Thursday, December 13, 2012

Has anyone seen a split lately?

Women's gymnastics fans gripe about the lack of split in leaps. Well, I'm here to tell them that those leaps look quite good in comparison to the splits that male gymnasts perform. After watching pretty much every floor routine from 2012, I'm left wondering whether male gymnasts know how to do a proper split.

Let's take a look...


When performing the middle splits, the gymnast's legs should be at 180 degrees. We should not see space between his butt and the ground. AND his heels should be in front of his toes.


When performing a right or left split, the gymnast's hips should be squared, meaning his belly button should be pointed directly over his front foot. His back leg should not be hanging off to the side, and his knee cap and the top of his foot should be resting on the ground.



Well, Kazuhito Tanaka might not be able to do a split, but surely, Kohei Freakin' Uchimura knows how to do a proper split. I mean, he's Kohei Freakin' Uchimura. What can't he do?


The answer: a split. Kohei's split is quite atrocious, which makes me wonder whether splits are Superman's kryptonite.


Those are only 4 examples of the abomination that is men's splits. There are more. Trust me, there are more. But rather than create a depressing photo album of crappy splits from 2012, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Why aren't more people complaining about the splits? I know that some might seem like I'm nitpicking, but if the women performed splits like this, the gymternet would have exploded with rage. So, why aren't men's gymnastics fans irate?

Do we let the men off easy because they are men and have certain anatomical parts? (That, by the way, is a lame excuse used by ignorant, inflexible men who want to generate hype about their supposedly large man areas.) Or are we more lenient because we're just so happy to see someone attempt a split? Are we so sick of seeing tumbling pass after tumbling pass that we appreciate the effort (albeit a crappy one) to do something different? Or is it something else?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, my dearest reader.

14 comments:

  1. Simply because these are all splits on the ground. If the men did leaps and split jumps like the women, for sure there would be the same complaints. No one really complains about the splits women do on the floor, not that many women do a lot of splits on the floor. Some do straddle splits as it is one of the current 5 top-favorite-boring-beam-mounts, but not many hold them during a FX. But as far as leaps in men's FX, I DO complain about men doing lame, half-assed leaps after or between tumbling passes. (Uchimura's split is terrible, though.)

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  2. I've always heard that men aren't very flexible because they train strength. Someone on a board said that...and I know men seem to get a pass on toe point so I assume it's for the same reason.

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    1. By that logic, male ballet dancers with massive, strong quads should not be able to do a proper split...

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  3. I just think MAG is not popular. If there were a ton of Uncle Tims who cared about this then it would be a major issue but really no one really cares. Dudes aren't really nitpicky like girls. I'm not trying to be sexist. MAG can at least do better splits than a regular dude. I also think a lot of fans don't know much about splits. It's good that you are addressing these issues.

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  4. Well since I still have a Kurt Thomas's split from 1978 burned into my head anything is an improvement!

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  5. No one cares as they are not deducted. If a gymnast had to do a split (A skill) and then got 0.1 deduction for not having a proper split position (as you described) and lost 0.1 no one would do them.

    I don't see the issue. It is not like it is hurting their ability to do double layouts.

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    1. I don't know much about MAG but that's a good point.

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  6. It's more the lack of proper form & artistry that the new scoring system produced. The same occurs quite frequently with WAG split leaps >180 still getting credit that they do not deserve.

    Nemov's 2000 FX now there is a proper split & FX with artistry!

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  7. Who cares. I watch gymnastics to see double layouts, not splits. Nobody even pays attention to their splits anyway.

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  8. I haven't really paid attention to the splits because I didn't really think anything was that wrong with them, with the women they're actually trying to reach a split position for elements that actually count toward their score, and that isn't necessarily the case for the men, right?

    I take it as guys who are at least that much flexible in the hips at least do splits on the floor, it's not like we see that many splits anyway, do we?

    None of them look as bad as this, anyway: http://puu.sh/1CURL

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  9. Some of the women's splits really aren't that great (Tan Sixin and Viktoria Komova are lovely examples though).

    It's probably also to do with the fact that they're much more scrutinized when:
    a) they're crucial to the routine
    b) they're performed in a more grand manner (i.e. in a leap or jump)

    Example: No one/few pay much attention to the quality of a split in a beam middle split mount, it likely does not affect DV, but everyone will check out the gymnasts splits in her jumps on the beam - these often give her a large component of her difficulty score, and are considered one of the key elements in a successful/well executed beam routine.

    So I guess, because the splits aren't a key component of mens floor routines, and don't have much attention drawn to them in the manner they are performed, viewers aren't inclined to care as much about split quality.

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  10. Agree the splits these days are bad. Your point about the straddle split, that the toes should be behind the heels, I think is a personal opinion and style issue, more than an absolute right or wrong. Even Nemov, who could clearly do a perfect straddle split, usually had his toes forward in his straddle splits.

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  11. large quads create the space between your butt and the ground

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  12. The only split that a male gymnasts needs is a decent middle split since that translates over to flares, press handstands, endos etc... Left and right splits are just NOT needed for MAG we don't go through those positions! It's not even required in compulsorys anymore. So to spend hours and hours on over splits and the correct positions is just not worth it like it is for girls. Unfortunately you do get the best gymnast in the world with splits like this but honestly who cares?

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