One thing i miss terribly from gymnastics days gone by: the super stuck landings. And i don’t think I am alone.
For me, that absolute smash and stick was the total cherry on the cake to set the tone of the judging to a great start. I used to (and still do when watching repeats) get massively wound up when commentators missed the point of a good landing, and (somewhat repetitively) I must call upon good old NBC for my example here. I remember one Olympics Al saying something along the lines of “I always think it is a shame that the majority of the score doesn’t come from what’s going on in the air”.
In fairness to Al, I don’t think he is the only person to think this way. My problem with this interpretation is its blatant inaccuracy. The majority of the score DID and DOES come from what is going on in the air. With the ten system, people seemed to subconsciously consider the first 6 or 7 points in the score as an unmoveable, ever present rock bearing no resemblance to the routine. A landing only takes off a few tenths: it was never the majority of the score. To be perfectly honest I wouldn’t mind seeing landing deductions that were that bit harsher.
Whether you agree with landing deductions (past or present) or disagree with them, one fact seems undeniable: the landing is far less of a focus than it once was. As recently as 2004 it seemed like the landing was super important. Nowadays it is still a deductable factor, but cannot compete with the D score in terms of scoreboard impact. Sadly, the FIG decided to impose extra landing deductions this quad on the only apparatus where sticking is not a priority.
With the new code looming I am hoping for a greater focus on landing deductions amongst a million other things. While thinking about this I pondered the different types of landings we have seen over the years, and how they often fall into distinct categories. Here are just a few.
The easy, breezy, beautiful: cover girl landing
Spectators and judges alike know a bad landing when they see one. Be it short, deep, overrotated or under: we have seen enough to know one instantly. But it never stopped people from trying their best to cover up. I kind of enjoy that kind of theatrical side to the sport, and whilst these are by no means my favourite endings to a routine they are fun nonetheless.
The stealthy landing
These are those great finales that look delicate enough to shatter like glass. Landings like this appear to defy the laws of physics: how is it possible to harness all that power yet making the force of landing look like a marshmallow being dropped on a bouncy castle?
The knife in the table landing
Perfect form, perfect landing, perfect body position. These are the real top shelfers in terms of power and execution, and to me epitomize what gymnastics can be and SHOULD be all about. I would rather see a full twisting Yurchenko landed this way than a DTY with a hunchback and a step.
The “bend and snap” landing
If you can’t do a double pike: don’t do a double pike
As usual I would love to hear your thoughts. YOUR favourite landings?