Monday, September 17, 2012

Changing the Code: The Yin Alvarez Clause

Earlier today, I was the bearer of bad news: Male gymnasts cannot wear hot pink bandages while they compete. Well, unfortunately, I have more bad news. Yin Alvarez's clap before Danell's high bar dismount is no longer permissible at competitions. (Unless someone has a different interpretation of the following rule change.)

Here's the old rule:

The coach has the responsibility:
  • To refrain from speaking to the gymnast or from assisting him in any other way during his performance.

The new code is more explicit:

Responsibilities of the Coaches to:
  • Refrain from speaking to the gymnast or from assisting in any other way (give signals, shouts, cheers or similar) during his performance.

Don't fret, though. This just means that the fans in the arena will just have to clap on Yin Alvarez's behalf.

Other changes about coaches' responsibilities:

  • The Kanye West Rule: The new code explicitly states that coaches must display sportsmanlike conduct during awards ceremonies. In the past, they could be as belligerent as they wanted. They were only required to be present. 

  • The Twitter Rule: The coaches cannot tweet during the competition. Okay, that's not what the Code says, but that's one way to interpret it. In the new version, the technical committee members have made it clear that coaches cannot engage in discussions with "persons outside of the inner arena circle during the competition (exception: team doctor, delegation leader)."

Dear FIG:

If you need someone to monitor all social media activity during competitions, please contact me. I'll gladly do it.

Uncle Tim
  • The Springboard Loophole: The coaches cannot "re-arrange or remove springs from the springboard." As far as I can tell, this was not in the 2009-12 Code, and when adding it to the 2013-16 version, they missed one tiny detail: The new Code says nothing about the gymnast re-arranging the springs–just removing them.
Dear FIG:

Having a dress code in high school taught me how to bend rules without breaking them. Consider this your one freebie. 

Uncle Tim

  • The "Move Your @$$ out of the Way" Rule: Coaches can no longer obstruct the view of the judges. This, I would assume, has always been an implicit rule, but they had to make it explicit. I wonder why...
To be fair: On parallel bars, the coach can be present on the podium to pull the springboard, but there's a fine line between (1) pulling the springboard and (2) pulling the springboard, watching a skill, and obstructing a judge's view in the process.

Okay, it's back to studying the Code.

P.S. Just to clear things up: Yin Alvarez probably caused the Code to change as much as Kanye West caused it to change. I'm calling it the "Yin Alvarez Clause" simply because Yin--of all the American coaches--is the figure whose theatrics gym fans are most likely to recognize.


  1. Again, MAG is just behind... Almost all of this is the the WAG 09-12 and 13-16 code. (Although they do specify no rearranging of the springs...)
    The Kanye West Clause is new.

  2. Interesting note no major changes to HB, Rick from Gymnastics Coaching mentioned the rep from China was in charge of it...

  3. This might be a stupid question but does PB and SR have connection values? I would really like to know, btw I love your blog!

    1. SR I believe had connection values 2008 and prior, but not anymore. PB doesn't have connection value either.

    2. Ok great thanks A LOT :)!!!