Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How embarassing!

Gymnastics, by nature, is a sport that is just asking for humiliation in some way, shape or form. 
It asks you to throw yourself over hard, immoveable and strangely shaped objects that could potentially leave you lying on the floor with your legs over your head. 
It asks you to do it in front of a crowd and a host of highly critical officiators.  
It asks you to bend your body into strange and uncomfortable positions- and asks you to do it with very few clothes on.  
It asks you to dance with grace and style, something the average teen finds uncomfortable and potentially degrading without the help of staring judges, loud audiences and television cameras.  
And of course, it asks you to do it at your most vulnerable-to-humiliation age....adolescence.

Basically, gymnastics is a hotbed of potential for humiliation. Even the most professional, elite gymnasts must go a bit red when they see themselves perform a particularly spectacular stack, do something goofy, or suffer an unusual wardrobe malfunction.

(Steliana Nistor, renowned for her unfortunate wardrobe 'issues')

As for young gymnasts, it seems the humiliation comes to them in many ways, shapes and forms, if the anecdotes at the USgymnet board are anything to go by!  Head over there if you want to read about the worst kinds of stacks, the humiliations of unintended er... bodily functions while training, forgetting your routines in the middle of a meet or what happens when nerves get the better of you in front of the judges!
My favorite;

"I was wearing my favorite leo, it was blue and had stars all over it.  So, we goto bars and I am doing my giants and flyaways and 'attempting' front giants.  I lean up against the cable that holds up the bars .  I was waiting for my turn.  When my friend Willow walked up to me, she scared me and I jumped.  And when i jumped the butt of my leo got caught in the cable and got a big rip so I had  a big hole in my butt. Right as it happened the news people walked in to interview the big girl team!! "

(Khorky: Oops! Under the beam!)

Of course some moments of humiliation are exactly that, outright mortifying and not funny at all, like Sacramones 08 teams experience, Kramarenko's vault choke and Atlers almost unbelievable meltdowns.  Some would be funny, like Dasha Joura's black eyes if it wasn't for the tragedy surrounding it, or Nicoletta Onel literally STEPPING out of floor bounds under the scary eye of Octavian Belu at the ITC.  But other, rare moment are just plain hilarious!  Face it, Gymnastics is a sport MADE for bloopers reels.  

In an old IG Forum, posters talked about what they though must have been the more embarassing moments for gymnasts.  Many mentioned Isabelle Severino's famous bars 'stack' in 2005.  It is the first routine in this video and the second 'stack' we are talking about!!

And lets not forget Elena Zamolodchikova's 'fall' in 2001.  That was pretty cute!

I always think the usually spectacularly graceful Ksenia Afasanyeva must have felt at least a little blush when she tripped over just walking out onto the floor at the Euros this year.
There are of course, many, many more  moments.

Write in and tell us about your own moments of gymnastics mortification, or others you can remember from elite gymnasts during competitions!


  1. I love Ferrari's scrunchie malfunction at the 2006 Italian Nationals. In my opinion, it gave the routine a touch of magic.

  2. What about JYY's meltdown at chinese AA UB 2009?

  3. Does NCAA count?
    In the 10.0 Spotlight, a few of the UCLA girls have been asked about their most embarrassing gymnastics moment, which led to some pretty funny answers (Niki Tom, Allison Taylor, Talia Kushynski, Mizuki Sato, Aisha Gerber). I love their team!

  4. I remember watching a cheerleader doing a series of impressive back flips at a high school pep rally... she lost control and started sliding, and didn't stop until she hit the band director's ass.

  5. i remember seeing a cheerleader at my school last week she did 3 back handspring and had no bra on she was so embarrassed she left school lol