My favorite floors — Alexei Nemov

This series is not just for women’s floor exercise. Although they don’t compete to music (Should they? Discuss!) men’s floor is an amazing acrobatic spectacle, and fewer male gymnasts have been as acutely attuned to spectacle as Russian Alexei Nemov, who earned the moniker “Sexy Alexei” after his crowd-pleasing performances netted him six medals at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Nemov came to the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland a little out of shape. In the all-around competition, he took himself out of medal contention when his grip broke on rings and he was not able to finish the routine (his score was a 7-something).

But this performance on floor from event finals showed the best of Nemov in terms of what had passed and what was to come.

Alexei Nemov, 1997 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise (1st):

10 Responses to “My favorite floors — Alexei Nemov”

  1. Just Another Opinion Says:

    Music? No. I’ll go so far as to say all components of choreography should be removed from men’s routines entirely. No “corner moves” like the little hop-leaps and stiff leg long steps. No gap fillers. Just tumble, show some strength moves, and then tumble some more. Heck, get rid of the floor and just use a long strip so they can run longer and tumble bigger.

  2. Steffi Says:

    Why? It’s called artistic gymnastics. What you would like to see is alreday there; it’s called “sports acrobatics”.

  3. Vida Says:

    Wow – he was just gorgeous, wasn’t he? I had such a crush. If all men’s gymnastics had men as good-looking as him I’d be as big a fan as I am of women’s!

  4. Just Another Opinion Says:

    I think the men look silly doing one hop-leap into the corner. I think it doesn’t fit in with the rest of their routine. The “artistic” aspect still applies to the quality of their tumbling and the compositional choices they make in tumbling passes and strength moves. But doing little elements of dance seems silly. I don’t have a problem with men dancing at all, but call a spade a spade. If you want dance, then load it with dance and have the men do triple turns, split leaps and arm waves and so forth.

    Of course, if you do that, it’s just one step closer to figure skating, which personally I would like gymnastics to distance itself from, especially on the men’s side. The attributes of men’s gymnastics that I find exciting and valuable would not be assisted by dance and are only held back by it. The things they can show off, I feel, are better suited to strict tumbling, presses, planches, etc.

    • MS Says:

      I agree with your figure skating connection. I think when the men figure skaters choose less masculine music it detracts from their athletic skill. Rudy Galindo’s “Send in the Clowns” stands out in my mind. A fine artistic interpretation, but the athletic ability was overshadowed.
      Figure skating and gymnastics are sports, after all. Certainly some dance influence should be involved, but I prefer them to stay true to the athletic roots.
      Bottom line…music in men’s FX=fail

  5. J-Bod Says:

    I definitely think there should NOT be music in men’s floor. There are many ways to make the floor routine “artistic” without having to dance around and do leaps and whatnot. Example: Morgan Hamm with the “air flare.” Justin Spring with the Tong Fei into the corner. I think that bringing some aspects of breakdancing and martial arts could be used to make new gymnastics moves (like the air flare). Also, different combinations of tumbling passes can be artistic in itself. Unique skills are artistic in my opinion. Doing leaps into corners and stuff like that is not artistic…it’s just a way to cover up a bad landing, or just a way to get from point A to point B.

  6. ry Says:

    As a former male gymnast, I can say that if I had to do a floor to music and dance, I would not have competed floor. It’s just not (in general) what attracts people to the sport.
    Artistry in men’s gymnastics is, and should be, defined differently than in women’s gymnastics. For men, artistry refers more to presentation, carriage, and poise that anything else. Nemov is a perfect example of an artistic floor worker, in my opinion.

  7. Steffi Says:

    I think it should be up to the inidvidual female or male gymnast in what way she or he want’s to be “artistic”. I really don’t like all this stereotyping (“artistry should be definded differently in men’s than in women’s gymnastics”). This is a gender issue, not a sex issue – and it is not okay to dictate an inidvidual in which way to express himself (or herself) on the floor, just because YOUR association with “artistic female” or “artistic male” is different from what you are seeing.

    • Just Another Opinion Says:

      Steffi, an organizational body has to make rules and standards and apply them equally to all people. As is, costumes and props are not allowed in women’s floor routines, no matter how artistic or expressive it would be. The athlete may really want to bring a hat and cane on the floor to “express” herself, but she can’t.

      And yes, it is entirely okay to dictate to an individual how he can express himself within the organizational body that he is a part of. The decision about what things should and shouldn’t be allowed must be based on something, so our opinions about what looks good are just as valid as any other.

      If an athlete wants to dance in real life, and prance down grocery store aisles, more power to him. But you can’t dance in NFL end zones or while trotting the bases after a homer, and I don’t want to see dancing in men’s gymnastics, either.

  8. Steffi Says:

    Of course there have to be rules. Why do women have to dance and men don’t? Because it’s “natural”? I do not think so.

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