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Fueling the Flame: The Nellie Kim Interview

Nellie Kim...

Where to start....

Rewriting Russian Gymnastics posted an interview from Nellie Kim who is head of the women's technical committee. She was instrumental in bringing the new code of points as we see it today. Yet she proves herself to be a complete hypocrite and blasts the code. The code has it's faults. Gym fans are well aware of that.

Here's the original article:

The article as translate in a nutshell is regarding the decline of the Russian Gymnastics, the fall of the Soviet Union, blah, blah. For the rest of the world, the fall of the Soviet Union was a good thing. Not so good for the Russian Gymnastics program. They lost coaches who went around the world to coach. Nellie talks about that in the interview.

What she says that's shocking is this:

"Lots of people criticize women’s gymnastics because athletes have all become toy soldiers. Femininity has been lost . The new Code of Points encourages coaches and gymnasts to create original routines enhancing the competitor’s individuality. People have to perform and create. Soviet schooling was always well known for the beauty of floor routines. The whole world learned from us how to create a routine, how to combine music and sport. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist anymore . Now the Canadians from Cirque du Soleil teach the whole world."

Kind of ironic coming from the woman who was instrumental in helping to implement this code. She's practically begging the FIG to fire her. The old saying goes "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" what you find beautiful isn't beautiful to someone else.  She goes on and she talks about McKayla Maroney and Viktoria Komova. Yes, comparing two very different gymnasts with different strengths makes total sense.  Nellie goes on to talk about how Vika was the hope for the next quad but she lacked "smile, charm and ardor." Disagreed. Vika has plenty of charm, she seems to always have trouble turning it on when it counts the most. I agree that the sullen teenager act is off-putting, no doubt about that. That's a mental preparation that she needs to work on, but also it comes with time.

Oh and her comparing McKayla to Vika because she smiles?

Remember this, Nellie Kim? Yeah, I thought so!

She says a lot of crappy things in the interview, but this quote really gets me riled up:

"The Russians, the Ukrainians, the Belarus lose to their rivals from other countries because they are weaker physically. Current gymnastics has become very dynamic and strength-based.  Frankly speaking, I feel uneasy when gymnasts with an athletic, not gymnastic body, become world champions. Their performances lack elegance, finesse. But they perform like catapults, jump so high ... "

This is why this bothers me. She claims a "gymnastics" body. What is a gymnastics body? A skinny little ballerina type without a hair out of place? This is why this bothers me: young women, especially gymnasts have so many issues with their body image. This is a sport that's been rampant with eating disorders and young women growing up with self image problems. Nellie Kim clearly needs to read Little Girls in Pretty Boxes to remember what happened to Christy Henrich, who died of an eating disorder because some shitty asshole judge told her she needed to loose weight. I know that wasn't the point of that statement, but it infuriated me so I had to comment on it. It bothers me because young women are inundated with images from the media and social influences to be a certain way. Now, Nellie Kim thinks you should too.

Just brilliant Nellie Kim.

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