GYMN-L Digest - 7 Jun 1995 to 8 Jun 1995
There are 18 messages totalling 628 lines in this issue.
Topics of the day:
1. To Anne and others
2. Thanks Elizabeth Squire
3. Sorry for giving my opinion of the book
4. The book and ALL the talk about it.
5. <No subject given>
6. What the...? (Rudy's, arabian double fronts, and such) (2)
7. Lighter side of Coaching
8. No need for sorry
9. Ilene's message
10. new guy
11. Returned mail: User unknown (Forward)
12. GYMN-L Digest - 6 Jun 1995 to 7 Jun 1995
14. NCAA gymnastics
15. stereotypes and rewards
16. What the ..... ?
17. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 21:35:54 -0600
Subject: To Anne and others
Anne, re expressing your .02, your opinions are welcome here on
Gymn. I ditto Ann Marie's and (I think it was) Ken's comments along
those lines; if someone is making you feel badly for posting your
opinions then they are the ones who should be apologizing. I don't
think anyone has flamed you thus far (although I admit I haven't read
each post in detail) -- some have expressed opinions contrary to
yours, but their opinions are of course likewise welcome on Gymn as
long as they stay within our guidelines.
I must add though that I do support David's comments regarding
possible copyright violations by posting from the book. A couple
lines is appropriate, but whole passages or paragraphs are not.
Comments regarding your opinions of passages are ok.
And now, off my Gymn mgr soapbox and onto my personal comments/notes
one (grin), I can guarantee that I will not be spending my money
towards Joan Ryan's pocketbook! But I can also probably guarantee
that I will wander into a bookstore and spend a good half hour
skimming it. ;)
Also, please do NOT believe everything you read in print. Several USGF
people were MISQUOTED in the book. This is not "denial" on my part --
I will readily admit that gymnastics has problems (and I will readily
point out to anyone some problems with other sports and activities, if
they happen to feel that gymnastics is so very troubled). However, I
am aware firsthand of several people from USA Gymnastics who have been
misquoted in "Pretty Girls in Little Boxes" (something like that, I
forget the exact title); and I wouldn't be surprised if others were
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 23:53:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Thanks Elizabeth
> What gets me is that these
> people are stating that these things are lies--
Although I don't recall seeing anyone use the term "lie", I liked David's use
of alliteration. :)
> THEY ARE
> NOT... they were qtd from NUMEROUS gymnasts.
I haven't read the book, yet. I will be interested to see how sources of
quotes are documented.
> It seems as if
> people just don't want to believe this is true... no,
> Karolyi didn't do that, no, that's not right, no Anne,
> you're lying...
I don't recall seeing anyone comment that you were/are lying. That would be
a clear violation of the GYMN guideline against flaming.
> and they didn't even READ THE BOOK! At
> least READ the book before making comments
Why? For example, the recollection about Bela Karolyi having the team eat
spaghetti seems like a reasonable contradiction of the apple/apple/salad rule.
If that recollection can be substantiated, it sure sounds like it would
refute the quote about the (certainly extreme) meagre diet.
> I just see pure denial on here that's all
I'd say impure denial, at most. Skepticism, at least.
Like Elizabeth said, feel free to comment on anything at any time, Anne.
Compared to some of the USENET flamewars, GYMN is no big deal at all.
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 23:57:29 -0400
Subject: Re: Sorry for giving my opinion of the book
Although I haven't acutally read the book being discussed I feel
that I know a lot about it from reading the posts that have been
going back and forth. I agree completely with Anne and think
that is high time we admit to ourselves that there are problems
in this sport. N Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the
majort majority of my experiences in gymnastics, as it seems
most of the people on this list have , but I can see thts that
in the higher levels of competition there seem to be some problems
with eating si dissorders, mental abuse, etc. I don't the think
that by saying that these problems also exist in other sprts
should make it ok. I think that we should try to get these
problems out in the open so that they can be fought. If
gymnasts and parents realize that this is going on they will be
able to recognize it in their gyms and try to stop it from
happening from to them. in no way do I fell that the author
should have totaly bashed gymnastics because it has done a lot
for me and fr for many of my team mates, but I do think that
her bringing it out in the open may not be completely bad.
Now th to add to some of the arguments. First of all, someone
said that they'd "read where kim Zemesla Zmeskal said the group
would always go ou to TCBY". Well, Nadia ACominicie also
said recently on the Women in Sports thing on T>V. that Bela
ttaught her and her team mates to lie when people asked
how many hours they practiced each day so that no one would
now that they were doing about 6 hours a day in the gym.
Second, it was asked "Why would she [Kathy Johnson] work in
the sport if she hated it" I don't reall y n know the
answer to this, but I do know at that earlier this year I was
told by the woman who was at that time me me my coach, that
she hate d gymnastics and used to try to hurt hea herself so
she wouldn't have to practice. This woman is now the coach
and and head of an entire gymnastics program so I'm just
saying that is it might be true that Johnason hated her
Well, that's all that I have to say on the subject for now,
I can fell feel the hate mail coming in already :)
P.S. Sorry about the typos and spelling mistakes. I can't
use the backspce or arrows in my mail program.
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 21:24:07 -0700
Subject: Re: The book and ALL the talk about it.
> If someone could, who has the book, please tell me:
> Does Ms. (or Mrs. or what ever) give a reason in the preface (if there is
> one) abou twhy she chose this topic?
In the introduction to the book, Ms. Ryan states that there had been a lot
said about tennis players and other sports but almost nothing on
gymnastics. She says she got a 3 month assignment for the San Francisco
Examiner to explore these questions and what she found made her take a
year's leave to continue her research. She also states:
"I am not suggesting that gymnastics and figure skating in and of
themselves are destructive. On the contrary, both sports are potentially
wonderful and enriching, providing an areana of competition in which the
average child can develop a sense of mastery, self-esteem and healthy
She goes on to say that this book is not about recreational sports or the
average child. It's about the elite child athlete.
I hope this answers your question Jeff.
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 14:53:08 +0900
Subject: <No subject given>
Please take me off
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 23:35:58 PDT
Subject: Re: What the...? (Rudy's, arabian double fronts, and such)
For example, a rudy-out (or more correctly, a rudy-out fliffis, fliffis
meaning double) is a double front somersault with 1 1/2 twists in
(approximately) the middle portion of the second somersault.
I thought a fliffis (are some of those "PH"s? I had a coach with a dog
named fliffis!) implied at least a half twist - so a double front is just a
double front, but a double front with a half twist would be a fliffis.
(rudy-out fliffis comes out the same...)
Others may correct me here, as I am not a gymnastic tumbler, but if I
translate correctly an arabian double front is a 1/2 twist into a double
front somersault. If this is the case then it *should* be more difficult
than a non- twisting double front, not only from the perspective of
mechanics, but also in terms of the skill required in execution.
You are right on the definitions, but which is easier is questionable. As
recently as 5 years ago or so, there would have been no question that the
arabian DF was easier, because you could use the speed built up from a
series of back flipflops. Nowdays, there have been advances in front
tumbling, so I'm not so sure it's still true. (No question on trampoline -
the double front would be easier.)
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 13:30:22 BST
Subject: Re: What the...? (Rudy's, arabian double fronts, and such)
Fliffis - any double somersault, or only doubles with 180+ degrees of twist?
Good question Bill - and the answer is... any double somersault with 180+
degrees of twist. I think my lack of clarity in this issue was due to the fact
that in the UK we tend not to use the fliffis part of a skill's name. For
instance we don't tend to say 'full-in half-out fliffis', but just 'full-in
half-out'. The same is also true for triffis. As an aside the spelling for
both terms is correct.
Thanks for clarifying the arabian double front question. I can see how this
would be easier than a double front due to the speed built up in backwards
tumbling. However, both skills are nightmares to land safely, the 'blind'
landing making judgement very difficult (well on a trampoline anyway). Now a
'half-out' on the other hand... :-)
Out of interest why is a layout (I think that's the gymnastic term) hollow,
ie. hyper-extended, and not straight? In trampolining this hyper-extension is
generally frowned upon (although there are the odd exceptions).
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 14:01:26 -0400
Subject: Lighter side of Coaching
Just thought I would post this before Lori does! We have several
neighborhood kids that all know we are a "Gymnastics family" They come over
to our gym (the front yard) or hang out with our daughter Charley as she
cartwheels, split-leaps, and whatever, or untill we tell her over and over
"NO MATS, NO SPOT, then no tricks! Well,.....................Yesterday,
while enjoying my very own pond! (I designed it, planted the flowers ect.) I
was challenged to show a 5 year old the finer points of a cartwheel. Being
the coach that I am, I quickly sprang into action and attempted my famous
left-handed cartwheel..................I was great, nice tight form, straight
arms........but the landing was.................well, wet! I landed in the
middle of my pond! There I was sitting waist deep in water and the young
student just said" Jim when I do a cartwheel I never get to go swimming"
well.............................NO MATS, NO SPOT.........
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 14:01:04 EDT
Subject: Re: No need for sorry
I think it must be because we are/were gymnasts that we
understand this! Yeah, by no means am I defending the
author... and yes, some of the things were mentioned 4 or 5
times, but yes, these things DEFINITELY do go on- people
just don't realize it. Oh well! Where did ya train?
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 13:56:18 EDT
Subject: Re: Ilene's message
I just wanted to letcha know I TOTALLY agree with you... I
think being in the sport plays a huge role in understanding
this book. Everything you said is true (in my opinion at
least). I am currently a level 9 gymnast and I am out for a
year after having reconstructive knee surgery. I have also
had reconstructive elbow surg and 7 other "accidents", but
MANY stress related injuries... including a stress fracture
in my L3/L4 vertabre that refuses to heal even as I am off.
The stress to the body is tremendous and what you said about
the weight thing is SOOO true. Totally agreed there. I
think she should've put good parts in too, but she didn't
so I'm not gonna complain. It would've been nice though!!!
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 13:20:30 EST
Subject: new guy
Hi my name is David and I am 24 years old. I live in Ottawa,
Ontario and have 1 son named Shea. My interest with gymnastics
started about 5 years ago with an ex-girlfriend who was really into
it. I have since that time fallen in love with the sport and hope to
one day watch a big meet in person. Hope to hear from anybody soon.
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 19:33:04 +0000
Subject: Returned mail: User unknown (Forward)
sorry to send this to all of you but i tried to email these results to Yvette
but the no. must be wrong so i am sending them via gym
if anyone is interested they are RHYTHMIC results
> here are the results from the rhythmic competitions(please excuse my
>lack of punctuation and occasionally capital letters-i am a very slow typist
>and these are added complications but i will try)
>1)JENNIFER MCGUIRE 34.35
>2)AICHA MCKENZIE(who incidently i have competed against in an inter schools
> artistic competition and she is really good at artistic floor as well and
> seems a really nice person)34.15
>3)ALISON DEEHAN 33.00
>1)J MCGUIRE 9.1
>2)A MCKENZIE 9.0
>3)A DEEHAN 8.5
>3)NATALIE MOUTIA 8.5
>1)J MCGUIRE 8.8
>2)A DEEHAN 8.575
>1)A MCKENZIE 9.075
>2)J MCGUIRE 8.9
>3)A DEEHAN 8.75
>1)A MCKANZIE 9.075
>2)J MCGUIRE 8.775
>3)N MOUTIA 8.35
>JENNY MCGUIRE IS FAIRLY UNKNOWN AND IS FROM CANADA BUT IS ALLOWED TO ENTER THE
>BRITISH NATIONALS AS SHE HAS A BRITISH PASSPORT
>1 TEODORA ALEXANDROVA BUL 36.575
>2 ELENA CHALAMOVA RUS 36.400
>3 VALERIA VATKINA BLR 36.000
>OVERALL - ENSEMBLES
>1 BELORUS 37.250
>2 CHINA 37.125
>3 ESTONIA 35.500
>4 GREAT BRITAIN 35.075
>1 CHINA 18.750
>2 BELORUS 18.250
>3 LETTONIE(FRENCH FOR SOMEWHERE BUT I HAVE NOT WORKED OUT WHERE YET) 18.025
>4 ESTONIA 17.975
>5 GREAT BRITAIN 17.675
>RIBBON AND BALL
>1 CHINA 18.875
>2 BELORUS 18.775
>3 GREAT BRITAIN 17.225
>I HAVE NOW ALSO FOUND IN THE CURRENT EDITION OF GYM STARS
>CALAIS RHYTHMIC INTERNATIONAL
>1 OLGA GONTAR BLR 37.925
>2 EVA SERRANO FRA 37.525
>3 EUGENIA KOUZKINA RUS 36.575
>4 VIKTORIA FRATER HUN 35.575
>5 KATRI KALPALA FIN 34.600
>CLUBS:OLGA GONTAR 9.550
>BALL:OLGA GONTAR 9.600
>RIBBON:EVA SERRANO 9.450
>ROPE:OLGA GONTAR 9.550
>HOPE THESE ARE WHAT YOU WANTED I WILL LET YOU KNOW IF I FIND ANY MORE
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 15:23:59 -0400
Subject: Re: GYMN-L Digest - 6 Jun 1995 to 7 Jun 1995
I can't resist adding my own opinions about "Little Girls". While I
have some questions about the accuracy of Joan Ryan's statements, I
do think she raises some very valid concerns about the experiences
of *some* girls who are training at the very top level of elite level.
Yes, there are many wonderful aspects of gymnastics, and as an ex-
gymnast and current avid fan, I am very grateful to the sport.
But I too would be hesitant to allow my daughter to participate at
the elite level. Those of you who are accusing Ms. Ryan of "yellow
journalism": are you critical because she is exposing gymnastics'
"dirty laundry" in public, or do you think she is lying about what
the various gymnasts told her?
We have a great sport. But let's fight to make it as safe and healthy
for the kids as possible. Let's be open about which coaches are
verbally abusing gymnasts, and teach young girls to respect their
bodies and the changes puberty brings. (I know, I know, easier said
I'd love to hear more discussion of these issues -- Kiki
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 15:42:34 EDT
Please delete my subscription.
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 19:37:18 -0400
Subject: NCAA gymnastics
While at lunch the other day I glaced at a TV in the resturant and ESPN was
broadcasting some NCAA gymnastics...did anyone catch it or know if it
was a rebroadcast of some even....does the season continue after the
One long interview focued on Beth Weimer of Michigan .....
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 20:58:05 -0400
Subject: Re: stereotypes and rewards
There are two stereotypes I often hear, well one's sort of an attitude I
guess. People have told me time and time again that gymnastics is not a real
sport. When I ask why they think this the response is usually ,"it's just
not," or something as stupid as ,"because it's based on arbitrary judging, so
it can 't be a sport." Whatever.
Another which I really don't understand is people seem to think that if you
do gymnastics you are automatically going or want to go to the Olympics. I
believe that this is related to the belief that if you do gymnastics you are
like Kim Zmeskal. "Can you do those flips like Kim Zmeskal or are you as
good as her." Anyhow, a zillion times when I have told people I do
gymnastics they are like," Oh, are you going to go to the Olympics, or do you
want to?" Yes folks, it is possible to do a sport without going to the
olympics. Maybe people ask this about every sports but I don't think so.
One reward I think gymnastics has given me is to be more confident and
courageous in situations.In gymnastics, you have to just go for tricks even
when you are scared, otherwise you will never get them.This attitude of
having to just push yourself to "go for it," even if you're scared can carry
over to many other obstacles and situations in life too.
Well, thats all I can think of for now.
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 21:43:33 EDT
Subject: What the ..... ?
A Rudi on floor is a front layout with one and a half
twists. Currently it is rated as an "E" skill for women.
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 22:45:42 +0500
Subject: Little Girls in Pretty Boxes
Well, I had to read the book to see what all the fuss was about. I got
through it in one night and had a lot of mixed emotions....
As a former gymnast (recreational) and still a huge fan, I love the sport
like no other. Some of my happiest and most well adjusted hours were spent
in the gym. I saw a lot of little girls being trained at a fairly high
level, and they seemed pretty well adjusted, also.
I have no doubt that the abuses about which Ms. Ryan wrote exist. Why should
anyone be surprised that they do? To be elite at anything, be it sports,
art, technology, business, politics, law, medicine, etc, etc, etc, takes
tremedous amounts of work, sacrifice and ambition. The successful ones at
the top are extremely tough and driven. They travel a hellacious path to
get there. Those who don't make it can be left scarred, bitter and stomped
on. Like it or not, that seems to be the way it is. I personally disagree
with Bela Karolyi's methods, but the fact remains is that they work. He
turns out champions. If you want to be the best, Bela seems to be the
route, at least, the most proven one.
Ms. Ryan certainly aired some dirty laundry, and as much as I disliked her
one-sided view and the poor editing of the book (it was obvious that whole
sections were taken from pieces of articles and just strung together.
Someone on this list made the point that Kathy Johnson's age when she
started her period was mentioned four times. It was, and it was mentioned
like it was the very first time we were reading about this), she raised some
issues that are valid....
Bela may not care about adolescent female psychogy. Someone on his staff
should. He may not care about eating disorders. Again, someone on his staff
should, as well as someone to help these girls get the treatment and rest
from their injuries that their bodies need. More education for both the
girls and their parents is necessary, as well as education for the coaches
on issues of eating disorders, and effective and empowering communication
with the gymnasts. As for Bela, well, I don't think he would force a
championship horse to run with a stress fracture. Why he does it with his
gymnasts is beyond me.
Someone raised the question as to why Ms. Ryan chose to write about women's
gymnastics and skating. After all, elite levels in all sports have all
sorts of abuses. I think she is making a second issue about the sacrifice
these girls and women are making to conform to a perfect ideal and standard
for a woman "jock". Hence the title "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes." She
writes about America's fascination with the wafer-thin little girls with the
hair ribbons, so pretty, so beautiful to watch, and also with the skaters
that present a certain graceful, polished and classy image. Ms. Ryan points
out that other female athletes aren't fussed over like gymnasts and skaters
(and very few female athletes are paid what a female skater can make in
endorsements, competitions and shows), because other female athletes, are,
well, not feminine, not sweet and pretty and lithe. She begs the question
about the necessity of breaking these girls and women to remold them into
this pure ideal of a princess of ice or of the gym. Her issue is from a
feminist's viewpoint, in my opinion, about the desired image of women and girls.
There was much I disliked in this book. As Rachel Harless pointed out,
there were misquotes and the presentation was one-sided. There were some
valid issues, though, that will hopefully be addressed by the USGF.
Vicki, putting back on her cloaking device to lurk again.
End of GYMN-L Digest - 7 Jun 1995 to 8 Jun 1995