GYMN-L Digest - 3 Jul 1996 - Special issue
There are 18 messages totalling 601 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. Gymnasts not finishing routines
2. 7-6-5 and the US women's team (long)
3. GYMN-L Digest - 2 Jul 1996 to 3 Jul 1996
4. Best US women for all around at Atlanta (2)
6. kERRI STRUG
7. Did the Trials set a record?
8. US Competitors Predictions
9. (Fwd) Re: Nadia Swatch Watch
10. CHINESE CHAMPIONSHIPS - WOMEN'S AA
11. Fan Mail -- Thanks from Mihai
12. nbc coverage of women's trials (again)
13. Team finals-Olympics
14. WAG: Olympics
15. Dominique's Position
16. 7-6-5 Rule
17. Team Unity and Event competitors
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 13:17:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Gymnasts not finishing routines
" Elena Gurova got a 6.?? at 84 Champions All (a competition at Wembley,
anyway). She hit her elbow on the high bar after a botched Tkatchev, and
tried to continue, but was in too much pain."
I know this is off topic, but wasn't the reason that Gurova didn't complete
her bars routine was the fact that she ran out of time to remount?
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 14:46:58 -0500
Subject: 7-6-5 and the US women's team (long)
I've been thinking about the 7-6-5 rule, and I've decided that I'm glad I
don't have to decide who competes what event :-)
Seriously, what should the decision be based on? I can see two radically
different scenarios, each of which has several variants. Three scenarios
actually, but I truly doubt that only three US gymnasts will be allowed to
compete all four events so that they're the only ones with a shot at
finals. What if one of them fell? No one in charge of decision making
wants to risk having fewer than three gymnasts in the finals.
So, here are two possible scenarios:
1. Marta and Mary Lee decide that the team medal is the most important
goal, and choose events accordingly. In that case, I think the gymnasts
who should be excluded on each event are:
Vault--Amanda Borden (because she starts from a 9.8 and always hops the
Uneven Bars--Dominique Moceanu (because she's so inconsistent, and even
when she hits she's not good enough to make it worth the chance that she
Balance Beam--Kerri Strug (horrible form).
Floor Ex--Amy Chow (messy dance) or possibly Dom Moceanu (start value is
only 9.9 if she does her usual routine, but I'd still keep her on floor
because she does that 9.9 routine _so_ well).
This is the lineup that I believe would give the US women the best chance
of a medal. It causes big problems for individual titles, though, for two
reasons. First, only three gymnasts get to complete all four events, so if
one of them has a bad meet the US will end up with fewer AA finalists.
Second, both Dom Moceanu and Kerri Strug have done well enough recently
that many people think they have a shot at getting to finals, and some
people think one or the other could medal (personally, I don't think either
could medal in AA, nor do I think either one should even get to finals, but
that's another story). This leaves us with scenario two.
2. Marta and Mary Lee decide that individual AA medals are the most
important goal, and they want to leave America's top five gymnasts in
contention. So they eliminate only Chow and Borden from events. Chow
vaults and does bars, and Borden competes beam and floor. The other five
compete all 4 events.
Now there's something patently unfair about this. Not only does it cause
minor problems for the team competition (reducing team depth on beam and
bars), but it's really unfair to Chow and Borden. If Amanda hits on bars
she could make it to event finals. But only if she gets to compete on
bars, and there's no way I'd pull Amy Chow off that event! Chow could
easily medal. Similarly, if Chow hits on beam she could medal, but I
wouldn't pull Amanda off beam when she's so incredibly consistent and has
such perfect form.
Of course there are other possible scenarios. Amanda could be an alternate
only, but that would mean losing our most consistent beam performer and
someone who's awfully good on floor. Remember, compulsories count, and _no
one_ else in the US can do compulsory floor like Amanda (IMO, of course).
Chow could be an alternate, but that seems especially unfair given her
standing at trials. Moceanu could decide she's too injured to compete on
floor and vault, but since those are good events for her I'd rather see her
pull out of the meet than just turn in bars and beam routines.
Wow, would I hate to have to make the final decision!!!
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 14:52:08 -0400
Subject: Re: GYMN-L Digest - 2 Jul 1996 to 3 Jul 1996
<<< Subject: more re us trials
<<< Since I was one of the first to start picking on Tom Forster this time
I have absolutely had my fill of all of this CRAP that is posted maligning
Tom Forster. It is time to inject a tiny note of reality in this discussion.
First, I throw this challenge to all of you who think you can evaluate a
coach's quality and worth by watching from the spectator area, watching TV,
and whose insights are based upon a TOTAL LACK OF REAL INFORMATION.
Lets take YOU, and your chosen occupation or field of interest, and put YOU
under a similar analysis. We will all sit in the stands or watch you on TV
and analyze your actions and their motivation. We see you speak sharply to
an associate; we don't know why and we can't hear the words or the tone of
your remarks. But, your body language tells all; you must be a rude and
inconsiderate person to react that way. Obviously, you must be held up to
public ridicule and scorn; you must be chastised for your thoughtless nasty
ways. And, NO, we don't need to know anything about the context of the
situation or your remarks or what you do in your job day in and day out. You
have shown us that you simply are not a good person. We need know nothing
more. You are in the arena, so you have no rights to privacy or a defense ;
you must account for every action and we, the audience, reserve the right to
rip you apart if we don't see what we think we should. "Oh, I just saw you
sitting at your desk, doing nothing, for 2 full minutes. Clearly, you are a
malingerer and a thief, stealing money paid by your employer for WORK, not
rest! You should be publicly humiliated for such inactivity."
How ironic, and strangely appropriate, that this all happened in Boston, just
a few short miles from the original Salem Witch Trials.
Let me give you an example, using a situation that I endured this year, of
what MIGHT have been going on at the Olympic Trials (I, for one, will NOT
presume to jump inside Tom's thought processes from the outside.) This year,
I had 12 boys from our program who were trying to qualify at the Regional
Championships to compete at the USAG Junior Olympic National Championships.
They all worked hard, and, while we expected them all to be successful, I
had 2 boys about whom I was very worried.
Rob was a Junior Elite 1 and had missed qualifying each of the 2 previous
years by less than 1.00. He is very big (185 pounds) for a gymnast, and, we
had talked extensively last year about his quitting, because he was
experiencing a lot of joint injuries due to his body's inability to take the
pounding of training. Rob stated that he had a goal (qualifying to JO's) and
that he could not quit until he fulfilled this goal. We modified his
training all year to protect his health, so he went into this meet
undertrained, physically, but reasonably healthy. I had serious questions,
never presented to Rob, about his ability to succeed. Rob had his doubts,
too; all year, and especially during this meet, I stayed on top of things
with him, constantly building him up, constantly reassuring him that he was
right on track, constantly telling him that he would succeed. I never left
him alone after he made a mistake, but was always there to tell him that it
didn't matter and that he would succeed. When he nailed his Pommel Horse
set, which virtually assured him of qualifying, we celebrated like it was the
Olympic Trials. From a public viewpoint, I was the "ideal" coach.
Nathan is a Junior Elite 2 gymnast. He is a very solitary individual who
keeps most of everything to himself and is pretty uncomfortable with any kind
of emotional reactions. He is, also, the most single-minded, totally
fanatical lover of this sport whom I have ever known. It is truly his life;
his love for the sport totally consumes him. I was less worried about Nathan
than Rob, because he trained very well all year and was totally prepared for
this meet. Nathan was a little shakey at the start; he kept coming up with
scores that were 1 or 2 tenths lower than what i thought he needed. I would
talk with him very briefly after a routine, try to give him a quick shot of
encouragement and walk away, because any more than that irritates him and
makes him uncomfortable. When we got to Horizontal Bar, his best event, I
knew that, with a good routine, he would probably be out of the"no go zone".
But, he missed his routine, had a stop and a fall, and was in deep trouble.
I stayed away from him as he walked away from the bar; any words from me at
that point would have just made matters worse. After about 5 minutes, I went
over and talked to him, very briefly, about Floor, his next and last event.
I told him that he was in trouble, but that he could still pull it out with
an outstanding routine. Then I walked away again. As much as I wanted to do
otherwise, I did this, because it was what Nathan wanted and needed at that
point; it gave him his best chance at success. When he did his floor
routine, the whole team was involved with an intensity equal to any you can
imagine; he went out and was a little shakey, but he put all he had on the
line and hit the set. I shook his hand as he finished and then walked away.
I absolutely died inside, because I knew he hadn't qualified. It meant
nothing to my status as a coach; I have coached dozens of champions over the
years and we had qualified one of the biggest and best teams in the country
at this meet. I was devastated to see this young man, who put it all on the
line, who worked and believed so hard, who prepared so well, come up short.
I was furious that such a great kid should have to deal with this tremendous
disappointment. The scores came up, and he was 0.6 points short. I stayed
away from him, because he needed time to accept his disappointment, alone.
He didn't want to hear the infamous "That's okay, ..." that so frequently is
said in these situations. Later, we talked privately, because Nathan is a
private person, and we shared his tremendous disappointment. To the
spectator, I must have looked unfeeling and cruel to Nathan because I didn't
engage in all the huggy, talky crap that people want to see. Instead, I did
what MY GYMNAST wanted and needed; we will be back together again next year
and this time, there will be no disappointment for him. (Lest you get the
wrong idea from this vignette, most coaches and parents in Texas view me as a
very harsh, demanding, and overpowering coach, quick to anger and very
intimidating. My gymnasts find this laughable.)
The point is, what the spectator wants to see from a coach is totally
irrelevant to our responsibilities! We try to make our judgements based upon
what is best for the individual gymnast, NOT on putting on a politically
correct show. The attacks of spectators on Tom for his "ego" or on Bela for
speaking "harshly" to Dominique after her problems at USA's, or on any other
coach in that situation, are ludicrous. Playing to the crowd instead of
caring for the needs of the individual gymnast is the height of egotism.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 15:33:53 EDT
Subject: Best US women for all around at Atlanta
>I'd say that if both of these gymnasts [Moceanu, Miller] are able to compete
>without risking injury, they'll both be competing all events. The
>US wants its best three gymnasts to make it to AA finals, and while
>I'm not actually convinced that Moceanu is in the top three, almost
>everyone else is. Besides, she's currently ranked third, so...
Cynically speaking, it may cost Dominique Dawes that her coach
isn't one of the US team coaches. Myself, I'd probably pick
Strug, Dawes, and either Miller (if she's completely healthy) or
Phelps as the best US all-around competitors. But Ilene's right,
Moceanu would seem to be a likely choice if she's able, partly
because she did so well at the last Worlds.
Pretend you were the US team coaches, and you made the assignments
for who competed on each apparatus based on what you though would be best
for the team competition. How many women would compete in all
4 events on your list? My own list would have 4 all-around hopefuls.
Vault and Floor seem obvious (Borden doesn't have a consistent strong
vault, and the clear consensus was that Chow's floor exercise was
underwheming). Bars and Beam I'm less sure about, so kindly restrain your
flaming in that department if you disagree violently with me :-).)
I'm assuming that all 7 team members are healthy.
Vault: Bars: Beam: Floor:
Chow Chow Borden Borden
Dawes Dawes Chow Dawes
Miller Miller Dawes Miller
Moceanu Moceanu Miller Moceanu
Phelps Phelps Moceanu Phelps
Strug Strug Strug Strug
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 15:49:32 -0400
Does Blaine Wilson really have a permanent tattoo of the cartoon character
"The Tick" or is it just like a fake one(temporary) or something. I can't
believe he would do that if it's permanent. I mean, who would want to be
marked for life by a cartoon character? I'm glad Peter Kormann made him
cover it up in his FX.
Did anyone else notice that comment that comment that John Tesh made about
John Roethlisberger? "His hair......his fists pumped in the air." I think
he was a bit distracted when he said that.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 17:36:44 -0400
Subject: kERRI STRUG
I was amazed to see someone writing that Strug shouldn't compete beam at the
Olympics because she has "messy form"... I am not flaming or even
criticizing this comment, I just wanted to know if other people noticed this
too, because I definitely didn.t. Maybe my judgement is just clouded
because she is my favorite US gymnast, but I just want to know if other
people have made this same conclusion. I would definitely choose Strug as
an AA contender along with Dawes and a toss up between Miller and Phelps.
Any input would be appreciated!!!
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 17:42:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Did the Trials set a record?
On Friday night the attendance was announced at over 16,500, and on Sunday
night (women's optionals) the attendance was almost 17,500!! That WAS a
FleetCenter attendance record, but I'm not sure about gymnastics in general.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 16:46:17 CDT
Subject: US Competitors Predictions
This is my guess for the US competitors:
(Considering everyone is healthy enough)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 16:53:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Best US women for all around at Atlanta
> Vault: Bars: Beam: Floor:
> Chow Chow Borden Borden
> Dawes Dawes Chow Dawes
> Miller Miller Dawes Miller
> Moceanu Moceanu Miller Moceanu
> Phelps Phelps Moceanu Phelps
> Strug Strug Strug Strug
The above scenario is perfect except you *must* replace Chow on beam with
Jaycie Phelps. Jaycie is much better and should definitely have the
opportunity to compete in the all-around final.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 16:59:50 -0400
Subject: (Fwd) Re: Nadia Swatch Watch
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
"I am wondering if anyone has seen the Nadia Swatch watch? There is a series
of pictures on the strap. All are from the 1976 Olympics, except the one at
the top. Nadia's competition number was 73 from the 1976 Olympics, but the
top picture shows Nadia in a leotard with the number 38 performing either a
Comaneci dismount on bars (most likely) or a cuervo on vault. Therefore this
picture is not presumably from the 1976 Olympics. Just out of curiosity,
does anyone know from which competition this top picture was taken?"
I have the Nadia Swatch as well and didn't notice this before. I am
really curious now as well as Nadia's number at the 79 Europeans was 62,
at the 79 World Cup it was 9 and at the 79 Champions All it was 8. If the photo
*is* taken from vault, it does look like a Cuervo, which Nadia performed
during 79-80 but Nadia didn't have a pony tail in 1980. That means that,
if it *is* Nadia, it would have to be taken from either the 77 Champions
All, the 77 Europeans or the 76 Chunichi Cup and would have to be her bars
dismount as she performed the piked Tsuk on vault at those meets. Perhaps
it's not Nadia - maybe it's Dumitrita Turner dismounting from bars...
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 18:24:22 EDT
Subject: CHINESE CHAMPIONSHIPS - WOMEN'S AA
7-12 June 1996, Wuhan
1. Mo Hui Lian 78.600
2. Ji Li Ya 78.175
3. Bi Wen Jing 77.700
4= Yie Lin Lin 77.550
4= Liu Xuan 77.550
6. Kui Yuan Yuan 77.375
7. Qiao Ya 77.300
8. Mao Yan Ling 77.100
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 16:30:50 -0700
Subject: Fan Mail -- Thanks from Mihai
To Everyone who sent Mihai a note of encouragement during the
competition-- He sends a hearty THANK YOU!!!! From the Men's Team
training camp in Spartanburg.
While I didn't get to read the notes, I know he was very happy to receive
them, and since I am the "webmaster" of the family, I am sending the
thanks on his behalf!
NOW! On to Atlanta!
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 20:05:14 -0400
Subject: nbc coverage of women's trials (again)
Just wanted to say -- particularly since I have been receiving some very nice
email from NBC about my comments on trials over the weekend -- that I may
have been too hard on them in my last message, in which I argued that they
created phony suspense about the odds that someone out of the top 5 after
compulsories would make the team. As NBC points out, a second fall by Amy
Chow in that scary beam routine could have put Kulikowski on the team in her
place, even after 3 rotations; and certainly the chances of that happening
before 3 rotations were up were greater. I do wish that they had been
clearer that suspense required not just a superb performance from the
challenging athletes, but also significant, out-of-character errors from the
frontrunners -- but they certainly were much straighter with us than was my
local paper, the Washington Post. And I very much appreciate their efforts
to position athletes other than Miller and Moceanu for attention in Atlanta
-- they do a much better job of this than the news magazines, certainly.
Thank goodness we're interested in a sport that has broad appeal! I have a
friend who would really like to see lots of wrestling . . . I think we'll do
better than he will.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 20:06:44 -0400
Subject: Team finals-Olympics
I was just wondering if anyone is from Atlanta or going to Atlanta for the
Olympics. I have a ticket to team finals for women and am planning on going
up. I just need to know a little about the Marta system (the transportation
in Atlanta). I've heard they are telling people it could take 3-4 hours to
get anywhere on it. Does anyone know anything about this? Please email me
if you do.
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 20:10:09 -0600
Subject: WAG: Olympics
If I were the coach of the team then I would say 1-6 compete, period!
It saves the akwardness of cutting someone out of an AA final due to
being cut from the lineup. I think that it is fair to make Amanda
the alternate and if the team wins a medal then she'll get one, too.
This whole 7-6-5 thing is total crap. It just is. It was meant to let
someone who is an event specialist compete. There is NO way to allow
event specialist compete with the current qualification system
in the US. So, I say chuck it and wait for the FIG to wake up.
Dina, Dina, Dina.
Many a fine gymnast were cut from the line up and were alternates. They
were part of the team, too, even though they didn't compete. I can't
see why anyone would want this mess that is going to happen in
Also, Kerri Strug's form on beam would look better without the beam shoes.
Thomson didn't wear them in compulsories and looked good. In optionals
she had them on and looked horrible. Maybe Kerri should loose hers and
she'ld look better and maybe gett a h
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 21:35:02 -0400
Subject: Dominique's Position
Does anybody really think that a team coached by Marta Karolyi
will not have Dominique Moceanu on all four events during the team finals.
I don't think so, unless Dominique absolutely can't compete. Why should
Dominique not compete. She finished highest among Americans at Worlds
last year, and at Nationals while hurt finished in the important Top Three.
If she is able, she should compete all four events.
Just the way I see it,
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 22:34:01 -0400
Subject: 7-6-5 Rule
Reading everyone's choices for which U.S. women should compete on which
events prompted the following question:
Does an athlete have to compete both compulsories *and* optionals for any
particular event? Could Amanda Borden, for example, compete compulsory floor
in the team competition, but not optional floor, leaving a space for someone
I think they should choose who gets to do what events in the following way:
the top three performers in the optional competition at Trials (or Nationals
for Miller and Moc) should be considered our strongest AA contenders, since
AA is optionals only. Those three athletes should be allowed to compete all
eight of their routines. Then, whichever gymnasts have the next two highest
scores on each of the eight events (comp/optional) should be added to the
line up for that event. Does that make sense?
What do people think? The USA would still most likely have three AA
qualifiers, even if someone did have to count a fall (like Zmeskal in '92).
Or depending how the scores stack up, the USA might have 4 gymnasts doing
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 23:45:36 -0400
Subject: Team Unity and Event competitors
A couple of people on the listserv have said they didn't think the team
looked unified. A few people have also written that they saw Shannon and Dom.
M talking before the competition. Watching the TV coverage of the competition
after coming home from the FleetCenter, it didn't look on TV like the
gymnasts were very unified. However, in person, they were very talkative with
one another. Shannon and Dom. talked all the time while warming up. Then Kim
Zmeskal (who looked great) came over and talked to them for about a half
hour. Shannon sat with Dom and her parents during at least part of the
competition. Mary Lee Tracy hugged every coach before the compulsories began.
Kerri and Dom. M talked to one another when they were both on the floor. And
it goes without saying the Amanda and Jaycie are so close. The TV coverage
really didn't give an accurate representation of how the gymnasts related to
one another at the competition.
Also, about the team lineup. It only makes sense to me to have the top 5
qualifers (I include Shannon and Dom. M in this.) in every event and have the
last two qualifiers split the four events. So, I'd have Amy on bars and
vault, Amanda on Floor and Beam and have the others compete all the events
and have the highest scorers go the all around and event finals. It only
End of GYMN-L Digest - 3 Jul 1996 - Special issue