Far Left- Donna Schaenzer; Top Cente r- Dale Flansaas; Bottom Center- Betty Maycock; Top Right- M u rie l G rossfe ld; Bottom Right- Marie Walther.
Songerath who p icked up the Maycock cl ue but in add ition b rought new moveme nt to bars. Marie Walther and Donna Schaenzer entered the scene about th is t im e as d id the cu rrent coach of the 1972 U .S. Olympic Team, Dale McC leme nts Fla nsaas. Dale, in particular, bro ugh t the European dance influence and creat ivity and her personal influ ence to the spo rt w ith each of th e above mentio ned in their turn and t hei r time help in g to raise the standa rd of gymnast i c content and performance. Now, of the o ld line compet itors, on ly Linda Met heny remains. The Tanacs, Gleasons, Daleys, have Lind a as thei r only linkage to the past. Linda Methe ny, too , is one t hat can stand out as a U.S . pace setter. Under the dedicated stubborn ness of a capab le coac h, coup led with the pain and sac rifi ce of lo ng hours of disciplined preparation, Lind a rose from a 13th place A.A. placement, among a fie ld of 20 in t he first U.S.G.F. national meet in 1962 to Olympic team membership the fo ll owing year. She, an d she alone, must be credited w ith t he first b reak through o f U nited Sta t es gymnast ics on the intern atio n al scene. The U.S.G.F. Eli te Champ io nship of 1971 found more of eve rythi ng, both in vo lume and capab ility--better leaders hi p, more produ ctive coaches, judges merit, and a mass of wel l-trained kid s. Yo un g enoug h to dream more, young enough to give themselves and U.S. gymnast ics a br ight today and a brilliant tomorrow. To be more specif ic, the recent U.S.G.F. Elite Champiohs hip gave these ind ications. There was a time that Met heny' s A.A. supremacy, due in part to her d isciplin ed mastery of t he compu lso ri es, as we ll as stro ng progressive optional performance, particularly in floor exercise, beam and bars, was as secure, in the t it le " Th e Nationa l Champ ion " as a " fly in an o uth ouse. " Lin da no longer holds, w hat on occas ion has been , near two pointed edge over her peers. Thi s heretofore pace setter must now keep pace. W here o nce there were few, now there are man y.
Cat hy Rigby, w ho sta nds quite tall despite her d iminuti ve size, simpl y is not the so le chal le nger. She most certa inl y heads the li st w hi ch includ es Joanne Moore, w ho un expected ly tied Me th eny for th e 19671 elite title particu larly after Moo re's much to be desired show in g in her unsuccessful bid for th e '71 Pan Am Team and Roaxanne Pierce, w ho, in the absence of Rigby, reigned su preme in th e Pan Am Tri als and the Pan Am Games. For the first time in the h isto ry of gym nasti cs there are more good -t o -exce ll ent gy mn as ts than t here are judges. W ith out a doub t, the U nited States w ill fi eld the finest team yet , co m e " prosit" time in Mun ich. But the best is yet to come! Predictions Munich w ill be the loca tion ; 1972 the yea r-the United States w ill n o longer be 'ju st a Olympic particip ant in the spo rt of gym nasti cs. Our first O lympi c Meda lli o n wi ll be won. Yet, 1972 wi ll not be " o ur" year. We w ill st ill have members on the sq uad w ho will have a weak eve nt. H opefu ll y t he coac hes, grossf eld , Flansaas, and Mulvihill-- w ill not be satura ted w ith the sport by 1976 for this is th e time whe n the co mpl ete all-event performer w ill come of age. Thoughts For those readers w ho mi ght have found t ime or made tim e to broaden your life beyond four wa ll s of gymnasium s the fo ll owin g refe rence wi l n ot be unfamiliar. Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III , wro te a passage that depicts the present gymnasti c scee n and gives advice as gymnas ti cs enter its Aquar ian age. " There is a tide in the affairs of men wh ich, taken at th e flood , leads on to fortu ne. Omittted, all the voyage of their life is boun d in sha ll ows and in
ever before. The expe rien ced coaches are putting their maturity into practical application w hil e the you ng coaches are using the knowledge ava il ab le to them and seasoning th ei r efforts w ith creat ivity. The judges have in crease d in numbers, knowledge and quality of co n si st ent performance and th e administration ha s never been more si ncere. In total, gy mn asti cs of the ea rly '70's, the now, is massive ly impressive. The tide is high , flooded with ability and th e prospect of that sweet smell of success . Nothing ca n be more impress ive in strength , size and potential than a w hal e but let th e tide go out and the ineffective ness of the mass can only be equalled by a sm ell th at is less than sweet. More directly, wo m en 's gymn asti cs in its totality is the greatest it has ever been but is not good enou gh. It co n tinu es to be pl agued b y ego, it st ill has sho rt circuits in its lines of co mmunica tion , it still la cks togetherness. In a rule book of lo nge r sta nding that the FIG code of points we find , Eccl es iastes 3:1-2, the se wo rd s: "To eve ryt hing there is a seaso n, and a time to every purpose under the heave n. A time to be born, and a time to di e; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that w hi ch is planted " Women 's gy mna sti cs is o n the move but the question that yet remains to be answe red is w h ere is women's gy mna st ics go in g? The progress, two steps forward and one step back, of today is exceptional but only in retrospect. The gestat ion period of women's gymnastics is co mpl et e, the dark ages are over, the best is yet t o come.
In simpl er words perhaps, th e tide for U.S. gymn astics is in. There are more ca pabl e, better tra in ed and highly sk ill ed female gym n asts than ever before. There are more capab le, bette r trained and act ive judges than