Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Overheard in Beijing

Call me crazy. Call me pedantic. Call me what you will.

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...

Prelims Beam:

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!"
S: "Me?
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."

Prelims Vault:

Martine, to Lauren after a nice vault: "Bang-a-roos!"

Olivia, to Ashleigh after a stuck vault: "That was awesome! Good job, girl!"

Prelims Bars:

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!"

Prelims Floor:

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!


Anonymous said...

Ha, some awesome lines there. I especially liked Olivia's "Technique, Shona, Technique!" Sounds very Star Wars " Use the force." Olivia is going to be so great at NCAA cos she's got such infecitous team spirit.

Shona is so laid back and modest, it's refreshing. I thought that there might be some tension between the WAIS and Waverly girls over the Emma vs Olivia thing but they're all so supportive of eachother. Martine too was really good with the Waverly girls. Makes me smile :)

I'm a bit hazey on the 2006 Commonwealth Games quote, was it said to Chloe during TFs? What's the story there?

My favourite overheard moment though was at the Beijing Test Event after Lauren's beam routine in finals. She's sitting with Dasha and Martine. Martine tells her to say hi to someone, I think it was Dez, so Lauren waves to the the camera and says " Hi Dez" Martine then goes on to say that it would be hilarious if "Dez" saw it. Finally Dasha says that Lauren is hogging the camera upon which Lauren puts her arm over Dasha's shoulder and brings her into frame while laughing. I can't find the clip on youtube anymore but it was really funny.

nade00 said...

I liked this post. I always wish we could understand what all the non-english speaking teams are saying too. It is interesting see how teams interact especially when the members don't always train together.

Personally I still can't bear to watch our qual BB rotation or TF UB rotation!

Looking forward to some national clubs and Massilia action this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Team interactions are fascinating. A perfect example of this was the TF at the 2000 Olympics. Khorkina owned that team. I mean you could feel the fear and respect that the other girls had for her. After the beam disaster she gives this "pep talk" where she shakes her fist like she wants to claw someone's eyes out. I don't speak Russian but the message was clear. " We're the best, we're not supposed to f*#k up!! Pull it together or else someone is gonna lose an appendage!" Earlier Lobaz was sitting with her head in her hands, presumably after the beam fall and Khorkina gives her a little slap as if to say " Snap out of it! Stop your whinging! If anyone should be complaining it's ME."

FInally it was Khorkina who initiated the medal removal. Everyone always says it was Khorkina and Produnova, but Zamo actually took of her medal before Prod, as soon as Khorkina did. I suppose it's what all the cool kids were doing.

But then Khorkina goes and gives up her VT spot for Zamo because she thought Zamo was the better VT yet Khorkina's prelim score would've been enough for gold in the final. During the final she was cheering like a mad woman in the stands for Zamo and Lobaz. Then the next day she wouldn't even get up to congratulate Zamo on her FX gold. They show her sitting down and the look on her face totally says " Wasn't it enough I gave you VT gold, you need to steal my FX gold too?"

Thank God team Aus has never had such tense interactions!

The Couch Gymnast said...

Bang-a roos! Did you ever hear anything so quaint and aussie in yr life?!!!

Mez said...

I think the CommGames quote was said to Naomi Russell during TF bars, IIRC. She'd hit a good routine and Hollie was up next, P-Liddy just wanted Naomi to cheer for her along with everybody else.

Yes, I liked the Beijing Test Event beam final banter, too. I believe Lauren is saying hi to Desiree Jones (travelling team judge from WA) so she waves and says "Hi Des!". Dasha says something jokingly along the lines of "take up [all] the camera space [why don't you]!" and then Martine says "you should both [get on-camera], it'd be hilarious" so they both lean in for a big hug and smile. I believe Youtube user "Tumblefoot" had a long, commentary-free version of that routine so you hear all the talking.

I tried to listen into some of the French team chatter during Euro's but it's hard! Most of the time I pick up numbers, eg they talk about a previous score or the score they think that completed routine will get. Otherwise, my years of French study just get overwhelmed by the effortless speech of the native speakers.

Oone of the weirder moments was after Dasha's 2006 Worlds bars final routine, after she hugs Olivia and goes to sit down, she bashfully says, "Aw, can you please get that camera out of my face!"

The YouTube account Gymnast (run by website has some commentary-free High Definition vids of Pacific Rim Championships earlier this year; they've got Dasha on beam/floor/bars, Ashleigh on floor, Lauren on bars, and you hear the girls cheer each other on. As Dasha starts floor, you hear a great "Crank it up, Dash!"

Australia's had it's fair share of 'tense' interactions during events. Not so much between the athletes but when someone's done something wrong and P-Liddy rounds on them. I'm thinking Lisa Skinner after her beam fumble in Athens in particular.

I like hearing them encourage one another on events like beam and bars where it's quiet for longer. They not only encourage each other but remind each other of what move comes next, too. I remember Monette nasally yelling "ROUNDoff!" to Dasha at the 2005 AUS v CHN. And you'll often hear things like "keep it straight!" or "all the way over!" or "arms, watch your arms!"

And my favourite, which, for a brief moment, makes us all think we're at the cricket: 'CAAAAAAAAAATCH!'

solnishko said...

Actually, according to Khorkina's biography, the decision for Zamo to compete vault was made without her. Khorkina was training and saw Zamo also training vault and thought WTF? So she asked the coaches and they told her that they had decided Zamo was being put in the final. Apparently Zamo's coach made all kinds of promised about sharing the prize money etc but never mentioned another word about it after Zamo won the gold... Khorkina was tres pissed off...