In the year 2004, one Nellie Kim—legendary Soviet gymnast of the 1970s—was elected head of the Women’s Technical Committee. At that time, there were exactly zero skills named after her in the women’s code of points. Today, there are 7.
What happened there? Only one of my mostest favoritest things in all of gymnastics—the Nellification of the code of points. Every time a new edition of the code of points was published, Nellie Kim would just suddenly drop in more and more skills that she decided to retroactively name after herself. Due to modesty. Icon.
It’s a good thing Donatella is in charge of the WTC now because we were about three years away from the city of St. Petersburg becoming Nelliegrad.
Admittedly, the process of naming skills in gymnastics has been subject to disastrous disorganization and inconsistently applied rules since forever (many, many names are missing or inaccurate or lost to time), so some of this was a matter of rectifying past oversights where innovators of skills have gone unrecognized for decades. A noble goal. Of course, this noble consideration was afforded to precisely one person, Nellie Kim, and no others.
So let’s take a trip down Nellie lane to examination all the skills that she decided to turn into The Kim.
Also fun—Nellie cites her exact competitions in naming every single one these skills after herself (much appreciated, wish that process had begun sooner for everyone). Meanwhile, Chellsie Memmel’s name is still misspelled 15 years later and the toe-on Counter-Kim is still listed as “To Be Confirmed,” but every single breath Nellie Kim ever took is fastidiously recorded and dated for posterity.
Handspring forward on, 1.5 off – 1974 World Championships
Ah, the youngest member of the Kim septuplets. Nellie named this skill after herself starting in the 2013 update to the code of points, citing her completion of it at the 1974 world championships, 39 years prior.
As far as I can tell, no video exists of Kim vaulting at 1974 worlds. Awfully convenient. Since Kim did not compete in the AA final or advance to the vault final at those world championships, we’ll have to take her word for it that the 8.600 she received on vault in the team optionals portion of that competition reflects her successful completion of this new vault.
Tsukahara tucked 1/1 – 1976 Olympics
This vault was among the first generation of Kims to be added to the code of points in those early-days editions of the open code in 2006ish, and this is where I’ll be nice and talk about Kim as a difficulty innovator who absolutely merits having multiple skills named after herself in the code. As far as I can tell, she was the first person to complete this skill at a worlds/Olympics at those Montreal games. Continue reading The Kims