Does anyone else have the stupid skin coloured support rule ???

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
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Jun 26, 2009
That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard!!! Most of my team, if fact, all of my team wears black knee braces, sometimes to meets. And the bra strap deal, that stuff is legendary! It would be ridiculous for a gymnast in say, level 9 to try to do her routine with out a bra. Personally, as a judge, I would prefer they wear a bra, straps showing or not.

Dec 29, 2007
As a team director I have rules for colors of supports for good reason. I have learned through experience to require a skin-colored supports and wraps, bandages.

I had one gymnast who did a side leap at a meet that had a black knee brace on. Her floor score came up lower than I thought it should be and I put in an inquiry. The result of the inquiry showed she was deducted for the split on her side leap. It so happens there was a professional photographer that sold pics at the meet. This photographer caught her side leap and it the split on her side leap was above 180. It was a gorgeous pic and I analyzed the video from mom and noticed that it appeared a little low. In stop action though it was above 180 degree.

Now my rationale... all straddle positions (splits too) hit 180 only once BUT on the way up and the way down it shows other lower angles twice. The black braces draw the eye to them and blur the lines making judging them more likely to be inaccurate. If it even has a possibility of negatively affecting my gymnast I am NOT going to do it.

Then one year I was judging Level 4 vault. The girl salutes me and as she was running down the run way I noticed she had something around her knee. It was purple but as she got closer I noticed it was rainbow colored. I totally WAS distracted. It was unfair to that gymnast that I was drawn to the wrap versus her vault. I out that problem squarely on the shoulders of the coach. Like a coach that allows a tall gymnast to hit the mat on a swing on bars. Same category. It is a coaching error!

But it was a good judging and coaching lesson for me. So I made a rule in the gym competition policy that the braces must not be noticeable. When I look back on my previous years of coaching and gymnasts videos. I noticed all the distracting wraps I did allow and the difference in aesthetics versus my rules now. I stand behind my rules and I don't see that changing. Being judged in gymnastics is one thing working out in the gym is another. I want clean looking lines...PERIOD.


I agree with EntrReality... to a point. I was a gymnast who constantly jammed my ankles on vault & floor landings so I taped for competitions quite frequently. I learned the difference between the plain white tape and using a more natural skin colored bandage towards the end of my career. I always taped with regular white tape and then covered the tape job with CoBan (beige veterinary/equine wrap). Worked like a charm.

However, for some athletes there is no choice. You can not find the neoprene very often and for many manufacturers the material of choice is the black or blue neoprene. Some athletes recovering from knee surgeries use the hard fiberglass kind of streamlined fiberglass hinged knee braces. Unless you get the super expensive custom model that actually casts the fiberglass individually, black is the only color that is affordable or maybe even covered by insurance.

There has to be some amount of reasoning to it.

I do know that USAG R & P for the Junior Olympic Program, does not deduct for supports, bandages or braces of any kind. It is true that the colors and bulkiness of these items can detract a judge from a perceived line, making a straight leg maybe seem not fully extended or tight, or an unpointed toe stand out more, etc. My recommendation for coaches/parents/gymnasts is to make whatever they use as least obtrusive as possible, but if it just can't be made to blend... don't worry about. I can't speak for other governing bodies of gymnastics around the nation, i.e. USAIGC, AAU, YMCA, High School Associations, etc.
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