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Thread: The Body of a Gymnast

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    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
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    The Body of a Gymnast

    I found the differences in the bodies of the various gymnasts to be interesting. Particularly, I noticed that the female Romanian gymnasts retained that waiflike look that used to be the norm in the sport, while the Americans were all bulky and muscular--basically more healthy looking.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I found the ladies in Beach Volley ball regardless of what country had incredibly beautiful female bodies, and they were over 5'.

    Joe

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I found the ladies in Beach Volley ball regardless of what country had incredibly beautiful female bodies, and they were over 5'.
    Hey! Are you saying the under-5' bodies cannot be beautiful?!!! (Just kidding, of course; I am 4'10" myself)

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    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    5'8'' here :D . I noticed this in the Chinese too. The difference in body type, is it due to better (or different) training, better nutrition, genetics, or a combination? Does it effect performance? The Romanians and Americans performed equally well IMO. The difference being the Romanians didn't .01 themselves like the Americans. Is this because of better discipline? Do all of them living together create a better sense of team? Would Amereican gymnists benefit from this....does anyone know if any improvements in performance came out of Marta's training camp prior to the Olympics?

    This is an excellent topic for an RGirl consult. RGal where is your twin?

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    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
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    She was over at "Le Cafe" last night! Let's see if we can get her over here for this discussion! :D

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Joe means, over six feet, referring to the beach volleyball ladies.

    MM

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    My main criticism of the Americans is the big bulky body. I think it really detracts from the beauty of gymnastics. However the Russians, Romanians and the Chinese always had strong gymnasts who had beautiful bodies. I think the main difference is that the Russians have ballet training and the Americans do not. Also I think the Americans focus mainly on strength moves verses grace. As for healthy looking Americans, just b/c you're chunky doesn't make you healthy. Anna Pavlova and the Ukrainian women have beautiful bodies that have nice line and womanly attributes (the breasts and hips) plus they have the difficulty. I am particularly fond of the Russian gymnasts as that team (even when USSR) b/c they always had a diverse group of bodies. You had taller girls (Bogi and Khorky and Kolesnikova), short and blocky ( Shushunova and Chusovitina, whom incidently still had more polish to their bodies than the Americans), short and waify (Gutsu, Omelianchik) and the in between girls like Pavlova. The Romanians always look the same though I was really surprised to see that little tank on the floor exercise in the team event (was is Oana Ban or something?). Russian gymnasts also have diverse styles as well, unlike the Americans and Romanians who seem to be doing the same routines as their teammates.
    Last edited by soogar; 08-24-2004 at 03:49 PM.

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    I thought Anna Pavlova was just as 'chunky' as Carly Patterson.

    The Chinese girls were tiny, but I suspect many of them are very much underage.

    Svetlana Khorkina was absolutely skeletal. She looked as if her body was slowly digesting itself. And she was not up to her usual standard because she seemed unable to control her body (bad dismounts, wobbles on the BB, falling off the UB).

    Gymnastics is NOT ballet. All of the apparati require tremendous strength in the legs, backs and arms. It makes no sense to say it is "better" for women gymnasts to be as thin as a ballerina because it 'looks better'. Ballerinas suffer from injuries and often go on to develop osteoporosis due to dieting to maintain their extreme thinness, and they don't have to swing from high bars and do somersaults over tables.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka
    Hey! Are you saying the under-5' bodies cannot be beautiful?!!! (Just kidding, of course; I am 4'10" myself)
    Of course, I'm joking. I have to be. I am only 5'7" and much to short to be a leading man. :o

    Joe

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    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Strength and power can also be beautiful. I think the Chinese and some of the Romanians actualy look prepubescent more so than the Americans and Russians. Here in the U.S. puberty occurs earlier with each generation it seems. Does anyone know if this is different in other parts of the world? Another observation, the American gymnists body types,heavier above the waist, some almost barrell chested, with flat hips is very similar to the body type for a lot of adult female diabetics.

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    There have been tons of comments on Sveta's body. I agree that she was positively emaciated looking. However I think it's pure speculation on our part whether her thinness made her weak and hurt her gymnastics. We don't know how Sveta's weight affected her gymnastics when she was heavier. The unfortunate aspect of gymnastics is that the moves are high impact and perhaps the extra weight was too much for her joints to handle. Perhaps being a lighter weight kept her healthier in the long run in terms of injury prevention than trying to do these maneuvers at a heavier weight.

    Anna Pavlova is not chunky like Carly. For one thing, Carly isn't even fully developed and she's going to have a hard time keeping her weight down when she's done with the maturation process. From her shape, most of her weight is going to go to the center. Anna has already completed the maturation process and she has "boobs and hips" and still has a beautiful body line.

    In terms of gymnastics and ballet: gymnastics is supposed to be graceful and beautiful. It was only when the Soviets stopped producing top notch teams that you see the trend going to bulky, unoriginal gymnastics. In fact , I've never been a fan of the cookie cutter Romanians , however in this Olympics, they were the only consistent, graceful team and they really stood out from the pack. I am nostalgic for this grace and beauty and I was so happy that the Romanians won the team gold.

    In terms of body, I think the Eastern Europeans and Chinese select for proportion while American select for strength (or since there is no selection process, the kid who has the easiest time doing the maneuvers).
    Last edited by soogar; 08-24-2004 at 04:03 PM.

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    I don't know, but I could look at Alexi Namov's body all day long! What a hunk! Yummmmmmieee! lol

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    The Chinese girls are not underaged. All of them are over 16. They just look so young. I guess the coaches look around and just like to select small girls to the national team. I think they should select girls a litttle taller and have more power.
    Personally I do like Romanian and Chinese gymnasts. They have the right body shape and look beautiful. Many of them could be very good skaters.

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    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Of course, I'm joking. I have to be. I am only 5'7" and much to short to be a leading man. :o

    Joe
    Joe, Hollywood would just stand you up on a box.

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    Jesslilly:
    How do you know the Chinese girls are over 16? You only know what the federation gives to the IOC as their ages. North Korea had lied about a gymnast's age before. I wouldn't be surprised if perhaps China went with underage girls in this Olympics just to give them experience for the next Olympics which will be held in China. I've been watching gymnastics for years and I've never seen such small, young looking Chinese gymnasts (esp the girl who did beam who looks like she's 10).

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