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<br />

<br />

by Professor Bruno Grandi, FIG President<br />

Rome (ITA) / Moutier (SUI) 04.11.2005<br />

<br />

Dear Friends,<br />

Throughout its development, competitive gymnastics has always found its inspiration in political,<br />

social and economic circles, circles that were once dominated by the Eastern - Western Blocs. In<br />

the East, gymnastics was a State governed affair. In the West, it was influenced by the rules of<br />

supply and demand offered by the free market.<br />

During this relatively long period (about 50 years), I repeatedly had the opportunity to hear<br />

speeches by political and sport authorities promoting values such as friendship, education through<br />

sport, socialisation and fraternity among the peoples.<br />

And although that time in history and politics has come to an end, the bad habits founded by the<br />

two Blocs, as far as competition is concerned, remain. Profound contradiction can clearly be seen<br />

between the statements that were made and the facts as they are in competition.<br />

On many occasions I recalled the religious sermon that so loudly professes, "Blessed are the poor,<br />

Blessed are the persecuted ..." These deeply meaningful words still apply today and I feel they well<br />

describe gymnastics' journey since the early hours of the Eastern - Western opposition. The poor<br />

will grow ever poorer and the persecuted will be thrown along the wayside. This injustice has<br />

always been more evident in competition than in the simple ideological Eastern - Western speech.<br />

We are all crying out for justice. We all want judges to execute justice. We are all revolted when<br />

confronted with a feeling of injustice, a penalty, and proceed to accuse the FIG's leaders, the<br />

competition jury, a biased drawing of lots and even stoop to naming judges.<br />

It would seem that everyone is against us, but no one gets out of the concert of lamentations<br />

unscathed. At the highest level of sport hierarchy, we wail because we missed the podium. At the<br />

bottom, we moan with the same intensity.<br />

The entire system hinges on a very fragile balance. To begin, there are the marks distributed by<br />

juries suspected of "compensating" results by either boosting or lowering the mark of an athlete<br />

who is either a "friend" or an "enemy". This type of altering never helped anyone. On the contrary,<br />

it subtly crept its way into our heads as the only way of obtaining sport justice. But when this kind<br />

of "compensation" reaches unfathomable and uncontrollable levels, the bogus justice of<br />

"compensation" becomes the injustice of an entire system.<br />

Justice, dear friends, is the scent of two perfumes: competence and honesty.<br />

Competence is acquired through information, culture. Honesty takes a bit longer.<br />

This virtue becomes important when we begin modifying our mentalities, starting with our own, in<br />

the aim of furthering its development down through the generations.<br />

And if we fail to begin now, we, the principal actors and directors of sport, if we fail to imbue<br />

ourselves with these behavioural changes and if we continue to think that our sole objective is to


<br />

bring home a medal as quickly as we can, rather than genuinely satisfying ourselves with a justly<br />

acquired result, then, dear friends, justice will resemble the Arlésienne, of which everyone will<br />

speak and await. In vain!<br />

Personally, I confess that the only way of getting ourselves out of this rut and away from the<br />

suspicious comments certain of our ranking lists engender, the only way of earning the confidence<br />

of our public, the media and of our youth is the way of honesty in our daily conduct. Where justice<br />

reigns, better days, success and progress are sure to come. The one and only way to eradicate the<br />

gangrene of these pitiful "compensations" is through the honesty of everyone involved, whether<br />

judges, technicians or leaders.<br />

To take a medal today that is soiled with even the slightest suspicion of injustice, is to sink<br />

tomorrow into mediocrity, ignorance and cruel disillusionment. Only by way of the truth can one<br />

progress.<br />

Dear friends, together let us attempt to redirect our route. There is no future in the way we are<br />

headed. The gymnasts of the future will be grateful.<br />

with my kind regards.<br />

Bruno Grandi,<br />

FIG President

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