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Gymnastics/somersault height

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Question
Hi,
I know next to nothing about gymnastics, but when I watch gymnasts as they do the floor exercises for example in the Olympics, they perform multiple somersaults finishing with a final tremendous very high somersault. It always seems to me that the height above the floor of some of the somersaults especially the final one is higher than when I watch the high jumpers jumping over the bar. I wonder if performing somersaults and then using the last one to leap as high as possible would enable the athlete to clear a higher bar than the high jumpers do at present.
That was hard to explain but I hope it made sense!
Thanks, Ray

Answer
Hello Ray,
         I am very glad to help you.  You have an interesting point.  In college I tried and did a round off back handspring Arabian dive roll over a 6’6” high jump rail for fun.  That was a short time before Dick Fosbury did his history breaking jump…..now called the Fosbury flop.  I do not know what the rules are for the approach but it would be interesting to see a gymnast go over a high jump rail.  There are some dynamics to the way a high jumper goes (basically parallel to the rail….where a gymnast might come in perpendicular.  The high jumpers arc from take off to over the rail seems pretty up and down.  The tumbler would have some trouble with that.  Also remember the normal floor exercise surface is padded with about 1,800 springs under it.  The surface change for the tumbler would be a challenge.  I like your question and I wonder…..in time which would be the most successful technique.  Thanks for the question and take care – Jack Leonard

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Jack Leonard

Expertise

Former 5 time Natl. Tumbling Champ, 3 time Natl. Vaulting Champ, Natl. Floor Exercise Champ; Ass`t coach of Dominique Dawes for 6 years; Owner/Director/Head coach of Kauai Gymnastics Academy on the island of Kauai in Hawaii; Retired Physical Ed teacher; Childrens Fitness Expert; Expert Consultant for gymnastics litigation; Retired Mens & Womens HS Gymnastics coach for 32 years. National coaching honors for Men in 1981 & Women in 2001.

Experience

I value the following awards because they were given by acknowlegement through my peers: The Nissen/Grissold Award given to the outstanding Tumbling and Tramp Athlete(1972), National High School coach of the year in 1981 for men and 2001 for women, 10 time County Coach of the Year. Medal Award given at the first World Tumbling Championships in London, England for dedication to the sport. Lastly, having the opportunity to coach Wes Suter(1988 Olympian)in his intermediate years and Dominique Dawes(1992 & 1996)

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