Sunday, January 17, 2010


Until now I had never thought floor routines were going to ever get any worse than they were back in those heady days when Martha Karolyi used to sit around in the lounge room in back of Deva, have a whiff on her crack pipe, watch the crazed black fairies perform floor routines on the back of her eyelids and store them in her addled brain to use for actual Romanian floor choreography, but they did.

We never learn.  Just as everyone was watching the USSR 'flourish' under communism while the poor Ukrainians were starved by Stalin, we all watched Romania continue to win medals (despite the shitawful choreography) while we ignored their poor, inferior sisters in the choreographic shanty towns of the far east.  And no, I am not even talking about those unfortunate floor routines China used to produce before they managed to beg (or pay enough) for Adela Pop to take pity on them.

I am talking about Japan.

You know I have been talking about Japan's imminent rise as a nation a lot.  They are blessed with a beautiful gymnastics body type and an elegance of carriage that lends itself to artistry.  Their work is getting more difficult. And their floor routines are not bad.  And for this we should be very grateful because sometime, somewhere along the line, someone clearly staged an intervention.

Welcome to the craptastics days of yore.  Marta Karolyi would have been so proud if she could have just woken from her nod on the sofa to witness what the black fairies were achieving in the orient....

It started in the 1970s.....with this piece of Japanese finery.....
 (35-40 secs is my personal highlight)


But this badness went on for years and years...

Now, Mari Kosuge was a fine little gymnast, one of their best, but this is an unholy atrocity. 

My friend once had an 80s exercise video she cherished (more for its hilarious cheese factor than any health benefits it might have to offer) called Freedance. The concept behind this aerobic workout- the only concept that in anyway separated it from any other 80s exercise video that did not have an ex-porn or soap star's name to it- was that at the end of the workout the people working out got to get all loosey-goosey and 'freedance' for a while, making up the moves themselves.
I get the feeling that Kosuge's entire routine was based on the 'freedance' concept.


My favorite bit is 1.30-1.35- freaking hilarious!
My second favorite bit is where she slaps the floor after her first pass as though it is the floor's fault and not the fault of her overly exuberant tumbling that she stepped out!

In this next one we see one potential source of some of Japan's problems. The FIG forgot to tell Japan that floor music was to go with the floor routine (or something was lost in the newsletter translation). The bits where the dance did go with the music were just sheer luck as far as I am concerned. You put a Celine Dion album on over a football game (though I sincerely hope you have better things to do with your time. I clearly do not because i have wasted an entire morning watching these floor routines) and eventually someone is going to do something in time to her warbling.


Okay, so part of this was not Makiko's fault. I mean, is that really her music, or was everyone so entranced by the hideousity of it all they neglected to notice the record was skipping?

But this my friends, is my absolute personal favorite, the piece de' resistance. If for anything in particular, other than the fact it is seems to be the product of some unholy unions where Utah chorey begat Romanian junior chorey begat Geza Poszar on LSD, it is for that amazing synchronised head and tummy slap at 40 seconds followed by the porny pony ride on her knees. Sheer freaking poetry.


and I this the same Miho Shinoda? Because if so, she seems to have crafted a career out of making a dip out of herself!


Kinda elevates Koko Tsurumi's slightly awkward slash dull floor choreography to the level of Soviet artistry now, doesn't it?

Anyway, I think we should all take a moment, think upon this and sincerely pray that Japan never, EVER, retreats back into those dark days again. If it does, we'll all take up a coin collection and send Miss Val over there. Hell, we could have even sent 1981 Marta and things would have improved.



  1. I'd say Kosuge's problem was that her coaches were a little too fond of mecha anime (a genre involving lots of robots and shooting), and they found the theme song of their favorite anime and they were like, "YES! Lots of pointing and flailing! She shall be so new-type! Do your best, Mari-chan!"

    My personal favorite part is at 1:44 when she comes out of the punch-front and appears to fall over. I had to watch it again to make sure it wasn't a mistake.

  2. I remember thinking in 1992 how "cool" Kosuge's floor was, but it already started to look a bit old-fashioned back then. Anyway, after seeing these videos, I still think nobody can beat Geza Poszar and what he used to "perpetrate" in the late 70s. Fun to watch though, in a way. x)

  3. For a techincally challenging routine it sure looked flimsy!

  4. I actually like these routines. The moves are hilarious and embarrassing to watch, but I absolutely love the music. It reminds me of the cartoons I watched when I was a kid.

    And they are japanese. Who knows. Maybe they were going for avant-garde. Think Commes de Garcons or Yohji Yamamoto.