Friday, January 08, 2010

The Best Pommel Horse Gymnast of all time: Ted Marcy



I've been waiting for years for a video of Pommell horse GREAT Ted Marcy to appear on the web and I finally found it! This is from his collegiate nationals and I'm not sure how old he is there but I bet he's a freshman; just showing hints of the incredibleness that was to come. This guy revolutionized how modern gymnasts swing the side horse, which in most athletes opinion is the TOUGHEST of all the six events for most to master. The swing is the only one of the six that goes in the transverse plane and it really screws up most guys.

Also, if you dont have long arms and a short back it is TORTURE,lol. Luckily I do and it was one of my favorite events and the one I probably had the most talent in. I had read about Marcy for years during high school and NOBODY swung like him, no one had the hip extension he did. He made EVERYBODY look weak on the horse .

I couldnt believe my good luck too, when I went to Woodward Gymnastics camp as a counselor( as opposed to the camper I had been three years previous) in the summer of 1977 and Marcy was a fellow instructor! I got to train pommell horse EVERYDAY with the greatest side horse man of all time. A true freak and mutant in all the best ways.
I learned more about side horse that summer than in all the time I had trained it before.
And what an inspiration!
This guy TRAINED! Like a animal. Obssesive in the very best way. He would do ten routines in a row and EACH ONE LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THE OTHER! he would do THOUSANDS of nothing but CIRCLES.Forever. He would swing the horse like Tracy can the kettlebell. Forever.
And they had to be perfect. Every, single ,one.

The guy had control like hadn't been seen before, and his scissors were from another planet.So much better than everyone else he looked like a man among children.
He would also swim run and stretch like a maniac and he was the rarest of the rare: a pommel horse SPECIALIST. That would drive most normal men mad.
he set the stage and the standard for the most pommel horseman. Once people had seen how it could be done, nothing less would do.

PLUS he should get credit for inspiring what now is called the Thomas Flair. His break into scissors from circles was known as the Marcy Break and is the first MOVE of the Thomas Flair. All props to Kurt for taking it one step further but if it weren't for Ted it never would have been.
Too bad back then you had to be an All Around man to get into the Olympics; he would have won Gold Medals in side horse no problem. Now you can be a specialist and go. I would have still had a shot,even after my shoulder injury in specialists could go. Oh well.

Now he is a medical doctor somewhere and I bet he can still swing the horse like no one else.
Here's to you Ted, you never knew how much you helped me or inspired me. You showed me, first hand, how a true elite gymnast trained, everyday.

4 comments:

wirelessmike said...

I was a pommel horse specialist at Berkeley, 1978-1982. Ted Marcy was a legend by that time. Stories of his amazing work ethic were as common as those of his amazing skills.

Mike Bergman

Unknown said...

In 1976, Ted was a senior at Stanford and I was his teammate. That year he won the third of his NCAA titles. The only surprise to me was that he did not win four. He was in a class by himself. He is also a prince of a guy and is now a pulmonary specialist in New England.

Chris Takimoto

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks for that info Chris. Ted was a HUGE influence on me, especially that summer at Woodard, in many many ways and levels.
And yes Mike his work ethic was amazing. Showed me exactly what I needed to do

Mike said...

I saw Ted at the Pasadena National Invite at Pasadena City Collage in 1975 I was a senior in High school. He scored a 9.95 which was unheard of in those days, before Nadia. The real credit for the Thomas Whirl goes to Joel Eola of Pasadena city and Fullerton. He was featured for it in gymnast magazine long before Thomas whirled