Archive for January, 2009

dahling, please don’t go breakin’ my heart.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 26, 2009 by debster03

Over the years, I’ve learned not to expect anything from junior gymnasts. Nada, zilch, zero, nothing. The truth is that the least of promising-juniors-that-turned-out-to-be-disappointing-seniors is pretty endless: Kristal Uzelac, Nadazhda Ivanova, and Sabina Cojocar, to name a few (and from three different countries, too!). Honestly, in all my years as a fan (which I admit haven’t been very many, considering I’m young), I feel that the only gymnast who has truly managed to live up to the hype is Nastia Liukin, and the cynic in me believes that that’s probably only because people were writing her off by 2007.

I’ve also learned not to expect anything from zee Russians. I mean, really. If the Fab Four (I mean, Yelena Produnova, Svetlana Khorkina, Yekatarina Lobaznyuk, and Yelena Zamolodchikova) were not even capable of kicking some major Romanian booty in Sydney, what hope is there for the rest of them? Even when they’re at their best, there is always that unforseen extremely unfortunate factor that ruins the all fun (e.g. the vault was set too low; Anna Pavlova experienced momentary amnesia and forgot her floor routine, resulting in self-destruction; Yekatarina Kramarenko miscalculated her run to the springboard; Pavs really had to pee and just could not wait for the darn green light).

So there you have it. Extraordinarily successful juniors and zee Russians are cursed. There’s no other way around it.

You know what the worst possible combination is? Yes, you got it! Russian juniors! Oh, God. The more talent these little pixies show, the more terrified I become that something’s gonna break them.

There is one Russian junior, in particular, that I’ve grown to love, despite all my best efforts: Viktoria Komova, daughter of 1986 Goodwill Games champion Vera Kolesnikova. Check out this beam – it’s insane (sure, sure, she falls, but BHS-layout stepout-arabian!? Holy moley!)!

In addition to being quite the trickster, she’s got wonderful presentation for a teeny junior and nice lines as well. She could grow to be quite elegant, which is just what the sport needs right now! Hopefully she’s getting all the falls out of the way early on, because if this girl does not make it to 2012 as a serious medal threat, then I will cry.

You should check out her floor, too. She’s too adorable.

Davai, Vika!

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a little something to brighten your Wednesday night.

Posted in going down the memory lane, just for fun with tags , , on January 21, 2009 by debster03

Ah, the Soviet gymnastics machine. Many argue that making it in the USSR was even harder than winning a world championship or Olympic gold. I think I agree.

We’ve all, of course, heard of the Soviet greats: Svetlana Boginskaya, Olga Mostepanova, Oksana Omelianchik, Olga Korbut, Yelena Shushunova, Tatiana Lysenko, and Lyudmila Tourischeva, to name a few (too few). However, in addition to these marvelous athletes and artists (yes, artists!), there are hundreds upon hundreds of gymnasts that never even truly had the opportunity to wow the international audiences and win fame and recognition.

Among these gymnasts is Tatiana Ignatova.

Now, we don’t see a performance like that nowadays, do we? Not even from the very, very best or those we call “artistic.” I’ve mourned the day that truly innovative floor choreography ceased to exist. What a crying shame. Thanks a lot, FIG.

Here’s another of my “obscure” favorites, Yekatarina Vandisheva:

It kills me that these two never made it big. They could’ve been great.

Nevertheless…enjoy!

well, doesn’t this look quite familiar…

Posted in just for fun with tags on January 21, 2009 by debster03

I was reading my way through the WWGym forum (where I’m not much of an active poster, but I do enjoy reading the latest), and I happened to stumble across a video of Natalia Joura on uneven bars. Now, gymnastics ability (or inability) aside, I feel that it is my obligation to adore Natalia, if only for the fact that she’s a Joura sister, and Dasha is beyond awesome.  Therefore, I cringed a little when I saw this:

The poor girl got an abysmal 9.1 – and no, no one was working the old Code there (ah, how I wish it was so…). I’m not going to really discuss the mechanics of the performance – I’m sure we all agree it was awful – but rather, I want to tell you about this odd feeling I got as I rewatched the routine over and over…

Deja vu.

No, I’m not kidding. Back in the day when I was a gymnast (and absolutely abhorred bars), I had an experience that is eerily similar to this disaster. It was my gym’s home meet. I kip-ed fine. Cast to handstand and went over. Okay, one fall. Kip-ed again and attempted a clear hip circle, in which I went over the bar once more. Got back up, squatted to transition to the high bar and unexpectedly fell backwards. How embarrassing! I hadn’t done this since I was a level 5. Finally reached the high bar, kip-ed, cast to handstand (no, I didn’t go over), tapped into my giant, and ended up short. Attempted a couple of more giants, and wouldn’t you know it, the same thing happened over and over and over. I finally just swung into my very lame layout dismount, landing, of course, on my butt.

I wish I had an excuse. But I didn’t have a stomach flu a la Shannon Miller. I was (surprisingly) not injured. I was not even nervous, and I’d been training fine.

Hey, it happens to the best of us.

Natalia – keep your head up. You’re not alone!

long time, no talk.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 by debster03

And I sincerely apologize (once again). I’m not one to give out excuses – actually, I hate doing so – but I’ve been dealing with a number of personal issues that need to get taken care of. Therefore, I haven’t had much time or energy to follow the sport as closely as I have for the past few months.

That being said, there’s plenty to look forward to this year – the Scam American Cup (I’m thinking the lineup sounds okay so far…but for once, would they please invite someone that could actually challenge the Americans? Enough of this rah, rah, the Americans are the best and we’re going to show it by kicking international ass in this oh so credible competition), Nationals (should be quite an interesting mix of newcomers and veterans!), and of course, the world championships (I was so hoping Semenova could challenge for the title. Unfortunately, with her wrist injury, it seems very very unlikely). I’ll try to keep you posted as best I can – and if my best isn’t all that, keep visiting your favorite gymnastics message boards – they’ll sure keep you on top of things!

Once again, I feel horrible for this pathetic excuse of a post. Double Salto will be back soon enough at full force – I promise!

for the life of you, can you point your toes?

Posted in just for fun, lists with tags on January 6, 2009 by debster03

It’s pet-peeve time! I do seem to have plenty of those, do I not? Anyway, I have returned to discuss The Thing That Bugs Me To No End (face it, picking at people is fun. Oh, I’m just darling, I know) – unpointed toes! Not only are they icky and ugly, they have the potential to ruin an otherwise beautiful body line. What evil little things they are.

I guess they can’t all be Lilia Podkopayevas.

The following is a list of the top ten offenders.

Yelena Zamolodchikova: Zamo, for all her awesome-ness, has horrible form. Horrible. As for her toes, it’s not so much that she doesn’t want or even try to point them, it’s just that they look like they won’t bend any farther. Work on your flexibility, girl!

Yelena Produnova: what is it with those Yelenas, huh? I think they are born with their ankles flexed the wrong way. For what it’s worth, I always loved Produ – and I mean loved (she was definitely the coolest gymnast out there. Ever. Of all time) – but her lack of toe point just didn’t cut it for me. Remember her oh-so-fabulous handspring double front vault (especially the one she threw at the 1999 University Games. Man, that was fierce!)? Although I, like everyone else, often get lost in the amazing-ness that is that skill, I must admit that sometimes I feel like her flexed toes just kill it. Except they don’t, really, because that vault is gigantic. Lena, I almost forgive you.

Bridget Sloan: oh, the classic example of a gymnast with a beautiful body lines and icky icky toes. In her defense, she only really flexes them on Tkatchevs – but man, does she flex them! I wonder why her coach hasn’t bothered to fix it yet? It’s like eye rape!

Oksana Chusovitina: we all know that Chuso’s form is not one of the Seven Wonders, toe point (or lack thereof) included. Or maybe it’s just those hideous gym shoes. Whatever it is, I wish Chuso would clean up her lines. It’s not like she hasn’t had the time, if you know what I mean (wink, wink).

Jana Bieger: also known as The Girl Who Really Missed Out On Her Ballet Lessons (at least those in which dancing en pointe was discussed) and perhaps the biggest culprit. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not of a Jana fan. Her gymnastics is not aesthetically pleasing. At all. I hope the judges take notice. Maybe then Mama Bieger will actually fix it.

Carly Patterson: we all know Carly was a very, um, relaxed (as in calm and composed and light on her feet) gymnast, and it definitely showed in her feet (that was an odd sentence, wasn’t it?). It’s almost as if she was so chill about it all that she forgot to tighten up her toes. Dude, you’re not in Barbados. Don’t relax your feet. It doesn’t look nice.

Anyone with the travesty that are gym shoes: the list is endless (and predominantly Romanian). I don’t know whether their toes are actually unpointed or if the shoes are simply working their wonders (not), but I can’t stand the look on a gymnast. Ew.

Steliana Nistor: blame it on the gym shoes.

Nastia Liukin: as much as it pains me to include Nastia on this list, you gotta give credit where credit is due. Nastia seems to chuck her usually lovely toepoint away in her gym bag whenever she performs a double front-type skill. Why, Nastia, why?

Camelia Voinea: again, I think it’s the gym shoes. But dear lord.