Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How common IS common sense?

The GB Rhythmic Group appeal against the decision not to nominate them for the host nation Olympic place takes place today.

Good luck to all concerned, including Esprit's Jade Faulkner, here's hoping the correct decision is made and common sense prevails!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Rhythmic news from the Daily Telegraph...

London 2012 Olympics: rhythmic gymnasts hire Michael Beloff QC to fight their case for Team GB qualification.

Great Britain's rhythmic gymnasts might feel like the minnows of the gymnastics scene, but they have hired one of the legal heavyweights to defend their right to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

High profile barrister Michael Beloff QC has been briefed by the rhythmic gymnasts to argue their appeal to the Sport Resolutions Panel, an independent body which will adjudicate the dispute on Wednesday.

The rhythmic gymnasts are hoping to have a decision on the day, or soon after, and, if successful, will have their names submitted to the British Olympic Association for immediate ratification in Team GB.

The hiring of Beloff, who is intensely familiar with the Games through his work with the Court of Arbitration for Sport's ad hoc panel at recent Olympic Games, his work on the London Olympic bid and his prosecution of the Greek running star Kostas Kenteris, signifies the seriousness with which the rhythmic gymnasts view their case.

They were omitted from Olympic selection after failing to make a self-imposed target during the first two days of the Olympic test event in January.

The women claim, however, that the qualifying requirements were unclear and they had indeed satisfied the requirements by achieving the target on the third day of the test event.

Immediately after the qualifying event, captain Rachel Smith said: "This isn't the end, this isn't the last you are going to see of this group."

Smith claims the team believed the score only had to be performed over any of the three days of the Olympic test event.

"We went into the competition thinking we could get it on any of the three days," Smith said.
Since the disappointment of not making the Olympic team, the women have continued to train pending their appeal.

But the dispute has caused deep divisions within the gymnastics community. The rhythmic team was unfunded by the national body and had to rely on support from family and friends.

Supporters of the rhythmic gymnasts have queried why British Gymnastics has taken such a hard line stance and refused to submit the team's names - given that there is an automatic host nation place available to them. 

Link to the full story here... 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Why do gymnastics - here's why...

If there was any one sport that displays the best combination of strength, flexibility, balance, and power, it would be gymnastics. 

First of all, gymnastics aides any other sport. There are many aspects of gymnastics such as strength, flexibility, and balance, which can help improve your favourite sport, whether you compete or just do it for fun. 

The first benefit is strength. Almost all sports require some type of strength. In football you need very strong legs for running and kicking. In wrestling you need entire body strength to manipulate your opponent however you want them. These are just two examples out of thousands. 

With gymnastics, every single muscle in the body is toned to perfection and a large amount of time is spent doing strength conditioning to hone all the muscles of the body. 
The majority is doing own body weight exercises to get stronger, leaner muscle instead of the bulky muscle you might get from weight lifting. 

Another benefit would be flexibility. Everyone is impressed with a person that can do the splits, and that is just one tiny part of the amount of flexibility gymnastics requires. The average person cannot even touch their toes. Flexibility helps in many ways, for example a football player who is tackled. 

A non-flexible person would easily tear or sprain a muscle, whereas someone who is flexible might escape without injury. Flexibility is heavily enforced in gymnastics, with hundreds of stretches you can do on your own or with a partner. 

One other benefit of gymnastics would be balance. Doing a series of flips, twists, and handsprings on a four inch wide beam might seem insane to most, but is common place for a female gymnast. 

As does everything else mentioned, balance can aide any sport. For example a skate boarder would have better control if they had better balance. A break dancer can perform many more tricks with increased balance. Balance helps with anything. Balance is a huge part of gymnastics as well. 

A good gymnast can hold a handstand for over a minute, or do a back flip on a balance beam, or hold vertical splits while standing on one foot. 

I have gone over only a few of the benefits of gymnastics, there are many more that can aide someone in everyday life, or in sports. 

The easiest way to learn more is to go to Esprit gymnastics and sign up for a class. There are classes that range from preschool to adult, and gymnastics can benefit anyone. 

So whether you are a complete beginner, professional athlete trying to get an edge, or a health nut trying to find new ways to exercise, gymnastics holds the answers.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Shawn Johnson Comeback for London 2012

American superstar gymnast Shawn Johnson, who stopped competing after the Beijing Olympics, has decided to come out of retirement and try to make the USA team for the London games at the 'old' age of 20. An amazing gymnast, it will be interesting to see if she can do it and great to see her up against Britain's elder stateswoman Beth Tweddle, who will herself be 27. Check out his you tube montage of Shawn in action...

GB rhythmic gymnasts "hope common sense prevails" in appeal against London 2012 exclusion

Francesca Fox_Feb_19Britain's rhythmic gymnastics group say they are pleased their bid to secure nomination to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games is going to be considered at an independent appeal.

Sport Resolutions will consider the appeal on Wednesday February 29.

If the appeal is successful it is understood British Gymnastics will recommend the British Olympic Association take up the host nation place for a group to compete at London 2012.

It would be the first time Great Britain has had representation in the group competition at an Olympic Games and Esprit's Jade Faulkner will be part of it.

The seven young gymnasts, including Jade, failed to secure Olympic nomination after missing the target score set for them for the opening two days of the Olympic test event in January by 0.273 marks.

British Gymnastics and the British Olympic Association, whose policy has been to ensure that every nominated home athlete at London 2012 was likely to produce a competitive performance, had laid down a minimum score of 45.233 which the British team had to achieve with one day of the competition remaining.

What appears to be in doubt is whether the gymnasts were fully aware that they would be judged on their progress to this point, rather than their overall performance in the event, which comfortably exceeded the total qualification target.

"We're looking forward to the appeal," said coach Sarah Moon.

"The girls put an incredible amount of effort into preparing for the test event and they were really disappointed to be told they weren't going to the Olympics.

"We firmly believe that they achieved the qualification score as set down in the selection policy and we hope common sense will prevail."

The group have been training full time at the University of Bath for the last six months with the goal of competing at London 2012.

They are currently preparing to compete at the European Championships in Russia in May.

Contact the writer of this story at

Friday, 17 February 2012

Monday Night is Adult night!!!!!

Don't forget mum's and dad's, 7pm Monday night is Adult gym night. Anyone can attend, even complete beginners and all you need do is turn up and pay on the day.

Cost is £8 for a one and a half hour session, (less if you sign up for regular classes). Don't think its only a sport for the young and  if you need convincing have a read of this great article...


Thursday, 16 February 2012

GB Rhythmic Group on TV

Check out this link to the BBC iPlayer, it has some great footage of the Great Britain girls, including Esprit's Jade Faulkner, and their fight to be included in this years Olympics. 

They are on towards the end of the programme so fast forward to about 10 minutes from the end.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Through the eyes of a gymnast

If ever your in doubt about why you do gymnastics, read this, from the secret diary of gymnast...
I won’t lie — among my team mates, I’m neither the strongest nor the most flexible, and neither the most talented nor the most dexterous. Yet I continue to train despite the workload of junior year and the numerous commitments that demand my attention. 
I’m also not the most in love with the sport — that’s my coach.
I’m a combination of all of the above, plus a bit more. I train because, quite simply, I love rhythmic.
This was, however, not always the case. I used to dread training, that time when I’d be surrounded by insanely talented girls who could sit in straddle and over-splits — a form of stretching in which you place one ankle on an elevated surface and sit in split from there — in their sleep and still not feel a thing, while I sat struggling to touch the floor in splits.
I would sit and memorize the carpet before me, fervently wishing time would flow faster so I could escape my self-simulated oppression. More than once I remember feeling the tears slide down my face, not only from the physical pain but also from the shame I felt for not being flexible.
If only I had raised my eyes back then, I would have seen not the intimidating gym I imagined but the concentrated faces of my teammates. I would have seen the glow in my coach’s eyes, realized her harsh demeanor was one of pure intent to make us stronger, not to only find fault where I had seen none. I would have seen success in its incipient stages, the determination to improve carved on everyone’s visages.
And above all, I would have come to the epiphany I had freshman year — that I truly love the sport — years sooner.
Human perfectibility is the belief that people are capable of infinite improvement. Rhythmic has made me believe in it. I used to think my goal was to become the perfect gymnast, though now I see how parochial an outlook that was.
The nuance between striving for perfection and seeking to improve is the respective focus. Whichever perspective you choose drastically alters your approach to both your training and, in a more general sense, rhythmic itself. I was confused when, at the tender age of 12, my friends quit. Not only them, but also nearly half of those in my level.
Years later, I realize they cared more for the result more than for the process, more for that coveted place on the podium than for the years of training it took to get there.
So when I stand in line after a competition during the awards ceremony, sometimes applauding my fellow gymnasts who step onto the podium, sometimes stepping on the podium myself, I know whoever was recognized that day truly deserved the medal she earned.
So when I glance around the gym after a gala and see the shining eyes of the younger gymnasts, their desire to become better and master the art of rhythmic gymnastics, I smile on the inside.
Because I know those eyes, because they used to be mine. Because I was once that little girl. 
This syndicated post was originally published at the Huffington Post.

Olympic Test Event - Rhythmic Photo's

Check out Tom Theobalds photo's from the Rhythmic test event at the O2 recently. Some great photo's of the GB Group and Esprit's Jade Faulkner:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Nadia believes they should go!!!!!

NADIA COMANECI believes Britain's rhythmic gymnastics team SHOULD be allowed to compete at London 2012.

Britain's girls fell just 0.273 marks short of the 45.223 qualification target set by British Gymnastics at last month's test event.

And despite the fact they could still have a host nation place at this summer's Games, British Gymnastics have opted not to send a team to the Olympic group event amidst fears they will be humiliated?

But Comaneci, who won three Olympic golds in 1976 and became the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10, insists it is important for the host nation to have a team at London to inspire the next generation of young women.
She said: "It is important. How many times are the Games in your home country?"

"Competing in London would be a great thing and a great motivation. It would have been nice for them to be there to help promote the sport in this country."

The six British women in the team, including Esprit's Jade Faulkner, who receive no lottery funding and have been helped in their Olympic dream by their families, have now filed an appeal. The case is expected to go before an arbitration panel soon.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Omigod you guys - Legally Blonde trip now on!

For everyone that's already signed up, our club trip to see Legally Blonde in the West End has been confirmed as being 31 March.
We've booked a 100 seat double decker coach that will leave the gym at 1:45pm and we will arrive at the Savoy Theatre on The Strand at approximately 4:00pm.
This will give you time to visit Covent Garden, a short walk away, have a meal, drinks etc and be at the Theatre for the start of the show at 7:30pm.
A tip for autograph hunters,  the cast can arrive for their warm up around 5:30pm and leave quickly after the show, so get to the stage door fast at the end!
The coach will leave to return home at 10:30pm.
It's gonna be a great night, so make sure you return your form to the gym asap!
For anyone who hasn't booked, see the office as there may still be time to squeeze you in, tickets are £55 including the coach.