A few months ago I had a chance to watch Georges St-Pierre competing in an Ultimate Fighting Championship match on TV. At first I was reluctant, but it eventually piqued my interest as GSP displayed a lot more skill than I was expecting. I learned that he relies on gymnastics training to achieve dominance in his sport!
Georges St-Pierre: “I’m doing gymnastics to keep my body healthy, to change my routine, and I love gymnastics as well and it makes me a better athlete.”
Georges St-Pierre, Ultimate Fighting Championship
It got me thinking that gymnastics really is the “ultimate” sport. Take a gymnast and put him in pretty much any other sport, and he’s likely to achieve a moderate degree of success, but taking established stars in other sports and putting them in gymnastics could results in some rather awkward moments. Gymnast Amy Chow, who has an Olympic medal of each colour, has gone on to excel in not just pole vaulting but diving as well. (Oh, and she’s a paediatrician too!)
Amy Chow, Diving
Yelena Isinbayeva won the 2008 Olympic gold in pole vaulting after growing too tall for gymnastics. Isinbayeva trains in the gym, doing tucked Tsukaharas on vault, free hips and giants on bars, and even exercises on the rings! She explains: “Gymnastics gives me more coordination, more precision.”
Yelena Isinbayeva, Pole Vaulting
This reminds me of when I saw Alex Wong on So You Think You Can Dance. At the time, I remember thinking that if gymnastics can serve as the basis of sport, then ballet could well be the basis of dance. Here’s a classically trained ballet dancer who was able to learn a complicated hip hop routine in just a few days, and perform seamlessly with All Star Twitch. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Alex Wong, Ballet
Alex Wong, Hip Hop