The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

That’s Not My Name

Oh, there are still so many journeys we must take to the center of the code. The last edition addressed Nellie Kim’s obsession with naming every single possible skill after herself.

Today, some of the other mistakes in the named-skills section of the code of points. Because that’s a thing we have to deal with. All of the mistakes in the official rulebook that us randoms have to try to sort out.

I’ll begin by giving the code a small sliver of credit—and then immediately taking it away—for ultimately rectifying one of the more famous mistakes in the named skills section.

The Stroe…Cojocar?

Once upon a time, Romanian gymnast Silvia Stroescu’s name appeared in the code of points, credited with performing the front 2.5 on floor at 2001 worlds.

One tiny problem: Stroescu didn’t compete the front 2.5 on floor at 2001 worlds. Or anything close to it. Fun!

The skill should have gone to her teammate, Sabina Cojocar, who did in fact successfully compete that skill at 2001 worlds. But, you know, all Romanians look alike or something.

For years and years, this skill was mistakenly attributed to Stroescu, which everyone knew but no one cared enough to do anything about.

But then suddenly, in the 2013 update, the code got its act together and corrected the mistake to appropriately award the front 2.5 to its rightful owner, Sabina Cojocar. Gasp! We were all very surprised.

Sadly, the Third Law of FIG Mistakes states that errors in the code of points can be neither created nor destroyed, so the error simply had to alter form and be subsumed into another entry. In the current edition of the code, the front 2.5 is now awarded to both Cojocar and Svetlana Tarasevich, even though Tarasevich never performed it either. Tarasevich’s eponymous skill is supposed to be the front 2/1, not the 2.5.

Check plus work again. At least one person always has to be mistakenly awarded the front 2.5. I think I’m next in line.

Spelling is hard

An exceptional performance piece in the code comes in the form of spelling choices used to identify the skills belonging to Carly Patterson, Chellsie Memmel, and Shayla Worley.

Reached for comment, Nellie Kim said,

One is an error, two is a trend, and three is a conspiracy. That’s how it goes, right? At least, that’s how I live my life.

I mean, it’s tough. You’ve only had say 12-15 years to correct three typos. Who has time to fit that in? Especially because like, ugh Americans.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting spelling of Shannon Miller:

Miller performed the cast 1.5 (such as it was) into L grip for naming at 1994 worlds. Later, Annika Reeder got a separate 1.5 skill on bars named after herself, the back uprise 1.5. The 2017 code update was like, “Probably the same. Let’s add this fun mistake.”

And while I know there are a multiple of acceptable options when it comes to transliterating names from non-Roman alphabets, I draw the line at this spelling of Bi Wenjing:

Bi competed the front 2/1 dismount off beam for naming at the 1996 Olympics, but over the years her named transformed to Heine Araujo of Brazil for undisclosed purposes.

That’s not my skill

In a spectacular bit of time travel, Irina Yarotska is credited as originating the clear-hip hecht to high bar, which is cool because the clear-hip hecht was definitely already pervasive enough to make its way into the 1996 Olympic compulsory bars routine when Yarotska was all of 10 years old.

What Yarotska should have named after herself is stalder version of this skill, seen here.

But alas no.


Among the other fun little nuggets in the named skills section are several elements designated as “Name TBC“—to be confirmed. Because it’s so hard to keep track of these names, you guys.

Also some of these have been TBD for 30 years now. So…um…gonna get on that? Or nah…?

For example, an IMPOSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY gymnast simply named “Arai” has the front 1/2 to back out bars dismount out of L grip named after herself in the code of points.

OK. Hi. Her name is Yuka Arai. Here she is doing the dismount at worlds in 1994. Really took Nancy Drew to solve that case.

There. I confirmed it for you. It look 11 seconds.

In fairness, however, there are 3-4 other “Name TBCs” that I swear are fully made up people and I could neither confirm nor deny their existences either.

And then there’s a “Name TBC” for Kim Gwang Suk for the toe-on counter-Kim. I think that’s more of a “Skill TBC” than a “Name TBC” because her name is Kim Gwang Suk. Mystery solved. Now, whether she ever did the counter-Kim from toe-on instead of from giant like she famously did in her major competition routines…unclear.

Or, it was just a placeholder for Nellie Kim to name another skill after herself but she ran out of time.

Natalia ain’t basic

The code of points has decided to give the first vault of the Yurchenko family, the Yurchenko back tuck, to Natalia Yurchenko despite the fact the she did not compete that skill. Um…good?

When Yurchenko debuted the round-off vault to the world, she was already doing back layouts and tuck fulls. None of this pedestrian back tuck nonsense.

Details details.

Cuba isn’t Mexico

Leyanet Gonzalez competed for Cuba. Cuba isn’t Mexico. I know I’m shocking you with this complicated astrophysics here.

Mistake or intent?

Clearly, the next edition of journeying to the center of the code will need to be about skills that have been taken away from gymnasts over the years under suspicious circumstances (basically an Amy Chow tribute post) because there are dozens upon dozens of those as well.

But sometimes, skills disappear and you’re not sure whether it’s an international conspiracy against Svetlana Khorkina or just…a mistake. Because see above. Take Karla Retiz.

Retiz got the bail handstand with a 1/2 turn in handstand on the low bar named after her at 2014 worlds.

As such, the skill box for the bail handstand was updated from this:

To this:

Until. In the 2017 code update, that addition from 2014 was quietly removed and we were back to this:

No Retiz to be found.

Sorry Karla.

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