Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 7/8/12
As the U.S. men head off to their final training camp before the London Olympics this week, several gymnasts will be toting plastic bears filled with honey. Or bottles of Karo syrup. Really. And no, it's not for breakfast. Some of the equipment can be as slick as ice, and gymnasts have had to get creative in order to keep a grip on things. ''You start slipping off the parallel bars and you're like, `How do I hold onto this?''' said Jonathan Horton, a two-time medalist in Beijing. ''When you're a kid, I guess you don't really think about it. Then you get older and you're like, `Man, this should be easier.' You just start figuring out, OK, what can I put that's sticky on my hands to make me do this?'' For most, honey does the trick. Others use syrup. Whatever the sticky substance, they rub it on their hands, run their hands along the bars and then cover both with a layer of chalk. (The women have a similar routine on uneven bars, though most just spray water on them and then dust them with chalk.) Each gymnast has his own concoction, a recipe developed through trial and error. ''Growing up, I tried pancake syrup and Karo syrup,'' Horton said. ''Then I was like, `OK, honey,' and I tried a million different types of honey until I finally found one that really works. Everyone kind of has their own little combination of how they like it.'' How they don't like it, too. Because so much of the chalk, honey and anything else gets rubbed off during a routine, most gymnasts don't bother cleaning off the bars before applying their own layer of goop. Watch any international meet, however, and you'll see whatever team follows China on parallel bars rushing to the equipment as soon as the Chinese are done to scrape and hose down the bars. ''I literally will spray down the bars and wipe all their junk off and start over,'' Horton said. ''The Japanese guys, after they do the bars? It's like the stickiest grip I've ever felt. The Chinese guys, I don't know what they're doing to the bars and how they hold onto it, because it is not good to us at all. Everyone slips off of their stuff.'' So when you see guys carrying bottles of honey in London, you'll know why. Or, in Horton's case, two bottles. ''I have one to drink,'' he said, ''and one to put on my hands.''
PLAYERS: Jonathan Horton
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love addresses meeting, teammates' confrontation

Jay Feely: Gisele tried to get me to convince Tom Brady to retire

Law enforcement to keep close eye on Tom Brady’s jersey, other items at Super Bowl

Raiders to make a run at Le’Veon Bell if he becomes free agent?

LaVar Ball to serve as assistant coach on sons' Euro team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cavs question Love’s illness at ’emotional’ meeting

Robby Anderson's lawyer: WR did not threaten sexual assault, was racially profiled

Report: Sean Payton high on Baker Mayfield

One-handed NFL prospect shared amazing message about disabilities

Austin Jackson agrees to two-year deal with Giants

Bucks fire coach Jason Kidd

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

The Chicago Bulls' future is on the clock

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

The 'More things change...' quiz

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Behind the scenes: History of the Super Bowl in pictures

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Top takeaways from NFL Championship Sunday

Six incredible stats from the Belichick/Brady era in Boston

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

The 'More things change...' quiz

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Behind the scenes: History of the Super Bowl in pictures

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

Top 25 times franchise players have changed scenes in MLB

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker