Sunday, 17 May 2015

4 person teams

I had the title written as chocolate orange biscuit cake for quite a while before noticing. Upcoming family weddings can do that...still, at least I'm more with it than the FIG committee members who just voted for 4 member Olympics teams.

The team is the last thing the FIG should be touching, it's bad enough that they were recently reduced to 5. They can send specialists all they want....this is what teams of 6 allowed for. Qualifications are already diverse, if they take a look at London results there are plenty of girls from non-gymnastics countries struggling to post a half-decent score. THAT'S diverse, that there are spots for them. I do enjoy watching their routines..they often have interesting dance for instance..but if you're going to hit spots, they should be taken from the bottom.

Taking a look at the 2012 beam qualifications, 39/83 girls scored less than 13 on beam, 24/79 on bars and 19/60 scored less than 52 in the AA, which is all made worse by Olympic score inflation. We do not need to open qualifications any wider than they already are. Allowing bigger teams allowed for specialists in the team setting. Other specialists can qualify already.

The team competition is the quintessential competition. For a Tier 1 sport with massive Olympic viewership, they should be arguing for more spots in general, not slicing them from the top. It's just baffling, even understanding that a country can qualify 2 non-team specialists. Do these girls get to rotate with their fellow National Team members of the team in training, or are they isolated? Are they allowed one coach each in addition to the team's coaches?

This decision puts huge pressure on to keep up in the all-around, and that's not even going near what the guys have to do to cover 6 events with 4. China are screwed there..

Why do the FIG seem to veer away from what's actually needed? Is it fair that one committee member who voted was a big 4 representative? Do they deserve a cake?


34 comments:

  1. I don't understand how they were able to get this passed. The whole crap "diversity" claim is absolutely tissue-paper thin. Seriously, is everyone in FIG so thick that they actually couldn't realize this is just handing spots back to the big nations and the small nations are getting diddly squat from this? And we're just pointlessly cutting the team size? Seriously, the "diversity" thing is probably just a ploy and the actual motive is to improve the profile of World Cups.

    Not to mention FIG is once again handing golds to its least favorite team. Do they not realize the US is the only women's team with the depth of all-arounders? And they once again will have no one to blame but themselves when they continue dominating? And even Martha was against this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes actually, it does smack of a last ditch effort to jazz up the world cups ie. force attendance.

      In a way, it's a bit like going back to the old days when everyone was an all-arounded. But in much smaller teams with much greater difficulty and much less depth, it's a recipe for disaster.

      Delete
    2. Miss Mary is spot on. As a tier one sport, gymnastics should be lobbying for more athletes. Are athletics and swimming expected to make the same cuts (only 4 people on relay teams + 2 athletes per country?). No, they are allowed to qualify individuals based on the A standard.

      However, it's not as if gymnastics is the only sport to suffer. To include sports like motocross and skateboarding, we have lost wrestling and rhythmic gymnastics. It's awful.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I will really miss the strategizing of putting together a fantasy team. Now you can just close your eyes and just spit out the name of the top 4 AA in each NOC and that will be your team (if an NOC can even have 4 good AA to bring to the table)..

      I am wondering if FIG is trying also to stress the importance of AAers seeing how lacking AAers are in most NOC aside from US. While at it, they might as well just combine TF and AA like jesolo bc there's no point having a separate AA final (unless you just want to stress out the gymnasts even more).

      As far as cup attendance, guess now smaller countries won't get to win any medals at all. At least before, they have a chance to win some medals due to absence of a lot of big4 specialists... That kinda goes against diversity of more different countries able to win medals isn't it? So now the good thing is that we will see a more competitive cup circuit. The bad thing is that due to presence of big4 specialists, lesser tier gymnastics nations now wont even be able to qualify to compete at cup anymore!! way to go for diversity...

      I really can't see why FIG couldn't even try to lobby for additional spots total now that gymnastics is a tier 1. Are they chickensh*t too chicken to lobby IOC for more spots instead of cannibalization?

      You know something is bad when even the team that the new rule favors goes against that rule....

      Delete
  2. Now that teams are down to four, every girl must be an AAer because NO COUNTRY is going to risk bringing one 3 event specialist no matter how amazing she is because if even one AAer gets injured you have to count a 0 if your specialist can't perform on that apparatus. So this new 4 member team leaves no room for a coach to maneuver which means ZERO strategizing on who to put on the team, which was the fun part for us fans- guessing which girls would peak at the right time and have the events that contributed best to the team! Taking specialists out of the TF is disrespectful to their enormous contribution in boosting team scores and has made the TF boring. Now we know that the top 4 AA scores in each nation go to the Olympics no matter that specialists could deliver higher scores on their best events than most AAer's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, excitement along with scores will go down. It's actually quite sad. FIG have reversed decisions before but this seems like too big a deal to mess with.

      Delete
    2. I'm hoping this rule is reversed as fast as the vault rules were reversed. Unfortunately, the vault rules would have been a boon to the sport, preventing gymnasts that fall from earning medals on vault. With an emphasis on execution we probably would have seen less terrifying vaults and gymnasts aiming for exquisite form and emphatic sticks. Oh well. Since they reject the good rules, this is likely to stand.

      Delete
  3. This whole rule change, in my opinion, is just a slap in the face to specialists. Because now, specialists can still go to the Olympics but they can't be a part of their team. The FIG was probably mad at gymnasts like Maroney, Paseka, or He Kexin who got a spot on their Olympic teams just to compete 1 event. But whether a gymnast is an AAer or a specialist should not matter. Each gymnast has something to bring to their respective team. Can you imagine previous Olympic team competitions without Ponor, Cheng Fei, Sacramone, or Afanasyeva? They still would have competed separately, but not with their teammates, which makes no sense...

    But now, I wonder how this will affect the gymnasts' mentality. If they know they can't be part of the Olympic team because they're specialists, then wouldn't they feel uncomfortable competing for themselves (because that's basically what they'll be doing under these new rules)? Also, no country besides the US can put up 4 decent AAers, not even the Big 4. Both the Russians and Chinese are not consistent as AAers. The Chinese are basically a two-event team because of their awful VT and FX. Meanwhile, the Romanians still can't swing bars for their lives, and they only have like 1 gymnast per quad that can actually swing bars (if they're lucky).

    The only thing this new rule will do is increase participation in World Cups because that's how the remaining spots will be rewarded to the specialists. But in my opinion, gymnasts will be competing too much which will cause injury. And either way, the Big 4 gymnasts will be the most successful at these meets, so they will be awarded the remaining spots, not to the other gymnasts from lesser-known countries. Is the FIG expecting the Big 4 NOT to send their gymnasts to World Cups so they could qualify other gymnasts to the Olympics by default?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tokyo is shaping up to be a disaster. It's weird to imagine that if this was brought in for Rio, the US couldn't even begin to consider girls like Flatley. Martha prefers all-arounders, but definitely sees the value of specialists.

      Yes, another knock-on effect. Interfering with schedules, competing off-peak..we've all seen gymnasts compete too much.

      Delete
    2. Yes! just right in time for the 20th anniversary of the disaster that was in 2000, isn't it?!

      I am just wondering what format will be for Worlds in 2017-2019. Will they keep the same as before and then suddenly NOC are all forced to shift to the completely different format for 2020? The whole thing is a disaster and confusion waiting to happen....

      Delete
    3. How is that a slap in the face of specialists? With that rule aroun asac, anna Lee, Sarah finnegan would've actually had a shot at going to London, and who knows maybe ebee would've focused on becoming a vault/ floor specialist.

      Delete
    4. I meant this was a slap in the face to specialists because they can't compete alongside their team. Don't get me wrong, it's great that they would be able to participate, but I just don't understand why they have to compete separately. For example, if the US/China/Russia/Romania were to qualify 2 additional specialists on top of having their own 4 person team, I don't understand why those specialists can't just join their teams. These countries would occupy 6 spots anyway. Why can't the specialists just be allowed to compete for their respective teams?

      Delete
    5. Oh I get your point now. Yeah I'd much rather have a 6 persons team. But I think the new rule is better than the 5 persons team we h. Ideally, I wish teams we're 7 people, and have a 3 up 3 count or 4 up 4/3 count TF. That would make room for a lot more specialists.

      Delete
  4. This is crazy. First of all the most teams usually have 2 good all-arounders and event specialists so basically 2+4 or 2+3. Now they want to make it more complex 2+2+2? That just doesnt make sense. For the US it is just wasting a team medal for event specialists who are better than the rest of the real team. Also, if people will be qualifying from the world cup events then all the spots will be filled by gymnasts from the top 8, so it will be completely useless. This rule is basically preventing a gymnast from gaining a medal, a memory, a precious item that is so rare. Is that really their goal? Because it seems like it. Heck, why not have a one person team. Then there could be 5 that qualify from world cup events and the AA will be gone as only 8 gymnasts compete in team final. Oh! I found an even better idea: let’s have a team of 0.5 gymnast. That will be good. Surely it will give opportunities to other countries.
    I feel better now that I got that off my chest.
    I also heard that this new rule wasn't only for diversity but mostly for harder competitions at world cups and such.
    Hope they change it…
    Seriously

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a downward spiral, it's hard to even figure out how many negatives there are to this decision.

      Delete
  5. It's amazing how much more in sync the fans are with the sport than the FIG. All the glaring issues caused by this new rule that have been pointed out in the comments of this post alone should have been noticed by FIG. Tokyo is shaping up to be the debacle that the Sydney Olympics were for the Women's AA Final, but WORSE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like someone already said, this is even worse for MAG. I don't know how many NOC can come up with 4 MAG AA'ers to do all 6 events each...

      Seems like FIG acts without thinking through. Very apparent as they still have no idea how the new qualification will exactly work and it's still being determined....

      Delete
  6. The term "diversity" has been bandied about as a big reason for the rule change, but IMO the only reason is to increase world cup participation. Especially since the rule as published only allows specialists to qualify for the Olympics only if that country has already qualified a team.

    So in this scenario if Roxana Popa were to qualify through the World Cup Circuit, but Spain were to once again not qualify a team like in London, she wouldn't get that spot. So gymnasts from lesser nations really are only going to get the one or two individual spots that they would have gotten anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They could have increased cup participation by just by simply making it mandatory as part of qualification to olympics saying for example a gymnast has to go to at least 2 cup events to qualify, etc instead of saying we will just now making team only 4 members. They should actually make it a 6 member team and define the 6th member as a specialist (who can only do 1 or 2 events whom the team can only have if they can get that specialist to qualify thr cup events).

      There are so many ways to get more participation in cup events than to drop team to 4 members...

      Delete
    2. I believe gymnasts can qualify through world cups even if their country doesn't qualify a team. Not sure if they can qualify as specialists but at leastEstimados alunos,

      Devido ao feriado de 1 de maio, as turmas 1, 2 e 3, ficaram avançadas na matéria relativamente às turmas 4 e 5. Nesse sentido amanhã não haverá aula prática de Biologia Humana para as turmas 1, 2 e 3. as AAers I'm sure they can.

      Delete
  7. I wish the FIG had spoken with the gymnasts, current and former, before they made their decision. Because while I'm sure every gymnast wants individual success, they still want to be apart of a team. Aly shared her thoughts with TIME, and it really emphasized the importance of the team competition.

    http://time.com/3890019/aly-raisman-why-gymnastics-needs-more-team-recognition/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great article! With a great picture of what the essence of teams is...

      The only correction I would make is that the new format does make it easier for one-of specialist to make it to the Olympics. Unfortunately just not as a part of the team. Overall, it does take away the excitement of the team competition. The fact that all teams will now only have the 4 top AAs for each NOC without any specialist make it boring. There's no more strategizing. It's all now very cut and dry....

      Delete
  8. I agree, I think the change is primarily to increase competition at World Cup events. However, this could have been accomplished much easier by simply altering the schedule of World Cup events to align closer with gymnasts' training schedules. Right now, the World Cup events are spread out across the calendar. They need to involve the big federations who don't compete on the World Cup circuit much and get their input and cooperation to schedule the events. Try that schedule for a year, see how it worked, and make adjustments as needed.

    One thing that will be interesting to see is how the COP changes for the 2017-2020 quad. Will they make it easier to be an all arounder by making it easier to build D scores on all events? I'd like to see greater diversity of skills and routine composition, and it seems like this would be necessary to allow for more all around gymnasts capable of competing at a high level. Most countries are currently struggling to produce competitive AA gymnasts. If the COP doesn't change much, there will be a huge divide even between the teams in TF, much more so than even now.

    TrishaG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know any specific COP change for 20017-2020. Not sure if there's any change to make it "easier" to get higher D scores. If anything, the trend since the new COP has been making it harder to get higher D, i.e. only 8 skills count instead of 10, top vaults devalued, etc. As far as more NOC producing higher level AAers, a lot of that really has more to do with program depth and training emphasis. It's quite obvious that if you don't have a deep program, producing more than 1 or 2 58+ AAers will be difficult, more so than producing good event specialists. I am sure that all NOC will try to adapt, but this format will favor the US team even more now...

      As far as cup specialist qualification, this is a difficult thing. Schedulewise, all NOC are different. no matter what you do, there will always be conflicts with each NOC own training regiments and nationals. Spreading out multiple cups and saying you have to attend a minimum x numbers of events (ie. not having to attend every single one) and scoring x minimum points might be the best thing to fit the wide ranging schedules of all NOCs.

      Delete
    2. The 2017-2020 COP hasn't been created yet, so there aren't any specific changes yet to know. Not enough gymnasts can build high D scores on all of the events currently. We see this in the AA now, and it will become even more apparent in the new team format. There are multiple ways to make it easier to build higher D scores. For example, they can increase the bonus value for certain combinations of lower difficulty elements on beam. I'd love to see this with leaps and jumps so we could see better rhythm and flow on beam, tbh. Similarly, they can add a bonus for combinations of leaps and jumps on floor. Some gymnasts aren't good at leaps, but can do jumps. Allow a bigger selection of those types of elements for the "leap" series so that gymnasts can choose leaps or jumps, whichever ones they can do well.

      Change some of the composition requirements on UB, especially those regarding transitions. UB routines used to have so much more variety and now they look so similar. Everyone uses the same transitions to get a high score. I actually like the way some of the easier transitions look. Also, the transitions kill the swing and momentum for a lot of gymnasts on UB who aren't strong on bars. Allowing other types of transitions allows them to find other ways to build their D score with skills more suited to their abilities. I'd love to see the Mo on UB, but it isn't worth competing because of the stupid deductions taken afterward for the resulting dead hang. Same for the Comaneci salto and Counter Kim. These are all awesome skills and difficult, but no one competes them. Take away the dead hang deduction after certain skills such as these. Gymnasts used to do these skills and then transition to the low bar by simply regrasping the high bar and then either turning and jumping down to the low bar (https://youtu.be/ziWaqXrEaQw?t=473), or doing an underswing down to the low bar (https://youtu.be/qpvrke-xh-U?t=14). I included the links because I'm probably not using the correct terminology to describe these transitions. That also got rid of the dead hang.

      There's some ideas on how to make it easier to build D scores just off the top of my head.

      Finally, a lot of NOCs have indicated that the current World Cup schedules are a problem. This has been brought up as the main reason for some top nations as to why they don't compete at more of these events. The American Cup doesn't get the best gymnasts because it is scheduled at an awkward time for gymnasts preparing for European Championships. That's going to affect a large number of gymnasts from multiple NOCs. Others have been scheduled too close to Worlds in the past or too long afterward. Nationals aren't held at the same time every year for most NOCs. They adjust the timing for Olympic years, so the dates are fluid if the competition matters enough. If the World Cups become important enough and the schedule for them changes, NOCs can adjust their training schedule and National championships accordingly. The important thing is to make sure that they are scheduled strategically regarding Continental and World Championships to allow for the athletes' training.

      TrishaG

      Delete
  9. Since we're talking rule changes, I'd love to see gymnasts having to perform 2 vaults on both team finals and all around. We see so many girls with great amanars who just don't bother training a second one because they focus on the AA. It's also really unfair to vault specialists that half their work is useless in order to make a team. And it would also elevate the quality of Vault finals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's too much to ask everyone on the 4 member team to 2 two vaults each. A lot of these gymnasts only etch out a serviceable DTY currently so not realistic to ask them to even try to train another vt when they wont be specialists. With the new format, vt specialists wont make the 4 members team anyway (unless they also put up real good scores on other events, i.e simone) so a lot of your vt specialists aren't in the running for team anyway.

      Delete
    2. It just seems unfair to me that not all the hard work VT specialists put on their training pays off when it comes to making a team. On all events gymnasts are encouraged to be good on different kinds of areas, leaps, acro, turns, pirouettes, etc, and that can make or break an all arounder, why is it that versatility on vault is not required to be considered the top gymnast in the world?

      Delete
  10. Cat, I'd be curious to know what you think of Lauren's POV in her post "The Problem With 'Unfair'". I, like almost every fan, am against the new 4 person team - there simply is no precedent in gymnastics for it. That being said, I think Lauren swayed me to a slightly more moderate viewpoint with the arguments she presented, namely that to many other countries with sparser programs this new ruling would actually be advantageous. For once I'm actually a little cautious on whole-heartedly condemning the system because it may or may not produce somewhat favorable results that are as of now unforeseen. Everyone seems to be looking at this from the American standpoint, but there are other countries that can benefit from this and it's not like the FIG is crushing every little girl's dream as everyone seems to think they're are.

    However, the new rule is still wrong on so many levels. Cutting the participants at the team finals, forcing a set up that would require more AAers on a team than can be afforded by most countries, setting specialists apart, all ultimately leads to a less flexible program. I shudder to think of how the quality of TF is going to be affected.

    ReplyDelete
  11. even among supporters of the new rules, pretty much everyone agrees that new rules make TF less exciting and less strategy interesting and giving the US an even bigger advantage for TF...

    the calculations on Gymternet shows that the new rules if in place right now would severely affect russia and china with Romania not even having enough AAers. even the US score goes down. this decreased scores is not like an inflation adjustment but due to actual less outstanding routines in TF. Even the greatest supporters cannot denies that this decrease of some of the best routines in TF is going to hurt TF.

    contrary to the more usual belief that US audience seems to be the only one enjoying TF due to having a great team as well affinity to team sports, I think that all other nations that do have a team there (and definitely the top8) all like to see a better TF....

    ReplyDelete
  12. Please do predictions again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What predictions are you talking about? 2015 team or 2012?

      See here for what/if in 2012 US team: http://jyosef.tumblr.com/post/119955748067/marta-called

      for 2015:
      http://jyosef.tumblr.com/post/119458413972/if-the-4-per-country-rule-started-now

      Delete
  13. Of course 2015, you can't predict something that already happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. using current team rule or 2020? Most likely the top 4 or 5 AAers will be on team with 1 specialist. I am betting on simones, bailey, aly, gabby, kyla, best specialist medal chance is skinner if she can bring both her amanar and cheng.

      Delete