Sunday, May 31, 2009

Video of Romania and Boney M!

A kind reader linked to a video on Youtube of the Romanian Girls and Boney M in the comments.  I thought you'd all like to witness them getting their dance on.  Sandra seems to be having a particularly good time!
As mentioned, the sound is awful. The vision ain't too good either.  But it is still funny!
(And YES- There is a conga line!!!)

Lugano Trofeo Results

(Yasmin Zimmermann)

Well, the all-around honours in Lugano were taken out, rather unsurprisingly, by Romania's little junior talent, Amelia Racea.  Oddly enough for a Romanian, her highest scoring event in the AA competition was on the uneven bars with a 14.350.  Her lowest was floor, with a 13.650 despite her 5.3 difficulty.  

(Jessica Diacci)

Racea was the leading light of the Romanians, with the next best placement being Raluca Haida in seventh place (Haida had a 10.900 beam score.  I wonder what happened there!?).
Ana Maria Izurieta had came in second, and Yasmin Zimmermann took third.  The Chinese contingent didn't fare so well with Yaping coming in tenth and Jiayi twelfth.
The top scores on each event were;

(Giulia Steingruber)

Vault: Racea/ Zimmermann 14.200
Bars: Racea 14.350
Beam: Izurietta 14.700
Floor: Izurietta 13.700.

Some other lesser known standouts  appear to be Giulia Steingruber, who scored 13.550 on floor, which would have placed her third.
Jessica Diacci of Switzerland got a 13.850 on beam.
Dorina Boczogo of Hungary was one of only four girls to score into the 14's for vault.

Various tidbits of ...


The Aiken Standard had a short story on Georgia sweetheart Grace Taylor's return to South Carolina this weekend.  Taylor went back to her old gym and handed out trophies to young gymnasts in a contest and gave a talk to the young athletes about her experiences in the sport. Taylor also talked to the journalist about her close relationship with her old Aiken coach, Draha Krizova, about facing the end of her gymnastics career and about her continuing plans to use her Masters in Public Health to work in medical missions or non-profit organisations in the future. Read about it here.

Well the Utah Utes aren't just pretty faces and fabulous gymnasts.  The Deseret news reported this weekend that big name Utah athletes Kristina Baskett and Daria Bijak are eligible for academic all-americans.  Baskett has acccumulated a GPA of 3.69 in her communications major, while Bijak has a 3.84 in film studies.  Baskett now has a career total of twelve All-America Awards, and Bijak has seven.
On top of that, five Utes made the Dean's List; Deetscreek, Johnson, Mackie, Bijak and MacAllister.  Read about it here.

In recruiting news, San Jose State University has received a letter-of-intent from Albuquerque gymnast Alyssa Telles-Nolan.  She was the 2009 all-around champion for New Mexico this year.  From her results, she seems to be best at bars, but San Jose Spartans coach, Wayne Wright is also looking foward to using her in the all-around too.  Read about Alyssa here.

Hilarious!!! The Romanian girls get down.....

...with Boney M!!!!

  Yep, that's right, Boney M!  They live on!  

In an article titled "Ra-ra-Rasputin" by prosport we are told about the girls from Deva taking a friday night off to go see Boney M play.  According to the article, the girls planned on slipping into the 5000 strong crowd unnoticed to watch the show with Nicolae Forminte.  They were, however, recognised by the band and taken on stage, where they danced and sang to some songs.  Sandra Izbasa apparently got right into it, singing along to a couple of songs on the mike!

Ceresela Patrascu said she was very, very surprised to discover the band members were big fans of Romanian gymnastics (I was too) and that they had youtube clips of them competing on their phones.  It was, they told Cera, as exciting for them as it was for the girls to meet and hang out on stage.
Okay, so I am totally rapt to hear that the girls get taken out to concerts on their weekends (even if it is Boney M and so deliciously, daggily Eastern European!) considering they live in a small town and rarely get to go home, but what I really want to know is, if they wanted to watch the show unnoticed, why on God's green earth did they where their national team tracksuits!?  Now come on people- that is not exactly covert!
For those of you too young, or just sheltered enough to have never experienced Boney M, here is a youtube vid of their "greatest" hit, Rasputin.  It's pretty freaking funny. Now, try to imagine Sandra singing it.

The Lugano Trophy

So, with all the yakking about the Moscow Star, admittedly a more prestigious and interesting competition, we forgot that the Lugano Trofeo Internazionale is being contested this weekend.  No results are up on Gymnastics Results yet so it may have just finished. 
 The Lugano trophy is a great competition for trying out younger gymnasts in international competition, given the large amount of juniors who often attend.   The meet is getting a little bit bigger every year, though and usually hosts a handful of interesting and well-known European gymnasts.  
This year, one of the stars of the European Championships, Ariella Kaeslin is competing for Switzerland, along with a favorite of mine, Yasmin Zimmermann.  Other familiar faces from the Milano Euros will be there, including Laura Gombas, Ana Maria Izurietta, and Naomi Ruiz. 

This year gymnasts from nine different countries will be competing in the women's competition, including, for only the second time, some Chinese gymnasts under a new exchange program being encouraged between European and Asian nations.  Representing China will be Liao Yaping and Tang Jiayi.


The Romanians generally tend to send a few of their younger ones and this year is no exception with Amelia Racea, Diana Trenca and Raluca Haida all competing for medals.
Holland has sent the most female gymnasts with four girls including Nastasja Blind.

(The girls from Luxenbur lend each other a hand in 2003)

(2003 winner Emily LePennec)

There was  no Lugano Trofeo held in the Olympic year last year, but 2007 saw quite a wonderful field of young stars contesting the Trophy.  Here is the top eight all-around competitors that year.

1. Ceresela Patrascu
2. Paola Galante
3.  Youna Dufournet
4. Gabriella Dragoi
5. Yasmin Zimmermann
6. Serena Lichetta
7. Loes Linders
8. Berber Van De berg.

I look forward to hearing the results of this weekend's competition.  I'm particularly interested in seeing how the young Chinese and Romanians compare and how they shape up against some of the older girls.  Will keep you posted.

More Dream Teams.......

Some more Deam Teams are up...

(The Beautiful Aurelia Dobre)

Whoever provided this first one didn't give their reasons for choosing the gymnasts, but what the heck, I thought I'd post it anyway so you can take a look!  I'm not sure Mustafina is quite legal yet, but whatever.

Perfection team

Nastia Liukin usa (aa) ub bb 
Tatiana Lyssenko ukr (aa) fx vt bb
Lilia Podpokayeva ukr (aa) aa
Irina Krasnyanska ukr (bb ub)ub
Andrea Munteanu rom (bb fx vt) fx
Aurelia Dobre rom (vt fx ub) vt

courtney mc cool usa
Aliya Mustafina rus

Octavian Belu, Valery Liukin, Leonid Arkayev, evgeny marchenko

hope you love it :)


The second Team, the Beautiful Bitchfaces contains some of the most graceful girls in women's gymnastics.

Note From Creator: Okay, I based this all on personality and artistry and that's why my my team is named...

The Beautiful Bitchfaces!

Svetlana Boginskaya (AA) VT FX
Svetlana Khorkina (AA) BB UB 
Nastia Luikin (AA) UB BB
Daniela Silivas (BB UB FX) FX BB UB
Oksana Omelianchik (AA) FX VT
Alicia Sacramone (VT) VT

Alexsandra Marinescu
Anna Pavlova
Mohini Bhardwaj

Adrian Goreac (Head Coach)
Valeri Luikin

I wanted a team that was bursting with personality and artistry pretty much. In my opinion the six that I have chosen represent the highest degree of what artistic gymnastics should and could be! All of them, except A-Sac, could compete all around but each also has an event where they shine. Boginskaya on floor, Daniela on the beam, Khorki on bars, so on and so forth... Alicia is my only specialist because she makes vault look beautiful. Also, most of them can melt steel with their glares and that was an important contributing factor.

(Bogi melting some steel)

My three alternates were mostly chosen for sentimental value. Alexsandra and Anna both have beautiful style and great difficulty, but are pretty inconsistant. (Though in the case of Marinescu that may be because of Belu probably scaring the crap out of her in competition.) Mohini is one of my favorite Americans, but she just doesn't have the difficulty nor the style of the other gymnasts. She has proven herself a leader though, and can step into any situation and keep a level head and that's why I want her on my team.

The reason I only have two coaches is because I think if there are anymore then that the team gets muddled. Too many conflicting voices. Valeri and Adrian are two that I trust not to abuse the athletes, but give them the discipline to get where they need to go. Adrian has produced some of the most beautiful gymnastics ever, while Valeri seems to be a great technitian and understands the code really well. They could come up with some phenomenal routines.

(Liukin, one of the most popular coach choices so far) 

The third Team is from KarenlovesGymnastics. She said she wasn't sure how to email her team to me (look to the right of the screen, Karen!!!) So head over to her blog to see her Dream Team, The Best of the Best.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And Another Dream Team....

Well the If I was Marta team is truly a Dream Team- a "what could have been if things had been different". See if you agree.
If you want to play, email me your own Dream Team at Check out the original
Dream Team post to see how to play.

A note from the creator: Before I get started, I know that I am totally breaking the rules with this but hey its just for lighthearted fun, right? Well after watching US Nationals, Trials, and then the final I couldn't help but think what if....this and this and that had happened. So this is my 2008 USA Women's Olympic Dream Team!

(Shayla Worley; What fracture?)

Team Name: If I Was Marta...

Shawn Johnson (AA) (VT, BB, FX)
Nastia Liukin (AA) (UB, BB, FX)
Samantha Peszeck (BB, VT, FX) (BB)
Alicia Sacramone (VT, FX) (VT, FX)
Bridget Sloan (AA) (VT, UB)
Shayla Worley (UB, BB) (UB)

Alternates - Chellsie Memmel, Ivana Hong

Shawn - Well you have to put SJ on AA and VT, BB, and FX. I dont think her UB Routine was well recieved at all...
Nastia - Again, you have to qualify her for AA. UB and BB are no brainers and Floor, she won the bronze!
Sam - I think shes very underrated on BB! Personally i think she has a better full then Shawn, she is VERY consistent on beam and just lots of precise power on that event. Shes also very powerful on Vault and Floor for qualifications too...
Alicia - Shes a world medalist on both Vault and Floor. Knowing what I know now (beijing beam) I would just let Alicia focus on those 2 events that she was most comfy in and let her be that team leader we all know she is!
Bridget - OMG her DTY at the AmCup was gorgeous! Great lines and consistence on UB, and she has STUCK that doublelayout consistently. Shes also a true all-arounder so I put her up for AA in qualifications too...
Shayla - When She hits bars and beam, she rocks it and I think would be very well recieved on an international stage!

(Ivana Hong: Still a bridemaid)

Chellsie - (As I duck to avoid the tomatoes being thrown at me) - Im sorry, really chell i am. You have the grit, determination, and toughness of a lion! But...this is the olympics and you just get hurt way too much for me to put you on the lineup...sorry! (This also could be a tiny bit of predjudice for me just not liking her style of gym but again, thats why im ducking from the tomatoes...)
Ivana - Im with Marta on this one, Shes got to up her difficulty, consistency, and GRINablity in order for me to put her on a team. Shes an alternate though because well..I just like her OK! (and i almost feel bad for her...) AND THOSE LINES! =)

(Sam P, still on the team)


Valeri Liukin - Head Coach - I think he is just the right mix of toughness, order, and precision that a head coach needs. Yet, unlike Bela, Im not scared to leave my atheltes alone with him.
Liang Chow - Obviously a great coach and a great person to have on your team (We are, after all, in China!) Plus, he is
warm, smiling compassion for the girls.
Marta Karolyi - She really did have a knack for spotting talent, bringing the team toghether, and keeping them in line.
Bela Karolyi - Its the record, I just can't deny that record. But again, he is NOT the head coach of my team

Hope you all enjoyed! You think this team could have won the gold? Thanks for the game CouchGymnast! It was fun!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just Imagine for a minute....

You're a college gymnast.  

You and your team have had a great year. In fact you've had a fabulous year- fabulous enough to be on of the four teams to make it to national championships. 
As a freshman you've had a terrific first season. You've been in the line up on beam, bars and vault most meets and even done all-around during a spate of team injuries. You haven't fallen once all year, except for your first meet when, you misjudged your bars dismount and fell forwards (but it was your first meet and you were nervous

Today has been great. You cheered your team mates on floor in the first rotation. You only had a tiny shuffle on your high Yurchenko one-and-a-half landing, but you hit every handstand on bars and nailed your dismount scoring your season high 9.950.

Now its the final rotattion and you are up on beam. Your team is in second place at the moment. You have a chance to take over the lead from leaders, who are watching from the tunnel. Everybody must hit.

You watch your team mate perform the last beam routine of her college career. It is nearly perfect. You watch your fellow freshman buddy wobble a tiny bit coming out of her leap series, but recover for a clean dismount.

It's your turn. 

You listen to the crowds cheering loudly for the home team, but pretend its all for you as you wait for the judgesYou leap on with confidence, smile, pull off as clean a pirouette as you've ever done, then everything goes terribly wrong during your leap series, the pike jump into split leap you have done a million times in practice.  Your landing is off and you overbalance, only just saving yourself from a fall with some wild arm waving. The world freezes for a second.  You hear your team mates calling out encouragemtn. Don't worry. Just keep going. Shake it off. You take a deep breath, trying to ignore the eyes of the judges, the crowd and your coach. You take another breath and launch forward into your front aerial walkover.
Before you even realise what has happened, you find yourself on the ground, the side of your foot and ankle stinging where it scraped down the side of the beam. 
Panicked, you don't even take a second to regroup.  You climb back up and complete the routine as fast as you can, each move robotic, your mind blanked by the shock of falling. You manage to land your mount without a waver. Your team mates clap loudly. But you know it is too late.

You are so demoralised, so embarassed, that you can't even watch the rest of the rotation. You miserably take in your score and then keep your head down. You accept a consoling word or hug from your team mates every now and then but you don't watch everyone else get up and do the beam routines of their lives, doing everything they can to make sure your team at least holds onto second place. It is the senior anchor who clinches it, posting her second perfect ten of the season on beam. It isn't enough to win, but your team stays in second place.

You pull yourself up from the cormer you've been hiding in since you got off beam and hug your team mates who are grinning and jumping up and down. They might have had a chance at first place, but second is the best they have ever done at a National Championships s they are still pretty happy. Not as happy as they would have been if you'd won though.

As you hug them and listen to their words of encouragement, as they tell you that it could have happened to anyone, that it was freak thing and not to be upset, you feel the ache in your throat as you try not to cry, knowing that if it wasn't for the tenths you lost they would- you would be national champions right now.

Your team mates would never say anything, would never openly blame you, but you know that they know it is your score that did it. Even worse is the fact that every time you meet a team fan for the next year, they look at you in this certain way and you know that they are thinking about what could have been if it wasn't for you. 

But the worst part is that YOU know that if it wasn't for you and you have to carry that weight through til next season.

THIS is why i do not like the new all six scores count rule for NCAA Championships next year. Its bad enough that in an individual-turned-team sport like gymnastics, that fans might blame a single gymnast for losing a championships for them, and even worse, that one athlete, no matter how generous their team is about it, might feel like they are entirely responsible for the loss of a close scoring championship, even if they have competed brilliantly all year.
It's too much pressure. But you know, as long as the crowds are bigger, and more money is made.....

(Also, make sure you read what Rhonda Faehn had to say about these issues in Inside Gymnastics.  She too iondering about the risks of an injury ruining a whole teams chances or the risk of routines being watered down to prevent falls. That would suck.  NCAA routines are already to same-y and safe. Go Rhonda for speaking out!!!!) 

Gymnasts and their Coaches

Vicky Dobson and Elena Davydova

(Young Davydova)

Sometimes I think its just nice to hear about some regular gymnast- not young gymnasts vying for spots on the National team training thirty-forty hour weeks, risking burnout before pay off, but a gymnast with lots of talent and achievable goals.
Canadian gymnast Vicky Dobson, coached by Elena Davydova, is one of those girls. There is no doubt that Vicky is talented and tenacious at age eleven. According to the Durham Region News, Vicky had only one week to prepare herself for the Ontario Cup after returning from a broken hand. She a managed to come in at 5th place, qualifying for the Provincial Championshsips. Vicky went from strength to strength after this. She came third at the Provincials, qualifying easily for the Eastern Candians where she came second in her age category! Talk about improvement!
Vicky claimed she was more excited than nervous. She loves the sport and best of all, it is still fun for her.

"I thought flipping around and all that stuff would be really fun to do so I chose gymnastics. It's really active and just really fun to do, because you get to swing on the bars and do all sorts of things on the floor. It's really hard work, but it all pays off and it's really fun to do.

But not only is Vicky an adept gymnast- she has found she has quite the talent for diving, where she will now be competing in the Provincial Championships and Canadian Nationals on the 1 and 3 meter springboards as well. Not only is gymnastics still fun for this eleven year old, but she gets to pursue her diving as well. As for dreams. She is keeping it real and aiming for university gymnastics scholarships one day.

I found it refreshing to hear about a talented gymnast who is just enjoying gymnastics, and enjoying life too.

(Davydova coaching.
The girl is not Vicky Dobson. I couldn't obtain a pic of her.)

Her coach, Elena Davydova, was the first woman to perform a backward giant and a Tkatchev on bars. She was trained to coach in the U.S.S.R and spent time training the National Team in St Petersburg before she left for the states. She has been coaching full time since coming to Canada. She is involved in coaching at Gemini, is a brevet judge at an international level and works developing coaching training at a provincial level as well. She coaches three national team members and her gymnasts are known, unsurprisingly, for their excellent artistry and execution.

(Davydova training other coaches)

Her greatest coaching success came with Kristina Vaculik and she has had two athletes competing on World Championship teams. Her greatest wish, according to the Gymnastics Coaching Association of Canada website is to produce a medallist at a World or Olympic competition and to be a coach of the Canadian Team at the Olympic Games.

Watch this Youtube video of Davydova to remember why she was just so darn great. It's fuzzy and old but worth its weight in gold.

Her bar routine was so so cool. I love the mount and the transfer from low to high in that same position. Why can't gymnasts just chuck in a mount like that these days? It's not like they are working to a time limit on bars. It can't be that hard to learn and it looks A-mazing. AND people would always remember them and look out for them in competitions! I know I was always waiting for Chellsie memmel or Ivana Hong do perform their original and exciting bars moves.
Davydova's floor routine was crazy brilliant too. It was beautiful in parts, sassy in parts, and even a bit comical too. And she pulled every aspect of it off. She made such beautiful shapes with her body with her dance.
And you know what I miss, people? A good old-fashioned dive roll! Gymnasts look great as they soar through the air in that swallow shape before landing one. Why is Jennifer Beals dive roll in her dance audition in Flashdance one of the most memorable parts of the film? Because they are simple and spectacular, that's why. And Davydova provides a wonderful version in this fantastic routine.

Another Dream Team!

This one is a goody too. It is an interesting blend of old and new and is mostly made of Americans and Romanians.  The reasons for choosing the athletes is compelling.  The reasons for (not) choosing the alternates are hilarious as is the reason for selecting Valeri Liukin as a coach.  Enjoy!

(If you want to participate and contribute a Dream Team, please go back to the initial post (click here) to find out how to play, then send your entry to me at  Have fun!)

Team Name: Team I'm gonna kill the competition

Nastia Liukin (AA) UB, BB
Liz Tricase (VT, UB, FX) VT, UB, FX
Olesiya Dudnik (AA) VT, BB
Courtney Kupets (AA) UB, FX
Monica Rosu (VT, BB) VT
Oana Ban (UB, BB, FX) BB, FX

Coaches: Liukin, Kelli Hill, Mihai Brestyan, Natalya Marakova



Nastia's my favorite gymnast
Tricase was awesome on VT, UB, and FX
Dudnik is Dudnik
Kupets is awesomeness
Rosu was an awesome vaulter, IMO she had the best Amanar ever
Ban was one of the best BB workers I've seen, very deliberate in her
moves, not a question of can she make it or not

and also I can design new code routines for all of them

Alternates: Pavlova (was originally on the team, replaced by Dudnik
b/c of lower difficulty), Groshkova (was originally on the team, taken
off for lack of consistency), Lysenko (she wasn't hitting UB and BB in
practice, and those were the 2 events where she would really
contribute, I couldn't do it on FX, her double layout is SCARY!)


Liukin is great at pacing and UB and BB, Hill is very personable,
great UB coach, Brestyan is good with VT, BB, and FX execution,
Marakova's a wonderful beam coach and choreographer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The First Dream Team is In!

This is the first contribution to the Dream Team Game from one of our readers. I love the mix in this one. 
Team Awesome pulls gymnasts from right across the gymnastics ages.  There is depth and great artistry in this mix. In fact it is sooo deep, it is like the Romanian or U.S team, where you sometimes mourn who ends up as reserve. 
Interesting coach choices too!

(Terin Humphrey- overlooked no longer)

Team Awesome

Lilia Podkopayeva (AA) (floor, beam)
Nadia Comaneci (AA) (beam, bars)
Vera Caslavska (AA) (bars, vault)
Anna Pavlova (AA) (beam, floor, vault)
Cheng Fei (Floor, Vault) (floor, vault)
Terin Humphrey (Bars, Beam) (bars)

Reserves: Mo Huilan, Nastia Liukin

Coaches: Octavian Belu, Kelli Hill, Liang Chow, Nataliya Pavlova

(A blast from the past.  Vera Caslavska is probably
 the only gymnast more used to a medals podium than Nastia Liukin!)

Why I chose my team: Lilia is my favorite gymnast of all time. Her floor was so lively and beautiful, not to mention the double front half out! She’s also a true AA gymnast, with no weak event. Vera I chose because she’s my favorite “old time” gymnast. She always seems so happy and I find her bar work exciting, and like Lilia, she was a great AA gymnast, able to medal in every event (and she did). Anna I chose, because despite her lack of consistency, is a beautiful gymnast. Her floor in Beijing blew me away. And when she’s on, she is so ON. Cheng Fei I put on the team because she’s one of the most awesomely powerful gymnasts I’ve ever seen. But in addition to her power is a fabulous grace and artistry. Terin Humphrey is there because she was my favorite American gymnast of the 2004 olympics. I think she was woefully underrated at the US championships, but really got to show her stuff at the Games with her rock solid performances, and surpassing Kupets in the bars finals. And Nadia is on the team because she’s NADIA!
(Belu- the team coach who needs keeping in line!)

As for the coaches, Octavian has the medal record and the discipline to take any team to greatness. Kelli and Liang have also produced great gymnasts, and could help keep Octavian in check. Nataliya is there because who am I to separate a fantastic mother-daughter team?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Say What?

Bridget: B-r-i-d-g-e-t. See? Just a good solid Irish Catholic name. No tricky spelling. No extra vowels. Just keeping it simple. Listen, do you want me to talk to your Mum for you?
Jordyn: Oh, I don't know. At least she didn't call me Britt-nee, or Madyson.
Bridget: True that.

Nicolae: Zee how good I am? I am ze best coach! For bronze medal I giff you holiday. I take you to ze beach.
You vant live in America?
Bah! Marta make you clean ze toilets all zummer for a bronze medal!

Daniela: Conda- who?
Florica: Conda....Conda...Conda-something-Rice.
...I don't know.
Just shut your eyes. 
It will all be over in a minute.

Sveta: I'm serious, Olga, ve have saying in ze Motherland- ze shorter ze hair, ze longer ze career.
Oksana: You vant you can borrow my steak knife?

Courtney: See, check it out, Tito. Watch Hils. From here it is a perfectly innocent point-at-scoreboard. But from where 'Bama sits, I am so flipping the bird.

Alicia: It's okay Nast. Adela's gone. You will never have to look at that leo again, I promise.
Nastia: But, but what if she comes back?

Marissa: Okay, I don't think that's distracting her. You kinda look like my Grandpa, though.

Aussies: Please let Starbucks still be open when we're done....please let Starbucks still be open when we're done...please let starbucks......

Suzanne: I tell you what I want...what I really really want! Zigga-zig-ah!
Verona: Yep, really showing your age here, Suz.

Ksenia: Well, I guess I'll do a couple more Olympics, then you know, retire, get married, have a baby, pose for playboy, get some plastic surgery, join parliament.
You know, the usual stuff.

Anamarie: I am sooo bored. All we have done since we got home from Beijing is stand in groups and be photographed clapping. It's like we're being punished.
Where's the party? Where's the dips dammit?! The champagne?!
I miss Pavs.

Gabriela: Oh, ooh Steli, I think I got it! Yep I got it!

Steliana: Good girl. First lesson complete.
I have so much to teach you, Grasshopper.
The art of sleeping with your eyes open is the most valuable skill I can pass on to you in this game. 
More valuable than any side somi.
Use wisely.

Sandra: Lili, how much longer is this thing going to take? This gold-medal-smile is really starting to hurt. I think it's jetlagged.

Lili: Hangs on Sands. Just the presidential handshakes, the mayor's speech, the traditional folk dance, the flowers and the handing out of the keys to the city- then we're good to go.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

To Rub Some Salt in...

The Dasha Joura Wound.

Not only has Dasha Joura been one of Australia's most successful athletes, she has also been quite the international favorite, winning fans with her winning smile, excellent gymnastics, her oodles of personality and her impressive all- around talent.
I know that it wasn't just us Aussies who were sad to see her Beijing experience was nothing like she'd hoped. Many people wanted her to make it to the AA finals and floor finals if not to win any medals, then just for the pleasure of her company!

She is one of those gymnasts. People just can't help liking her.

For those of you who don't know much about her Beijing experience, Dasha injured herself during training for qualification, had a terrible time performing her beam at qualification because of it, forcing her to completely water down her dismount and limp off the podium crying inconsolably. She then decided to compete bars for the team finals to help the Aussies as much as she could, slipped her grip and smashed her face into one of the bars, giving herself a black eye. She managed to continue and complete the routine. What a freaking legend!

(With another sassy floor worker, Svetlana Boginskaya)
(Pic from

Anyway, today I was flipping through an old sports magazine in the State Library and found this article about Dasha during the Olympic Team Selections. It was a nice little story, where the journalist told readers that "given her recent world-class performances, she could have tripped on her own bootlaces in the Vodafone Arena and still been selected!" In hindsight, of course, it is a little depressing after what actually did happen to poor Joura. But I thought I'd share some of the more interesting quotes of Dasha's. We get a bit of insight into her personality and what her training and career has been like.

"If it hadn't happened, I don't know if i would have got where I am today (missing selection for the 2006 Commonwealth Games). I made a lot of changes after that- mostly to do with the way I trained. I just rocked up every day and kind of thought it was a bit of a chore to come in. I didn't really think about the fact i was there doing it for myself. The fact I realised I was there to fulfill my dreams was the biggest turnaround."

"I believe if you find yourself doing something for someone else, it's not right for you. If that's the case you should find something else because doing it for others takes the passion and the determination away. The love and passion for the sport is what makes you successful."

"My parents and I have come to an understanding that when we're at home, that's my tme to unwind. We try to avoid talking about gymnastics as much as possible when I'm out of the gym. You need a good balance."

"When you compete and you're doing well, you don't focus on that (medals) because it isn't about the outcome, it's the process that gets you there. If you concentrate on the end, you don't think about the thing in the middle. Do that and you don't reach your goal."

Here too is her interview with The Australian morning Olympics show, Yum Cha. So if you haven't seen it already, you can revel in her lovely personality, sympathise with her terrible Olympic experience, and I'm sure for you non-Aussies, enjoy her cute accent!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off We Go!


F.I.G just anounced the numbers are in for provisional Registration.  
315 Men
205 Women
& 84 different federations.
I'm so Excited!
 (I think I have to go.  Yep.  I'm gonna go.)

Let's Have Some Fun....


So, fantasy sports have been played for years now.  For the few of you who might not know what they are, it is a virtual sort of sports game where people construct their own "Dream Team" of players in a specific sport (often male- dominated team sports like football, soccer and basketball) and earn points in the fantasy game depending on how these player do in real life games, judged by using match scores and statistics.  Fantasy sports are very popular, with over 30 million people playing some form of it in the U.S.A and Canada alone.  

I have vaguely heard of the hobby over here in Australia, and over the weekend there was a newspaper article about it, prompting me, of course, to see if there is such a thing Fantasy Gymnastics.  Of course there was!  Gym fans are too ardent to let something like this pass by.  And gymnastics, with all its statistics and scoring, is perfect for this kind of game.

I immediately checked out some sites on the internet after reading the article, but many links to fantasy sites were broken or the sites were last updated a long time ago.  Also, I am not sure if Fantasy Gymnastics is about choosing existent gymnasts for a team as in other Fantasy Sports, or using real but lower level gymnasts statistics, or about making up pretend gymnasts.  Anyway, Fantasy Sports sounds like a complex endeavor suited to real fans/ fanatics of the sport with a lot of time on their hands.  It sounds kind of fun too.  But I spend enough time on this blog, without having another gymnastics-related obsession!

BUT, what I thought might be fun for us, is for people to construct their own Fantasy Olympic team and see what kinds of combinations you can come up with.  So anyone who wants to have a go, start dreaming up the perfect Olympic Team.  Make it deep, and make it competitive and tell us why you would take this group of girls to 2012!

Deng Linlin and Nelli Kim on the same Olympic team?  Why not? 

You can either email your team to me on the address at the side, or put it in the comments.  It would be better if you emailed it, so I can cut and paste it into the blog more easily, but whatever floats your boat!  Then I will put them up in a main post for others to take a look at.

How it will work

-Give me a name for your team.

-Pick any international gymnast who has competed at a Worlds or Olympic Games at any time (You can have Henrietta Onodi and Jana Bieger on the same team if you wish!) from any combination of nationalities.  Gymnastics goes global (and time warp-y)!

-Remember the competition is for both qualifications and team finals when you pick them (feel free to tell us a little bit about why you chose each gymnast).

The qualifications will be a 6-5-4 format, so tell us who your six will be, and which five will go up on each event for qualifications.

The Team finals will be the old 3-up, 3-count, so tell us who you are planning to put up for the finals.

- Just for fun, you can name two reserves.

-Imagine that the new scoring system will be used, so make sure both difficulty and execution are a factor in your selection 
(for the sake of consistency, and factoring the immense changes in the sport over the years, i think it should be fair to imagine that gymnasts from the past have trained in modern times and have similar skills- otherwise they would be eliminated from consideration simply because the sport was different then.  So if you want to put Oksana Omelianchik in the floor line up, completely confident that she would be able to do a tucked double arabian- be my guest!).

-Just for fun, you can take four coaches (one must be female) from any country and any period to supervise the team.  The same rule applies- the coaches must have already coached at an Olympics or World Championships.  It will be interesting to see who is chosen.

An Example

Team name: Randoms!

Team (Qualifications) (Finals)
Gabriela Dragoi: (beam, bars, vault) (bars, beam)
Shannon Miller: (AA) (AA)
Mo Huilan: Vault, bars, floor) (etc...)
Silvia Mitova: (AA) (etc)
Tina Erceg: (AA) (etc...)
Alexandra Eremia: (beam, floor) (etc...)

Reserves: Nadia Comaneci, Nastia Liukin

Coaches; Elvira Saadi, Al Fong, Steve Nunno and Kelli Hill.

Why I chose my team:  I didn't.  This is just a mock-up!  As if i would put Dragoi on vault and have Comaneci as a reserve!  And Saadi isn't going ANYWHERE NEAR my athletes!

So guys, have fun with it.  If we get enough dream teams, maybe we can even have a poll later, so readers can pick their ultimate favorite from the ones you make up.
Basically, do whatever you like.  That's why they call it Fantasy gymnastics!


(Edit: I just checked in at the IG forum and it seems the forum crew over there have been working on their Dream Teams already.  Sorry to cut your lunch guys!  Check out their thread)

(Constructing my own team is going to take a while.  It's kind of like being a kid in a candy store!)

(Also, a couple of people have said that the comments page isn't working at times.  I have a feeling it is when someone is already putting up a comment, because it seem to only happen whe  teire is a higher than usual amount of comment traffic.  I can only suggest waiting a bit and trying again. I will check with Blogger to find out if this is indeed the issue)