August 1, 2012

Uneven Bars

Last night, I watched U.S. female gymnasts win Olympic gold in the team competition. I have long enjoyed these competitions with a combination of appreciation and amazement. The balance beam has always seemed the scariest apparatus, but performances on the uneven bars invariably have proven to be the most exciting events.

Like many others, I’m sure, I fell in love with the uneven bars when I saw Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10 performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. (See video below) I’ve noticed, however, that both performances and the bars themselves have changed over the years. Performances have become much more athletic and jaw-dropping—this is particularly true of dismounts—and the bars have been moved farther apart. This latter change has made some moves impossible, but it has enabled others.

Nadia Comăneci’s perfect performance at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

I am hardly a gymnastics expert, so I recommend that anyone as fascinated by the uneven bars as I am to read the Wikipedia article on the apparatus. For a more visual illustration of the evolution of performances on the uneven bars over the years, I recommend viewing the video below.

The Uneven Bars Evolution: 50s – 2010.

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