Thursday, October 22, 2009

hi guys!

I am currently travelling around Montenegro, so there isn,t much blog writing occurring.  Back in a week or so with my worlds photos and feedback.  as for vault line judge, not sure what was going on, but did see floor line judge miss porgras,s step out in floor finals.  See you soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Okay, so in answer to a question on the International Gymnast online forum, yes, like at the Olympics, there seems to be quite a number of ex-gymnasts floating around the 02 because I am seeing them everywhere I go!!  I think because of all the restaurants and bars actually in the o2, a lot of them are hanging out.

I saw old legend Larissa Latynina watching the AA finals, which was pretty amazing, as she is quite elderly these days.

As I said, Svetlana Boginskaya is there being all Russian in her high heels and bleach blonde hair.

I have seen Andreea Raducan and Maria Olaru ad Presecan with the Romanian crew several times, just genrally being fabulous and photographed by all around them.

I saw Olaru and Dominque Moceanu having a gossip in the concourse this afternoon, and later, when I went to the toilet during the Pommel final (i can't stand pommel) I saw Nadia Comaneci being led somewhere by a security guard in her immensely high heels. 

I turned when I heard some shrieking yesterday only to see Oksana Chusovitina and Svetlana Khorkina merrily greeting each other with hugs and kisses.

I also ran into Bridget Sloan while in the bathrooms.  We were the only ones there so I congratulated her.  She is a sweetie.  I am sorry I find her gymnastics a bit boring!

So yes, there are gymnasts aplenty floating around the o2!!
I will upload pics tomorrow perhaps.  If not, when I get back from my post-Worlds holiday!


Well, it was pretty dang entertaining to watch the US have to rise three times for the Chinese in the second medal ceremony!  It was a China-fest for the last three events.  It was also darn hilarious when the announcer forgot to call Rebecca Bross onto the podium for her shared bronze with Ana Porgras.  Poor Becca!  It was worth it though, to see Kathy Kelly storm around that stadium to yell at the tech people!  Lucky they got it sorted and called Brossy up before Hag the Second really got going!

Right, so, vault.  That was fun!  I was right at the front, so it was easy to see all the drama.

I had thought Kayla Williams was a cool, collected character until I saw her come off vault.  The poor girl must have been feeling the pressure because she was well and truly near tears.  Before she vaulted, if you'd asked me, I would have said she was thinking about dinner, or trying to remember who played Julie Cooper in the OC.  But no, she was feeling it alright.   It is this that makes her incredibly huge, and very very tidy vaults even greater.  The girl who openly and honestly told Gymnastike that she wanted to be on the Worlds team more than she wanted anything in the world proved she more than deserved her spot.

I was sad to see neither Russian make it into a medal position.  They are great vaulters.  Kurbatova looked particularly upset, thought she never actually seemed to stop talking, except when vaulting.  Ksenia Semenova was sitting right near me to watch the final, much to the delight of  the girls sitting next to her.  She yelled and yelled the girls through their vaults, much to the dismay of some uppity soccer mothers behind me, who kept grumbling about the annoying girl yelling.  I wanted to turn around and tell them to shut it, that they were her team mates and she can yell 'stoi!' all she likes, but they looked kinda mean!

Poor old Elsa Garcia!!  Voted the most elegant gymnast at the Worlds and she goes and lands on her face!  At least she had the good grace to laugh about it!  And to laugh at what her disastrous second vault did to her hair!!  Her coach was great too, just grinning at her and yanking the tuft of fringe that had come unstuck and was sticking up all over the place.  Good on her!  What a good sport.

Though i was sad to see Kurbatova drop out of bronze, it was really great to see Dufournet medal.  Her vaults, though not terribly difficult were executed gorgeously and her utter astonishment and joy at landing a medal was sweet.

It was sad to see the Olympic champion have a bad day.  But boy, even when she doesn't make it, Hong Un Jong can get into the air!!  I felt sorry for her, though.  It's a long way to come to vault!

Brittany Rogers did a great job, throwing some impressive vaults.  She was a little out of her league, but she proved her mettle and her right to be in that final.

(I hate this leo with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.  There, I said it.)

As for Kaeslin, I love to see her vault.  She is strong and precise and gets better all the time.  I am also glad to see she is feeding her need for butterfly style leos with a far less offensive one than that she has been sporting for the last couple of years.

It was a great final, and the three top places were totally impressive to watch.  In fact, despite everyone bitching about how easy it would be to place in vault finals these days, everyone was really solid and terrific to watch.



Now for the gossip portion!

It seem that i have spent more time around Marta Karolyi tha i have my own mother lately.

Has anyone seen this picture of the moment Alexa Chung, British fashionista/MTV reporter found herself sitting next to vogue editor Anna Wintour, the woman the evil Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada was based on?

She clung to Peaches Geldof for dear life!  That's kind of how I felt for a fleeting moment when the hag of the Karolyi Kingdom sat near me during qualifications.  Then I got over it.  And when I found myself sitting next to her, Kathy Kelly (is that her name?) and Nastia Liukin at the AA, I took it as a fabulous opportunity to eavesdrop.

I don't get really starstruck by gymnasts, probably because i am a lot older than them, but I took a couple of pics of Liukin for you, my readers, which i will post later and thoroughly enjoyed watching Karolyi watch gymnastics.  Liukin didn't reallt watch much, it seemed, she just kind of looked around.  Maybe uits boring for her!  She also sat with Nelli Kim in front of us during the quals, wearing an obnoxiously pink top.  She was kind enough to sign autographs for all the little gymnasts who lingered behind her, waiting.  I did laugh though, when the unfortunate commentator they had for the comp, made some inane comment about Anamaria Tamirjan doing a "businesslike" performance on floor (her floor is lovely) and both Nastia and I scoffed and went "businesslike?"

Anyway, thing only got really entertaining when Liukin left and Kelly joined Marta.  Then the crones really got down to their nagging, yelling and bitching.

They were kind of handy, because Kelly was doing all the scores, so if i missed something, she had it. All she did was crunch scores. To be honest, though, I really got the feeling that Marta was totally gunning for Bross to win over Sloan.  Or perhaps it was that she expected, after Sloan's not great qualifications.  When Sloan performed bars and vault she was kind of quiet, or just nodded and yelled no support, and then before beam, when Bridget didn't get right up on the podium the minute before the girl before her climbed off, she was bitching at Sloan and Sharps, "Vot the hell are zey dooing?"  Whenever Bross was up, she yelled and cheered, and called out reassuring "Eeet's alright Rebecca!" as the little girl waited her turn.  It wasn't until the tide turned, and Bridget hit beam, that Marta started cheering and yelling for her too.  It was weird.

I, of course, made a point of hollering for Mitchell and Porgras at every opportunity!

They did make me laugh.

Some of the things they said/did.

Martha Karolyi saying about France's Morel  "No, no, zat eez not ze good one.  Za good one eez other one, on bars before"

Kathy Kelly rolling her eyes and saying "charisma?" like it was a dirty, useless word, after Semenova was described by (the rather shite, sorry Brits, but she was) live commentator as being one of the few gymnasts with charisma.

Or about Peggy Liddick and Lauren Mitchell's beam routine.  She kind of scoffed at the 6.5 difficulty, and then said " 6.5?  I vould not expect a 6.5 from Peggy"

The opening of Porgras's beam, she kind of shrugged and said "Eeez very nice".  The nicest thing she said all day!

"Vot the hell are zey doing?  Get her off ze podium!!"  Marta Karolyi yelling about Bross waiting so long on the podium to do her floor.  One thing about the HAG, she knows her gymnasts and she knew Bross would be freaking.  And she was. 

They both started clucking and grumpling when the Korean girl sprayed the beam down.  "You cannot spray ze  beam!" Marta grumbled. Kathy Kelly said the same to me, and feeling cheeky, I ignored it and commented on what a gorgeous routine the Korean girl does.

In typical USA style, before the third rotation, Marta confidently said, "All she needs is to land on her feet and it eez hers" About Bridget or Bross, i don't know.

And when it became clear Bross's floor fall wasn't going to drop her any lower than second, she nodded, satisfied and said "US one-two?  Hokay!!" and then I walked away, because the nausea created by the US gymnastics-alooza that was that final was too much.

But like I said, highly entertaining!



 Okay, well you all saw it.  A US 1-2.  Yawn.

I am glad, though, that Bridget Sloan took the crown, because Bross, though her skills are huge, did not put in a performance on either day to deserve to win a World Championship.  In fact, if she did, I might have gone off gymnastics for a while.  At least Bridget, whose gymastics, aside from bars and maybe vault, bores me generally, put in a decent performance all-around, and when she needed to hit floor, she managed it with utter precision.  It was the steadiest, most confident performance she has pulled off all week, and it was exactly when it was most crucial.

Well, Koko Tsurumi put in a lovely and assured performance to take third. She is a great little gymnast. I was, of course, dissapointed because i was gunning for Lauren Mitchell to take that bronze.  But when Koko vaulted cleanly, only taking a jump, I kind of knew it wasn't going to happen.  I knew this because for the first time in my life at a gymnastics competition, I was actually sitting there score-crunching in that last two rotations between Tsurumi and Mitchell!!! 

Lauren still pulled off a great show, but i think she really let herself down on bars, which was a bit sloppy and her rhythm was way out.  It was still fantastic to see how she has matured into such steadfast, seasoned gymnast.  I had thought that beam routine was beyond her, but she has now pulled it off twice, and they awarded her 6.5 for it (more about that later!!)

Okay, Ana Porgras didn't pull off the feat i was hoping for.  She sadly fell of beam, her gymnastics raison de etre.  What I am hoping, is that this will be like 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, where the power- all skills gymnasts took the AA, but messed up in beam finals, even though they had the difficulty to win that too and the beautiful, elegant gymast with the dynamite beam routine takes the beam crown.  That's what I am wishing for, anyway!!!

And on that note, I am also hoping for a Russian flor win too- or even a Tweddle win.  Kayla Williams can have that vault gold.  She deserves it with her clean, immense vaults, but I have to say I am glad they were tough on her floor and she is onnly reserve.

I have to say, I like all the bean finallists and won't be too upset how it pans out- though of course I am gunning for Porgras and Mitchell.  I can't really see He Kexi not taking bars, but with Australia's Larissa Miller qualifying fifth, and a lot of mistakes from the big guns, I am gonnna cross all my figers for a bronze, though it would be a giant feat.

This leads me to aother thing i have been thinking about.  It's a little condition I like to call the Wunderkind Effect.  There are two kinds of rising junior champions in my books.  There are the Ferraris and Johnsons of this world, who dive in blindly, unaware of just how good they are and snatch World |Championships while they are too young and new to fully realise the immensity of what they are doing.  Then later, as they realise, the pressure mounts, and they are entirely conscious of  what is expected of them.  They never quite reach the levels they did when they burst onto the scene unawares.

Then there are (hopefully) gymnasts like Liukin, and I am hoping, Bross and Porgras, who learn early, what it is to not be the best straight away, or suffer injuries early and take these lessons away and become better gymnasts.  I believe both Porgras and Bross began to understand the pressure during the competition.  And I think it got to them.  To me, this is okay.  I believe they both can go further, injury notwithstanding.

I believe Bross might turn out to be a great gymnast.  But it is not her turn.  And if she really is, she'll take this away with her, come back and do better next time.  The same goes for Porgras.  To me, this is the measure of a truly good gymnast, like Memmel, Liukin, Khorkina and Amanar- one who can learn and grow and come back better tha ever.

Alright, let's talk about some of the others.

First, is this the end of Semenova?  I sincerely hope not.  But the girl was really, really not herself this week.  And it is an outright sadness that she is not in a single event final, or even a first reserve for any.  Maybe it is the nagging injuries that are getting to her, but i really wonder if she can come back from them. 

Anamaria Tamirjan pulled off a far better performace than qualifications.  Her beam was great this time, as was her ault, but she let herself down a little on floor.  I think Tamirjan might depart gymnastics over the next year too.  Her difficulty is not there, and she is still dealing with injuries too.  I commend her flor lasting this long though.  Luckily, we have some of those terrific little juniors coming our way.

Lovely to see Elsa Garcia win the elegance prize.  I totally agree!  She has also done a really, fantastic job of making a comeback on the international scene.  Go Elsa!!

Youna Dufournet has finally come into her own too, proving a lot of the junior hype.  She performed excellently in the AA.

BNeither Deng Linlin or Becky Downie lived up to my expectations.  I am not sure what was with Deng, but Downie seems to lose it a little under pressure, which is sad, because she is very solid and very talented when she is on.

Also, someone asked what happened to Sanne Wevers.  From what I saw, she landed badly on her last or second last pass on floor, where she limped off crying.  The next time I saw her, she pushed through beam, clearly in a lot of pain, landed awkwardly again and limped off.  Poor thing.  I guess she thought it was worth going for EF, even with a injury.

Oh yeah, and on the injury reports, I saw Australia's Britt Greeley yesterday, and she said Shona Morgan popped her knee in qualifications, hence the no-moving, foetal position from Morgan.  Poor thing.  Horrible injury.

Enough for now!!


Thursday, October 15, 2009



Well quals was fun. Twelve hours of straight gymnastics. What is not to like?!! And also, me and the other diehard Romania fans who have been following this girl for a while now are feeling pretty bloody happy (as well as vindicated) right now!!  Here's some randon thoughts. I'm tired!


Lauren Mitchell.  Good girl!  While so many big guns (including Bross) were really unsteady all day  Mitchell was solid.  She came out so late in the day, held that beam routine together and was generally great all around. 
(I think she had a bleeding rip that she took to beam though, because they rushed around to clean up the beam after she performed!!)
And two event finals?! I am buzzing with proud right now.

Ana Porgras.  Just beautiful.  Made me feel good about the sport.  She was lovely, lyrical, skillful AND interesting.  That's the kind of gymnast i can't get enough of.  She has personality and performance quality.  She is my world champion.

The return of the lovely, fun, and i hadn't quite realised, very tall Elsa Garcia. She kicked butt for her own big comeback performace. AA and vault finals. Go Elsa!!!

Some great gymnasts in the middle ranks who were either impressively steady interesting and lovely, or all of the above. Elizabeth Seitz. Mayra Kroonen,Nathalia Sanchez, Koko Tsurumi.

Myzdrikova's floor.  Great tumbling.  And I have said it once, and i will say it again, I ADORE the way she lands some salto skills from the place she took off.  It's awesome!

Sydney Sawa proving her mettle for team Canada, for the most part she was really steady and great.

Kim Un Hyang's beam routine. Loved that routine. It was crazy good!

|Deng Linlin being rock steady in her subdivision. Go Deng!


Shona Morgan- I didn't see properly what happened when she came off vault, but the poor girl must have been in terrible pain because she did not even lift her head from her hands for what felt like hours.  Awful.  Hope she is okay.  You guys probably know more than me.

Still with the Aussies, I was sad to see Georgia Bonora struggle on floor because she had put together three strong, steady rotations and was looking really impressive. She did look tense though,more tense than a lot of the girls and I was wondering if she could maintain her performance.

Jessica Lopez did not have a great day, which was sad because of how much they wanted to be the first Venezuelan finalists.  Next time, Jess.   Lopez is so tiny, i think she can go for quite a while in this sport. It isn't over for her.

Not seeing Emily Armi in the AA finals. She was terrific in qualifications. I was so impressed with her. Oh well, she has years left in her gymnastics, and probably more to learn.

Anamaria Tamirjan standing there trying not to look as if she was crying, which she clearly was, after she came off beam.  Poor girl.  Her floor afterwards was very nice though.

Not a good day for Semenova all around.  She wasn't her usual infectious self, even during floor, where she often lights up.    Hope she can improve for Friday.

Rebecca Bross- sorry guys, but I don't mind Rebecca Bross ad I really admire her skills, but frankly, live, her gymnastics was the biggest yawn ever.  There are only skills to her gymnastics and it is not enough for me.


Can I just say how hilarious it was to hear Martha Karolyi saying to her companion behind me as she watched Lauren Mitchell's floor ex "I don't know vot eet eez.  She eez not fantastics, but zer is somezing about her zo good" !!!!!!

It was only funny once it was clear she was safe, but Rebecca Downie's fabulous stack, which involved stumbling back and backward rolling OFF the podium was pretty damn entertaining. When will she learn not to overdo that dismount? She did the same thing at Euros, falling back, albeit less spectacularly!!

A gang of tweenies start to approach Dominique Moceaunu near the concourse, Sevtlana Boginskaya sees them coming, grabs Dom's arm and hisses at her "Come on, ve go now! Queeck!" But she was too late. And then one of the girls father's recognised Bogey too, and it was all over! Photo time!

The girls who were hired to give out leaflets for GK elite leotards, accidently trying to give a chance to win a free leo to two of the Japanese gymnasts before they realised they probably didn't need them. Very cute!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Fabian Hambeuchen limping out of a Japanese restaurant at the o2, hollering "sushi!!!", which made much more sense when it became clear he was yelling it at Kohei Uchimura who came over and bowed at him and consoled him about his injury!

Finally, a good reason for those tan-arexic USA gymnasts to look so orange!  They stand out against the white floor mat.  Some of the pale male gymnasts 'lost their legs' during their flares and tumbling!!

A lone (male) gymnast from who knows where wandering through the restaurant precinct of the o2 topless, with ice packs strapped to his shoulders and down his pants (in the back!!)

Gymnasts from Jordan, Qatar, Hong Kong... the reason Worlds is so amazing- all these nations.  A Mexican gymnast wandering around snapping photos of the o2 stadium.

A reason why it would be great to be a gymnasts from |Lebanon, rather than from a top-ranked country: your coach takes you out for pizza the night before your qualifications and nobody blinks when you wander off on your own and return with a can of Red Bull and a kitkat!

You can really tell which nations are there to give the gymnasts experience, rather than medal, because they were allowed to watch the later sessions of the MAG quals.  Not a sign of the top four women's nations!

Carol Angela Orchard (definitely one of my heroes) and her new hubby eating at Pizza Express.  CAO's hubby had to suddenly duck out of dinner and she was left trying to carry all of her shopping, his backpack and delegation jacket AND their two pizzas take away when he never made it back.

Beth Tweddle behind me on the escalators complaining to her coach, Amanda |Kirby about the price of, well, something!  She looks fit and very small.  I always think she is larger because her gymnastics is so big.  She got to enjoy the quals for about half an hour before the kids discovered her and it was extended autograph time.

Speaking of tiny, I saw Oksana Chuysovitina strolling along and that woman looks like a wee garden gnome in person!  She is miniscule!

Ariella Kaeslin stood next to me during the afternoon and gasped and 'wowed' along with the rest of us over Dragulescu's hot vaults and Uchimura's beautiful bars set.  She was wearing a monster-truck load of make up for a training day.

Nilson Savage, Jessica Lopez's coach at Starbucks.  Sat down at next table as he chatted to some fig guy.  Really hoped he would say something about J-lo's new skill, but no, he was wheeling and dealing, talking about some equiptment arrangement with Brazil!

Hungarian gymnasts everywhere!! Either there are twenty gymnasts in their delegation, or those guys were just doing laps of the place!!

The o2 dome really is spectacular.  What a great venue.  Not only is it perfecrt for a gymnastics event in size and dimension, but it has restaurants, shops, and massive waiting spaces and it is easy to get to.  Happy-making!

Very excited about WAG quals today..  I think I actually love quals better than the main competition to see live because you see everyone in a relaxed, happpy way.  I am always too nail-bitingly nervous watching finals!  Twelve hours of live gymnastics.  Heaven!

Love, the Couch Gymnast, bringing you the gossip, not the news!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Also, how could I forget!  Thank Heather for reminding me!  I want Jessica Lopez to whip butt, be the first Venezuelan AA'er, have a trick named after her, and in glorious hopes, make bars finals because she rocks!!!



Okay guys, so you probably won't be hearing too much from me over the next couple of days, as I will be in transit from Melbourne to London via Abu Dhabi (!) to the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! WEEEE!!!

Uh, yeah, as you can see I'm kind of excited.  So, it seems, from what I here in the gym-blog sphere, that  the television networks will be covering the Worlds in the States and Australia, and I am guessing in Europe.  So I won't need to keep you posted on results, thank goodness.  But, I will try and keep you posted on other such important things as what colour legwarmers the Romanians are wearing, whose coach looks like a creep, which non-covered athletes are wearing heinous leotards etc etc.

AND I will try and tell you a little about the gymnasts who might not get much coverage/footage, i.e anyone not from China, USA, GB and Australia or in the top five and how they are doing.

Now, because I am excited, I thought this post  should be dedicated to the things I am most excited about at this upcoming worlds.  I don't do predictions.  Because for me, these days, the medal winners are ever more rarely the winners in my heart.

The winners so often have been for me the others; the lithe and beautiful Anna Pavlova who always ends up in fourth, Steliana Nistor whose strength and stamina shone for the Romanians all those years, and who dragged her broken, bandaged body out there one last time only to miss out on her own medal, Severino who kept gymnastics interesting and exciting and defied age and height, Yang Bo who taught us that beam could be its own dance, as stunning as a ballet.  Marinescu who was forced to hide her brilliance, but whose brilliance couldn't be hidden.  The Bulgarians who didn't come from the right country for the judges back then but always made magic on the floor.  The list goes on and on and on....

So, in dedication to this sentiment, here are the twenty-one things I am really looking forward to this Worlds, no matter who ends up on the podium....

Ksenia Afanasyeva.  I want to see her hit.  I want to see a four-for-four the GymDawgs would be proud of.  I want this girl whose gymnastics has been truly magnificent, whose grace and elegance is oft-unappreciated to prove how good she actually is, and not the whack-job she can be in major contests.  I know she has it in her somewhere.

I want Sydney Sawa who, despite being Canadian National Champion had to fight to prove she should be on this team to have an excellent competition and an all-round exellent time.

Beth Tweddle.  If that bar routine does not get the podium spot (any spot) it deserves at these Worlds, I sincerely may cry.

I want to see Vasiliki Millousi make the beam her B@#$% and make event finals.  I want her to hit this time, even if it doesn't get her a medal.  She is really really talented and it would be such a thing for Greek gymnastics to have a girl like her in EFs.

I want to see my Aussie girls go hard and I want to see Shona in vault finals as Nade pointed out she could potentially be.  I want two in AA. I want Mitchell to pull off that OTT beam routine. And I want them to whip some Japanese butt (I believe in baby steps- then the World!)

I want to see Holenkova performing a new, mature floor routine, really showing off her style AND I don't want her to run out of puff in the last pass.

I want Ariella Kaeslin to whip vault butt. Seeing that girl come into her own at a late age has been such an exciting thing.  She was absolutely terrific at the Euros and I want to see her show that to the World.

I want to see Deng Linlin being the star of her team, which I think she can be.

I just want to see Ksenia Semeonova smile, because she is so, so delightful.  I love that she was apparently checking out He Kexin's bars at Worlds training.  I hope she was thinking winning thoughts!!

I really, really want to see what Adela Sajn is wearing !!!!!!

I want to see Elsa Garcia come back with a vengeance, charming the pants off the world with her cute smile and tough gymnastics (then I want her to get a scholarship to a US college- preferably UCLA and do NCAA for the next four years.)

I want to see Koko Tsurumi back in beam finals.

I want to see the gorgeous and graceful Paola Galante perform because she is so lovely to watch.

I want to see Sanne Wevers pirouette everyone out of the water!

I want to see Tumpa Debnath, who has been a stalwart of gymnastics for India over the last lord-knows-how-many years perform her best.  Especially now the India delegation has their very own Russian coach now.

I want to see if Marissa King has grown into the vaulter she looked like she was promising to be before injuries and stuff.

I want to see Anamaria Tamirjan pull of a beautiful floor routine without running out of gas as she sometimes does.  She is by far, one of the most graceful gymnasts to come out of Romania and I love to watch her on floor, even if her difficulty isn't going to garner her a medal.

I want to see Youna Dufournet tumble clean and safe.  And if she does it with the brilliance she promised a couple of years ago, that too would be good!

I want Rebecca Bross, win or lose, to pull off a good performance and not turn out to be the USA's next big thing that wasn't becasue WAY too much pressure was put on her too early.

AND I want to sit back and watch the lovely Ana Porgras do her thing, because she is where gymnastics is at for me right now.

Oh yeah, and I want Pavs to win gold.

I can dream, can't I?


Thursday, October 8, 2009


I swear, you would have been hard-pressed (ha ha) to find an Italian gymnast who doesn't open her balance beam routine with a straddle press through to v-sit or a planche mount in the last quad at some time or another.  Macri, Parolari, Ferrari, Galante, Bennoli, Bergamelli etc.  The list goes on.

Of course there are different variations.  Ferrari did that impressively tough planche move, while Galante did the full turn in a split handstand before lowering down.

Now it seems the newbies are following the tradition.  Emily Armi, whose compact, strong physique is not unlike Ferraris, does a cool stag-handstand planche to open.  Preziosa performs a nice leggy straddle press stand. Lichetta ditto. Ferlito ditto.

You know I wonder if like Marta Karolyi, the Italian coaches don't want the girls to do any risky jumping or tumbling moves onto the beam and risky a fall so early on?  While that is wise, I suppose, the Italians have found a more interesting way around it than the mere hop on the beam Marta favours so much.

I am not the biggest fan of the straddle press to handstand.  Most of the time, when I see a gymnast standing at the side of the beam and I know what is coming, I am all like 'oh, just hurry up', but I see it is a clever way to start because it is comparatively safe and shows off strength and flexibility at the same time.  I have an irrational hatred of Liukin's press mount, though.  Never been sure why.

But I kind of like that all this weight bearing and balancing has become a trademark of the oft-elegant Italians.  They must really have their core strength down!

And today I discovered that the tradition went back further than I thought, Way back in 1989, Giulia Volpi, the Italian gymnast with the fanciest (read largest) bangs in the business, started off her beam routine in a straddle press, half turn to planche! It was pretty impressive, and for that we will forgive her for introducing a side somi to the scene so early in the game. At least she fell off doing it. Karma's a b#$*# like that...

Watch it HERE (or YOUTUBE)


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This montage, made by Comaneci1, is an amalgam of various bar routines from the fifties until 2005. It is fabulous, especially the first half.
I don't know about anyone else, but I just adored seeing what the ladies (and yes, back then, they were ladies) did when the bars were close together. It was superb to see those incredible innovation they made, finding news ways to slide and spin and move from bar to bar. It was very lyrical and pretty too.

Then also, seeing how bars came on, as girls began really, swinging, the bars moved further apart and countries started innovating is amazing. Bars got BIG!

And question, why does no one ever do that really cool high-to-low bars transition Julieanne MacNamara used to do? It rocked!

Watch this fabulous montage here (or YOUTUBE)


A new video featuring Courtney McCool chatting about her gymnastics, the team, the dawgs, Jay and transitions.  Not bad.

I've always admired McCool's intensity about the Georgia team, especially because it is certainly not the first time I have heard of her difficulty making the change into a supportive team environment.
Suzanne Yoculan spoke several times about the work it took drawing her out (read dawgy-style brainwashing!) and getting her to become team-oriented and more co-dependant.

And as a bonus, she only uses her favoritest word in the whole world, 'blessed' once in the whole two and a half minutes!

If anything, CmC is incredibly, unbelievably energetic and enthusiastic, which will make her a really, great team leader.

Watch it HERE



I just saw Rick, at Gymnastic Coaching's post that linked to mine about the Mostepanovafan top 10 most successful gymnast montage.  A comment he made at the end caused me to think.  He said that none, bar #10 would be among his favorite gymnasts.  #10 I believe, was Shannon Miller.

I loved a lot of those gymnasts, and Khorkina definitely ranks in my absolute favorites.
I know she was sometimes overscored.  I know her media-created histrionics swallowed up the whole space where ever she was sometimes.  And I know the whole 'diva' thing was a bit much.

But I love her style, her flair, her originality, her ability to yank vaults around, her fierce patriotism in such a tough time, her swagger, her smile and her longevity.

Beside, half the drama was media rubbish, the broadcasters feeding rabidly on the fact they had a gymnasts to capture who had a distinctive personality.

 As Rick pointed out as being the common denominator of all the gymnasts in the top ten, she was tough.  You gotta give her that.

So, what I wanna know is, what do you think of Khorky?
Love her?
Hate her?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Now, finally (in a good way, finally- not like shake your finger I have been waiting way too long you're late! finally) Mostepanovafan has posted the top ten most successful gymnasts of all time montage.  She has done quads, but now its the whole of elite history.  It's exciting!  When it started with Shannon Miller at ten, i was already going, wow! who's the other nine?!!  I can't wait!
(I also had no idea Nelli Kim was that successful (and that bars move, god that bars move!!! Hilarious!))
I mean if i sat there and really thought about it I could probably work it out, but who wants to do that when Mostepanova fan can do it for you, and so entertainingly well?!!

Watch the countdown! (or HERE)




(or HERE)

I really, really, really don't know how I feel about some of that. I have never, ever been a fan of The Gym Dogs floor routines, not even Courtney McCool's though many seem to love it. But a lot of this hurt. Especially the music. Every routine had a really inspired moment, but the beginnings were largely awkward. I am not even sure if it is the choreography, or at times, the gymnast.

The only one I could bear last year was Taylor's.
Again, the only one I can bear so far is Taylor's and probably Ding's. There are some nice moments in a lot of them, and some of it will grow on me, but hmmmm....

Look, I know, it's college, it's time for some "fun" and "upbeat" and, the most criminal "original" routines, but i can't handle the cheese.

And Cassidy McComb's? What, dear god, was that?


Monday, October 5, 2009


Thanks for those who wrote in the comments about the Oana Ban injury.
 I knew there was something wrong with the Oana Ban thing as I was writing it.  It just didn't seem right.  She would have to have done better.  I knew the 2 per country rule would have messed her beam chances and I knew she was in AA.  I was looking at the event final results, and going 'Where the hell is she?'   But of course, an injury.  I had been under the impression she injured herself after the Olympics.  My bad!


No Viktoriya Karpenko hasn' t made a miraculous comeback, but if the FIG investigation into Dong Fangxiao and Yang Yun's ages at the time of the Sydney Olympics finds them to have cheated and follows precedents set by Kim Gwang Suk's punishment, China stands to lose its team bronze and Yang's bars bronze.

This would mean the USA would be awarded an extremely tardy team bronze. Karpenko would win the bars bronze which would be a belated boon for the struggling Ukrainians.
The ruling, however, which was supposed to be made in September, has been pushed back until next year.

Yang Yun once stated publically that she was 14 at the time of the Olympics, and Dong, though her official birthdate is listed as being in 1983, her Olympic accreditation information said she was born in 1986.   Dong has never stated anything either way.

I wonder if we will ever see an end to this investigation?  Or will it be all too much for the FIG sifting through the bewilderingly dodgy Chinese bureaucracy?