Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why have I not heard of this gymnast before? Yvonne Tousek

I was searching through youtube gymnastics videos as I often do out of boredom. One particular video had caught my attention. It was of a Canadian gymnast named Michelle Conway.

I adored her gymnastics. It was graceful, the choreography was exquisite and I loved her backward switch leap, (if that's what it's actually called.)

I decided to continue looking through videos and came across this:

My first thought was "Boginskaya". Her choreography, her body type and her movement in general was screaming out Svetlana Boginskaya!

And then I found this video of the same routine:

Suddenly, she seemed more like Khorki material. The hair style, the body type (again) and the poise and gracefulness she portrayed in her gymnastics was like that of Svetlana Khorkina...

As I continued looking through vids, I was surprised to find a very young looking and unpolished gem of a gymnast in the 1996 Olympics who was again, Yvonne Tousek...

I was, at first, unimpressed with her beam. I was catching minor deductions in her dance and tumbling, but certain things caught my eye. The first thing was that unusual turn where she steps back onto her left foot, lifts up her right and does a really quick full turn. I had to rewind the clip over and over again to figure out what she was actually doing. And then came the most amazing thing...And I was totally unprepared for it.

I was not expecting much. Maybe a front aerial into a jump or something along that line. Instead she pulled out a front handspring, front tuck! The form was a bit sloppy in the legs but the height into the front tuck was superb! Plus I had rarely ever seen that connection performed on beam. I think one gymnast from Parkettes did it a few years ago and there was a video I recently came across where a gymnast does a flyspring, front tuck for her mount onto the beam. Either way, this was a rare skill combo and I was impressed!

I looked through a few more video clips she was in.

I was once again impressed with the choreography and maturity she portrayed in her 1996 floor routine. She looks young, but her ability to perform was definitly something she had mastered at a young age.

Finally, I looked through some of her college routines.

I sat through the whole 6 minutes and 38 seconds to watch every single one of her routines. I was afraid that I might miss something and thus kept my eyes glued to the screen. I loved her originality, her quirky choreography, her strange skills and even tumbling. In her first routine of the four, she does a unique combination of tumbling skills. I had never seen a round-off, back full, arabian into a fronthandspring step out.

Needless to say, I had fallen in love with this girl's gymnastics yet I have never, ever heard of her! This bothers me because I have been apart of this sport for the last 17 years of my life. I can tell you about gymnasts from the 1970's all the way to the present. I can even tell you certain skills that each one performed in their routines, I can tell you what their floor music is. I could tell you who had bizarre choreography and I can tell you whose careers ended too quickly because of injury. It annoys me that the press has to only show footage of the top, oh say, like 6 gymnasts in the world. I have videos from the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. I have watched them over and over again since I was a young gymnast. I can literally quote Tim Dagget, Elfi Schlegal and John Tesh and yet I had never seen or heard of this beautiful and strangely exquisite gymnast. Something needs to change this.

I am sick of the constant attention that particular gymnasts such as Nasty Liukin,

Shawn (Rabbit-face) Johnson

& even Jordan Beiber *ahem* Weiber get on a daily basis. There are other extremely talented, beautiful and incredible gymnasts out there who aren't getting noticed. The public needs to see them too, in my opinion.

And I really want to see more gymnasts like Yvonne Tousek!