1980 CHAMPIONSHIPS OF THE USA WOMEN Bill Valentine The competition for the 1980 Championships of the USA Women was outstanding, with an influx of bright new faces. There was an obvious fact, that being, the absence of many of the top gymnasts from 1979. There were two factors that caused this absence; ( 1) the conflict of the European invitational schedule took Kathy Johnson, Rhonda Schwandt, Leslie Russo and Suzy Kellems from the 1980 Championships and (2) late injuries caused the absences of many others. Heidi Anderson, Sandy Wirth, Gigi Ambandos, Linda Kardos, Lisa Shirk and the summer injury to Jeanine Creek. Of the top 24 girls in the 1979 Championships, only 9 returned to compete in 1980. We do indeed have many new faces on the national scene. It was a pleasure and encouraging to watch the emergence of these new girls especially Julianne McNamara, Beth Kline, Amy Koopman, Lynn Lederer and Trina Tinti . This article was started with references to the 1979 Championships, it may be interesting to do further comparisons, i.e., the average score for the top 24 places in 1979 was 72.966 and the average for the 24 top in 1980 was 73 .348 . The top scores in 1979 ranged from 75.80 to 71.35 while in 1980 the range was 76.15 to 70.975. In 1979 there were 43 girls who completed the competition and in 1980 there were 24 who completed the competition. Add to this 24 in 1980 those girls still competing and qualified for the Championships USA but could not compete either because of injury or conflict of international schedules the number of entries could have been between 34 and 40 girls. To my way of thinking this points to some very positive aspects in our sport, the increased number of new top leve l coaches and programs that are producing new talent and the fact that the more experienced coaches and programs continue to produce the talent. This is an indication that communications and informal and formal training takes place on a very high level. This happens through the Elite Coaches Association, the U.S. Association of Independent Gymnastic Clubs, the Judges Association, the Women's Committee structure and all the other seminars and clinics. Despite all the apparent problems growth is taking place and we are developing more high level gymnasts. This is not to imply that we have arrived to the level of efficiency and performance that our coaching and talent indicate. Nor should we consider our methods of communications and programs sufficient for our needs. Since 1964, the development and growth of gymnastics on the international level is almost beyond belief and yet we, with our very loose structure and seemingly unscientific methods and our social system and competitive free enterprise system have been more that hold our own. We have made progress not just in keeping up with the general growth and development but within that growth and development we have progressed.
In looking at the worldwide Women 's gymnastics community and where we started and where we are now in that community then we would have to be evaluated at a little better than a break even point. To make that achievement, and it is an achievement, a lot of people, coaches, and committee members, and judges had to work very hard and with very little recognition and no reward . When we take a look at the hour spent, outside the gyms and competi tive halls, in committees, in clinics, in meetings of all type then it would have to be said we are a caring and dedicated group of people. But the real question is, are we getting the results that our time, dedication and efforts demand? Has our means justified the ends we have achieved? Can our efforts, time and dedication produce Âˇbetter results.?
Gymnastics News-May/ June 1980