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I'm not upset. In fact, I'm pleased with the new developments in the the sport.
Yesterday evening, I was talking with a friend about gymnastics when Cathy Rigby came up. I watched her silver medal winning beam routine from the 1970 World Championships and was happily with the stylistic beauty throughout her routine. (That press handstand, OH! I love it!) But the more and more I looked at routine, the fewer skills there were and the more poses I noticed.
Just because something is pretty, doesn't make it better. Cathy (and the other Olympic caliber gymnasts of that era) were all fabulous, but the fact is, they'd all be eaten alive by today's standards. And maybe that's okay. Both sets of gymnastics live in independent spheres.
For example, As much as I respect Nadia, there's no such thing as perfection. Even in her classic bar routine, she shuffled her feet, in a landing that Tim Daggett would deem "not a stick". Seven times during the Montreal Olympics Nadia earned a so called "Perfect 10" and each every time she made at least one mistake. She'd never receive a 10 on those routines today, and with the exception of a very few vaults, no one would even have a chance.
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Change isn't necessarily a bad thing. If nothing ever changed in gymnastics, Gymnasts would still have to climb a rope in competition and the hardest skill in Aly Raisman's floor routine would be a roundoff back handspring. Is that really what you want? Difficulty and artistry can coexist, and all things considered, I think that today's gymnasts are doing a pretty good job at incorporating both. We live in a world where 9 (yes, 9!) American gymnasts can hurl themselves over a giant table, do 1.5 flips and 2.5 twists and often land flawlessly. Is that not enough of a trade off to miss out on a few "prettier" skills?