World-famous gymnastics judge and coach Hardy Fink took part in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing

Forty years of Olympic glory for Port Alberni judge

Port Alberni local and world-famous judge Hardy Fink is off to his 10th Summer Olympics.

Not many people can say that they’ve made it to four decades of Olympic Games. Fewer yet can say they’ve changed a sport entirely.

Port Alberni’s Hardy Fink can claim both.

Fink, famous in the gymnastics world for moving the sport away from the ‘Perfect 10’ scoring system, is currently supervising the gymnastics portion of the 2016 Summer Olympics Games in Rio.

“I’m going there with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to oversee the gymnastics part of the competition,” said Fink, who is the director education & academy program for the federation.

Fink started his Olympic judging career in 1976 and has been to every single summer Olympics since, except for the largely boycotted 1980 Soviet Olympics.

But his interest in judging gymnastics began long before that.

“I started gymnastics way back in 1963 and became an international judge back in 1969,” said Fink, who at only 21-years-old was the youngest ever international gymnastics judge.

He judged and coached his way through decades of Olympics and took on his current supervisory role at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

It was a discontent with the way gymnastics was judged that initially inspired Fink to try his own hand at it.

“I was captivated by the process of judging many years ago when I first began [doing so] in part because I was not happy with what some of the judges were doing,” said Fink.

“Gymnasts were always judged out of 10 but the problem with the perfect 10 was that it couldn’t be sustained—they kept making changes to the difficulty levels to prevent people from getting a 10. Then they’d get back up to 10 and change the rules… there was a tension between trying to achieve a 10 and the FIG’s attempt to stop people getting a 10.”

Fink didn’t see the system as productive—so he made a change.

“The performance part, the execution part, is still judged out of 10. Then the difficulty part is judged by a different group of judges. The score is then the sum of those two,” he said.

His interest in coaching led Fink to start the Port Alberni Gymnastics Academy in 1976.

“We started at the old Catholic school on Sixth Avenue and then we moved to where Quality Foods is now. It didn’t look like that then, it was a giant dome,” said Fink.

He moved to Vancouver to teach at UBC for several years before coming back to Port Alberni in 1994 to help with starting up the gymnastic academy’s current location at the top of Argyle Street.

“I helped design the layout of the gym they have now.”

These days, Fink’s involvement with the gymnastics academy doesn’t extend much beyond taking his grandchildren in.

Fink doesn’t have a lot of regrets but he does wish that the 1980 games had turned out differently.

“That’s still one the most frustrating moments of my life because it was a boycott and we didn’t go to the Olympics. But here in Port Alberni we were coaching perhaps one of the best ever gymnasts in history, Philip Delessale,” said Fink.

But he remains proud of the changes he’s made and the coach education he’s spurred on.

“The coach education manuals and influence we’re having in all these developing countries and coaches that don’t know as much will be my main legacy. Judging is one thing but when you influence all the coaches, you influence the gymnasts and it seems more significant somehow.

 

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Save-On-Foods donates to summer kids’ program in Port Alberni

Food bank takes over from breakfast programs once summer vacation starts

West Coast Hockey Prep Camp draws nearly 1,000 players to Port Alberni

History-making Korean hockey coach joins league of celebrity instructors

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Most Read