What would I do?
Bring back compulsories: I understand that they could get pretty boring, but compulsories are absolutely essential, and I believe that many gymnastics fans agree. Compulsories were central to dance and technique training. It’s no secret why the quality of dance has gone down so drastically in the past three quads. Anyway, isn’t this compulsory routine by Lilia Podkopayeva just beautiful? Too bad we can’t see any of those anymore!
Have the team competitions follow the 6-6-5 format: say no to specialists! I know that every gymnast has a weakness (for me, personally, it was bars), but I believe that’s no excuse for completely neglecting an apparatus a la Alicia Sacramone or Cheng Fei (I love me some Cheng Fei, though!). Hopefully, with the new COP, which will stress less difficulty (or at least less elements in a routine), gymnasts will have more time to focus on the four apparatus (unfortunately, that’s not very likely, what with only having 5 girls on the team now and only two of those will be able to make the all around finals). With the 6-6-5 format, even though it is a broadcasting nightmare, we would get more gymnastics. Plus, the team would be able to drop one score, like in the past, so the gymnasts would probably be less nervous and perform less “jittery” routines. The 5-3-3 format is a joke and an insult to the history of the sport.
Have the top 36 gymnasts compete in the all around finals, and up to three from each country: I understand the logic for not allowing a whole team to compete in the all around finals, but three is not too bad, in my opinion. Don’t you miss sweeps, anyway? It was a great thing for Romania when they won the gold, silver, and bronze at the Sydney Olympics (before Raducan’s gold was taken away, that is). I am not the biggest Romania fan, but I definitely understand what a big deal that was for them. Shame we can’t have that anymore! And, of course, having the field go back from 24 gymnasts to 36 is pretty self explanatory.
Have the World Championships every two years: these would be FULL World Championships, complete with the all around, team, and event finals. I don’t want to see any of that “event finals Worlds” or “team Worlds” nonsense. Also, I think having them every year, although exciting for the fans (since we don’t get to see much gymnastics as it is, anyway), just ruins the prestige of the event, not to mention its credibility (especially if you keep switching the format around!). In recent years, the best quad in this respect has been the 1997-2000 quad – there were only two World Championships, one in 1997 and one in 1999, as it should be.
To be honest, the idea of the new COP (as in the 2006-on COP) has grown on me a lot, even though I do miss the perfect 10.00. In theory, it’s a pretty positive thing. However, I dislike many of the aspects about this particular Code we’ve seen this quad…so…how would I change the COP?
Falls would be a 2.00 deduction: no, I do not think one point (which we will see from 2009-2012) is enough. This would ensure that there is absolutely NO way that a gymnast could medal with a fall. It would take them out of the running completely, which is how it should be.
Have a two tenth bonus for stuck dismounts: this is pretty self-explanatory. I miss stuck landings.
Let the judges award 10s for B scores: if the routine is perfect, the score should reflect it. Can someone PLEASE tell me where the deductions for Nastia Liukin’s Olympic all around vault came from?
Vault: I would raise the value of a bunch of different vaults – DTYs, rudis, double twisting Tsukaharas, Khorkina IIs, etc. – and make them closer to that of the Amanar and the Cheng. I’m sick and tired of those two vaults, impressive as they are…we need some variety, people! I hate it that only gymnasts with those two vaults have a shot at a gold medal. Also, I would have all gymnasts perform two vaults in every round of competition (but they would be allowed to have the same vault, unless it was EFs) and average those.
Bars: there’s not much I would do, honestly. I like the fact that they will only be counting the hardest eight skills now. Hopefully that’ll be an end to the marathon routines that we’ve been seeing. Oh, I would distinguish between Giengers and LAYOUT Giengers (and I would have the layout Gienger be named after Nastia Liukin). Obviously, when it’s done in a layout position, it’s much, much harder, but the Code doesn’t acknowledge it.
Beam: I think this COP completely KILLED beam. There’s so much I would do to fix it!
-BAN side somis. Not even Anna Pavlova can make them look beautiful. That froggy legged skill is just icky. Same goes to full turns with the leg at horizontal. Ew.
-Have the hardest seven skills count, including the MOUNT and dismount. Why mount? I’m sick of seeing that stupid hop on to the beam. Even a level four could do that. I want innovative, original, exciting mounts like we saw in years past, and I believe making this a requirement is the only way that we’ll get to see it. Sorry, Marta.
-Allow the repetition of a skill as long as it is done in combination (with the same skill). Maybe that way we will get to see the always impressive back handspring to three (maybe even four!) layout stepout combination, or a beautiful front aerial to front aerial combination, like Yekatarina Lobaznyuk performed in 2000.
-I would ban every version of the front aerial that is not actually a front aerial (including front aerials to two feet – yuck – and “Liukins/Nistors,” which are about the ugliest looking skills I’ve ever seen). The classic front aerial is so beautiful, and it is a real shame that all this Code whoring (the Romanians are especially guilty of this) during this quad has kind of ruined it.
-I would distinguish between a back handpsring with a full twist to swingdown (what the Russians do) and a REAL Rulfova, which, to me, has always looked more like a full twisting layout to swingdown. Obviously, the latter is much more difficult.
-I would get rid of the forward-backward skill bonus. Front aerials to back handspring layout stepouts are neither impressive nor a true connection (the gymnasts do not use the momentum from the front aerial to do the back handspring).
Floor: I would only allow three tumbling passes (one of those can be a back-to-back pass, like we saw in the ’80s and early ’90s) and three leaps (in combination). I want time for DANCE! Also, I would have a special bonus (one tenth?) for gymnasts finishing a pass with either a front aerial walkover or a layout stepout. It looks so pretty! Finally, I would also have a special bonus for gymnasts finishing their routine with an E skill. If, in previous quads, they could finish their routines with full ins, how come they can’t now? I’m sick of double pike dismounts.