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April 12, 1959 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-04-12

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Women's Gym Outlook Bad


ing golden pony tail says unhesi-
tatingly, "and we'll never catch
up until we change them."
This is a highly controversial
subject and Miss Russell knows
her opinions sting many ears.
"But someone must start the
ball rolling. Since I'm a physical
education major and hope to do
research on new techniques, I feel
I might as well try."
"First, we have to start the girls
in gymnastics much sooner," she
says. "Russian girls usually have
competed for 13 years before they
ever enter the Olympics. Most of
us have only five or six years ex-
"Our girls should start from the
time they enter kindergarten, fol-
lowing through with the rhythmic
games that are played then."
This brings in the major change
Miss Russell advocates, and one
she hopes to carry out as a coach
two years hence.
"The ideal training method is
to use modern dance, tumbling
and ballet and tie them together,"
she says. "If I had my way I
would concentrate on ballet stu-
dies first and then go into the
gyn. This is the key to beating
the Russians."
Miss Russell continues, "Ballet
and music are becoming more and
more important. Gymnastics is
called poetry in motion but we
don't know what this means until
we see the Russian girls in action.
"We have just as much talent
as they do but we don't use it.
They take a simple step and make
it look like a million dollars. The
difference between Russian and
American female gymnasts is like
night an dday. They're the leaders
and we must follow."
The use of music and ballet
techniques are the primary differ-
ences between womens' and mens'
gymnastics. Since the majority of
girls in the United States and
Canada are coached by men, there
apparently has been little varia-
tion in the type of training for
"When we walked into the sta-
dium at Australia in the '56
Olympics," recalls Miss Russell, "it
was the first time we had ever
heard of using ballet music in
time to the routines. We were al-
most shocked. But music is being
used in the free exercise events
over here now.
"In fact, music has become such
an important aspect in Russia,"
she says, "that they have com-
posers who do nothing but com-
pose music for gymnasts."
Miss Russell also pointed out
the difference in the shape of
Russian and Western girls.

"It's often thought that Russia's
girl gymnasts are pretty chunky
but they actually have the most
beautiful figures of all," she says.
"They achieve them t h r o u g h
proper training and massage.
Most of our girls are heavy on the
tops of the legs, illustrating the
faulty training methods."
"A lot of us end a practice ses-
sion with bumps and bruises be-
cause we try to do too many dif-
ficult things. The important thing
is to do simple routines and do
them well."
Although Americans and Cana-
dians have a lot of ground to
make up to catch the Russians,
Miss Russell believes we aren't
losing any.
"Actually the girls here in this
AAU meet have made tremendous
strides. But there's so much more
to be done.
"After graduation, I want to
start a group of girls with ballet
and follow their progress," she
says. "This is pretty much the
Russian technique, but they're so
far ahead of us we can only at-
tempt to copy them now."

OLYMPIC BEAUTY-Ernestine Russell, a member of the Cana.
dian Olympic Gym Team in 1956 and a Michigan. State coed,
goes through her paces in yesterday's Michigan AAU Champion-
ships at the I-M Building. Miss Russell won three first places.

Michigan State Gymnastics Twosome
Big Winners in AA U Championships

Michigan Staters Goni Browsh
and Ernestine Russell dominated
the Michigan AAU Gymnastic
meet yesterday at the I-M Build-
ing by grabbing eight firsts in the
senior men's and women's divi-
Browsh, a freshman competing
unattached, captured five firsts in-
cluding the all-around title. Miss
Russell, 1956 Canadian Olympic
representative, took three cham-
pionships and a second.

ten-times defending champ Illinois
next year.
For Osterlind, it was the first
time he had ever competed in an
official meet of any kind.
Just Walked In
-Said Loken, "He just walked in
last fall, said he wanted to com-
pete in gymnastics for Michigan,
and here he wins the tumbling. It
was a fine performance and in-
dicative of the determination he
Osterlind also finished third on
the trampoline.
Loken's brilliant coaching was
evident even in the junior girls'
division as his 12-yr.-old daugh-

ter, Chris, was first on the tram-
Team cahampionships: Mens'
Senior Division -Central Michi-
gan; Womens' Senior Division'(A)
-Flint; Women's Senior Division
(B-Flint; Junior Mens' Division
-Ionia; Junior Womens' Divi-
sion-Flint Gold.






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