Thursday, November 10, 2011

National Sport: Something Bigger.

Nov. 17th kicks off the World Trampoline Competition in Birmingham.
While every competition serves to be exciting, we can all get excited about how this upcoming weekend will be the LONDON 2012 qualifiers.

Participants will be competing in individual, synchronized and double mini trampoline as well as tumbling, both for men and women.

There is just something about the Olympics that provides a feeling of pride. A journey beginning with every athlete representing every nation working through years of training and pushing towards a common goal. While we enjoy their athleticism, we recognize that it represents much more than themselves but their entire nations and we give recognition to distinguished skill, hard work and determination.

I have always loved the way the strength of sport has been shown historically, increasing country morale and providing hope and pride for its citizens in times of need. From the 1980 Olympic Hockey team winning gold at the Olympics, to the 1995 South African Rugby World Cup, nations have been strengthened by sport.

This all to say, what can we expect from these athletes, their determination and the upcoming Olympic Games.

What can these athletes expect from the fans, supporting them, taking a personal interest in their actions and comparing them to their lives, their struggles etc...

Sport is something we can all learn something from.

FIG is the vessel that harnesses the art that is gymnastic sport.
I challenge all readers, to see what they can learn from these athletes, their hardships and their push for excellence.
I myself will be following Jason Burnett.
Getting in touch with the athletes is as simple as getting in touch with FIG.a

By: Anthony D’Urbano

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jumping for Joy or Leaping for Gold?

Trampolines and their consequential thrill have been attributed to heaps of fun through the simple human motor skill of jumping for at least thousands of years. This definitely surpasses any enjoyment caused by thumb twiddling or counting sheep, but on a competitive level, is their really anything to be

On November 17th, at the 2011 Birmingham TRA World Championships, we will see the best the world has to offer in Jumping, YES, Jumping!
These men and women can jump higher, faster and with more twisty turny thingamabobs than anyone you probably know.
Don't try this stuff at home,
Okay, but seriously, I have never seen anything quite like this. The speed and the precision of the jumps is incredible. This upcoming competition has 411 gymnasts registered, setting a participation record and so it demands for some viewer participation as well.

The beauty of this sport is the freedom; the amount of time spent in the air greatly surpasses anytime on the trampoline and the room for error with such a bouncy surface is huge, making the discipline all the more exciting.
Now I know the HABS are winning but honestly, what better to JUMP start your day than a little Trampoline ACTION! Jason Burnett, Canadian born, ranked 20th in the world in trampoline, should be incentive enough to get your fill.
This YouTube video I found is Jason dropping 10 triples, crazy.
The FIG, always keeps you well informed on all the details with regards to incredible performances by incredible gymnasts. So stay tuned and stay informed by joining them on these social media channels.
Remember, the higher you jump, the less you should eat beforehand.
Anthony D'Urbano

Trendy and Bendy?

For the longest time, my family and I have been watching gymnastics and figure skating broadcasted live on television. This ritual has a deeper significance for our family than any other show or sport as it was embedded in our Russian culture. It’s like watching a Habs game for a Montreal based family. Clearly, a big deal. Why figure skating and gymnastics? It was something about the artistic shapes and overall surreal ambiance these sports portrayed.  And my mom was always looking for the trendiest performance leotards in the women’s disciplines. At some point, I think it became more important than the judges’ scores. It wasn’t so much about the colors as performers consistently identified with their countries’ flags. The fit, the neckline and the design features were the elements critically observed and analyzed over the different programs. I just had to look into it and decided to share this information with all of you gymnastics lovers!

First and foremost, the coach and PR team are usually in charge in choosing the gear during both performance and media coverage sessions.  There are a number of criteria in choosing a leotard for an athlete mainly because different disciplines require outfits catering to specific physical activities. For example, necklines should as camisole or halter would not be appropriate for tumbling activities where speed and aggressive movements require strong support. Mock-Neck and Off-the-Shoulder leotards are prioritized, as they are most suited in adapting to the athlete’s upper body extension in tumbling disciplines. Numerous associations such as the USA Gymnastics have regulations preventing coaches from making decisions provoking negative reactions as to the hypersexualization of a competition outfit. Other factors to be considered include high leg cuts or the tightness creates by the elastic around both the shoulders blades and tights.

We are now getting to the fun stuff: Design. Comfort is everything and the athlete needs breathable and stretchy material such as nylon, velvet or mesh. Furthermore, coaches take the time to consider what their competitors would look best in all time.  For example, white and light colors are usually minimized because they show a lot of body mass detail and might not flatter gymnasts of all shapes and sizes.  Slippery materials are reduced in terms of usage because it can cause safety issues when coaches or teammates spot an athlete. Let’s now look at some of STICKITOTHEMAT’s personal favorites of the most recent competitions.

We particularly enjoyed Canada's outfits during the 43rd World Championships of Gymnastics in Tokyo mainly because of their fiery shade of red demanding attention regardless of the discipline. Furthermore, the accesory in the hairstyle of the atheletes complemented the cutout detail of leotard.

What caught our attention in Greece’s Millousi Vasiliki’s outfit is the sheerness and details around the chest area. It has that element of surprise with the goldenrod stripe and burgundy details elongate her figure and capture the elegance of her movements. 

 Venezuela was another country that used sheer details to capture the attention of the public. The lines put a new twist on the classic black leotard and are interesting to observe during artistic routines where movements is slow and optimized.

This had led me to ask myself: How important are costumes for the athletes and the audience?  Are they benefiting or distracting from the art itself? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know what you think!!

By: Anna Vinitskaia

Sunday, November 6, 2011

London Olympics 2012

The upcoming Trampoline World Championship in Birmingham is fast approaching, and represents the last olympic qualification event before the January 2012 Olympic Qualifyer. Gymnasts are half-way to the olympics; having participated in the 2011 Rythmic World Championship in Montpellier (FRA), and more recently in the Artistic Wolrd Championship in Tokyo (JAP). In the summer of 2012, 324 gymnasts will have the opportunity to participate in the three disciplines to obtain one of the eighteen gold medals available. 
London 2012 Olympic Mascots - Artistic, Rythmic and Trampoline Gymnastics
Artistic gymnastics, the best known of the three disciplines, will showcase competition on the floor, pommel horse, rings, vaults, parallel bars and horizontal bar for the men, and on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor for the women. They will be scored according to the degree of difficulty, quality of execution, strenght, balance and flexibility.

Rythmic gymnastics, one of the most beautiful spectacles in the Olympic program, will be one of only two women-only games (the other being synchronized swimmin). The event will present a combination of gymnastics and dance in short routines to music with hand apparatus such as a ball, clubs, a hoop and ribbons on a 13m x 13m floor. The athletes will be judged on difficulty, artistry and execution.

The newest of the three disciplines to the Olympics (Sydney 2000), trampoline gymnastics, will display awe-inspiring acrobatic excellence in a series of short routines with twists, bounces and somersaults. Precise technique, perfect body control, difficulty, executiong and flight time will be the criteria of evaluation.
What to expect for the 2012 Olympic Games in Gymnastics?
During the last summer Olympics in Beijing, China dominated by winning all but one men's artistic events and both gold medals in trampoline. Whereas the United States and Russia were strongest in women's artistic gymnastics.
But like the 2011 Artistic World Championship showed us: in gymnastics, always expect the unexpected!

By: Marie-Josée Blanchet

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gymnastics Class 101

I’m sure many of you are gymnastics fans and enjoy watching it, but I’m also sure you have all wondered what happens at gymnastics class. I was enrolled in gymnastics as a young child and actually stayed in it until I became a teenager. So here’s the scoop of what I went through, and what you or your child will probably go through if you enrol in gymnastics. 

 As many of you may know, gymnasts all have to wear these crazy spandex uniforms while performing in competitions... sorry to inform you about this, but we even have to wear them in class, yes, the rules are that strict. When you first arrive to class, everyone has to warm up and stretch for a good amount of time. I remember the coaches used to come around and press down on some students to encourage them to stretch further... it’s that part I used to dread, and I would pray they wouldn’t push down on me! Ok I’m making it sound dreadful right now, but gymnastics is actually really fun, and it’s a great sport and allows you to build amazing flexibility along with strength and skill. It is also quite challenging, but common how cool would it be if you could do back flips on balance beams and all kinds of cool flips?
To continue on, as some of you may know, the main categories in gymnastics are balance beam, the vault, the bars, and the floor...  we went through each one of them every class. We all got split into groups and some of us would do one category and others would do another. Balance beam was really fun for me, it teaches you how to get control of yourself, and helps with your balance. Once I progressed, I was able to do flips on it as well, which was really cool. My most memorable category was probably the bars because I remember using so much chalk on my hands, by the end of class I had chalk all over me. I would say that the bars were a lot of fun but painful on my hands at the same time. One of my favourite activities in the class was to be able to play in “the pit”, which is basically a giant pool filled with foam cubes. It was fun because we got to do flips and jumps off a spring and then we landed in the pit of foam and had to “swim” our way out. The vault was pretty scary for me when I was young because you would have to run straight for it and then be able to jump over it or flip off of it and land perfectly on your feet. I don’t know about you, but I was always scared of falling off of it, or hurting myself. That’s why I give anyone credit in gymnastics, it’s really a tough sport, and highly competitive. There is also risk of injury because you’re always doing flips, not only on land, but on bars, and on the top of a balance beam. But, needless to say, it is also probably one of the most entertaining sports to watch because it keeps you on edge. That about sums up all the major activities that took place within a class, in my experience, it was a lot of fun, challening at times, and drained my energy, which my parents probably took to their advantage.
If you would like to see cool videos on Olympic gymnasts or even get more information about gymnastics in general, visit the F.I.G facebook page and click “Like”, you can also visit their youtube channel for cool videos! 
 By: Pamela Petkovic

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Benefits of Putting Your Child in Gymnastics

Many parents struggle with which sport to enroll their child in. Soccer? Hockey? Basketball? Tennis? Swimming? When the child is still so young and unable to actually TELL you what they want to try out, choosing a sport can definitely be a challenge. Since gymnastics is televised much less than other mainstream sports, perhaps parents are failing to see how much this sport can actually benefit their child. Below is a list of reasons why gymnastics is awesome:

1) It’s Great Exercise: Obviously. Gymnastics requires an enormous amount of intensity and endurance. They are amongst the most flexible of all athletes, which in turn, leads to fewer injuries. It also improves balance and agility. Athletes also tend to develop more upper body strength than any other sport.

2) There are High Cognitive Benefits: Research suggests that there is a strong correlation between physically fit children and high academic performance. Physical exercise encourages healthy brain function and development. Also, the sheer amount of coordination that this sport requires only makes the brain stronger.

3) It’s Super Fun: Not only is this sport amazingly exciting for kids, but it’s also amazingly exciting for parents! Think about how exhausted children will be after jumping, swinging, running, bouncing, tumbling, flipping and leaping all over the place! They will practically be begging for a nap when they get home! You’re welcome, parents.

4) It’s Great for the Little Ones: Gymnastics caters best to the smallest and lightest athletes, which is great when so many sports cater to tall/big athletes (hockey, basketball, rugby).

5) It’s Loved by Ladies, Gentleman, Boys and Girls: This sport is constantly one of the most watched events at the Olympic Games. Why? Because there are so many events in gymnastics that no one ever gets bored. In artistic gymnastics, events for girls include: the vault, the uneven bars, the balance beam and the floor. For boys, the events include: the floor, the pommel horse, the still rings, the vault, the parallel bars and the high bar. Let’s not forget that there is also rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics, along with trampolining and tumbling. If a parent is going to invest in a sport, at least there’s variety in it.

All in all, gymnastics is a great sport to involve your child in. To see if it is something that they would be interested in, perhaps you could show them some videos found on the FIG YouTube Channel. I’m sure they will be begging you in no time.

By: Kayla Robinson

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I’ll Have What The Gymnast Is Having!

When you travel and visit another country, you take the time to observe the things that differ from home; the way people live, the trends, the food, etc. I’ve come to realize that sometimes, those differences actually show us how similar we are. All the recent gymnastics content triggered a memory from almost twelve years ago.

In the summer of 2000, I took a trip to the Philippines to visit my family. Travelling to my home country always means lots of food, shopping and heat! It is the time when I can enjoy the Filipino products I love for a few weeks. One morning, I was having breakfast with my sister and made myself a cup of Milo’s hot chocolate to go with a piece of fresh bread. Milo is a chocolate beverage from Nestle that is sold in the Asian market. While I sipped into my delicious drink, I couldn’t help but stare at the product’s packaging. Other than its bright green color, I noticed the gymnast on the front of the package. What my younger self did not know then, is that Milo is also what Filipino athletes drink to energize themselves. Milo is composed of a nutritious formula, supports Filipino athletes, and also believes in development. They are known as the Official Energy Drink of the Philippines Team and are committed to building champions in sports and in life.

On FIG’s website, they explain the importance of sports for our lifestyle. Milo shows the same belief, but with a nutritional perspective. A lot of young children drink Milo. Not only are they getting the nutrition Milo has to offer, but they are exposed to sports and athletes, including Filipino gymnasts Bea Lucero and Nica Calapatan, through their packaging and TV commercials. In addition, a few years ago, Milo released seven limited edition 20g sachets you can collect with instructions for different gymnastic moves. Milo doesn’t only give children a nutritious beverage, but encourages them to learn and practice sports as well. The television ad for this particular campaign is clever (but also cheesy just like every other Filipino commercial LOL).  It starts off with two kids running to the corner store and asking for a pack of Milo. The vendor asks the kids “Which one would you like?” She then performs a starting position, a cartwheel and a finishing pose saying “This one? This one? Or this one?” Because there are seven different ones to collect, she is asking them which gymnastic move they wish to have, not by naming them, but by performing the actual move. Here is the link to the commercial (Warning: it is in Tagalog):

Thinking back on my breakfast memory made me realize that, although countries have cultural differences, they also have certain similarities. Whether through Milo from the Philippines and Asia or Wheaties cereal from America, the importance of children being healthy, physically and nutritionally, is seen across cultures. Let’s raise our Milo glasses and toast to all the gymnasts setting an amazing example to the children out there!

By: Jayka Parial  

Sui Strikes Gold on the Beam

Since the 2011 Tokyo Artistic Gymnastics World Championships have come to an end, I’m sure everyone is still talking about some of the most amazing acts and top performers in the championships. Since one of my favourite categories to watch is the balance beam, I thought it would be great to have a quick look back at the overall winner of the balance beam category (and one of my favourite athletes!), given a score of 15.866 and a shiny gold medal, Sui Lu of China!

Sui Lu is only 19 years old, but she can rock the balance beam with grace. Starting gymnastics at the young age of three, Sui Lu has formed a name for herself. She is known to be a specialist and one of the biggest threats to her competition on the balance beam, winning medals in countless competitions. Just watching her videos amazes me, I mean does doing back flips, cartwheels, and handstands on the balance beam seem easy to you?? If so, it’s probably because you are competing in these world championships yourself. But to me and all you other non-flexible people out there, it looks really tough and probably requires a lot of hard training. From watching many of her performances we can see that Sui Lu is not afraid to try some of the most difficult moves, which is why she is always able to outshine her competitors. She has great concentration, her performance looks effortless and her technique is on point. 

Not only is Sui Lu known to be great on the balance beam, but she is known to have strength on the floor exercise category as well. In the competition she ranked 2nd place with a score of 15.066, right under Afanaseva Kseniia from Russia, who scored 15.133, claiming the gold medal. 
With many future competitions to come, I am sure I will be seeing Sui Lu rank in the #1 position again and wow the judges with her amazingly difficult moves, as she is known for. If you would like to get more information on the latest athletes (including Sui Lu), events, pictures, and videos, be sure to LIKE the FIG fan page, check them out on twitter, visit their youtube channel, and lastly visit their website!! Stay in touch with gymnastics with FIG! 

By: Pamela Petkovic