gymn Digest                 Fri, 20 May 94       Volume 2 : Issue 128

Today's Topics:
                  Book Review:  Bela's Autobiography
                            fact checking
                     Likes and Dislikes (2 msgs)
                         Photography @ Meets
                   Preview of the Hilton Challenge
                          Rhythmic Europeans
                     Scherbo learns to water-ski

This is a digest of the mailing list. 


Date: Fri, 20 May 94 23:05:00 EDT
From: ***@MIT.EDU
Subject: administrivia

I will be away from my account until Tuesday -- administrative requests
will have to wait until then.



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 12:46:15 EST
From: ***
Subject: Book Review:  Bela's Autobiography

I recently finished this autobiography and did find several "facts" stated
by him rather suspicious.  Overblown statements by him have always been
typical, though for a book I would think it the responsibility of Hyperion
and particularly his "co-writer" Miss Richardson to verify all facts.
Unfortunately the book does read like it was written over a cup of coffee
and the subject matter (gymnastics) is not a particular one to be taken that
seriously by the public at large (ie. verification of historical points).
Someone should be "brave" enough to tackle the personalities of the sport
head on, but perhaps the money/interest in the publishing world is not out
there.  I read some time ago of a biography on Comaneci being written by
an author in Canada, some clarity on her life would be fascinating.


Date: Fri, 20 May 94 13:22:25 EDT
From: ***@BBN.COM
Subject: fact checking

Not to excuse any bogosities there might be in Bela's autobiography,
but we should keep things in perspective.  If you know a fair
amount about a particular subject, you are almost certain to
find mistakes in any popular treatment of that subject, and
the mistakes can be fairly major.  The one time I attended
a speech that was covered in the two Boston newspapers, both
articles contained major inaccuracies, including very incorrect
quotes given as direct quotes.  If I had a dollar for every
time I've seen an article in a newspaper or magazine
(even in the science section) confuse odds and probability,
I'd have a nice pile.  Even not so popular books aren't
immune.  I recently read a history of taxation that completely
confused a couple of centuries of French and English kings,
making it a bit difficult to follow the author's narrative.

My point is, unless the publishing house specializes in
books on a particular subject, the editorial staff is
not going to be knowledgeable about it.  And these
days, when no one seems to be even proofreading books
anymore, let alone fact checking or copyediting, all
sorts of things slip through.  The worst thing is,
then you're left wondering what you can trust when
you read a book on a subject you don't already know
something about!

I hope this isn't too tangential for gymn.



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 12:46:11 EST
From: ***
Subject: Hello!

Welcome Elizabeth!

I just started on gymn myself and have found it interesting and
entertaining.  Your input as an interpreter should make it more so.

You mentioned Omelianchik in your introductory message.  I still
remember with fondness her 1985 World Championship floor routine
and have never seen quite the same JOY in presentation.
Since I'm always interested in hearing about former gymnasts and
how their lives are doing: How is Omelianchik?  She seemed amiable
(on TV) especially when she supported the 1988 Olympic all-around
winner (whose name escapes me at the moment) during her one on one
with Silivas.

Thanks in advance....



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 10:43:12 PDT
From: ***
Subject: Likes and Dislikes

I am in total agreement with Susan (Stobchatay). This is not a Politically
Correct board, nor should it ever be. If you want happy thoughts, watch NBC
coverage. If you want a range of opinions, come to gymn. I am sure Rachele
and Robin would probably agree with the sentiment...

Anyone who disagrees with her should cc: me in their replies.

(Yet another fine example of the recent warming in Sino-CIS relations!)



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 19:59:21 EDT
From: ***
Subject: Likes and Dislikes

David writes:

> This is not a Politically
> Correct board, nor should it ever be. If you want happy thoughts, watch NBC
> coverage. If you want a range of opinions, come to gymn. I am sure Rachele
> and Robin would probably agree with the sentiment...

Think again.  I can't speak for Robyn, but I personally prefer less hostile
attitudes than what we've seen lately on Gymn.  I also can't speak for
George, but in discussions that he and I have had recently, I would say that
we are more in agreement than disagreement on this one.

Disliking a gymnast is fine.  Also, expressing this view is most certainly
fine.  The ways in which we've seen these views expressed, lately,
(particularly in the Karolyi thread) were quite inflammatory, much more so
than the "old" Gymn.  Some people may have viewed the comments as more
"colorful" than inflammatory; this just depends on your take of it.

In my mind, the goal for Gymn has always been for discussion of gymnastics.
 I must admit that lately I have been annoyed quite often; while we are still
a "tight" forum relative to other forums, we're much looser than we used to
be.  To me, it often seems that many of the msgs we see posted just really do
not teach me anything about *gymnastics*.  I haven't really done anything
about this because this is more my personal preference; I only take action as
"Gymn Forum Manager" when I receive complaints from Gymn members.  By and
large, Gymn is self-maintaining... since there's nothing I can really do to
influence the posts of the forum, I just don't try.

I guess all I have to say re the original sentiments of this msg are two

1. I think that views and opinions that are presented in a more ...
"levelheaded" fashion are just more respected than "hot key" remarks.
  People who get too emotional in their msgs can lose credibility, if they're
not careful.  (This is just my opinion.)

2. Remember that gymnastics is a small world.  If you post something
negative, there's a good chance that someone on the list knows that person,
even if very indirectly.  You're going to piss someone off.  I can't tell you
how many times it's happened already...



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 10:55:52 PDT
From: ***
Subject: Photography @ Meets

I think there should be some simple ground rules when taking pictures. If you
think of taking gymnastics photos the same way you would of taking photos of
wild animals in the bush, you should be okay...

1. No flash during routines. This is why god invented decent 35mm SLR cameras
and why Kodak invented ASA 1600 film.

2. Position yourself discreetly so as not to distract the gymnast.

3. Do not interfere with the smooth operation of the meet or practice.

4. Comport yourself as much as possible as a professional photographer or
photojournalist, not as a fan or gymnastics groupie. This will put your
quarry at ease and cause him or her to ignore you as simply another stupid
journalist. This is good--it allows you to get as close to candid shots as

5. Susan is right. If you are backstage, ASK. I can't speak for everyone, but
I can assure you the Chinese would be delighted for the most part if you
request it politely and with a smile.



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 22:28:32 EDT
From: ***
Subject: Preview of the Hilton Challenge

Hey Gymn,

Yes, I'm here in sunny Arizona, ready for the Hilton Challenge.  Here's some
preliminary stuff:

I talked some with Art Shurlock, head coach of UCLA.  The gym team had
obtained an injunction (or something like that) to halt the school from
continuing with its plans to drop men's swimming and gymnastics.  However, on
Wednesday, the injunction wasn't upheld (sorry, I don't know the exact legal
terminology here).  So, I asked him if that was the end, and he said that it
didn't have to be, but they decided to just stick with their club status.  He
said they'll be able to do everything except go to conference and nationals,
as a club.  I asked if any of his guys were transferring out, and he said
"Not as of yet," and he didn't seem to expect that any of them would.  He
made a comment of how his guys were more focused on the Olympics anyways, so
it wouldn't have a great affect on his program.

I also talked very (very) briefly with Sergei Shinkar, a coach with Belarus.
 We were both at the sandwich bar in the media room, and he was just crazy
with happiness.  "American food good!  I eat a lot!"  -- he was grabbing tons
of deli meat heaped on his sandwich as he said this.  "You know Chernobyl?"
he asked me.  I nodded.  "We don't have this kind of food in Chernobyl."  I
thought he was going to get all serious on me but then he just lit up and
then went digging for more food, encouraging all his friends to dig in too.

Also spoke with Becky Riti, the USGF's translator.  She had just returned
from Switzerland and the FIG Congress.  She said that yes, the Olympic age
has been raised to 16 beginning in 1997.  She said that it was a long and
difficult Congress, as they had lots to talk about (such as the compulsories

OK, now to the workout.  The women were missing their sets like anything.  I
didn't really see anyone that looked "on" except for Dawes.  And even then,
she's getting kind of (gasp) stale. The US women's team includes Dawes,
Borden, Kellee Davis (4th AA at Am. Classic in March) and Katie Teft (1st AA
Junior at the Am. Classic).  Borden was missing beam like anything, and
didn't have much luck with her other events either.  I really don't like her
new floor... just not very interesting.  Kellee Davis has a cool double
layout off of bars, and also for her mount on floor.  Katie Teft was probably
the most interesting to me since I haven't seen her work much.  She has some
difficult skills, but her work is spotty.  She can do a half-in half-out
mount on floor ... and also two 2.5 twists, which she was landing with a step
forward almost every time.  On beam she dismounts with a full-in.  Same for
bars... and I couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like it could have been a
laid-out full-in.

The Chinese women, to be honest, looked weak.  They weren't even particularly
strong dancers.  They did look very good on bars, but they were a bit loose
on beam and had a terrible time of it on floor.  No Mo for Phoenix.  The
Chinese roster consists of Yuan Kexia, Ye Linlin, Guan Yuqing, and He Xuemei.
 The Chinese had these awesome leotards on... I think it was the one that
Dawes wore in 1993 Nationals?  Maybe 1992?  Anyways, it's half black, half
multi-colored (Christian Moreau), and the half of the body that is black has
the multi sleeve, and vice versa.  The multi part resembles some sort of
stained glass type of pattern.

The Belarussian women looked pretty good, but they all follow the style of
Piskun in that they are all a bit sloppy.  Well, all except for this one
girl, but I'm not sure which one she was (either Alena Polozkova or Svetlana
Tarasevich).  Whichever one it was, she was pretty tight.  The others were
all loose.  Piskun looked *really* sloppy in her dance on floor... maybe
she's just a bit relaxed because it's just warmup, but still, it wasn't much
fun to watch her.  The other Belarussian is Julia Sobko... and *man* is she
skinny.  The guide says she weighs 66 pounds.

2.5 twists (Yeah, big surprise, I know)
Yurchenko -1/2's, with the occasional 1.5 twisters
full-hop on bars (I saw about three girls do this)
front somi mount on beam

As for the men, the Belarussians will win most likely, although the Chinese
are looking quite strong.  The US could get 2nd if they hit all their sets,
esp. since this is in America.  The men did not do optionals while I was
there... they had a compulsory session, so that the countries could all see
what each other was doing.  I really like the floor compulsory; actually, all
the compulsories seem pretty sharp this quadrennium and a definite challenge.
 The Chinese looked the best here in terms of form (surprise!), but the
Belarussians were the ones that were hitting.  The US men did have nice floor
sets, though (that was the only event that I really watched enough to make a
generalization-- I was too busy gabbing away with other people and so didn't
watch as closely as I should have).

And, obviously, I can't say much about the optionals for these teams if I
didn't see them.  However, I can give you the team lineups:

USA-- Roethlisberger, Keswick, Umphrey, and Bagiu
Belarus-- Ivankov, Alexander Belanovsky, Pavel Rudnitsky, and ?  (Scherbo is
listed but I heard several people say he wasn't going to compete, but only do
China-- Fan Bin, Wang Dong, Cheng Liang, Dong Zhong

Anyways.  I now hand off the baton to George, who will fill you in on the
happenings both tomorrow night and Sunday...



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 12:57:31 EDT
From: ***@BBN.COM
Subject: Rhythmic Europeans
To: gymn@MIT.EDU

Sherwin, by all means give us your impressions on the Rhythmic
Championships!  Your World comments were great.

Just a reminder that the US Rhythmic Championships will be
one of the items "covered" (for want of a more accurate term :-()
on this Sunday's CBS Eye on Sports, 2-5 p.m. Eastern.
(Also on the program is some exhibition figure skating and
at least one other item that I can't recall.)

I'd guess that one of the reasons there isn't much mail about
rhythmic is that there's virtually no coverage of it on
US television, either broadcast or cable.  It's hard to
appreciate a sport (both in the sense of understanding
it and in the sense of enjoying it) when we can see so little of it.



Date: Fri, 20 May 94 10:37:17 PDT
From: ***
Subject: Scherbo learns to water-ski

Nadia and Bart to perform?

Arizona has seent he Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Now they will see the
Over-the-Hill gang...

And as far as Scherbo doing exhibitions after 1996, I would say that is
assuming he does well at the Olympics. Otherwise, he can kiss that dream

Never gloats about past accomplishments, indeed. He's already gloating about
the future. Fang pi hua!



End of gymn Digest