Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween is Here

In order to celebrate the day where we encourage children to take sweets from strangers and our adult friends to dress up in lingerie and fake animal ears for the sake of Facebook photos, I give you this riff on Dwight Normile's hilarious (and by 'hilarious' I mean 'about as funny as a joke told by your elderly father') new column on Halloween costume suggestions for gymnasts.

Lauren Mitchell: The Little Engine that Could. She just keeps trying and trying and trying and does her best to smile in all circumstances.

Dasha Joura: Lemon Skittle. A bright, sweet, colourfully-packaged treat that brings euphoric feelings to people in small or large doses.

Amber Fulljames: Gun silencer. She's a dark horse, a sleek performer, somewhat reserved off the podium... and could probably get away with murder if she tried.

Melanie Jones: Energiser battery. With all that power and amplitude, she just keeps going and going and going (sometimes outside the floor lines...)

Olivia Vivian: Bubble Wrap. Fun to have around and always protective of her teammates.

P-Liddy: Rainbow Slinky. She's a colourful character that can confuse and amaze you at the same time; she knows her purpose, she can be fun for the team to have around, but some people feel like accompanying her on a 'trip' down some stairs on odd occasions...

I'm off to my own Halloween celebrations now. I was going to go dressed as a Xavier College Year 12 boy (yes, fellow Victorians, they ARE pretty scary figures) but changed my mind when I got pressed for time and finances.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LOLs For a Lull

You asked for it...

Sorry for some of them being massively massive and getting cut off!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Now You Can Sleep at Night

Knowing that yours truly is actually doing bugger all at her desk, thanks to this here gadget.

Take From This What You Will

The following information was relayed in a recent Anonymous comment (sometimes I wish the blog didn't have this function... sometimes I am thankful and think the blog is a better space for it), don't know precisely who to credit it to so I don't know how legitimate it is. Seems pretty detailed to me but I am happy to accept any clarifications. The views and information expressed within the post do not reflect those upheld by myself or the blog. I thank the source but hope the information is in fact correct and substantiated.

Ashleigh & Lauren going to DTB & Marseille. Lauren to do AA and Ash to do beam and floor. Sore shoulder, so giving it a rest. Britt & Emily to Marseille. Tain was to go, but foot is not 100% yet. Georgia, Shona, Emma declined Marseille, resting and learning new skills. Georgia still has sore ankle, Emma still has sore foot--so both not full training. Shona healthy, looks good. Amber declined Marseille, new skills. Melanie Jones just had shoulder surgery, repaired a slap lesion, should be 12 week recovery. Dasha's ankle still healing. All gymnasts are at camp, all look good physically. Karina Brooks and Chantelle Turnbull are also at this camp, look like they have learned some new skills. GA has issued invitations for an international team to attend nationals in Perth, however no response as of yet. Victor Lutienko has accepted the head coach position at SA. No replacement at VIS, some reshuffling of groups has occured. National clubs is trial for Youth Olympic Festival, so should be well attended for juniors and below. Seniors are all recovering and Ashleigh and Lauren will be just arriving back in Australia after DTB & Marseille, so won't be at National Clubs. 24-2012 age gymnasts and 50-2016 age gymnasts will attend junior camps after the elite portion of National clubs at the AIS gym. National coaches will test skills and have national ranking in December for each age group according to IDEAL skills testing model.

Er... ok. I'll say "Information double plus good. Injury news ungood".


Svetlana [Sanders], Tiera [Exum] and Zoe [Lorenzin?] are also going to Marseilles so I doubt they will be at National Clubs as it as around the same time but are not going on National team but as VIS team.

Slap lesion!? I think I read about one of those in a book about sea monsters somewhere...

Oh, the huge manitee!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Aussie MAGs Matthew Curtis and Tom "What's that? ...Why yes, I am rather dishy" Pichler will be heading to the Ostrava World Cup in the Czech Republic from November 6-8.
See the rest of the competition roster here.

Good luck, gents.

Nonchalance: I has it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More From Camp Orange

With colloquial little flourishes like "stuffed up big time" and "pissing down rain", I really think we've found a mini Sally McLellan in gymnastics' own Olivia Vivian. Here she is chatting to the OSU newspaper about her Beijing experiences. Let's hope she can pull through and give equally inspiring Sally-style performances for the team (after all, there seems to be quite a bit of pressure on her. One Inside Beavers video had two fellow team members observing that if she's been on an Olympic team then she must surely be 'legit').

ETA Wednesday: The OSU Roster and Bios page has been updated to included the new Freshmen (of which Liv is one). Thanks for the heads-up, Richard!

Monday, October 20, 2008

e-news... without Ryan Seacrest.


I'm sorry, but HA.

The latest "e-news" from Gymnastics Australia's SMC (which can be found, in all its bright pink glory, here) features the following quote:

WAG E-News is brought to you by the National WAG Gymnastics Sports Management Committee and will provide you with the latest information on what’s happening around Australia and the rest of the World.

I like to think I'm a somewhat modest person, willing to give kudos where it is due.

But come on. I'm a university student, I worked a second job until March, I just completed a thesis, and yet I have done a better job keeping people updated as to what's going on with our team. Heck, I've done it more than once a week on some occasions. And I've never even set foot inside the AIS! I'm not even a committee, I'm just one short, pudgy person! "Latest" information? Your "latest" edition has no Beijing wrap-up or a preview of the upcoming National Clubs championships. Your first edition has been taken off the server. Nice job bringing Nationals back to Melbourne this year, but please don't treat the fans like we're not wanting information. Particularly in this post-Olympic, pre-World Cup period. Does "SMC" really stand for "Snail Mail Communiqué"? Lift your game, folks, we want frequent news updates. We don't want sporadic enthusiasm like some tipsy party-goer who has gobbled too many oysters to win a macho bet, gone and thrown up outside, sat on a bench for a moment to weep and watch his mates siphon vodka into a platter of kiwifruit stolen from the buffet, then come back onto the dance floor with renewed vigour like he had never left, high-fiving all and sundry with an enthusiastic "All riiiiiight! Let's do this!"

With all due respect, SMC friends, if you're going to give the impression that you're constantly "in the know" as the overseers of the national WAG program and all it encapsulates, at least do it right. Two months between drinks does not a news service make.

WAG E-News will be distributed electronically; however we’d like to know how often you’d like to receive it.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Community Service Announcement

Hey everybody, just providing you with a short distraction from the gymmery.

On October 31 I will be donating blood. It's the first time I will have ever done it and, depending on how I go, it may not be the only time.

I'm a person who is deathly afraid of and anxious about getting injections, but when I was stopped by a Red Cross volunteer in the street the other day asking for my details, I figured I couldn't put it off any longer. I was nervous when they called last week and asked to confirm a date for my donation and I thought "well, if I put it off for too long, I probably won't even show up out of nervousness, so it's better to make it sooner rather than later". I've picked the 31st (inadvertantly keeping with the Halloween theme and the whole "ooooh something's gonna come and take your bloooood" thing).

I encourage anybody over the age of 16 who is of good health and who wants to do something to better the lives of others to consider donating blood. Several of my friends have done it and made it through fine, and my mother is a nurse who deals daily with people desperately needing blood transfusions and the like. I'm surprised I didn't have the cojones to do it sooner.

You can find out more from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Simply the Best (Bwarmp. Bwarmp. BWARMP. Bwarmp...)

Sorry. It's quite hard put guitar chord sounds into words...

An interesting little discussion is broiling over at The Gymblog. Just who IS Australia's "best ever" gymnast?

I don't think we have just one. I don't know if we ever will have one, whom we all point to as The One who put us on the map and whose name will echo through the ages. Our Retton, Our Comaneci, Our Liukin, Our Tweddle, Our Khorkina. We have several who fit unique categories, that's for sure, but I personally couldn't nail it to just one.

1. Longevity - Lisa Skinner, 'nuff said. Three Olympics! After numerous retirements, no less!

2. Most Decorated - Allana Slater. A World Cup gold medal and some silvers and bronzes. Multiple Commonwealth Games gold medals. A World Championships bronze medal. Three national all-around titles. A competitor at two Olympic Games and four World Championships. Granted, she never got a World or Olympic gold but all that other stuff is surely not to be sniffed at!

3. Highest Achiever - Well, this one would have to go to our first and only World Champion. And it's a guy! Philippe Rizzo boasts two world championships medals, a gold and a silver on high bar. Three world cup gold medals (formerly ranked world #1 on high bar) and multiple minor medals on the same event. Three Commonwealth Games gold medals. In terms of the women, Monette Russo boasts two World Championship bronze medals, one as an individual and one as a team member. No other Australian woman can boast this result just yet, and thus far she's our highest ever all-around finisher at a Worlds.

4. Innovator - Tie. Trudy McIntosh and Dasha Joura.

McIntosh: First (and only, I think!) Australian to compete a double layout with full twist on floor. Had a vault named after her.: handspring layout front with full twist. When she didn't compete this vault, she still competed one of the hardest out there, a layout handspring front.

Joura: The first Australian to vault a Yurchenko-double internationally, one of the few to compete a double layout on floor internationally. Our second-highest AA finish at a World Championships (fifth) and quickly catching up to Allana Slater's world cup medal tally. Equalled Slater's three national titles. In 2008, scored the equal highest score on floor in the world (15.750).

Should we look to our torch-bearers as the 'best ever'? Hughes, Allen, Monico? Should we go by medal count, number of competitions, placings? What makes The Best, I ask you? On an international level, I get frustrated when I see the Johnsons and the Liukins of Team USA winning world and Olympic medals like crazy. But do we see them on the world cup circuit? Do we see them at small invitationals at clubs other than their own? Well, only when they're there for autographs and photos. It's great that Nastia won the fight for artistry in winning the AA in Beijing. It's great that America got a new Shannon Miller in little Shawn at Stuttgart. But where are these girls when Glasgow, DTB, Cottbus, Massilia, Shanghai, or Moscow World Cups roll around? I hate that the Karolyis don't send their world championship team members to prestigious competitions. I last saw Memmel and Sacramone in world cups in 2005. What's happened since then? I'll believe a world championship medallist when I see them dominating elsewhere. If you're #1 in the world, don't just prove it in one place. Throw your weight around, try different venues and equipment to prove you can win elsewhere. It's no good just working the cameras at The Big Show. Sometimes the smaller victories, the non-televised, non-lucrative events, are just as vital to a gymnast's development and their reputation overseas. I like the American girls a lot, but just wish I could see them on a network other than NBC and in a venue other than Downtown USA!

Back to Oz. I think Joura is on the right track to better Russo's 2005 Worlds bronze. Many argue that Russo only won it thanks to errors by others (beam once again being the downfall for the likes of Tweddle and Zamo) in an already depleted post-Athens field. I personally don't think she was our 'best', she certainly made some great achievements but I'll admit her career was rather short. Joura has good difficulty levels and remarkable execution. She's getting her name known overseas. Consistency is her only real enemy, but she must be commended for overcoming her beam bobbles in recent times. She could go all out and win some real hardware in 2009 and 2010. She could get what it takes (it what we perceive that it takes) to be the best.

When you really think about it, thus far Slater's looking good for a quote-unquote 'Best Ever' title. But we're talking about a whole new generation coming through now, who are already making names for themselves on the world cup circuit and building on their experiences in Beijing. We could see a female World Champion within the next quadrennium. Slater's medal tally could be toppled in a shorter time than it took her to earn hers. Memories of our team bronze in 2003 could be stamped out when a silver or a gold comes within our reach. And London 2012? Only time will tell.

'Best' is only 'Best' for so long. Human endeavour shows that records can be broken and one person's efforts can be bettered, given time. A certain Mr Phelps showed us that (even if, y'know, he does look like a horse in a man costume...).

I just hope our next great hope can make it to the top without a daily dose of toasted BLT sandwiches and whole halves of cow, burned off by mad laps of the local baths.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WA all the Way!

1 Olivia has updated from Oregon! Read her latest blog here.

2. WA-based readers, twiddle your radio dials at 3pm tomorrow (Thurs 16/10):

720 ABC Perth will broadcast its Drive program live from 3 - 6pm from Challenge Stadium with Olympic guests including Sonja Johnson (equestrian - silver), Dasha Joura, Lauren Mitchell (gymnastics) and Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker all making special appearances.

There will also be appearances from all your other favourite ABC Radio presenters, with more 2008 West Australian Olympians to be confirmed.

The Wally Foreman Foundation Radiothon last year raised $75,000 to help elite athletes continue to train full-time whilst pursuing work or study commitments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just Sit Back While Your DJ Bounces Back

Um... so the accompanying picture's a bit weird (can't say I complete my study sessions in such a lovely lunge position) but otherwise, all signs point to recovery for Dasha "Yo, don't be talkin' smack about my busted nose BEEYATCH!" Joura. Looks like she may be heading to some World Cup events after all...

*fingers crossed*

Our Paralympians got a 'welcome home' parade today. I discovered this at 1pm on my lunch break at work... the same time the parade was getting underway :(

In other WA-related news, retiree Allana Slater was on a panel of judges (not the gymnastics kind!) for the state's Pride ofAustralia awards.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life in Orange-Tinted Glasses

Olivia Vivian has enjoyed some pre-season events with her OSU gymnastics team-mates. These include attending an OSU baseball game and the team's annual retreat.

A video at shows the girls at their retreat, enjoying meals together and teamwork activities like ropes courses and campfires. Looks like they had a ball!

According to an OSU correspondent who saw the girls in training recently, the women's head coach Tanya said various members had reported having trouble sleeping earlier in the week, because their stomachs were hurting so much from Olivia making them laugh. Awww...

Good luck, Liv! Keep smiling!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Assignments Due?

All we know thus far is that WA is yet again sending a contingent to the November World Cup events.

Lauren Mitchell is slated for the DTB Cup and Massilia Cup, Tain Molendijk and Emily Little are heading to the Massilia Cup as well No word yet on other participants. No doubt Dasha's still recovering from her injury, but I hope the Victorian girls get a look-in as well. They deserve it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Surely There Will Be An Epic Disaster Tomorrow

I'm feelin' great. Are you feelin' great? I know I am. I don't really know why. It's just been a great 48 hours or so for me. Being the perpetually perky poppet that I am, I just know this cycle of funnery will end some time tomorrow with some kind of horrific news or happenstance. But for now... yay, sunshine! *clappity*

Just thought I'd make your respective Sundays a bit more amusing with one of my favourite photos ever.

*stifled snorts*

Friday, October 3, 2008

Rhythmic Sneak-Peek

Shhhh! Don't tell the feds!

Naazmi Johnston's clubs routine from Beijing can be seen here; her hoop routine can be seen here.