Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Without further ado, here are the winners of the inaugral AGBys. Voting has now closed and all votes tabulated, many thanks to all who participated. Let's hope 2009 has an equally, if not more, enthusiastic turnout.
The Major Categories...
Australian Female Gymnast of the Year: Dasha Joura, WA
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: Lauren Mitchell, WA
Australian Male Gymnast of the Year: Tie! Phillippe Rizzo, NSW and Sam Simpson, QLD
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: Prashanth Sellathurai, NSW
Australian Artistic Gymnastics Team of the Year: Beijing Olympics WAG Team
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: DTB Cup delegation (MAG and Wag)
Australian Coach of the Year: Martine George, WAIS
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: John Hart, Waverley Gymnastics Centre
The Minor Categories...
Routine of the Year - Dasha Joura, Floor, National Championships Team Final, which you can view again with an air of , "*sigh* If only..." here.
"Smile" Moment of the Year - Lauren Mitchell's photo with beam, Olympics team final, which you can see here about 6:20 into the footage.
"Sad" Moment of the Year - Tie. Hollie Dykes' Retirement and Dasha Joura's Beijing Injuries.
Surprise of the Year - Chloe Sims' Utah signing
Sarah Clappers Award for Team Encouragement - Olivia Vivian
Simon Reeve Award for Gymnastics Reporting - Brindabella Interviews Tain Molendijk (Congratulations, Brindy! Dasha's PerthNow column was a *very* close second, so now you can say you've beaten a national champion!)
Brittany Boffo Award for Memorable Gymnastics Mishaps - Daria Joura, Olympics, Bars. "She went to Beijing and all she got was two black eyes..."
Gymsport Athlete/s of the Year - Australian World Championships Senior Trio, Sport Acrobatics
Monique Allen Award for Successful Ex-Gymsporters - Alexandra Croak, Diving/Modelling
LOLgymnast of the Year - Tie! Chloe Sims and Philippe Rizzo.
Congratulations to all the (very deserving) winners and we thank them for a memorable year in Australian gymnastics.
Once again, thanks to everyone for their nominations and feedback. Have a nice new year and see you all in 2009 for a fresh round of gymbloggery!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I finally got near a computer long enough to give in to temptation and update here :P
I'll be heading back home this afternoon from Hobart, and in the coming days I will announce the winners of the 2008 Awards. Here are some things that have cropped up in the time I have been away:
* Both Lauren Mitchell and Dasha Joura were interviewed by IG, talking about Christmas plans and program upgrades for the new year.
* Video of the World Cup Final beam medal ceremony, in which Lauren's medal does in fact fall off the ribbon while she's on the podium...
...can be viewed here.
* Gymnastics Australia has a new-look website. Note the "featured gymnast" section and the YouTube link.
* Olivia Vivian appeared on the OSU sports program, "Beavers All-Access". Below is a transcript of the brief profile piece, as I am having trouble accessing the video. Thanks, Richard!
Todd Mansfield: When you want to build an elite program, you need to go out and find the best student-athletes. Coupled with their recent successes of three straight appearances at the NC2A tournament, Oregon State staff has been able to do that … they’ve combed the country, they’ve combed the world, to find the best student-athletes, and their most recent addition to this team is an Australian named Olivia Vivian. She was a participant in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as a member of the Australian Olympic team, and now she brings her experience, her talent, and her smile to Corvallis.
(Title bar at bottom of screen during this segment “VIVIAN’S JOURNEY FROM BEIJING TO CORVALLIS”)
“Voice-over”: It can be hard for incoming freshmen to stand out in a room full of talented veteran gymnasts in Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center … but Olivia Vivian is not your ordinary incoming freshman. Just a few months ago Vivian was competing for Australia against the best gymnasts in the world at the Olympic Games … and now she is competing for Oregon State against the top college gymnasts in the United States. Although she competed on the biggest stage in the world over the summer, Vivian knows things won’t get any easier during her time in Corvallis.
Olivia: The Olympics gave me international experience, to come to college gymnastics, but America is very good at gymnastics, it’s a big sport here, so even when you come in to college they do big skills, you know, so I’m still going to have work hard. I don’t think it makes it any easier except that I’ve been under pressure situations.
“Voice-over”: And the most pressure packed situation wasn’t on the mat in Beijing, it was during the announcement of the Australian National Team.
Olivia: After such an intense selection process, where you know it was pretty much the worst moment of my life … where we had about five hours to wait for this decision after our last competition; and of course my last name beginning with a “V”, I was the last person called up on this team. And so I had to wait for that one more spot left , and I felt … (uhg) … but when my name was called, I just immediately just started crying … just balling my eyes out. I was so happy after … after all that hard work … it paid off.
“Voice-over”: Vivian’s hard work did pay off as she competed on bars and stuck her landing, to help Australia to its best showing in the Olympics … with a sixth place finish.
Olivia: Before the Olympics I never really got into it … it was just all about gymnastics, and then when I got to Beijing, and I was on the Olympic team, it became Australia, it was no longer gymnastics, it was Australia, … and I would cry every time I heard the National Anthem.
“Voice-over”: When she first arrived in Corvallis her teammates were eager to hear stories of her Olympic experience, … and they got an earful …
Jen Kesler: We just probably like … mind-boggled her with all these questions, and it was really cool to hear her experiences, ‘cus I think it would be amazing to go to the Olympics, but only certain people can do that …
Mandi Rodriguez: We were jokin’ on bars the other day, and I was like … “Hey Olivia, remember last summer in Beijing when you stuck your bar dismount in the Olympics?, … remember that?” … so it’s kind of surreal having someone that has reached the top level in our sport, being able to join us and share her experiences with us … it’s great!
Olivia: The team atmosphere here … it blows everything out of the water! All the girls are extremely close, we help each other get through training sessions, it’s really nice here …it’s really nice and friendly.
Todd Mansfield: She may be a long way from home, but this is where her heart is … and this is where she plans to win.
Hope you all had a really great Christmas. I know I did.
I'm pretty sure I'll have to be rolled onto the plane home Willy Wonka-style...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
One word: Kyoooot!
It just goes to show you that gymnastics knows no language barriers.
And if that doesn't warm the heart of your cockles in time for Christmas, then you're a real Scrooge!
Have a good one, niblets. See you in the '09.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm going away for a week over Christmas and, seeing as the elite season proper has come to a close with the World Cup Final completed, I find it only fitting that I bid you adieu from now until the new year.
If there is something unbelievably magnanimous concerning the gymnastics world that arises, then by all means I'll get myself access to a computer where I'm staying and try to give my two cents worth. Otherwise, there isn't a great deal to talk about so why waste the broadband usage? Mind you, I will be back to announce the winners of the Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards (on which you can still vote until well after Christmas so PLEASE DO!) on December 30th so you'd best stay tuned for that.
So now to the formalities -
I thank everyone who has contributed to the blog this year, in comments or articles or news or links. I am grateful for any and all feedback I have received and am most touched by the gestures offered by gymnasts and gym families who have allowed me to share some of their special experiences with you all. In less than a year I have gained insight into the gymnastics world from coaches, choreographers, gym journalists, gym mums and Olympians (or "gym-lympians"). This kind of insight, I am sure, would never have come my way had I not decided to simply start this old thing on January 1. I'd like to think I'm a better gym fan for it. You've helped the blog along, from drooling, stumbling cyber-infant with food all over its face to stealthier, more confident and more substantial web-kindergartener, who might still get food on its face but who can at least stand up, wipe it off and fling it at you.
To the readers who tell me that they enjoy reading, that I make them laugh, that I am a good news resource - thanks. It means the world to me to get positive feedback, when I at first thought this space wasn't anything special. I live to make people enjoy themselves and to be informed in all that they do; I hope this blog serves a fraction of that purpose. To get comments from readers overseas and interstate is pretty damn cool too.
Finally, to the great exponents of the sport in this country - to our gymnasts. Thank you for the joy you give us in your performances. For giving us theatre, fashion and athleticism in one daring spectacle. For flying the flag, for not giving in, for showing us what hard work brings - all fans thankyou. We wish you a safe and happy gymnastics journey through 2009 and beyond.
So that's it from me for now.
I hope you all have an enjoyable festive season, may you and your families stay happy and healthy. Go You Big Red Fire Engine, etc.
I hope they all have a nice Christmas which, according to GA, will go thusly:
Prashanth will return home and then head to New Zealand to holiday with his family, Lauren is returning to WA to spend Christmas with her family and Phil will remain in Europe.
You can watch video of Lauren's routine here, on the right-hand side of screen. I am waiting to see YouTube clips surface, as apparently she and Cheng Fei shared 'a moment' off the podium.
Again, congratulations to all the medallists and their hard-working coaches. This has been a great year for international competition and I wish all gymnasts the best as they head into a new year and work towards an exciting World Championships.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Congratulations to Prashanth Sellathurai who scored an excellent 16.025 on pommel, putting him in the bronze medal position behind Zhang Hontao of China and Kristian Berki of Hungary. Apparently his A-score was lower than usual.
Live "Quick Hits" from the event can be found here.
Women's beam and men's high bar to be competed tomorrow!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
In elite news, you can follow the World Cup Final live via International Gymnast or the FIG site. *fingers crossed* it works out!
2. Melbourne-raised "Angel" Wong of Hong Kong, the first gymnast from Hong Kong to qualify for a World Cup Final, who'll be competing on vault in Madrid. She appears confident, articulate and, let's face it, just plain luvverly, in this video, about four minutes in. You can see some of her gymnastics in this video. She's no Alicia Sacramone but for an 'unknown' gymnast from a non-powerhouse country, it's a good effort.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Perth's own Olivia Vivian has featured in yet another pre-season NCAA article, sharing a little bit more about her Olympic experiences and how she's faring in her new gymnastics environment now that she's been cleared to train with the OSU team. Evidently she's ready and raring to go. Good luck to her.
Vivian said the memory she cherishes is when she stuck her bars dismount on the first day of the competition.
“It was the biggest relief, just making your routine and of course, once touching those bars, I’m an Olympian,” she said. “I’m an Olympian forever and no one can take that away.”
Turns out there's more of a resemblance than we thought:
McLellan used to be a gymnast!
When McLellan was four, her mother got her involved in gymnastics. "I was doing flips on the monkey bars at school and in the park. So mum thought that was a pretty good sport for me to start off in."
At eleven, McLellan turned to athletics, and putting her gymnastics training to good use, found herself at home over the hurdles.
Aw... no wonder she was so bouncy and dancey once she crossed the line!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
If past results are anything to go by, all three could end up with a gold medal on their respective events; if not, they're damn good enough for a medal of any other colour!
Unfortunately I will probably not be able to cover it because I'll be overseas for 12 days, jetting off on the 8th. I will certainly try, though, to make time and get internet access if I can. But that's not important now.
The annual (free!) Sydney youth sports event boasts such gymnastics alumni as Dasha Joura, Chloe Sims, Emma Dennis, Ben Wilden and Naazmi Johnston.
Australia's 2009 WAG team includes nationals medallists Emily Little and Britt Greeley as well as budding pee-wee champs Natalia Joura, Emma Collister and Mary-Anne "The Other Mez" Monckton. For the men's side, look out for promising Jack Rickards (from the PacRim men's junior team) and Luke Wadsworth.
Such little kneecaps.
Here is a preview of some of the competitors:
Mary-Anne Monckton, 2007 AYOF floor here.
Natalia "BabyDasha" Joura, 2008 Nationals uneven bars here.
Emma Collister (and Angela Donald - not an AYOF competitor but still one to watch), 2008 Nationals vault here.
Jack Rickards, promotional video here.
Thanks to everyone who filmed at the events. Without you we would have no vision of Australia's future stars. And this entry would be a bit blah.
Don't forget, you can also see Emily/Britt at the recent Massilia Gym Cup at the "AureliaGym" channel on YouTube.
Lead us, tiny-footed ones, into a great gymnastics future!
... Well go on!
I like hearing your opinions and feedback so please keep those votes coming in for the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.
You can follow the Youth Olympic Festival live (quote unquote) at the following sources, as well their official website at olympics.com.au:
Official YouTube Channel
Official Twitter Account
Become a "Fan" on Facebook
Monday, December 8, 2008
When I wasn't attending gymnastics at the 2006 Commonwealth Games here in Melbourne, I made time for track and field events. I braved the hot sun and an uncovered part of the MCG to watch, among other things, the women's marathon. It was won impressively by Australia's own Kerryn McCann, a 'supermum' in every sense of the word. The crowd went nuts and appropriately so. It was a great thing to witness.
News sources reported this morning that McCann has lost her battle with cancer. My deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends. They will forever have the memory of the MCG crowd roaring and leaping to its feat with joy when she crossed the finish line. She's an inspiration to athletes everywhere.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The whole competition, in fact, is an interesting little nugget to pore over. Go through the parts on YouTube if you like; the whole "ZOMGZ it's gunna be tough defendin' that Commonwealth title!" talk is a bit funny seeing as we know the outcome.
Watch a great floor routine from Allana Slater. See Jacqui Dunn stick her bars dismount. Listen to the team encourage one another as they compete. Be bemused as they have to stand there in limbo and wait for the score to be announced before they can go and sit down.
Sit back, relax and enjoy.
...or go and watch the AFI Awards, I don't mind.
PIKED's list of The Top 100 Floor Routines of the Last 8 Years features Lisa Skinner's 2000 Arabian Princess routine at #13 (not the first time she's been the highest-ranked Australian with that routine, yuk yuk yuk), Dasha Joura's 2008 effort at #48, and Allana Slater's patriotic 2000 routine at #61. Unless it's just me, her 2001-2004 Tango del Roxanne routine doesn't appear to be listed anywhere, and I think many of us, artistry-wise at least, would rank that above I Still Call Australia Home.
Dasha J is also mentioned (fittingly) on the Top 10 Funkiest Gymnasts on Floor list over at the Double Salto blog. Although I, for one, would certainly not put her unique salute down to being 'a bit drunk'.
Don't forget to cast your vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards!
Friday, December 5, 2008
(apologies for blurriness, I had to resize them a bit)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Those who have already voted prior to this afternoon (you know who you are) may review the list and may change their vote/s within those altered categories if they wish to; otherwise the original rules still stand (only vote once, one vote per each category etc etc).
Thanks for your patience, and keep the votes coming to email@example.com.
Ummmm... I have a bit of a clarification to make.
Those Worlds '07 montages. The ones I linked to. Yeeeaaah... remember how I said we were dealing with an exciting new montage maker? Well, um, I don't think we are, exactly.
Watch those two montages.
Then watch this one.
Then this one.
And try to think where we've seen them before.
That's right. They're the GA montages they play at Nationals! I've been waxing lyrical about stuff we'd pretty much already seen, thinking it was new and done by some amazing person with MovieMaker on their laptop way out in the wild blue yonder. Well, technically they ARE a pretty amazing person with a laptop... but they're montages made for public broadcast and promotional purposes! That people, in a roundabout sort of way, are charged to see (insofar as they pay for a ticket to the event and then they play these on video screens). Oh, how foolish I was to think some individual was finally making use of good Stuttgart footage they had on their computer and having some fun with it! And to tell you all that they had! Little did I know someone was doing it for a job! Professionally! I even said they had used Nade's song... when in fact it was the other way around! THAT'S where we first heard it!
Oh, the huge manitee!
In other words - rest assured, Nade. You are still the individual non-for-profit supreme overload of YouTube-based gymnastics montagery. I don't know if that'll fit on a business card.
Don't forget to vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
LOLlity. I shouldn't complain. It's certainly an improvement! That it talks of "overnight" events goes to show they're kind enough to bestow the news on us.
Thanks to speedy secret agent Nade for the heads-up:
MID WEEK UPDATE - LAUREN MITCHELL HEADS TO THE WORLD CUP FINAL IN MADRID
Overnight, GA has received an invitation for Lauren Mitchell to attend the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid (ESP). Lauren and coach Martine George, will leave Australia on Tuesday 9th December in time to compete in the Beam final which will take place on Sunday 14th December 2008.
Best wishes to Lauren, Phil and Prashanth, who will all be flying the flag for Australia at the 2008 World Cup Final.
And while they're at it, they've also named the Youth Olympic Festival team:
Britt Greeley - VIS/VIC
Emily Little - WAIS/WA
Mary-Anne Monckton - AIS/NSW
Georgia-Rose Brown - MBC/QLD
Emma Collister - Waverley/VIC
Ashley Cooney - WAIS/WA
Natalia Joura - WAIS/WA
Karina Brooks - QAS/QLD
Svetlana Sanders - VIS/VIC
Zoe Lorenzin - VIS/VIC
Tierra Exum - VIS/VIC
Well, this rather uplifting montage, courtesy of the montage-maker behind the WAG Stuttgart montage from t'other day, would make you think otherwise! It's to the Foo Fighters (or at least appears to be) so... get ready to rock out with your chalk block out.
*does the rock finger salute thing*
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Feast your eyes on Britt Greeley's new non-doofdoof floor routine here (talk about mature new choreography!) and her beam routine here. What a difference a few months makes!
this fantastic new montage about our WAG team at the 2007 Worlds. Not too shabby at all. Nade, methinks you have some competition! Heck, they're even using your song!
Don't forget to vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Yeeeah. Just warning you now, this video, featuring Victoria's own Svetlana Sanders at the recent Massilia Cup, has that in reverse. I honestly don't know which is painfullier.
...what do you mean that's not a word!? Ask Lano and Woodley, they'll tell you.
Anyway, good on her for getting up and continuing. Just listen to all the "ooh la la"-ing from the spectators!
But believe me. You don't see it coming. Watch at your own risk.
In brighter news, nominations for the 2008 Agbys are already starting to emerge. Please keep them coming in, a new category was added today!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I present to you the inaugral Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards, aka the AGBys (pron. "Agg-bee"). I know, I know, the name doesn't quite work. If you can think of an alternative, feel free to send it my way.
****You may nominate one favourite in each category, and email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 28th with "Awards 2008" as your subject header. You may vote anonymously but please only vote for ONE nominee in each category (choosing only from the names in that category, no open-ended "other" responses will be accepted) and only vote once. Your details will not be passed on to any correspondents or used for advertising purposes. It's just easier than commenting, really. Results will be tabulated throughout this month and posted on the 30th of December.****
Without further ado, let me present this year's nominees:
1. Female Gymnast of the Year
* Daria Joura, WA
* Lauren Mitchell, WA
* Ashleigh Brennan, VIC
* Georgia Bonora, VIC
* Shona Morgan, VIC
* Emma Dennis, VIC
* Amber Fulljames, QLD
* Emily Little, WA
* Britt Greely, VIC
* Olivia Vivian WA
* Melanie Jones, VIC
2. Male Gymnast of the Year
* Philippe Rizzo, NSW
* Josh Jefferis, QLD
* Sam Simpson, QLD
* Prashanth Sellathurai, NSW
* Matthew Curtis (QLD?)
* Sam Offord, SA
* Thomas Pichler, QLD
* Luke Wiwatowski, NSW
3. Australian Artistic Gymnastics Team of the Year
* Beijing Olympics WAG Team
* Massilia WAG Team
* DTB Cup Delegation - MAG and WAG
* Pacfic Rim Championships WAG Team
* Ostrava Cup MAG Pair
* Friendship Classic WAG Pair
4. Coach of the Year
* Peggy Liddick
* Sergei Chinkar
* Martine George
* Mischa Barabach
* Tracey Penaluna
* John Hart
5. Routine of the Year
* Daria Joura, Floor, National Championships Team Final
* Lauren Mitchell, Beam, Olympics Team Final
* Shona Morgan, Beam, Olympics Team Qualification
* Ashleigh Brennan, Beam, WOGA Classic
* Prashanth Sellathurai, Pommel Horse, Doha World Cup Event Final
* Philippe Rizzo, High Bar, National Apparatus Challenge
6. "Smile" Moment of the Year
* Lauren Mitchell's photo with beam, Olympics Team Final
* Olivia Vivian's thumbs-up, Olympics Team Qualification
* Philippe Rizzo's dismount joy, National Apparatus Challenge
* WAG Team huddle, Pacific Rim Championships
* Amber Fulljames and Martine George handshake, National Apparatus Challenge
7. "Sad" Moment of the Year
* Daria Joura injury, Olympics Team Qualification
* Chloe Sims retirement and ensuing article/s
* Hollie Dykes retirement
* Lauren Mitchell falls, Olympics Team Qualification
* Monique Cowan retirement article
* Naomi Russell injury, National Championships Team Final
8. Surprise of the Year
* Australian supplement, International Gymnast Magazine
* Chloe Sims' Utah signing
* Waverley WAG Olympic all-around debut
* Dasha Joura's unstoppable double-layout
* MyHeroes gymnastics merchandise program
* Allana Slater takes up shooting
9. Sarah Clappers Award for Team Encouragement
(Let's face it - it's a pretty awesome name to have)
* Georgia Bonora
* Olivia Vivian
* Martine George
* Tain Molendijk
10. Simon Reeve Award for Gymnastics Reporting
* Brindabella interviews Tain Molendijk
* Daria Joura's Perth Now Column
* Olivia Vivian's WAIS Blog
* The Age follows Ashleigh Brennan's road to Beijing
* ABC's 7:30 Report details Allana Slater's new Olympic pursuits
* Channel 9 News does a Waverley profile piece
* To be honest, I could nominate myself but it wouldn't be fair to the other nominees :P
11. Brittany Boffo Award for Memorable Gymnastics Mishaps
(Again, a really awesome name)
* Emma Dennis, Nationals, Floor - innovative forward roll out of stumble from full-in
* Daria Joura, Olympics, Bars - She went to Beijing and all she got was two black eyes.
* Lauren Mitchell, Olympics, Beam - the usually steady Mitchell uncharacteristically fell twice in prelims, much to her own frustration
* Zoe Lorenzin, Massilia Cup, Floor - not everyone can make a slip onto your bum from a tumbling line look a little bit adorable.
12. Gymsport Athlete/s of the Year
* Naazmi Johnston, Rhythmic Gymnastics
* Ben Wilden, Trampoline
* Scott Brown, Trampoline
* Keiran Gorman, Sport Aerobics
* Australian World Championships Senior Trio, Sports Acrobatics
13. Monique Allen Award for Successful Ex-Gymsporters
* Anthony Ikin, Sport Aerobics, So You Think You Can Dance?
* Trudy McIntosh, WAG, Aerial Skiing/Cirque du Soleil
* Sally Wills, WAG, Coaching/Business Awards
* Allana Slater, WAG, Judging/Pistol Shooting
* Alexandra Croak, Diving/Modelling
* Ian Bartlett, MAG, Gymnastics Australia Board Member
* Damian Istria, MAG, Cirque du Soleil
14. LOLgymnast of the Year
GET YOUR NOMINATIONS IN NOW!
(ps- Apparently Hayley Wright's heading to Cirque as well, but this has only just come to light in the last 48 hours. So she'll miss a nomination, unfortch!)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Lauren Mitchell's Massilia beam routine!
Things to note:
1. French people actually listen to the 'Amelie' soundtrack? Wow. Would it be right to say that comes across as a bit cliche?
2. The nearby vaulting must be really distracting while you're on beam. Thanks heavens for P-Liddy's sound effect tapes and flashing light.
3. Bright light + white landing mat = distorted vision that makes her legs disappear slightly on her dismount. For a moment I thought she'd actually landed on her knees.
4. She always seems to wobble on one leg out of that backwards handspring-whip series. Could she sneakily work something in there to make the leg raise look like choreo and avoid deductions...?
I've slept on it, and in tossing and turning in said sleep I've cracked onto a great idea that I hope, in some bizarro way, would get picked up at some point in the future by GA folk. Even if I wasn't directly involved:
In among their clickable GymSports/Technical Information/About Us/Worlds 2005 (why is that still there in the Events section!?) tabs, they need to have a FanZone (or perhaps less lamely-named) feature which is either
a) Overseen by fans in conjunction with a GA media or marketing representative or
b) Mainly consisting of fan contributions
and it would include the following features (possibly less lamely-named too, but it's all on the drawing board at the moment) if at all possible:
1. Competition Resports and Results - Don't bury results away in a crappy table where half the hyperlinks don't work. Have them in a scrolling table, or cross-reference to gymnasticsresults.com. Highlight where our athletes have medalled. Have people submit competition reports, but please don't stick those in Technical Member or SMC bulletins like you always seem to.
2. Elite Buzz - There's a training camp on in Canberra? Great. Take photos. Get one of the girls to consider doing journal entries or blog entries. Do short interviews with participants like we see at the USA's Karolyi camp. Let us know what they're up to and what they're liking about the experience.
3. Happy Birthday to... - an elite. Or a retiree! Help fans save the date.
4. Athlete Profile - as explanatory as point 3. Profile someone at training camp, or get people to send in interviews/articles/photos with athletes they've interviewed themselves. Even the highly respected International Gymnast magazine has a function that allows you to submit articles.
5. Media Portal - The latest YouTube (or similar) videos from competitions or other events featuring Australian gymnasts.
6. Catching up With... - Ok, so the title is shamelessly nicked from IG's ongoing interview series. Regardless, let us know what's going on with retirees, or elites who've gone onto other sporting pursuits. You guys dropped Olivia Vivian's OSU progress like a hot stone. You didn't even talk about Chloe Sims' signing with Utah. And what's going on with Allana Slater's shooting sessions, hmmm?
7. Contests - They're not just for National Gymnastics Week. Colouring comps for kiddies, poetry comps, poster or banner comps, video montage comps... give people a chance to interact with the sport and be creative in order to illustrate what they love about it. I'm sick of subdued audiences at Nationals (save for NSW's constantly squealy juniors) where you don't see posters or exhibition routines or affordable merchandise that isn't from a sponsor or, basically, any incentives for anyone to be there and be excited. And believe me - cheerleading squads DON'T WORK. Send someone to the American Cup or USA Nationals (sorry, "Visa Championships") to take some notes.
Come on, guys. I do a lot of this already. You're a whole team of people, why can't you? Get out your address books and a big ol' whiteboard and get cracking. Gymnastics was the second most-watched sport at the Olympics this year and Australia finished in the highest spot it ever has so do the results some justice! The new year is nearly upon us and as a loyal fan, I know I am not the only one expecting a new approach from our national governing body.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
How ya doin'.
Love that silk scarf action ya got goin' on there. Goes with the blazers. Keep it up.
Now, something's been on my mind of late. Something that concerns us two. You, an intangible governing 'body' represented by smartly-dressed corporeal beings who like to march in and out of places in lines... and Me. A university graduate with a laptop and dress sense best attributed to Kate Moss' lesser-talked-about mutant twin who sleeps in the basement on days ending in 'y'.
More than once I have addressed the issue of your 'news' platforms- the infrequent and insubtantial nature of media releases, the delays in updates and/or amendments to national squad details, the fact that more information in your weekly news updates is addressed to technical members and potential employees rather than enthusiasts, fans, participants or families - but now I come to realise how much my work with this blog has been influencing (that is: comprising) your content.
While I understand that GA's marketing and media teams have about as much weekly access to the AIS training facilities as I do (that is: none), I have indicated before that it is not impossible to take the time to seek other resources in order to learn of the team's progress at home or overseas. HOWEVER, and this is where I begin the ascent towards my primary concern, I ask that credit for such learning experiences go to where it is due.
I update this blog frequently, very frequently in fact. If the calendar is anything to go by, and several thousands of years of human calculation and sun-watching and time-taking and date-noting surely cannot be wrong, I'll often do it before a new week begins. Ergo, competition results and related media are posted on the weekend they were received, and not two days later.
I don't wish to 'big note' myself, I truly don't. But I believe in honest work. On numerous occasions, I will find (or have brought to my attention) an article about an Australian gymnast. Sometimes it is in an obscure overseas publication, sometimes it is in a national newspaper. Either way, I think people will want to read it therefore I post it. And in the ensuing week's GA news, what do I find? The article I posted or linked to. With national newspapers, it's a bit hard not to notice, and some things you can admit are a parent's or coach's submission; but small-town American newspapers are pretty tricky things to inadvertantly discover one of our gymnasts profiled in. Or, on other occasions, I find the EXACT link to a YouTube channel I'd posted myself having done the rounds of forums that, I am quite sure, GA wouldn't give the time of day to. When I have indicated that videos of particular performers could not yet be found (but promise bring them to light when they are), GA does the same thing, but tacks on "...at the time of release". Photo websites, profile pieces... if I raise them, you guys act like you found them first.
I understand that the Internet is a wily place where copyright or crediting or even mere kudos can be waved away with the flick of a hand. I understand the concept of circulating news and such and that it enters murky territory on the world wide web. But the fact that on numerous occasions specific things I have raised here have been brought up in GA updates frustrates me. Why? Because they have people getting paid to research and keep tabs on competitors and put it all into a brief weely column. But are they visiting Google and Getty and Newsphotos and YouTube and fan forums every day? Did they have five internet windows open, hopping between results during the Olympics so readers could get up-to-the-minute results and news on our team's progress? Are they the ones being supremely grateful to gym parents (and gymnasts themselves) who take the time to contact them and offer insightful news and other resources so gym fans and families can know what's going on with the superstar athlete? For no payment at all?
Don't get me wrong - I don't mind doing this for free and I don't expect mountains of praise while doing it. But I get annoyed that I am doing what must be considered a better job than a person (or persons) representing a nationally-recognised sporting body who also, I am sure, gets wonderful benefits from it (such as media accreditation) when all they're doing - save for taking photos off the podium and linking to erratic FIG newsletters - is leeching off me! Understandably I am not the one photographing the Olympic team being named in the AIS training gym. I'm not the one photographing old and new Olympians at awards nights. I certainly wasn't on the news update bandwagon [yet] when 2005 Worlds came to town. For that, I am trumped and I thank you for at least providing that. But I am one of the ones posting YouTube links. And links to overseas photographers. And newspaper snippets. And various other valuable sources that help us keep track of our gymnastics program.
I and many others couldn't give two Shushunova's what's going on with technical members or board members. Get yourselves an intranet for that, geez. This is a publicly recognised sport. With fans. And those fans want to know what's going on... from your perspective, not just mine, for yours is the perspective that has access to the athletes and their opinions. Furthermore, acknowledge amateur (I use that term in the nicest possible way) contributors who could add to your own materials. Brindabella's article on Tain M would've been a very interesting read for you guys to draw to the attention of, well, any WAG fan! Nade uploads some great finds recorded off the telly when I can't do it quick enough. Dudnik had gorgeous competition photos on show but you guys ran her out of town, so to speak. There are new gym-centric blogs and websites starting up every week, it seems, but you guys still have links to antiquated (or discontinued) fan websites for currently-retired gymnasts sitting unprettily in your Links tab.
Clearly you have someone reading this blog so please do me a big favour, GA: Either acknowledge this space and/or the individuals who provide sources (who I always ensure to credit because I couldn't do a lot of this without you guys) that you stick so enthusiastically on your weekly news spaces (at least ASK if you can use them! We credit you where it's needed!) or just give up all your damn news updates and laughably infrequent 'e-news' faffery and give us fans a shot at it ourselves. Heck, I'd probably do it for free. And I'm quite sure I'd scrub up ok with a corporate lanyard and non-prescription glasses.
Lady Geraldine Beaverhoffen
Supreme Gladiatrix of the Australian Gymnastics Blog.
Or, to you, Meredith.
PS: It's pronounced "Bayver-hooven".
Senior - Jade Martin (two-day total score of 102.500)
Junior - Mary-Anne "The Other Mez" Monckton (103.00)
International Level 10 - Katie Wurth (99.050)
Results courtesy of Gymnastics Australia.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I'm Sigrid Thornton.
And I'm Eric Bana.
For just $2 a day you can support...
Sorry, completely forgot where I was there for a moment.
Remember a while ago how I said I was going to donate blood? Well, after long bouts of flu and having to delay the appointment, I finally managed to go and 'do the deed'.
Did I make it through the whole session without screaming, crying, hyperventilating, fainting or running out the door even before my haemoglobin was checked?
Did. I. Bollocks!
I made it through with no problems at all. Just a quick sting in your arm and you're in for a comfy wait. I even watched the little baggie thing fill up. It's fascinating! Not every medical clinic can offer a cushy recliner, a magazine, good conversation and a front-row seat to your insides in action. The nurses are friendly (especially with needle-phobics like me) and you even get free biscuits at the end. Can't say better than that.
I recommend it to anyone over 18 who is, by and large, healthy and looking after themselves and who wants to do something to help others. Contact your local Red Cross Blood Service and get the ball rolling.
Donating blood? Thorpey reckons it's fully sick.
AND THIS JUST IN AS I COME HOME AND RECOVER...
1. There isn't always a competition that comes along where you can compete for two all-around titles. But where Lauren Mitchell came second in the Massilia Cup senior all-around, the event's "Top Massilia" component (which is open to competitors from both the Open and Senior divisions and in which competitors choose a few of their best events to compete on), Lauren came first, topping Jiang YuYuan! So she got her gold after all! With a third, a slew of seconds and a first, she can proudly say she's got one of every colour in this post-Olympic season.
2. Philippe Rizzo and Prashanth Sellathurai have qualified for the World Cup final next month. What a great way to end the year, I hope they perform successfully.
3. National Club Championships - WA's Jade Martin leads Larissa Miller (Moreton Bay College/QLD) and Chloe Turko (Methodist Ladies College/VIC) in the Senior division, while MBC's Georgia-Rose Brown is tops in juniors, after Day 1 AA results are tabulated.
4. Photos fresh from Marseille...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
ETA: Congratulations to Lauren Mitchell on winning more silverware! In apparatus finals she came second on beam (15.075) and on bars (14.6), managed a 5th on floor and word is she even placed second in the all-around as well. So good on her for keeping a good thing going. Ashleigh Brennan finished 4th in the beam final. Britt Greeley came 12th on floor.
Emily Little was the top-placed Aussie in the Open division (where our junior team finished 5th), finishing in 14th place all-around.
So, um, some great results and some... pretty average ones .
Seeing as Ostrava, Glasgow and the Arthur Gander Memorial have come and gone on Foxtel, I'm hoping we see Stuttgart (and Massilia!) in the early part of December!
ETA Monday: Videos from the event are starting to emerge here. Thanks, Aurelia!
Our busy little Aussie Beaver, Olivia Vivian, is recovering from injury - a stress fracture to be precise - and won't be debuting in OSU's "Orange and Black" intrasquad meet. Nothing career-threatening. Just one of those frustrating things keeping her out of action for the moment. I can tell she's raring to get out there and strut her stuff!
(ETA: Miss V has dropped me a line to also say that she's also having surgery on a Beijing-induced torn shoulder after the competition season. She can't catch a break, can she?)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
In recognition of an exceptional career as an accomplished gymnast and coach, Salli Patricia Wills is being included in the 2008/2009 Princeton Premier Registry alongside the most prominent business leaders and professionals of every industry, from around the globe.
Good on you, Salli. Clearly, where there's a Wills... there's a way!
Yuk yuk yuk.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
But I like hearing the interactions between athlete and coach/teammate during a competition. I find it insightful, insofar as we hear either's opinion on a particular circumstance surrounding the routine (eg reaction to or explanation of a mistake) or you just get to see good old camaraderie in play.
Overheard at the Aussie Haircare Invitational some years ago brought us, 'Allana: You got absolutely... nuthin' to lose." Overheard in Athens brought us 'You did that four years ago!' and Overheard in Melbourne 2006 brought us, 'I need you to be there for Hollie, ok?'. All remarks from our head coach.
Beijing brought us a little bit from everyone.
I was lucky enough to access NBC online footage (No commentary! No scrolling titles! NO ADS!) of the Beijing WAG competition; I downloaded team prelims and finals where the camera films all teams in that session marching to, competing on and marching away from, each individual apparatus. For example, you download one file which is Russia-Germany-Ukraine-Australia competing vault, then all teams on bars, and so on and so on. When I work up the patience (and have paid my nearly-exceeding-the-monthly-limit internet bill) I'll upload what I have to YouTube so you can see it all yourself. Because let's face it, Channel 7 didn't do us any favours.
Anyway. The footage is quite lengthy and the camera follows each gymnast as they leave the apparatus, pack up their stuff, speak with their coach and prepare to cheer on the next competitor. If you turn the volume up loud enough (God bless VLC player where you can go upwards of 100% volume level) you can hear some interesting things...
Lauren, acknowledging she fell twice: "That's so annoying".
P-Liddy, to Georgia after a hit routine: "You coulda got a full-in outta that dismount! Good job!"
Georgia, to Shona after each has a hit routine:
G: "Great beam score...really good beam score!"
G: "Yeah, you!"
S: "What was it?"
G: "Fifteen-three...I think?"
S (with a hint of a smile): "...nice."
Georgia, going to hug Lauren after her mistakes: "Hugs all 'round... free hugs for all!"
P-Liddy, to Ashleigh: "You gotta do it just like training, that's all."
Martine, to Lauren after a nice vault: "Bang-a-roos!"
Olivia, to Ashleigh after a stuck vault: "That was awesome! Good job, girl!"
Physio, to Shona, appearing modest after her hit routine: "Smile! You gotta smile!"
Martine, to Georgia after a hit routine: "Good girl. One of your best!"
Georgia, after putting on trackies but then taking them off and handing them to the physio: "I sat on something!"
Physio: "Aww no!"
Olivia, to Shona before she begins: "Technique, Shona, Technique!"
Martine, to Georgia after she high-tens a few of the others once she finishes: "Tens all 'round?"
Team Final Vault:
Lauren, to Olivia after a nice vault: "Makes up for my Floor!"
Team Final Beam:
Dasha, to everyone, on the noise as China competes vault: "Ohmigod, the roar!" and they then all concur that roar was especially loud when Cheng Fei was vaulting.
Dasha, to Shona and Georgia after Shona rocks beam: "I am so proud right now!"
Lauren, to everyone, after her beam: "I swear to God, my legs were like that!" (You only hear this over the slow-mo replay but I assume she makes a wibbly gesture with her legs to indicate nerves)
Martine, to everyone breathing sighs of relief: "One target at a time."
Team Final Bars:
Martine, as Shona prepares for bars: "How's the [bar] tension?"
S: "Oh, I asked them to do it a bit tighter".
(she also did this in the prelim competition)
Martine, encouraging Dasha before she starts: "C'mon Dash! Make it happen!"
And we all know what happens after that - whacked nose, lots of concern, tissues rushed over. Twice, Martine tries to tell her that she needs to wipe her nose. Of course, the camera's rolling all the time so she has gesture very quickly and very subtly!
Monday, November 17, 2008
So here we go.
You can see Lauren's beam routine (and hear some tennis results over the slow-mo replay) here and her floor routine here. You can't see her in the corner for the first bit due to the screen's cropping. Yes, she goes out on the piked full-in. She always seems to go out on her opening tumbles, perhaps her coaches need to look at the length of the run-up she takes? I 'unno. And don't those post-routine chairs look more cushy this year!? I want me one o' them!
You can also see her in the floor medal ceremony here.
No word on MAG vids yet, but GA have provided us with these pictures:
ETA: Gymbox also provides some good shots of Lauren and Ashleigh here. Wonder what Cheng is whispering to Lauren in the last one...?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
...er... overlooking that whole World War 2 thing of course... let's... let's not go there.
Anyway. They put up with our backpackers and beer-drinkers and they bring about some good results to our gymnasts.
Congratulations to Lauren Mitchell for her silver medals on beam and floor, between Cheng Fei and Yang Yilin on both counts; to Prashanth Sellathurai for a hard-fought pommel silver; and to Philippe Rizzo for making a great post-injury comeback and snaring a bronze on high bar as well as a 5th place on parallel bars.
Notes from the DTB site via Triple Full blog:
Lauren Mitchell suffered a big wobble after her layout stepout, layout back combo, but got a lot of applause for her double squat turn, and a well-deserved silver medal too.
Lauren Mitchell went out of bounds on her piked full-in and fell out of her triple turn, but nailed her double Arabian and other passes for her second silver of the day.
(Mez sez: She's doing a piked full-in now!?)
While no videos of Lauren's routines have surfaced, you can *just* catch her towards the end of Cheng Fei's gold medal-winning beam routine here. LeoWatch: She appears to be wearing the Beijing team final leotard, or something very much like it.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I stayed in the city last night so was not able to update any qualification results from the Stuttgart DTB World Cup. And I only just got home to discover that the advertised "Stuttgart" WC on Foxtel is, as predicted, a repeat of Glasgow.
Well here I go now:
Lauren Mitchell is into beam final in 2nd place (between Cheng Fei and Yang Yilin no less), and into floor final in 3rd place. She placed 12th on bars.
Ashleigh Brennan fell twice on floor and ended up 17th, no word on how beam went. She's not into the final, though.
Prashanth Sellathurai into pommel final in 2nd place (15.450), Philippe Rizzo into parallel bars final in 8th place (15.075) and 7th into high bar final (15.225). Apparently he just had a shuffle on the dismount of the latter.
ETA: A new photo of Olivia Vivian has emerged; she attended an OSU football "tailgater" with her teammates. Er... I think it's like a barbecue in the carpark before the Grand Final kinda thing?
Chloe Sims' Utah recruitment has appeared at International Gymnast. You can read it here.
"...although it stung a little to even hear of the Olympics, I realized that there is so much to do in life other than it. So I got off my butt and started a new chapter."
Friday, November 14, 2008
Read all about it here.
"Chloe comes to us with a wealth of international experience," says Marsden. "She is powerful, but at the same time, elegant. Chloe has an infectious personality that shows through in her performance."
Good luck, Chloe!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Now, I got excited at first. I thought "ZOMGZ! Foxtel broadcasting an event within hours of it happening and it's NOT rugby or cricket!!??!!??" but then I checked the event's date. With regard to timezones, it doesn't exactly match up.
So it'll either be the 2007 one... or something not even Stuttgart-related. Like a Glasgow repeat. Or the lingering Uniform Putting-On fest that was the Moscow World Cup.
Stay tuned... literally.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Chloe Sims set to sign with the University of Utah's WAG team!!!???
The Red Rocks team already has some of my favourite NCAA competitors on it -Daria Bijak, Nina Kim, Kristina Baskett- so this little tidbit makes me think that if it does happen, the team just got a big boost by six kinds of awesome! Hopefully this would give Chloe a more positive spin on the gymnastics experience, as we know she was unhappy for a quite a while.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Makeup in gymnastics. Yes, it's a staple. Yes, it enhances your appearance before the judges. Yes, it hides blemishes. Yes, it can be fun. YES, IT SHOULD NOT BE OVER-DONE. To paraphrase Lynn Wilton from an old IG article, "a heavy hand here and *poof*, you're Bozo the Clown".
Three of these rhythmic froglets look fresh and natural. One looks like a garish Heath-Ledger-in-The-Dark-Knight impersonator. Spot her if you can.
Monday, November 10, 2008
In addition to Lauren and Ashleigh, the DTB Cup in Stuttgart will be attended by the following Aussie MAGs:
Phil Rizzo, Prashanth Sellathurai, Tom Pichler and Josh Jefferis. Anyone else's mind boggling at the size of this delegation!? We've got good medal chances on rings, high bar and pommel here...
Speaking of the boys, cheers to Scott Unwin for a "ZOMGWTFMAG!?" piece in the latest Sports Management Commitee e-news. It's interesting to hear from the other half of artistic gymnastics in this country.
GA also posted a pretty-in-pink picture of our WAG Olympic Squad (sans Georgia B), in what appears to be an episode of "24" (or perhaps it's a bomb!?)
I had no idea P-Liddy had invited siamese twins joined at the head...
Sunday, November 9, 2008
2. Lauren Mitchell and Ashleigh Brennan leave this week for the DTB Cup, then jet off for the Massilia Cup.
Speaking of Massilia, here is a photo from the 2007 event. Hey, Germany's Giulia Hindermann: Our Commonwealth Games AA champ called, she wants her outfit back.
ETA: If you like your male athletes shirtless, your high-bar release crashes big, and your constructive criticism delivered in a Russian accent, then this is the YouTube-based AIS sneak peek for you!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Qualification results are in from the Ostrava Cup. Matthew Curtis has qualified third for the pommel horse final; Thomas Pichler has qualified 7th to the high bar final. Good work, lads! Keep it up!
Also, at the recent Victorian Women's High Performance Centre awards night, Ashleigh Brennan won VIS Gymnast of the Year, and Marseille-bound Zoe Lorenzin was just one up-and-coming gymnast to win a Most Improved award (thanks special agent Infy).
The VWHPC also posted a photo of the 2010 Development Squad who recently had a training camp in Canberra, and will do the same again very soon as they aim for spots on the Youth Olympic Festival team.
(Massilia team members: Britt Greely back row, far left; Tierra Exum back row, third from right; Zoe Lorenzin front row, third from left; Svetlana Sanders second row, third from left)
Now for the Bad News.
I was contacted by Georgia Bonora's lovely Mum and she passed on the following, quite sad, information that she has allowed me to pass on to all of you:
Georgia had surgery this week to both ankles. She has been struggling with ankle spurs for a long time. They were just getting worse, so we thought now was a good time to get them both done. She'll be out of action for at least 12 weeks. She's looking forward to being able to land without it killing.
Poor thing! I know 12 weeks can be long and frustrating when you're laid up and not doing what you enjoy. I had just two week off after sinus surgery years ago and a mere four days in I was whining for entertainment that wasn't daytime television or hourly rounds of "I Spy With My Little Eye" where everything started with "c" and more often than not was "ceiling".
From myself and everyone who reads this little space - GET WELL SOON, G-BO!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Our France-bound Massilia Cup teams are:
Lauren Mitchell (WA)
Ashleigh Brennan (VIC)
Emily Little (WA)
Britt Greely (VIC)
Tain Molendijk (WA)
AIS/VIS team (open division, possibly???)
All the best, ladies! I believe Ash and Lauren have been to this competition in the past so I hope they have some success in this post-Olympic period.
Bonne chance, mes petites!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Lauren Mitchell: The Little Engine that Could. She just keeps trying and trying and trying and does her best to smile in all circumstances.
Dasha Joura: Lemon Skittle. A bright, sweet, colourfully-packaged treat that brings euphoric feelings to people in small or large doses.
Amber Fulljames: Gun silencer. She's a dark horse, a sleek performer, somewhat reserved off the podium... and could probably get away with murder if she tried.
Melanie Jones: Energiser battery. With all that power and amplitude, she just keeps going and going and going (sometimes outside the floor lines...)
Olivia Vivian: Bubble Wrap. Fun to have around and always protective of her teammates.
P-Liddy: Rainbow Slinky. She's a colourful character that can confuse and amaze you at the same time; she knows her purpose, she can be fun for the team to have around, but some people feel like accompanying her on a 'trip' down some stairs on odd occasions...
I'm off to my own Halloween celebrations now. I was going to go dressed as a Xavier College Year 12 boy (yes, fellow Victorians, they ARE pretty scary figures) but changed my mind when I got pressed for time and finances.