Many things need to be done if the Philippines is to level up in the world stage of gymnastics.
Retired gymnast and many-time Olympic medallist Nellie Kim said this while on a two-day visit where she conducted clinics to members of the national team and club-level aspirants alike yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“Two things should go together. No. 1 is the facilities. No. 2 is for coaches to come here and share knowledge, and how to use facilities,” said Kim, who is now the vice president of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), the governing body of the sport.
The 61-year-old Kim, became well-known when she tied for the gold medal on the floor exercises with Nadia Comăneci after scoring 9.95 in that event finals, and won gold in the team competition for Russia during the 2000 Moscow Olympics.
At that time, Russia, with Kim performing, won the team event over the Comăneci-led Romania.
She and Comăneci are among the few gymnasts who were able to score perfect 10s during an Olympic meet.
Kim made her observations known while watching how elite athletes and young aspiring gymnasts do their routines on Day 1.
She told sports officials led by Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion that when young athletes do their toe stands, it has to be straight because if its crooked, it will lead to point deduction from the judges.
Gymnasts doing twists must have their legs extended all the way, and not bent, which will be another cause for deductions.
She introduced many changes in the sport after being elected president of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee.
In 2006, Kim helped design the Code of Points, which ended the use of the perfect 10, and introduced uncapped scoring for gymnasts.
Over the last 12 years, Kim said the sport of gymnastics has changed a lot, and among the first things to undergo a makeover were the apparatus that were used in the vault and the number of tumbling passes from four to five, and back again.
Under the new code, gymnasts also can no longer perform a major element twice.
Palarong Pambansa elementary boys champion EldrewYulo, who was encouraged by Kim to have more energy in his routine was among the kids who were at the clinic.
She believes that in gymnastics, there should be a strong coach-student relationship.
“Absolutely. It’s one-on-one work. In gymnastics, it’s like sculpturing. A sculptor sculpting their statues. In gymnastics, you are sculpting a person, you are sculpting a gymnast,” said Kim.
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