In 2010, Lauren Mitchell captivated fans across the globe with her giant tumbling and became the first Australian to win a Gold Medal in Gymnastics. Although her dance was lacking, I had respect for her big skills and turn in the tuck position. And I was thrilled when just a few days before 2011 worlds when International Gymnast announced that she had earned a 6.4 SV on Floor, higher than any other woman in the world at that time. That is, until I saw the routine.
Before we move on, let me define a gymnastics term for you:
Code-whore - /kōd'hôr/ (n.)
1. An individual who, for the sake of start values, sacrifices her artistic integrity.
Ex: Because she was scared of the competition's talent, Lauren Mitchell code-whored her entire floor routine by jumping horrifyingly out of each pass.
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of jumping out of a tumbling pass. Svetlana Khorkina did it incredibly for years. It's when you sacrifice your artistic integrity and the quality of your gymnastics that I hate.
Let's look at a screen shot out of each of Lauren's 4 passes at last weekend's Pacific Rim Championships. I took screen shots 3 times, and picked the best picture for each pass.
Frankly, with the exception of the last picture, I don't think any of those pictures display acceptable gymnastics, much less artistry.
I'm not trying to pick on Lauren here, but her leaps are the most apparent examples of code-whoring. They don't work with the choreography and are blatant attempts to eliminate hops on the landings. If you can't control your tumbling passes, don't use "dance" to attempt to hide that. Everyone can see exactly what you're doing.