Archive for December, 2008

I love this.

Posted in just for fun with tags , , , on December 29, 2008 by debster03

Since I’ve (unfortunately) been way too busy for gymnastics (yes, it happens occasionally), I happened to miss this oh-so-hilarious moment. You would think the FIG (or whoever organized the World Cup Final, for that matter) has the resources to get the girls some decent medals.

Yulia’s reaction is priceless.

Anyway, I love Lauren, and I’m glad the gold is now in her hands (pun intended). Here’s hoping for good things in 2009.

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I’m ba-aaaaack!

Posted in news on December 25, 2008 by debster03

Anyone miss me?

Unfortunately, due to limited internet access, I haven’t got a clue about the happenings in the gymnastics world (I could tell you everything you need to know regarding celebrity gossip, though, considering all the time I spent in airports. There was a picture of Nastia and Shawn in some tabloid magazine, though – I don’t know, perhaps it was People? Too cute. My best friend couldn’t understand why I got so excited, especially since I’d already seen that picture about a million times online).

Anyway, I’m off to catch up with the gym world, before I suffer from a withdrawl.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

still kicking and breathing

Posted in news on December 13, 2008 by debster03

Ugh. Once again, I apologize for the lack of updates – I was literally up to here with finals, but I’m done, thankfully, and it all went well (I also found out today that I got into college!). I wish I could say that I’ll be updating 24/7 now that I can truly let the senioritis kick in (read: if I’m updating, it’s a safe bet that I’m procrasinating on something else), but, unfortunately, I’ll be out of town for nearly two weeks. Once I return, though, I promise there’ll be plenty of double salto-y goodness for all of you!

Happy holidays, everyone!

my 10 favorite coaches

Posted in lists on December 8, 2008 by debster03

Everyone knows it: a coach can make or break a gymnast, literally – both in a physical and emotional sense. The really good ones (such as the Mrs. and Steve Nunno…ha ha, just kidding) are capable of turning that lazy-but-oh-so-talented kid into a passionate, fiery gymnast with a champion’s heart and lion’s courage (all right, I’m digging the cliches today…so what? It’s my blog, and I can do whatever I want with it!). The not-so-good ones – well, they can shoot a girl’s self-esteem down faster than you can say “Jeff Wood” (ahem).

Chow: how can he not be on the list? He’s so smiley and cute all the time, it makes me want to give him a big hug. While I’m not sure that he’s all that great of a technical coach (perhaps Shawn Johnson is simply an exceptionally talented athlete. I believe that it takes more than one gymnast to be able to prove yourself), you can tell that he’s extremely caring, considerate, and understanding. It’s so great that he allows Shawn to have a life, too (can anyone else totally picture Elfi shaking her head in disapproval? Maybe Shawn – gasp – also texts her friends, just like those Romanian gymnasts? Oh, the horror!). Now, if only he’d make her work on her splits…

Kelli Hill: while I wouldn’t want to cross her on a bad day (the woman is tough! She doesn’t take crap from anyone – not even Bela, surprisingly enough), she seems so caring and understands that forming a complete gymnast is not only about the athletics, but about the person as well.  She doesn’t freak out when her girls make mistakes (to Dominique Dawes’ tremendous relief), either, which is a great quality for a coach. Also, she teaches her girls how to swing on bars (the Chinese gymnasts could learn a little something from her – perhaps that could fix their dead hangs). It’s awesome.

Yevgeny Marchenko: I’ve always liked him, more so than Valeri Liukin (to tell you the truth, he doesn’t seem very nice). He’s kind of like a big teddy bear. Too bad his star gymnast was a boring, expressionless robot.

Alexander Alexandrov: one thing I really like about him (in addition to the glorious Soviet gymnasts and teams he produced) is that he genuinely feels bad about “having” to pull Roza Galieva out of the all around at the 1992 Olympics in favor of a gymnast who actually had a shot at the gold medal. That is to say, he was not actually just a coldhearted Soviet monster. I’m so glad he’s going back to Russia – hopefully, the team will regain some of its former glory.

Adrian Goreac: people say that Bela Karolyi (and Nadia) put Romanian gymnastics on the map, and that might be true – but it is undeniable that it was Adrian Goreac that created their golden legacy during the 80s (the time when Romanian gymnastics was at its zenith, in my opinion). And he managed to do this without becoming a total beast (or so the story goes, anyway) – apparently, his gymnasts liked him much better than Karolyi because he actually respected them, even though he was a very harsh disciplinarian.

Nicolae Forminte: I don’t know whether he is a good coach or a bad one (only time will tell), really, but I love the change he’s brought to Deva ever since the (abusive) pair of Mariana Bitang and Octavian Belu left. For the first time in a long, long while, the Romanian gymnasts actually seemed happy in Beijing. It was very nice to see.

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Galina Marinova: just listen to her talk about the sport (and the artistry factor!)! Sigh…why can’t she be National Team Coordinator, instead of Bartha?  Or, better yet, why can’t she be the FIG president? Gymnastics would be so lovely under her rule…

At least her girls at AOGC are a pleasure to watch. Beautiful!

Boris Pilkin: don’t say you’ve never wished that Boris Pilkin was your grandfather because I swear he’s the most adorable old man you’ve ever seen in your life. Not only that, but you can tell that he is (was? Is he alive still?) an incredibly smart technical coach – Svetlana Khorkina did not have the body type to become a world class gymnast, nor did she seem to have that much talent (to me, anyway). Yet, he was able to come up with innovative ways so that she could remain competitive and on top for three whole quads – all with very, very different Codes! What a genius.

Elvira Saadi: I don’t know much about her personality as a coach (or as a gymnast, truthfully), but she certainly knew how to produce some fantastic, original gymnastics. Tatiana Groshkova, anyone? She also coached Yvonne Tousek, one of Canada’s best gymnasts of all time. EDIT: I’ve been informed that Saadi is pretty much a tyrant. Forget what I said. Groshkova is still amazing, though.

Kim Zmeskal: love her. Love love love her. Not so much as a gymnast (she was exciting, though, that’s for sure), but as a coach, I think she’s fabulous – and she’s just getting started! She seems motivational and inspirational to her athletes, probably because she’s been there. Some people have suggested that she become the next National Team Coordinator for the Americans (actually, I think it was Karolyi himself – oh, the irony!), and I totally agree. She seems like a very sweet, fun person – and I love Chelsea Davis!

uh oh…

Posted in news with tags , on December 7, 2008 by debster03

So, apparently someone over at WWGym heard from a “couple of reliable sources” that Ivana Hong will train in Valeri Liukin’s group at WOGA starting this January. I guess all we can do now is sit back, microwave some popcorn (personally, I like the plain kind, with lots of salt!), and watch the drama unfold.

I mean, really. This is a clash of (awfully stubborn) personalities if I’ve ever seen one. Nastia, Papa Liukin, Mr. Bross, Ivana, and Mama Hong all in such proximity to each other? Holy cow. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.

Maybe I could do without the pessimism and negativity, but I just can’t see how this will work out (although I sincerely hope it does. Perhaps Ivana could give a clinic on how to hold your legs tightly together on double fronts, while Papa Liukin could fix her crapoid bars). Whatever. Good luck to everyone involved!

we all have a meltdown from time to time…

Posted in just for fun with tags , , , on December 6, 2008 by debster03

It goes without saying that some competitions – particularly major ones, like, say, the Olympics (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 all arounds, anyone?) – are complete splatfests. You know what I mean: gymnasts fallin’ and stumblin’ and trippin’ (whattup, Viktoria Karpenko?) all over the darn apparatus – um, hello, did anyone happen to drop a banana peel on top of the balance beam?

Then there are those single routines (performed at meets that are not all that bad) that are a splatfest by themselves. No, I’m not talking about a big wobble or a short landing or even one major fall. I’m talking about a complete, holy-crap-why-can’t-she-stay-on? total meltdown. What can I say? It eventually comes to a point where, as a fan, you can’t take the frustration anymore, give in, and laugh, shaking your head sadly.  Because, let’s face it, meltdowns can be sort of funny (albeit in a heart wrenching way).

Here, I present to you, the top three gymnastics meltdowns:

3.Vanessa Atler

Vanessa, honey – we all forgive you a meltdown on the uneven bars, seeing as your coach was in denial and refused to admit that you could not do a Comaneci salto for the life of you (also, you were sort of a headcase on the event), but beam? What happened? It kind of seems like you got confused or forgot your routine or something along those lines, especially before the switch leap. It’s painful to watch.

2. Kelly Garrison

…and speaking of forgetting your routine…where’s the second salto on the full in (or, rather, the full twist)? And what the hell happened with that turn? She looks confused, like a lost little puppy. Ouch.

1. Kim Kelly

Surprising? I think not. This routine has been played over and over and over by internet fans for years. I don’t even know what the saddest part is – all the falls (those Parkette coaches, they teach great tumbling technique now, don’t they?), the baby “split” leaps and jumps (Shawn Johnson is practically a contortionist in comparison), the so-called “choreography,” or the ridiculous Japanese commentators who simply refuse to shut the hell up. Ick. Poor girl. However, I must ask – how the heck do you fall out of a turn? Take a big lunging step forward, but don’t put your hands down, woman!

In case anyone is wondering, I have not included Shannon Miller’s beam at the 1993 World Championship event finals because the poor girl was sick, and competing when ill is no fun – I (and Andreea Raducan) should know.

And also, just to clarify: I am not mocking these gymnasts. Gymnastics is a very tough sport, and mistakes happen.

okay, I love her

Posted in just for fun with tags on December 5, 2008 by debster03

Thanks so much to Matt (edit: and Triple Full!) for linking the video below, because I seriously think I could watch this routine over and over and over and over without ever getting tired of it (which is a lot to say nowadays, considering the atrocious bad-excuse-for-a-floor-routine that we’re seeing left and right).

Enjoy!