A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

i hate [wrists] like i hate the nazis.


Remember when I said that sloppy fake bed head hair was the most annoying trend in gymnastics?  I lied. 


are so much worse.  Like, I hate them with a passion fiery and true. 

Now, it's not fair to say that this is a crisis solely within USA gymnastics.  It's not.  There are many foreign offenders as well.  However, for time and my eyeball's sake, let's focus on the pretty little Americans.

And their horrible fucking wrists. 

Now, while some might believe that Nastia invented gymnastics, this is not actually true.  Nor did she invent flexed wrists, although she certainly does try the hardest.  Let's go back, shall we?

The year is 1992. 

While Kim Zmeskal and her normal wrists were falling off of beam, a waify little blonde with one crazy coach and two flexed wrists was staying on it.

I haven't done much research, but in my head, this is where it started.

Shannon Miller, ye of much difficulty, good extension, and HORRIBLE FREAKING WRISTS.  Who in their right mind a) taught this "technique" and b) thought that it looked ok?  Shannon went to the Soviet Union, she should have known better.

Things only got worst for Miller and the gang.  Did she ever wonder why she had massive tendinitis in her wrists?  I'm just asking, because it seems really fucking obvious.  By 1996, they were pretty much just lobster claws. 

So pretty.  So artistic.

And thus, a trend was born.  Even the seemingly perfect (until she got older and kind of media hungry) Dominique Moceanu was not immune to BUI (beaming under the influence.) 

Well, a needle scale must be impossible to do without the support of unflinchingly rigid hands, am I right?

Good thing we always have the "other" Dominique to save us.  Notice the pleasing line that draws from side to side.  Light and elegant, betraying the skill as simple.  As it should be. 

But this is not a post about nice, pretty hands.  It is about line-ruining, lightbulb turning man hands.  And so we move on.

The 1997-2000 quad, in itself, was pretty much an affront to gymnastics.  This was a time when a beat jump-rulfova was considered a "good combination."  Super pretty.  Flowed really well.

The USA had come off of this mind-blowing Olympic win, complete with compulsories and everything.  So naturally, yeah, maybe the next generation kind of had their work cut out for them.  But that is NOT an excuse for this-

I mean, yikes yikes.  What killed me about Maloney is that one wrist was more flexed than the other.  One was bad, and then the other was just worse.  When the hand cuts off into this stump-like form, as seen in the second picture, then it is time to ease up on the flexing. 

Even those gifted with "good form" (I use the term loosely) have been cursed with the wrists.

Jesus.  Ray looks like a teapot.  And McCool looks like someone when they do the "oogy boogy" thing with their hands.  Someone out there (Armine) thinks that this looks awesome. 

It can destroy even the prettiest of gymnasts. 

I am not shy with my Hollie love.  I have Hollie fever.  Always have.  However, her wrists cannot be ignored. 

She did that shit ON PURPOSE.  Seemingly just to ruin my love for gymnastics.  Wonderful gorgeous pose, gonna point my toes, and then accent my skill with *CRICK* a nice stumpy arm. 

This is when shit really got bad.  Rescue 911 Crisis Level Midnight.  From here on out, we have seen bent wrists on pretty much every American gymnast, sans a very few.

There is no excuse for this.  Girls aren't even pretending to have a dance background anymore.  And even the worst dancer with zero ballet training can grasp the concept of extending your extremities.  A three year old can understand how to point her toes.  Yet fifteen years later, we cannot expect girls to get how to point their wrists, essentially. 

Like I mentioned, there are the exceptions.  A lovely, simple body line is GLORIOUS, even with the most basic of skills.  Because we so very rarely ever see them.

Again, nothing fancy.  No flair.  Just a simple, straight line from here to there.  Making the skill look more light and graceful, and not so much beastly. 

But then we have to go ruin it with ass poses, and more bent wrists. 

I just don't get it.  When did this become cool?  Who in the world thinks it's pretty?  Why isn't it deducted the same way flexed feet are?  So many questions...

In conclusion, MAN I hate flexed wrists.  They are unnecessary, unsightly, and probably damaging to the joints as well. 

 We must ERADICATE this disease before it is too late!


  1. i can not agree with you more! i can't stand watching old shannon stuff, awesome as she was, due to my complete and utter fascination/horror with her gnarly wrists. how do these things slide by a type a perfectionist??

  2. Flexed wrists. Hmm...wonder where the heck that could have come from. ;)

  3. completely agree!!!!

  4. Amen, and thanks for the laugh. I have to go watch Porgras after viewing all those pictures. Shannon looks like she's trying to mimic asterisks with her hands.

    I'm trying to lay off on the hand and arm critiques these days though. Sure, it's easy to have relaxed and pretty hands, but when you're focusing on not falling off a skinny beam, pointing your toes, and making sure your front leg is straight your back leg is at least at head height, I can see how the concern for your hand position can fall through the cracks. It's taken me two years to mostly get down how to have extension without tension in my hands and arms, without having worry about all that other stuff.

  5. You shouldn't be so hard on these ladies. Some people just have joints like that. It's that flexibility that makes them so good at their sport.

  6. 100 % disagree. I think it looks pretty on some girls, not all. It makes a skill or piece of dance look sharp, clean, and confident. I was a little bit mortified with what you said actually.

  7. That's not flexibility, dude. That's lack of proper dance training and discipline. I don't let any of my JO gymnasts, levels 5-10, do that shit. Seriously - it just takes some standards!

  8. My coach called these wrists ovary wrists...especially when we would present with flexed wrists...it would drive her nuts!

    Thanks so much for this article/rant! I love it!!

  9. Its not just Americans either! I have a picture from a gymnastics magazine from probably 94/95 with Gina Gogen having flexed wrists

  10. Its a lack of dance technique, yet what these gymnasts think is proper 'balletic' presentation, and also, a way to hold tension and maintain balance. Dancers hold tension in the hands during tricky balances all of the time, we just know how to do it without breaking line.

    Point is, I hate them too and really wish they were deductions for all of these gymnasts who are so 'graceful'.

  11. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Seeing bent wrists is like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork. Which is what I would rather do than watch Chellsie Memmel. Next can you mention the ugly squat on beam?

  12. Thanks guys!! I'm glad I'm not alone in my wrist obsession.

    I know I ignored all of the foreign wrists, but I think I'll tackle that issue next. Any suggestions of main offenders? Other than Laura Martinez.

    Also, by "ugly squat on beam," are you talking about when they swing back, and hit this ugly frog position before getting back up? Because that is TOTALLY rant worthy.

  13. Spanny, I'll scan the pic for you. I know it's from an old issue of international gymnast but not sure on the year.

  14. (This is from the same anonymous poster who said THANK YOU!!! above.)

    The squat is the choreographic ode to "I have to pee." http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/Liukin_beam%281%29.jpg

    Bridget Sloan constantly does it. If the word "urine" comes to mind when watching a beam routine, you need new choreography.

    Speaking of, should also do a comment on this form abortion: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/6OUKIVkEXhp/2009+Visa+Championships+Day+2/-fC2ComaPhB/Bridget+Sloan


    I think her coach is too busy behind closed doors measuring little girls for their leotards to notice her feet.

  15. @anonymous "You shouldn't be so hard on these ladies. Some people just have joints like that. It's that flexibility that makes them so good at their sport."

    BULLSHIT. It's lack of dance training all right. The Chinese and Russians have way more flexibility than the Americans and they don't do that shit.

  16. Proper hands from a very flexible gymnast:


  17. Shaq once said everyone has to have one flaw. His is free throws. If this one issue is the best you can do then it says more about you then it does about anyones wrists.

    Its called nit picking. You need a life.

  18. That's sad you think it's nit picking. You need an education in the sport of artistic gymnastics.

  19. This is one of the most insightful gymnastics blog posts i have ever read; i was laughing out loud so hard.


    two things, emphasis on inhumane, ghastly choreography, as well as Elfie hype (can someone please fire her all ready?):

    Samantha Sheehan and Tabitha Yim. the latter obviously had a Boginskaya fetish.

    why can't usa gymnastics hire a ballet coach? the recession has only been going on since around '08.

  20. Hey Spastia: the photo of Ksenia, I hate to point out, you can see a bit of the flexed wrists manifesting themselves. If the photo were taken dead on, it would be much clearer. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.intlgymnast.com/image/afanasyeva_ksenia_4.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Dcategory%26layout%3Dblog%26id%3D5%26Itemid%3D164%26limitstart%3D45&usg=__sXs7Ev8vxIXExGXZPOM8_gGtUbE=&h=450&w=300&sz=91&hl=en&start=21&sig2=zNvMJEtlJu5-XgjfTNZKZg&zoom=1&tbnid=Mx7Dp8aL5tbR5M:&tbnh=160&tbnw=94&ei=fxyuTMD8E9ShnQe02LXxBQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dksenia%2Bafanasyeva%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Den%26biw%3D1261%26bih%3D650%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C600&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=640&vpy=180&dur=1701&hovh=275&hovw=183&tx=112&ty=149&oei=dByuTLC-OIGclge1_5jbCQ&esq=2&page=2&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:21&biw=1261&bih=650

    Everybody hates the wrists, but almost everybody does them. It's a horrid situation to have.

  21. You are truly the maddest, sickest blog-chick I know!!! Freakin' funny till I wet myself! Thanks for the candid observations and bringing to light a scourge that has been plaguing our sport for decades!

    Much love and props :)

  22. oh.my.god.

    your blog has legit made my day. to the point where i'm just sitting here watching MIOBI and reading it...and dying. laughing. repeatedly.

    this and the buttshelves though...i thought i was going to die from laughing so hard. AMAZING.

    THANK YOU :)


    I can hardly bear to watch female gymnasts anymore because of the bird claws.

    Seriously, if that's your idea of grace or artistry, just give up and approach the sport purely as an athletic endeavor and keep your forks out of my eyes.

    To those who say we're nitpicking or that it's because of the gymnasts' flexibility or need to focus on so many other things, do you really not think it is intentional? These are world-class athletes. The only time I can see that as a natural way to hold your hands is if you just touched something disgusting.(Perhaps the urine left on the beam by the person before you?)

  24. It looks to me like they are dropping the piece of wet toilet paper they just pulled off the bottom of their shoe.

    Check out this "Modern Beam" animation.


  25. Everything about Dominique Dawes gymnastics was throw up to me and having her name mentioned as a good thing for anything proves you know jack shit about gymnastics. Stick to your stupid podcasts where you make a fool out of yourself every time it is on and leave gymnastics to the gymnasts