Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A letter to Mr. Alexander Tkatchev

Dear Mr. Alexander Tkatchev,

Most gymnasts hate Mr. Kip, but not I. He and I got along quite nicely. Your *!@# release move, on the other hand, was my personal nemesis. You were my Skeletor, my Gargamel, my Megatron, my Mumm-Ra, my Duke Nukem, my Pizzazz...

It caused me a lot of problems back in the day. My hands bled because of you. I bruised my face, my butt, my ribs, my feet, and my nether regions because of you. Heck, I didn't straighten my teeth because I feared that my mouth would try to catch the bar while I was learning your release move. Metal braces on a metal bar... Need I say more?

I'm happy to report that my mouth and the bar never became intimate. I'm also happy to report that I eventually learned how to make it over the bar. The result, however, wasn't very attractive. Imagine the worst 1980s-uneven-bar-Tkatchev you've ever seen and multiply that by 100. To put it mildly, I looked like a dog trying to scratch its butt on the floor.

I don't have any videos from way back when, but my gut tells me that the dog has better form.

For years, I searched and searched for a video of you. Seeing the first Tkatchev, I hoped, would either give me insight and inspiration, or at the very least, it would make me feel better about my failures as a gymnast. While I did not wish to watch you injure your family jewels per se (America's Funniest Home Videos fulfilled that need in my life), I was hoping that your form would be atrocious. You know, flexed feet, bent legs--something that would make me feel less like an incapable, pathetic loser.

Well, this week, during one of my YouTube binges, I finally found what I was seeking, and thank the gymnastics gods that I did not find this video sooner! Had I seen you perform a Tkatchev when I was an angsty teenager, I would have thrown my ever-sturdy turquoise iMac monitor out the window, thus ending my "social life" as I knew it. No AOL Instant Messenger. No Angelfire and Geocities websites dedicated to gymnastics. And certainly no porn.

Now that I'm a "mature" adult, I can admit this: You look beautiful doing your Tkatchev. Gosh, you're like the Megan Schmidt of the gymnastics world. Every high school has a Megan Schmidt. She's the babe-o-licious point guard who is homecoming queen, student council president, valedictorian, and a regular volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Everyone wants to hate Megan, but she's just too darn nice to hate.


The only thing I can hold over your head is the fact that you aren't very popular on the internet. As of right now, the video of one of your first tkatchevs has a little over 200 views on YouTube. I don't know how to break this to you, but that's pretty lousy. A little boy named David went to the dentist--that's ALL he did--and he has well over 100,000,000 views. That's roughly 500,000 times the number of views you have.

Heck, even that dog scratching its ass on the floor has more views. 8,701, to be exact. Kind of embarrassing, isn't it?

I suppose you could argue that I am comparing apples to oranges. Light-hearted humor vs. the serious matter of gymnastics. So, let me put things into perspective for you: Compared to your fellow release move innovators, you're bombing on YouTube. On one video alone, Bernd Jäger has almost 20,000. This, of course, makes me happy, as his release move never gave me problems. And gymnastics internet popularity should be inversely proportional to the amount of heartache you caused me. Duh.

Okay, to be fair, your lack of internet stardom comes from our inability to write your surname (Ткачёв) with a Roman alphabet. On YouTube, the uploader spelled your name "Tkatchyov," while the Code of Points spells it "Tkatchev." And some even spell it "Tkachev."

But can we overlook that minor fact and let me have this one little victory over your release move? Pretty please?

Thanks for your understanding.

Yours truly,

Uncle Tim

P.S. If it makes you feel any better, Eberhardt Gienger is a C-list YouTube celebrity. One of his videos has almost 18,000 views, but the video of his Gienger has only 111 views. And since I watched the clip about 99 times, that means 12 other people have seen the video. 

As you can imagine, I believe that Mr. Gienger's Gienger deserves this punishment. Do you know how easily one can confuse the tap for a Gienger and the tap for a double flyaway? Of course, you don't. You, as far as I know, never competed a Gienger. So, let's just say that Mr. Gienger is another reason why I did not have braces as a teenager.

1 comment:

  1. If I recall correctly, I remember Mitch Fenner referring that many others were around doing Tkatchev's reverse hecht, but he was the first to bring it to a competition to have it under his name, which is in a way inferring he wasn't the inventor of the move but some other unknown Soviet that we will never hear about.

    Inferring anyway, seeing as you know more about 20th century gymnastics than me I'll take your word for it!