GYMN-L Digest - 4 May 1996 - Special issue

There are 10 messages totalling 641 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

  1. Honorable mentions from 96 Worlds, part 1
  2. Honorable mentions from 96 Worlds, part 2
  3. Diane Durham
  4. Gymnastics Vocab - Spanish
  5. What happened to Begue? (2)
  6. Q re spring floors; ncaa coverage
  7. introduction
  8. Sorry!
  9. Gymn's FAQ (1 of 4)


Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 09:06:06 EDT
Subject: Honorable mentions from 96 Worlds, part 1

Hello again.

Here is my third installment of top ten lists for the 1996 Worlds, held last
month in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So far I have given my lists for biggest
disappointments and highlights. In this third report I am listing my top ten
honorable mentions. These items still concern themselves primarily with the
competition. But as you will see, some concern themselves with the after affects
of competition.

Some of these items may sound a little humorous. However, it is not my intention
to make fun of these competitors. The idea is to point out some performances, or
courage, that most people did not get to see at this year's Worlds.

Once again, the items in this list are in no particular order.

Honorable Mentions:
1. Svetlana Chorkina (RUS) and her  Cuervo vault. This could have gone under the
highlights list, but I was limited to ten items in each list. Her twist before
hitting the horse is like magic.

2. Niina Parjanen and Sirvio Pauliina (FIN) for their well-choreographed floor
routines. With all the comments about the women's floor routines this past week,
I thought I would mention these two young ladies. You did not see either of
these ladies on ABC's Wide World of Sports last week and no one saw them past
the qualifying competition at Worlds. But, in my humble opinion, they had some
well-choreographed performances. Watching them at the practice sessions, I could
actually see the relationship between the music and movement. Unfortunately, the
tumbling was simple and there were stumbles in the qualifying competition. But,
I wanted them to get some recognition.

3. Marian Kovac (Slovakia) for his triple-back on floor in the qualifying
competition. I hope I have this name correct. Anyway, Marian did a fairly well
executed triple back on his first pass. The problem was his second pass: a
simple thing which he stumbled on. He ended up with 8.675.

4. Rasmus Brandtoft (Denmark) does a triple back in piked position for his
dismount from hi-bar. Again, this is someone only seen in the qualifying
competition (9.175). But, his dismount is definitely worth a mention.

5. Dominique Dawes (USA) poses for pictures with the fans and gives autographs
only minutes after her disappointing uneven bars routine. Dominique left the
auditorium in tears. But, outside the fans were waiting and she very graciously
posed for pictures and signed autographs. I was a little perturbed at the fans
who were swarming her for pictures, but I give Dominique a lot of credit for
being nice to the fans. I doubt I would have been so nice in the same situation.

end of part 1


Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 09:08:56 EDT
Subject: Honorable mentions from 96 Worlds, part 2

Hello again.

I found I had to split the list in two to send, so here now is the second part
of my third list of top tems.

Here is my third installment of top ten lists for the 1996 Worlds, held last
month in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So far I have given my lists for biggest
disappointments and highlights. In this third report I am listing my top ten
honorable mentions. These items still concern themselves primarily with the
competition. But as you will see, some concern themselves with the after affects
of competition.

Some of these items may sound a little humorous. However, it is not my intention
to make fun of these competitors. The idea is to point out some performances, or
courage, that most people did not get to see at this year's Worlds.

Once again, the items in this list are in no particular order.

Honorable Mentions:

6. Chainey Umphrey (USA) takes his entrance exams for medical school one day
after doing finals on high bar. I mentioned this tidbit in my highlights list,
but it is worth another mention.

7. Steve McCain (USA) does an innovative final tumbling pass as part of his
dismount from pommel horse in the qualifying competition. (OK, I kind of am
making fun with this one.) He slipped or something on his dismount and did a
back somersault on the mat.

8. Farhad Behahin (IRAN) competes on floor (8.375).  Give this guy credit for
making it to Worlds on behalf  of Iran. If I have my story straight, Farhad is a
student at UCLA. I want to give his coach credit as well, but I'm not sure of
his name. Could someone who was with the IG tour please post it?

9. All of the Belgian men (Jurgen Van Eetvelt, Olivier LeFebure, Luk Van Gompel)
none of whom made it past the qualifying competition. They told me they were
looking ahead to the European Championships and not concentrating on doing well
at Worlds. I guess that could be true, but I guess they just wanted to be able
to hang out in the hotel hot tub for the week.

10. Finally, a big hurrah for the Puerto Rican audience at the Worlds. They were
so enthusiastic about gymnastics it was incredible. And what do they do when
there are no Puerto Ricans to cheer for in the finals? Why, they cheer for the
Cubans (Portuondo, Bermudes Leyva and Merino).  Their enthusiasm puts most other
fans to shame.

Well, there you have it. My third list. Again, there are other, non-competition,
stories to tell from Worlds. If there is enough interest I will post some tales.
Let me know if you are interested.



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 11:19:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Diane Durham

>I was wondering why Diane Durham didn't make the Olympic team in 1984 if
>she was so good?  Was she injured? ('84 was before my interest in
>gymnastics so I don't know very much from back then)
>Corrie ;)

I've been keeping out of this discussion because I'm not sure my answer is
right, but since no one else seems to remember perfectly either, I'll share
my memory.

As I remember it, Durham went into trials with an injury.  She tried
competing, but was clearly in pain and did not do well.  I wish I could
remember what happened on vault; all I remember was that it was after her
vault that I realized she wasn't going to make the team.

It's interesting that we don't seem to remember what happened exactly.  I
always thought Durham was a better gymnast than Retton, and I don't think
that was an unusual position to hold.  It seems sad to me that the person I
thought was the best in the country is so fuzzy in my memory now.

Of course, I don't remember Marcia Fredericks well either...



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 12:21:20 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Gymnastics Vocab - Spanish

This is for the Spanish speaking subscribers - I need help with vocab.  I
often write essays for my Spanish class on gymnastics stuff when we aren't
given a topic, but I can't find any words in my Spanish-English dictionary.
 If anyone can help me with some fairly basic vocab (events, a couple common
skills), please e-mail me privately.
                                         Thanks,  Dawn :)


Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 12:32:34 -0400
From:    ***@EROLS.COM
Subject: What happened to Begue?

Finally catching up with all this post-ncaa mail, and ran across a note
from someone saying that Begue had been seriously injured in Puerto
Rico, had surgery in San Juan, will certainly miss at least the European
Championships, and will very likely miss the Olympics as well. I hadn't
heard any of this, and was concerned as to how she is doing.  What kind
of injury was it?  Not only must this be a great disappointment for her
and the team, but it could be a real lost opportunity to the sport to
have one of its most stylish athletes missing from the stage in Atlanta
(and, if the French placement is badly hurt as a result, a lost
opportunity to see many other French routines, as the networks will
probably prefer the horse race to a showing of a broad range of styles
by the best of each country; i.e., countries like Greece, Spain, and
France that may not have teams as deep as Russia or the United States or
China, but have one or more very strong individual gymnasts who are
not just cookie-cutter copies of the best gymnasts from the more
successful teams.  We rarely get to see these folks unless they win a

Anyway, didn't mean to ramble, just meant to ask!  I guess the ramble is
in itself a bit of a re-introduction, since it's a habit; but I'll do a
quickie for the heck of it:  My name's Ann Reed, I'm 33 (as of
yesterday), and used to compete, primarily as a class III; I was
training for class II in about '75 or '76, and may have competed a
little at that level, but I had to quit with a back injury.  I kept at
it to some degree anyway, even my competing for my high school in 1981,
and kept on tumbling in back yards and on curbs (how right you are, Joy!
curbs are beams) well into my mid-20s.  My inspiration was the 1972
Olympics, where I was much more a fan of Tourischeva's (and Nelli Kim's)
than of Olga Korbut's (too cutesy). I competed then for the Durham, NC
YMCA (when we went to the state meet, our team did so much jumping on
beds & throwing of back handsprings down hallways that the hotel (in
Asheville, I think) vowed never again to accept a gymnastics team.).
Later I competed for the Santa Rosa Gymnastics Club in California -- but
it was a couple of years after we moved before there even was such a
thing, so there was a lot of driving around to odd spots for the few
independent coaches who offered a weekly class to at least keep playing
at it.  I hope they know there efforts were appreciated.  (At one point
during this period, I competed at an "invitational" at Sonoma State U.,
with routines I had made up myself (I was 11), and won beam with a score
in the mid 2's!  I wonder if I even had a cartwheel in it.)  Anyway.
Favorite events:  bars and beam; favorite events to watch: bars, floor,
sometimes beam; men's pbars and high bar and floor; and I can even enjoy
pommel horse when it's done with great style -- ie, Mihai's most recent
televised routine!  (I'm blanking on what the meet was).

I only watch gymnastics now; officially I'm a lawyer at the justice
department, specializing in constitutional law, international law, and
to some degree environmental law, with a strong interest, borne largely
from watching foreign gymnasts as a child, in foreign affairs (I nearly
went into Middle Eastern studies after spending a year in Egypt,
although the initial interest was about places like Russia, Belarus,
Romania, etc.).  But it's great to see such a range of ages and views on
the sport, and to be able to get both up-to-date news and firsthand
impressions from all of you.  And nice to see the flame wars gone again.



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 13:59:49 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: What happened to Begue?

I believe she blew out her knee vaulting a 1 1/2 twisting yurchenko during
podium training.Has anyone else noticed her different(and possibly unsafe?)
landing position?She lands with feet slightly apart and knees turned in.Just
a random thought...



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 16:15:16 -0400
From:    ***@EROLS.COM
Subject: Q re spring floors; ncaa coverage

I was just wondering how much of the increase in difficulty on fx is due
to use of spring floors, esp. in women's gymnastics (I don't even know
what kind of floors the men are using, but I'm assuming they're the
same).  Any takers?

The ncaa women's team finals coverage, by cbs, is really very good,
despite the shortness of the presentation:  pretty much routine after
routine after routine.  And the gymnasts looked great!   I'm not going
to say much, just wanted to encourage those of you in time zones to the
west to watch, if you weren't already going to and are signed on at the
moment.  One complaint:  surely, Julianne, there is another term for
that move on beam besides 'fish flop' (ie., according to the gymn faq, a
korbut, or (ick) korbut "flic").  No matter what people may call it in
practice -- and having been out of it for awhile, i have no idea other
than that I must assume that people Julianne worked out with called it
this -- surely there's a term that won't embarass us aficionados in
front of the rest of the sports-watching world.  And the term "Korbut"
is probably good for pr, don't you think?



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 16:06:30 -0500
From:    ***@SCOTT.NET
Subject: introduction

Well I guess it is my turn.

I am a 32 year old mom, former gymnast myself, not much of one due to breaking
 an arm before I could really get going good.  (I didn't break it in gymnastics)
 I broke it jumping from tree limb to tree limb.  At the time I broke my arm
 there was not all this great sports medicine so I have a arm which is crooked
 at the elbow just a little.

I have two children, one male (12 years old) not a gymnast, and a 9 year old
 daughter Anna who competed last season as a level 6 gymnast and is currently
 training level 7 and 8 skills.  We should find out before too long where she
 will compete this upcoming season.

She trains Mon,Tues, Thurs and Friday.  Hours are M-T-Th 4:30pm-7:45 and F
 3:30pm-6:45.  She trains about 45 minutes from our home at Mountain Brook
 Gymnastics in Birmingham, Alabama.  She is in the third grade and is on the AB
 honor role.

She loves the sport and it has helped her out with her Attention Deficit
 Disorder, which both of my children, my husband and myself suffer from.

She at one point was in the TOPS program which she didn't stay in too long due
 to the fact she had already competed before and our gym doesn't allow the TOPS
 children to compete, so she missed competition so much that she went to the
 level 5 team and competed very well.

She is looking for a email penpal so if anyone is interested please send her
 email and she will write you soon.

I hope this proud mother has not bored you to tears but I felt a little info on
 me was better and more on the real gymnast of the family.



Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 18:04:30 -0500
Subject: Sorry!

My last message about Durham was sent out several days ago and somehow
didn't make the list until today.  When I sent it, no one had spoken with
any confidence about Durham's injury.  Since then, several people have.

Had I written it today, I wouldn't have said that "no one else seems
perfectly sure" what happened to her.




Date:    Sat, 4 May 1996 17:02:22 -0700
From:    ***@NETCOM.COM
Subject: Gymn's FAQ (1 of 4)

 *                    GYMN'S  FAQ                    *
 *              FOR ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS              *

Version 1.03.  Last modified May 5, 1996

Copyright (c) 1995-1996 by Rachele Harless and Debbie Poe,
all rights reserved.  This FAQ may be posted to any USENET
newsgroup, on-line service or BBS as long as it is posted in
its entirety and includes this copyright statement.
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies
of this document at no charge or at a charge that covers
reproduction and cost of the copies, provided that the
copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on
all copies.  This FAQ may not be included in commercial
collections or compilations without express permission from
the authors.


Section A:  Athletes
- Why are the gymnasts so young and why do they retire so
- Why do little kids move away from home to train?
- Is there a ranking system?
- Why didn't <famous gymnast> compete at...?
- Whatever happened to...?
- Who's who in the gymnastics world?
- How do I send fan mail/get an autograph?
- How does a gymnast become an "elite"?

Section B: Competitions
- What are the more prestigious meets?
- What is Olympic Order?
- How does a gymnast know when to start his/her routine?
- What is podium training?
- What are compulsories?
- How do they pick the Olympics/Worlds team?
- What are the upcoming competitions? How do I get tickets?

Section C:  Scoring/Judging
- What is the Code of Points?
- How are gymnasts scored?
- Are the gymnasts required to do any specific moves?
- What is a "start value"? What is "bonus"?
- What deductions do judges take?
- What is Competition 1A, etc.?
- Why is the Code revised every four years?
- What is the highest rank for a judge, and how do they get
- So-and-so was over/underscored.  Why?
- Do gymnasts submit a routine ahead of time to a judge?
- How do judges remember what a gymnast has done when he
  scores a routine?

Section D:  Technical Elements
- About this section.
- How are the moves named?
- Basics.
- Vault.
- Uneven bars and high bar.
- Balance beam.
- Dance.
- Tumbling.
- Pommel Horse.
- Rings.
- Parallel bars.

Section E:  History
- How did gymnastics begin?
- Who was the first to...?
- Who are the current champions?
- Who are the former champions?

Section F:  Other
- What is the IOC? (FIG, USOC, USAG, USGF, NCAA, AAU?)
- How do I get tickets to...?
- Why don't gymnasts really compete as a team, all at
- What is rhythmic gymnastics?
- How do I get involved?
- What do gymnasts wear?
- What is the chalk for?

Section G:  References
- Are there any good gymnastics resources on the Net...?
- Are there any good publications to subscribe to?

[A.1]  Why are the gymnasts so young and why do they retire
so early?

Teenagers are most successful in women's gymnastics around
the age of 16 -- a gymnast usually reaches her maximum
combination of flexibility, strength and aerobic activity.
There are certainly exceptions (Kathy Johnson (USA) was 24
at the '84 Olympics).  Strength is a more predominant factor
in men's gymnastics, which is why the prime age for men's
gymnastics is higher (21 to 24).

The current FIG rule is that a gymnast must be 15 by the end
of the calendar year to compete in an Olympics or Worlds
(exception: usually in the pre-Olympic year, gymnasts can
compete if they turn 14 by year's end -- this allows
potential Olympians to gain international experience).
However, beginning with the 1997 Worlds, gymnasts will need
to be 16 by the end of the calendar year.

[A.2]  Why do little kids move away from home to train?

Often a gymnast, or a parent of a gymnast, will feel that
s/he cannot get the proper training at a club in his/her
hometown, and so will transfer to a reputable gym to get
"better" coaching.  Each coach has a different style and
many gymnasts will transfer in hopes of finding the right
environment.  Gymnasts who constantly transfer from gym to
gym are called "club hoppers."

[A.3]  Is there a ranking system?

A gymnast's ranking is determined by his/her placement at a
Championships or Olympics (USA, Worlds, etc.).  If a gymnast
above him/her retires, then the gymnast moves up in the
rankings.  Rankings are not cherished in gymnastics the way
they are in other sports, like tennis, and are not used for
"seeding" at competitions.

[A.4]  Why didn't <famous gymnast> compete at <competition>?

There are too many competitions and too many gymnasts for
all of them to compete at every international invitational.
Also, gymnasts often need to take time off from their
competition schedule to heal injuries, train new skills, and
rebuild mentally.

[A.5]  Whatever happened to...?

Bela Karolyi -- "retired" in 1992 but came out of retirement
to coach Zmeskal, Moceanu and other potential Olympians.

Nadia Comaneci -- defected from Romania in November 1989;
does public appearances and exhibitions; has her own leotard
line (Milano International); married to Bart Conner.

Mary Lou Retton -- motivational speaker; living in Houston;
recently had a baby.

Svetlana Boginskaya and Kim Zmeskal --  both live in
Houston, TX.  Boginskaya trains at Karolyi's with a goal
of competing in the '96 Olympics.  Zmeskal recently
announced that she would not attempt a comeback.

Vitaly Scherbo -- still training and competing.  Lives with
his wife and daughter in State College, PA.

Tatiana Gutsu -- currently lives and coaches (at Greenwood
Gymnastics) in Indianapolis, IN.  She hopes to perform in
exhibitions and plans to pursue a career in choreography.

[A.6]  Who's who in the gymnastics world?

Bela Karolyi -- One of the most successful and controversial
coaches in gymnastics history.  He coached Nadia Comaneci,
Mary Lou Retton, and Kim Zmeskal, who have all won either a
Worlds or Olympics.  Very controversial for his flamboyant
promotion of his gymnasts, and strict coaching style.

Nadia Comaneci -- Romanian gymnast who made history by
scoring the first Olympic 10.0 (she actually received 7
perfect scores at the 1976 Olympics).  She is also the only
female gymnast ever to win 3 consecutive European
championship all-around titles.

Olga Korbut -- The "pixie" who stole everyone's heart at the
Munich Olympics in 1972.  Together with Nadia, she brought
women's gymnastics into the TV spotlight in the 70's.

Kim Zmeskal -- First American all-around World champion
(1991), and three-time US champion (1990-92).  She was
America's most decorated female gymnast at the time, was
very popular -- and still is.

Shannon Miller -- Two-time all-around World champion (1993-
94).  The most decorated US gymnast, having won medals in
every major international from 1991 through 1994.  Trains at
Dynamo Gymnastics in Oklahoma.

Svetlana Boginskaya -- Known for her gymnastics beauty and
artistry; 1989 all-around World champion; two-time all-
around European champion.  Most popular for her innovative
floor routines.

Vitaly Scherbo -- One of the most successful male gymnasts
ever, having won six out of a possible eight gold medals at
the '92 Olympics.  1993 all-around World champion.  Not
known for his shyness, he has been called the "Charles
Barkley of gymnastics."

Daniela Silivas -- Always the bridesmaid, but never the
bride.  Very popular Romanian gymnast who "never won the big
one but should have."  1987 all-around European champion.

Dmitri Bilozerchev -- 1983 all-around World champion at the
astonishing age of 16.  Only weeks prior to the 1985 World
championships, he was in a car crash which broke his leg in
40 places.  Doctors were about to amputate until they
realized he was the world champion.  They were able to save
the leg, and Bilozerchev returned to win the 1987 World
championships in one of the greatest comebacks in the
history of the sport.

Steve Nunno -- Coach of Shannon Miller, two-time World
champion.  Considered by some to be the "new Bela," as he is
also a controversial coach with a strict style.

[A.7]  How do I send fan mail/get an autograph?

If you know the gymnast's federation's or gym club's
address, it's best to send your fan mail or request for an
autograph to the gymnast, in care of the federation or club.
The most common are listed below; for a complete list, check
out the following directory:

If you don't know the federation of club's address, you can
just send the letter to your country's federation, who will
then forward it to the gymnast.  Be patient in your response
as gymnasts are very busy!

Australian Gymnastics Federation
Suite 1, 135 Sturt Street
Southbank, Victoria 0600

Belarussian Gymnastics Federation
Kirov Street 8/2
220600 Minsk

British Amateur Gymnastics Association
Ford Hall, Lilleshall National Sports Centre
Nr. Newport
Shropshire TF10 9NB
Great Britain

Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique
1600 James Naismith Dr.
Gloucester, Ontario
K1B 5N4 Canada

Chinese Gymnastics Federation
Rue Tiyukuan 9
People's Republic of China

Romanian Gymnastics Federation
Str. Vasile Conta 16

Russian Gymnastics Federation
Lujnetskaya Nabereynaya 8
119270 Moscow

Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation
Esplanadnaya Street 42
252023 Kiev

USA Gymnastics
Pan American Plaza, Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46225

[A.8]  How does a gymnast become an "elite"?

In the US, the gymnastics system is divided into "levels,"
the top one being "elite."  For the girls, there are levels
1-10, National Elite, and then the big cheese, the
International Elite (along with many age group subdivisions
of those levels).  For the boys, the levels go from 7 to 1,
then the Elite levels.  A female gymnast progresses through
the levels by demonstrating her accomplishment at her
current level; the accomplishment is measured through
testing at the lower levels and meet scores at the higher
levels.  Boys can compete at any level without qualifying
from one level to another.  Most countries have some sort of
"level" system for classifying their gymnasts.

[B.1]  What are the most prestigious meets?

To win the Olympics is the ultimate dream of many top
gymnasts.  World championships is right behind that, and
just as high up there with some people.  For the European
countries, European championships are very high on the list,
because most of the top gymnasts come from Europe.  The
equivalent other continental championships (Asian Games, Pan
Am Games, etc.) are certainly big meets but not as
prestigious.  There are many international invitationals
that are highly regarded, too, and attract top gymnasts.  A
few of these are:  Chunichi Cup (JPN); DTB Cup and Cottbus
Tournament of Champions (GER); International de France
(FRA); American Cup (USA); World Stars (RUS); Catania Cup
(ITA); Hungarian International (HUN); Romanian International
(ROM); Golden Sands (BUL); Kosice Cup (SVK); China Cup
(CHN); Blume Memorial (ESP); and Gander Memorial (SUI).


End of GYMN-L Digest - 4 May 1996 - Special issue