Tag Archives: Nastia Liukin

2011 Will be an AWESOME Year for Gymnastics

I haven’t blogged in quite awhile, and can someone explain how we are already into the qualifying year of the Olympics?  How did it get here so fast?  I dropped out of blogging and gymnastics news for a good six months following the Olympic Games, feeling no quad would ever top the last…..I was wrong.  So wrong I can hardly believe it.  If you would have told me while I was experiencing postpartum Olympic Depression that the next Olympics would have nearly everyone on the US team making comebacks, Russia being on top, and a true fight amongst the AAers and the Team Final I would have told you that you were delusional.

Now a lot of hardcore fans felt that the last couple of years has been less than thrilling and I beg to disagree.  Why?  Because the 2012 Olympics are going to be very 1996ish.  Oh yes they are.  No matter what, amazing gymnasts are going to be left home due to 5 per country.  Amongst at least the Americans and Russians, an amazing gymnast is going to be left out of the AA because of two per country.  This is just like 96′ and even 00′ for the Russians.  In the US we have Rebecca Bross, Jordyn Wieber, and possibly even Shawn Johnson contending for those 2 AA spots.  Russia has Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova, and Anastasia Grishina competing for their spots.  Prelims will be a battle for simply that reason.

As for the Team Final, I would first like to point out that it was all China and US last quad for the team battle.  Not so for this quad.  China, US, and Russia are all going to be pretty equal most likely.  A lot of people may disagree with this, but look at the splatfest of the 2010 World Team Final.  This WILL be like 1996, you MUST hit, or someone else will and take that spot.  For this we cannot forget Romania, who has a history of taking other countries medals because they hit and others just didn’t.  For the last three Olympics that is exactly what they have done.  Russia’s current top 2 will cover 2/3 of their 3 up 3 count.  Grishina is supposedly upgrading on floor and training a much more difficult vault.  If they come out with all 3 of their AAers capable of being the entirety of their TF, then they have 2 spots left for specialists, no other country can currently match that.  But it is still a long way away and anything can happen.  Russia’s got 2 gymnasts that don’t appear to have dealt with puberty yet, and who knows when that will strike and what it will do to them.

I would also like to point out, when comparing this quad to 96′, that we also have our old-school coaches back.  The soviet coach Alexander Alexandrov has returned and I feel like that is odd that the Russian resurgence aligns with that.  And Ocatavian Bellu and and Mariana Bitang have returned to Romania.  I personally feel that you can see their work in Ana Porgras.  Porgras wasn’t the most consistent gymnast, and since their return tell me you can’t see the improvement on beam.  Consistent as hell, and not to mention her speed, rhythm looks just like your classic Romanian….except Porgras does add her grace 🙂

I claimed millions of times that Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin were never going to compete again, yet here we are with both of them making comebacks.  Nastia IS, for those of you that don’t believe it, we just have to see how much she will come back for.

Another comeback (from injury) that I am eagerly awaiting is what Ivana Hong will bring.  there are rumors of completely revamped bar sets that look GOOD, and there was a small rumor out there of her competing a very 2006 Catalina Ponor series of Onodi+front aerial+BHS+LOSO.  I will believe all these things when I see them, but I have to wonder what Valeri Liukin has done to work his magic.  After only 6 months with Valeri we saw a slightly improved Hong.  And notice the changes in Bross from 2009 to 2010; there were definitely elements in her FX to show flexibility, as well a tiny move on BB to emphasize that as well.  I feel as if many people see flexibility and thus assume artistic so this was a smart move.  Valeri is masterful at hiding weaknesses and showcasing strengths, so I am eager to see what Hong does next weekend at the WOGA meet.

The US has so many people right now that you would think would totally make the Olympics, Bross, Wieber, Alicia Sacramone, Alexandra Raisman, Johnson, Liukin…but right there that is already 6 members.  Raisman is someone I would like to highlight, because the more time goes on the more I like her.  She has proven herself by being an anchor on half the events in team finals as a fist year senior.  She also apparently doesn’t BS us.  The recent video of her at the training camp showed a potential 6.4 beam routine that looked SOLID, not to mention the fact that her leaps look improved!  Anyone watching all the training footage going on at Worlds saw Alicia trying to help Raisman with performance, and I think we are going to see a difference there as well.  I also firmly believe she will have the Amanar back by Nationals at the latest, and I would expect that she is upgrading floor.  With an Amanar, high start values and solid, consistent routines on beam and floor, how can you deny her?  This could spell doom for Sacramone and possibly Jonhson (or ANYONE else that is a 3 event gymnast that doesn’t include bars).  We cannot take more than one 3 event gymnast to the Olympics.  It just doesn’t seem possible.  2 AA spots, a 3 eventer, and I would say the last spots go to bars people.   Keep in mind that there is no way Nastia won’t be included if she is ready to go on bars.  She is too valuable on this event and could be taken for that one spot alone.  However,the number of bars specialist spots depend on what the others are doing.  Wieber does have the potential to get up in the mid 6’s on bars.  If she did, and Bross upgrades which I highly suspect she will, then you have 2 bar sets included in your potential AAers.

But it is still too early to tell.  Things always happen and people unfortunately get injured.  Who knows what will happen?  The point is that there is enough to keep us highly entertained as we watch the pre-Olympic year unfold.

On a side note, I have the Florida Gator Gymnastics team to keep me excited as well, as I watch intently.  I am hoping this will finally be our year.

On a last side note, I am sitting 6th row, center section with a very good friend at the American Cup on March 5th.   I WILL do a blog for that!

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Random Gymnastics Thoughts

So I got back into blogging, fell back out.   Really it was just school.  Because let me tell you, Worlds put me so far back with my assignments.  Plus we all know there is a lull after such a big meet.   Of course I still keep up with everything.  And since I feel like writing a blog post yet have no particular concentration, I am writing all the random things I have been contemplating and discussing with my gymnastics buddy.  These are in no random order whatsoever.

  • Who will destroy Alicia Sacramone‘s comeback?  Will it be Kayla Williams, the girl who has the light speed ability to improve, and someone who looks to be a true force and a rock of a competitor?  Will it be Asac’s reincarnation from her own gym, Alexandra Raisman (who I believe may show us the real first quad twist on floor) or even Alica’s own body betrayal?

  • Aliya Mustafina will be standing on the AA podium at the 2010 Worlds

  • Viktoria Komova will be standing on the AA podium the year after that
  • Shawn Johnson and even Nastia Liukin will not compete again.  Comebacks may come when endorsements run out, but that is it.

  • Anna Myzdrikova I already hope to be the 2010 FX champion
  • Cheng Fei will come back. She will.
  • Nobody will ever do a front handspring better than Lilia Podkopayeva.  NO ONE comes close to that; her feet are even together.
  • I think it is a huge mistake to hold off using the 5-3-3 team format until the London Games; it is a bad idea period to use the Olympics as a test for anything.

  • On that note, the age rule is now even more frustrating.  For instance, our current junior national champion, Kyla Ross will not be senior eligible until 2012 (as opposed to the previous rule where she could have been competing in 2011).  Considering the year before is a qualifier to the next year’s Olympics, think about what that does to the non power countries.  Let’s say that Nastia came from oh…..Iceland (trying to pick a place where they don’t get a spot) and that she doesn’t turn 16 until the year of the Games.  She wouldn’t be able to compete because no one qualified for a spot the year before.  That would be wrong.  I oppose anything that prevents the best in the world from competing.  This is why I was sort of turning my back on the He Kexin debate last year.  Furthermore, one of the reasons the age rule is there is because those in charge think that it puts too much pressure on the youngins.  I will have to disagree with this because you can’t advance in this sport without being able to deal with pressure.   My proposed age rule is this:  When you are eligible to compete in the next Games, you are senior eligible for that quad.  Meaning that starting January 1st 2009, Kyla Ross would have the option to go senior.
  • if I haven’t harped enough, I am sooooo hoping for Russian reemergence this quad, starting with the 2010 worlds.  In addition to Mustfina, Tatiana Nabieva is another going senior.  I think the Russians need a bit more for vault (hopefully Nabieva can clean up that Amanar) and then I just don’t see where they have a weakness.

  • I wonder what will happen with Bridget Sloan; will she fade out?  Will she remain useful?  If she got an Amanar (and I am dying for her to do the front triple twist on FX) she would up her own usefulness.  Interesting stuff to think about.
  • Will Chellsie Memmel return?  I want her to so bad!  She and Nastia have sort of an open invitation to comeback whenever due to their incredible usefulness on one event; bars.  I also find it odd that bars has become our weak event over the last couple of years considering  they were once our strong event.

That is all for now, folks.

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    2008 Olympics: SHAWN GETS HER GOLD!

    Ahhhhh, finally!  I am so happy for Shawn Johnson winning a gold medal on what I think is her best event: beam.  Truly a great moment.  I love that kid.

    I love Cheng Fei so much, but I believe the bronze medal rightfully belonged to Anna Pavlova.  I am very disappointed for Pavlova; along with Nastia Liukin she had qualified to the most individual finals.

    Also, another big shout out to Jonathan Horton!!!!  What an AMAZING routine to win a silver medal.  I actually thought he should have won the gold!  I admit that I know less about MAG though.  I am curious to see what everyone else thinks because it seemed that even the Chinese thought that he should have won!

    Poor Fabian Hambuechen.  I am so sad for him!  But I am glad he still got a medal.  And what a great sport he is!  Truly the best in the field of those who are gracious.  But I am thinking that Fabian is going to be one of the front runners this next quad.  You will get your moment with hard work Fabian!  Look how long Yang Wei waited, and what a payoff he got these Games!

    Kai Zou ends up being the most sucessful of the Chinese Men.  Without injury, I would already call him being on the team in 2012.  He is so powerful on China’s weakest events, he’s got gold medals for both of them too.

    Wow do I hope Horton continues.  He and Sasha Artemev both.  They have plenty of years left in my opinion.  And I hope beyond hope they continue in the sport.

    Also congratulations to Li Xiaopeng!  He is such a wonderful competitor.  If he had his second vault….China might have swept every gold medal!  Not that 7 out of 8 is bad…

    Anyhow, it has been a wonderful Games.  I will soon do a post talking about the various things that were awesome in my opinion, for instance, how awesome I believed the Chinese crowd was!

    Sniff, sniff.  It’s over.  Sadness.  I can’t believe I have to wait another four years….

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    2008 Olympics: Event Finals Plus a Few Rants

    Okay. So I thought I wasn’t “going to go there,” but I am. I am truly disgusted.

    As some of you may have read, I long ago called that the age controversy was going to be the scandal of the Games. It was. I also stated that I REFUSED to let that spoil the Olympics, something that I would be damned to let ruin the excitement of this long awaited event. In fact, I have been a little sad because with the Olympics ending soon, I feel like a small child who waited all year for their birthday or Christmas and is so sad when the wait finally ends! (hahahaha, yes I am a dork). But I did a good job, I have not let the age scandal affect me at all.

    But never did I think the attitudes of the Americans would end up as the thing I want to forget these Olympic Games.

    I was extremely dismayed after the Women’s Team Final. Marta Karolyi‘s comments to the press infuriated me. Complaining about Alicia Sacramone‘s long wait on the podium for beam. Blaming everything in her path. Funny, she didn’t blame the fact that USA basically competed with half a team. And uhhhh, whose fault is that Marta? The hardcore fans have been complaining for months about the insanely demanding selection process, which injured many people in it’s path, keeping key athletes off the team entirely, not to mention during the actual Olympics. But Marta doesn’t want to say that. Regardless of the age scandal or anything else, take a lesson from Shawn Johnson; just be happy with what you did do. Accept defeat, be happy that you gave it your all. It’s amazing enough to be able to call yourself an Olympian, and even better to say you are a medalist.

    Then we have these constant interviews with Bela Karolyi in which he does the same complaining.

    Funny that no one seems to admit where we did get gifted scores? Tim Daggett pointed out that during the All-Around, Nastia Liukin was credited for a connection on beam she shouldn’t have received, and how Shawn’s vault was extremely questionable and probably shouldn’t have received credit. But uhhhh, you didn’t hear the Karolyis mention that one.

    Again readers, keep in mind that I am not here to dispute any results. At all. Even if I should be. The entire point of this post is to demonstrate the ugly attitude here, and how BAD it is making the Americans look. That is not what I want our athletes to remember 20 years from now. I want Shawn to remember how consistent she performed, how she medalled on every event she entered (couting my eggs too soon here, don’t know about beam yet). Nastia should remember that she has the most coveted title in the world for gymnasts.

    But last night’s uneven bar final did it for me. The shock, the fuss, the obvious disappointment over the tie break.

    NEWS FLASH!!!! The tie breaker is a known process. Funny last night night we didn’t see France’s Thomas Bouhail toss a fit because the same tie-breaking procedure gave him the silver and Leszek Blanik the gold. Funny that four years ago, when Marian Dragulescu lost the gold to Kyle Shewfelt, we saw nothing but grace. We saw people happy for their results, and even better than that, to be happy for someone else.

    I have never complained about Marta, Nastia, or Valeri Liukin. But I am now. Because I could seriously vomit. I am NOT DISPUTING THE RESULTS, I AM NOT SAYING THAT LIUKIN SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT HAVE WON.

    But what a way to remember the uneven bar final, which was the event final I was most excited about as I thought it contained within it the biggest showdown (next to the AA of course!).

    Nastia, Marta, and Valeri stood to the side going over stuff and being disappointed over the “loss.” I yelled out loud when Valeri was still going over it with Marta. Uhh, Valeri? Your daughter is standing on the Olympic Podium being awarded, maybe you should, I don’t know, WATCH HER INSTEAD OF POUT?

    This tie-breaking procedure maybe new to WAG, but it is certainly not new. And when I know myself (a person not involved with the sport directly) that this Olympics the tie-breakers would be in place here, why do these people act surprised? Because they are pissed they don’t have another gold. Yes, you know what? That would suck, I would be disappointed if it were me too. But that public display of children whining was horrible.

    Marta, why didn’t you whine when Shawn and Nastia tied beam scores in prelims? Oh, because that tie was okay, right? It didn’t affect medal placements, so I guess that made it okay? Nastia and Valeri, what about you guys? You didn’t wonder about the tie-breaker then? If I understand what they do when A and B scores are tied, I cannot imagine how they wouldn’t know.

    Before everyone starts commenting on how it was unfair because He Kexin is too young, or two gold medals should be awarded, please be reminded that again, I am not posting to comment on that situation. Do I think the Chinese have gotten overscored on several events? YES. Do I think if there is a tie, two gold medals should be awarded? Yes. But again, that is not my point.

    I am just disgusted with a lot of the attitudes going on right now.

    And before everyone starts saying how this ISN’T whining. Please remember the Paul Hamm and Yang Tae Young controversy in Athens. You didn’t see the Americans complaining then. Because the mistake ended up in our favor.

    Some of the scoring and scandals going on in these Games SUCK. But when so many other countries despise us, way to do it again USA. I don’t see every other country on the floor complaining.

    I am truly embarrassed.

    On another note, Marian stuck his vault again! Then fell on the next. I cried. I was also sad for Jordan Jotchev. Sigh. I wish Jordan didn’t exit the arena.

    Please do well in the high bar final, Fabian Hambuchen. Please. I also hope Jonathon Horton has the routine of a lifetime, both of these athletes deserve it.

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    2008 Olympics: Heartbreaks! Event Finals, Night One

    So I accidentally saw too many of the results online before I got to watch the broadcast.  I WILL NOT let that happen the next two nights!  I will be banning myself from going online tomorrow until after the broadcast.

    My heart broke wide open with the results way too many times tonight…

    Cheng Fei–  I cried.  I did.  To hold every major title in the last three years and blow it the night it counts!  Floor was even worse, and oh how I cried for Cheng.  She should have had 3 golds these Games, and walked away with the only individual medal of a bronze.

    Alicia Sacramone–  I WISH SHE WOULD HAVE HAD THE AMANAR!  Another person who has medalled at every event she has entered on vault.  Sigh.  I wonder if she hadn’t been up first….would she have won the bronze?

    Three cheers for Oksana Chusovitina!  The highest AA placement ever for her, and during her fifth Olympics.  But more importantly, AN INDIVIDUAL SILVER MEDAL FOR HER!  How glorious!  I am soooo happy for her!  One of the best things to happen.

    Shawn Johnson…..when will you earn your gold?  It might not happen.  But I will tell you this, if the Olympics awarded medals in the categories of consistency, maturity, graciousness, and heart….well then Shawn would have gold medals in all of those!  I am rooting for her heavily during beam finals.  It won’t be easy with Nastia Liukin slated to compete right after her.  Her comments in the news are just amazing.  I also think had she and Izbasa switched places in the lineup, so would the medals!

    But I have no qualms with Sandra Izbasa winning the gold.  I really like her.  I just wish she didn’t have two full-ins in her routine.  Her reaction was adorable.  Way to go Romania for winning a gold!

    Oh, Anna Pavlova!!!!  What is it with Russia and taking a zero on vault?  Then there was her floor routine, which is one of my favorites this Games.  That routine is just gorgeous.  I can only hope her beam routine goes very well for her so that she won’t end the Olympics on a low point.

    One of the best things tonight was the fact that NBC showed ALL EIGHT ROUTINES IN FLOOR FINALS!  Now THAT is awesome.

    I feel bad for Sasha Artemev.  If he had hit, he would have medalled, no doubt.  A great composition, my favorite of all the pommel workers.

    Diego Hypolito also made me cry.  I feel so bad for him.  He is young, so I really hopes he stays around another quad and blows everyone away in 2012.

    Marian Dragulescu also made me sad.  I am rooting SO HARD for him in vault finals tomorrow.

    I wish Jordan Jotchev hadn’t drawn so soon, I want him to get a gold medal darn it.

    Congrats to Xiao Qin. I felt soooo bad for him in Athens.  He was one I really wanted with the gold.

    That is all for now.

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    2008 Olympics: Nastia Wins the Gold

    I am emotionally drained. This has been without a doubt, the most stressful, emotional, TV event I think I have ever watched. Though I haven’t ever prepped so much for single TV event ever.

    Nastia Liukin is the All Around Olympic Champion. Shawn Johnson with silver. Yang Yilin wins bronze.

    My opinions of Nastia are known well in the posts of this blog, but my heart was tugged as I watched her pour tears I have waited all Olympic Games to see. I am happy for her. I am. She has overcome so much to win this crown.

    But I am devastated for Shawn. I wanted this title so very bad for her. She looked upset. What a release it must be for these two girls. So much for this one night. I paced, I yelled, I clapped. It has been pure craziness.

    Undoubtedly one of the most adrenaline-filled competitions ever.

    Random thoughts about what I saw-

    Anna Pavolva wins the award for most beautiful routine (at least out of those shown on NBC). Wow. I was wowed. And it made me feel old-school (floor routine-wise). The commentators got it right this time; you could feel the passion of that routine.

    -I love Ksenia Senenova! Although her takeoff on floor passes is kinda weird looking, I thought her score was too low! But I don’t know her A-score offhand, must have been low-

    -I rate Shawn’s beam routines like this: Prelims #1, TF #2, AA #3. But her scores were: Prelims last, TF 1st, AA 2nd. Hmmmm.

    -I thought Steliana Nistor’s score for floor was too low. A 8.6 B-score? I thought it was better than that.

    -Why didn’t we get to see Pavlova’s beam routine? Grrrrrr.

    -Ksenia Semenova, please become the new power of the Russian Program!

    -I am staying up to see the Nastia and Shawn interview.

    -What will it be like with Nastia and Shawn sleeping in the same room tonight? Catfight!! Just kidding.

    -I was scared Shawn might win 3rd going into the last rotation.

    -I started thinking about Chellsie Memmel during the medal ceremony. I don’t know why. I believe it was because I was really focused on how much pressure and work goes into being a top elite gymnast. It SUCKS that she broke her foot. At nothing less, she should have been able to contribute more to the Olympic team. Poor girl.

    -I REALLY hope Shawn can get the gold on beam. I want her with at least one gold. Dammit.

    What a truly crazy night.

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    2008 Olympics: Yang Wei is Golden but Other Dreams Shattered

    Oh the heartbreaks and surprises tonight!

    As expected, Yang Wei won the gold. I am so happy for him. What a truly glorious thing. He won by 2.6 points.

    The real news is with the heartbreaks that happened among those in the silver and bronze medal race. Less than a point separated places 2 through 10. This meet I watched alone. Here are the moments that my heart broke wide open:

    Fabian Hambuchen was by far the biggest heartbreak for me. A hit high bar routine would have given him the silver medal. I yelled “NOOOO” a couple of times, mostly over this awesome young man. One thing that really gets me about Fabian is his absolutely wonderful demeanor to his competitors. Always congradulating them. I love it. How I wanted a silver medal for this guy. My only hope is that he clinches the gold in the high bar final.

    Hiroyuki Tomita also broke my heart with that scary rings fall. (Another out loud yell). After all he has done, it would have been so nice to see him medal! An upsetting fourth place finish, just .175 out of the bronze position, and .225 out of the silver! Without that scary rings fall he would surely have been second. That sucks.

    Jonathon Horton didn’t have the greatest performances, but after watching him during the Team Finals, I really wanted him with that bronze medal.

    Sasha Artemev was great! He has really grown on me and now I am root, root, rooting for him to get a medal on the pommel horse!

    Who is Benoit Caranobe? Why he is the Olympic Bronze Medalist! I had NO idea who he was before tonight, my knowledge of statistic for MAG is NOTHING compared to what I know about WAG. But his tears of joy moved me so much. Biggest surprise of the evening.

    I hope Fabian is in London 2012. Tim Daggett also provided me with an education of who Kohei Urchimura is. The silver medalist I guess will be a power for years to come for team Japan.

    Yang Tae-Young also provided more heartbreaking moments.

    I don’t think a healthy Paul Hamm would have beat Yang Wei tonight.

    NBC, I am mad you didn’t show me the medal ceremony, it had better be online! –Oh wow, they are playing it, they did this about 30 seconds after I typed this sentence. I take it back NBC.

    It struck me tonight how moved I let complete strangers whom I will never know personally affect me so much. I guess that is what having our heroes means to us.

    Ooh I am watching the medal ceremony, Caranobe is kinda hot! I love Yang Wei’s antics. Not only does he deserve to do them, but so much more exciting than the usual.

    Tomorrow night is the real night for me. It is the night I have waited four years to know the outcome of. Of course I want Shawn Johnson to win. Badly. But I am thinking it is going to be Nastia Liukin. I hope I am wrong.

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