Raise the Bar

April 30th, 2009 by Gymbit



Vault isn’t the only culprit when it comes to equipment problems (see “The Faulty Vault”). There have been quite a few incidents on uneven bars in which a cable has snapped during a routine and the entire apparatus has collapsed. Fortunately in all three cases I found, no one was injured…just a little bit shaken up!

Ludmilla Tourischeva’s fall is perhaps the best known case of such an occurrence. During the 1975 World Cup, the bars fell just as the Soviet gymnast completed her routine. It didn’t seem to faze her in the slightest, and she ended up winning the event.

Natalie Foley, an NCAA gymnast who competed for Stanford, pulled the cables loose as she prepared

for a Shaposhnikova a few years ago.

An equipment failure happened again just last year, this time to Naoual Ouazzani Chahdi, a junior gymnast competing in the 2008 Dutch Trials for the upcoming European Championships.

When the bars are set properly, however, this event can be beautiful one. Feast your eyes upon the next video, and watch how the apparatus has changed throughout the years. The uneven bars started out as men’s parallel bars, with one bar set higher than the other. Note how the wooden oval-shaped bars extend beyond the posts! As years go by, the bars become rounder and more flexible, and they are set further apart as the gymnasts’ skill levels increase. The elements performed on the event have changed drastically, and some of the composition from past decades make me chuckle (0:20).

Uneven Bars Developments (1950s to 2005)

No mention of the uneven bars would be complete without a shout out to the most decorated champion of all time, “The Queen,” Russian Svetlana Khorkina. She managed to win two uneven bars titles at the Olympic Games, five at the World Championships and six at the European Championships.

What are your favourite skills or routines of all time? Please post a Comment!

2 Responses to “Raise the Bar”

  1. RJL Says:

    Times have indeed changed! I like the look on Turischeva’s face as she walks away…she looks miffed that her dismount had a form break. :) And I’m pretty sure Foley’s mishap occurred on a Friday the 13th. I wouldn’t want to be the next gymnast to compete after any of those disasters!

  2. Gymbit Says:

    Yes, the most impressive part is the fact that Tourischeva seemed completely focused and didn’t even look back at the bars when she heard them crashing down! I can’t believe she still managed to stick that dismount. We know she won that title, but I wonder how Natalie Foley and Naoual Ouazzani Chahdi did…I suppose they were allowed to compete again once the bars were fixed.

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