Many Prize Winners, Too Few Spectators

Moscow News, #14 1989  We are very pleased that all the visitors from abroad -- the gymnasts, coaches and heads of delegations, gave the same appraisal -- "excellent" -- to the organization of this year's tournament.  The novelties -- performances by variety artists before the beginning and after the end of the competitions and in the pauses -- were assessed highly.  The acrobats looked splendid as always.  The sponsors who inaugurated many consolation prizes made a good start.

However, the holding of competitions in gymnastics for the MN Prize shows that in the last few years it doesn't enjoy its former popularity.  One can see this in the coverage of the tournament by the press and, the main thing -- in how full the Olimpiisky hall gets.  This year, for example, according to most optimistic estimates there were some 9,000 in the three days of the competition.  And the stands could seat 30,000.  Vladimir Artyomov and Valentin Mogilny, MN Prize winners for the last two years, also noted at press conferences that the tournament is becoming less prestigious.

It is impossible to say what is the reason for the fall in interest.  Probably there are several reasons -- the uneven quality of the participants and the general decline in the popularity of gymnastics.

In such a situation, extraordinary measures are needed to bolster the prestige of the competitions.  But in spite of all the requests of MN, Goskomsport limited itself to half measures, giving preference to the quantity over quality of gymnasts at this, the only international tournament in the country.

MN thinks that it is not expedient to hold further competitions in such a situation.  What is the way out?

Yuri Titov, president of the International Gymnastics Federation, with whom we talked, said that this summer, the decision will be taken on making our competition a stage in the World Cup.  But it has eight stages in all and is planned to go on for two years, whereas the MN Prize is given out every year.  According to the conditions of the World Cup, all the strongest gymnasts need not to come to Moscow -- the results of any three stages in the series will be enough.

"Don't rush to burn your bridges," Titov appealed to us, "let's think about it some more together."

We're announcing a competition of ideas on holding our tournament.  We wait for proposals by MN readers.

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This page was created on December 1, 2001.
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