Tag Archives: Oksana Chusovitina

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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Individual Hopes for Our Heroes

So I am currently out of town helping a friend move and haven’t even been online in days.  My friend bought a 60 inch high def TV with all the channels in the world so I decided to stay here until Friday to keep her company since I don’t start work yet.  Why not stay in my beloved Gainesville another week?  Anyhow, I apologize for not blogging.  I am afraid to really go online and see what the lastest news is because I don’t want to see the results of WAG Prelims before they air tonight.  After today, I will be in the loop and constantly reporting.  I had been working on a long post, but due to no time left I am now here posting a shorter version…

What I want for each athlete:

Shawn Johnson–  As my favorite gymnast I want Shawn to of course win the AA.  I also want medals for her on beam and floor as well.  However, I am in the boat that is concerned about some of Shawn’s skills getting credited.  And I heard she was puking at podium training!  I just want for that awesome little girl to do her very best, she deserves it.  She looks to be getting her questionable skills around and I feel a bit better.  Her beam sets were awesome during podium training.  In addition to the AA I want Shawn to qualify to beam and floor finals.  Please get all your skills fully around!

Nastia Liukin–  Nastia looks like she has cleaned up her bars dismount quite a bit!  Good for her because she deserves to be at her best especially on bars, and event in which she is truly one of the best in the world at.  I am kind of surprised she is slated to compete in the #2 spot on floor.  Despite my views on Nastia being an all arounder, I do want her to do well because she deserves it.

Chellsie Memmel–  The biggest disappointment for me these Games thus far is the fact that Chellsie is only competing bars.  Chellsie is my favorite feel good story, and before this injury, I thought she had a bigger chance to qualify for individual events than anyone else on the US team.  I am still hoping that she was somehow put in last minute and did AA in qualifications.  I hate dealing with this, Chellsie deserves this SOOOOOO much.  Either way, I hope for every routine she is as flawless as possible.  Of course getting into bars EF would also be great though I think a medal is unlikely due to the high level of people competing.  (BTW, I heard Berh Tweddle has a 7.9 A-score planned).  Please do as well as possible Chellsie.

Alicia Sacramone–  Alicia is in the same club as Chellsie.  The “I didn’t make the 2004 Team here I am now bitches!”  Her beam sets looked pretty solid during podium training, a lot more than Nats and Trials.  Floor is looking a little bit off, landing OOB and whatnot.  I am REALLY surprised her 2nd spot was given to Liukin.  I want Alicia to medal on vault pretty badly, she looks great there.  I think she is very likely the silver medalist depending on how Cheng Fei does.  But I hope she also has the performance of a lifetime. 

Cheng Fei–  How I love this gymnast.  I want to know her A-score on floor very badly as she is doing 6 tumbling passes (I counted right, right??).  Cheng Fei deserves to be at her very best as everyone in her country is watching her.  I want her with vault gold of course, and i would love it if she won floor as well.  Her beam looked pretty darn good too!  I hope Cheng has a completely error free Olympics.  My favorite international competitor, I am so excited for her.

Raj Bhavsar–  Raj is my favorite competitor for the US team, the one who provides me the sentimental routing.  I hope he goes completely perfect in Team Finals.  I am so happy that Raj can call himself an Olympian.  What I would really like is if Raj and company could call themselves bronze medalists.  It seems a longshot, but you never know with three up three count format!  The Men’s Team Final will be so exciting to watch, I can’t wait for the Chinese to be crowned champions.

Fabian Hambuchen–  I love this kid.  I want him as a silver medalist in the AA and also as the high bar champion.  He is so much fun to watch.

Yang Wei–  I am emotionally invested in Yang, I want him to win the AA SO BAD.  He deserves it.  Like Cheng Fei, he is holding so much pressure.  Even if Paul Hamm was competing I would still want Yang to win.  His parallel bars mishap in prelims sucked, he would have been great for the Final.

Dasha Joura–  I also want her at her very best, and wow do i hope she makes floor finals.  I would like to see her top five in the AA.  I don’t think a podium finish is possible.  But hey, “It’s the Olympics, you never know what could happen.” 

Marian Dragulescu–  I want Marian to get that vault gold.  I LOVE his vaults.  I am so happy he qualified first (and wow second for the floor final).  I haven’t really kept up on his previous meets for 2008.  I am torn about a gold medal on floor, because I want Diego Hypolito to win.  Be at your best for vault Marian.  No 2004 repeats!

Oksana Chusovitina–  PLEASE WIN A VAULT MEDAL!  For her one millionth Olympics I want her to do well.  She didn’t even qualify in 2004, sucked because she was the reigning world champ.  God I want her to medal.

Daiane Dos Santos–  Please tell me you brought it all for the Olympics.  I want her in floor finals.  I want her to have an Olympic medal on the event.  Period.

Anna Pavlova–  I want her to do well and to make beam and floor finals.  I bet she will make vault.  Sentimental fave.

This is it for now.  I can’t wait to watch everything tonight!!!!!!!!!

Again, I am sorry for the lack of posting!!!!  Anyone else mad that every event after tonight doesn’t begin until 10 or 11pm (eastern)???  I feel REALLY bad for those out in California.

I AM SO FRIGGIN EXCITED!  And i am soooooooooooooo tempted to go look at the results, but that will ruin the excitment for me when it airs in a few hours and I can’t do that….

By the way, this post has no pictures because this computer I am using is weird.

 

HAPPY OLYMPICS EVERYONE!

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Updated thoughts on Event Finals

So now that we are only two weeks from the start of the Olympic Games, I thought I would update what and who of the Event Finals.  After all, we know who is competing minus two spots on the Russian Team which will be announced shortly.  Remember guys, this is just my opinion!

So here is my post from my previous predictions and I will also look at how my viewpoint now varies.

Vault-

The Finalists-  Cheng Fei, Hong Su Jong, and Alicia Sacramone will be finalists.  Period.  There is no way I see them unable to qualify.  I also still think that Cheng and Hong can qualify even if they count a fall (assuming they both do the 6.5 A-score vaults).

Rounding out the other five spots I think will be Oksana Chusovitina and Jade Barbosa, both are very good vaulters, the same which I thought before.  Who else is doing well on the vaulting scene?  I am thinking at least one Russian will be in there, and I think Anna Pavlova is the front runner on that side.  They may even nab another spot, a couple girls featured on gymnast.com have some exceptional DTY’s.

Differences from previous post- Elena Zamolodchikova isn’t going, so she won’t qualify.  Pretty much is the same.  Also, I think an Italian may possibly sneak in there, I have been hearing Amanar rumors about (I think) Carlotta Giovanni.

Guesstimate on the Medalists- Cheng, Hong, Sacramone. (No specific order)

Uneven Bars-

The Finalists- Without a doubt I think Nastia Liukin, He Kexin, and Yang Yilin will qualify.  I also think that Beth Tweddle, Ksenia Semenova, and (probably) Steliana Nistor will find themselves in there.

That leaves two spots left.  I think Marie Sophie Hindermann and Chellsie Memmel will do it.  The British have been getting a lot better on bars so maybe they will change this.  Who knows.

Differences from previous post- Seems I replaced Memmel for the thought of Daria Zygoba.

Guesstimate on the medalists– He, Yilin, Liukin.  (No specific order)

Beam-

Finalists- Without a doubt I think Shawn Johnson and Li Shanshan will make finals.  Rounding out the other six spots I think there will be one more American, two Russians, two Romanians, and probably another Chinese.  Although I would normally put Nastia in there automatically, I am not so sure anymore.  Memmel and Sacramone are capable of scoring higher due to higher A-scores, but we will have to see because I don’t think they can match the execution scores of Liukin.  I also can’t speak about how scoring will ride in Beijing because it always seems to vary.  The last World Championships seem to favor difficulty, but I have a feeling execution may be weighed a bit more.  Two Russians in the spot are between Pavolva, Semenova, and also Lyudmilla Yezhova  Grebenkova (if she is selected onto the team).    Steliana Nistor and Sandra Izbasa have room to sneak in there.   For the last Chinese member I would say Deng Linlin or maybe Cheng Fei.  I think there is room for Australia’s Lauren Mitchell to come in there and bump someone out of this lineup.

Differences from previous postYulia Lozechko and Sui Lu are not on the teams, so aren’t qualifying.  And orginally I didn’t factor in Pavlova.  I also mentioned Stefani Bismpkou whom I now don’t think will qualify but would LOVE to see qualify.  Mitchell wasn’t in my orginal post either.

Guesstimate on the medalists- Johnson, Li, 2nd American (No specific order)

Floor-

Finalists- Shawn Johnson, Cheng Fei, and Sandra Izbasa  WILL be in this floor final.   I don’t have Sacramone in there because at this point I think it is questionable that she will even make it!  It is quite possible (if all the upgrades do make that 6.5 or 6.4) for Memmel to bump her off the line here.  Now, if Sacramone upgrades (I hear her score will be at least a 6.4) then with clean routines I think Sacramone will be the one with the higher execution scores.  Regardless, one more American besides Johnson will advance to finals.  So there is half the lineup.  Others who have a shot at this final in my opinion are Daiane Dos Santos, Anna Pavlova, Dasha Joura, Beth Tweddle, Jiang Yuyuan, or even Yang Yilin.  I can’t think of anyone else, I hear Cassy Vericel is still limping around.  I don’t think Vanessa Ferrari will make it due to her foot making her A-score lower.  Out of those mentioned above, I would like to see the last four spots got to Dos Santos, Pavlova, and Joura.  I didn’t pick a last person.  I am not sure.  And I keep thinking I am missing someone key.

Differences from previous post–  Not much.  Sui Lu was mentioned as a possibility and that’s not happening.

Guesstimate on the Medalists- Cheng, Johnson, Izbasa.  (No specific order.  Note:  How happy I would be if Dos Santos won.)

Without a doubt it is going to be a blast.  I can’t decide which EF I am most excited about.  Here is what I am generally looking forward to most in each event:

Vault-  Cheng Fei.  Hands down.  I want Olympic Glory for her.  Sacramone doing her absolute best, and of course the anticipation of her Amanar.  Chusovitina competing her last moments in her final Olympics.

Uneven Bars-  The race between the 7.7 A-score Club.  Without a doubt.  And because I am really thinking Memmel will be in the lineup, another lovely Memmel moment.

Beam-  Shawn Johnson competing.  Beam is also my favorite event usually.  It’s the event with the most adrenaline for me to watch as it is the make or break event.  I really want Shawn to win gold here.

Floor-  Cheng and Johnson again make this for me.  But the list of competitors that I have the potential to see makes it quite thrilling.  Remember, I am one of those who loves the sentimental favorites.

I can’t believe it all starts in just two weeks.  By the way, I have no idea what the text did to itself in this post.

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The Pressure is on…

So I have been thinking about all the pressure that must be amounting to gymnasts around the world right now. I’ve said it before and I will say it again; this isn’t football, where there are games every week, playoffs (NFL not NCAA which NEEDS a playoff system but don’t get me started on that and the BCS), and a yearly duel for the trophy.

Gymnastics as a sport I think is most comparable to soccer, in my opinion. I am not talking about the nature of the sport. But some of us Americans don’t realize that football around the world is soccer. And they actually call it football. Like gymnastics, the pinnacle of importance in the sport comes every four years (The World Cup as apposed to the Olympic Games). People lose their lives over soccer. It is absolutely crazy.

I can’t imagine the pressure people feel from sports like these. It’s not a “We’ll get em’ next season” kind of deal. This is your one shot for the title. I would be what the gym fans call a “headcase.” I used to perform in guard shows (where you throw a variety of equipment in the air) and almost always I was unable to have a “perfect” competition.

But anywho, I have been thinking so much about all these girls around the world and the pressure that must be mounting them…

Shawn Johnson– With news articles of million dollar earnings of endorsements, and the media on her every which way she turns, Shawn is experiencing the largest string of pressure through media. But beyond that she is heading into the Olympics after going pretty much 16 for 16 throughout Nationals/Trials. There is so much pressure with even THAT. She has the pressure riding her of, “Will she crumble during Beijing?” Shawn has possibly 3 AA competitions between prelims, team finals, and AA. (Though she probably won’t do bars in TF). And she must HIT. Prelims need to be hit to guarantee her spot into the AA (and I am hoping for beam and floor finals as well). Then there is still the pressure to do well for the team. How can a 16-year-old handle this? Shawn IS by far one of the most consistent gymnasts I have seen.

Nastia Liukin– For years she was hearing how that Beijing ticket has been in her hand. And maybe even the gold. But Nastia has been overshadowed the last couple of years. And the pressure to hit when it counts surely must be mounting more and more while Shawn garners more spotlight attention. To do well in the AA is Nastia’s biggest source of pressure I think. And the string of second place finishes she keeps receiving on bars the last couple of years (06′ Worlds, 07′ Pan Ams, 07′ Worlds, 08′ Pacific Rim) add more pressure. I think. Plus, Nastia has alluded in a couple of interviews that the AA is her biggest priority.

Cheng Fei– I wish I knew more about how the media in China. Gymnastics is a much more popular sport there and Cheng Fei I would assume is certainly the most popular and famous women gymnast in the country. No one has ever won 3 straight world titles in a quadrennium, but Cheng Fei has! There is not just pressure but “GOLD OR BUST” seems to be the Chinese way. She must be phenomenal in team finals, and phenomenal in vault and floor finals. She also is the leader of the team, and must be there for all her teammates. To add to the pressure, this is not only the best shot China has ever had for team gold (or even this many golds!) but with the entire Nation watching her do this on her turf, Fei is certainly going to have all the pressure in the world riding her shoulders. Will Cheng Fei do what so many other great gymnasts from China do….crumble under the most intense pressure?

Yang Wei– A silver in Sydney, a fall in Athens, a silver in Anaheim. And the first man in like 80-some years to win back-to-back World titles. I MUCH less about the world of MAG, but I am pulling really hard for Yang. Like Fei, I cannot imagine what the pressure must be like for him. I totally believe there is almost no way the Chinese Men will lose the gold, so I wonder if that factor will help or hurt the pressure on him. The whole country is looking for gold from this man, and that just can’t be easy.

Vanessa Ferrari– The 2006 World Champion has informed the gymnastics world that she will not be up to par for Beijing and I think that is sad. From a country where they aren’t one of the main players in the gymnastics scene, I know bringing home an individual medal from the Olympics would be a huge, huge deal for her. Ferrari is a good competitor, it will be interesting to see what she does. But injury or not, in the world of gymnastics in Italy, that girl must have a lot of pressure on her to deliver.

Steliana Nistor and Sandra Izbasa– This will be the first Olympics in a looooooong time that Romania may not get a team medal. Like the Chinese, team is first priority. But in this new age of Romanian gymnastics, medals in individual events would be a big deal for them in my opinion. So a country with a love for gymnastics looks to these two to help bring home any medals possible. Not only leaders of the team and the ones the other look up to, these are the only shots at individual medals that Romania has.

Beth Tweddle– Of any gymnast, I swear I can count more times for Beth than any other who receives a great many string of 3rd and 4th place finishes. Hailed as the best and most successful gymnast of Great Britain, Beth has been eluded a major title many times on bars, though she did nab the gold in 2006. As one of the bar front runners in this quadrennium, Beth also has joined the “I have higher than a 7.5 Bar Club” and knows she must hit like her life can depend on it. After all, several of the front runners have shown some inconsistencies this year. Although the lead Chinese bar workers He Kexin and Yang Yilin have been the MOST consistent this year, it has been an unfortunate Chinese tradition to crack under the pressure of the big events. And Beth knows that a mistake from any of the three main rivals (Kexin, Yilin, Nastia) can give her a huge advantage; an Olympic gold. I wonder how well she is doing under that pressure.

Jade Barbosa– One of the best gymnasts ever from Brazil, I actually wonder how the pressure is on her. I have seen many different things featuring her that suggest she is getting a lot of media spotlight, but she recently lost the National Title to Ana Claudia Silva. That is something that may either add or subtract pressure, I’m not sure which.

Dasha Joura– The very best of the Australian team must be feeling some enormous pressure. With people retiring and putting more pressure on the team, Dasha may be the only shot for a medal, and has Australian female ever won a medal in the Olympics? I am not sure, but I don’t think so. And Dasha seems to be doing a lot to promote the Olympics and seems to be getting definite media attention with her newspaper column and all.

Oksana Chusovitina– It’s her fifth Olympics and her only medal is the Unified Team gold in her first Olympics, 1992. A medal would be an amazing achievement as she has no individual title regardless of the many world medals she has. I think it is kind of a long shot considering her difficulty, but you never know who will mess up! Maybe Oksana doesn’t have pressure, she does have more Olympic experience than anyone out there!

Alicia Sacramone– You know she wants an individual medal. Well, everyone does. But Alicia is only capable of medalling if she is at her very best. She also has the amanar to consider. With that and her good execution scores, she is capable of gold if Hong Su Jong and Cheng have errors. Her disappointment last year at the floor final is a good indication that she will be fighting for a medal this year. But she also has to be careful because she must deal with the pressure of not getting injured. In addition, Chellsie Memmel‘s comeback could jeopardize her spot in the beam lineup for Team Finals. And she now has one of the lowest A-scores among the Americans on floor. Not good.

He Kexin– Um, is she aware of what is going on in the world of gymnastics? Does she know that half the fans believe she is ineligible? That would add a lot of pressure. Plus, she hasn’t competed on a stage as large as the Worlds or Olympics before. She also has the pressure to win the bars title.

The Entire Chinese WAG- With the strongest team ever and on their home turf, China legitimately has a chance to take all six gold medals. Team, AA (Yang Yilin I think has the best shot), vault (duh), bars (two more duhs, beam (Li Shanshan or even another between Yang, Cheng, or Deng Linlin). They have never ever been in this situation. I think Mo Huilan was capable of 4 or 5 gold medals in Atlanta. but nothing compares to how deep they are now. I can’t imagine what it must be like for them.

There may be others I haven’t included. All the reigning world champs want to earn their titles again, Ksenia Semenova is one I didn’t really dig into.

And the pressure is still on for all the American girls at home, fighting over spot number six…

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Who Will Be…In Beijing. Event Finals Predictions

So with a few more competitions that have happened recently, a look into whom is virtually locked, should be, and who I want to be in event finals this August.

Vault-

1. Cheng Fei– Duh. She can fall and still qualify.

2. Hong Su Jong– Same deal. If she throws both those 6.5ers she’s in.

3. Alicia Sacramone

4. Oksana Chusovitina

5. Jade Barbosa– Don’t know how I forgot her! Again she throws enough difficulty (and cleanly enough) that I can’t envision her NOT being in finals.

All of the above I would say should be in finals because they have the highest vault difficulty. I cannot even begin to predict the other 50%. But I am hoping for Anna Pavlova, because I want her to be in everything she can be in. Also Elena Zamolodchikova as she is a sentimental favorite.

Bars

1. He Kexin

2. Nastia Liukin

3. Yang Yilin

4. Ksenia Semenova

5. Beth Tweddle

I think those five will be in finals, the first three again could fall and still qualify! Others that I think have a good chance of making it are maybe Steliana Nistor. Maybe Daria Zygoba. How cool would it be if Chellsie Memmel got in there!!!

Beam

These are just my predictions in no order:

1. Shawn Johnson

2. Nastia Liukin

3. Ksenia Semenova

4. Sui Lu (I really think she is going to be on that team)

5. Cheng Fei or another Chinese qualifier

6. Yulia Lozcheko

7. Steliana Nistor

8. Sandra Izbasa?

I really think that the top eight spots will be 2 USA, 2 China, 2 Romania, 2 Russian. Maybe one or two of those not happening and someone from another country getting in. I think it would be awesome if Stefani Bismpikou or Anna Pavlova were in there. NOTE: Someone pointed out in the comments that Pavlova is way awesome and that she is more than just vault finals. Yes, I completely agree. Her style is one of my favorites, and I actually like her on beam the best, I was just thinking in the last post that vault was just most likely for her to make.

Floor

1. Shawn Johnson

2. Alicia Sacramone

3. Cheng Fei

4. Sui Lu or Jiang Yuyuan

5. Sandra Izbasa!!!!

6. Dasha Joura

7. EDIT- Beth Tweddle. She’s in the 6.4 and higher club.

Who else I would really like to see is Daiane Dos Santos. I also would like Vanessa Ferrari to be in there. Yes, I am a Ferrari fan. I like her on floor. Yes, I put Joura in there. She just turned in a 6.3 A-score at Australian Nationals and got like 1 15,700! She should be in this final. She better be. I think the 6.5 and above crowd is who will be battling for gold.

Overall, I think Cheng Fei has the best chance to make 3 event finals. That would be so cool if she scored 4 gold medals. 4 medals of any color would be awesome.

This was rather quickly typed. I am so excited about Nationals. I can wait to reevaluate the O-Team predictions after Nationals are over.

By the way, NBC is broadcasting the senior women event Saturday, June 7th from 4pm to 6pm Eastern time. I am wondering, are they doing both days coverage that day? Usually we get 1 hour on one day, and another hour on another day. So I am wondering how they are doing this. Both days, or just a lot of coverage on Day 2 with some flashbacks of the first day. Hmmmm. I swear that the 04′ Nationals was like an hour and a half each day of competition. This is important dammit us gym fans need to see what is going on! So I guess I am hoping for extended coverage of Day 2. Sigh, anyone remember 2005 Nationals? Yes, they only showed the same 4 girls both days.

Whatever, I am excited.

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Reflections, Thoughts, and Hopes of the Olympics

The history of my love for gymnastics plays like this:

I always loved watching gymnastics.  My earliest memories were the 1992 games in Barcelona.  Here, I remember rooting for Shannon Miller.  I was 10 years old, and even then I can remember that I had heard of Kim Zmeskal.   I was shocked at all I remember.  I remembered that Shannon scored a 9.912 in beam finals and got second.  I could remember the routine of Kim Gwang-Suk, and I remember the falls of Yang Bo and Lavinia Milosovici on beam, Milo and Lu Li‘s perfect ten’s, etc.

In Atlanta 1996, I remember watching it all and being so excited.  In 2004 I was flipping through the channels and landed on the qualifications.  I again got excited and made sure I watched Team Finals, AA, and EF.  It took me two days to realize why I had no memory at all of the Sydney Games; I was traveling across the country with Drum Corps International, another subjectively scored event.

This is where my obsession was born.  I wanted to know what happened in 2000, I wanted to see World Championships.  I consulted Ebay, where anything you want in the world you can buy.  I began buying burned DVD broadcasts and before long made an online friend who became my ‘gymnastics dealer.’  (Although many of my friends call her my crack dealer due to my obsession).  The more I came in possession of, the more I learned.  I own somewhere around 100 individual discs, and have watched them countless times.  Mostly while eating, and late at night to get my mind of school and analyze something that wasn’t ‘work’.  I watched them over and over to learn about scoring, why certain gymnasts would get deductions though nothing appeared wrong, etc.  (Yes, I am a huge dork, I know)   And now in the age of youtube, I can see whatever I need to see that I don’t have.

So this is the first time I will watch the Olympics with complete knowledge of what to expect, who will be there, who may win.  I can’t imagine how angry I would be if this upcoming Olympics was the Sydney Games.  I would go crazy over the incredibly poor coverage shown.  I would feel cheated.  And I can’t imagine this upcoming event I have waited for four years for to contain a controversy such as the All Around Vaulting Debacle.  I realize I haven’t and can’t prepare for what is out of my hands.  Will there be scoring controversies?  That seems inevitable, as I can’t think of any World or Olympic event that doesn’t contain at least one.

And so now, here are some things in the past that I have been thinking about.

  • Mohini Bhardwaj.  Two things about her.  1.)  She is why I keep reiterating the bubble gymnasts  needed consistency throughout Nationals and Trials.  But Bhardwaj wasn’t even a factor at Nationals.  I wonder if this will happen with anyone else.  2.)  Who else thinks there may have been a scoring error with her FX during Athens qualifications?  9.525 I thought was too high.  Especially since the two performances after that garnered 9.3ishes.  I have conflicting pieces of what her SV was.  From 9.7 to 9.9.  And as far as I know, weren’t all three performances pretty much the same?  (Although sometimes I do not catch flubbed or short dance moves/combos.)  Any thoughts on this?  
  • Courtney McCool.  1.)   Did anyone else think a 9.112 in qualifying was too low on beam?  Yes she bent the hips and broke form on the switch leap- Onodi- sheep jump combo.  But like, that was it.  Anna Pavlova made a break on her Kotchetcova-BHS-layout combo in EF.  Though the  break was not a bend the waist type, she did have the break in her connection, and got a 9.587 and I believe a 10 start value.  2.)  I think she should have been in beam finals over Bhardwaj. 
  • Vanessa Atler.  Would have put her on the 2000 team.  I know she was a headcase and had a major meltdown at trials, but I really think she would have brought in some big scores on vault and floor.  I wonder if it would be different if she were in the now.  This quad.  She is in some ways, the Alicia Sacramone of this quad.  She wouldn’t have had to deal with bars.  And oddly enough, Sacramone used to be a headcase type, but has now transformed into one of team USA’s rocks.  And one thing I would have to say about Atler is on floor when she did dance combos and leaps, her feet STOPPED.  She did not have to take a step or another fluffy jump out of it.  She had nice grace too.   
  • Svetlana Khorkina.  I hate to say it, but I think she was one of the most overscored gymnasts of all time.  And when I say this I mean floor.  Again, she looked so sloppy to me.  She got the benefit of the doubt just too many times.  Her floor score in the 2003 World’s AA (9.675) was ridiculous to me.  I often wondered  if it were more than a coincidence that one of the sponsors was the company that Khorkina modeled for.  Hmmm.  And I think she is crazy if she thought she should have beat Carly Patterson in Athens.  I never cared for Patterson’s attitude, but I always respected her gymnastics.  I did feel bad for her for the Sydney Games.
  • Give Andreea Raducan her medal back.    
  • 2000 Olympics again.  Okay, so Elena Zamolodchikova gets a 9.725 on bars during the AA, and then Elise Ray scores a 9.750 when she throws the never-competed-before layout double double?  Uhhhh, right.  And Elise Ray had some of the most beautiful style and form I have ever seen.  I am not hating on Zamo, she is one of my sentimental faves, and one of the best vaulters of all time.
  • I have never understood what was so great about Ling Jie.  Bar Finals in Sydney she misses handstands, looks sluggish, hops on the dismount.  She always had this sluggishness that I didn’t like and thought looked bad.  Something about how she did her kips bothered me too.  In EF, she hops on the dismount.  Now Yang Yun I thought should have had the silver.

These are just some random things I have always questioned.  By all means, give me insight I am lacking.  In closing, here is my wish list for Beijing…

  • NBC- Please show EVERY American competing during all events.  Do the same for China.  I want the broadcasts for Team and AA to be 2 hours + long.  Yes.  Please Al Trautwig, shut up for the most part and don’t say anything dumb.  Andrea Joyce, please refrain from asking the following questions, “Can you take us through the night?  How did you feel?”  “Did you ever expect this?”  And don’t start trying to get people to talk junk about another.  Oh, I also want some nice fluff pieces.  And show ALL EIGHT finalists during EF.
  • A Team and AA Final where the top 6 hit.  I can dream.
  • No scoring garbage please.
  • Set the equipment right.
  • Cheng Fei, please do well.  I want you to have that vault gold very much.
  • Shawn Johnson not to fall and make AA, BB, and FX finals.
  • Chellsie Memmel to make the Olympic Team and maybe even bar finals.  By the way, for the greatest written piece about Memmel’s story click here at Polish 101 who wrote a SUPERB piece on her.
  • Anna Pavlova and Elena Zamolodchikova to make the team and vault finals.
  • Daiane Dos Santos to come back to peak form and make FX finals.  I would love it if she medaled.
  • Vanessa Ferrari back in peak form.  With her double-double.
  • Yang Wei to win the AA.  ( I like him.  Sentimental fave.  Don’t keep up as much with MAG, but this year will be exciting!)
  • Dasha Joura to perform like never before.
  • Oksana Chusovitina to win a vault medal.

That’s all I can think of right now.

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European Championships have started

Qualifications of the European Championships are completed. I am excitedly awaiting videos to start pouring out of Youtube. Here is what I have noticed thus far by looking at the numbers and messageboards.

2. Romania’s Sandra Izbasa scored a freaking 15.700 on floor! Other than Cheng Fei‘s 15.875 in 2006 event finals, I have NOT seen a LEGIT score that high on floor! Unbelievable. I hear that her A-score is 6.4. I wonder if A) that is correct, and B) What she may bring to Beijing!

3. Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari qualified 2nd in the AA, and DID NOT qualify to floor finals! She is the #1 reserve though. I love her on floor, though I have heard she hasn’t been doing the double-double which better be back for Bejing!

4. Several injuries. France’s Isabelle Severino tore her Achilles I think, and a Romanian went down.

5. Great Britain’s Beth Tweddle has a new combo I am excited to see on bars, which she qualified 1st into, with a 15.975. World Champion Ksenia Semenova of Russia qualified 2nd with I THINK a 15.875. A messageboard stated that both Tweddle and Semenova appeared to have watered down routines, and hopes they are saving themselves for EF. ME TOO!

6. What the hell is with the name Ksenia in Russia? I have never heard another gymnast having that name and now they have 2! Of course we once had Olympic squads with two Dominiques, then we had year of the Courtneys. God, we even had two elite Carlys.

7. Now that I look at more, Ferrari’s A-scores are in the hole here! Damn! 5.7 on floor (was up to a 6.4 at one time), 6.3 beam, (6.6), and I dunno what on bars. I hope she is just taking it easy after all the foot problems.

8. Romania qualified as a team a few points ahead of Russia, followed by Italy. Either one of those teams taking the title will be a big deal….Romania, saying a little, “We’re back! Gold, I missed you!” And Russia, who must redeem after the vaulting zero incident at World’s, “See Romania! We are better! Oh wow, I forgot what Gold feels like.

9. Oksana Chusovitina qualified 1st in vault, YAYY! I heard she has a new vault, maybe a double Tsukahara, which would be cool, she did score an average of a 15. Great. I heard she might be doing a full-twisting double layout on floor too! Dunno yet, but she did qualify to that final as well! yeah, just checked, new vault must be something bigger (thinkin the Tsuk double is right) as her first vault score was a 15.425.

10. Russia’s Anna Pavlova (another sentimental fave) qualified to both Vault (3rd) and floor (7th) but not beam! Crap!

11. Alina Kozich of Ukraine qualified to both beam and floor finals! Yeah girlie!

That’s all for now! COME ON YOUTUBE!

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