ONE COACH’S JOURNEY FROM EAST TO WEST:
HOW THE FALL OF THE IRON CURTAIN CHANGED THE WORLD OF GYMNASTICS
Until the fall of the Soviet Union the West and the Communists were engaged not only in a heated arms race but a race for Olympic gold, and Moscow poured tremendous resources into the effort, attracting some of the country’s greatest minds.
Author Vladimir Zaglada provides a look inside some of the Soviet Union’s gymnastics “think tanks,” such as the Moscow’s Lenin Institute. One Coach’s Journey from East to West also introduces us to some of the brilliant and colorful figures that have advanced the art of gymnastics and examines how the flood of coaching talent into the West has shifted the “balance of power.”
The force of this “flood” has been somewhat impeded by cultural and language barriers, which are also discussed in the book.
“Hot topics” such as the relentless increase in the difficulty level of artistic gymnastics are also discussed and a number of technical issues are covered, complete with illustrations.
Zaglada provides a rare look inside the world of Soviet gymnastics at its height and provides information never before published in English. Did the machinery that cranked out Soviet gymnastics champions allow for a happy childhood? Why has the balance of power in gymnastics shifted in America’s favor – but will Russia retake the throne? The rigid line between “amateurs” (who are true professionals in almost all senses of the word) and professionals – is the “amateur” in “amateur gymnastics sacred? Is there an ideal physique for women’s gymnastics? How much of current American coaching practice can be traced back to Soviet sports institutes? Ever heard of the “profile system”? What is the difference between an Arabian, an Onodi, and a Mostepanova? Why a few basic terms are constant sources of confusion. How effective was the system of incentives for Soviet gymnasts and coaches? How did the nomenklatura system of privileges and patronage impact Soviet gymnastics?