1983 Budapest worlds were less then a year earlier and consisted of
roughly the same teams as both the Soviets (though they did add some young
blood) and Americans (as well as most others) fielded or would have fielded
at the LA Olympics. The Alternate Games vs the Olympics is not a good test
since the LA Olympics was a ten fest to beat all others and the Alternate
Games - at least on the men's side - was quite low scoring for the time. In
'83 you can compare the teams being judged at the same meet by the same
In Budapest...first off the US finished *6* (yes S-I-X) points behind the
Soviets (and Chinese) as well as 3 points behind Japan. The scores fell
rapidly away after the medals (and from 2 to third). While China was 591.45
to the Soviets 591.35...a difference of a single tenth. Japan was 3 points
down with 588.85...a grand canyon sized gulf in gymnastics. As I said before
3 more points down you find the Americans with 585.65...a fabulous finsh and
an extremely respectable score for them.
After the team comp. the Soviets sat in places 1, 4, 5, 8, 13, & 18 a very
poor AA showing for them. The USA's *highest* AA qulaifier was Mitch Gaylord
at 20th followed immed. by Vidmar at 21st. In the AA finals Mitch and Peter
jumped to 8th and 9th respectively...but by removing many of the people that
were left out due to the 3 per country rule that gives them quite a jump and
add to that those who totally bombed ahead of them (ie: Tong Fei...2nd going
into finals and finshing 35th).
Before you get crazy, I'm not belittling their accomplishments by any means.
Their (Gaylord and Vidmar) lowest score was a 9.7 and they finshed ahead of
big names like Sylvio Kroll (though with Sylvio that 8.95 on PB might have
had something to do with it...poor Sylvio he never could stay clean during an
AA), Ulf Hoffman, and Pogorelov who had a ten on rings (and major breaks on
HB and PB). Bart Conner was 11th (lowest score 9.65) and overall it was by
far the strongest ever US men's team and their best showing to date. Looking
at the names below them I'd say they easily deserved their spots in the
AA...*no* falls (when's the last time 3 American's in an AA did that?...or
one guy for that matter??) and all 3 *deserved* to be in the AA in the first
place...in fact the entire team was in the top 30 AA after prelims. Now
that's a consistancy not even they can claim was their's in '84. It's also a
team made up of equals in strength and difficulty. All 6 guys finished
somewhere between 20th and 30th with 6 for 6 hit sets (more or less).
Jumping - finally - to the point of this post... *one* of our guys now
rarely finishs in the top 36 (or 24 as the case may be nowadays) to qualifiy
into the AA legit. These guys were competing without the benefit of new life
and had to compete for 3 full days cleanly to acheive their places instead of
the one lucky day you need to have now (and that go's for any gymnast not
just the Americans...new life is a stupid stupid rule...but that's another
ranting post). In '91 the top US finisher was scott Keswick at 20th (then
Hanks and Waller at 27th and 29th). With new life he went into the AA with a
clean slate and came up with 10th place (Go figure). Jarrod and Chris came
up with 16th and 20th respectively. Now this is with a massive (and if you
were in Indy you know I mean *MASSIVE*) home court advantage. They all three
had at least one fall...Scott one on PH, Jarrod two on V and hands down on PB
dismount, and Chris one on vault (big shock). How's that for consistancy? How
do you become 10th best in the world with a fall? Did everyone else beneath
you fall? No of course not. Well Hatakada - who tied Scott for 10th - had a
low score of 9.5 (meaning no falls) vs Scott's 9.475 and a high score of
9.75 (which he acheived twice) vs Scott's 9.825 high on HB.
In '93 no-one from the US even qualified into the AA finals until they
applied the 2 per country rule and then voila Scott was in (even after *4*
prelim falls). After the AA, with new life, he sat in 9th. "Wow look Scott
just gets better and better!"... or so says the mighty USAG PR machine. What
I'm saying is, with all this praise and the way you can arrange things to
make it look like a vast success for Scott why should he bother with
consistancy? All he needs to do is get into the AA (and the US can politic
that pretty well even if he falls six times...that's the one I'm waiting for)
and then fall only once or twice. These days most guys have at least one very
weak event so Scott falls somewhere in the middle of the pack and we decalre
it a rousing success for US men's gym. Rah rah wave a flag and everyone's
When's the last time you heard a commentator say in an Olympics..."these
American guys have no shot in hell at a medal"? Even though it may be dead
on true you'll never hear it there's always an "outside shot at the bronze"
or some such nonsense. Sure the US could have won the bronze in '92...if 9 of
the other teams were killed in plane crash. In '88 the US finished 11th
(moving up from 12th after compos...there are only 12 teams in the Olympics
folks) in team and 19th, 34th, & 35th in the AA (there are only 36 people in
the AA in case you didn't know and each country is almost guarenteed three
slots). In '92 they inched up to 5th (there's no way in hell they deserved
that!) with multiple falls on nearly every event...I can't even remember them
all!! At one point they did sit in 11th and the AA finish was - swear to god
- 19th, 34th, and 35th. Now that's the most consistant thing the US guy's
have done over the last 8 years!
Going back to the LA boys for a sec...what was it they had that we can no
longer give our guys? Was it money? No, they had no massive training stipends
that most US gymnasts now take for granted. Was it heart? Maybe, but I think
that our guys *want* to win...I mean who doesn't? I don't think they *want*
to fall in front of a huge crowd and leave themselves open to critiscism by
people like me. What Bart, Peter, Jim, Mitch, Scott, and Tim had was unity.
They were a TEAM. Most of them trained and competed against one another on a
daily basis. They pushed each other to be better and cleaner. They also had
to work a little harder then our guys do now. They were the underdogs. In '83
the US gym fed. held all the power in the FIG of say Bolvia. Now we hold the
most powerful spot of all...the purse strings. A strong federation behind
you, a surefit or riches when it comes to training funds, more great coaches
then you can shake a stick at, equipment and technological help that no other
country in the world can even dream of and still we got bubkus. Maybe that
should tell us something.
I would love for the Americans to be great - I really would! It would sure
save me a lot of grief at meets defending myself from people who use their US
flags to assult me and such. But realistically we seem to be getting worse
not better...oh our standing in the results doesn't change but every time the
US guys take the podium they seem a little sloppier, a little further behind
the best (whomever that may be). That - to me anyway - is just plain sad.
There's no excuse for it and it goes much deeper then just Scott.
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 18:09:11 -0400
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
>Well I'm sorry and all but at this point I just *must* step in (I'm sure you
>were all just waiting with baited breath, eh?)...The gymnasts from '84 did
>*not* - I repeat *NOT* compete against the rest of the world and that is
>exactly why they were so successful.
I never said that the US competed against the rest of the world at the Olympics
in LA. I said "They competed against each other as hard as they competed
against the rest of the world.", meaning they treated each other in practice as
competitors as well as teammates.
I think I agreed with the rest of what you wrote, even though I lost interest
on page 7 :)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 22:30:04 PDT
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
I could hardly agree with Susan more on her masterful history lesson. The
facts prove it, folks. For whatever reason, the US men are sucking serious
Don't get me wrong--I think we saw some stupendous performances in L.A.
After all, the U.S. beat EVERYONE but the folks that didn't show, and the
people that showed were damn good. But they can't seem to beat THEMSELVES
now. And while I appreciate Steve's point of view, I think that arguing that
the Americans suck because of budget cuts is pretty simplistic. And you
cannot blame coaching--certainly the Chinese have seen a generation of
coaches siphoned off by greener pastures outside of the sport or outside of
China, yet they continue to perform.
I think Susan got close to the reason but didn't quite hit it. I think the
poor "teamsmanship" is the result of a deeper problem-- we have forgotten how
to grow male gymnasts endowed with the standards of perfection and the
outstanding sportsmanship that grace most of the rest of the world. Even
Scherbo, MGCHN, is a perfectionist, albiet often a poor sport off the floor.
Everytime I see American gymnasts, I think of the British--everyone going
through the motions well enough, but nobody pushing the edge of the envelope
If U.S. male gymnasts would get together and decide with their coaches that
they were going to make the U.S. the best team on the planet, they could do
it in 4 years. The logical body to coordinate that and to make that happen is
NOT the NCAA, but USAG. Unfortunately, with USAG, men take the back seat
behind both women and rhythmic.
The fish is reeking from the head. Unless USAG can begin to take a leadership
role in the development and continuance of Mens gymnastics, the sport is for
all intents and purposes a historical fact. And I say this as a dues-paying,
card-carrying professional member of the body.
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 09:57:02 BST
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
>Everytime I see American gymnasts, I think of the British--
>everyone going through the motions well enough, but nobody
>pushing the edge of the envelope anymore.
Now that isnt a very well argued point is it, the British
team is at least winning world championship medals, and I
think considering the amount of money they have available its
a damn good effort, remember we dont have the structure
that encourages the sport like America does, we dont have
summer training camps or world class coaches giving courses.
There isnt a collegiate system, 90% of schools in the UK dont
even teach gymnastics let alone run teams.
So the British team arent pushing the envelope of the sport
but at least we are trying our best.
Anyway at least we can play football :)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 08:36:39 +1000
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
>I think Susan got close to the reason but didn't quite hit it. I think the
>poor "teamsmanship" is the result of a deeper problem-- we have forgotten how
>to grow male gymnasts endowed with the standards of perfection and the
>outstanding sportsmanship that grace most of the rest of the world. Even
>Scherbo, MGCHN, is a perfectionist, albiet often a poor sport off the floor.
>Everytime I see American gymnasts, I think of the British--everyone going
>through the motions well enough, but nobody pushing the edge of the envelope
>If U.S. male gymnasts would get together and decide with their coaches that
>they were going to make the U.S. the best team on the planet, they could do
>it in 4 years.
I have to agree that there is a strong sense of team lacking for these
guys. One thing that I have noticed (and we can thank the women's program
for this one) is that there is no longer a team practice for the men. When
the women allowed the personal coaches to come along and not force a team
unity, the men decided that would work well for them too, plus it saves
money. 1984 - Abie Grossfeld had the *team* work together for a long
period of time, led them to all international meets, got to know them as
people and gymnasts. Now they continue to train in their own gyms, nothing
about being together as a team. When you train a top athlete in a gym with
people who aren't doing that level of difficulty the gymnast can get away
with being sloppy, there isn't any motivation to clean it up.
Put the top 12 - 15 guys together for 2 months of training in the summer,
with a group of superior coaches (and we have plenty of them) and give them
some sense of pressure to clean up and I think that the *team* would start
to turn around.
David also mentioned that the USAG would do a better job then the NCAA -
the reason the NCAA is so important at this time, is that it provides
educational opportunity, plus training. The guys are at the wrong age to
be in clubs like the women and rhythmic gymnasts. Although I do agree that
the USAG should provide more support for the men. I also think that the
men need to provide more support for themselves.
Another subject entirely.
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 20:38:25 -0400 (edt)
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
> Susan writes:
> >Well I'm sorry and all but at this point I just *must* step in (I'm sure you
> >were all just waiting with baited breath, eh?)...The gymnasts from '84 did
> >*not* - I repeat *NOT* compete against the rest of the world and that is
> >exactly why they were so successful.
> I never said that the US competed against the rest of the world at the Olympics
> in LA. I said "They competed against each other as hard as they competed
> against the rest of the world.", meaning they treated each other in practice as
> competitors as well as teammates.
> I think I agreed with the rest of what you wrote, even though I lost interest
> on page 7 :)
The US Men beat the Chinese Men who were then the number 1 ranked team
in the world. I'm not saying that the USSR team not being there did not
make a difference but do not think that the US team did not do an
incredible job. They hit something like 56 out of 60 routines and
HIT.They worked together and under a great coach. They did the job no
matter who was or was not there. On another note why should anyone worry
about practicing as a team when in this country there are no team meets
other than NCAA's and maybe the Olympic Festival. Who cares aboutut
"team" competition? Not the USGF! If they did they would be putting more
effort into NCAA and High school programs. Most JO meets are individual
meets and even at JO Nationals were there is a Regional team those kids
could care less about winning as a regional team, they are there as
individuals shooting for individual rankings. We need the team concept to
keep kids in the sport. The way it is going now once a kid realizes that
he is not going to make a national team what incentive is there to stay
in the sport. Why should parents pay to send thir child to a gym and pay
for meets week inb and week out just for the child to take 15th or 10th
or any place other than top 6 or top 3 or #1? In team competition the 5th
bestscore (high school 3rd best) counts for something; it may be the
difference in winning the meet by .1 or losing.Who remenbers who was 5th
at the recent worlds? Or even 3rd!!! Back to 84 give credit to Scott
Johnson who lead off onmost events! Won only one medal (team) but VERY
important to that Win!!!
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 17:52:25 PDT
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency*
Clive, please understand that there is no offense intended. I think that the
Brits are a TECHNICALLY outstanding team, and, as you so clearly pointed out,
one that has achieved said status with precious little help. I am by no means
knocking said splendid achievement.
But you must admit that Mother England is not the traditional bastion of
gymnastic innovation, despite her admirable record. That is what I was
referring to, not to some real or percieved notion of the British as
The States (or should I say, "Colonies" :) ) on the other hand have made
their mark upon the sport by attempting to out-innovate our former Soviet
counterparts. It almost seems that the end of the Cold War sapped the
competitiveness out of our boys. This marks a change of form whose roots lie
in the USAG and the comparitive lack of support it gives men's gymnastics.
As to your point about football, touche. I desperately fear the Americans are
not long for the World Cup, but that's another newsgroup....
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 19:39:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: *Scott Keswick's inconsistency* /world cup
> But you must admit that Mother England is not the traditional bastion of
> gymnastic innovation, despite her admirable record. That is what I was
> referring to, not to some real or percieved notion of the British as
> The States (or should I say, "Colonies" :) ) on the other hand have made
> their mark upon the sport by attempting to out-innovate our former Soviet
> counterparts. It almost seems that the end of the Cold War sapped the
> competitiveness out of our boys. This marks a change of form whose roots lie
> in the USAG and the comparitive lack of support it gives men's gymnastics.
AMEN BRO !
> As to your point about football, touche. I desperately fear the Americans are
> not long for the World Cup, but that's another newsgroup....
> David, dear boy....
Let me correct you, not only are we yanks not long, but we never had a ghost
of a chance at it !
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 16:57:46 EDT
Subject: A new member we'd all love to influence...
Guess who's signed up...
>I came across your group on AOL and would like to get your mail. I produce
>gymnastics for NBC.
He just signed up and should start receiving mail tomorrow (Thursday)
morning (i.e. he won't see this).
Anyhow, we may want to be a bit careful about how we word our flames, when
we're in the mood to rant, and hopefully we can carry on a constructive
dialog and maybe even get some positive changes (I dream).
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 07:05:00 UTC
Subject: Changing faces
I am new to gymnet and internet. I am a level 10 judge from Berkeley,
California. Also, I am a lousy typist.
Just thought I would pass this little news tidbit. In Sacramento there is
a club started by Geza Pozar, the Romanian coach/choreographer that worked
with Bela Karolyi. The latest star from his gym was Michelle Campi. She
was injured about 2 months ago. Now I hear that her coach, Rick Newman, is
no longer with Pozar's. His new coaches are former Romanian Olympian,
Emelia Eberle (who now goes by her real name - Trudi Kollar) and Stoyan
Deltchev. This looks like it could be a powerful coaching team. Trudi has
been coaching at a small town in the Sierra foothills. She has done very
well with her girls. Her girls are especially good on beam. Even the best
coach needs the kid with the innate talent in order to succeed. In
Sacramento she can work in an excellent facility and attract some
outstanding talent. I wish her well.
I think Dletchev was the male coach that came with her to a little meet
in Menlo Park. They had brought a very talented girl to see how she would
score. She was very good. She had strong tumbling and had the elegance
that Trudi developes in all of her girls. I had no idea I was talking to
Stoyan Deltchev. I could barely understand anything he said. His English
is a bit raw.
Looks like next year I will have to volunteer for more Sacramento meets.
It looks like it will be worth the 2 our drive!
BTW, I would love to comment on the USA/Romania meet, but one of the
kids killed my efforts to set the timer on the VCR. Hey George - did you
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 94 23:01:35 EDT
Subject: Need names help
I know this is not *strictly* a gymnastics post, and I apologize, but I need
I'm taking in an 8-week old male kitten and haven't been able to come up with
a name. I'd love something gym-related (therefore figured this was the place
to come), but my family has already rejected Dimitri, Alexei/Alexander,
Vladimir, Vitali and Ivan (sorry Susan <g>). The kitten is a black and brown
striped tiger with blue eyes (which may or may not stay blue). He is also
small for his age.
Suggestions please! Please e-mail me so we don't clutter up the list. Later
on, I'll add the list (and the winner) to one of my other posts. Thanks
PS My other cats are not "gym-named" - Zane, Zachary, Elizabeth, and Jeffie.
My dog is (but not intentionally): Kerri, if that helps spark the creative
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 21:12:51 EDT
Subject: Rise of Women's Collegiate Gymnastics (Long)
Because of being the busiest I have ever been in my entire life (no joke),
I haven't been able to contribute to Gymn for nearly two months.
But now that I finally have some time, I thought I would contribute a tad
to the previous discussion about men's collegiate gymnastics. I recently
wrote a magazine article for the NCAA (for the championships souvenir
It was about the phenonemal rise of women's collegiate gymnastics.
Here is a copy of that article for your comment and criticism:
Just a little more than 10 years ago, gymnastics coaches were a desperate
Their programs were woefully underfunded, and coaches found themselves
handing out free tickets at malls and having to help set up chairs for the 50
or so spectators who came to meets.
Other coaches badgered the media, practically begging them to give some sort
of coverage - any coverage - to women's gymnastics. And many coaches fought
wars with their bosses, asking for gymnastics meets to be taken out of dark,
damp, tiny broken-down halls and put into the same auditoriums as those used
by the basketball teams.
But, then, in the early 1980s, electricity shot through the sport when
Ernestine Weaver, a new coach at the University of Florida, attracted more
than 6,000 people to one of her first meets.
She treated the sport as both a competition and an art form. She spoke to
the crowd and explained to them the routines, and the gymnasts went up into
the stands after every meet to sign autographs. She wooed the media, spoke on
talk shows and even held meet-the-team nights, where spectators were taught
how routines were judged and just what was required in the sport.
The crowds she attracted that first year were no fluke. The Gators continued
to attract thousands at every meet, instantly becoming the most popular
women's sport on campus.
Across the continent, in Utah, Head Coach Greg Marsden did the same things.
The crowds there began to grow, so much so that Utah women's gymnastics
became the most successful NCAA women's sports program of the decade in attrac
"Anything is going to take time to develop," Marsden said at mid-season this
year, just coming off a meet in which his team attracted more than 10,000
people for the umpteenth time. "Early on, one of the arguments schools made
(for not giving more funding) was that there was no interest. It wasn't the
spectator sport it has become."
Of women's sports, gymnastics is quickly asserting itself as one of the most
dominant, if not the most dominant, in the NCAA. In 1993, three of the top
draws for women's sports, including the top draw, was women's gymnastics.
This year, the numbers have increased dramatically.
Utah regularly either sells out or comes close to it. The universities of
Alabama and Georgia continue to attract 9,000 people to meets, and a host of
other teams continue to hover around 5,000 to 6,000 a meet. And even the
traditionally smaller schools, such as Boise State and Southeast Missouri
State, attract 3,000 or more to meets.
Most of the teams at this year's national championships attract larger,
per-event crowds at their schools than every other team except men's
basketball and football. And at some schools, women's gymnastics is second
only to football.
The sport has become so popular that some schools, such as Oregon State,
Utah, Florida and Georgia, have their own television contracts, and women's
gymnastics now has its own national publication, The Gymnastics Insider. And
this increasing popularity has led to some schools even contemplating adding
women's gymnastics to their programs - something unfathomable only five years
Coaches across the country attribute much of the interest in the sport to
the push by coaches to let the public know more about their sport.
"It's putting on a show," Oregon State Head Coach Jim Turpin said. "We're not
just a sport. We're a performing art."
Indeed, gymnastics now attracts all types of people, including the avid,
football-type fan, entire families and the elderly.
But it took years for coaches to begin enlightening people about the sport.
Programs that now attract several thousand people a meet were attracting only
50 to 200 people in the early 1980s. So coaches began to do anything, try
anything to get people to at least attend a meet, hoping that once they came,
they would be hooked.
Alabama Head Coach Sarah Patterson personally handed out schedules in the
mall and ran around with tape to put up posters throughout the city. Turpin
had his team compose elaborate dance routines for a meet-the-team night, and
Georgia Head Coach Suzanne Yoculan invited jugglers to perform. At Florida, a
gymnastics "clown" was featured, and even an indoor fireworks show was used.
And at the University of Missouri, the coach started the "Cat Classic,"
where gymnastics teams throughout the country with cats as mascots (tigers,
wildcats, etc) were invited. Each team would bring its mascot, and at one
point, a cat food company even was sponsoring it. The idea worked, and crowds
But coaches not only focused on attracting the crowds. They also wanted to
keep them coming back, and to do that, coaches altered the way meets were
held. Priority number one was not allowing meets to last longer than two hours
so that families with young children could attend.
The other top priority was explaining just how routines are judged and what
the various tricks are called and how much they are worth. Coaches still do
that by either holding a meet-the-team night where the routines are explained
as they're performed or by having the announcer explain various parts of the
routine after its completion. At Florida, Head Coach Judi Avener holds an
"Ask The Coach" session at the beginning of each meet, answering written
questions from the audience.
Turpin said it is efforts like these that keep the crowds coming back.
"Every time I go to an event, I try to look at it from the viewpoint of a
spectator," Turpin said. "People want to be informed."
Coaches found that once spectators began to understand the sport, they
became fascinated with it - and even better, they invited their friends. And
those friends invited their friends, and so on.
No one is more familiar with this type of networking than Yoculan, who has
found a direct link between the size of her booster club and meet attendance.
Her crowds usually are 12 times the size of her booster club, meaning each
booster club member in some way helps attract 12 people to a meet.
Her booster club is so important to her that Yoculan spends a minimum of 20
hours a week with her 750-member club, attending every meeting and making a
point to call members, even if it's for nothing more than to find out how
they are doing.
"The booster club is my number-one priority when I'm not with the team,"
At the University of Florida, which owns its own team plane, Avener allows
booster club members to fly with the team to meets. And as is the case at
many other schools, she encourages the public to attend team practices.
The personal contact that coaches and gymnasts have with the fans and the
community is directly linked to meet attendance, coaches said.
At Georgia, when it comes times for putting up posters or handing out
schedule cards to businesses, the gymnasts do it. Business owners often are
impressed, and even if they never have been to a meet, they suddenly want to
attend one because now they know some of the athletes, Yoculan said.
At Oregon State, team members are so popular in the community that Turpin
gets 2-3 calls a week from charities, civic groups and businesses wanting the
gymnasts to visit. The team even plans a group activity each year in the
community and keeps a log of every time a gymnast works with the community.
Individual gymnasts throughout the country have become so well known that
they rival the popularity of their male counterparts. They're given nicknames
and have their pictures printed on posters. It's a trend that Alabama's
Patterson said she likes.
"Our sport provides great role models for girls and young women," she said.
"Until recently, there hasn't been anything for young women to embrace."
And it's not just in athletics that the gymnasts excel. Traditionally, the
gymnastics teams have the highest grade point averages on campus, and many
schools, such as Alabama, actually announce the grade point averages of the
gymnasts as they are introduced at the beginning of a meet.
But whether it's gymnasts working in the community, coaches meeting with
booster clubs or announcers explaining routines, all of these various efforts
and tasks boil down to one single goal: to make meets enjoyable and exciting.
"There used to be a time when you bought your ticket and sat there quietly
with your hands folded," Utah's Marsden said. "That's not the case any
Nowadays, fans cheer as loud as basketball crowds, drowning out announcers.
Schools bring in bands, cheerleaders and high-tech scoreboards. Crowds do the
"wave" and even get so loud that, occasionally, a gymnast cannot hear her
floor music and must wait for the crowd noise to die down.
But as dynamic as the crowds are getting, rarely, if ever, do they get ugly.
Women's collegiate gymnastics is one of the few sports where a good routine
by a visiting team member gets a standing ovation from the crowd. The sport
has become so friendly that booster clubs at some schools greet the visiting
teams, and at Florida, the visiting team is given a bag of oranges by the
booster club, along with a letter.
Fans also are getting more involved in cheering the athletes because of the
simple fact that college gymnasts of the 1990s are far superior to their
counterparts of a decade ago. It used to be that collegiate gymnastics was whe
re gymnasts went to retire, to throw watered-down routines.
Now it's where they go to become better, to become more explosive. Olympians
now regularly turn down prize money so that they may remain eligible to
compete in college.
All of this, from the increasing fan interest to the quality of gymnasts,
bodes well for the future of women's collegiate gymnastics.
"There really is something for everyone," Yoculan said.
Added Marsden: "If coaches let the people know they have a program, there
will be an interest in women's gymnastics."
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 19:23:14 -0400 (EDT)
Hey Clive, don't you mean 'soccer'? ;-)
Loved the meet reports from y'all. <I had them printed out in front of
me as I was watching.
Oh man, Ghimpu is simply AMAZING. Teach that kid to swing and she'll be
the next Voinea.
Speaking of which, no one ever mentions her when talking about the 2
per country victims in event finals at Worlds. She was an amazing floor worker
who could not only dance but throw double layout immediate punch front and
full-in immediate front. I'm talking about Voinea here. I have no clue about
Go Doni and Larissa!!! Wow, is Doni impressing the heck out of me....
no wonder everyone's switching.
I so wanted to see Powell do floor over Webster. Hello, Dynamo, can you
say, "Cheap front tumbling" boys and girls? I knew you could.
Does Dynamo have to use violin music for EVERYONE? C'mon, I'm a violin
major and I'm very sick of it.
Somebody take Milo to Disneyland.... she needs a smile ... something.
Vault judges need to get white canes. That was pathetic.
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 00:18:32 EDT
> I so wanted to see Powell do floor over Webster. Hello, Dynamo, can you
say, "Cheap front tumbling" boys and girls? I knew you could.
Agreed! Front tumbling has become a monster taking over the sport <g but
End of gymn Digest