Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wilden's Words - Wise?

In yesterday's MX newspaper which I dutifully read on the train home (there's only so long you can stare at the floor to avoid the gaze of the drooling loon opposite you wearing a tinfoil beanie and whose eyes go in different directions), there was a double-page spread on our Beijing-bound trampolinist Ben Wilden. Ben "Born to Be" Wild(en) has created a cocktail at the bar in which he works. Sales from said cocktail will go towards funding his trip to the Games. Smart move. He needs money. Booze costs money. People need booze. People will give him money for booze. Everybody wins.
(Not taking into account the dangers of bringe drinking and the poor juxtaposition of an athlete promoting an alcoholic drink and rah rah rah leave all that pontificating to Kevin Rudd).

He waxed lyrical about his expectations for the event, but one particular paragraph struck me. He said words to the effect of, "I read an article the other day where artistic coach Peggy Liddick had ruled out gold and silver for the team, and said they were a chance for bronze. I don't think this is so great; why not go for gold?" If I had the means, I'd respond, "Ben, it's not that they're not going for gold, they certainly will be going all-out for the best result they can. But the fact of the matter is, China and the USA do have the gold and silver team spots all but cemented for themselves. It's been like that since China's resurgence at Worlds in 2006. It's a race for bronze realistically."

And then I'd ruffle his hair, wish him good luck for the Games, and ask where the bar is.


ETA: Ooh! I've come home to discover that the Moscow World Cup is on. But I've only caught the last half hour. Damn. I could see Lauren and Dasha hanging out in the background for bars, but they must have aleady competed. Me and my bad timing! This is a frustrating broadcast though, we just had about 10 minutes of a long-shot of the podium, and scores seem to be taking ages to come up. The camera lingers on competitors getting changed and discussing with their coaches for far too long. And the music, the awful awful awful pop music played over routine replays, blergh!

For those interested (who have Foxtel/Austar), Day 2 is showing tonight at 6pm. If you can stomach the erratic broadcast. You'll see Dasha's floor routine from finals, and hopefully Lauren's beam as well!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to say Peggy's "the bronze is up for grabs and we could win it" for the past 3 Olympics has become a tired old tirade. Certainly, it was reasonable to expect it in Athens after 3rd place at the Anaheim Worlds, but seriously, coming off the travesty that was our 11th place last year, who is she fooling? Personally, I would love to see our team reach the team finals, and anything beyond that will be a bonus.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see our team get 3rd at the Olympics but they couldn't even get 3rd at Pac Rim so i'm not getting my hopes up.

Mez said...

You might be surprised. At the very recent Russian Cup/Nationals, Zamo missed out on Olympic squad selection and there were some low scores between 12 and 14 in the mix. Some exceptional ones, but some pretty shocking ones too. A GGMB poster even hypothesised that this could be the first Olympics where Russia goes home without a medal. Their shining hope is Semyenova (on beam or bars, but there are several strong contenders from elsewhere in Europe, as well as USA and China).

There are some big players missing from other countries, so we might do better than you think. I'm not saying we'll get a bronze, I'm not saying we won't.

Asha said...

I read somewhere on IG that the Russian Nationals were deliberately scored very harshly so I'm not sure if the scores received there would be reflective of what would be scored internationally.

Also my hard drive recorder played up (again) during last night's Moscow broadcast but I did catch the end live and they didn't show Dasha's floor, you only saw the presentation and two or three other floor routines.

Anonymous said...

They showed Dasha's floor routine before switching to men's vault.

Anonymous said...

Yeh that broadcast was weird. It didn't even finish any events or put results up it just randomly went to a new one...

Anonymous said...

we wont win bronze. i think we will come 12th, we just arent a competitive gymnastics nation anymore. I wont be suprised if we start finishing 15th-20th in future worlds team competitions and if we start sending individuals to olympics for the future. We scored too highly at nationals giving false hope.

nade00 said...

I'd have to disagree. At last worlds we would have finished 5th without our falls. We clearly have the a-scores, and the programs, to challenge for a top 8 spot. For all the teams after the 'big 4' (Russia, Rom, USA, China), it is a matter of performance on the day, because the a-scores are so tightly clustered. If we nail our beam rotation in Beijing, there's no doubt we will most likely finish top 8 IMO. It is definitely our best event.

Anonymous said...

i reckon if we had the following team from this last quad up as our beijing team, then yeah certainly we could be up there in 3rd: Dasha Joura, Chloe Sims, Hollie Dykes, Lauren Mitchell, Monette Russo, Shona Morgan with back-ups such as Bonora and Arrowsmith (some of you may raise eyebrows with my inclusion of Alice, but her beam was exquisite back in the day - gainer immediate onodi was crazy - how come we don't see many gainer skills on beam anymore?).

Mez said...

Usually when I talk my football team up, we lose. When I go to a game, we lose.

I'm not going to talk this team up too much because of that. But short of them all being infected with the myterious IMAFALLOVAANDBURSTINTOFLAMES virus, last seen as a noxious cloud floating ominously somewhere over a Patagonian rainforest, the day before their qualification round, I really think this team will do okay.

They can't do any more than they're doing right now. They have some advantages and disadvantages when you put them against other teams, but everyone's going in on an equal (so to speak) footing when the preliminary rounds start so you never know what will happen in a month!

mistysakura said...

We won't finish twelfth if we hit. We look at China, the USA, Russia and Romania and we're miles behind, so we think we're not competitive any more. But a lot of nations are in the same position as us. Look at Italy -- Ferrari's still their best gymnast but she's been scoring in the 13/14s. Ukraine is usually a splat-fest. Japan sadly doesn't have the A-scores (gorgeous gymnastics...) France has lost quite a few gymnasts to injury. There are many countries like us fighting for a team final spot, and I think we'll make it. Just not bronze :P

Anonymous said...

all countries can have good days and bad days. it would be un-australian to think that the girls will not perform. I truely hope that you all eat your words as the green and gold steps onto the podium. Here's to positive thinking and brain power.