Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Big One (Hundred)

This is the 100th post on this blog, and is fittingly coupled with other celebratory news- the announcement of the Olympic training squad named from the National Apparatus Challenge today.

Dasha Joura
Lauren Mitchell
Olivia Vivian
Georgia Bonora
Shona Morgan
Emma Dennis
Amber Fulljames
Melanie Jones
Ashleigh Brennan

The event winners got giant novelty cheques which were a bit of a hoot to see; the athletes didn't seem to know what to do with them. Dasha J was the big winner, cashing in on victories on vault/bars/floor. Phil Rizzo had a welcome return to form with a win on high bar (sans Tak to def release). He did some excited fist-pumping and rock star air guitar after his dismount, further endearing him to the crowd. Lots of fumbles and BIG scary-looking splats from the men on floor (but a stuck double-layout from Josh J wowed the crowd). Once again, pommel proved to be their Achilles heel and we didn't have the usual Prashanth performance to lift everyone's spirits (but he was there to present pommel awards). Our designated Olympic MAG rep, Sam Simpson, showed some good releases on high bar but was still shaky in other places.

But the women were the real stars of the event. Dasha was again the classy performer, with Emma Dennis and Ash Brennan again proving they deserve their squad spots with some gorgeous floor work. Emma's choreographer is to be commended for what is an enchanting Eastern-themed routine that suits her well. It should also be noted that Em unveiled a Yurchenko double today! Shona Morgan had some fumbles which were a shame to see, as she'd done so well in the other days of competition. Lauren Mitchell stuck her piked double arabian ("at last!" I said into the video camera) but then stepped OOB on her tucked one. She can't seem to catch enough of a break. She won beam and improved on bars, getting a lot of vocal encouragement from her WA teammates in the process. G-Bo had a great beam set (the highlight is a dainty Onodi and a gutsy Rulfova) despite a stumble. Queensland's Amber Fulljames is a little pocket rocket and, let's face it, a cutie pie. She could, by all accounts, get away with murder. She's only 16 but looks about 12. The team flocked around her and hugged her and congratulated her, P-Liddy particularly taking time to consult her. She's a star of the future for sure.

The Graham Kennedy Award for Most Comedic Moment: An hour before the comp, as the girls were warming up, the dulcet tones of one Mr Ade Foster informed the early spectators: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the next fifty minutes of ad-free music will be brought to you by Olivia Vivian". It was perplexing but I assume Livvy had hooked her iPod or similar device up to the arena's speakers. Bon Jovi pumped out, followed by Queen, giving Dasha - who was warming up on beam at the time - a massive fit of the giggles and she couldn't continue. So cute.

The Fresh-Faced Home and Away Star Award for Best New Talent: Amber "playin' with the big girls" Fulljames who had some dynamic tumbling and neat execution for such a tiny thing. Keep one eye on her and another on Natalia Joura.

The Why is Richard Wilkins Still Here? Award for WTF!?ness: Our Beijing rhythmic gymnastics rep Naazmi Johnston performed for the crowd, which was nice. She has amazing flexibility in both her rope and ribbon routines. But one couldn't help but notice that for the opening 45-or-so seconds of what we assume is the ribbon routine she'll be doing at the Olympics, she didn't go anywhere near the ribbon. It lay on the floor some metres away while she danced an elegant dance, apparatus-less. Are they even allowed to DO that...?

The Hugh Jackman Not So Up Ourselves That We Reject Our Roots Award for Retirees: Allana Slater, Joanna Hughes, Brooke Walker, Steph Moorhouse, Netty Russo for presenting awards.

The Marlon Brando Sorry I Couldn't Be Here to Accept This Award for Absenteeism: Beijing-bound trampolinist Ben Wilden, who couldn't wave to the crowd at the end due to the unavoidable fact of him being at an overseas competition.

Hope you all enjoyed Nationals as much as I did (though hopefully you didn't have a schoolkid repeatedly kicking your chair).

On a personal note, thanks everyone for stickin' with me for nearly 6 months now.
I know I waffle on a bit so 100 isn't too much of an achievement I suppose :P

Here's to 100 more!


Anonymous said...

And don't forget the equally lovely Zeena McLaughlin who presented the floor cheques alongside Miss Hughes. :)


Asha said...

Great to talk to you today! I was thinking the same thing about Naazmi's ribbon routine, apparently it was an exhibition routine and not the one she will be doing in Beijing.

Hannah said...

Kicking your chair? At least it wasn't a schoolkid humming incessantly and friggin loudly to the tune of everyone's floor music!!! P.S. What happened to Kerby Purcell, I've totally missed everything? Did she compete, was she ever going to Beijing, is she injured, retired - I'm completely lost!

Anonymous said...

Kerby's injured.

hannah said...

Oh man that's terrible for her... did it happen at Nationals or before?

Mez said...

It happened before the first camp; it went undetected for a while but must have flared up and resulted in her missing the pre-nationals camp.

PS- I realised at 10pm last night that I'd left Zeena off the list :P

Anonymous said...

How melodramatic are the men! The way they carried on when they fell on an apparatus - you would never see the women cary on like that. Also Queensland need to change their men's outfits - they look like they have never been washed - and what was with Josh's hair??

Anonymous said...

as much as everyone bags peggy, that is what the men need, her to get them in line and teach them how to present themselves professionally. she does run a tight ship, but you can see the results.

Asha said...

My hubby thought the AIS men's uniform looked like a New Zealand cricket outfit from the 1970's! They were pretty funny to watch though, most of them looked like they would rather have been anywhere else but there. Hubby swears he saw one of the guys pretend to wipe his backside with one of the giant cheques on the medal podium!

Mez said...

That was Sam Simpson; I interpreted it as him pretending to try and slip the big cheque into his (non-existent) back pocket.

Could have been a tip-of-the-hat to a Simpsons episode, wherein Homer inserts a giant novelty cheque into his pocket after folding it up reeeeally small and then it unfolds as he walks away.

Yes, the men were a bit over the top; at least the girls get straight back up and put on a poker face.

Josh's hair looked like Guy Sebastian's in the Angels Brought Me Here videoclip. It's like a big fro that has been backburned and singed :P

Anonymous said...

my school kid experience was slightly more unsavoury... lots of burping contests...

i purchased the subsription to watch the whole thing, its so funny there is all this commentry at the beginning (day 2) which clearly wasnt meant to be heard.. nice work :P

chachakid said...

I just uploaded Naazmi's ribbon performance from the night if anybody didnt see it:

And she doesn't touch the ribbon for about 1 minute and 7 seconds lol