Anticipation unbearable at this stage! USA are on their way, Russia are leaving on the 21st. I have not heard anything about Romania as of yet. China are getting acclimatised in Salto, Northern Ireland and are a bit miffed with all the rain, glad they got here early so.
Full Twist has some excellent photos up and is uploading footage http://www.facebook.com/FullTwist.net A BBC news clip briefly shows He Kexin nailing her Li Ya combo, she looked sharper than she has in a good while, good for her if she gets her peaking right. The coaches got to visit the Titanic musuem (Titanic was built in Belfast) but made the gymnasts stay back and rest! Apparently they have a heavy police escort at all times, who patrol outside the gym. This is a volatile time of the year in Northern Ireland, usually referred to as 'marching season'. History bit at the bottom if you want an explanation. Anyway, not a time of year you would choose to travel there, so fair play to Salto and everyone involved for managing it in spite of the difficulties with the time of the year.
USA are picking up all of their swag in Washington right about now before continuing to London. Photos on twitter all show healthy girls. However, GGMB rumours state that Ebee is injured, and Sarah is having issues with her foot. Also states that Marta wants Jordyn to lose ten pounds and that McKayla has not fixed her third pass, and went OOB in camp. Brilliant. Anyway, these are all unconfirmed. If Ebee IS injured that's a disaster because she can fill in anywhere and has an awesome amanar. Sarah too is very valuable. Let's hope this is just rubbish. Diet rumours, although Jordyn has looked a bit bulkier this year, I cannot see her extremely protective coach allowing her to be starved. That infernal third pass of McKayla's had better be fixed, she has no hope of replacing Gabby in TF if it's still dodgy.
Translations of interviews with Sandra Izbasa and Larisa Iordache have been pasted onto intlgym forums. They are worth a read, even though not that extensive. Lovely positive attitudes, they seem extremely ready for this and appear to be peaking at the right time. Komova's personal coach has stated that he wants the hype around Vika to relax for her own good. In a way, this is a tad worrying as it suggests that Vika is a bit fragile and could be thrown off by extra attention. Anyway, let's hope she's able to stay focused and on her game. It's going to be a sloooow ten days waiting for all of this to kick off!
Skip if you've no interest in what the deal is in July in Northern Ireland
(History bit: On the 12th July 1690 the Protestant claimant to the British throne defeated the Catholic claimant, after he fled to Ireland to drum up Catholic support. This is celebrated by Protestants building massive towers of pallets for bonfires on which are burned numerous tricolours, the flag of the Republic of Ireland. The Orange order, an order dedicated to upholding Protestant traditions, hold marches and deliberately provoke unrest by marching in Catholic areas, insisting on their right to do so. It has provoked bloodshed and mayhem in the past. This year they stopped outside a Catholic church which wasn't on their route and played an anti-Irish song. Lovely. Basically, it causes unrest every year, drags up the old hatred. Disclaimer: I have no issue with Protestants or Catholics who want to live peacefully. Those who deliberately antagonise and provoke the order side are basically, scum. The Orange order are known sectarian bigots. I would have the same problem if it was the other way around, but in this instance it's not)