Friday, 30 November 2012

World Cup and Stuff

Qualifications for Sunday's team finals took place today. Surprisingly, Germany qualified first ahead of Russia! I would be suprised if that result repeated itself when it matters though. Highlights were Mustafina's bars and beam, Kristina Goryunova's beam and Anna Rodionova's beam and floor. Mustafina played it safe by not doing major leg events. She watered down her bars quite a lot- no need for the full 7.0 and her 5.9 was crisp, clean and beautiful. Beam was a bit wobbly but the skills look great and she seems very 'on'. If it's much steadier on Sunday that would be no surprise. Goryunova's beam was excellent, surprisingly so as she is not long back from a one-year ban and has not competed at that level in quite a while. Rodionova shows beautiful lines and precision in her skills. Mai Murakami was either having an awful day or is injured, she scored extremely low on bars and beam and only did a 5.0 vault. Floor, her signature, also had quite a few issues.

First up before the team finals is the AA tomorrow. Larisa Iordache and Victoria Moors have both dropped out, which pretty much hands Elizabeth Price the victory. Ebee has a new 6.6 bars routine which coupled with her amanar and high difficulty floor scream domination. What's annoying about her is that she wasn't really peaked for the right time..with a second vault (seriously WHY doesn't she have one), 6.6 bars and strong floor she would have been a much bigger contender for the Olympic team. Ones to watch are Elizabeth Seitz and Rebecca Tunney who are both very good AA-ers and interesting to watch.

There are vicious rumours circulating about the new code requiring 10 elements, just like the 2005-2008 code. This is unconfirmed and will hopefully soon make the journey to confirmed bullshit. While FIG can usually be relied on to fly in the face of common sense, this would be very uncharacteristic even of their own thinking on the issue.

Catalina Ponor has confirmed her retirement. We will receive further assurance of this in the new year one way or the other as she would need to confirm her status with the Romanian federation. Not a gymnast I particularly enjoy watching, but I appreciate and admire her achievements nonetheless.

I already said this but Shallon Olsen has won Top Gym. This meet is always well attended by star juniors and has been won by big names in the past. Shallon is the first from a non top 4 to win. She also won the vault title. Please don't burn out please don't burn out...anyway we won't be seeing her contend until the Olympic year as she is a 2016 senior.

 Elizabeth Price has convincingly won the Stuttgart AA, by 3 points. Elizabeth Seitz also had a very good competition winning silver, and Giulia Steingruber too with the bronze and who has also recovered her vaulting to its former excellent standard. Rebecca Tunney counted a fall and other errors, Vanessa Ferrari a fall and Niamh Rippin no less than 3 falls. Hmm. Kristina Goryunova who so impressed in qualification had a bit of a disastrous beam and was all over the place. Very strange. Let's hope for some glorious performances tomorrow. Price's amanar and 6.6 bars including full twisting double layout dismount predictably stomped all over the competition. I'd imagine other countries are in awe over how a girl with so much talent failed to make the Olympic team. Price still needs substantial work on her execution of course, but what a great performance. What will be interesting is seeing what this does to her status, and will it enable her to keep ahead of some of the 2013 powerhouses. Videos are here.

Yana Demyanchuk of Ukraine has retired. Yana was of the typical Ukrainian mould, gorgeous work and lines, awful consistency record. Good luck to her in whatever she chooses to do.

Russia have won the team competition. They are quite lucky that only two scores count, because Anna Rodionova only scored a 4.8 on bars. She fell on her Pak and cried, did not complete the routine and reportedly left the hall after. If she is injured (she did reappear for the medal ceremony which is a bit reassuring) hopefully it's nothing serious. As a result, Aliya Mustafina further added to her legendary status a bit by stepping up for vault- which was not supposed to happen and which she had not prepared for. Just a Yurchenko layout but seeing as she is carrying a foot injury, added impact is not exactly welcomed. There was no livestream so not near as much news and videos. Japan stepped up and got second, the only news about Mai Murakami is that she did not fully complete her triple full dismount so it got downgraded. Still scored a 14.050 on it! Very nice to hear. Will add more news and links for videos when they become available.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

New Post Schedule

New posts will only appear at weekends. I realise this one is breaking the new rule somewhat, but it's not requiring much from me. This is because I work too hard during the week, especially coming up to super-fun Christmas in retail. Oh and it's also because blogger are dicks and you can only check and post to your blog on your phone if you live in America. Thanks for that. So if anyone is worried (lol that seems funny to me) that I'm phasing out posting, not at all. It might even increase back to the June/July frequency if I don't get kept on in January. Hours will lessen if I do anyway, so good blogging news all round. Hurrah.

I'll give you a hint- 12 year old Canadian force of nature Shallon Olsen has pretty much embarassed Romania by winning the AA at Top Gym well ahead of the latter's two biggest 2013 seniors who are 3 years older, Diana Teoduru and AnaMaria Ocalisan. Wow. Also news about the fabulous DTB Pokal World Cup which is taking place at the weekend. But no Shawn DWTS news. I like her and she was a great dancer this year but I just couldn't care less.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Lineup of Dreams

Mai Murakami and Aliya Mustafina will both compete at the upcoming DTB Pokal World Cup. I'm so excited I can't bring myself to remember the rest of the lineup, though the Japanese team is much the same as it was for the Asian Artistic Championships. Asuka Teramoto is not listed and wasn't at Japanese Nationals either so must still be dealing with her arm injury. Rie Tanaka and Koko Tsurumi have both made noises about retiring (personally, I think 25 year old Rie Tanaka moves with the ease of a 15 year old and looks to have a lot left in her, but then that doesn't mean she has not struggled) so the Japanese world team next year will be interesting. It's nice to get a good look at who's in the running. Some lovely moves from the Japanese too, such as Risa Konishi's 3.5 twist on floor! It was previously thought that Mustafina would not compete at all for the remainder of this year, so this will be exciting to see that even if she has watered down out of season, if her steadiness on beam in particular has improved. Both gymnasts will feature in the team competition segment..along with Oksana Chusovitina who has taken back her retirement AGAIN and is looking to Rio.

Vanessa Zamarippa will be making another shot at elite. I don't believe she would do so with any real expectations of going much further than Nationals, especially considering that the huge depth of talent is going nowhere fast. However, she had a glorious Cheng last time she tried, so it would be great to see that again.

Here is the lovely Mariya Livchikova of Ukraine at a recent meet. Mariya has been showing the typical inconsistent Ukrainian streak lately, but this is a glorious return to form with her trademark unique combinations. This scored 15.250. Looking forward to seeing her make an impact in the new quad.


Victoria Moors was slightly injured at Massilia as I thought, she had some muscle tears in her back and consequently watered down her tumbling. However it's not going to be an issue for long thankfully.

Rebecca Bross and Catalina Ponor are headlining an upcoming gala in Mexico. Should be interesting to watch, can't help but think it's a swansong for both- I am one of those who think Rebecca is done. Here are some highlights; both looking in great shape.

Cata fights back against high-cut leotards for once and for all!

The Kelloggs Tour is over, but Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber are all going on a second tour, which incorporates cheerleading. This of course also means that we are pretty much guaranteed not to see any of them at Scam or Jesolo or somesuch meet. McKayla Maroney as previously mentioned still has a few weeks left before rehab. We of course all hope that Kyla Ross is busy upgrading like a beast.

Polina Schennikova also known as mini-Nastia has been added to the junior national team. No word on other additions or on upgrades. Laurie Hernandez has some nice ones, impressive given that she's still only 12. Nice Hults, the most likely addition to the national team did not attend camp due to injury. It appears that Sarah Finnegan is also injured, having been pictured recently with a heavy splint on her elbow.

Spare a thought for Jacoby Miles, a 15 year old Level 9 gymnast from Washington who paralysed herself from the chest down a few days ago. Jacoby was in the middle of a double back dismount off bars into a pit when she got lost in the air and landed on her neck on a mat. The nerves are not severed, so there is some hope that she may walk again. Given how absolutely insane the cost of medical care is in America (which I have myself experienced firsthand), donations are sorely needed. You can find ways to donate or help here.

On a more positive note, Simona Amanar's new baby girl is nicknamed 'Amanar vault'. D'awwwwww. I've forgotten stuff, but I'll add to this.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Massilia Elite News and videos

Russia won the team event by quite a margin, helped by the fact that China only submitted 2/3 bars routines and consequently placed last. The reason for this was that the visa for the lovely Mei Jie was not received in time. You would imagine Lou Nina could jump up and do an extremely basic routine but obviously not.

Evgeniya Shelgunova won the AA, a nice boost for her entering her senior year shortly. When I think of her I think of the proverb 'Slow and steady wins the race'. I do see her possibly taking AA spots from the more fragile and headcase type gymnasts Russia have at the moment, not to mention how many injuries they are dealing with. We'll see. She really needs work on her form though, and she did fall in event finals. Hmmm.

Chen Siyi won bars. She and several others including Viktoria Kuzmina and Evgeniya Shelgunova fell on beam, whose title went to Gabriella Douglas of Canada. Floor was won by Maria Kharenkova, and vault by Emma Larson of Sweden. Sabrina Gill of Canada placed third on vault and Heaven Latimer also of Canada placed second on floor. Viktoria Kuzmina salvaged bronze on beam with her fall and second on bars.

Victoria Moors unleashed a new floor routine. Either she is pacing herself for the upcoming world cup events or maybe nursing a small injury since she had trouble with her double double in warmup and watered down. Watered down means a double layout opening pass and a double twist, so still very impressive. The choreo is really nice, she has tons of expression. There was dissapointment with Maria Kharenkova who seemed lacklustre, has gotten weaker on bars which she already needed to improve on and did not perform her signature turn on beam. Again, possibly injured slightly or just dealing with growth. Viktoria Kuzmina certainly stepped up to the plate and performed strongly however. There was great excitement over the bar routine of Ida Gustaffson of Swededn, though she fell on her Jaeger in bars finals. Gabriella Douglas also impressed, with an attempted quad turn into double turn combo on floor (which was a triple to double in the end- still awesome) and some lovely work on beam.

I can't embed videos because it takes blogger a while to catch up with recent uploads. But the channel is here. I recommend watching the Chinese routines after the Russian ones. Shelgunova's Pak, double layout and shap are very poor form-wise, but Kuzmina's and Kharenkova's routines need huge amounts of work too.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

2013 Worlds Predictions. Now updated July!

This post, and the July updates, were made before I realised that only three girls can compete each event in prelims. This wrecks my USA and Russia teams in particular. 
 
Is is too early? Yes but sure why not. I am going to attend it, hence excitement. Without further ado, though I'm not doing countries I'm not familiar enough with.

TEAMS PREDICTION

China

Yao Jinnan
Shang Chunsong
Zeng Siqi
Li Yiting

Alt: Huang Huidan, Wu Liufang and Jiang Tong

July update- Switch out Li Yiting for He Kexin or Tan Jiaxin

All-arounders will be Shang and Yao. Li Yiting for vault finals of course. Shang and Yao for bars finals, Zeng and Shang for beam finals, Shang and Yao to attempt for floor finals. A very nice team though quite a few upgrades needed for floor and AA contenders.

Russia

Evgeniya Shelgunova
Viktoria Komova
Aliya Mustafina
Maria Paseka

Alt: Yulia Tipaeva, Anna Rodionova, Ekaterina Baturina

July update- Switch Evgeniya Shelgunova for Ksenia Afanasyeva. I though Afan would have retired...Vika or Grishina for the second AA spot.

This is tough, and may be considerably wrong in the end. All- arounders will be Shelgunova and Mustafina. Not Komova because I have a gut feeling against that- she is always injured and has zero mental game. Shelgunova may well be the safer bet, she is underrated, but so assured and always does well. Paseka for vault finals, Komova and Mustafina for bars finals, and attempts made by all except Paseka for beam and floor finals. 

Romania

Diana Bulimar
Larisa Iordache
Stefanie Alina Stanila
Anna Maria Ocalisan

Alt: Raluca Haidu, Maria Rauta

July update- They're only using three spots. Take Stefanie and Anna Maria off and replace with Sandra Izbasa. Larisa and Diana for the AA. 

Hindered by the incredibly small senior national team and the fact their best juniors will still be juniors. Iordache and Stanila for the AA. Iordache for floor and beam finals, Bulimar for floor and beam finals. Ocalisan could well be replaced by a vault specialist- even Izbasa just for that if she is actually going to continue that long.

USA

Lexie Priessman
Simone Biles
Katelyn Ohashi
Kyla Ross

Alt: Sarah Finnegan, Elizabeth Price, Madison Desch

July update- Switch Lexie for McKayla Maroney and Katelyn for Brenna DowellSimone and either Kyla or Brenna for the AA.

WHAT a strong team. Priessman and Ross for the AA. Ohashi for bars and beam finals, Ross for bars and beam finals, Biles for floor and vault finals and Priessman for floor and vault finals. All bases covered.

Japan

Mai Murakami
Asuka Teramoto
Yuko Shintake
Risa Konishi

Alt: Wakana Inoue, Natsumi Sasada

July update- (actual team) Switch Yuko and Risa for Natsumi Sasada and Yu Minobe. Asuka and Natsumi for the AA.

This will be interesting. Murakami and Teramoto for the AA. Teramoto and Shintake for beam finals, Murakami for floor and maybe vault finals. Teramoto also for floor finals.

Britain

Gabby Jupp
Angel Romaeo
Rebecca Tunney
Niamh Rippin

Alt: Ruby Harrold, Imogen Cairns

July update- Ooooo. Gabby is injured, replace her with Hannah Whelan. Angel and Niamh are replaced with Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold who have a much higher chance of qualifying for a final.

Another very interesting potential team. Tunney and Jupp  for the AA. Jupp and Romaeo for beam finals. Tunney for an attempt to qualify to bars and floor finals. Rippin for an attempt to qualify for vault finals.

MEDAL PREDICTIONS

ALL-AROUND

1. Larisa Iordache
2. Aliya Mustafina
3. Lexie Priessman

July update-

1. Simone Biles
2. Aliya Mustafina
3. Larisa Iordache

Hmm, that was tough. A Mustafina with a potential Amanar and an upgraded beam is a big threat. Priessman has monster start values which could win out, but the scoring at the start of a quad tends to be harsh so I'm predicting her execution will suffer accordingly. Iordache is first not only for her high start values, but also her motivation after a crap Olympics. Ross I think will still have lower start values than the top 3 or 4 so that's why she's not appearing.


FLOOR

1. Mai Murakami
2. Simone Biles
3. Lexie Priessman

July update-

1. Ksenia Afanasyeva
2. Simone Biles
3. Diana Bulimar

I think the difficulty of these will mean Iordache and Moors will miss out. Another podium very open to correction.

BEAM

1. Zeng Siqi
2. Katelyn Ohashi
3. Larisa Iordache

July update-

1. Larisa Iordache
2. Shang Chunsong
3. Yao Jinnan

I'd love if this happened. I think Zeng's precision and execution would be able to win out over the higher difficulty of the other two.

BARS

1. Aliya Mustafina
2. Yao Jinnan
3. Katelyn Ohashi

July update-

1. Aliya Mustafina 
2. Yao Jinnan
3. Shang Chunsong

I am seeing Komova make a mistake here. Maybe I am just too gloomy and negative about her prospects, I will say I moreso see her struggling due to injury than her mental state.

VAULT

1. Li Yiting
2. Simone Biles
3. Hong Un Jong

July update-

1. McKayla Maroney
2. Simone Biles
3. Giulia Steingruber

Seeing as it's not even known that Simone will have a second vault by then, this is a bit optimistic. Hong if she lands both of her vaults will still have the difficulty to beat the other 5 I think. Li wins due to her great execution.




Feel free to disagree, we are of course a bit far out to really assess the state of the potential competitors. Fun nonetheless.








The Problem with Irish Gymnastics

I like the way my enjoyment of gymnastics is not tainted, influenced or biased by nationality. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see Irish WAG on the rise, even with success at Europeans, if nothing else. Why haven't we managed this? So. Many. Reasons.

1. Lack of Population

An obvious one, but important. The entire population of Ireland including the North is about 5 million. That is just tiny in the scheme of things. This is also a factor in some of the below problems, but first and foremost having a shallow talent pool to begin with is quite the obstacle.

2. Lack of Interest

Gymnastics is practically end of the line as regards national interest. With such a small population, public interest can only go so far. Top of the list are our national games, Gaelic Football and Hurling. Rugby and Soccer are big too. As regards Olympic sports, we are good at boxing and canoeing and have been good in the past at athletics and briefly at swimming. There is precious little funding devoted to Olympic sports, and those that get it tend to be in the spotlight in the first place. Lack of interest also means there isn't a huge amount of people putting their children into gymnastics. In fact, Irish dancing which is a BIG export and carries a lot of expense with training and costumes and competitions I feel takes quite a lot of children etc. who might otherwise have fallen into gymnastics.

3. Lack of Funding

As I mentioned, funding is a big problem with Olympic sports here, and it will go first and foremost to those we stand a chance in.

4. Lack of world-class Gyms

The whole island contains the princely sum of 3 gyms of world standard. Two of which are in Northern Ireland, only one in the Republic- and it isn't near the biggest centre of population.

5. Lack of Quality Coaching

Not that the coaches are crap or anything, it's moreso there is no incentive- which funding contributes to- to attract an international calibre coach. Consequently, the elites that we do have are more of a Level 8 standard and lack precision of form and flexibility.

6. Lack of Motivation to Continue to Elite

There is no fallback of NCAA, no guaranteed endorsements- especially as gymnastics is very much so under the radar here, no chance of the government providing funds, a house, a car. In short, why continue devoting so much time to a sport where success is out of reach and gains are pretty much non-existent.

7. Lack of Difficulty

Sadly, for those that ARE elite, difficulty is very underwhelming. Understandably so, but it still sucks to see a routine with a double pike, double tuck and 1.5 twist all with landing deductions at Europeans.

Countries like Australia, the UK and Canada have done wonders to their programmes even in the last decade. But there is I think too much of a turnaround needed here for any international success in at leats the next few quads.

News and USA upgrades

Pretty old news by now but Chellsie Memmel has officially retired. Chellsie is a certified judge and is due to be married next summer, but is in excellent shape throwing very hard tumbles during the tour, so expectations were that she might try to continue. However, I think she would have had such little hope of making any team, so that coupled with the toll gymnastics has taken on her is enough to call it a day. Her 2003 worlds performance, 2005 AA win, 2006 single-handed team silver medal and 2008 Olympic Trials floor exercise will live on- what a legacy.

Simona Amanar has given birth to a baby girl, who she intends to be a gymnast. Just about elegible for the 2028 Games!

McKayla Maroney has one cast off- the one from the tour injury, and a few weeks left on the other one. Then rehab, then back to the gym.

It has emerged that Li Yiting was injured during the Asian Artistic Championships, the reason behind her underpar performance. She has proved herself quite a few times in internal competitions, so expect to see her form a part of pretty much every team.

The upgrades for Lexie Priessman are phenomenal. Not sure whether these are competition ready, in the works, or in the pipeline. They are slated to include a second vault with Tsukahara entry, a shaposhnikova 1/2, piked Tkachev and piked stalder hecht on bars, front pike and an acro line of BHS-BHS-laid out full-BHS on beam (WOW I will take that even with the inevitable fugly form) and a full twisting double layout and 1 and a half into tucked full in on floor. Crazy stuff. Amelia Hundley, Mary Lee Tracy's other most promising gymnast other than Lexie, also apparently has upgraded all 4 events, but no details that I have seen. Unlike Lexie she has another year to wait as a 2014 senior. Simone Biles also has crazy upgrades listed but as they are not from a source like Lexie's- which are from an interview with her and one with Mary Lee Tracy her coach, I will leave it.

Elite Gym Massilia is underway. Canada have already done extremely well, I am most looking forward to videos of the Russians and Chinese, as well as the individual performances of Victoria Moors, Eythora Thorsdottir and Chantysha Netteb. Mei Jie, a lovely gymnast will not be competing as her visa did not arrive in time, sadly.

The team from Deva unsurprisingly won the event at the recent Romanian Nationals. Although the AA was not contested, Andreea Iridon continues to impress by having the highest AA total. Asiana Peng, Silvia Zarzu and Laura Jurca also had strong performances. Videos are starting to emerge, I'll probably dump my favourites from Massilia and this in one post.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Joys of Youtube

Ah youtube, the bastion of misinformed fans and outright halfwits. I am beyond thankful for such a wonderful resource, but the comments often frustrate me. So much so I pretty much signed up just to correct people.

Nadia and Olga forever!
Did you know that every list of someone's personal favourites MUST INCLUDE Nadia, Olga and Khorkina? Like, must. No exceptions. Extra bonus points if the commenter calls the uploader retarded. Everybody realises the above gymnasts were greats, but that is not to say that they had a monopoly on excellence, that their style appeals to everyone and that it's impossible to prefer other gymnasts. For instance, I prefer Teodora Ungureanu to Nadia. I expect to be taken out and shot for that. Teodora was not as fluid as Nadia, but she was far more exciting to watch. To me. The whole personal opinion thing just doesn't fly on youtube of course. As for Olga, I really do love her but I still prefer Elena Mukhina. And not just because Mukhina had a tragic end. She was a better trickster gymnast, and a better all-arounder. As for Khorkina, I realise her prowess, but I can't stand her and I usually fast forward over her performances. She is one, as I've said before, whose attitude taints her performances. Also, gross looking vaults and I never liked her beam. If you are one of those people who feel physically sick when you see a list of gymnasts without the legends on it, then get over it and make your own list.

Greatest Soviets: Where's Khorkina?
What's even better is when the above attitude is played out in lists where it's not even applicable. I always laugh when I see people practically crying over the cruel exclusion of Svetlana Khorkina from a list of most successful/favourite Soviets. Because the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 isn't a clue at all. Likewise, it's always fun to see people DEMAND that Nadia be bumped to the top of lists of most successful Romanians which are based solely on medal count and not on legendary status. Nobody is ever able to point out when and where Nadia outmedalled Gina Gogean.


Nobody is ever able to do a skill better than the originator!
The best part of this one is how selective it is, and only really used in the case of big names. There are quite a lot of people who insist that McKayla Maroney's amanar is not better than Simona Amanar's, because Simona INVENTED it. I think the woman herself, who saw McKayla's at least once in person at Jesolo this year and who is actually working on a thesis on the subject, would give that accolade away. Yes well done on divining the fact that Simona did hers on the old horse and did not have the benefit of others doing the vault before her. It does NOT mean that it can't be bettered. We should have respect for originators using crappy equipment..like early DTY's, the amanar, full in's and double tucks on floor etc. It doesn't mean you can't prefer one done better though. But nobody is ever outraged that plenty of gymnasts have done the Def better than its (WAG) originator, Snejana Hristakieva.


We never see this stuff in the Olympics
 YES YOU DO. Fabrichnova's, Patterson dismounts, Def's, Arabian Double Pikes, amanars and full-in dismounts were all performed at the Olympics. Skills like the triple back bar dismount may never be seen again because of the incredible height and power needed, and of course, only 2 ever managed it. Lots of people whine about the lack of Mo Saltos and counter-kims without looking up the fact that to do one would be penalised by the code. (But not the new one! HOW exciting). You'll be waiting a long long time for someone to do the arabian tuck bar mount too...nobody ever seems to cop the insane risk in some of the bar and beam mounts, and why then they may not be seen very often.

Shawn Johnson is the best beam worker EVER!
Sure you can have her as your favourite if you want, but no need to shove it down everyone else' throats. I always get the impression that the people who say this know no gymnastics before 2004ish and have no interest either. Objectively, she is not the best. I would struggle to put her in a top 15ish list. She has very low flexibility and no innovation. A hit routine from her contains not quite 180 split leaps, and a really low standing full- which is perplexing given her power, and that pixies like Douglas and Priakhina get it far more upright. Certainly she was very strong on beam and her acro line IS great. But Li Li, Tatiana Groshkova, Yang Bo and Olessia Dudnik at the least leave her in the dust and anyone who can't see that isn't worth arguing with. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Asian Championships and news


Introducing team North Korea! Hong Un Jong is the one looking fierce third from left. I would imagine the three new girls who were only recently registered with FIG are the one on the left and the two on the right. WAG competition does not start until tomorrow, so these are just podium training leos. Interesting that they look straight from the wardrobe of Nastia. In more exciting news, Hong Un Jong unleashed an Amanar and Cheng! Seeing as both still have their 6.5 values, China's Li Yiting has some stiff competition.

I will update this with more news as the competition unfolds..and hopefully some videos. China's CCTV are covering some of the comp, so that will help. As of now, I predict that China will win team, and Zeng Siqi and Shang Chunsong will medal in the AA. Li Yiting and Hong Un Jong will place on vault, China will dominate bars and beam, while Japan and North Korea will have more of a say on floor.

China are a bit up and down in team finals, though since they can drop a score, they should still win. Shang Chungsong fell on bars, it looks like Luo Peiru fell on beam judging by her e-score, Huang Huidan fell on floor and went out of bounds, Luo Peiru fell on her DTY and Li Yiting crashed her second vault. Hmm. Vault and floor d-scores were very low, with the exception of Shang Chunsong on floor and Luo Peiru and Li Yiting on vault. Bars seems to have been exceptionally strong, with Huanh Huidan in particular scoring a huge 15.4 there. Likewise, Zeng Siqi put up a monster 15.3 on beam. Very interesting!Zeng Siqi has an AA total of 57.4, which will be hard to beat. Shang Chunsong is not far behind, with 56.45.

Team:

1. China
2. North Korea
3. Japan
4. South Korea

China's lead was sizeable, something like 10 points, but well done to North Korea for placing second in their first outing in quite a while. They also had very impressive vaulting on the mens side, as well as two Cheng's on the women's- a vault that was not seen this year in competition.

AA:

1. Zeng Siqi
2. Sung Ji-Hye (South Korea)
3. Shang Chunsong

Event finals results are not out yet, I am a bit confused about time and I'm not sure if they are underway/have taken place/yet to take place. In any case, as mentioned before, vault is a toss-up between Li Yiting and Hong Un Jong, beam should be easily won by Zeng Siqi and Huang Huidan should do the honours on bars. Floor is a bit more undecided, but Japan's Risa Konishi had the highest score there today. Shang Chunsong will place too. Great competition for China, and for Zeng Siqi in particular who is cementing her place as a top AA-er (certainly in Asia, but she obviously needs to get her DTY back to really contend elsewhere). Wonderful to watch, and cute as a button. I think I'm not alone in waiting with delight (not) for all the 4 year-fans to claim she's 5 years old once she gets on the scene internationally.

Here is most of today's competition, with the sad exception of Huang Huidan's bars, but we'll see them in EF anyway.


Event finals are a bit shocking! Phan Thi Ha Thanh won. Ri Un Ha, Hong Un Jong and Li Yiting all had falls. So did Risa Konishi. Also, Wu Liufang won bars! Huang Huidan had some form issues and problems with her dismount it seems. Hong Un Jong's vaults were both underrotated, but it looks like she can fix it. Ri Un Ha's first vault is a DTY and not an amanar as previously reported. She's a little sloppy but quite powerful. Zeng Siqi appears to have fallen (must look up videos soon) off beam, as she only managed a 7.9 e-score in EF. Enough for bronze though! Shang Chunsong won gold in both beam and floor.

In other news, Anastasia Sidorova who has no luck at all has partially torn her ACL. It seems she will be out for only a few weeks, but she is missing the Massilia Cup anyway. Hope to see her fighting fit soon! She is being replaced at that event by junior Viktoria Kuzmina. It also appears unlikely that Yulia Inshina will compete as she is scheduled to do, but no word on why there is suddenly such doubt about it.

Danusia Francis is learning one of the most awesome and incredibly rare beam acro moves..a free sideways cartwheel. The second one looks ready to go.



You can see Mai Murakami's floor from Japanese Nationals here. I know I know, I mention her a lot. Too bad, she's amazing and how could anyone NOT like her after watching that? If you got a fright over how much older she looks, I think anyone would. I do have favourites but they're not influenced by my nationality at least.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

News :)

Not as new as I would like, as I am working all the time and am permanently wrecked. (Okay not all- but 37 hours in retail feels like 90).

Japanese Nationals have just been held. (Asuka Teramoto is injured, and possibly did not compete at all). Rie Tanaka was 2nd on bars and third on floor, Koko Tsurumi was first on bars and second on beam and Mai Murakami was first on floor and sixth on bars. Beam was won by Yuko Shintake and vault by Wakiko Riyu. Risa Konishi who is down for the Asian Artistic Championships looks pretty valuable, she came second on vault and floor- which are Japan's weak points. A news clip of the competition is below. It heavily features Rie Tanaka, who everybody loves (like duh). That is Mai Murakami at around 5:30! She has grown so much, although her landings are a little unsure on her double double and triple full..hey, she has a double double and triple full, and they look great in the air.



Lavinia Milosovici will give birth to a boy early next year. This is fantastic news, seeing as Milo lost her daughter Denisa Florentina at the age of 4 due to a nervous system disorder. Simona Amanar, the godmother of Denisa, is due to give birth within a few weeks also.

McKayla Maroney who has played up her obnoxious ham side in interviews recently, gave an excellent interview the other day. The fact that she is so comfortable doing both types of interviews and can be very articulate points to the possibility that she could well be a very good actress. This interview is gold, probably the best I've seen by a gymnast- past or present.

Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland won the recent Arturo Gander Memorial. Mariya Livchikova of Ukraine had a bit of a meltdown, falling on her beam dismount and going out of bounds on floor, to finish 6th. Very dissapointing for her, from her injury at worlds making her unable to attend the Test Event and take the Olympic spot for Ukraine, to winning Ukrainian Nationals..to this. Hope to see her back on form soon.

The Swiss Cup took place just today, and was won by Elizabeth Seitz who continues to prove herself as a strong all-arounder...and didn't even have to unleash her Def to win. Giulia Steingruber was second and Kim Bui of Germany was third. Mariya Livchikova fell off bars. Probably tired from the Gander Memorial, as Niamh Rippin of Britain must have been too, she fell on 3 of her 4 floor passes.

Glasgow World Cup roster has been added to. Not sure about Stuttgart. Kaitlyn Hofland of Canada is competing, and Victoria Moors isn't on it. Hmm. I was sure she was doing both, but the links I was using for the rosters before no longer work, so can't say for sure. If she's out of both, her floor is a great loss. Wakana Inoue of Japan who is also competing at the upcoming Asian Artistic Championships is on the list, which means Mai Murakami has recieved zero international assignments this year. Get that girl some consistency and luck! The last place is Niamh Rippin of Britain. (Niamh is pronounced Neev and is an Irish name). She is pretty good on vault and floor. On a British note, get ready to watch Danusia Francis be totally awesome at UCLA this season. I feel like Peng Peng Lee is getting a lot of attention, Danusia deserves just as much hype. Excellent beam and such a great dancer on floor. Not to mention her bubbly personality, anytime I think of her I see the photo of her holding Komova!

Anna Pavlova has won the International Tournament. She competed a very solid DTY, whip to triple on floor and a beautiful beam. She did have to jump off on bars, but got through the rest of the routine fine. Some endurance issues and some of her leaps weren't great, but her turns and elegance were out in spades. You can see videos here.

Not much going on, and I've very little energy to construct blog posts in my head- feel free to give me ideas.