I wrote about my distaste for tank leos, gym shoes & the leg-up full turn a few months ago. The list has now expanded. These are the top 10 things I dislike right now in the world of gymnastics.

  1. The jump-up mount on Beam. Think Shawn Johnson & Li Shanshan. I did this mount as a Level 7 compulsory gymnast way back when. This is an ugly and uncreative mount and way too many gymnasts use it. It is possible to get on the Beam without risk but still with beauty and originality. Using this mount seems lazy and I expect more from world class athletes.
  2. I’ve said it before but I must say it again. The leotards worn by the United States Women. Now that we’ve seen that the floor and matting is going to be red at the Olympics next year, I hope they come up with something more interesting than this.

    USA Leotard

  3. The inconsistency of USA Men’s team. I was thrilled with their 4th place finish in Stuttgart, thinking that all the doubt of the last year was for naught. The 2006 World Championships 13th-place finish was just a complete fluke that we could chalk up to inexperience and an off-day… But then they had to go and finish 8th at the Test Event. What’s the deal? Should I be worried?
  4. The Side Somi on Beam. I understand the difficulty of it. I attempted aerial cartwheels on Beam for about a day. I know that they are tough. But they are just so ugly.
  5. The criticism after the last World Championships of athletes who cried after poor performances (Sacramone after the Floor finals, Li Shanshan after Beam Finals). I completely agree that poor sportsmanship should not be tolerated and that Sacramone carried on for far too long…. but I don’t think it should be considered poor form to shed a tear (or be emotional in another way) after botching one of the biggest routines of your life.
  6. Event Specialists. I know that this is the direction our sport is going these days and there is nothing I can do about it…but I don’t like it. When I was younger and I would tell people that I was a gymnast, they would say things like “Wow, what events do you like the best?” Or “I can’t believe you do the Beam. That must be so hard!” It was understood that I worked on all of the events. Nowadays, when someone hears that I used to be a gymnast, the question is always “Oh really? What events did you do?” Has anyone else noticed this shift in the general population’s perception of our sport? The Test Event going on right now in Beijing couldn’t host a Men’s All Around competition because there weren’t enough All Arounders! That is outrageous.
  7. Speaking of Event Specialists, Cheng Fei’s recent announcement that she will no longer train bars. You know my thoughts on this subject.
  8. Lack of choreography on Beam. The athlete’s are trying to get so many skills in these days that there is no time for anything else. It’s getting ridiculous. Case in point: Catalina Ponor’s routine at the World Championships this year. She was moving so fast, basically just throwing her arms around while she set up for each skill. And she still went overtime. Why even bother? Why not just jump up on the Beam and throw your ten hardest skills? That’s all that seems to matter with this code.
  9. Speaking of choreography, what happened to all the good floor routines? There is no excuse for all the lackluster floor performances these days. Watch an NCAA competition if you don’t think it’s possible to perform hard routines with incredible choreography and dance. A few notable exceptions: Aisha Gerber of Canada, Hollie Dykes & Dasha Joura of Australia, Ivana Hong of the USA, to name a few.

    Aisha Gerber of Canada

  10. And finally, I dislike the new scoring system. I know that I’ve harped on it a lot but I miss the perfect 10. It’s been a couple years without it but I still miss it.

What about the rest of you? Anything you currently dislike in the world of gymnastics?

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