Want to keep up with all that's happening in London but don't have the time, luxury (a TV/money to fly cross-continental) or press credentials to do so?
- Add (all or some of) the following people on Twitter
- Turn on mobile notifications. Now you're ready to receive updates when they are posted, even if you don't have Internet or data access.
There are many gymnastics fans and self-proclaimed experts out there, some of whom clearly support only their favorites, others who just tweet too much and say too little. Then there are the ones which actually provide useful insight and timely updates.
To make things easy for you, here are the top 10 sources to follow for getting all things women's gymnastics—and a decent coverage of the men—at these Olympics, from nuanced training details to pictures of Marta Karolyi in hot pink:
10. FIG: The International Federation of Gymnastics (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique)
Good for important rule changes such as the new tie-breaking procedure for London 2012 (medals can now be shared if difficulty and execution scores are equal). They also do some Olympic training updates, but they mostly focus on the stronger full teams.
9. USA Gymnastics
If you're reading Bleacher Report, chances are you're cheering on Team USA. Even if that's not the case, the best way to keep up with any official reports on the reigning world champs is to follow USAG. They are the authoritative voice when it comes to athlete injuries, withdrawals and other major team changes as well as scores. They also do may RTs of big names in the gymnastics world that you might want to follow on your own as a fan.
8. Chris Korotky, Publisher of Inside Gymnastics
Chris has a press pass, gets to chat with the gymnasts themselves and is good at getting revealing and/or entertaining quotes from them, which he then tweets. He doesn't quite know the names of skills though, so most of his insight on routines are very general (e.g. "great transition from high to low!").
Which brings us to...Inside Gymnastics itself (Twitter: @InsideGym). No comprehensive coverage of training sessions here, but enough to get by. In the past, they've done competition coverage pretty decently, including getting skills correctly identified and spelled. Healthy dosage of pictures and links to (more) major news.
7. Lauren Hopkins, U.S. Editor for The Couch Gymnast
If Lauren's watching a gym meet live at the venue, she would be ranked higher on this list, but for now, she's still based in New York and doesn't have the inside stories those guys with press passes do. Nonetheless, she's a true fan who's picked up the skills and knows those girls as if they were her own brood.
Another good thing about Lauren's feed is that she doesn't show favorites as much, and she seems to sincerely cheer on every competitor that's doing their best. Follow her for entertaining analysis as the Olympics unfold, if nothing else.
The Couch Gymnast usually also has a live blog that will be great if you have Internet access.
*Note: It would be best to only turn on mobile notifications closer to actual competition days as Lauren does tweet pretty often.
6. Alexa Ainsworth, Gymnastics producer for NBCOlympics.com
Alexa is a lot like Nancy Armour from the AP in terms of having a rather limited skills vocabulary yet the vast resources of a big media company, and the great advantage of the US being a gym powerhouse these days is that NBC loves those girls. That means tons of links to great live-streams of training and competitions sessions, good video interviews of the gymnasts and lots of fluff. Alexa's also friendly and will answer questions if you tweet her.
5. Full Twist Gymnastics Blog
Based in Dublin, Full Twist is an outstanding source for UK gymnastics in particular, but also great on the international field—they seem to be very quick on worldwide gym news, posting more videos and articles on lesser known gymnasts than other sources. Good to have a non-US-centric platform and perspective
4. International Gymnast magazine
They focus mostly on the big four (USA, Romania, Russia, China) and appear to have ramped up their blow by blow coverage just for the Olympics. Detailed, mostly astute observations recorded and they won't bombard your Twitter feed as much as the rest.
These guys know the skills, can give you a full routine run-down in a 160 characters, and post photos and video too! Pretty awesome. They're especially quick when it comes to Team USA updates, but they aren't too shabby on overall coverage. They also seem to have a deal of sorts with USAG, allowing them to post videos that are hard to find elsewhere.
2. The All Around
Pretty amazing source for statistics such as cataloging the best difficulty and execution scores the London Olympic gymnasts have recorded so far—on each event and in the all-around (of course). They are the ones who won't just give you updates on performances, but actually place them in context with historical data, e.g. "For those keeping up with UKR vaults, 10 gymnasts have competed two 7.0 vaults or better this year; three of them are Ukrainian."
They're also one of the better sources for news on the other teams apart from the US.
1. Blythe Lawrence, the gymnastics go-to guru from the Examiner
Blythe is by far the most comprehensive gym blogger out there—just check out her live updates from the recent London podium training sessions. She knows the names and faces not just of the gymnasts, but their coaches and sometimes their families. She's followed these girls for years and can throw out all the skill sequences as well as how they've changed from meet to meet. Highly enjoyable, entertaining and informative updates, especially her "quick hits" pages. A must-have on any gym list.