JESSICA: Those are. You need to catch your breath which is why you can’t, you know even get your leg up to horizontal. So, don’t even get me started on those.
JUSTIN: Wait, wait, wait, what did you say? Wait, wait, wait?
JOHN: Why are you trying to get the guys…
JESSICA: The stag jumps!
JOHN: What are you looking at, by the way, when we’re out there competing? That’s just wrong.
JOHN: Ugh, I’m uncomfortable right now.
JUSTIN: Hold on, wait, wait, wait,
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JESSICA: Today, John Roethlisberger and Justin Spring join us to talk about the FIG’s new rules releases.
ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey gymnasts. Elite Sportz Band is a cutting edge compression back warmer that can protect your most valued asset, your back. I’m Allison Taylor on behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: This is episode 85 for April 1, 2014. I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics and this is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet! Today we’re going to get started right away and talk about the new rules releases.
JESSICA: Today’s interview with Olympians John Roethlisberger and Justin Spring is brought to you by Tumbl Trak. One of the things we love about Tumbl Trak is that they’re always innovating to make gymnastics safer and give gymnasts more ways to practice good technique without the pounding and impact. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to learn that they have teamed up with engineers at Tokaido, the company that run Japan’s maglev train system, to create an almost zero-impact training surface. The Bullet Trak will debut at Gym-Con USA in Las Vegas this June. Here’s how it works: Athletes wear gym shoes, the same kind that you where on vault or beam, the only difference is that the sole is negatively charged. The surface of the Bullet Trak looks just like a Tumbl Trak, but it holds a positive charge. It allows the gymnasts to tumble on a magnetic cushion like opposite ends of a battery. This is a one of a kind, reverse polarity experience that allows gymnasts to slow down their tumbling, reduce impact, and make corrections like never before. To supercharge your tumbling, register for Gym-Con USA now and experience the Bullet Trak for yourself. For more information go to Tumbl Trak- that’s T-U-M-B-L T-R-A-K-.com. Tumbl Trak- More reps, less stress.
JESSICA: So we’re going to talk to John Roethlisberger who is a three-time Olympian. He’s an eight-time national champion. He is the co-owner of a gymnastics camp that every kind and adult wish they could go to. Seriously, when are you going to open up for adults, because I totally want to go? It’s called Flip-Fest in Tennessee. He’s also a television commentator who we all love, because of all the words he makes up. You’ve heard him with Kelly “Oh Boogers!” Garrison on the Big 10 Network, and next week he’ll be hosting Men’s NCAA Gymnastics Championships live on the Big 10 Network. Justin Spring is also joining us and he is an Olympic bronze medalist. He’s an NCAA Championship-winning coach, and a dare-devil extraordinaire.
JESSICA: So I’m here with John Roethlisberger and Justin Spring. Thank you both so much for being on the show today.
JUSTIN: Glad to be here.
JOHN: Absolutely, absolutely.
JESSICA: So, we’re doing this because the FIG just released their new rules as they do every spring and once again there are things that are driving us nuts. Um, and I wanted to bring you guys on and get your thoughts on this. Some of the things are the things that fans will be really excited about and some of the things are worse! I mean we’ve already complained about this stuff and they’re just making it worse. So let’s talk about the first thing- I’m really interested in your thoughts on this- so the first rule is that they’re going to make men’s routines just seven skills with a dismount. So how do you guys feel about this? Is this a positive move for the sport?
JUSTIN: It’s the Kohei rule man.
JOHN: Go ahead Justin. Yeah I guess…
JUSTIN: You got to stop the giant. I would love this. I mean this would make me…this would make me a heavier contributor. Um, it’s a huge, I look at my guys and I guess yeah I mean it’s essentially there’s these cool routines. You have these fluffer A skills that don’t, aren’t really counted or used, it’s going to help bring down the giants like Kohei Uchimura and names like that. He’s, he’s in a league of his own and it’s cause the rest of the world can’t contend with his, um, his ability to handle ten incredibly challenging skills on every event.
JOHN: Look I think we take this a step further. I mean I’m behind this 100%, going from ten to seven, but why not, why are they stopping there? Why not five? Why not three? Why not we just get out there, the guy raises his hand, chuck your best skill, and we’re done? I mean…
JUSTIN: I mean that’s…
JOHN: I’m all for it. I’m all for it.
JUSTIN: That’s like the Pro Challenge. You could, you could still be in this John!
JOHN: Exactly! Exactly, Justin! The old guys like you. The old guys like me.
JUSTIN: I’m coming back baby.
JOHN: If it was one skill I’d be there!
JUSTIN: You could go down… I mean think of the career. You would have blown everyone’s career by ten or twenty years almost maybe.
JOHN: You’re right. Seven skills- I like it. I like it. What else we got?
JESSICA: All right so the next um, rule that they’ve come out with, which we have complained about since last year when they came out with this rule, and now it’s even worse. You know Kyla Ross was a victim of this rule just at Jesolo a couple of weeks ago in Italy. She ran for her vault, she balked, her steps were off, something happened, um and she was then docked a point. She got to vault again, but you know, she got a whole point off her score, which of course didn’t matter because she still obliterated all of the competition, but now they’ve made this one point for balking even worse by saying if you balk, you’re disqualified! I mean what do you guys think are going to happen?
JUSTIN: You get a zero?
JOHN: I think it’s great.
JESSICA: Yeah you get a zero! That’s it.
JOHN: You know if it’s a team competition I think it shouldn’t just be a zero. I think the team should take something off their team total after that point. I mean I’m sorry if you lean forward, it’s like an offensive lineman in football, you can’t move you know? Once you lean, once you go, I think that’s this. That’s your vault. If you want to stop we’ll judge the ten steps you took. I think, I think it’s a good rule. I don’t think we should be [inaudible]
JUSTIN: No [inaudible]
JOHN: It’s a tough world out there man.
JUSTIN: We are a sport based off perfection but this is like the death penalty. You know like, I don’t know. That’s ridiculous to me.
JOHN: Right Johnny. So you’re going to get your little warm-up run. You want your little warm-up run. You can just run down and jump to the side and then you’re warm and then you can come back and do your vault. You think that’s fair.
JUSTIN: With the point deduction where we’re at I think the level of competitiveness with the vaults that men are pursuing specifically…I mean John we’re not doing double fulls on the long horse anymore. You know you got guys chucking Tsuk double pikes, risking life and limb. I want them to be allowed to balk. I don’t want to see a broken neck.
JOHN: Why don’t, why don’t I hold your hand when you run down the vault runway and we can…
JUSTIN: You want to skip and do a vault together?
JOHN: And we can…
JUSTIN: John, you would say something like that.
JUSTIN: You’ve been picking on me for years. We agreed, we agree…
JOHN AND JUSTIN: to disagree. All right.
JESSICA: All right so just to play devil’s advocate on this one here, you know, in a perfect world the gymnasts would have no distractions and everything would be correct, but we’ve had situations where the FIG couldn’t even be bothered to set the vault height correctly, or…
JUSTIN: Oh yeah perfect example.
JESSICA: at the recent Chicago, Chicago Classic last year I think it was, there was a bat flying around the gym. So um, what about those kind of distractions? Like John, what if that happens? What are you supposed to, what would you do if that happens, if a bat flew in front of you?
JOHN: You’re bringing in- you know the bat was cool by the way. I like the bat. He was…
JUSTIN: [LAUGHS] He likes the addition.
JOHN: It’s apples to apples. We’re talking about a distraction, you know, if stuff flashes in the crowd. We saw Trent Dimas, 1991, no one’s old enough to remember that, saw a flash in his vault, he crashed…
JOHN: and pretended to see a flash, and he got to do it again. So yeah that’s different. You know if you’re going to throw in distractions, unless you want to make it part of your vault…
JUSTIN: That’s a slippery slope man. A distraction rule you’re going to have debates and arguments out on the floor for missed vaults, like second chances.
JOHN: Yep. That’s a good point. I appreciate. That’s a good side comment there. Yeah, yeah, what else we got?
JESSICA: Okay let’s go onto the next rule…
JUSTIN: It is what it is I guess.
JESSICA: We, we can create this distraction where you have the vault and then you have like actually a haunted house, like things jump out at you from different sides.
JUSTIN: Oh like other teams can play defense on vault?
JUSTIN: It’s just what we need.
JOHN: Yeah I used to see Justin Spring watching us compete when I was, when he was real young and it was like a haunted house trust me.
JOHN: Sitting there. Beady little eyes watching us. A haunted house for sure. All right. The FIG’s two for two so what else do we got?
JESSICA: All right. So the next one I have to say I am a big fan of this one. I think that men’s gymnastics has lost all artistry and it makes me mad when they do those like ridiculous non-stag jumps. I think those should be a huge deduction. Anyway, this rule…
JOHN: Yeah I used to do one of those. You need those man. Those are…
JESSICA: Yeah you need those!
JOHN: Those are serious transitions right there.
JESSICA: Those are. You need to catch your breath which is why you can’t you know even get your leg up to horizontal. So, don’t even get me started on those.
JUSTIN: Wait, wait, wait, what did you say? Wait, wait wait?
JOHN: Why are you trying to get the guys…
JESSICA: The stag jumps!
JOHN: What are you looking at, by the way, when we’re out there competing? That’s just wrong.
JOHN: I’m a little uncomfortable right now.
JUSTIN: Hold on, wait, wait, wait, I thought that the rule, which one was this? I didn’t hear you.
JESSICA: This is a mandatory rule- I got distracted by the stag jumps. My own, my own little thing that [inaudible].
JUSTIN: Okay I was like those are here now.
JESSICA: The new rule is they’re bringing back the scale. So in order to encourage artistry men have to do a scale…
JOHN: A scale?
JESSICA: and it has to be, and your leg has to be above shoulder height.
JOHN: Yes. I’m going to let my buddy go on this one again.
JUSTIN: I mean I get it. I would have been murdered. I could barely touch my toes. I have no flexibility, but I can see some guys showing this off. I mean they want to get that direction of…I mean floor of all events is the event where you have the option to show artistry more than any I think.
JOHN: Catch a breath is all I got to say. Go in the corner, pull out a good ole fashion Y-scale, hold it for two.
JUSTIN: You could do it.
JOHN: I mean it seems like it fits perfectly with the agenda of the FIG, which is complete and total animus, but I think…
JOHN: but I think it’s a solid choice.
JUSTIN: That’s their mission statement. We’re going to keep everyone on their toes.
JOHN: You just don’t know what direction they’re coming from. Let me guess, you probably want the guys to go back to the extra short shorts too right?
JESSICA: Yes. I’m a big fan of that. I think that would definitely help with the audience.
JUSTIN: Why don’t we just wear like a wrestling onesie you know? You know, like just get in there.
JOHN: I like that.
JESSICA: Singlets. I’m fine with that.
JOHN: Once we see the rest of the rules we might have that.
JUSTIN: A legit singlet.
JOHN: Let’s keep going there. So far these rules are completely and totally spot on, amusing [inaudible]
JESSICA: So the next one, also going back to artistry, they have decided that you know women, since they brought in the difficulty score and gotten rid of the 10, that what they’ve lost is artistry. So what they’re trying to bring back, incentivize people to do something artistic, something different, and now in addition to see the D score and the E score displayed, they’re going to bring back the ROV score. So there’ll be a separate panel of judges to judge ROV so for those who don’t remember back in the day there was risk, originality, and virtuosity…
JUSTIN: I loved that.
JESSICA: and so this will now be displayed as part of the score. How do you think this will affect our current team?
JUSTIN: I think, I do love this. This is, I’d capitalize when I was a junior with this stuff. Um, I think we’re…
JOHN: I think the more, yeah, the more subjectivity that you can bring into it, you know bring some judges in there, and I think they should add to this. I think the judges that come in should do the originality judging, and the virtuosity should actually have no knowledge of the sport of gymnastics. I think they should bring them in and it should be a fresh set of eyes. They’re not, they’re unbiased. You know maybe…
JUSTIN: Unbiased. Yep I couldn’t have said it better.
JOHN: Yeah. Yeah! You know bring them from a country who hasn’t actually had a gymnast. Yeah.
JUSTIN: I think it’s exactly where we need to go. Get rid of the cookie cutter routines. Start you know, pushing the danger level of the sport a little bit, but at least get bonus, you know, incentivize like you said Jessica. And I do like the first part. John you should be on this rules committee. I mean how else are you going to evaluate? Would you have like a separate judge? [inaudible]
JOHN: Yeah. I think it should be. Are they going to have like a D judge and an E judge, are they going to have an O judge and a V judge?
JESSICA: It’s going to be an ROV judge. A panel just for ROV. So they’ll be, it won’t be one for risk, one for originality, but it will be a whole separate panel. Who do you think…
JOHN: Let’s just add that. [inaudible]
JESSICA: The scores are going to be. I mean I think it’s based out of a 10. So the scores now are going to be much higher. Um, this would put us…
JUSTIN: So you’ll be like seeing 24’s.
JOHN: I mean I think the victims are the people watching. It’s a people watching sport. I think they don’t understand it. I think the more they don’t understand it the better, because let’s be honest, if you’re sitting there and you’re trying to actually think you can figure out why they got the score it’s going to make spectators turn away. I think you got to watch gymnastics and be just utterly be dismayed by how the score came up, because then you just go, “You know what? I don’t know. It’s a 20.” So yeah you got to appreciate the sport, don’t look at the numbers. Yeah exactly.
JUSTIN: It’s about the artistry. It’s a glorified cirque show basically.
JOHN: I think it’s fantastic. I can already see Bruno Grandi with his old Number 2 pencil and his abacus coming up with this scoring system. I think it’s fantastic.
JUSTIN: We lost the 10 a long time ago so you might as well bring in something that the fans can understand like originality, or just they like that goofy stuff they don’t normally see. I get the buy in though. I do.
JOHN: I think that, I mean if we’re going originality, I mean…
JUSTIN: You were the man of originality John! That’s another one that would have been [inaudible]
JOHN: I did. Whenever I couldn’t do something I’d make something up. But seriously what about what the gymnasts are wearing? If you’re going to go there why we’re creating a show here, let’s be honest, we’re creating a show out of our, why, what about what they’re wearing? Everybody talks about the uniforms and the outfits and their this their that. Figure skating does it. Why do they have to be cookie cutter uniforms? Why can’t they make that part of the presentation? I mean I’m just throwing it out there. I’m just throwing it out there.
JESSICA: I mean they could do that you know. They could do, someone could just like wear their underwear and do full body paint and that could be part of their…
JOHN: Right. See see. You just went there.
JUSTIN: It’s a little ice skating for me guys. I want the no shirt. I want the no shirt. No top is good. I think we all agree on that.
JOHN: Yeah. She just went underwear and body paint.
JOHN: I mean that’s just…
JUSTIN: Oh for the females! Oh my God…
JESSICA: I mean what if you’re from like Poland and you want to be noticed you know you…
JOHN: You’re very inappropriate. Very inappropriate.
JUSTIN: Kind of like the Hunger Games. You know you can pick your costume, set yourself on fire, if you want to go…
JESSICA: Exactly, exactly.
JUSTIN: all in. You know it is, it is a component of our sport that I wish wasn’t as important but it is. And hence the more sparkles for girls. More sparkles everywhere.
JOHN: I mean in all seriousness, these rules, I mean it’s amazing. Do we have more? Are you done?
JESSICA: Yes, so um, we’re talking about how the scores are going to change so they’ve also introduced something that is not going to make the U.S. fans happy, but you know they’ve really made an effort to start you know encouraging gymnastics from non-traditional countries. They do these FIG um, coaching camps around the world. They have these elite coaches that go out and they’ve really made an effort to bring gymnastics to more countries. So, a way that they want to encourage other countries to have more of a shot at placing and medaling, is they’re going to introduce something that gymnastics fans might not be very familiar with, it’s a handicap scoring system, which they have in golf. And basically it means that if you’re really good they kind of take away some points from you so that the people who aren’t as good can compete. So it kind of levels the playing field. So the U.S. is going to start from something like a five point deficit.
JESSICA: I think this is crazy. I, I mean, yeah, the U.S. is going to start from a deficit.
JOHN: So basically if you won the World Championships…
JUSTIN: It’s never going to fly.
JOHN: No I think that this is again, so you’re saying that U.S. won the last World’s so they’ll look at the last World’s, look at how much you won by, and then handicap you by that total as you head to the next World’s. Is that…?
JESSICA: Exactly. Exactly.
JOHN: How can you not like this? Take from the rich and give to those in need.
JUSTIN: [LAUGHS] I mean I feel like we’re trying to balance the playing field a little much here. I don’t know.
JOHN: That doesn’t surprise me.
JUSTIN: It doesn’t surprise me.
JOHN: I mean look at baseball…
JUSTIN: I don’t want to say that. It blows me away but it doesn’t surprise me, sadly.
JOHN: No, but yeah, but, look they got rid of softball. Softball wasn’t competitive enough. The U.S. women won. They just took it out of the Olympics. So let’s just…
JUSTIN: That’s a good point. You got to keep it fun. The IOC is very eh.
JESSICA: But I mean this could help on the men’s side, right?
JOHN: Why you got to go there? Why would you? Why would you?
JUSTIN: Are you really going to throw us under the bus here?
JOHN: [LAUGHS] That’s, yeah that’s just. You are not cool at all, you know.
JESSICA: Well let’s move on to the final rule before I upset you too much.
JOHN: I’m kind of sick of rules.
JUSTIN: That was a low blow.
JESSICA: This one…
JESSICA: This one’s going to make you happy. So, it’s going to make rhythmic fans really upset, but you know, finally the FIG just got really sick of all of the in-fighting and cheating that was going on in rhythmic gymnastics, and so they have decided that actually they’re going to take rhythmic out of the Olympics and they’re going to give those spots back to artistic gymnastics.
JESSICA: So we’re now going to have even more…Yes it’s awesome! So we’re going to have ten person teams now, which means you can have an all around and a specialist, ten…
JUSTIN: Counting how many scores? Or what’s the format? Is it still three-up three-count?
JESSICA: No. It’s actually going to be less. So now you only have two up per event, but you have ten people to choose from.
JUSTIN: This is a game changer, like on an unprecedented level. I mean, think of, I mean, think of the specialists
JUSTIN: Oh man it’s all specialists.
JOHN: It’s all specialist. The all around’s over.
JUSTIN: I’m coming back baby. I mean this, this with the seven skills, and this kind of opportunity, I love it. I’m sorry for the rhythmic people. That’s brutal but…
JOHN: Yeah I was going to say Justin way to have some compassion for the rhythmic people, you didn’t even give them a second thought.
JUSTIN: Hey I’m an artistic…So are you man. I can’t talk to you.
JOHN: The only way that I would support this is if they had a rhythmic gymnast on the men’s team. If they’re going to get rid of them they can put one on the men’s team.
JOHN: They put them in the lineup. Yeah, I mean, yeah how can you get rid of rhythmic gymnastics? That’s just not…
JUSTIN: We can put them in during our scale. Y-scale tag, put them in.
JOHN: And the stag leap. Hang out while they’re doing the scale and the stag leap. I think that’s, I think that’s brilliant. I love what they’re doing. I think you know it’s great time to uh, bring these rules forward. Especially on this, a new month, beginning of the new month, and one of the most important days of the year, I think it’s time to put these rules forward and change the sport. I’m all for it, Justin, I’m all for it.
JUSTIN: I’m all for most of them, but I agree, this is good stuff. Most of it. I got to go work out.
JESSICA: Thank you both so much. You guys were awesome.
JOHN: Yeah no problem, anytime.
ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. Elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: Visit elitesportzband.com, that’s “sportz” with a “z” and save $5 on your next purchase with the code “gymcast.”
JESSICA: Tell us what you think of the new rules. You guys know how to get in touch with us. Gymcastic@gmail.com. You can always call us on Skype at Gymcastic Podcast. That’s our username. We’re on Twitter. We’re on Instagram, Facebook. There’s huge debates going on on Facebook right now about these new rules. And of course make sure to, if you love the show, support us, subscribe on Stitcher or iTunes. Stitcher of course works for Android devices. And you can support us by shopping at our Amazon store. Bookmark our Amazon store. And you guys asked for another way to support us so if you’d like to you can always make a donation. And of course we also provide transcripts of every single show, free of charge, because our fabulous transcribers will put them up about a week or two after the show so make sure to check those out. And of course we have playlists that go with every single episode. So, let us know what you think of the rules. I’m sure this is going to be outrageous. And thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you back later this week at our regular time…
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JESSIA: with all the news from the British Championships and the Doha World Cup. So, see you guys later at our regular time. Thanks for listening!