Part of my daily internet ritual involves logging on to the Gymnastics Gossip Message Board (GGMB) to see what’s new in the world of gymnastics. Recently, I was intrigued by a thread entitled “Japanese Gymnastics Robot” posted by aevera. I clicked on the video and was amazed by what I saw: a robot doing a piked Kovacs on high bar! The Kovacs, first performed by Peter Kovacs (HUN) on his way to a silver medal on high bar at the 1979 European Championships, has since become a staple on this apparatus. It is described as a double back over the high bar, but by the time the bar is released and caught again, it’s actually a 1.5 back flip.
Starting from a dead hang, the robot managed to gain enough momentum to swing some rapid giants with great tapping action. Then the moment we were waiting for: the release move! Well, it was almost a Kovacs…he released just a fraction of a second too early and didn’t quite manage to swing out of it, but I was still thoroughly impressed that he caught the bar!
There were many revisions made to the gymnastics robot before it attained the level of success that the 6th incarnation has achieved with the piked Kovacs. This one is able to do several giants (with rather strange technique). I love the tuft of hair!
Here’s an earlier attempt at the Kovacs where the robot had to be helped into the handstand position. Had this one caught the bar, he would have had a nice swing out of the release skill.
2000 Olympic All-Around Champion Alexei Nemov competed many high-flying release moves in his day. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, his high bar included both a piked Kovacs and a tucked Kovacs. You can see them at 0:15 and 0:32, respectively.
Alexei Nemov (RUS), 2004 Olympic Games, High Bar
There are so many different versions of the Kovacs being performed on the high bar today: tucked, piked, layout, a Kolman (tucked Kovacs with a full twist), a Cassina (Kolman in layout position), and even a double-twisting Kovacs, as seen here in this video of Igor Cassina.
Igor Cassina (ITA) in Training, High Bar
I recently witnessed a video of my favourite gymnast, Kohei Uchimura, training a DOUBLE KOVACS! He didn’t catch the bar, but the fact that he is even attempting this is unbelievable. Wow!
Kohei Uchimura (JPN) in Training
Let’s see if Uchimura can catch this release skill before a robot does!