Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

It seems that even international federations that have a negative attitude towards Russians and Belarusians have begun to understand that the criteria for admitting athletes from these countries to international tournaments have become too strict. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has decided to ease the conditions for our athletes. It is true that a whim changes little.

Strict criteria

In July it was decided that Russian and Belarusian gymnasts could participate in international competitions from January 1, 2024. However, the “neutrality” criteria were not published until November. In addition to the usual comments about the lack of communication with law enforcement agencies and support from the Central Military District, about performances without national symbols and the participation only of individual athletes, other unusual demands arose.

For example, Russians and Belarusians could not play music in their native languages. Additionally, gymnasts had to compete exclusively in light blue leotards and athletes in light blue t-shirts and white pants. Additionally, all rhythmic gymnastics equipment must be made in white.

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These additional points caused a wave of emotions. Olympic silver medalist Yana Batyrshina called it a “mockery.”

“Before these new criteria, I always said we had to act anyway. We are no strangers to acting without a flag or anthem. But the new criteria are completely cruel,” Batyrshina explained. – Now, if you have an exercise from “Kalinka-Malinka” or any Russian song, you must change it. You can’t play with Russian music.

We are used to the fact that in rhythmic gymnastics the image is created, among other things, with the help of a leotard and apparatus. And under the new criteria, all gymnasts’ equipment and leotards must be pale blue. If you have the image of Carmen, how are you going to act in blue and white? Of course, everything is possible, we are all professionals and we may not pay attention to it, but now we appreciate art. Typically the judges evaluate how the image, swimsuit, makeup and objects match the music. I don’t understand how they will do this now. Will we have to do all four exercises with soft music to match the look? And if a gymnast abandons the conditional Carmen, will they deduct points or give her a position? There are many nuances. In general, everything is terrible: one gymnast, only individual gymnasts, no groups. It’s like they’re making fun of us!

If you have the image of Carmen, how are you going to act in blue and white?

Photo: Daria Kuzovleva, “Championship”

Has the warm-up started?

FIG probably understood the particular rigidity of the additional criteria and realized how important image is primarily in rhythmic gymnastics. On December 22, the International Federation removed the clause on light blue clothing and white objects from the neutrality criteria.

In the new edition of the rules, no color restrictions are imposed on athletes. Gymnasts must simply coordinate their form and apparatus with FIG. At the same time, the ban on the use of national symbols remains. If a gymnast appears on the platform or mat with a different costume than originally agreed, he will be removed from the competition.

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In fact, now athletes will not be hostages to the tender images that Batyrshina spoke about. Russians and Belarusians can act calmly, for example, in red swimsuits with the conditional Carmen. At the same time, it is obvious that the FIG will not approve any combination of white, blue and red, nor any reference to national culture, be it Khokhloma or bears.

“We will never again act without a flag”

But this relaxation of criteria is unlikely to affect the participation of Russians in international competitions. The heads of Russian artistic and rhythmic gymnastics have already stated that our athletes are not going anywhere.

“Until recently, in Europe we could only claim a place for the Olympic Games. But why is it necessary? Without a flag, without anthem, without communication, without fans, with a special uniform, with special music that would be selected for rhythmic gymnastics. It would be a shame if we went there. I think this will be very humiliating for Russia. But Russian rhythmic gymnastics will definitely not get there and we will never again perform without the Russian flag and anthem,” said WFHG President Irina Viner.

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“We do not agree to participate in these competitions until the requirements that added to the neutral status change. “These conditions are simply destroying us,” said Russian artistic gymnastics team coach Valentina Rodionenko. — Athletes participating in law enforcement, Dynamo, CSKA and the army are not allowed, even if it involves military service. They invented a flag for us, naturally, without our symbols or our anthem. “Many humiliating demands.”

Obviously, the main obstacle in this case was not the criteria for the color of the suits. Therefore, once conditions are relaxed, nothing will change for the Russians. But for Belarusians, many things can change: gymnasts did not refuse to participate in competitions, which means that now it will be at least a little easier for them to perform at international competitions.



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