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Peter Gröpel and Jürgen Beckmann

Researchers suggests that a pre-performance routine (PPR) can improve performance in competitions. The effectiveness of left-hand contractions, a PPR to trigger facilitative cortical processes for skilled motor performance, was tested in two studies. In Study 1, gymnasts competing at the German university championships in artistic gymnastics performed their routines with or without the PPR. In Study 2, gymnasts performed the balance beam exercise either using the PPR or the control task (right-hand contractions) under simulated competition pressure. The qualification performance (Study 1) and the pressure-free performance (Study 2) were controlled. In both studies, participants in the PPR group performed better than control participants. The results indicate that left-hand contractions may be a useful PPR in the field.

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Natalie Barker-Ruchti and Richard Tinning

Women’s artistic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that involves intricate acrobatic and rhythmic activities. This kinesthetic proficiency demands muscular strength and courage, which have been argued to serve its athletes as a source of empowerment.

Various scholars question the positive effects of sport participation. This article builds on these doubts through a feminist Foucauldian study of WAG. An essayistic research story, compiled from data gained in an ethnographic study, serves as the basis for our analyses. The results demonstrate the complexity of WAG experiences and illustrate that gymnasts’ athletic proficiency is only possible through an extensive and elaborate process of corporeal discipline.

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Thaiz Mattos Sureira, Olga Silverio Amancio, and Josefina Aparecida Pellegrini Braga

This study evaluates the relationship between body iron losses and gains in artistic gymnastics female athletes. It shows that despite the low iron intake and exercise-induced hemolysis, iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia does not occur, but partial changes in the hematological profile do. The hypothesis that gymnasts’ nutritional behavior contributes to anemia, which may be aggravated by exercise-induced hemolysis, led to this cross-sectional study, conducted with 43 female artistic gymnasts 6–16 yr old. The control group was formed by 40 nontraining girls, paired by age. Hemogram, serum iron, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, haptoglobin, total and fractional bilirubin, Type I urine, and parasitologic and occult fecal blood tests were evaluated. The athletes presented mean hematimetric and serum iron values (p = .020) higher than those of the control group. The bilirubin result discarded any hemolytic alteration in both groups. The haptoglobin results were lower in the athlete group (p = .002), confirming the incidence of exercise-induced hemolysis. Both groups presented low iron intake. The results suggest that artistic gymnastics practice leads to exerciseinduced hemolysis and partially changes the hematological profile, although not causing iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia, even in the presence of low iron intake.

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Richard D. Gordin Jr. and Keith P. Henschen

The following article explains the sport psychology program utilized with the USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team. The program was developed in 1983 and was implemented over the past quadrennium. Both service and research delivery systems are explained as well as the organization of service delivery over the past 5 years. This multimodel approach to the systematic training of elite world-class female athletes is presented to illustrate the psychometrics, mental skill development, and group process techniques utilized within the U.S. Gymnastic Federation’s artistic program. Both organizational and philosophical components of service delivery are explained. The range of services and problems encountered are also discussed. Finally, a detailed account of service leading to the Olympic Games and the program’s effectiveness is presented.

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Satya S. Jonnalagadda, Dan Benardot, and Marian Nelson

The nutrient intakes and dietary practices of elite, U.S. national team, artistic female gymnasts (n = 33) were evaluated using 3-day food records. The gymnasts' reported energy intake was 34.4 kcal/kg (total 1,678 kcal/day), which was 20% below the estimated energy requirement. The contributions of protein, fat, and carbohydrate to total energy intake were 17%, 18%, and 66%, respectively. All reported vitamin intakes, except vitamin E, were above the RDA. The reported mineral intakes, especially calcium, zinc, and magnesium, were less than 100% of the RDA. The overall nutrient densities of the subjects' diets were higher than expected. Eighty-two percent of the gymnasts reported taking nonprescription vitamin and mineral supplements, and 10% reported taking prescription vitamin and mineral supplements. Forty-eight percent of the gymnasts reported being on a self-prescribed diet. Compared to NHANES III, the reported nutrient intake of these gymnasts was different from that of the average U.S. adolescent female. In summary, certain key nutrients such as calcium, iron, and zinc should be given more attention to prevent nutrient deficiencies and subsequent health consequences.

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Annamari Maaranen, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Britton W. Brewer

Flikikammo is a troubling phenomenon in which athletes lose the ability to perform previously automatic backward moving gymnastics skills as a normal part of a routine. To better understand the effects of flikikammo over time, the confidence, perceived pressure, physical well-being, energy, and stress levels of gymnasts (n = 6) and cheerleaders (n = 4) were assessed weekly over 10 weeks. Half of the participants reported experiencing flikikammo at the start of the study, and half served as age, skill level, and sport-matched controls. Athletes with flikikammo indicated that pressure from coaches and higher energy levels were related to more severe flikikammo. For participants under the age of 18, higher levels of life stress positively correlated with flikikammo, but for those over 18, higher life stress was negatively correlated with flikikammo. These findings highlight the complexity of flikikammo and suggest that complex solutions may be needed to address flikikammo issues.

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Michael Koh, Leslie Jennings, Bruce Elliott, and David Lloyd

The Yurchenko layout vault is the base vault from which more advanced forms of the Yurchenko family of vaults have evolved. The purpose of the study was to predict an individual’s optimal Yurchenko layout vault by modifying selected critical mechanical variables. The gymnast’s current performance characteristics were determined using the Peak-Motus video analysis system. Body segment parameters were determined using the elliptical zone mathematical modeling technique of Jensen (1978). A 5-segment computer simulation model was personalized for the gymnast comprising the hands, upper limbs, upper trunk, lower trunk, and lower limbs. Symmetry was assumed, as the motion was planar in nature. An objective function was identified which translated the subjective points-evaluation scheme of the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) Code of Points to an analytic expression that was mathematically tractable. The objective function was composed of performance variables that, if maximized, would result in minimal points being deducted and bonus points being allocated. A combined optimal control and optimal parameter selection approach was applied to the model to determine an optimum technique. The predicted optimal vault displayed greater postflight amplitude and angular momentum when compared with the gymnast’s best trial performance. Increased angular velocity, and consequently greater angular momentum at impact and greater shoulder flexion angle at impact with the horse, were related with this optimum technique. The impact phase therefore serves to increase the angular momentum during horse contact. Since the optimized parameters at impact with the horse were within the accepted physical capacity limits observed for the individual, the predicted vault is viable.

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Lauren A. Burt, David A. Greene, and Geraldine A. Naughton

, like female artistic gymnastics, there are performance advantages for being smaller and lighter in male artistic gymnastics. Success in gymnastics is linked to a high strength to weight ratio ( 21 ) and MCSA is a major factor in determining muscle strength. From this review, we confirmed young male

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Marianne J.R. Gittoes, Gareth Irwin, and David G. Kerwin

The aim of this study was to develop insight into the transference of kinematic landing strategies between backward rotating dismount skills. Female gymnasts performed backward rotating pike (N = 4 × 10 trials) and tuck dismounts skills (N = 4 × 10 trials) from the beam apparatus. Whole and lower body joint kinematic measures were quantified for the impact phase using an automatic motion analysis system (CODAMotion, Charnwood Dynamics Ltd.). Phase duration, whole body orientation and the mass center maximum z-displacement were similar (P < .01) between skills for individual gymnasts and the group. While skill differences in the hip joint motion profiles were notably larger (group root mean squared difference [RMSD]: 30.9%) than the ankle (group RMSD: 13.6%) and knee (group RMSD: 15.4%) joints, individual gymnast adjustments were made to the discrete joint kinematic measures. The use of a stable whole body orientation may provide important indicators of effective strategy transference between fundamental dismount skills. Further consideration of the joint strategy adjustments made according to the gymnast’s performance level may, however, be warranted.

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Julia Weber and Natalie Barker-Ruchti

During the 1970s, a new corporal and aesthetic standard emerged in women’s artistic gymnastics. No longer was grace and elegance the main feature, but acrobatic and somewhat robotic performances. These exercises were increasingly performed by highly trained and sexually immature girls. The Western audience was fascinated by the athletic and innocent-looking gymnasts. The emerging corporality and performance trend combined youthfulness und slimness with physical fitness and muscular tone, a combination that reflected the idealized woman of the 1970s. Sports photographs played a key role in distributing the “new” ideal of femininity. In this article, we consider how gymnasts’ performances of the 1970s were visualized by examining a sample of professional sports photographs. We demonstrate how sports photographs construct and establish gender and body standards through their visual construction of gendered and de-gendered gymnastics performances.