Monday, June 30, 2008

Olympic Team: Nominations Countdown

Zee suspense. She iz murdering me quite painfully.

While we wait for the official team announcement (there's a whole lotta speculatin' goin' on), here's something to distract you:

Emma Dennis featured in today's
news. Lovely photo!

I have no idea where the announcement will come from. I've got the AOC webpage and the Gymnastics Australia webpage and The Age online opened. I'm jumping between forums but they're as clear as I am. My computer is hating me hitting Refresh so much.


I probably won't be home tonight so keep your eyes on the nightly sports reports to see if we get anything. Anyone who can video and upload anything would be showered with digital praise.

...Ok it's now gone 10:00, hold onto your hats.

*trumpet fanfare* GA has broken the news.

Your 2008 Olympic Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team is...
Dasha Joura - WA
Shona Morgan - VIC
Lauren Mitchell - WA
Ashleigh Brennan - VIC
Georgia Bonora - VIC
Olivia Vivian - WA

Peggy Liddick - National Coach
Martine George - Team Coach - WA
Misha Barabach - Team Coach - VIC

The following athlete and coach have been named as reserves:-

Gymnast - Emma Dennis - VIC

Coach - John Hart - VIC

Some Time Later: Fox Sports has updated about it; hopefully it will be on their cable news channel soon because there hasn't been anything for the last hour (not even in breaking news). The official GA press release is slowly doing the rounds.

They have put some photos up. It's a shame they're so small.

(I'm intrigued by the "Beijing-themed photo opportunities" that the girls apparently had today in the presence of the media. Clearly, with pithy paper lanterns and computer printouts of the Beijing logo sticky-taped onto tables, the AIS spares no expense!)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Olympic Team Trial Day 2

Trial Day 2, the be-all-and-end-all of Olympic teamship qualificationary, will be getting underway soon at the AIS.

I must say, taking 9 to the camp when 8 will be selected is a bit stodgy. I suppose the UnChosen One and the selected 'non-travelling' reserve can keep eachother company and console one another, but really. It's a bit unfair.


WILL Emma stand up the Baitova?
WILL Olivia show a solid bars routine?
WILL Dasha keep landing that layout-stepout beam series?
WILL Peggy choose wisely?
WILL you be frantically logging onto gym websites at 9:59 tomorrow morning?

Only time WILL tell... Stay tuned...

Tune back in to read this bit of gossip from our source, which has been shifted from the Comments page:

"Olivia had 3 falls off beam today. Ashleigh didn't compete floor or vault today and was getting therapy/massages for the first half of the comp (note not her legs but her lower back.hips). She had a fall off beam and made a mess of her run-up for her dismount, had to walk back and do it again. Lots of falls off beam today by the girls. I think the only ones who stayed on beam were Georgia, Lauren and Amber. Lauren almost stuck her piked arabian on floor but went OOB - but a lot cleaner then yesterday's landing of it. She went OOB a couple of other times too I think. Again, I'd say that the team is Dasha, Lauren, the Waverley 3 and Ashleigh (injury-free). Amber Fulljames to be travelling alternate. The last alternate spot I would give to Melanie Jones, simply due to her being more of an all-arounder then Olivia. I loved Emma's floor music and Amber's was pretty good too. Georgia and Lauren's music is kind of the same genre, and I don't really like that style of music. Vault was the best apparatus today overall."

Now, word just filtered through from someone who knows someone who was at the the event that the team was named, and it's as we thought (Joura, Mitchell, Morgan, Bonora, Brennan, Dennis, Fulljames/Vivian as reserves). I find it surprising that Olivia would top Mel J so I'm not really going to believe this lineup until I get more subtantiated confirmation.

ETA 9am Monday: More from Day 2, courtesy of our sources (I've mixed it up between the two so we get a bit of everything).


Georgia - great routine.
Emma - Bounced backward out of first pass, and just stayed in bounds. Other than that it was a great routine.
Melanie - Large step forward out of double Arabian, but stayed in bounds. Bounce backward out of double twist. Fell on front full into front 1.5 twist. Landed almost laying down the side of her body. Step on last pass.
Amber - out of bounds on first and second passes. Landed on line in last pass. Otherwise good routine.
Olivia - Fell on double pike last pass. Landed on hands and knees.
Shona - Bounced backward out of double pike, otherwise beautiful routine.
Lauren - out of bounds on Arabian double pike in first pass. Overall great routine.
Dasha - Awesome double layout. Fantastic routine.

Ashleigh didn't do floor.


Emma - BAITOVA. Awesome and stuck.
Melanie - Tsuk 1.5. Stuck.
Amber - Handspring front pike, small step backward
Georgia - Yurchenko 1.5. Good vault but large step right out of the lines.
Shona - Great vault, BAITOVA (!). Small step
Lauren - Yurchenko 1.5. Good vault, small step
Dasha - BAITOVA. Great technique and height. Small step.

Olivia and Ashleigh didn't vault.


Melanie - Missed going over the bar in half turn, extra swings. Missed going over the bar in giant full. Extra swings. No falls.
Amber - Great routine. Good height in releases. Small step on landing of dismount.
Olivia - Hit majority of handstands. Slight ankles apart in some places. Large step backward on double front dismount.
Georgia - Close Gienger release. Jump forward on double front dismount.
Emma - Great routine. Smallest movement after dismount.
Shona - Missed turn on high bar. fell the wrong way and had to improvise. Small step on double front dismount.
Ashleigh - Good routine. Very aggressive.
Lauren - Release kind of low and close to the bar. Bent knees throughout turning giant and resulted in an extra swing. A pretty deep squat on landing out of dismount.
Dasha - great routine. Hit pretty much every handstand. Small hop on dismount.


Amber - Great routine but large step backward out of double tuck dismount.
Olivia - Fell off after back walkover into layout step out. Fell off after front aerial. Fell off after side somersault. Missed that series. Step backward after dismount.
Georgia - Great routine, only step backward after back layout and step backward after dismount.
Emma - Step backward after back layout. Small wobble after side aerial. Fell off on full turn. Small movement on dismount.
Melanie - Step backward after switch leap with half turn. Wobble after full turn. Step backward and a bit of a low landing on front tuck. Overall good routine.
Shona - Fell off after back layout. Nice full twisting Korbut. Grabbed beam with hand after side aerial to prevent falling off. Wobble after full turn. Step backward after double pike dismount.
Ashleigh - Wobble after side somersault series. Fell off after back layout. Fales run on dismount. Had a bad hurdle so stopped and went back to the end of the beam and did a second take. Small step on landing.
Lauren - wobble after front aerial to 2 feet. Great layout series. Dismount 2 flips into double pike, stuck cold. Really good routine.
Dasha - Step backward out of back layout. Small step on double tuck dismount.

Hurray! Baitova's! A plethora of Baitova's! (claps for you if you get the Three Amigos referenc)

Other observations:

Melanie was better today, but still a few issues. During warm-up Peggy was coaching her a bit on beam and telling her what she is doing wrong. When she was on fx she took a big fall on one pass and Peggy had to jump out of the way so she didn't get bowled over. Classic. On fx she had a big fall on one of her twists and was low on her double pike and jumped back a bit, but otherwise she looked better than yesterday.

Ashleigh is injured in some way. Before the comp she was warming up on floor and looked like she was hurting - it could be that she really does have shin splints, there could also be something with her back because her coaches were working on that. She didn't compete floor or vault. She looked pretty good on bars though with just a small hop on her dismount. Beam was a disaster...she had a fall and big wobbles on 3 skills I think and then for her dismount she got to the end of the beam and stopped and had to run back to the other end to give her dismount another try. Poor thing didn't look happy and she seemed to be in a bit of pain. She stayed away from the other girls most of the time with her coach, so I hope that she is alright

Baitova's, yay!
Injuries, boo!

Are you needing a change of pants yet? It's nearly time!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Olympic Team Trial Day 1

Observations from Day 1 at the AIS courtesy of inside sources (please note that scores and standings were not announced):


Olivia Vivian - good routine. Out of Bounds 3rd pass.
Amber Fulljames - out of bounds 1st pass. Low landing 2nd pass.
Melanie Jones - low landing and crooked 2nd pass but just stayed in bounds. Same kind of landing on 4th pass.
Emma Dennis - stuck 1st pass. Clean routine.
Georgia Bonora - clean routine but out of bounds on last pass.
Shona Morgan - stuck 1st, end and 4th passes cold. Great routine.
Ashleigh Brennan - I think mucked up 2nd pass. Only a full twist forward and kinda ran out of it. Out of bounds 3rd pass.
Lauren Mitchell - overrotates and out of bounds 1st pass. out of bounds last pass. Other than that, clean routine.
Dasha Joura - perfect double layout. Stuck 2nd, 3rd and 4th passes. Great routine!


Amber - handspring front pike. Small step forwards.
Melanie - Tsuk 1.5. Low landing. Step backward and off to the side.
Emma - Baitova. Fell short. Landed on hands and knees
Georgia - Yurchenko 1.5. Small step.
Shona - Yurchenko 1.5. Small step. Just stayed inside the lines.
Ashleigh - Tsuk full twist. Pretty much stuck.
Lauren - Yurchenko 1.5. Good landing, small step forwards.
Dasha - Baitova. Good height, small step backwards.

Olivia didn't vault.


Mel - Fell on Gienger. Missed going over the bar on reverse giant so had to change direction and extra swings. Long routine. Double layout dismount ok. Small step.
Emma - Good routine. Hit majority of handstands. Small jump on landing out of double front.
Georgia - Good routine. Had no swing on transition to high bar. Kip from almost dead hang. Small jump on dismount.
Olivia - missed going over the bar in giant full. Extra swing in the wrong direction. Had to fight over the bar on last front giant. No speed into double front dismount and sat it down.
Amber - missed first release. stuck dismount.
Shona - good routine. Just a small step on her dismount.
Ashleigh - fell wrong way on first handstand on high bar. Did extra swings and whilst starting to restart swing smacked shins into low bar. Other than that, it was an okay routine. Small jump on dismount.
Lauren - great routine. Hit almost every handstand. Small jump backward on dismount.
Dasha - great routine. Just step on double front half dismount.


Emma - extra step backwards after flip layout. Wobbles after standing back tuck and full turn. Large step to the side on 2.5 twist dismount.
Georgia - step after side aerial. Step after double tuck dismount. Good routine.
Olivia - nice backward walkover to back layout series. Wobble after side somersault. Low landing on dismount. Jumped backward into squat to avoid sitting down. Good routine but slightly cautious.
Amber - wobble after switch ring leap. 2 steps backward out of front aerial. Step forward out of double tuck dismount.
Mel - wobble on front mount. Solid front pike. Fell on switch leap half turn. Wobble on side somi. Fell off after back layout. Front full dismount. Looked like layout but had bent knees.
Shona - low landing on back layout. 2 step and small wobble. (not sure whether that was as a result of the low landing on layout?) Great full twisting Korbut. Step backward out of double pike dismount. Overall nice routine.
Ashleigh - good routine. Small wobble after switch ring leap. Very controlled. Slight movement after dismount but no major dramas.
Lauren - great leaps. Front aerial to 2 feet into back tuck. Nice double turn down close to beam. 2 flips to double pike dismount. Step on landing. Great routine.
Dasha - backward step out of flip layout. Slight wobble after side somersault. Bit of a low landing on double tuck dismount. Two steps and a wobble. Overall great routine.

Many thanks to source/s.

Looks like the girls are really feeling the pressure and some are handling it better than others. Olivia and Ashleigh were clearly having an up and down day, and there were some surprise OOB's (poor Lauren and that pesky piked arabian!).

Good luck for Day 2, ladies.

From Berwick to Beijing and Back Again

It's D-Day, people. Or should I say B-Day, as the final trial for the Beijing women's team gets underway in Canberra today. Cross your fingers, eyes and all other humanoid digits that it goes smoothly and the girls all perform at their best.
Good luck, girls!

Now for the media, with which we will hopefully be bombarded over the next two days (they've been invited to the trials so keep one eye on the papers and another on the news bulletins!)

Ashleigh Brennan scored a feature in The Age as one of several hopefuls (and favourites) for the team. Her family are very supportive in their preparations to go and see her compete in the world's biggest sporting event. To give a bit more insight into the family's sacrifice (and those of similar sporting families), a family friend of ours has a son in the Australian Olympic hockey squad. He made it to their final trial but sadly he didn't up making the team. If he had, the other family members would have had to fork out upwards of $300 each(!) for tickets to go and see him compete.
I have a crazy theory that, provided she makes the team (which I believe she will), Ash's floor routine wouldn't be shown in the broadcast because it's the theme music to a program ("Cold Case") shown on a rival network to the Olympic broadcaster. Let's not forget, Allana Slater was nearly in trouble in 2000 for using floor music that was used in QANTAS ads, that airline NOT being the official sponsor of the Sydney Olympics.

Follow the Waverly girls' progress here. There is a short explanatory piece here, and Dasha gets a a say here and here.

Joura said she had a little trick that might catch the eye of the judges.

''Some gymnasts go in with a straight face but I have a little bit of flair and try to connect with the judges and the crowd,'' she said.

Friday, June 27, 2008

You're nervous!? I'M Nervous!

It's getting closer, folks. On Monday morning we will know our women's Olympic gymnastics team!

The air is electric and goosebumpy.
I've come over all woozy...

Will our three-time national champion be on that list? Oh, I should think so. Better she be nervous now than in the middle of the Olympic podium!

(In other news - keep your ears to the ground if you're a fan of British gymnasts. Team GB gets named after this weekend too).

Oz vs GB in the race to team finals... bring it on, guv'ner!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Best Things in Life are Free

Olivia Vivian's latest blog takes a look at fundraising (and fun-raising, yuk yuk yuk).

I would've loved to see Liz C as an auction caller (or better yet, a bingo caller!) on the night.
Though no doubt she got paired with an inexperienced male assistant who made trivial speculations and pronounced everything incorrectly. Just like old times...

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's The Little Things

The women's Olympic squad is now in Canberra, undertaking their last training session together before the final team of six is named. Stay tuned, Wally Watchers!

I'm glad GA make technical bulletins and other administrative things open to the public. It is always interesting to read what goes on behind the competitions and what those off the floor think about what goes on.

Tidbits from Nationals 2008:

1. The "My Heroes" autograph session on the Friday night ran too late. Some gymnasts got 'home' well after midnight, no thanks to compulsory drug testing sessions that also happened once the competition was over!
2. Apparently judges at the competition don't get a great deal of audio-visual reference material after the event. Not all state programs were able to get access to filmed routines that were on show for their judges. Not enough filmers and not enough DVD's to go around. It was recommended by the technical committee they use "U-tube" [sic] for the time being. I don't like to snicker, but... *snickers quietly* Back on topic, did they not SEE myself and three friends video-ing next to eachother in the one row of seats? We'll work for free if they're that desperate!
3. With regards to National Levels Challenges, New Zealand, Japan and the USA have expressed interest in competing against our girls (thus making the events more of a 'challenge' as it were).
4. From 2009 onwards, the annual Carol Sussman award for floor artistry (won in the past by the lovely likes of Dasha Joura, Monique Blount and Nicole Alexander) will only be awarded to a National Levels gymnast.

And on a personal note - our girls deserve 'ticker tape' at their medal ceremonies and team announcements, just like the US girlies get!

Testing, Testing...

Don't mind me, just testing YouTube embedding. Can't believe I didn't try it before. This is all VERY complicated for a newbie blogger such as myself. Hope it works!

Trudy McIntosh and Melinda Cleland cooked up a storm in this little-known profile piece that aired in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics. Very cute. "Whaddya reckon, Min?" Video courtesy of AusGymVids (whose magnificent archived collection is making its way over to YouTube).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In The News

The Herald Sun will be launching their Olympics website tomorrow, with interactive features, news feeds and athlete blogs. I got a bit confused at this announcement, seeing as their site is...well, pretty much up already. Follow gymnastics news here.

Look for the 'Hero Wall' to send athletes messages of encouragement. There are no gymnasts on there yet but hopefully, once the team is named, there will be!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Strong as an Oks

On a non-Australian note... I love Grandma Chusovitina.

Always have (since I first saw her), always will. She's fan-bloody-tastic and an inspiration, worthy of any NBC Olympics fluff piece.

Image courtesy of International Gymnast

That is all.

Add Another to the Blog Roll...

Victoria's Ashleigh Brennan is contributing some thoughts of her own to the website of our state's High Performance Centre. Click the link to Ashleigh's Page here. If that doesn't work, go from the VWHPC link at Gymnastics Victoria.

Hopefully talk of her leg injuries is just that - talk!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

Gymnastics has been listed as one of the sports whose Australian representatives may/will bow out of the Beijing opening ceremony march-in. Usually gymnasts don't take part in the opening ceremony for health and wellbeing reasons (it's a frickin' long circular walk, people. T'aint no Albert Park stroll) and because they're straight into training the morning after the big up-late spectacular. But still, The Age has brought it up fleetingly in light of the athletics team boycotting the march-and-wave.

The 18-strong gymnastics team will prepare in Canberra before arriving in Beijing. Despite being in the village before the opening ceremony none of the team will march in the ceremony, which will not finish until 2am. Some gymnasts must compete the following day but others compete more than a week after the ceremony.

On the topic of the Games, An interesting article has cropped up about our sole male competitor bound for Beijing, Sam Simpson.

He's revealed that he won't be training in Canberra with the men's squad, he'll be keeping a low profile and training locally by himself. It's interesting that he talks about not wanting to adjust to different equipment. Erm...won't he need to do that at the Games? Isn't every opportunity to adjust a worthwhile one to take?

On another note, I'm wary about training alone in one's home gym being good preparation for THE WORLD'S BIGGEST AND MOST MEDIA-SATURATED GYMNASTICS SHOWDOWN IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING (thanks to our sponsors NBC and McDonalds for that inspired title). I'd hate for him to get overwhelmed and succumb to nerves under the lights of the bustling Olympic arena. Beijing's a big step from a bungalow.

But hey, that's just me.

DJ's Back in the Mix

Our national champion has returned from a two-week hiatus to pen her delightful column again.

She's a humble young lady and it's interesting that she doesn't draw any attention to her own victories at the competition.

Olivia Vivian also updated her blog today.

Team selection is drawing ever closer so good luck to them and all the girls in their preparation.

To get you in the mood, check out this absolutely smashing montage by media magnifico Nade.
If that doesn't become a GA promotional video that gets submitted to Channel 7, then I'll eat my hat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

GymWeek - Whatever Shall We Do!?

Beingachildofsomeonewhowasadopted, I am always a bit hesitant about "Adopt a..." programs.

Penguins, dolphins, trees, highways... it's a pretty thankless exercise. They don't tend to know you're doing it and you don't get to physically keep them.

Anyway. I digress.

National Gym Week is this week, a time when primary school kiddies across the country go nuts doing forward rolls on the oval and drawing pink sausage people in scribbly leotards on butcher's paper. In addition to urging you into spending your hard-earned money, GA suggests 'adopting a gymnast' and sending squad members some love through YouTube tributes, letters, poems or drawings that they will forward to the athletes via Sounds like an interesting idea, bordering on divisive- it's like gifts at Valentine's Day, one enviable group is sure to get dozens of lavish ones where some just get a small melted loveheart chocolate in their school lunchbox from mum.

...Not speaking from past experience or anything...

Regardless, it never hurts to let an athlete know that you're gunning for them.

If anyone is interested in/particularly good at digital art, Photoshop, Paint or any other computerised endeavour at which I am rather crap, please contact me via the email address listed on the right as there is one idea I have for something to send to the Beijing WAG squad on behalf of The Australian Gymnastics Blog and Supporters of Australian Gymnastics (Facebook). If you're an artist, web nerd, photographer or design freak in addition to being a gym fan, please let me know if you want 'in' on the project. I'd make a pretty poor effort of it by myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kickin' it Old School

I had in the past promised to do an entry about Aussie gym from the archives, well here it is!

It's basically just a cluster of interesting routines from Australia's early steps onto the world stage, and some footage of well-known seniors when they were younger. Feel free to entertain yourself with wibbly picture quality and 'interesting' fashions of decades past.

Many thanks to a GGMB user who uploaded vids from the 1988 Pacific Alliance Championships, a comp that featured budding stars like Yang Bo, she of the famous leap, and Kristie Phillips, who around that time was being touted as 'The New Mary Lou' on magazine covers, only to have a slight personal meltdown when her career fizzled.
Look out for Monique Allen (or 'Alien' as the commentator says at around 9:11) in this video of the bars final, her bar routine is at 8:37. She gets the silver medal, so good-on her.
Yeah... you thought our pink and purple leotards were bad? Try lurid green.
And way before McIntosh, there was another "Trudz" flying our flag on vault - Trudi Nurse, seen in action at 1:59.

Here's Kirsty-Leigh Brown, who looks like Sarah Lauren and Steph Moorhouse's DNA squished together, doing a tidy Compulsories bar routine at the '96 Olympics.

Oh look, it's that lovely yellow aboriginal-print leotard. Classy. Now, I'm *pretty* sure Julie-anne Monico was the first Aussie to make a World Championships apparatus final. Here she is at the 1992 Worlds, having made the uneven bars final. A bit messy (particularly on the double layout dismount) but still a remarkable achievement for a member of a beginning-to-bloom national team. She placed 8th with a score of 9.800.
Joanna Hughes, who really carried the torch for Team Australia in the early to mid-90's, is shown here on vault. Clearly, Nationals in the mid-90's weren't a big deal, it sounds as though there are three men and a dog in the audience.

Check out our Beijing contenders in their freckly youth here. BabyShona, BabyLivvy, BabyGeorgia... it's like TinyToons!

For real 'old school' Aussie gym action, check out this website GA set up to commemorate our gymnastics efforts at the 1956 Olympics.

And after nearly a decade, it's interesting to note that not a lot of the philosophy or method arond team selection has changed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bring Out Yer Dead

Tomorrow is Melbourne's burgeoning annual Zombie Shuffle aka Mummy, What are Those Slow-Moving, Blood-Spattered Things Coming Up The Street?

So yes, my friend and I will be there in zombie-fied finery. Can't wait.

If I still had the lithe figure of my youth, and had held onto my old club leotard, I'd have gone as Elena Zombie-lodchikova but despite the aforementioned factors, I officially vetoed it because I didn't think anyone would get the reference.

Damn undead and their ignorance of global sports...

Ooooh! Here's something to bring me out of my undead reverie: has posted some scrabulous videos at YouTube. They include high-quality footage of the Pacific Rim competition. Scroll through for videos of Aussies. The great things about this collection are-
1. No annoying NBC commentators! In fact, no commentators at all!
2. Ashleigh Brennan's FX, which we didn't see in the tv broadcast, is there!
3. No watermarks or scrolling newsbars!
4. Great visual and sound quality! Just listen to that team encouragement!
5. Did I mention the lack of annoying commentators!?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

*knock knock* Housekeeping!

Four days. Wow, for this blog that's a long time between drinks!

There isn't much news circulating at the moment, except for news of a new-look website for the Victorian High Performance Centre (follow the link from GV's site) which looks pretty snazzy and Ashleigh B-tastic.

Oh, and I discovered that episodes of Road to Beijing are achived here.

So short of concocting my own news (Level 8 Champion Revealed to be Watergate's 'Deep Throat'! Josh Jefferis' Hair NOT His Own!) I thought I'd tappy-tap out some friendly reminders and rules for you good readers of this humble pile of bloggery. Yes, I realise it's a bit late in the game, but it's better late than never. Please take careful note of them. Re-read them if you wish to send me correspondence, send them to other people wishing to contribute, or by all means print them out and arrange them into a fashionable hat.

1. If you wish to contribute to this page in any form - such as photos, articles, competition reports or opinion pieces, please contact me via the email address listed on the top right of the page. You may remain anonymous if you wish, though full credit will be given for materials otherwise, and emailing me saves excessive Comment page space.

2. I am no longer a gymnast, I have never been a coach and I am most certainly not in any important administrative position such as judge or program co-ordinator. I have contacts who fit into these categories but far be it from me to speak for them. So please refrain from contacting me regarding gym product endorsement, expert opinion or athlete representation. That's not my bag, baby.

3. Any and all 'gossip' or news sent to me must be substantiated. If it is something arising out of your correspondence or contact with an athlete, please get their permission to make any of it public. I will *NOT* accept anything taken from an athlete's MySpace/Facebook/website without their knowledge or permission, or that of the site's administrator. And don't even try prefixing information taken from those sites with, "I heard that..." because lies like that make Baby Jesus cry.

4. Comments deemed flame-y will be deleted post haste. I read those things, y'know.

5. I am not writing this blog as a representative of, or in conjunction with, Gymnastics Australia or its affiliated state associations. So I'm not getting paid, I'm not doing subliminal advertising, I'm not looking to get hired by anyone, I'm not trying to bring them down, and I'm not a disgruntled former employee. So let me reassure you I'm not committing an act on par with those (steeeeyoopid) Liberal party guys.

6. I do not promote or encourage stalking, hassling, verbally assaulting, stealing or blackmailing of gymnasts, elite or otherwise. Constructive criticism, yes. Destructive behaviour in the name of investigative journalism, no.

7. On the topic of journalism - I am not a journalist, journalism student, freelance writer, budding editor or magazine contributor. I've always wanted to be (I'm still waiting for your call, IG), but sadly I stuck to an Arts degree with English and Linguistics units rather than the cut-throat Journalism and Professional Writing courses held at another campus. So please excuse any typographical or factual errors that may arise. I do my best to proof-read and edit where possible. A lot of the time, I'm just bloody tired when I crank a post out.

8. The reason you won't (and don't) see a lot of commentary on US Nationals/European Championships/NCAA finals/Bavarian Dwarf-Tossing and Gymnastics Festival at this blog is because of its very name - The Australian Gymnastics Blog. This is a space for commentary, analysis and general gymnastics fangirl/boy faffery relating to all things clad in green and gold because there aren't a lot of spaces on the internet for it to happen. Like unwashed backpackers in a Manchester hostel, we Aussie fans stick together. I'm an open-minded individual, I respect and admire the gymnasts that the world has on offer. But it is in this space, this wee little internet burrow, that this wibbly wombat celebrates all things about the sport as it plays out in this particular country.

Because if I don't, Grant Denyer will. And this is one medium I don't want that creepy, shiny hobbit taking hold of.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lights are on, nobody's home

Erm... anybody know what happened to Road to Beijing today? Come 4:30 on channel 7, all we got was a repeat of Keeping Up Appearances despite RTB being listed in the Green Guide.

I never liked that that show to begin with, but under these particular circumstances, the high-pitched "the LAYdee of the HOUSE speaking" catch-phrase really started to get on my nerves.

Enh. I'm just a crankypants at the moment because I caught a cold...again. And I'm at home by myself. I've had to put on hold some significant things such as work and Mr Mez's band's first public gig.
So once again, you are advised to view the blog from a well-stocked, plexiglass-secured distance. Your co-operation is appreciated.


USA nationals are on at the moment; I really am beginning think Miss Joura won't be a good chance for an AA medal unless she gets an Amanar happening. The medal favourites are starting to pull away from the pack now that there are a few who've got it down pat. Come on Dash, catch up, we know you can!
Two Australian connections in one at US nationals - Mattie Larson, the one whom I've said is the image of Monette Russo, is using an arrangement of Dasha's floor music!

At last, some reading material. In her latest blog entry, Livvy tells us that it's nice to get by with a little help from your friends.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LolGymnasts: Mark III

Because I really REALLY have nothing to do at this time of night.
Here they are again, by semi-demi-popular demand: LolGymnasts!

G'night! :)

Get To Know: G-Bo

(Sometimes I wish all these profiles would stop because I'm running out of puns!)

I went onto the International Gymnast site in the hope of finding a preview of this month's issue. Wwell there isn't one (just yet) but lucky me found something even better: a featured interview on quiet achiever Georgia Bonora.

Read the whole piece here.
Peggy is always telling us to convince her that you are the one she can rely on in a podium situation. That is what I am trying to do...

Meet Mel J

Woah, athlete profiles are flying thick and fast in the papers this week.

AIS/VIC gymnast and Olympic squad member Melanie Jones was profiled in the Canberra Times (spot the typo, grammar gurus, that has fluffed what should have been a rhyming headline). There are two photos of her in training, and you get some personal insight into how she feels about her progress. She could get a vault/floor specialist spot on the team... but then again her lack of international experience may work against her so she could just end up as the travelling reserve.

Call it as you will. I was quite taken with Mel when I first saw her last year - lots of power, gutsy tumbles, very exciting to watch.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mayo's A-OK

When I went to film the Level 10 division at Nationals this year, I prepared to enter fairly unchartered spectator territory. I asked two correspondents who they recommended to film/take note of, beyond Natalia Joura. I felt lost in a sea of unknown names. One of the names they rattled off was that of Amaya King-Koi, a young Queenslander. Sadly my battery ran out and I couldn't film any of her routines but I did take note of her dainty athleticisim as she moved about the rotations. I also couldn't help but notice the massive QLD support base behind her, as team-mates (including Naomi Russell), shouted "Go Mayo! Come on, Mayo!" from all around the arena. Very cute and very nice to hear. Anyway, she got her own little corner of printed press (and, it must be said, overly-shadowed photography) this week.

She's definitely one to watch.

Looking through GA archives yesterday, I also found that she was one of the pink-clad youngin's supported by Scott Martin in a photoshoot last year (below, she's on the right). Again with the cute!

HOLD the MAYO. Geddit!? Ah, they should be paying me for this stuff...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Get Outta My Dreams, and Into... the Adjacent Seat

Gah (again)!

I had a great little gymnastics dream going last night. Shame about the sunlight through the window in the early hours waking me and interrupting it.

I was at Nationals at Vodafone Arena (in real life soon to be known as 'Hisense Arena', though I don't know if this is to be pronounced "High Sense" or "Hee Sensei") in the front row of seats behind where the announcer's table was during the events; only there wasn't a table there. The tiered seats just went right down to the floor level, there was a space of floor and then the actual floor exercise mat. Anyway. I sat there with my digital camera, ready to take photos, and along came Josh Jefferis to quietly sit down, turns out he picked the a seat two spots away from me. I looked over and smiled at him and he smiled at me. I couldn't help myself, I just straight out said, "Hello. My name's Meredith and I write the Australian Gymnastics Blog...*lean over for handshake* I just wanted to say that I admire your gymnastics and I know that there are a lot of other fans out there who admire you too. So... keep up the good work. Hope you're enjoying the competition!" and he beamed and said "Oh, thank you very much!"

The exact same thing happened with Tom Pichler, Phil Rizzo and Prashanth S who ALL came along to sit down near me to releax and chat with one another in the athlete's area and who turned out to be very pleased and excited to hear about their fans. The only exception was Sam Simpson, who ended up sitting behind me. He actually tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, do you write that Gymnastics Blog...?"
And what was about it, really.

It was a happy yet brief scenario that I suppose could best be described as, "noice, noice, un-youse-yooal, noice" and that I hope will manifest itself in reality one day. With WAGs, too, of course. I wouldn't argue with that! :P

It's noice, noice...unusual, noice, yeah.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Videos, Videos, So Many Videos

Big thanks to Youtube user Aurelia who has uploaded vids from the Moscow World Cup qualification round and event finals, including Lauren's bars and Dasha's floor/vault.

Speaking of videos, I hope in the coming days to finish my (rather scattered) entry featuring some interesting clips from old competitions (well, old in my book... I'm only 21!)

Big hair! Bad leos! Loud tracksuit tops! It's all old-school gold!