Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rings Primer: 5 Variations of the Maltese Cross

In order to warmup for this tutorial, we must get our Buzzfeed on and look at pictures of adorable Maltese puppies.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about Maltese crosses.

1. The Jovtchev–E

This is not the Jovtchev (though it should be):

 This is the Jovtchev:
From an inverted cross, the Silver Fox dips his shoulders below the rings and then lifts his body into a Maltese cross. It's a pretty cool skill, but as you can imagine, it ain't easy. So, no one ever does it. I'm just including the element in the list because Jordan Jovtchev is my George Clooney.

2. Maltese to Maltese – E

This is one of those elements that confuses the crap out of most people. Starting in a Maltese cross, lowing into a back lever, and then lifting to a Maltese cross. That's one element. Not three elements. But one element.

I know that this sounds like the kind of stuff that the writers of Make It or Break It would invent, but believe me, it's real.

3. Iron Cross to Maltese – E

Even on steroids, I don't think I could do that.


4. Uprise to Maltese – E

As I pointed out in the last primer, during swinging elements, you don't want to see the gymnast's shoulders rise and then dip down. The gymnast should just swing immediately to the correct height. Jake does a fairly good job. There's a little dip, but it isn't horrible.


5. "Azarian" to Maltese – F

This skill is upgraded to a G if your pants fall off while performing it.
 Best moment of the American Cup?

For the extremely technical readers, this is not a true Azarian. As we learned in the last primer, an Azarian is a straight body roll that ends in an iron cross. But since gymnasts typically refer to any straight-body backward roll as an Azarian, we call it an Azarian to a Maltese.


It's that time again. Exam time!

Don't groan and complain. If Louis Smith can answer questions in front of thousands of Brits, you can take a two-question quiz in the privacy of your own home. Here we go! Identify the Maltese elements.

1. Igor Radivilov, Ukraine

2. Kohei Uchimura, Japan


1. Azarian Maltese, Uprise to Maltese
2. Iron cross to Maltese, Uprise to Maltese

Did you get them all correct?



Because of your excellent performance, I have a special present for you: a rare photo of Nastia's dog. It's a Maltese.
Obvs. This is not Nastia's dog. But seriously, when is Team USA's pink stage going to end?


  1. Marcel's pants were the best! They gave him opportunity to change between 3 different pairs in one competition...