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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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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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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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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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Maurice R. Yeadon

At the 1992 Olympic Games six full twisting double somersault dismounts were recorded with two video cameras during the rings individual apparatus finals in the men's Artistic Gymnastics competition. Angles describing body configuration were determined from video data and were input, together with initial orientation angle values and angular momentum components, into a computer simulation model of aerial movement. Mean absolute deviations between simulation and video after the completion of one half twist were 0.01 rev for somersault, 2.8° for tilt, and 0.08 rev for twist. When the estimate of the initial tilt angle was adjusted by up to 1° these deviations fell to 1.6° for tilt and 0.02 rev for twist. All 6 competitors produced the majority of the tilt using aerial techniques that were predominantly asymmetrical movements of the arms. Contributions to the subsequent removal of tilt were determined using reverse simulations, and again arm movements were the main contributors.

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Michael J. Hiley and Maurice R. Yeadon

The undersomersault, or felge, to handstand on parallel bars has become an important skill in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics as it forms the basis of many complex variations. To receive no deductions from the judges, the undersomersault must be performed without demonstrating the use of strength to achieve the final handstand position. Two male gymnasts each performed nine undersomersaults from handstand to handstand while data were recorded using an automatic motion capture system. The highest and lowest scoring trials of each gymnast, as determined by four international judges, were chosen for further analysis. Three optimization criteria were used to generate undersomersault technique during the swing phase of the skill using a computer simulation model: minimization of peak joint torques, minimization of horizontal velocity before release, and maximization of angular momentum. The techniques used by both gymnasts could be explained using the second optimization criterion which facilitated further skill development. The first optimization criterion generated a technique advocated for beginners where strength might be expected to be a limiting factor. The third optimization criterion resulted in a different type of undersomersault movement of greater difficulty according to the FIG Code of Points.

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Michael J. Hiley and Maurice R. Yeadon

It has previously been shown that male gymnasts using the “scooped” giant circling technique were able to flatten the path followed by their mass center, resulting in a larger margin for error when releasing the high bar (Hiley & Yeadon, 2003a). The circling technique prior to performing double layout somersault dismounts from the asymmetric bars in women's artistic gymnastics appears to be similar to the “traditional” technique used by some male gymnasts on the high bar. It was speculated that as a result the female gymnasts would have margins for error similar to those of male gymnasts who use the traditional technique. However, it is unclear how the technique of the female gymnasts is affected by the need to avoid the lower bar. A 4-segment planar simulation model of the gymnast and upper bar was used to determine the margins for error when releasing the bar for 9 double layout somersault dismounts at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The elastic properties of the gymnast and bar were modeled using damped linear springs. Model parameters, primarily the inertia and spring parameters, were optimized to obtain a close match between simulated and actual performances in terms of rotation angle (1.2°), bar displacement (0.011 m), and release velocities (<1%). Each matching simulation was used to determine the time window around the actual point of release for which the model had appropriate release parameters to complete the dismount successfully. The margins for error of the 9 female gymnasts (release window 43–102 ms) were comparable to those of the 3 male gymnasts using the traditional technique (release window 79–84 ms).

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Michael J. Hiley and M.R. Yeadon

In men’s artistic gymnastics the backward giant circle on the high bar is used to produce the angular momentum that the gymnast needs for executing somersaulting dismounts. Dismounts in which the gymnast performs two somersaults in the layout (straight body) position require the greatest angular momentum. However, it appears there are two distinct techniques that elite gymnasts use when performing backward giant circles prior to a double layout somersault dismount. The “traditional” technique has been superseded by the “scooped” technique which is now used by the majority of elite gymnasts. To determine whether the scooped technique is better at producing angular momentum, a simulation model was used to optimize the angular momentum about the mass center at release. The model was evaluated using data obtained from a force/video analysis of accelerated giant circles. The model was able to estimate the reaction forces measured by strain gauges on the bar to within 9% of the peak forces, and the body rotation angle to within 1% of total rotation. During the optimizations, the joint angle time histories of the model were manipulated in order to maximize the angular momentum about the model’s mass center at release. Two optima were found which were characteristic of the two backward giant circle techniques used by elite gymnasts. The traditional technique produced more angular momentum than the scooped technique, although both were capable of producing sufficient angular momentum for a double layout somersault dismount. This suggests that the preference of elite gymnasts for the scooped technique must be based on factors other than the production of angular momentum.