Monday, November 29, 2010

Level 5 Floor Requirements

The World of Gymnastics is a great site that helped me compile some of this information. I encourage you to check out the site! Its author provides requirements for routines of various levels.

The USAG competitive program scores gymnasts out of a possible 10.0 in each event. Gymnasts are responsible for performing all the required skills within their routines for any given level. Each skill, then, has requirements of its own (i.e. - handstands must be held for a certain amount of time, split leaps must meet a degree requirement, bent legs and flexed feet will be deducted in a back handspring, etc.) Needless to say, keeping track of all the requirements and deductions is nearly impossible for gymnasts, parents, and sometimes even coaches, so I thought it would be helpful to compile all the main information into one place, beginning with the most important requirements for a level 5 floor routine.

The first thing to know is that the gymnast will be deducted for performing out of time with the music, stepping out of bounds, falling on a skill, or lacking fluidity. They will also be deducted slightly if their undergarments show from underneath their leotard. They will NOT be deducted for failing to smile, failing to make eye contact with the judges, etc., but many years of competitive gymnastics experience tells me that those things do make a big difference in overall appeal.

Straddle jump. Split must be at least 120 degrees. A .2 maximum deduction will be taken if the gymnast fails to straddle wide enough. Another .1 can be taken if the gymnast does not bring her feet back together upon landing. Judges will look for straight legs and pointed toes.

Dive roll. Gymnast must maintain a hollow body position (not arched, not piked). Up to .2 points will be taken for body position mistakes, and .2 will be taken if the gymnast does not show flight before her hands hit the floor. Judges will look to see that the gymnast springs off her toes and controls her landing. Hands cannot hit the floor more than once on this move. If the gymnast fails to control the landing and falls back onto her hands, .3 can be taken from her score.

Front handspring. Gymnast must block with her shoulders (for the parents out there, that means they have to "spring" off their hands with straight arms using a shoulder push, rather than bending their arms and pushing up that way). This is worth .2 points. If the gymnast fails to block at all and limbers over, .6 will be taken. A front limber is NOT the same thing as a front handspring, and the skill will be considered incomplete if a limber is performed in its place. Hands must land at the same time side-by-side, and the same goes for the feet. The gymnast must rebound immediately out of the handspring with arms tight by ears. Judges will look for nice tight body position with straight legs and pointed toes. The gymnast also must begin the skill with a hurdle.

Split leap. Leap must reach a minimum of a 120 degree leg separation. This is worth .2. Front leg bent on the take-off will be .1 deduction. Again, judges will look for tight, straight legs and pointed toes.

Split (on ground). Must be a full, 180 degree split. .2 deduction if the gymnast fails to sit all the way down in her split.

Back extension roll. Gymnast should not place hands on the floor before rolling backwards. This can be up to a .3 deduction. A backward roll to stand should not be substituted for the back extension roll. Much like with the handspring/limber situation, a backward roll in this case is considered an element change and will be a .6 deduction. Gymnast must pass through vertical (i.e. hit the handstand position) - a .3 deduction can be taken for failing to do this. Hands must be placed on the floor in unison. Gymnast should not bend arms and push up - this skill requires straight arms, opening the shoulder angle and pushing into the ground with the hands for the upwards momentum. Judges will look at body position in the vertical just like they would for a normal handstand (so arching, leg separation, head out, bent legs, and other similar mistakes will be worth a deduction).

Full turn. Gymnast must be in releve (high toe) with the other foot in coupe position at the ankle. Must turn a full 360 degrees. If the gymnast fails to do these things the deduction can be up to .4 points. Judges will look for a controlled landing.

Back walkover. Leg separation in the walkover must be at least 150 degrees. Failure to split to 150 will cause a deduction up to .2 depending on how far from the required angle the gymnast is. Hands must land in unison. Legs must continually kick over, so the gymnast should not let their front leg drop after lifting it as they go into the walkover.

Round off, two back handsprings. Judges will look for a big hurdle with this skill. The round off must pass through vertical (.3 deduction for failing to do so). Feet must land at the same time. Judges will look to see that the gymnast snaps the feet down and together, preparing for the back handspring. The gymnast should then continue into the back handspring with no hesitation. The gymnast should be in constant acceleration during this tumbling pass, which is worth .2. Gymnast must not squat too low or undercut the handsprings. Must rebound directly out of the 2nd handspring (worth .1). Judges will look for nice, stretched body position, straight legs with no separation, and a controlled landing.

These are the main skills and deductions to focus on. There are little things here and there that I didn't list - mostly dance elements like the hitch kick, the waltz step, and that type of thing. Hope this helps.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

A couple weeks belated, here is a quick recap of the 2010 World Championships.

Russia brought in the gold for women's Team Championships, with the US coming in close second. Following the US for third, fourth, and fifth place were the women's teams from China, Romania, and Japan. China brought home the gold in the men's Team Championships, followed by Japan, Germany, USA in fourth, and France.

Some of the highlights for the US women's team were performances by Rebecca Bross and Bridget Sloan, who came in 3rd and 4th place, respectively, in Event Finals on UB. Bross also placed 2nd on beam. Alicia Sacramone took first in VT. There were a lot of other great performances and high placements that I haven't listed, so I encourage you to watch some of the footage if you missed it in October!

Rebecca Bross placed 3rd in AA Finals, despite a fall on her last event, and in 13th was Alexandra Raisman, who, in my opinion, has received too little attention. This is Ally's first year as a senior, and we've been able to see some great improvements from her in consistency so far. She's one to watch in the future.

Outside of the US team, one of the biggest highlights of this meet was Lauren Mitchell's first place floor final, making her the first Australian woman to ever win a gold medal at Worlds! She showcased some interesting choreography and solid tumbling in that routine.

Beth Tweddle of Great Britain also had a phenomenal performance on UB, earning her the first place position. Besides a few missed verticals on the cast-handstands, it was an amazing routine with some incredibly difficult connections.

Lots of interviews can be accessed through the USAG website, as well as some routine videos, if you're interested in learning more about the meet! Check them out!

Opinion Section:
The Good - He Kexin had an excellent UB routine in team finals. Tons of difficult connections. She scored a 16.133. Unfortunately, she took a fall on that routine in event finals, but her awesome performance in team finals makes up for it.
The Bad - The men's high bar scoring controversy between Zhang and Zonderland. Zonderland gave an INCREDIBLE performance with tons of big connections. Zhang gave a cleaner routine with better pirouettes, hitting most all of his handstands, but with a step on the landing. Obviously, the audience was generally in favor of the "big routine" by Zonderland (not to mention the fact that he is from the Netherlands), so there was a lot of booing when Zhang scored higher. Honestly, I would've loved to have seen Zonderland win, but I trust the judges in this case.
The Ugly - Beth Tweddle's floor choreography. She is an awesome gymnast and a powerful tumbler on FX, but the awful choreo just brings her down every time. There were a few OK choroe moments, and a few others where she just looked like an ape. It was kind of ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nadia Comaneci Biography

The gymnast of the month for November is...

Nadia Comaneci!

DOB: November 12, 1961
Country Represented: Romania
Coaches: Bela and Marta Karolyi
Best Event: She was great at every event, but the very first Perfect 10 went to Nadia's incredible bar routine at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Best Known For: Nadia was the first gymnast to receive a Perfect 10 at the Olympics, but she didn't receive just ONE perfect 10. She went on to earn six more perfect scores in her career. She received three gold medals at the 1976 Olympics - Bars, Beam, and All-Around - and she won two more gold medals in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Currently: Nadia is currently living in the US and is married to Olympic gymnast Bart Conner. They have a young son named Dylan. :)
Interesting Fact: When Nadia received her first 10.0, scoreboards only had space for three digits, thus the scoreboard flashed "1.00" after her performance. Bela Karolyi, Nadia's coach, was apparently outraged and yelled toward the judges, "Where is Nadia's score?" That's when an announcement was made over the loudspeaker that, for the first time in gymnastics history, the score was a 10.0.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Questions and Comments

Questions, comments, gym news, personal achievements, etc. etc. please post here for November! (Thanks for the reminder, Miss Callie. It completely slipped my mind. How is it already November?!?) :)