Follow Us On
Stretching Out: 10 random thoughts on 2009
(13 votes, average 2.92 out of 5)

As the year comes to a close, IG Editor Dwight Normile reflects on the previous year in the world of gymnastics.

1. After polling gymnasts and coaches about the idea of lowering the required skills from 10 to eight for men, I was perplexed that several said it would make the sport more dangerous. Their claim was that gymnasts would then try to do as many hard skills in a row as possible in a shorter routine. Aren't they doing that now?

2. Referring to No.1: After reading the responses to our poll (which appeared in the December issue), I realized a better question for the men would have been, "Should there be a total skill limit for each routine?" That would certainly solve the problem of marathon routines that have 25 skills. What do you think? How many skills, A's included, should be the max for a routine?

3. Security at London's O2 Arena will need to improve in 2012, when the Olympics are in town. At the worlds in October, media went through a security check point every day. I guess the security officers got tired by the end of the week, because one day the lady didn't even ask me to open my laptop bag (which we had to do previously). When I placed it on the table, she pressed down on it with both hands, and then said OK. This was disturbing. The only item that exploded in my bag was a banana I had packed for a snack.

4. Speaking of food and security, I had purchased a jar of Nutella (a chocolate spread) in London to take home for my family. I placed it in my carry-on, which made it onto the plane in London. But after we landed in Newark, N.J., and went through security again, my Nutella was confiscated. "We get Nutella a lot," the security woman told me apologetically, holding up the small jar. Now I know. I also learned that Nutella is available in the U.S.

5. At the worlds, China won six gold medals with six different gymnasts. Tellingly, China did not enter anyone in the men's all-around competition. With team size shrinking from six to five for the next Olympics, I wonder how many of those six gymnasts (four men, two women) Chinese officials can place on the 2012 team and still win the team titles without sacrificing too many apparatus golds.

6. The emergence of Kayla Williams on vault and floor and the planned return of Alicia Sacramone, who is strong on the same events, could make for an interesting subplot at the 2010 U.S. championships. Whom would you select for a world team, if you could only choose one?

7. Danell Leyva's super-emotional coach/stepfather Yin Alvarez has taken some heat for his frenetic fits of frenzy after routines. Some claim it's an act, but I don't believe it is. He must be doing something right, because he has one of the most productive men's clubs around (Universal Gymnastics in Miami).

8. Some IG readers have wondered why we discontinued our "IG Mailbox" page in the magazine. I think the answer is simple: readers tend to voice their opinions on the IG messageboard now. We'd love to hear your viewpoints on current issues in the sport. Just email them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

9. The U.S. gymnasts were just announced for the 2010 Tyson American Cup, March 6 in Worcester, Mass. Rebecca Bross will be one of the two American women, as world champion Bridget Sloan declined because she needed a break. A third invitation has yet to be offered for the second U.S. woman. Defending champion Jordyn Wieber, who has been slowed by a sore hamstring since last summer, is reportedly not back to full strength yet. The two U.S. men will be Jonathan Horton and Tim McNeill. Six non-U.S. gymnasts will be added later to complete the men's and women's fields.

10. Finally, who do you think will emerge as the men's and women's stars in 2010? Please leave your comments below.

Comments (7)add comment

Allison said:

0
...
Fear not. You can get Nutella in America too.
 
December 11, 2009
Votes: +1

Kylie said:

0
...
I think that Bross will continue to emerege as the one to look for at World's next year. Koko Tsurimi, Ana Porgras, and even Youna Dufournet looks to have potential to do well next year as well. And you can't forget Beth Tweedle, never one to count out!
 
December 11, 2009
Votes: +1

Jacob Burton said:

0
...
I think Rebecca Bross will dominate in 2010. Valeri knows how to get the most out of his gymnasts and she has yet to reach her full potential.

I choose Kayla Williams over Alicia Sacramone. Alicia is frustratingly inconsistent under pressure and Kayla Williams was outstanding at Worlds winning her well-deserved gold medal. She will hopefully be around for many years.

 
December 12, 2009
Votes: +1

Carrie said:

0
Ivana Hong
Ivana Hong will be a force to be reckoned with! She will upgrade her floor, has a solid vault and beam, and will improve a little bit on bar.
 
December 12, 2009
Votes: +1

PuterSookter said:

0
Yin
I know a few coaches that know Yin personally - it is not an act. He acts that way for every kid on his team. Also, in practice he is pretty darned tough but has a knack for being positive at the same time. There used to be some videos up of his team training but I don't know that you can find them now.
 
December 12, 2009
Votes: +1

Victoria said:

December 13, 2009
Votes: -2

Daymon Montaigne-Jones said:

0
Daymon Montaigne-Jones
I was also in London at the Worlds and agree that there need to be massive changes before the Olympics. First of all, I bought my tickets through "Thomson Travel" online. I had to wait in line for each competition for at least an hour to pick up my tickets.....EVERYDAY! Security was quite bad. On the last day, I left the competition, but forgot my mobile phone in the arena. I asked to re enter and security was like "ya sure, whaterver"..not even asking for a ticket! Also, there was only one working ATM in the arena....the line being also over an hour! I witnessed poop Peggy Liddock (Australian Coach) missing some of the competition because she was in the massive line at the ATM. Dont get me started on Heathrow airport! I think that the O2 arena was, and will be an amazing backdrop for the Olympics. I hope that the organizers learned from this competition.
 
December 13, 2009 | url
Votes: +1

Write comment

security image
Write the displayed characters


busy