Archive for the lists Category

10 craziest hairdos

Posted in just for fun, lists with tags , on February 7, 2009 by debster03

So, last night’s (somewhat bizarre) post got me thinking. What about? Well, hair, of course! Now, we’ve seen our fare share of odd dos in the past, but these ten take the prize. Going down the memory lane is always a hoot, so enjoy!

1. The Poodle Perm: you all know what I’m talking about. It was quite the popular hairdo two decades back. It may have been an era of gorgeous gymnastics, but the fashion? Eh, not so much. Particularly the hair. By 1988, the situation got so bad that the Olympic all around gold was decided by a hair, rather than gymnastics ability (joke). Honestly, though, can you truthfully say you are not distracted by the big mess of fluff? I thought so. Guilty as charged: numerous gymnasts, but Daniela Silivas in particular (God, I just want to chop that thing off her head!).

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2. The Bang Attack: these were quite popular for quite some time, particularly during the 1990s. You know, those MASSIVE bangs over a gymnast’s forehead? Yup, that’s what I’m talking about. I thought they were pretty fun, actually. I loved watching the girls run in slow-mo – bangs bobbing up and down like crazy. Hilarious. Guilty as charged: the very lovely Viktoria Karpenko.

3. Crazy Beehive: ah, something a little old school for all of us. Remember the sixties (personally, I don’t, because I hadn’t even been born yet, but anyway, that’s totally beside the point)? Yes, I thought so. Guilty as charged: Vera Caslavska.

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4. Scrunchie Meets Head: I mean, Shannon Miller. Or, more specifically, the Dynamos. Guilty as charged: me thinks this is self-explanatory.

5. The Angry Conrows: I never understood how the Parkettes managed to compete with those stupid conrows constantly pulling at their scalp. Seriously, ouch? Guilty as charged: le Parkettes.

6. The “I Am Really a Boy” Do: it comes in many shapes and colors (okay, it most frequently appears as a bowl cut), and it’s been around for ages. Now, personally, I have nothing against short hair, even on gymnasts. Sometimes, it actually looks kind of cute (cue Katya Lobaznyuk). But why in the world would you want to look like a boy? Even if you are a tomboy…Guilty as charged: Amanda Borden, Oksana Chusovitina.

7. If I Clip My Hair To My Scalp, It Won’t Fall Off: you totally know what I mean.  A couple of clips are fine (unless they are Hello Kitty themed; then it’s a big no-no), but a bajillion? Gawd. Not classy in the slightest. Plus, if you fall on your head, those things are vicious! Trust me, I would know. I’ve had (unpleasant) experiences in that area. Guilty as charged: the Chinese team!

8. The “I Don’t Take This Seriously Enough” Bun: I’m not a fan of overly gelled hair (ew, really), but sometimes you at least have to seem like you give a crap. Unfortunately, some gymnasts think they are way too cool for school and merely look like they’ve just rolled out of bed. Guilty as charged: Alicia Sacramone.

9. Frizzy Hair: frizzy hair is a terrible thing in all situations, gymnastics-related or not. Splurge on a straightener (or at least some anti-frizz)! Guilty as charged: Rebecca Bross (every now and then).

10. This is your choice. What do you think is a totally hideous hairdo and why?

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.

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!

let’s talk fashion!

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

Gymnastics fashion, that is. Bad fashion, if only because criticism is a lot more fun than praise – wow, I’m a horrible human being. No, this is not another “horrid leotard” post, although those can be quite amusing to read. This is about everything else: hair mishaps, awful warm-up suits, and, of course, those stupid, stupid floor shoes (okay, so my last entry definitely got me thinking…).

The Dynamo Hair Scrunchie: aah, what an evil thing that was. This, along with the weepy violins (and Steve Nunno, of course), is what truly made me hate that gym. I’m sorry, but half the time Shannon Miller or Jennie Thompson competed, I suspected THAT THING wanted to take over their heads, and I truly did feel very sorry for them. Thank God the ’90s-massive-scrunchie-era is over. I still have nightmares about it (okay, that was a lie. I don’t).

Check the head on that scrunchie!

20070529_091038China’s electric blue eyeshadow: need I say more? That may be hot in Asia (or not…), but it isn’t by double salto standards. Although, apparently, the Chinese coaches finally got a clue. Let’s praise the gymnastics gods, because I don’t know about you, but the thought of tiny clowns tumbling and prancing on the apparatus kind of freaks me out.

Clips, clips, clips, clips everywhere! And speaking of China (I love those girls; honest, I really do)…what’s with the gajillion hairclips on their heads? It’s been going on forever, but it’s always bugged me (they are very random too, like Hello Kitty or something along those lines). I remember once, when I was a gymnast, I fell on my head and a couple of clips pinched me pretty hard. I never wore them again. I wonder if Cheng Fei and co. have ever had such an experience? I bet not. It hurts.

Black eyeliner: I’m all for a little smoky-eye when out at a party or a club, but to be honest, the whole black eyeliner deal can look slightly hookerish in a gymnastics arena. Just take a look at Nastia Liukin back in 2005. It was awful. I’m sure glad her makeup taste has matured over the years.

Short hair: ew, I hate it. Whatever the style – from Daniela Silivas’ massive poodle hair back in 1988 to Kerri Strug’s boyish cut in 1996 – I think short hair looks awful on a gymnast because it takes away from the body line (does that make any sense?). Even Yekatarina Lobaznyuk – who I just adore – looked much better back in 1999 with her cute ponytail (although there’s no denying that she was still a cutie pie when she chopped it off!).

1990s warm up suits: I’ll never get over the fact that they look like a gigantic garbage bag (in a variety of patterns and colors) wrapped around the gymnasts, particularly the jackets. I mean, I know fashion changes drastically over the years, but really, what the hell were they thinking?

Gymnastics shoes, or whatever: repeat after me: gymnastics is done barefoot, gymnastics is done barefoot, gymnastics is done barefoot. I can deal with those ballet-style shoes on occassion (think: Dominique Moceanu and Terin Humphrey), but geez, floor shoes are so freaking hideous.

Sleeveless leotards: for competition, I mean. The thing is, most gymnasts have massive arms (because they’re ripped, that is), save the odd exception like Nastia Liukin, so sleeveless attire is simply not very flattering. Or formal. Or elegant.

Competitions are supposed to be formal and elegant.

Parkettes hair: I wonder if those girls start losing their hair after years of torturing their scalp with ugly cornrows and glitter and curling irons. There you go, yet another reason not to join the Parkettes.

play that funky music, white boy!

Posted in just for fun, lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by debster03

I love me a graceful gymnast. You know, the kind whose every beautiful, lyrical movement seems to shout BALLET! BALLET! Irina Baraksanova, Natalia Frolova, Olga Mostepanova, Aurelia Dobre, etc. – they were wonderful and such a pleasure to watch. But, from time to time, it’s nice to see a…well, a funkier gymnast, those that incorporate strange body movements and bizarre poses into their routines but seem to rock them anyway.

Here it is, in no particular order: the top ten funkiest gymnasts.

Daria Joura: I love everything about Dasha – from her crazy salute (I always suspect she’s a bit drunk when she does it) to her funny bangs to her cute smile, and, of course, her wacky dance on floor! Someone once described Dasha’s choreography as a bit too “loosey-goosey,” and I must say I agree – she’s somewhat of a loose goose, but only in a good way! It’s so refreshing to see a gymnast like her in era of machine-like cookie cutter robots (ouch. Sorry girls!).

Svetlana Boginskaya: I think Bogi knew how to use her unusual (for a gymnast) body to her advantage better than anyone else, especially early in her career. Her angles were odd and even awkward, but she made them work and became a gymnastics goddess in the process. Her 1988 and 1989 floor routines are still remembered today because of how wonderful and bizarre they are.

Shantessa Pama: I’ve followed Tessa since she was a junior, and I really wish she had been able to live up to her full potential, because she is so awesome. Even though she is not a classical dancer, per se, she is a treat and a joy to watch – and I certainly adore all of her salsa-type choreography! It’s so much fun. You can tell she’s originally from Hawaii – can anyone else picture her totally OWNING the hoola hoop?

Yvonne Tousek: for some reason, I always hated her style, but what the hell. She was as funky as they get. Her choreography was always super weird, as were her body proportions. She just took a different approach to music, as well. I don’t even know how to explain it. She is definitely an either-love-her-or-hate-her sort of gymnast, and, unfortunately, I fall in the last category. Tousek is certainly not for everyone!

Ludivine Furnon: Furnon had such an amazing feel for the music (not to mention impressive tumbling as well), even though she was hardly a ballerina. In a way, I think her dancing is a bit too much for words, so you better enjoy for yourself:

Olga Strazheva: zee Soviets own. Her 1989 floor exercise has been compared to an animal giving birth. ‘Nuff said.

Silvia Mitova: she has to be on here, if only because she originated the dreadful Blues for Klook trend on the floor exercise (I mean, let’s face it. That music is so different and pretty darn risky because we all know that it can go very, very wrong). Even though this piece literally makes my ears bleed, I cannot deny the fabulousness that is Silvia Mitova’s body expression. She was a treat. Now I just make sure to wear earplugs (or mute the volume) whenever I watch her routines on Youtube.

Camelia Voinea: the originator of breakdance on floor exercise! Voinea was not my cup of tea (I think it was the stupid shoes she wore. I am a firm believer in doing gymnastics barefoot, so as not to take anything away from the body line. I had the exact same problem with Simona Amanar. Yuck), but man, she could dance. It was fun, and oh-so-eighties.

Yelena Zamolodchikova: Zamo is hardly ever associated with premium dance, but come on. She may have horrid form, but the girl can moonwalk and do the worm. Give her a break!

Catalina Ponor: for all my Ponor hatred (okay, I don’t hate her. There’s just so much I dislike about her), I must admit that she’s a darn good dancer – in a funky way. She had quite some interesting movements that I don’t know quite how to describe, but I’m sure you’ve all seen her routines and know what I mean.

Thanksgiving à la double salto

Posted in lists with tags on November 23, 2008 by debster03

To my loyal readers out there (whoever they may be), I sincerely apologize for not updating as often as I’d like. I don’t really have an interesting excuse. My life has been busy and stressful and yadda yadda. Is anyone else counting down the days until the holidays? I sure know I am.

Here’s a little something to be thankful for:

the new Code: I don’t think I need to explain myself here. A limit of four tumbling lines on floor!? Oh, let’s praise the powers that be!

new, exciting juniors: from multiple countries. While we all love the longevity of our favorites, it’s nice to see some fresh faces now and then. What’s great is that a number of team are showing fabulous potential. Hopefully, this will result in more competitive team finals (and not a one-way or two-way battle for the gold).

an uncontroversial Olympic all around champion: this is always good. I don’t think anyone is too eager for Sydney or Barcelona flashbacks.

China finally pulling through: regardless of who you were rooting for, it was nice to see China finally put it together in an Olympic all around final and actually win the gold! Some die-hard gymnastics fans (many of them American) had been waiting for this moment for years.

Romania not self-destructing: as the Romanian un-fan that I am, it was still nice for them to be able to maintain their tradition in Beijing. Not only did they manage to win a team bronze and an individual gold medal, but they actually seemed happy (yes, Elfi, we know that they were texting during practice. Oh, the horror!). Maybe they will never return to their previous glory, but at least they are now treated like real live human beings.

Russia: oh, Russia, Russia, Russia. Unlucky as they may be, they actually showed some real gymnastics this year (meaning: elegant, polished, and beautiful), and I think the fans are extremely happy about that.

Cheng Fei’s determination: horrible as the Olympic event finals may have been for her, it’s nice to see that she hasn’t thrown her gym bag away just yet. I thought that she would retire, for sure, as soon as the Olympics were over, but it’s nice to see that she is giving gymnastics another shot.

Shawn getting her gold: personally, I didn’t particularly care whether Shawn won a gold medal at these Olympics or not, but I was scared that the media would rip her apart if she didn’t.

the end of the World Cup Final: this is a ridiculous meet, honestly. The qualifying system is outdated (Catalina Ponor made beam finals? Really?). Perhaps this will be the rebirth of all around competitions, but unfortunately, I doubt it.

Is there anything else you would like to add to the list?

crème de la crème: the best of 2008

Posted in just for fun, lists on November 20, 2008 by debster03

Now that the year is coming to a close (yes, I do realize that the World Cup Final is coming up, but to be perfectly honest, now that my Anna Pavlova is out, this competition is as appealing to me as tofu. No offense to tofu-lovers), let’s reminisce, shall we? Here’s a list of the most memorable (and not so memorable) gymnastics moments of 2008.

the funnest gymnast: Jiang Yuyuan. Not only are her smile and cute facial expressions absolutely contagious, but her floor music makes me want to get up and dance. You know that part where she opens her arms and turns around in circles (it always seems to me like she’s stumbling a little bit, but I find it so endearing that I don’t mind)? Well, it looks like so much fun that I wish I could get on the podium and join her. She’s such a joy to watch!

solid as a rock: this is a toss up between Shawn Johnson and Ksenia Semenova, but I think Ksenia might have the edge over Shawn on this one. Why? Even if we ignore Shawn’s botched Amanar at the American Cup, the fact that Ksenia is Russian and incredibly consistent is just astounding. I mean, my lovely Russians never hit when it counts (Sydney team finals, anyone? Actually, make that any team final!).

supermodel: Nastia Liukin, and not only because she’s pretty. She just looks so tall and slender compared to the other pixies out there, it’s kind of hard not to picture her on the runway. Of course, in real life, Nastia is actually quite short!

don’t anger the gymnastics gods: I’ve decided that yelling whatever out before you vault is a gymnastics curse (it probably makes the gymnastics gods’ ears bleed, and they are not afraid to punish you for it!). Remember Khorkina doing this in Sydney? Yup, she fell (granted, the vault was set at the wrong height). Then, eight years later, Cheng Fei comes along and yells in the vault finals, hoping to defy the gods’ wishes. They weren’t too gracious with her, for she also went splaaaaaaaaat.

I believe I can flyyyyyy: I don’t care what age He Kexin is. Hell, she could be five or thirty, for all I care. Her Li Ya combination is fantastic. It’s so dynamic, but at the same time, it’s almost as if she’s suspended in air. Holy Jesus!

music to my ears: I couldn’t miss this superlative. So who has the best floor music this year? Why, Anna Pavlova, of course (I’m sure everybody’s rolling their eyes and going “DOI!”)! Seriously, though, Maksim’s Exodus is gorgeous (as is the original version) and so majestic, just like Miss Anna herself!

no, thanks, I’ve already chewed some bubblegum: the United States has had some hideous leotard choices in the past, but what’s with the bright bright bright pink this year? I know Nastia is a fan, but I’m sure she’ll be all right if they tone it down just a little.

pretty in pink: and speaking of which, I loved to see Nastia victorious in all of her pink glory. Regardless of how BRIGHT that thing-disguised-as-a-leotard was, it seemed quite fitting at the time.

can I get your designer’s number? The other teams could use Russia’s advance on leotard-selection. They are always the most elegant and professional looking team out there (even when their performances aren’t). The leotard they wore in prelims was particularly pretty.

you’re so cute, I can’t help but like you: I am not much of a fan of Shawn Johnson’s gymnastics (although I must admit, some of her skills are insanely cool!). But she shows such great sportsmanship and attitude that I can’t help but be a fan. You go, girl!

you’re so cute, I can’t help but like you, version II: Sandra Izbasa!

stick that landing, dammit! Obviously, this award goes to Nastia Liukin, for the most stuck landings at the Olympic Games. However, there are two honorable mentions: Sandra Izbasa’s floor routine in event finals and Anna Pavlova’s floor in the all around competition. Wow!

funkiest salute: Dasha Joura, of course. But has anyone checked out Deng Linlin’s? It’s so…weird (!), like she can’t raise her arms all the way up. But I like her.

you make me want to poke my eyes out: it’s really frustrating when gymnasts have (mostly) lovely form and then mess it up BIG TIME when it comes to a single element, i.e. Nastia Liukin’s double fronts (ew ew ew) and Bridget Sloan’s Tkatchevs (point those toes, woman!).

whoa, she’s an all arounder? look who’s no longer only a bars and beam specialist: Ksenia Semenova! It’s unbelievable how much some girls can improve in a year.

the best rotation in eight years: the last floor rotation at the Beijing all around finals was seriously my favorite in a long, long time. Consecutive stuck routines (minus Jiang Yuyuan) from JYY, Yang Yilin, Semenova, Pavlova, Johnson, and Liukin? Aah. Heavenly.

so glad you made it! Koko Tsurumi is so cute (and lovely to watch), I was thrilled to see her in the beam final. Unfortunately, she didn’t deliver. I wish she had!

five and (possibly?) counting: Oksana Chusovitina certainly wins the all-time prize for longevity. Too bad she hurt her ankle, but I’m positive that she’ll find a way to keep going. Nothing slows her down! I was glad to finally see her medal in Beijing.