December 1, 2008

In Which We Say Unkind Things about the FIG

The FIG has posted another self-congratulatory press release on its site, listing the names of the final top-8-ranked gymnasts to confirm their presence in Madrid. Read the list for yourself. It's okay but nothing to get really excited about, in our opinion. Quite frankly we're more interested to see the FIG's next press release, which will presumably tell us which non-top-8-ranked gymnasts will round out the field. The C Score lists some interesting possibilities here.

However, this is not going to be a post about the World Cup Final, although much could be (and has been) said on that subject. Nope. This is going to be a post about the FIG and its careless attitude toward the sport.

Have you ever had the feeling that the FIG didn't really know what it was doing? That it was just making things up as it went along, with nary a thought for the consequences of its decisions? We most definitely have. Over the years we've had countless discussions about how the FIG was ruining our sport with its trillions of stupid rules, none of which increased the appeal of the sport in the slightest. We've also spent days if not weeks lamenting the fact that gymnastics is no longer the artistic sport it once was, that competitions are no longer held the way they once were, etc. Often these conversations ended in a mega-frustrated "Can't the FIG see what it's doing? Don't they watch their own competitions?"

Well, it appears they don't. Or at least their PR people and webmasters don't.

We were pretty shocked to see the number of typos in the names of the gymnasts whose presence at the World Cup Final the FIG has confirmed over the last few days (read the two top posts here to see what we mean). These are famous gymnasts, and it seems their own federation can't be bothered to spell their names correctly. Worrying, isn't it?

But it gets worse. Guess what we found when we checked out the FIG's Olympic photo gallery?

It started with this photo. According to the FIG, it's He Kexin, which confused us momentarily as we thought He only did bars in Beijing and sheep jumps aren't often encountered on bars. (Although we do think it would be a cool element to tack on to a routine. Seriously, try picturing it: A toe-on to squat on the high bar, followed by a sheep jump, straight into a Korbut flip, straight into a Pak. We know it's forbidden to stand or land on the bar like that but it would be cool!)

Then we saw this photo, supposedly of He again, and that's when we realized that the FIG doesn't have a clue about its own champions.

They must have realized it themselves too, for on the next page of the gallery they stopped naming the gymnasts, assigning them numbers instead. For obviously it was way too hard to identify this gymnast, right? Or this one? Or, you know, this one?

With a webmaster that clueless, we're no longer surprised that the FIG does the things it does. They obviously don't care about the sport they're supposed to represent. Alarming, isn't it?

P.S. We do give the FIG props for posting this picture of our beloved Sandra. That's pretty damn funny. Does anyone know what was going on there?


  1. I love your blog!!!

  2. That's a really interesting take on FIG screwing up yet again and you're absolutely right, if they're PR/Website apparatus is that screwed up something is really wrong.

    I actually work in PR so I know sure sometimes a name can be mispelled, or there's a misstep, but to have a website misidentifying gymnasts, and having multiple spelling errors is ridiculous.

    So many institutions seem to have declined in all parts of life, FIG seems to have done the same.

    It's a very good point that your post has made and it really is an indicator of a much larger problem.

  3. This blog is fantastic. Keep up the amazing work!

  4. Wow, that's pretty sad to see. Highly doubtful that they'd be too busy, or lacking knowledgeable staff.

    hahaha, I saw that picture of Sandra a while ago and thought the same thing

  5. Adorable pic of Sandra. I've noticed that she makes lots of cute faces on the sidelines.

    As for the FIG, has anybody tried creating an anti-FIG protest organization, complete w/ petitions and a website? It seems worth a shot.

  6. Thanks for the kind words, anonymous commenters! We intend to keep it up for a while and hope you'll stick around to read.

    DaveGymnastics, we really believe the FIG site is an indicator of a much larger problem, as you put it. Admittedly the site is better than it used to be, but still, not recognizing your own champions is a pretty big no-no. It's disrespectful and more proof that the FIG doesn't take its athletes seriously. They really deserve every bit of flak they're getting.

    Final Anonymous, we've been thinking of petitioning the FIG for changes for some time. We were thinking of using this blog for that purpose when we have a few more readers, but you're right, an actual organization with a website of its own might be the way to go. We'll look into it when the competitive season is over and we'll have time for such things!

    captureflow and final Anonymous, the more we see of Sandra, the more we adore her. We hope to find many more picture of her like that one. ;-)

  7. Possibilities for what Sandra is doing in that picture:
    1. She's thinking, "OMG! We are totally gonna medal in the team final!"
    2. She had rabies.