1980 U.S. Olympic team
Why flexibility matters!
Tra c e e T ala v era, K ath y
Johnson, M arcia Frederick, Luci
Collins, A m y Koop m an, Julianne
M c N a m ara, B eth Kline (altern ate)
Vid m ar, Ron Galim ore, Phil Cahoy,
L arry G erard, M ik e W ilso n (altern ate)
THE photo below depicts a relatively simple skill for a world-class gymnast,
but Italy’s Elisabetta Preziosa makes this
split handstand on balance beam look
Buy why? The reason is because her
legs are perfectly straight and in a complete 180-degree split. Preziosa, a beam
finalist at the 2010 European championships in Birmingham, England, where
this photo was taken, is blessed with
“passive” flexibility. This split handstand
is easy for her, because her splits can
actually go beyond 180 degrees when she
trains them on the floor.
The opposite of “passive” flexibility is
“active” flexibility. Active flexibility is
when you must exert force to reach a
Try this flexibility test: While standing
at a ballet barre, swing your leg up in
front of you as high as you can. This is
active flexibility. If you can slowly lift your
leg to the same height and hold it there,
you possess passive flexibility.
As a beginner, it is important to work
on your flexibility every day, but also be
sure to do your core conditioning, as
well. If you don’t, you can actually
become too flexible—like a noodle!
So get to work. Before you know it,
your skills will start to look special too!
WHO AM I?
1) I just turned 15 in January.
2) My home country is in Europe.
3) I won a big meet in the spring.
4) My mom was also a gymnast.
5) I do an original skill on bars.
Elisabetta Preziosa (Italy)
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