Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Schnockered: The 2013 American Cup Drinking Game

1. If the broadcast opens with the commentators doing the Harlem Shake, waterfall drink throughout the entirety of the performance.

2. If the broadcast opens with a shot of the DCU Center (yawn!), take a shot of absinthe to liven things up. Green fairies, anyone?

3. Take a big swig of whatever's in your hand when someone calls the meet “prestigious.”

4. Take five more swigs of whatever's in your hand if that reference to prestige is followed by a list of names, which includes Nadia, Mary Lou, Carly, Nastia, or Gabby.

5. If a female gymnast (or Nastia) shows up wearing hot pink, fix yourself a Cosmo and sip it slowly.

6. If Tim Daggett shows up in hot pink, chug that sucker.

7. Is that Vanessa Ferrari wearing an asymmetric leotard? Oh, that’s shocking. Take a sip, but more importantly, tweet about it. Everyone else will.

8. Drink every time NBC shows Danell Leyva’s towel.

9. Chug a beer and then crush the can violently against your head every time Nastia uses the phrase "When I..." as in "When I was competing..."

10. For every awkward and/or inappropriate butt or crotch shot that NBC televises, have one Dirty Martini. (Let's keep it classy, NBC.)

11. Whenever Tim Daggett disagrees with “those crazy judges” or someone on Twitter complains about a score, break out the wine. (Get it!? Wine is a homophone for WHINE. Yeah... this is why I don’t do standup comedy, folks.)

12. Every aerial front walkover on beam must be followed by 10 straight seconds of drinking.

13. If NBC airs a rings or pommel horse routine, stop drinking. Seriously, STOP DRINKING! Just enjoy this rare television moment.

14. Take a kamikaze shot every time a woman does one of those friggin’ jumps out of a tumbling pass.

15. Take two kamikaze shots every time a man does one of those fugly stag jumps into the corner.

16. If a girl catches her breath by doing an extended sequence of poses near the corner, pound a Vodka-Redbull on her behalf. She's going to need it before her next tumbling pass.

17. Take 5 big gulps of a Sex on the Beach whenever NBC shows Jake Dalton or Marcel Nguyen–whomever your prefer. Yum.

18. Finish your drink whenever someone does a double-twisting double layout off high bar.

19. Finish your friend's drink whenever a female gymnast gives the "super close" or "best friends" spiel during an interview.

20. If an American does not win the competition, recognize that this is a rare moment in the history of twenty-first-century gymnastics, and drink accordingly. For some, that might mean a bottle of Dom Perignon. For others, that might mean a case of American-made Bud Lite, a fetal position, and lots of sloppy tears.

Nota bene: Play at your own risk. Death is imminent, and I, Uncle Tim, will not be held responsible.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rings Primer: Five Variations of the Iron Cross

Want to feel like a total wimp? Watch this video:
Little Giuliano simply lowers down into his iron cross (which, for the super nit-picky readers who can't sit back and marvel at the fact that a little boy just did an iron cross, is a little low). Unless you're watching a gala, where the gymnasts are doing party tricks, most athletes won't simply lower into their iron crosses. Instead, many will do one of these variations.

1. Kip to Cross–C

C skills have become the ugly step sisters of men’s gymnastics. No one wants to do them. No one. So, it’s rare to see a more seasoned senior elite gymnast perform a kip to a cross or a kip to an L-cross. 

If you do see one, though, you don’t want it to look like Vitaly Scherbo’s. After piking and shooting his feet in the air, the athlete’s shoulders should rise to their final position. You shouldn’t see the gymnast sink down into the cross like Scherbo did back in the day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rings Primer: What the H is a Maltese (and other strength moves)?

The American Cup is only 9 days and 23 hours away, and you, my friend, need to know a little something about rings–just in case NBC decides to show the American population a routine or two. Last year, we saw a total of 0 rings routines, which was probably a ginormous disappointment for the grandma in Wichita who loves iron crosses. Seriously, casual viewers love rings. Heck, while I was in the Land of Hyper Heteronormativity (aka Vegas), I had a 10-minute conversation with a cabby about rings.

So, NBC, if you're listening...


In the event that NBC does hear my cry, here are a few basic strength positions.

1. Iron Cross

What's that saying? Iron crosses are like @$$holes; everyone has one. Seriously, every male gymnast has one.

2. L-Cross

The FIG lumps the iron cross and the L-cross together, but I thought that I would split them apart for you, my ever anal reader.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Harlem Shake: Who Did It Best?

Clearly, gymnasts do it best. That's unquestionable. Now, we, the gymternet, have to decide who, among the gymnasts, does it best. Let's take a look...

University of Michigan

This was the first gymnastics meme to go viral, so it will always have a place near and dear to my heart. I'm particularly fond of Corbett Schmitz's leotard-over-shorts look, as well as his slow thrusts. Also of note: 2012 Olympian Sam Mikulak is on the rope in the background. Stacey Ervin, the man with the huge Tamayo, is in the blue suit on the high bar. Jordan Gaarenstroom is the man with the mushroom on his head.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What's Hot: The American Floor Edition

Since it's New York Fashion Week, I thought that I would share some of the trends that you'll be seeing in 2013. Here's what's hot on floor this winter:

1. Double Arabians

Back in the 90s, double Arabians were a "girly skill," in that guys weren't really doing them, but many of the women were. Fast forward two decades, and Arabian double fronts are like the Furbies of the gymnastics world–they're so hot right now.

And it makes sense. If you want to include an F tumbling pass in your routine, which would you rather do: a Tamayo (a stretched double Arabian), double-twisting double pike (with both twists on the first flip) or a double-twisting double layout? Personally, I'd go with the first one; it seems easier because it has fewer twists.

Of course, as gymnasts work up to a Tamayo, they learn the entire progression of double Arabians–tuck, pike, and then stretched. And since all three skills have rather high values–a tucked double Arabian is a D, a piked double Arabian is an E, and a Tamayo is an F–gymnasts put different variations of the skill in their routines.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

20 routines I want to see at the 2013 Winter Cup: Part 2

As I said yesterday, the Winter Cup will be taking place this weekend, and provided that I do not find myself buried under a pile of Chippendales undergarments, I will be keeping an eye out for these routines. (Warning: If the dancers look anything like Matt Bomer in Magic Mike, I don't stand a chance.)


11. Jake Dalton, Oklahoma
Trivia Question 1: Did Jake do a Kasamatsu or a Tsukahara?
Answer: A Kasamatsu

Trivia Question 2: What's the name of this skill?
Answer: A Lopez

12. Chris Brooks, Cypress Academy
Trivia Question 3: What's the name of this vault?
Answer: A Blanik

Both Jake and Chris have huge vaults, but since there wasn't a vault on tour, it'll be interesting to see how they fare at the Winter Cup. My gut tells me that both gymnasts miraculously be able to chuck their huge vaults. I say "miraculously" because if I took several months off, I'd be performing a squat-through. Any old level 4 gymnasts remember that vault?

12. Sean Senters, Stanford
Trivia Question 4: What's the name of this vault?
Answer: If you said an Amanar, I hope that you walk around with a magnesium carbonate handprint on your butt for the rest of your life. In men's gymnastics, it's officially a Shewfelt.

Sean's Shewfelt is really, really, really, really, really, really pretty. Some of you might remember that Sean had one of the highest vault scores at Nationals last year. Can you imagine if someday Sean and Maroney had a little vaulter baby? Not only would their baby be adorbs
he would be amazing at Yurchenko vaults.

Monday, February 4, 2013

20 routines I want to see at the 2013 Winter Cup: Part 1

Don't know what the Winter Cup is? Please go hang yourself by your toenails and whip yourself with a wet noodle.


Unless you are a hardcore U.S. men's gymnastics fan or had nothing else to watch on TV in the early 90s,

you probably have no clue what the Winter Cup is, and that's okay. Simply put: it's the meet that officially kicks off the elite gymnastics season for the U.S. men. For me, this year is extra special because I have the honor of being in attendance. Provided that the siren song of the Las Vegas Chippendale dancers is not too tempting, I'll be watching the following 10 routines. For sure.


1. Eddie Penev, Stanford
When Eddie started competing at Stanford, he was competing for Bulgaria, and his floor routine opened with a double-twisting double layout. My, oh my, have things changed! Now, he's competing for the U.S. and his floor routine opens with a skill named after him (i.e. his first pass in this video). Anyone who has a skill named after him is pretty badass in my book and certainly deserves my attention.

2. Stacey Ervin, Michigan
Just watch the video, and you'll understand why I want to see this routine.

Umm, yeah... a front full into a double pike--that's one of those combinations that I couldn't do even in my dreams.

3. Jake Dalton, Oklahoma
There are a few guys who can out-tumble Jake, but difficulty is not the real reason gymnastics fans love Jake. Besides his good looks (duh), his clean execution is a notch above the rest. Seriously, I don't know if anyone can beat his toe point. (Maybe Sasha Artemev back in the day.)

Anyway, just imagine what the world would be like if Jake Dalton's feet and Viktoria Komova's feet somehow had offspring. Can you imagine the perfection of those feet? It would be one of the Seven Wonders of the Gymnastics World.

4. Steve Legendre, Oklahoma

Back in the 90s, "She knows how to throw every trick in the book" was a hackneyed line on NBC. Well, I think it's time to resurrect that tag line because it might be the best way to describe Steve Legendre on floor. I look forward to sitting back and seeing what combinations he will throw. I might throw an adult temper tantrum if he doesn't throw, like, an Hypólito into a triple-twisting front layout.

5. Bobby Baker, Aerial
(It's too early in the morning. It took me about 5 tries to spell his name correctly. I kept typing Booby Baker.)

In the fall, Gymnastike posted this video of Bobby training full-twisting double fronts. If you're a teenager training skills that aren't even in the Code of Points, you have my attention. Unfortunately, I have a hunch that we will not be seeing the "Baker," as I'm tentatively calling it, this weekend. At Nationals in 2012, he threw a lot of Arabian skills. So, I'm expecting to see more of those, but then again, who knows? Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, and I'll see my first full-twisting double front.