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The Evolution of Wrestling

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No. I don't subscribe to the inevitability of progress/improvement. Technology may evolve quickly, but humans do so slowly. Grainy black and white 8mm film does not mean your grand parents were primitative, slow, and uncoordinated in real life. The rules, and thus the sport evolves/changes. But the sport is contested by humans reasonably matched by weight. Only during the introductory period of a sport would you expect dramatic improvement as the advantages and disadvantages of strategies (or physical attributes) are learned. But what is wrestling? The oldest and greatest sport.

 

maybe primitive is the wrong word but i meant in respect to style and technique. i dont think generations in the past are any more slow or uncoordinated than athletes today. i also dont think progress and improvement is inevitable. however, i am hopeful that innovations in the sport allow wrestling to progress and improve. i would be disheartened to learn that wrestling hasn't progressed much in 40 years.

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I would love to see some of the old timers reactions to a Bubba J super duck...I feel like that move was created or at least gained popularity within the last 5 years or so. If Bubba or Joey Dance traveled back to the 70's and pulled one I could see people have the reaction like they did in the movie Semi-Pro when the first alley-oop is unveiled. Here is a link to what I am talking about if you aren't familiar.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes what we think of as new is not as new as we think...

 

Here is a superduck from 1990 world team trials:

 

 

here is a funk roll / leg pass from 1991 big 10 finals:

 

http://splicd.com/qf0eKJfTSGA/379/390

 

 

Actually kind of looks like a real slick high crotch....reminds me of this:

http://www.flowrestling.org/coverage/234325-2008-Walsh-Ironman/video/92989-Dirty-Flo-Takedown#.Uv0-NfldUaI

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No. I don't subscribe to the inevitability of progress/improvement. Technology may evolve quickly, but humans do so slowly. Grainy black and white 8mm film does not mean your grand parents were primitative, slow, and uncoordinated in real life. The rules, and thus the sport evolves/changes. But the sport is contested by humans reasonably matched by weight. Only during the introductory period of a sport would you expect dramatic improvement as the advantages and disadvantages of strategies (or physical attributes) are learned. But what is wrestling? The oldest and greatest sport.

 

maybe primitive is the wrong word but i meant in respect to style and technique. i dont think generations in the past are any more slow or uncoordinated than athletes today. i also dont think progress and improvement is inevitable. however, i am hopeful that innovations in the sport allow wrestling to progress and improve. i would be disheartened to learn that wrestling hasn't progressed much in 40 years.

I see where you're coming from. I too think there a few changes that would make the competition better. But I'm also sure there are those who wouldn't like them. Eliminate riding time vs keep, or even increase it (emphasize or de emphasize control), return to alternating top and bottom as starting position for 2nd and 3rd rounds (emphasize mat wrestling skills more) or allow position choice. Etc, etc. However each change makes comparing athletes of different era's more and more an apples to oranges deal. I like baseball partly BECAUSE the fundamental rules are consistent enough that you can legitimately talk about players accomplishments a century later, and they mean something more than simply opinion.

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So the other day i got into a big argument with my dad about how wrestlers nowadays would smoke wrestlers from the past. Not saying if they were in the same time era training or had equal oppurtunities; but if you put an NCAA champion from the 1980s in a time machine today to wrestle a match, they would not be very good wrestlers compared to wrestlers of now a days.

 

My thought was that just watch an old match and tell me the wrestlers arent in worse shape, moving WAYYYY slower, and using different less effective technique. Dan Gable dominated college wrestling with a bar arm. How many guys do you see take a wrist, and a bar and run it over for a fall now a days. How many fireman carries do you see work in college wrestling?

 

Of course i do think that all the same wrestlers would be successful in todays world. I think what made them champions before would make them champions now. I just think wrestling and all sports really have evolved at a very fast rate.

 

Am i the only one who thinks this?

 

Im sure the old timers are really going to love this thread .....

 

i was talking with a current us team member recently, he said that he naively thought today's wrestlers were much better than the older champs, until he saw lee kemp going with askren in the room a few years ago ~ after that he changed his mind!

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A century later? A lot of water has passed under the bridge of baseball in the last century.

Track might be a better example.

 

 

Single Season Records

 

 

1. Batting Average: .426 - Nap Lajoie (1901)

2. Wins: 41 - Jack Chesbro (1904)

3. Triples: 36 - Chief Wilson (1912)

4. Extra-Base Hits: 119 - Babe Ruth (1921)

5. Runs: 177 - Babe Ruth (1921)

6. Total Bases: 457 - Babe Ruth (1921)

7. RBIs: 191 - Hack Wilson (1930)

8. Doubles: 67 - Earl Webb (1931)

9. Hitting Streak: 56 gms - Joe DiMaggio (1941)

 

 

Career Records

 

 

1. Wins: 511 - Cy Young (retired 1911)

2. ERA: 1.82 - Ed Walsh (retired 1917)

3. Triples: 309 - Sam Crawford (retired 1917)

4. Doubles: 792 - Tris Speaker (retired 1928)

5. Batting Average: .366 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

 

 

Long-standing Records that were broken

 

 

1. Hits (single season):

257 - George Sisler (1920)

» Broken: Ichiro Suzuki (259) in 2004 (84 yrs)

2. Slugging Percentage (single season):

.847 - Babe Ruth (1920)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.863) in 2001 (81 yrs)

3. Base on Balls (single season):

170 - Babe Ruth (1923)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (177) in 2001 (78 yrs)

4. Career Runs: 2,246 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,295) in 2001 (73 yrs)

5. Career Base on Balls:

2,062 - Babe Ruth (retired 1935)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,190) in 2001 (66 yrs)

6. On base percentage (single season):

.553 - Ted Williams (1941)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.582) in 2002 (61 yrs)

 

It would seem the recent development of designer PEDs is the single biggest difference/"improvement" of today's baseball players. (Not talking about Henderson. thats just Rickey being Rickey) That, and the fact there is a much larger population to draw from its likely to include a few more exceptional players being born.

All the broken records listed were over an 8 game longer season, as was the 2001 mariners matching the 1906 Cubs 116 wins.

 

PS: the fact I even mention the aprox 5% longer season demonstrates that even a modest change to the structure of a game influences how before and after are viewed.

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baseball has gone through seismic shifts in the last hundred years. bullpen strategy has evovled to become much more specialized (eg LOOGY and ROOGY). sabermetrics has advanced statistical analysis leaps and bound which in turn influenced strategy and talent evaluation (VORP, FIP, etc). the talent pool has exploded in size, with players coming from all over the world. then there's the technology that helps all sports, like modern medicine, video, etc.

 

the 100 m dash is a good example though. sprinting doesn't go through much change, but the times get incrementally faster. some of that is training, some of that is technology, some of that is talent pool, and some of it is other stuff (roids?). if Jesse Owens was born the same year as Usain Bolt, who would win in the Olympics?

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Human DNA has not changed in the last 100 years. So no one is arguing people today are somehow different than people a generation or two ago.

 

But, there are more people today, so there are also more talented people.

 

Further, the avenues to finding success are different. Today if you want a spot on a D1 team, you're at a huge disadvantage if you don't start wrestling early, wrestle year round , and go to national tournaments. There's so much technique to learn, it takes an enormous commitment to be truly elite.

 

A generation or two ago, it was enough to do well while wrestling during the high school season. Just keep hitting those firemans carries and be in good shape. That's about what it took.

 

So while DNA might not have changed, on the whole, the old timers might not be as talented as today's kids. Further, what separates winners from losers today is different than back then, so I would expect even fewer of the best wrestlers from the past to thrive today.

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A century later? A lot of water has passed under the bridge of baseball in the last century.

Track might be a better example.

 

 

Single Season Records

 

 

1. Batting Average: .426 - Nap Lajoie (1901)

2. Wins: 41 - Jack Chesbro (1904)

3. Triples: 36 - Chief Wilson (1912)

4. Extra-Base Hits: 119 - Babe Ruth (1921)

5. Runs: 177 - Babe Ruth (1921)

6. Total Bases: 457 - Babe Ruth (1921)

7. RBIs: 191 - Hack Wilson (1930)

8. Doubles: 67 - Earl Webb (1931)

9. Hitting Streak: 56 gms - Joe DiMaggio (1941)

 

 

Career Records

 

 

1. Wins: 511 - Cy Young (retired 1911)

2. ERA: 1.82 - Ed Walsh (retired 1917)

3. Triples: 309 - Sam Crawford (retired 1917)

4. Doubles: 792 - Tris Speaker (retired 1928)

5. Batting Average: .366 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

 

 

Long-standing Records that were broken

 

 

1. Hits (single season):

257 - George Sisler (1920)

» Broken: Ichiro Suzuki (259) in 2004 (84 yrs)

2. Slugging Percentage (single season):

.847 - Babe Ruth (1920)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.863) in 2001 (81 yrs)

3. Base on Balls (single season):

170 - Babe Ruth (1923)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (177) in 2001 (78 yrs)

4. Career Runs: 2,246 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,295) in 2001 (73 yrs)

5. Career Base on Balls:

2,062 - Babe Ruth (retired 1935)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,190) in 2001 (66 yrs)

6. On base percentage (single season):

.553 - Ted Williams (1941)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.582) in 2002 (61 yrs)

 

It would seem the recent development of designer PEDs is the single biggest difference/"improvement" of today's baseball players. (Not talking about Henderson. thats just Rickey being Rickey) That, and the fact there is a much larger population to draw from its likely to include a few more exceptional players being born.

All the broken records listed were over an 8 game longer season, as was the 2001 mariners matching the 1906 Cubs 116 wins.

 

PS: the fact I even mention the aprox 5% longer season demonstrates that even a modest change to the structure of a game influences how before and after are viewed.

 

PEDs changed the game?

Every long standing record you mention was broken by someone who would not have been allowed to play baseball 100 years ago!!

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baseball has gone through seismic shifts in the last hundred years. bullpen strategy has evovled to become much more specialized (eg LOOGY and ROOGY). sabermetrics has advanced statistical analysis leaps and bound which in turn influenced strategy and talent evaluation (VORP, FIP, etc). the talent pool has exploded in size, with players coming from all over the world. then there's the technology that helps all sports, like modern medicine, video, etc.

 

the 100 m dash is a good example though. sprinting doesn't go through much change, but the times get incrementally faster. some of that is training, some of that is technology, some of that is talent pool, and some of it is other stuff (roids?). if Jesse Owens was born the same year as Usain Bolt, who would win in the Olympics?

But the game is basically the same. Saber metrics only tells you what may/is happening and is a strategy resource.

Bolt or Owens? Can I say tie? Jesse set 3 and tied a 4th world record in a 45 min span. "In 2005, University of Central Florida professor of sports history Richard C. Crepeau chose these wins on one day as the most impressive athletic achievement since 1850" (wiki). Can Bolt run on cinders? Can he hurdle or long jump?

 

Track events are much more influenced by technology enabling the same effort to result in faster, higher, longer times/measurements than baseball or wrestling. Synthetic surfaces, custom spikes, fiberglass poles, foam landing pits (my Jr Hi had saw dust HJ and PV pits in the sixties), etc. A harder ball standard ended the dead ball era, cork bats may or may not improve hitting (and are banned). What has changed in wrestling? The mat. But we don't score the mat we score the two competitors wrestling on the same surface.

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A century later? A lot of water has passed under the bridge of baseball in the last century.

Track might be a better example.

 

 

Single Season Records

 

 

1. Batting Average: .426 - Nap Lajoie (1901)

2. Wins: 41 - Jack Chesbro (1904)

3. Triples: 36 - Chief Wilson (1912)

4. Extra-Base Hits: 119 - Babe Ruth (1921)

5. Runs: 177 - Babe Ruth (1921)

6. Total Bases: 457 - Babe Ruth (1921)

7. RBIs: 191 - Hack Wilson (1930)

8. Doubles: 67 - Earl Webb (1931)

9. Hitting Streak: 56 gms - Joe DiMaggio (1941)

 

 

Career Records

 

 

1. Wins: 511 - Cy Young (retired 1911)

2. ERA: 1.82 - Ed Walsh (retired 1917)

3. Triples: 309 - Sam Crawford (retired 1917)

4. Doubles: 792 - Tris Speaker (retired 1928)

5. Batting Average: .366 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

 

 

Long-standing Records that were broken

 

 

1. Hits (single season):

257 - George Sisler (1920)

» Broken: Ichiro Suzuki (259) in 2004 (84 yrs)

2. Slugging Percentage (single season):

.847 - Babe Ruth (1920)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.863) in 2001 (81 yrs)

3. Base on Balls (single season):

170 - Babe Ruth (1923)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (177) in 2001 (78 yrs)

4. Career Runs: 2,246 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,295) in 2001 (73 yrs)

5. Career Base on Balls:

2,062 - Babe Ruth (retired 1935)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,190) in 2001 (66 yrs)

6. On base percentage (single season):

.553 - Ted Williams (1941)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.582) in 2002 (61 yrs)

 

It would seem the recent development of designer PEDs is the single biggest difference/"improvement" of today's baseball players. (Not talking about Henderson. thats just Rickey being Rickey) That, and the fact there is a much larger population to draw from its likely to include a few more exceptional players being born.

All the broken records listed were over an 8 game longer season, as was the 2001 mariners matching the 1906 Cubs 116 wins.

 

PS: the fact I even mention the aprox 5% longer season demonstrates that even a modest change to the structure of a game influences how before and after are viewed.

 

PEDs changed the game?

Every long standing record you mention was broken by someone who would not have been allowed to play baseball 100 years ago!!

I agree the biggest drawback to ML baseball was the color line, but baseball wasn't alone in that. Once crossed and the immediate high level impact it is not a stretch to assume had negro leaguers been in MLB there would some different names included in the top 50, 20, perhaps even #1. But it would still be from the early time. A lot will slowly, incrimentally replaced. Ichero edges Sissler by 2 hits about half a century after Jackie Robinson. There isn't a sudden, magical improvement to humans over the last couple decades, the last century, or in milenums aside from famine or natural catastrophe (which wouldn't be a change in humans. They would be obsticals to be overcome.

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That is because there was 5X more stalling. What is more interesting is that Kemp was penalized more than Ward. I didn't know what to think of him standing out of harms way with his leg stuck out and arms over his head. I suppose he conceded the match before he wrestled in it.

Here are some others concerns that indicate stalling has/is become more prevalent and is being addressed less.

 

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/articl ... ck_check=1

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Single Season Records

 

 

1. Batting Average: .426 - Nap Lajoie (1901)

2. Wins: 41 - Jack Chesbro (1904)

3. Triples: 36 - Chief Wilson (1912)

4. Extra-Base Hits: 119 - Babe Ruth (1921)

5. Runs: 177 - Babe Ruth (1921)

6. Total Bases: 457 - Babe Ruth (1921)

7. RBIs: 191 - Hack Wilson (1930)

8. Doubles: 67 - Earl Webb (1931)

9. Hitting Streak: 56 gms - Joe DiMaggio (1941)

 

 

Career Records

 

 

1. Wins: 511 - Cy Young (retired 1911)

2. ERA: 1.82 - Ed Walsh (retired 1917)

3. Triples: 309 - Sam Crawford (retired 1917)

4. Doubles: 792 - Tris Speaker (retired 1928)

5. Batting Average: .366 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

 

 

Long-standing Records that were broken

 

 

1. Hits (single season):

257 - George Sisler (1920)

» Broken: Ichiro Suzuki (259) in 2004 (84 yrs)

2. Slugging Percentage (single season):

.847 - Babe Ruth (1920)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.863) in 2001 (81 yrs)

3. Base on Balls (single season):

170 - Babe Ruth (1923)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (177) in 2001 (78 yrs)

4. Career Runs: 2,246 - Ty Cobb (retired 1928)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,295) in 2001 (73 yrs)

5. Career Base on Balls:

2,062 - Babe Ruth (retired 1935)

» Broken: R. Henderson (2,190) in 2001 (66 yrs)

6. On base percentage (single season):

.553 - Ted Williams (1941)

» Broken: Barry Bonds (.582) in 2002 (61 yrs)

 

It would seem the recent development of designer PEDs is the single biggest difference/"improvement" of today's baseball players. (Not talking about Henderson. thats just Rickey being Rickey) That, and the fact there is a much larger population to draw from its likely to include a few more exceptional players being born.

All the broken records listed were over an 8 game longer season, as was the 2001 mariners matching the 1906 Cubs 116 wins.

 

PS: the fact I even mention the aprox 5% longer season demonstrates that even a modest change to the structure of a game influences how before and after are viewed.

 

PEDs changed the game?

Every long standing record you mention was broken by someone who would not have been allowed to play baseball 100 years ago!!

I agree the biggest drawback to ML baseball was the color line, but baseball wasn't alone in that. Once crossed and the immediate high level impact it is not a stretch to assume had negro leaguers been in MLB there would some different names included in the top 50, 20, perhaps even #1. But it would still be from the early time. A lot will slowly, incrimentally replaced. Ichero edges Sissler by 2 hits about half a century after Jackie Robinson. There isn't a sudden, magical improvement to humans over the last couple decades, the last century, or in milenums aside from famine or natural catastrophe (which wouldn't be a change in humans. They would be obsticals to be overcome.

Today, baseball is about 50-60 percent white. How about starters? Probably less. How about coaching?

No doubt the studs are studs, but comparing numbers produced against second team caliber people and numbers produced against first team caliber people is definitively apples and oranges.

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Plasmodium:

 

"No doubt the studs are studs, but comparing numbers produced against second team caliber people and numbers produced against first team caliber people is definitively apples and oranges."

 

I agree that there probably would have been a different makeup of the player population. But it would have been the replacement of and by very nearly equal competitors, major leaguers. Once the color line broke you didn't see JV teams replaced by varsity. Baseball continued at a similar level, being changed a bit by the addition of some strategies more common to the Negro Leagues.

It isn't discoverable whether a slightly broader group of exceptional athletes would have significantly depressed the older records, had some of those records possibly been set by other athletes, or possibly even resulted in more impressive numbers. What is known is many records have been incrementally broken over time. But the sudden, dramatic , and not incremental burst of increase in power in the later 20th century into the early 21st had a basis in something other than natural human improvement.

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Plasmodium:

 

"No doubt the studs are studs, but comparing numbers produced against second team caliber people and numbers produced against first team caliber people is definitively apples and oranges."

 

I agree that there probably would have been a different makeup of the player population. But it would have been the replacement of and by very nearly equal competitors, major leaguers. Once the color line broke you didn't see JV teams replaced by varsity. Baseball continued at a similar level, being changed a bit by the addition of some strategies more common to the Negro Leagues.

It isn't discoverable whether a slightly broader group of exceptional athletes would have significantly depressed the older records, had some of those records possibly been set by other athletes, or possibly even resulted in more impressive numbers. What is known is many records have been incrementally broken over time. But the sudden, dramatic , and not incremental burst of increase in power in the later 20th century into the early 21st had a basis in something other than natural human improvement.

 

Nothing happened over night, but after 30 or 40 years half of the people that would have been on the rosters were minor leaguers because they just plain weren't good enough. Bob Gibson is much better than whoever he supplanted, for example. That story gets repeated literally thousands of times. That is obvious. In many cases, this was not a case of a guy being marginally better. Willie Mays, Hank AAron and many others that took their place in baseball's history. If they hadn't played, the numbers would be more or less the same but mean something entirely different. The numbers are not like track.

I'll agree with you that PEDs have an effect on most every sport. I like cycling, but I doubt there has been a clean Tour De France in all of its history. Baseball has always had its dopers as well. The dope wasn't as good. Neither was the training, the coaches, the transportation, the nutrition, the medical care, the equipment, .............. and the talent pool of players.

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Haha, nice picture.

 

In all fairness, that's a little apples versus oranges. That's like comparing the high jump pre- and post-Fosbury flop. In this case, it's pre- and post-cartwheel to jump.

 

But the overall point is well taken.

 

That's like saying that you can't compare Kemp's 4 NCAA finals appearances to Askren's, because they're pre- and post-referee's decisions respectively.

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Haha, nice picture.

 

In all fairness, that's a little apples versus oranges. That's like comparing the high jump pre- and post-Fosbury flop. In this case, it's pre- and post-cartwheel to jump.

 

But the overall point is well taken.

 

That's like saying that you can't compare Kemp's 4 NCAA finals appearances to Askren's, because they're pre- and post-referee's decisions respectively.

 

No. A referee's decision wasn't a step function increase in technique that fundamentally evolved the sport.

 

The Fosbury flop and the cartwheel before the jump revolutionized those respective sports. The referee's decision, while meaningful, had nowhere near the same impact.

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Haha, nice picture.

 

In all fairness, that's a little apples versus oranges. That's like comparing the high jump pre- and post-Fosbury flop. In this case, it's pre- and post-cartwheel to jump.

 

But the overall point is well taken.

 

That's like saying that you can't compare Kemp's 4 NCAA finals appearances to Askren's, because they're pre- and post-referee's decisions respectively.

 

No. A referee's decision wasn't a step function increase in technique that fundamentally evolved the sport.

 

The Fosbury flop and the cartwheel before the jump revolutionized those respective sports. The referee's decision, while meaningful, had nowhere near the same impact.

The step function change on technique with the Fosbury Flop was not possible until the development and introduction of the foam landing pit. A teammate of Fosbury (on a team that boasted several 7'+ jumpers) didn't convert to the flop until post college. Which John Raditich was the superior athlete, the one who cleared 7'+ with the straddle/western roll, or the Flop (indoor world record in 1973)? He was the first to it both ways. The technique definitely has bio mechanical advantages. But the injury risk/certainty before foam makes It difficult to compare pre and post foam results, and time to study, develop, refine and teach the technique skews the results for a couple decades after it arrived.

 

The types of wrestling techniques available haven't changed since modern humans developed long ago. Which techniques are advantageous is simply a matter of what the adopted set of rules favor, not some miraculous advance.

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Not trolling: Was the "cartwheel into the vault" technique known but banned at some point?

 

To my understanding, the Flop was always a legal technique that became viable with modern landing pits. Did the cartwheel vault go through a similar evolution, or was it outright banned for a period of time?

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Not trolling: Was the "cartwheel into the vault" technique known but banned at some point?

 

To my understanding, the Flop was always a legal technique that became viable with modern landing pits. Did the cartwheel vault go through a similar evolution, or was it outright banned for a period of time?

You could also consider changes to the springboard, the horse, and the landing areas. The floor ex mat is now an enormous bouncy spring pad.

 

Cultural prohibitions effected dramatically what women were allowed to even attempt or compete in.

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