Friday, July 11, 2008

Give it Up For Stellar Stacey

Ok, ok, so I've been a bit of a grump the last few days. To counter that, here's a much-needed injection of positivity and sass, and it comes in the form of Anastasia "Stacey" Umeh-Lees.

Sister of Canadian Olympian Stella, former commentator, now a WAG coach and choreographer, Stacey has been sassin' up the gymnastics scene from coast to coast here in Oz for more than a decade (two decades?), from the Waverley Gymnastics Centre here in suburban Melbourne to the tropical and topical climates of the Queensland Academy of Sport to the far-flung floor mats of the West Australian Institute of Sport. She not only choreographs routines for some of our top squad members (including, but not limited to, Lauren Mitchell's funk-tacular new routine and Emma Dennis' Chinese ballet-inspired exercise) but she lectures at clubs and institutes on coaching and artistic principles (particularly conditioning, flexibility and dance elements). Oh, and she heads the Creative Movement Group, a dance, physical movement and fitness company that tours around the country educating and working with anyone from schools to sports programs and other dance companies. You can't say she doesn't know her stuff.

I was inches away from Ms Umeh-Lees at Nationals this year, and it took every ounce of courage not to lean over and hug her and shout "YOU FREAKING ROCK!" She moved through the girls, hugging all of them and complimenting them. She is clearly proud of all her charges, either currently competing or retired. She radiates a confident, outgoing and encouraging presence. I believe she's helping prepare the WAG team for Beijing*, and I couldn't think of a better "big sister" for the girls to have working with them.

Good on you Stacey, you're working wonders.


(*Speaking of the team, it has been confirmed by the AOC. Not that we didn't already know who was in it, but still. It's in concrete now. See here and here.)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The team were at So You Think You Can Dance last night at the AIS arena.

Mez said...

Really? Good on them. What a way to boost team morale and inspire them to be confident and engaging performers (not that they weren't already :P).

Hope they had fun and gave a special cheer for Anthony Ikin!

Anonymous said...

Its not quite in concrete. If you go onto the AOC Olympic site the WAG team is marked with an asterisk and it says 'Subject to an appeal by Emma Dennis'

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the appeal will have been dealt with? Is there a deadline? I wouldn't like to see this disrupt the preparation any more than it has to.

Anonymous said...

there is no appeals. As Mez has said, the team as it stands with our best gymnasts is set in concrete. if you check the AOC website, the asterisks have been removed, therefore no longer being subject to any appeal.
We have a great team that I am sure will do great things in Beijing. Go girls!!

Anonymous said...

I just checked. They are still there, in this article posted yesterday. http://www.olympics.com.au/News/AustraliaNews/NewsArticle/tabid/223/Default.aspx?ArticleID=10268

There is certainly a right to appeal. GA hires a lawyer specifically for consultation with the girls about appeals and grievances.

Anonymous said...

Yes the asteriks are still there (why someone would say they are removed I don't know). Does anyone know how long before the appeal is dealt with? It would be good to know one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, keep it up!
Just a little vid not sure if youve mentioned it before, my apologies if you have

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1XODvND-osI&feature=related

Nik said...

Is Mel Jones the non-travelling alternate? Here it the GV website on the scroll on the front page it congratulates her (among all the other vics) for being on the olympic squad:
http://www.gymnasticsvictoria.org.au/

Anonymous said...

I would like to put out there my thoughts leading up to the Olympics:
I think all the girls on the olympic team should be taking advantage of this time and get as much of themselves in the media as training will allow. It's only once every 4 years where this sport becomes one of the nations most watched.
Go on girls strutt your stuff and start earning some cash to help pay for all that training. Take advantage of the spotlight whilst you can grab it.

You have amazing physics, beautiful smiles and can do stuff most people can't - go for it!!