GYMN-L Digest - 20 Oct 1995 to 21 Oct 1995 - Special issue

There are 12 messages totalling 506 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

  1. Gimpu/Bican
  2. Ghimpu/Bican (2)
  3. 3rd Annual National Gymnfest
  4. Romanians (3)
  5. MEDIA (UK): Gymnastics Coverage (lack of)
  6. Subway World Challenge
  7. Commentators, in general
  8. Zmeskal at nationals?
  9. Abusive coaching


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 10:53:29 -0400
From:    ***@WAM.UMD.EDU
Subject: Gimpu/Bican

Anyone know what is up with either one of these Romanian gymnast....

I think the last time we saw Gimpu was in the USA vs Romania meet...
I think her floor was the first Romanian routine where there is some]
dancing going on...(please correct me if there has been
seems as they are commended for their tumbling but lack in the
dance)...anyway Gimpu seemed like she was strong at that meet even
though she was a last minute substitue if i recall correctly...good
YDT vault also...

How about Bican wha has she been up to since the American Cup???



Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 11:14:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Ghimpu/Bican

Date sent:  21-OCT-1995 11:09:27

I can offer a little more information on Ghimpu. She competed at the
1994 Goodwill Games (with Cacovean, Bican and Loaises), and made
all-around finals. She also competed in, I believe the DTB Cup and Swiss
Cup in Decemeber of last year. She won uneven bars at one of the meets.

As for Bican, she also won the Mixed Pairs in Seattle. She was 4th at
the International Romanian Championships, behind two other Romanians
and Oksana Knizhnik. I think I saw her name in a few other events, but
I don't have them in front of me right now. I do think she is one of the
nicer gymnasts that Romania has (I think she is as good an athlete as
Amanar) and I'd like to see her more often. BTW, can someone offer some
more detail on the politicing that went on with choosing the Romanian team?


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 11:42:50 -400
From:    ***@IN.NET
Subject: 3rd Annual National Gymnfest

On the October gymn calendar, there is an entry for the 3rd Annual USA
National Gymnfest in Carmel, Indiana.  Does anyone know any details of
what this meet is, where, when, who etc?



Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 13:01:19 -0400
Subject: Romanians

     I'm relying on an old IG (Oct. '94) for this info, so perhaps someone else
has more details. Anyway, there is a huge rivalry in Romania between Bucharest
and Deva, and there is likewise a lot of politicking between the coaches about
how many girls from which school will get onto the team for international
competitions. Here is a quote from the IG article: "But change is on the
horizon. The once-powerful Deva training center, where Milosovici and Gogean
train, is on its way out. The future of Romanian gymnastics is in Bucharest.
'More than half the team [for Atlanta '96] is going to be from Bucharest,' says
Comaneci. Which means Eliza Stoica will most likely replace Octavian Belu as
national coach." Alexandra Marinescu is one of the rising stars from Bucharest,
and IMO, she was "penalized" in Sabae by Belu for being from the "wrong" club.
She had to perform early on every event, which really hurt her chances to make
AA and EF. I'm not sure where Bican and Ghimpu train, but their absence in
Sabae makes me wonder if they're from Bucharest. I'd be interested in seeing a
breakdown of the Romanian team members by club, if anyone can provide this. The
rivalry has got to be tough on everyone, especially if Belu's position as
national team coach is on the line. Sure, there's rivalry between American
coaches too, but no one is threatened with losing their job! It's just a really
unfortunate situation when Marinescu, who was my favorite Romanian in Sabae,
showing a lot of originality and style, has to be sacrificed because success
for her would not be a good thing for Belu...



Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 18:26:40 GMT
Subject: MEDIA (UK): Gymnastics Coverage (lack of)

Reading back through the digests that collected in my absence, the
subject of the lack of gymnastics coverage generally - and Worlds
coverage in particular - in the UK came up several times. In this
regard, I recently spoke to a friend who works for Channel Four and
has her finger on the media-pulse. I quizzed her on why-no-gym and
she was able to give me some insight as to what is going on with the
networks, and why.

What follows is a mix of her information, my abusive comments towards
certain networks and - hopefully - a few pointers as to where you might
- now or in the future - find coverage.

I had some hesitation about posting this because it's long and likely
to be of limited interest to non-UK subscribers. There *are* 22 of us
now though - heck! this time last year it was only Sherwin, Clive &
me! - and I haven't got more than three or four of the others'
addresses, so I hope the stateside majority will bear with me this once.
Actually, some of you may find it helpful in understanding the
channel-names Sherwin, I and others throw around. You may also enjoy a
certain amount of "schadenfreude" at realising that - contrary to a
prevalent GYMN myth - we on this side of the pond are *not* wondrously
well-served as regards tv coverage of our sport!


**** Terrestial Channels ****

** BBC **

"Host" broadcaster of the 1993 Birmingham Worlds which (reluctantly)
showed an hour of that year's women's AA finals live on its second channel.
When these proved to be the 10th highest-rated programme of the week on that
channel, it announced itself surprised and said it would certainly be showing
a lot more gymnastics.


Actually this is par for the course with the BBC. It's "surprised" when
gymnastics "takes off" at every Olympics, promises to hike its coverage, then
- apart from the occasional "highlights" package when something else has been
rained off - you hear nothing for four years.

In the case of Sabae, the word is FIG wanted more money than the BBC was
prepared to stump up for what it would have boiled down to the usual half-hour
segment on "Grandstand". The obvious solution - get greater value-for-money
by giving the event proper coverage (like 3 or 4 hours) - doesn't seem to have
occured to the BBC, even though it has *two* channels on which to schedule.

The BBC's failure to give proper (or any) coverage of gymnastics is
particularly infuriating in light of (i) some of the pure rubbish it does
spend money showing and (ii) the defection of most "majority" sports to "Sky

When it does broadcast, commentary is by the excellent Mitch Fenner and
production in the hands of Barbara Slater: ex British Women's Champion. With
coverage so infrequent though, the latter spends most of her time producing
golf (check out the credits). It's not the quality that's a problem though,
it's the quantity, and with the BBC remaining one of the worst-managed
organizations on earth no change seems likely.


** ITV **

Those with long memories - or videotapes - may recall that ITV was once into
gymnastics in a big way, giving extensive coverage to everything in sight,
each event fronted by a commentator more risibly incompetent than the last.
About the mid-eighties it pulled the plug, not only on the commentators
(rumoured variously to have been sold for medical experimentation or - far,
far worse - to have been given shows on daytime television) but on the sport.
Since then, it has pulled the plug on a lot of other sports. And, recently,
Sky Sports has been pulling the plug on *it*. ITV Sports has almost nothing
left apart from some European soccer matches the English teams get eliminated
from before Christmas every year.

ITV Sports is a corpse. The word is it may be formally buried within a year.
A cautionary tail, I would say, for anyone wicked enough to cut gymnastics


** Channel Four **

Forget the headline-grabbing stunts. Forget the "Lesbian Nights", forget
Oliver Reed brawling on "Into The Night", forget (please, please) "The Word".
Channel Four only plays at being outrageous. Its *real* deep, dark secret is
that, with the single exception of Sky Sports, it's the most profitable
outfit in British tv.

Its sports coverage is the same clever niche-playing as the rest of its
broadcasting. Realising advertisers would want to reach gamblers, it picked
up horse racing and makes a packet out of it. Otherwise, it likes to pick up
sports others have overlooked and "build" them. It did this with American
Football. It's doing it with cycling. It even tried it with sumo wrestling!

So why not gymnastics?

Essentially, because it can't turn the sport into a regularly-scheduled slot
which it can promote. Channel Four's scheduling is very aggressive and
calculated and it doesn't like rearranging around "one-offs"...except of
course its own "stunts". My friend assures me their door isn't closed
though, and if someone could come up with a way of presenting gymnastics that
meshed with Channel Four's "ambience" - GYMNers in the UK will know what I
mean by this - then they might be interested.

CHANCE OF IMPROVEMENT: Slim, but never say never with Channel Four


** Eurosport **

Has already attained near-legendary status among stateside gymn-ers who envy
us its coverage. With reason...up to a point. There are several riders to
the rave reviews, though.

The first is that only 10-20% of the UK gets to see it. Sherwin and (depending
where I am) I are amongst the lucky minority, but remember we are a minority.

Second, it has a minuscule budget, so the moment there is a bidding-war for
rights, it's toast. It can't compete. This is why it wasn't able to cover

Eurosport is an odd hybrid: not so much a broadcaster as a "re-broadcaster".
In essence, it picks up pictures being broadcast by various national networks,
picks out the most interesting and beams them out live to dish/cable owners.
The commentaries are provided by people sitting in cubicles in the various
national capitals. They're not at the events and are only seeing what you

Occasionally it will show edited highlights, but its facilities for this
are limited, so it usually covers gymnastics - and most else - live or not
at all.

On the plus side, it does cover gymnastics *a lot*. If any national network
is broadcasting gymnastics, it will usually pick it up. And, when it covers,
it usually broadcasts the whole event: hours of it. The occasional rough
edges are a small price to pay for such scope.

CHANCE OF IMPROVEMENT: Would only improve with a bigger budget. More likely
to contract its coverage as rivals out-bid it.


Sky is the UK equivalent of the US's Fox. In other words, it's Rupert Murdoch.
American gymn-ers will be aware of Murdoch snatching NFC rights from CBS.
Believe me, that's nothing to what he's done here. In about five years,
Sky has more or less destroyed terrestial tv's sports coverage. Every plum
has been picked & Sky Sports are quite candid in saying that they can take
whatever they like, whenever they like. I am told that when a rumour went
round that ITV was amassing a war-chest of 100-200 million pounds to bid
against it for soccer rights (*the* most valuable here) they just laughed.
They are ready to go to half a billion.

They now run six or seven cable/satellite channels, the two sports and two
movie ones being subscription. The quality and quantity of their sports
coverage is regarded as outstanding, but the subscriptions are resented
and are the subject of political dispute.

So far, it has not covered gymnastics much at all. Basically, it's
calculation is (i) we have to sell subscriptions, (ii) only men will pay
money for sports coverage, (iii) men want soccer, cricket, rugby, boxing,
golf. So that is what Sky Sports shows. (If you don't like their line of
reasoning, flame Rupert Murdoch, not me!)

This may change. From next month their second sports channel is becoming
seven days rather than weekends-only, and the word is they are already
planning a third. More airtime means more sports, which may include
gymnastics. One thing's for sure. If they want gymnastics, they'll get it.

CHANCE OF IMPROVEMENT: Probably quite good, though you'll have to pay
for it.

** NBC SuperChannel **

A hybrid so odd that Eurosport seems mundane by comparison. It's about
25% the NBC network: Tom Brokaw, Jay Leno, etc. Another 25% an NBC
business-news service (my boss says it's excellent). Another 25%
is London-produced programming, mainly of the news-features variety.
The final quarter is sports, most of which is either several weeks old
or pretty minor league. There is occasionally some gymnastics in there
though, usually US events covered by NBC Sports in America. You need to
watch their schedules closely to find it, though.


** Other **

It's worth scanning foreign language channels, if your cable/dish gets
them. The German channel DSF (sort of a teutonic Sky Sports) seems
particularly keen on broadcasting gymnastics and - as those following
Sherwin's posts will have noted - was almost the only source of Sabae
coverage. Unfortunately, the cable system I have access to doesn't take
it. I believe RTL and SAT1 have also covered the odd event, but Sherwin's
better briefed here than I am: his dish picks up everything that moves
gymnastically this side of Mars!

The only drawback of stations like DSF buying rights is they shut
Eurosport out. This is what happened with Sabae.



Again apologies for taking up so much bandwith. Out of deference
to the majority of GYMNers, UK subscribers who want to raise points
over this post are welcome to e-mail me rather than the group as a



Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 14:09:59 EDT
From:    ***@PRODIGY.COM
Subject: Subway World Challenge

>  Do you have any more information about the
>Subway World Challenge?  Who else is going to
>be there?

Confirmed List of Countries and Athletes entered:

Canadian Men:  Alan Nolet
                       Kris Burley

Canadian Women:  Jennifer Exaltacion
                            Theresa Wolf

Chinese Men:  Huadong Huang
                     Dashuang Li

Chinese Women:  Xuan Liu
                          Liya Ji

Russian Men:  Eugeni Podgorni
                     Alexi Bondarenko

Russian Women:  Oksana Fabrichnova
                          Elena Grosheva

* American and Ukranian team members have not yet been announced.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Lower Deck- Rows 1-14 $25.00
                   Rows 15-26 $20.00

Upper Deck- All Seats $10.00

(a wee bit cheaper than Atlanta 8]  )

For ticket info call (905) 526-6332 or fax (905) 526-8892

The official event Hotel is the Royal Connaught Howard Johnson Plaza-
Hotel.  It's within walking distance of Copps Colliseum and has an
indoor pool and 2-story waterslide.  Prices range from $69 to $79 per
You can reserve by calling 1-800-I-GO-HOJO or (905) 546-8111.

I got all of this info from the October 1995 issue of Ontario Gymnast,
 published by the OGF.

Hope this helps...


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 15:57:54 -0400
From:    ***@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU
Subject: Re: Ghimpu/Bican

Well I know that Hategan only competed in one event at Worlds because she
got injured (again).  So the decision not to let her compete all events
was not at all a political one as someone else suggested it might be.  As
for the other team selections, you have to consider there might have been
injuries and stuff... who knows?


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 16:03:15 -0400
From:    ***@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU
Subject: Re: Romanians

Well Bican and Ghimpu train in Deva... As for Marinescu she is only 15,
so the decision may have been political or it may have been that she was
considered to young to anchor the team on any event.  Also if Presecan
competed in Sabae she's from Bucharest too.


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 16:07:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Romanians

I'm pretty sure that the whole Romanian team at the US-Romania meet last
year trained in Deva.  I'm not sure that's still true, however.  If it is,
Milo, Gogean, Ghimpu, Hatagan, Cacovean, and Bican are all Belu's students.

I wasn't impressed with what I saw of Marinescu from the TV coverage of
worlds.  I don't know who else trains in Bucharest.  I'm sure Milo and
Gogean will make the team for Atlanta, barring injury or retirement.  I'd
hate to see Bican or Cacovean denied a spot on the team for political
reasons, though if there are better Romanian gymnasts out there I'd love to
see them. I have to say, though, I'd be surprised to wee many better


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 16:08:24 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Commentators, in general

Howdy.  Relatively new subscriber here.  Just some thoughts about the
commentators for worlds and other events.  I have seen that some folks did
not like the job Kathy Johnson and Bart Conner did at worlds.  I personally
think that of the biggest commentators out there, Tim Dagget and Elfie
Schlagel are the most negative and offensive on TV.  I will never forget how
they called Wendy Bruce's beam routine during the '92 Olympics in
Atlanta--their basic style (IMHO) is to point out ALL the negative in a
routine, and call it commentating.  I find Johnson and Connor, on the other
hand, much more fair and equitable in their disbursement of comments, good
and bad.  That is why, as long as Dagget and Schlagel are on NBC, my favorite
network for gymn coverage is ABC.  I prefer a positive and educational
experience (taking the good and the bad) and not just one slam after another
on some incredibly talented, dedicated, and stressed out athletes.  Thanks
for letting me vent.  Ciao.


Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 16:10:54 -0400
From:    ***@GROVE.IUP.EDU
Subject: Zmeskal at nationals?

I read in a recent digest that Kim Zmeskal was invited to participte at
National Championships. I think it is fantastic that she is finally making her
come bck, but is that really fair to other girls who will lose a chance to



Date:    Sat, 21 Oct 1995 16:44:42 -0500
Subject: Abusive coaching

Date sent:  21-OCT-1995 16:37:20

Bear with me here. This needs a little explanation.

I am sitting here watching figure skating on CBS, and Chen Lu was
just on. I was also reading through mary Lou's advice column in
USA Gymnastics. She was offering advice to a gymnast who was having
trouble with a back handspring on beam.

The combination of the two reminded of a Sports Illustrated article
published in 1988. I kept it because coverage of the 1988 Olympic
Trials were in the same issue. Most of the issue was dedicated to
an in-depth examination of the Chinese sports system.

One part focused on a group of young Chinese gymnastics who were
at the top of there age group. This one girl, who was the focus of
the article, was subject to extreme "torture" when she couldn't bring
herself to do a move on beam.

I wish I had the article in front of me, for names and the like.
But I just thought it was worth mentioning, especially given the
controversy surrounding Joan Ryan's book. I still agree that her
message was important, but as many people have pointed out, before
and since, there are many happy athletes in the sport. However, if
you go outside of the country, what are the situations there?

I am not trying to condemn anyone's training system. I know there
are many great coaches out there. I know some of them. :) I'm simply
curious to know whether cases like this are still prominent in other'
countries. And was the situation with Ju Ping (Australia) ever
resoilved? I saw her with Joanna Hughes in Sabae.


End of GYMN-L Digest - 20 Oct 1995 to 21 Oct 1995 - Special issue