But Why Get Angry?

Why do rhythmic gymnastics coaches get so angry? Other than the obvious answer: because they are human beings, too.

Well, let me start by saying that I am not discussing coaches in other sports and I will not use any of the hundreds of videos of soccer coaches, basketball coaches or other coaches yelling at athletes (or at referees, for that matter). But I will put a video of Irina Viner here, which has captured some of her angriest moments, and some where she is applauding, too:

The part where she is clearly rude to Zarina Gizikova after a messy club routine is a very popular segment. Many have used it to point what a terrible person Viner is. And, on top of that, she also calls Kabaeva fat. I mean, imagine the thousands of hours these gymnasts spend in practice with Viner that nobody is there to film. It must be a nightmare. She is one angry person. Totally can't control herself. Right?

Well, let's think about it logically. Gizikova was a fine gymnast, who, in this instance, did a truly terrible job. But let me remind you that there are hundreds of girls in Russia who could perform this routine. Viner has coached many of these girls and, if she isn't working with them, she knows where to find them for sure. So why yell at Gizikova? Why not just tell her that she will no longer compete for the national team and replace her with the next extremely talented person? You know, anger and resentment do not "get you anywhere."

The thing is, by yelling at Gizikova, Viner is not trying to "get somewhere." There is no list of goals under her arm that she could check off one by one. That checklist is in the gym when they train: do this element 100 times, check, and then, the next one. Actually, all of these goals have been accomplished anyway. Gizikova CAN do and HAS done this routine without mistakes many times. We all have seen her do it and so have her coaches. She just made a mess out of it, this time around. Getting angry doesn't make it better and leads nowhere. It won't get you a gold medal. The clubs are lying on the floor.

Except, you know, no one gets angry thinking that she will accomplish a specific goal. "Let me scream for 5 minutes, this will fix the problem," said nobody ever. Everyone knows full well, even as they scream in anger, that they will achieve nothing by doing it.

So why would a powerful, middle-aged and very, very successful person act so blatantly mad? I mean, we are not talking about a confused teenager here. This is not a driver stuck in traffic either. What do you think?

I think she just cares. She cares about this girl, who, to everyone else, is just another one of hundreds of gymnasts. Replaceable, even to the fans. I think that when you like and love somebody and when you have spent countless hours with them working on something, a shared dream perhaps, or even just a job, you know, a paying job, you would feel very misguided not to get angry when they fail. It would mean that you never expected anything good of this person and of yourself. If Viner didn't believe Gizikova to be capable of great things, she would have never yelled at her. She would have never coached her either.

Call it what you will; I'd call it " a natural consequence of commitment." All people should reserve the right to get really mad every once in a while at those who they find worth the trouble. Yes, anger will accomplish absolutely nothing. But, although we like to look at sports, or at life, as a series of accomplishments, that series has to start somewhere. It starts when you decide that you want to be someone's friend, or coach, or colleague. The one and only way to avoid anger with certainty is to never put your heart into anything at all.


Legendary Gymnast and Coach Irina Deriugina Urges: Please Don't Allow Blood to Be Spilled

In a one-minute address to President Putin, the world champion and coach of many champions, Irina Deriugina of the Ukraine,reminds everyone that Russians and Ukrainians are brothers and sisters:

"Dear Russians, I address you because we were all born in the same country. I turn to your President and to those who have the opportunity to influence your President so that no mistakes are made.I turn to you because we all are so close, by blood. We have a relationship of people who belong to the same family. We are brothers and sisters.Please do not allow blood to be spilled. Please do not allow more lives of our brothers and sisters to be taken away.Please. I represent rhythmic gymnastics.In our two countries, we have the best athletes in this type of sport. Beauty always had a certain power. Try, please, to preserve all the beauty, all the richness of our people and your people. Don't allow, please, that blood be spilled."

Irina Deriugina was born in 1958 in Kiev. She became an all around world champion in 1977 and 1979. She is also the 1978 European gold medalist with ball. This is Irina, 25 years ago, performing.


A New Bulgarian in the World Elite

Neviana Vladinova has placed 4th with hoop at Grand Prix - Moscow and shown expressiveness, power, maturity and style. Watch her hoop here:

I have been writing about her for a while so I feel very proud and honored. Neviana is now receiving scores above 17, which places her among the world's top 10. She can follow in Silvia Miteva's footsteps and go even further.

This hoop is a sophisticated routine which stays true to the Bulgarian style and showcases the best that the gymnast has to offer. This routine proves that a great athlete must possess a strong spirit and a unique style to stand out from the crowd.

Neviana Vladinova is from Pleven and trains with the fabulous Branimira Markova, who became the 1993 team world champion along with Julia Baicheva and Maria Petrova.