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They Said It

About Artistry and Difficulty...

I personally support the type of gymnastics which does not exceed a certain amount of acrobatics and risks because then one can still say: what a lovely sport gymnastics is.
   
Ludmila Turischeva (URS), The Illustrated History of Gymnastics

Gymnastics has become degraded as the participants have become younger.  Once it was a sport of grace for women, never for little girls.
   
Vera Caslavska (TCH), International Gymnastics: Art or Sport?

Gymnastics is unthinkable without novelty and progress.  But the actual execution must be immaculate, because even the more reckless element will be evaluated by strict gymnastics standards.
   
Renald Knysh (URS), Soviet Gymnastics Stars

By continually increasing the difficulty of the sport, we are discouraging younger athletes from starting and continuing in the sport.  But most importantly, we are losing the beauty of our sport.  We do not want gymnastics to lose what makes it so great -- its artistic beauty.
  
Svetlana Boginskaya, Tatiana Gutsu, Svetlana Khorkina, Shannon Miller, Lilia Podkopayeva, John Roethlisberger, Vitaly Scherbo, Rustam Sharipov and Dmitry Trush, in a letter to FIG President Bruno Grandi, 4/10/05

I am endeavoring to steer gymnastics out of a dead end that satisfies only a handful of short-sighted individuals with nostalgia for an era gone by.
   FIG President Bruno Grandi, 4/25/05

Difficulty and proper execution must always form a harmonious whole.  Artistic gymnastics will be the loser if too much stress is laid on acrobatics without having the right harmonious relation to beauty.
   
Akitomo Kaneko (JPN), International Gymnast 06/77

In many routines, I miss more elegance, beauty in movement.  I believe that a well-performed routine should be done in total harmony and beauty and should impact the spectator as would a song, which the spectator would want to listen to over and over again.
   
Polina Astakhova (URS), International Gymnast 8/05

About Coaching and Training...

The eyes of a young girl can tell everything.  And I always look in their eyes.  There I can see if I will have a champion.
   
Nesha Robeva (BUL), International Gymnast 08/87

Talent alone is not enough.  I believe that a really good gymnast is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
   
Vladislav Rastorotsky (URS), Olympic Heroes: Ludmila Turischeva

The coaches today should realize that they are, after all, working with children who sometimes have to stand up to physical and moral stresses which not even all grown-ups could bear.
   
Elena Mukhina (URS), International Gymnast 09/87

About Competing...

The mind is perhaps one of the greatest factors in gymnastics; if one can't control his mind, he can't control his body.
   
William Meade (USA), International Gymnastics: Art or Sport?

[Mandy Gornall] encountered one unpleasant episode which greatly annoyed our contingent, when she had to wait before starting her bars because Turischeva who was judging wanted to watch the Russian girls on floor [at the 1981  World Championships].
   
Peter Shilston (GBR), International Gymnast 02/82

I know how to smile, I know how to laugh, I know how to play.  But I know how to do these things only after I have fulfilled my mission.
   
Nadia Comaneci (ROM), Time Magazine 1976

Gymnastics is really a team sport and a lot of people don't understand that.
   
Don Peters (USA), USA Gymnastics Magazine 5-6/1985

Every singe element, even the most hair-raising, can be improved.
   
Dmitry Bilozerchev (URS), World Gymnastics 1983/4

After a while, if you work on a certain move consistently then it doesn't seem so risky.  The idea is that the move stays dangerous and it looks dangerous to my opponents -- but it isn't to me.  That is my secret.
   
Nadia Comaneci (ROM), The Illustrated History of Gymnastics

When you are on the podium nobody is asking you if you are 15 or 30 years old.  What matters is who can do great gymnastics.
   
Oksana Chusovitina (UZB), World Championships press conference 11/21/05

Generally speaking, I think it is unbecoming to act as a national hero, wave hands and so on.
   
Vitaly Scherbo (URS/BLR), International Gymnast 01/91

I'm always smiling, always waving.  I'm just a natural show-off.
   
Kristie Phillips (USA), International Gymnast 1990

We want and expect to win the silver or gold.  A bronze would be a step back.  In fact, we think it would be a put-down if we don't win the silver or gold.
   
Betty Okino (USA), 1992 Olympic Games, International Gymnast 11/92

It's nice to have a medal, but we were hoping for a gold.
   
Marta Karolyi (USA), New York Times 8/18/04

After everything that happened last year, I was like: "Anything.  Anything.  Please, just let us win a medal."  And here it is.  I don't care that it's not a gold.  It's an Olympic medal and now we have it.
   
Annia Portuondo Hatch (CUB/USA), New York Times 8/17/04

I never expected to win three medals in the Athens Olympic Games.  Of course, I would rather have won one gold.
   
Marian Dragulescu (ROM), Olympic press conference 8/23/04

About Dance...

At the beginning, ballet accounted for at least two hours out of six hours of my daily training session.  Later I devoted less time to ballet, but every workout of mine included training in choreography.
   
Natalia Yurchenko (URS), International Gymnast 06/87

Dance is the very basis of our program.  We stress dance, that is why we are so good.  I spend one hour a day on dance.
   
Irina Baraksanova (URS), USA Gymnastics Magazine 3-4/1986

We usually spend one hour per week on ballet but Marta Karolyi has us do a lot of compulsory floor in the morning practice.
   
Kristie Phillips (USA), USA Gymnastics 3-4/1986

In my view, the floor exercise is the most difficult.  It's one thing to simply show acrobatics on the mat, and another to perform a composition, a kind of small theatrical presentation for the spectators.
   
Natalia Kalinina (URS/UKR), International Gymnast 2/91

About Judging...

There are two main faults with women judging.  They cannot judge vaulting and bars.  Once again, I believe a woman judge does not have the visual reflexes, the quickness that is necessary to judge these two events.
  
Bud Marquette, Gymnast magazine 8-9/72

You have to have competent people evaluating the athlete, not the housewives!
   
Bela Karolyi, International Gymnast 8-9/91

I have a problem with the judges.  In my opinion, I don't feel they are trained well enough, I don't think they like me.  I was gold medalist in Athens on the beam and at the European Championships, and here I am only third.  I'm very disappointed and unhappy with them."
  
Catalina Ponor (ROM), World Championships press conference 11/27/05

About Themselves and Others...

I wasn't too good at vaulting, and I didn't have running speed and jumping power.
   
Mitsuo Tsukahara (JPN), International Gymnast 11/82

I was seven years old when I learnt the back somi on beam.
   
Ecaterina Szabo (ROM), World Gymnastics 1983/3

As far as technique and virtuosity are concerned, I think I am better than Bilozerchev.
   
Li Ning (CHN), World Gymnastics 1986/2

[Dmitry Bilozerchev] is a genius of gymnastics.
    Grigory Misutin (URS/UKR), International Gymnast 03/92

Life is marvelous now because I have a tape recorder.
   
Olga Korbut (URS) in 1972, The Illustrated History of Gymnastics

One time a French reporter asked me how I could do a cross so easily.  I said, "You just lower your body down until your arms are straight out to the sides, then you stop."
   
Albert Azaryan (URS), International Gymnast 05/94

When I broke my knee, no one cared how I was; they just wanted me to get better and come back to gymnastics to win more medals for their country.
   
Lavinia Agache (ROM), International Gymast 10/93

I don't think many people will remember me when I retire.
   
Svetlana Boginskaya (URS/BLR), International Gymnast 04/90

[Alexei Nemov] has the best feel for the aesthetics of the sport.  He doesn't just do a skill; he makes it look gorgeous.  Some gymnasts think if their arm is bent a little it doesn't matter, but Nemov understands it matters.
   
Peter Vidmar (USA), New York Times 9/21/00

Anybody could be as good as Nemov.  Yeah, he's a great gymnast, but anyone can be that good.
   
Blaine Wilson (USA), New York Times 9/21/00

Tonight, [Blaine Wilson] said: "I don't think I have to redeem myself at all; I walked into this having done more for U.S. gymnastics than any other gymnast out there," perhaps forgetting the Bart Conners, Vidmars and even the John Roethlisbergers who came before him.  "I don't have to explain myself to anyone, not to you, not to my family, not to anyone."
   
Selena Roberts (New York Times reporter), New York Times 9/20/00

A couple of my friends saw the sneak previews [of "American Anthem"]...  They said it was really good.  They'd be honest with me.
   
Mitch Gaylord (USA), International Gymnast 07/86

About the 2004 Olympic Games...

Indeed, the start value of the Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young was given as 9.9 instead of 10.  As a result, the true winner of the all-around competition is Yang Tae Young.
   
Bruno Grandi (FIG president), in a letter to Paul Hamm dated 8/26/04

I truly believe in my heart that I am the all-around champion.
   
Paul Hamm (USA), New York Times 8/24/04

We want this misjudgment to be corrected.  But we do not want to break Paul Hamm's heart and take his gold medal away.  He is a proud Olympic champion.  If they [Hamm and Young] share the medal, that would be better.
   
Jae Soon Yoo (KOR Olympic delegation member), New York Times 8/22/04

The IOC never intervenes on a ranking issue.
   
Jacques Rogge (IOC president), Los Angeles Times 8/22/04

We realize our appeal [of Alexei Nemov's HB score in event finals] is unlikely to change final results of competitions, but we must draw attention of the IOC to the existing problem.
   
Anatoly Kolesnikov (Head of RUS delegation in Athens), USA Today 8/24/04

There was a judging mistake.  It was not his fault.  For me, [Paul Hamm] won the Olympic Games."
    Bruno Grandi (FIG president), 10/17/06


This page was created on October 30, 1999 and was last updated on December 06. 2007.
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