When you spend more than half your life involved in gymnastics, either as a gymnast, coach, judge or loyal fan — or all of the above — you accumulate an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport. You appreciate its history, understand its nuances. Ultimately, your intuition and sensibilities serve as guides in judging everything from the latest rule change to annoying trends on floor exercise. With that in mind, I hereby offer 20 Irrefutable Gymnastics Truths. And I encourage readers to submit their own to the list:
1) Really difficult tricks are not as beautiful as simple ones done with form and amplitude.
2) The open-ended Code of Points has fixed the problem of too many ties, and nothing else.
3) The 3-up, 3-count team final format is a big rip-off for paying fans and gymnasts, alike.
4) The 5-up, 5-count team finals at men's NCAAs is intense and exciting.
5) The real difference between a 9.90 and 10.0 in NCAA women's gymnastics is 0.40. (You know what I mean, don't you?)
6) NCAA women's judges need to stop giving so many 9.90s.
7) Compulsories separate the wheat from the chaff more so than optionals.
8) Gymnasts who over-celebrate after an average routine look foolish.
9) Gymnasts who don't celebrate after an awesome routine show class.
10) YouTube has eliminated many of the surprises that once surfaced at major competitions.
11) That gymnast who missed her Jaeger every time in warm-ups will probably miss it in the meet.
12) There is usually nothing good to eat at age-group meets held in a gym club.
13) If you've seen three different gymnasts perform an Onodi without wobbling in the last decade, you are in the minority.
14) Men's floor exercise has literally, and sadly, become a race against the clock.
15) Major meets would be more interesting if Execution scores reached the mid- to high-nines for gymnasts who deserve it.
16) There is no perfect system to judge gymnastics.
17) The smallest gymnast at any given competition (usually female) will become a crowd favorite.
18) Gabby Douglas's recent split with Liang Chow was as shocking as Sarah Patterson's retirement at Alabama.
19) If he hits, Sam Mikulak is still the closest pursuer to Kohei Uchimura.
20) The next women's all-around world champion is anyone's guess.