For Parents Virtual meets and fairness

profmom

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I wouldn't want every meet or even most meets to be like this, but it's kind of cool to have a virtual meet where everyone can send in their best routines and see how they do. Our guys are entered into such a meet and they have a two-week period to record. Just something a little different and fun at a time when everything is so messed up and grim.
 

cmg

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I think given these crazy times, the ability to send a video in to qualify for a meet is fine, even if it is their "best" video after several takes. However I would hope that for a State or Regional meet once you have qualified that all results should either be live, or you get your one take and that is it. Honesty is the best policy, although I am sure there would be some coaches not following that policy, but even then being dishonest is on them and they have to live with themselves. Would I be upset if my kid missed out because someone took several takes? Yes, but in the end she hopefully still had great routines, and I don't think I would ever find out if another team cheated.
 

katrid11

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retakes? I don't think that is really fair. Part of competition is that you need to perform "on the spot - under pressure". But there are cheaters out there. There are coaches redshirting girls to plump up their gym's scores. No sport is immune to dishonesty - only question is how tight can USAG make the regulations to avoid most of it. COVID virtual events is a new item to everyone. Newness = chance to cheat. Best thing to do is celebrate your child's accomplishments and move on.
 
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LJL07

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Ok, let me start off by saying I am a new gymnastics mom. My kids started xcel team this year. Obviously some kids are more talented and coaches love that- I get it- really I do. My kids are not going to be olympic gymnasts and they won't get any college scholarships, but they work hard and they do have some individual talents and strengths. They had a virtual meet, I had to work but my husband went with the girls. Their coaches recorded them and then sent in the videos to be scored. He told me later that one of the girls fell off of the bars and they allowed a "retake". She usually has a great bar routine. But still, if it was at a real meet, she wouldn't have had a second chance right? He believes he saw them also allow another kid to redo her beam routine. Looking at scores today the kid that fell placed first in her age group. The girls in second and third had higher scores on vault, beam and floor. It's not like my kids would have been in first place if she fell. It's just making me so mad knowing that they would do that and the kid in second missed by 0.05 points! My husband is the kind of person who won't say anything about nothing and doesn't want to make the coaches mad because he believes they will take it out on the girls. But if the year will be spent doing virtual competitions, what if they continue doing this? Should I say something?
Anyways, like I said- I wasn't there. But even my kids said she got a second chance when it was her turn.
Well, at our gym, our coach let one girl take THREE turns on the bars right in front of my eyes, and he submitted her third video as if it were the full routine (he did not submit the first two videos with the falls). This was for an optional level group. The girl who took the three turns on the bars won first all around and the girl behind her who only took one turn on each event was crushed as she rightfully should have won the all-around. My daughter who was in a different age group definitely took note of it and was concerned that it was "cheating." Well, yes, I think it was cheating and unfair to the other girls and the other gyms participating. I thought it was pretty crummy and I think the rules need to be very clear for the virtual meets.
 

LJL07

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I wouldn't want every meet or even most meets to be like this, but it's kind of cool to have a virtual meet where everyone can send in their best routines and see how they do. Our guys are entered into such a meet and they have a two-week period to record. Just something a little different and fun at a time when everything is so messed up and grim.
Sure. If ALL of the kids are given that opportunity. I think that could be fun and different as well. Unfair though to only allow one child that opportunity.
 

profmom

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LJL, did the girl who "rightfully should have won" hit her routines? And did other kids who fell also get a retake? If the decision rule, applied across the board, was redo a routine with a fall if desired and all gyms were following this rule, it's different than how meets usually work but not unfair. It would be like saying "OMG it is so wrong that girls get two vaults! They should only get one like the boys do!"
 
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LJL07

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LJL, did the girl who "rightfully should have won" hit her routines? And did other kids who fell also get a retake? If the decision rule, applied across the board, was redo a routine with a fall if desired and all gyms were following this rule, it's different than how meets usually work but not unfair. It would be like saying "OMG it is so wrong that girls get two vaults! They should only get one like the boys do!"
The girl who "rightfully should have won" fell off the beam. She did not get a redo on the beam. She took one turn on each event (aside from the two vaults typically done). No one else got a redo on any event. Another child fell off on the bars and did not get a redo. The only child offered a "redo" was the girl who took three turns. So the child who should have won the all around would have won even with her fall on beam. The two falls off the bars were not counted towards the kid who took three turn's bar score. I thought it was ridiculous, but I don't know why anything surprises me anymore. :p

ETA: The routines were posted on a website from all gyms, and I saw plenty of falls across levels. So looks to me like the rules were one routine per event as if it were a real meet. I agree with you that if all of the kids participating are given the opportunity to redo the routine or submit their best performance, that is fair. That was not the case here.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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Gymnastics isn't fair or equal. It never has been, and it never will be. Some kids have more natural strength, some kids have more natural flexibility, some kids have better intuition for the mechanics of skills, some kids are more comfortable in the air, some kids have access to better facilities, some kids have access to better coaches, some kids can afford more private lessons, etc, etc, etc.

Differences in lighting and camera angle in a virtual meet are but one more thing to add to the long list of things about gymnastics that are unfair. But unless you're competing for a scholarship or a spot on the national team, differences of plus or minus a few tenths are ultimately inconsequential. And during a global pandemic, I can think of a million things that rank higher on the priority list than "avoiding negligible and inconsequential scoring biases in amateur youth sports."

As long as we're keeping kids healthy and active, they're getting what they need to be getting out of the sport. I don't see any reason to worry about whether camera angles might have bumped some kid's score up or down by a tenth or two.

As for allowing retakes, honestly I think it might even make things more fair, by removing a little bit of luck from the equation. Sometimes you have a random fall where you wouldn't normally, and this happens to even the best gymnasts. By allowing a retake, you're removing the element of luck from the equation, and allowing the gymnast to show the best she's capable of. Isn't that what we ultimately want at meets? For each athlete to show the best they are capable of?
(That said, I would prefer for there to be a policy applied across the board: say, each gymnast can have at most two retakes, and state that up front)
 
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LJL07

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Gymnastics isn't fair or equal. It never has been, and it never will be. Some kids have more natural strength, some kids have more natural flexibility, some kids have better intuition for the mechanics of skills, some kids are more comfortable in the air, some kids have access to better facilities, some kids have access to better coaches, some kids can afford more private lessons, etc, etc, etc

As for allowing retakes, honestly I think it might even make things more fair, by removing a little bit of luck from the equation. Sometimes you have a random fall where you wouldn't normally, and this happens to even the best gymnasts. By allowing a retake, you're removing the element of luck from the equation, and allowing the gymnast to show the best she's capable of. Isn't that what we ultimately want at meets? For each athlete to show the best they are capable of?
(That said, I would prefer for there to be a policy applied across the board: say, each gymnast can have at most two retakes, and state that up front)
Sure. I agree. And I wouldn’t quibble over lighting or camera angles either. Two falls is approaching more than random bad luck though. I think the coach believed the girl who took three turns was capable of a high bar score, and that’s why he let her take three turns. Unfortunately, bad luck happens at meets and is part of competing. My biggest issue with this situation is that no other children were given the opportunity for a retake. For what it’s worth, I didn’t have much of a personal dog in this fight.
 

MuggleMom

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For me for virtual meets there should be clear rules set out front that are clearly followed for everyone at your gym. You cant control what may happen else where but if my gym followed the rules equally that would be what would matter to me. What is described above
My biggest issue with this situation is that no other children were given the opportunity for a retake.

That I would take issue with. And then the girl who fell has to deal with that too people looking at her that its not fair and knowing she maybe shouldnt have gotten those medals....thats not cool, putting that kind of pressure on a kid.
 

profmom

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I agree that the optics are terrible, but it is possible that something other than blatant favoritism was operating. My DD had a teammate who struggled with backwards issues on beam for years but nonetheless managed to fight her way through to L10. I could imagine a coach at some point deciding that for some meaningless meet in the middle of a pandemic, this particular kid needed the "win" of competing a routine without a fall, and everyone in that workout group who had watched her struggles understanding and supporting this.

I don't think this a likely explanation for what happened in the above-reported scenario, but I think it's worth keeping in mind that things aren't always what they appear to be from the outside.
 
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MILgymFAM

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I agree that the optics are terrible, but it is possible that something other than blatant favoritism was operating. My DD had a teammate who struggled with backwards issues on beam for years but nonetheless managed to fight her way through to L10. I could imagine a coach at some point deciding that for some meaningless meet in the middle of a pandemic, this particular kid needed the "win" of competing a routine without a fall, and everyone in that workout group who had watched her struggles understanding and supporting this.

I don't think this a likely explanation for what happened in the above-reported scenario, but I think it's worth keeping in mind that things aren't always what they appear to be from the outside.
Even in that scenario it discounts the possible needs (and feelings) of everyone else competing. “Needing” a win isn’t the same as deserving one- that only comes by playing by the rules of that sport/meet/day and coming out on top. I remember when I’ve seen a do-over in a live gymnastics meet. It knocked my daughter out of a first place that would have been a HUGE deal to her. Even if the adults involved thought they were doing what’s best for one girl, they clearly weren’t considering all the others.