Sunday, 5 May 2013

The glory of gymfanconfessions

I check this blog every day- http://gymfanconfessions.tumblr.com and it's one of the very few tumblrs I bother with at all, as I find tumblr a scrappy mess of awful attitudes for the most part, with the odd amazing gifs or memes thrown in. GFC posts anonymous entries people send in as confessions, set against a relevant background image. There is a lot of boring 'I love so and so' and a lot of petty fights about Aliya Mustafina's twisting form..in fact, every 5th confession is about her. And then there are the people who submit confessions I agree with, though that is rare. Thankfully spiteful confessions or ones based just on looks are censored and need to be clicked into. Anyway, this blog is a goldmine of downright odd opinions and wilful ignorance at times.

Source- gymfanconfessions
Now of course, if this was about how she is not this user's favourite all-arounder, that would be understandable. She's very powerful but not particularly graceful and as such will not be everyone's cup of tea. But not great? She is oozing with potential and whether you like her or not, she is a force to be reckoned with. Explosive amanar with a TTY in the post this quad, one of the most difficult floor routines ever with a unique pass and room for more, and strong bars and beam add up to a very fierce competitor. She could probably get her beam and bars to a 6.4-6.6 range very easily, her d-scores right now (credited with at Jesolo) are 6.3 VT 6.2 FX (it just ain't codewhoring..yet) 6.1 UB and 6.3 BB which gives her a grand total of 'you must be dim to not see this girl's potential'- 24.9. That is half a point higher than Euro winner Aliya Mustafina displayed at Euros AA, though of course neither girl is showing her full difficulty potential at this stage. Still, she IS a great all-arounder as besides her monster floor and vault, she can swing bars and her beam isn't half bad, along with the fact that her form is pretty decent. By no means perfect and she certainly incurs deductions with it, but it's fine and better than some of what has emerged from the US in recent years.

Source- gymfanconfessions
Rude. Ana Porgras seems to be very happy with her decision to retire, and has said as much. Running her down because she won't run around a gym to make you happy is pathetic. I fully understand missing her gymnastics and wishing she hadn't retired so early- that stands to reason, but a lot of people take it too far and heap abuse on her for not conforming to what they want and make herself miserable for their own perceived gain. Besides, Ana was not even doing fine. She was suffering from a stream of interfering injuries and did not adjust well to the return of B&B- Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang.

Source- gymfanconfessions
This one is hard to read. It says 'Everyone complains about Aly's bars which is her only weak event. Did everyone forget that she scored better than Nastia in 2012? She tried her best and still tied for third in the all around which is pretty amazing for being a 'weak' event.' Almost every strong all-arounder is weaker in one event, usually either vault or bars. But few are as dramatic as this. Aly's bars are not just weak, they are pretty awful and are more than just a bit detrimental to her all-around scores, as she has shown by placing outside of the medals because of her bars on more than one occasion. As for outscoring Nastia Liukin last year, how exactly is this an accomplishment? She outscored somebody who if she did not fall, had huge breaks and endurance issues and lost a lot of difficulty AND compositional requirements for only performing a basic dismount. Well, wow! Aly must be awesome at bars if she beat that. I think most people are aware she tries her hardest and I was impressed at the improvement she showed on this event in London. It still remains a fact that they were and will continue to be her nemesis if she makes a comeback. She did after all, lose the tiebreak because of them and competition was not exactly fierce as only the top four were actually top all-arounders at that point.

Source- gymfanconfessions
Well, she already is an icon. Extraordinary, considering this is just her third year of competing as a senior, but there it is. The astonishing achievements of Svetlana Khorkina are extremely spread out, as she attended 3 Olympics and at least 7 worlds. In that time she amassed 4 non-team Olympic medals and 16 world medals, again non-team. Aliya Mustafina has only attended one of each, gaining 3 non-team Olympic medals and 4 non-team worlds medals. Given the time-frame, it could be argued that Aliya's haul is more impressive. What is certain is that she's not done yet and that she has to compete much more difficulty than Khorkina did in order to stay on top. Not to mention the gifts the latter received in the end stages of her career. I do not for a second think that Aliya Mustafina is the new Nadia/Olga icon, I don't see her bridging that gap to the mainstream. But the new Khorkina? Yes.

Source- gymfanconfessions

There is definitely an element of truth to this, though female gymnasts are usually very polite and congratulatory of each other. But there IS more of an air of dissapointment when somebody else outclasses them, moreso than MAG. At the Olympics, we saw a lot of tears on the women's side, such as Vanessa Ferrari, Viktoria Komova and Janine Berger, as well as the utter crushing dissapointment of others such as McKayla Maroney and Sui Lu. This was not so much in evidence on the men's side, who seemed to take falls and mistakes in their stride and heartily congratulate each other, especially with outstanding performances like Yang Hak-Seon on vault and Epke Zonderland on high bar. Not to suggest the men are robots but I think the difference can be explained pretty easily.

First of all, male gymnasts tend to be older and therefore more mature. They reach their peak at a later age and can hold on to it for longer, because growth is not a disaster for them- it tends to make them better at the strength events, like rings. Women are at their best between 15-17 and have a huge fight on their hands to remain at anything close to their peak once growth comes along. Men do not have one or two good years and then are burned out or replaced, many are very competitive for several years and attend several world championships and two or more Olympics- and from countries deep in talent too. Therefore, dissapointment at losing an expected medal is not as crushing, because they have more chances. This just isn't the case for women, especially for the top 4. Maroney has the least chance of making Rio thanks to the insane depth in the US, and Sui Lu will probably be long retired by then. Sure, the average age of a gymnast has risen and making more than one Olympics is more common now too, but it doesn't take away from the fact that women still have less chances than men to take the major titles. I don't think it's as simple as 'women are bitchier', I think it's a case of depth, growth and dearth of chances.

Source- gymfanconfessions

And this one says 'I'm a devoted Komova Fan, but let's face it! London compared to Beijing looks like the Swiss Cup! Beijing was so much more than a competition, it was an entertainment show, while London was a competition where they had, as many of us agree, lack of experience and the scores can't even be compared, like no full twisting back somersault!!! Also I would like to use this so I can say that Liukin can't be overrated if she won in a very fierce and talented competition and with terrific scores!'

Oooo. Wow. So much wrong with this, like the different scoring between the codes, the full twisting back performed by the Olympic AA champion no less (and others), and the belief that because the 2008 US Olympic team was more experienced than the 2012 one, then the rest must follow this pattern. Not to mention that Shawn V Nastia was much more boring than 4 strong girls vying for medals in London...


I give up now. I lose too many brain cells when I try to look for the confessions that annoy me the most..

14 comments:

  1. Great post. I have to admit, I love GFC. Some of the confessions are downright ridiculous and often mean, but I like that it's a place where anyone can express their opinions and have them heard. I'll agree that 90% of the posts there are about loving Mustafina, saying X gymnast got robbed/overscored in Y competition, personal attacks on gymnasts, or predictions for Rio. There's always a fight going on about who the "queen" is (usually between Khorkina, Musty, or, for some reason, Victoria Moors), and people making snarky comments that aren't funny.

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    1. I like how varied it can be, but sometimes I despair at it! There's much worse than the selection above but I didn't want to dig for ages. Rio predictions are kind of hilarious. Moors exploded in popularity after SCAM, fan accounts the lot- I think there's even 2 pretending to be her cat, or so I heard. She's great but her shiny new fans are pretty creepy. I doubt they noticed her in London somehow.

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  2. Most of these confessions seem fake and was probably written by the people who run the blog

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    1. I don't think so, I sent a few ages ago and they appeared. The opinions are so varied, I don't think it appears fake at all.

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  3. I agree with your comments, except for the one about women peaking at 15-17. Hasn't been true for a long time.

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    1. Ah, but I qualified it by saying that they have a fight on their hands to remain at the top when they're older, which they do. They become more prone to injuries too after that age. He Kexin, Catalina Ponor, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Beth Tweddle amongst several others have all struggled to get to the level they were at in London. HKX was not even ON most people's China's predictions as she was flopping quite consistently.

      Americans are the best example, because unlike other countries who have to rely on older gymnasts due to depth problems, the US is a factory of girls aged 15-18 who get overtaken in their comebacks next time around by younger, fresher talent. Sacramone made an entirely successful comeback, yet was noticeably not as great as she was a few years ago.

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    2. I think it's the issue of trying to remain at the top level year after year, especially when you have years of accumulated small injuries which are inevitable. Mostly you need to train in a different, more intelligent way with less brute pounding as you get older, and there's less room to accomodate this in the US because of the tremendous amount of depth coming up through the junior ranks. Whereas for countries with less top-quality depth, there's more willingness to accommodate and work with the constraints of the older gymnasts, Beth Tweddle in the UK being a good example I think.

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  4. Catherine! I've now become addicted to GFC after this post!! Ive gone all the way back to the olympics!! help!!

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  5. To the last confession - what does being a Komova fan have to do with the confession at all???

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    1. Trying to suggest that they actually don't hate all non-American gymnasts maybe..

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  6. Could the comment about the London AA at all be based in racism? People don't think it was as competitive because a woman of color won? How could it be so because that happened? It feels a touch of that too me.

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    1. I think it's moreso to do with someone who is a bigtime Nastia and/or Shawn fan and sees competitions that they aren't at as inferior. Plenty of this attitude around. It really makes no sense, London AA had 6 and then dropped to 4 serious contenders..but Beijing had less.

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