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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

American Cup 2013: Artistry versus Uglistry

Between the American Cup and the Nastia Liukin Cup, I've been really pleased with the level of artistry in general.

Gabrielle Jupp was just lovely:

Katelyn Ohashi and Victoria Moors can both count me as a big fan. Not my absolute favorite choreography--and that's what sets Jupp apart--but such beautiful form, expression, and presentation. 

On the other end of the spectrum we have Elisabeth Seitz, whose dance is so cringe-worthy even clueless Al Trautwig took notice. The music is hardly music at all--no wonder the choreography is so bad.

That sounds a little mean, a little snarky...and that's something I truly do try to avoid (really!). I respect the hard work and dedication of all gymnasts. I do feel that it's justifiable to criticize this routine, however, because the blame lies not with Seitz, but with her coaches. A veteran elite athlete should not only be held to certain standards, but also provided with the means to achieve those standards. You have the best gymnast in Germany, and you can't call in a professional choreographer? Or spring for some decent music? If you are an elite gymnast, you shouldn't be level sixing your dance anymore than you should be level sixing your vault. (And for the record, I've seen much better dance and presentation from most level sixes). Elisabeth Seitz is a fantastic athlete, and she deserves better.

I couldn't help but notice that  Nastia Liukin, bless her heart, was providing very pleasant and informative commentary, until Trautwig remarked on the bad dance. She couldn't do it! She couldn't critique what was clearly an embarrassingly subpar performance. I don't think it's in the best interest of the sport to let that go. Good thing you have me to point it out.

USA Gymnastics: March 2, 2013 - Competition &emdash; Katelyn Ohashi
Katelyn Ohashi: Artistic expression from her fingertips to her toes.

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