Silver for the Russians

Silver for the Russians

I think they were fighting a losing battle from the first rotation. The Americans on vault were amazing. But then, we all knew that would happen. The Russians are better known for their work on the uneven bars.

Maria Paseka
One of the lesser-known of the team, she was brought only for her vaulting abilities. She didn’t live up to the expectations on the day, and in my opinion she was a gamble that didn’t pay off.

Anastasiya Grishina
An original little gymnast with good artistry, brought for uneven bars and floor. She messed up her floor routine and fell.

Kseniya Afanasyeva
The veteran of the team she is best known for her floor routine and this was the main reason she was on the team, shes also good on beam.Her floor routine was so beautiful to watch, I was enjoying it so much and couldn’t believe it when she fell so close to the end!

Aliya Mustafina
Once the golden girl, then plagued by injury, she was out to prove a point. Her DTY on vault was nice, her bars solid as always, she did her usual accomplished floor routine which was missing a bit of sparkle but not bad. The only downer was beam where she was a bit wobbly but at least she stayed on. All in all, she got the job done with the style we are all used to.

Viktoria Komova
Such a graceful gymnast who clearly strives for perfection in her routines. She started with a decent Amanar on vault, and a lovely clean bar routine. Like Mustafina, beam was a sore point. All went pretty well until the dismount where she took a pretty big stumble on her dismount.

The judges seemed to score quite low on the bar routines which didn’t help the Russian team as this event is one they rely upon to build their score. I was particularly surprised at He Kexins low score.

The silver medal was a decent result for this team. I don’t think they were as good as the USA team, with McKayla Maroneys huge vault score, the consistency of Jordyn Wieber, the floor routine from Aly Raisman and the high scores of Gabby Douglas, it would have taken some huge mistakes for the Russians to sneak in there, and theUSA made pretty much no mistakes.

The Reaction
I thought their reaction to winning the silver was interesting:

“We aren’t showing so much joy right now, because we are tired. It hasn’t hit us yet. First we cried from embarrassment and then from joy”, said Aliya Mustafina….. Hmmm I’m not sure I believe this statement. They sure didn’t look like happy tears at any point.

Aliya also said, ”We know we could have done better. Even if we still weren’t first, but we could have competed with more confidence. But it probably would have been impossible to overtake them. The Americans proved today that they are better.”
I like her attitude, I think this young lady has matured a lot in the past year. Hopefully Komova will become a little more gracious in defeat sometime soon. I understand it is frustating for her, especially after worlds last year, but still, silver really is still something to be proud of!


Beth Tweddle

Beth Tweddle

Beth Tweddle has really put Britain on the gymnastics map. Watching her come fourth on uneven bars at the Beijing Olympics was bittersweet. She was so close to getting a medal! I loved her honesty after it was all over and she admitted being disappointed and also disillusioned with it all.

Thankfully she made the decision to work towards the next Olympics, and this one is even more meaningful as its in her home-country.

She has some stiff competition though. Hot favourite Komova is fantastic on bars. While Tweddle packs in lots of difficulty, Komovas weapon is her clean, flawless routine. Another Russian, Mustafina is very good on bars, although she more prone to little mistakes which will pull her score down.
The best bar worker from the USA is Gabby Douglas. Great execution and she gets such good height on her release moves shes a joy to watch.

I would love for Beth to win gold. It would be perfect, the icing on the cake of a brilliant successful career. Shes done so much for gymnastics here in the UK. Shes given us some pride after years of being on the sidelines watching the medals go to everyone else! Don’t get me wrong there have been other great gymnasts coming out of Britain, but no one has stood out quite like Beth. Her bar routines are so famous and sooooo good to watch. Another good thing about her is her cool, calm and collected nature which makes her such a good team captain and someone for the younger girls to look up to. Not every Olympic team have this often overlooked advantage.

Here are some quotes I’ve enjoyed from her :

‘If I was doing this for fame or money I would have retired a long time ago’

‘It feels like flying’ – taking about when shes on bars

‘There was this one time, after the 2004 Olympics, when some guy asked me where the national team had come. Eleventh, I said, and he said, “Oh well, at least you tried.’

‘The first Olympics I remember watching were 1992, but I didn’t watch the gymnastics. All I was bothered about was Linford Christie.’

“Tennis players and footballers are allowed to carry on until they’re old, so why can’t I? I guess I’m addicted to it now. It’s in my blood to be a gymnast.’

The fall of Nastia Liukin

The fall of Nastia Liukin

What an awful year she has had. I don’t quite know what to make of it! When I heard she was making a comeback (announced in a dramatic fashion after a dramatic ‘will she won’t she?’ period,) I thought she’d have a good chance of making the USA team.

Everyone waited impatiently for the training vids, and she looked good, she really did. She was being heavily spotted by Valeri but still…

Then came the national championship, I was looking forward to see a finished routine…..Wow. She was nowhere near ready in my opinion. The stamina just wasn’t there. You could see something in her eyes even before she started, almost like accepted defeat.
Day 2 of the nationals, we all watched with interest….would a miracle occur? Could she somehow…in some way pull it off? Ummm no. No she couldn’t. Oh well, she came, she tried, who can blame her….But wait, hang on, whats that? Shes going to trials? Well they are 3 weeks away but hey, shes only been training bars for 1 week so she’ll be like, 3 times as good by then!!

So, Olympic trials, day 1 bars start of, well, actually not bad. Is it time to shut the critics up? Silence the haters? Why LOOK at her people shes doing it, shes actually DOing…..oh. Oh well.
But day 2 Olympic trials? All joking aside,it was bad. It was so undignified. The way she fell, the way she just lay there. I admired her for getting back up there. It must have been so hard.
I have to admit, when she got the reaction from the crowd it was amazing. I think we all knew it was the end of the road. No Olympics, possibly no more at all. It was sad, I was watching live (3.00 am here!) and I shed a tear even though I’m not a huge fan. I was glad she ended the night with a good clean beam routine, and yet more love from the crowd.

My Top 5 memorable moments in Olympic Gymnastics

These are my own personal picks and I haven’t included anything from before my time or anything which, for whatever reaons, didn’t make a huge impact on me ­čÖé

1. Kerri Strug 1996 olympics vault

Predictable? Yes! Cheesy choice? Yes! Do I care? HELL no. Love it, love it, love it! It put gymnastics in the headlines and made such an impact! And I loved the drama of it!

2. Shawn Johnson versus Nastia Liukin Beijing 2008

This rivalry made the last Olympic a joy to watch, I admire both gymnasts, but I do think the right one won on the day.

3. Beth Tweddle uneven bar routine 2008

My heart was in my mouth watching this, she did great! But its that old difficulty versus execution chestnut and she didn’t medal. She WILL medal this year I just know it!

4. Lilia podkopayeva 1996 floor routine

This is personal to me, its one of my favourite memories of watching the Olympics with my wee granny whos no longer with us ­čśŽ
We loved the choreography, the music and the cute face of Lilia and we were so pleased when she won!

5. Svetlana Khorkina falling on vault at the 2000 Olympics.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The queen of cool? FALLING? Excuuuse me? Then the drama of the vault being set too low? Unbelievable!

I love this video, you can see the anger and frustration in Khorkina, and I don’t blame her!

Gymnastics woohoo!

My first post wow, well I suppose I could talk about my favourite gymnasts of the moment. Well, I am British so I shall begin with the delicious Miss Danusia Francis, she only made the Olympics as an alternate, booooo! Her beam work is so good, and her floor, whilst lacking in difficulty is just so gorgeous to watch! Also really rooting for Beth Tweddle to medal on bars, I don’t know if she will get gold but she HAS to medal! Rebecca Tunney is a delight to watch and I’m hoping she can hold it together and do the job shes capable of doing!

In the USA team I am still a fan of Jordyn Wieber, but I have to be honest its all getting a bit boring, wheres the drama? I know its ridiculous but gymnastics is all about the drama and its lacking here, everyones ┬átalking about Gabby right now and her ‘bubbly’ personality! Oh well, solid work and┬áconsistency versus unpredictable but exciting? I’m not complaining, but I AM rooting for Jordyn!

The Russians are looking good, I adore Komova on bars and enjoy Mustafinas floor routine. I think the Romanians will do well, Larisa Iordache is an exciting prospect for the all-around and the experience of Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izbasa will add so much to the team!

I’m not convinced the Chinese are a real threat to anyone this time, watching their training vids I do like┬áYao Jinnan and Sui Lu on beam is fantastic!