interview of the FIG President Grandi with the Chinese daily newspaper
On January 22, 2010, the Chinese daily newspaper Tianjin Daily released an interview of the FIG President Grandi (ITA), in which he highlighted the inestimable contribution of Chinese gymnasts to his sport.
‘The contribution of Chinese gymnastics is inestimable,’ stated Grandi. ‘And the reasons for this are manifold. Most important is the strong gymnastic tradition in Chinese culture. Gymnastics is body language much akin to the Chinese martial arts Wu Shu and Tai Chi Chuan, for which China still generates the world’s greatest masters (sifu). Gymnastics is also, and above all, a movement necessary for the human body. I have often observed the Chinese as they perform their morning “gymnastics” outdoors. It is very similar to what you see in our discipline.’
On Education, the FIG Premier clearly underlined the attention to be paid to gymnasts: ‘Educating educators is a civic, intelligent and responsible act. We at the FIG understood early on the importance of educating our coaches so that they would in turn train their gymnasts under an ethical banner. When a parent entrusts a coach with his child, he wants to be sure that coach has the competency to get the job done right. He expects it. When you board an airplane, do you ask yourself if the pilot has a license?’
During his career, Prof. Grandi has seen quite a bit of change and revolution over the past sixty years. For better or worse, the sport has gone from being an amateur activity to boasting professional elite athletes. ‘Let’s start with for better. Gymnastics has become accessible to everyone. It has created a social status and contributed to individual and collective fulfilment. It plays an incredible economic role, and continues to fascinate fans worldwide and inspire and galvanize us into action when we need it most. For worse? There is the corruption that goes hand in hand with money, doping and cheating. I have been fighting against it since first I entered the world of sport. Today more than ever we need to be vigilant, sounding the alarm whenever danger is near. Without a sense of sport justice, demise is not long in coming; and as a sport disappears, humanity’s inherent goodness will fade along with it.’
‘We abolished the perfect 10 simply because it was outdated. An open Difficulty does not translate into the breaking of new records. To the contrary. As its name would suggest, the FIG’s star discipline is above all Artistic. This is precisely what certain gymnasts and their coaches had forgotten. So I took it upon myself to remind them. The Code is and will be written in such a way as to encourage the artistic aspect, which is Execution. Body expression is at the core of our sport. Risk taking is dangerous, and it doesn’t pay. It is both reckless and unwise. My concern is to protect our gymnasts. As I just said, we need to be careful when strategy setting. What brings more to the sport? Increased Difficulty? More Artistic content? My answer is simple. Quality over quantity. You’ll get more for your money!’