Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The crouch turn

Watching the lovely Lauren Mitchell from Australia perform on the beam this weekend in Canada reminded me of something not-so-lovely that she does on the apparatus (and also on the floor exercise)--the crouch turn.

(She does it at 1:00)

The first time I saw this performed was in 2003 by Terin Humphrey who did a triple in a sit and as her mount.

I'm not denying the difficult of the maneuver. I've tried to do one on the floor and can attest to how hard it is. But it is also quite ugly, especially when the revolutions exceed 360 degrees. In those turns, the gymnast flail their arms. Their upper bodies give the impression that they are nearing disaster, at the edge of the abyss. Merely watching them provokes anxiety.

Though both Humphrey and Mitchell bring quite a bit of flail to their turns, the Australian's is the messier of the two. And she uses it on floor exercise as well and it doesn't fare much better on the more expansive apparatus. This turn appears at :54.

The only incarnation of these turns that I can stand is Rebecca Bross' on beam because hers is usually flail free. Why? It's not because she is much better than Mitchell. It's because she does only ONE revolution. I'm sure she tried a second, possibly third. And I'm sure it looked terrible, which is why they dialed her back.

Like Humphrey, she uses it near the start of her routine at approximately :20 in.

This isn't merely meant as a criticism on Mitchell. It goes out to all the gymnasts and coaches that attempt dance maneuvers that far exceed their ability to perform them.


SSB said...

What do you think about UCLA gymnast Aisha Gerber's crouch turn:


I love the gymnast and generally hate the turn. Aisha's kinda looks like a cool Ninja move...

Dvora Meyers said...

"Love the gymnast, hate the turn" Ha! An interesting spin on "Hate the sin, love the sinner." Exactly how I feel about that turn.

I like Gerber's. She does just a single revolution and never seems out of control as she goes around.