Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards WINNERS!

That's right. Today's the day the gymfans have their piiiiiicniiic!

Without further ado, here are the winners of the inaugral AGBys. Voting has now closed and all votes tabulated, many thanks to all who participated. Let's hope 2009 has an equally, if not more, enthusiastic turnout.

The Major Categories...

Australian Female Gymnast of the Year: Dasha Joura, WA
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: Lauren Mitchell, WA

Australian Male Gymnast of the Year: Tie! Phillippe Rizzo, NSW and Sam Simpson, QLD
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: Prashanth Sellathurai, NSW

Australian Artistic Gymnastics Team of the Year: Beijing Olympics WAG Team
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: DTB Cup delegation (MAG and Wag)

Australian Coach of the Year: Martine George, WAIS
"Onya!" Honourable Mention: John Hart, Waverley Gymnastics Centre

The Minor Categories...

Routine of the Year - Dasha Joura, Floor, National Championships Team Final, which you can view again with an air of , "*sigh* If only..." here.

"Smile" Moment of the Year - Lauren Mitchell's photo with beam, Olympics team final, which you can see here about 6:20 into the footage.

"Sad" Moment of the Year - Tie. Hollie Dykes' Retirement and Dasha Joura's Beijing Injuries.

Surprise of the Year - Chloe Sims' Utah signing

Sarah Clappers Award for Team Encouragement - Olivia Vivian

Simon Reeve Award for Gymnastics Reporting - Brindabella Interviews Tain Molendijk (Congratulations, Brindy! Dasha's PerthNow column was a *very* close second, so now you can say you've beaten a national champion!)

Brittany Boffo Award for Memorable Gymnastics Mishaps - Daria Joura, Olympics, Bars. "She went to Beijing and all she got was two black eyes..."

Gymsport Athlete/s of the Year - Australian World Championships Senior Trio, Sport Acrobatics

Monique Allen Award for Successful Ex-Gymsporters - Alexandra Croak, Diving/Modelling

LOLgymnast of the Year - Tie! Chloe Sims and Philippe Rizzo.

Congratulations to all the (very deserving) winners and we thank them for a memorable year in Australian gymnastics.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their nominations and feedback. Have a nice new year and see you all in 2009 for a fresh round of gymbloggery!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hiatus on Hold

Hi all.

I finally got near a computer long enough to give in to temptation and update here :P

I'll be heading back home this afternoon from Hobart, and in the coming days I will announce the winners of the 2008 Awards. Here are some things that have cropped up in the time I have been away:

* Both Lauren Mitchell and Dasha Joura were interviewed by IG, talking about Christmas plans and program upgrades for the new year.

* Video of the World Cup Final beam medal ceremony, in which Lauren's medal does in fact fall off the ribbon while she's on the podium...

...can be viewed here.

* Gymnastics Australia has a new-look website. Note the "featured gymnast" section and the YouTube link.

* Olivia Vivian appeared on the OSU sports program, "Beavers All-Access". Below is a transcript of the brief profile piece, as I am having trouble accessing the video. Thanks, Richard!

Todd Mansfield: When you want to build an elite program, you need to go out and find the best student-athletes. Coupled with their recent successes of three straight appearances at the NC2A tournament, Oregon State staff has been able to do that … they’ve combed the country, they’ve combed the world, to find the best student-athletes, and their most recent addition to this team is an Australian named Olivia Vivian. She was a participant in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as a member of the Australian Olympic team, and now she brings her experience, her talent, and her smile to Corvallis.

(Title bar at bottom of screen during this segment “VIVIAN’S JOURNEY FROM BEIJING TO CORVALLIS”)

“Voice-over”: It can be hard for incoming freshmen to stand out in a room full of talented veteran gymnasts in Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center … but Olivia Vivian is not your ordinary incoming freshman. Just a few months ago Vivian was competing for Australia against the best gymnasts in the world at the Olympic Games … and now she is competing for Oregon State against the top college gymnasts in the United States. Although she competed on the biggest stage in the world over the summer, Vivian knows things won’t get any easier during her time in Corvallis.

Olivia: The Olympics gave me international experience, to come to college gymnastics, but America is very good at gymnastics, it’s a big sport here, so even when you come in to college they do big skills, you know, so I’m still going to have work hard. I don’t think it makes it any easier except that I’ve been under pressure situations.

“Voice-over”: And the most pressure packed situation wasn’t on the mat in Beijing, it was during the announcement of the Australian National Team.

Olivia: After such an intense selection process, where you know it was pretty much the worst moment of my life … where we had about five hours to wait for this decision after our last competition; and of course my last name beginning with a “V”, I was the last person called up on this team. And so I had to wait for that one more spot left , and I felt … (uhg) … but when my name was called, I just immediately just started crying … just balling my eyes out. I was so happy after … after all that hard work … it paid off.

“Voice-over”: Vivian’s hard work did pay off as she competed on bars and stuck her landing, to help Australia to its best showing in the Olympics … with a sixth place finish.

Olivia: Before the Olympics I never really got into it … it was just all about gymnastics, and then when I got to Beijing, and I was on the Olympic team, it became Australia, it was no longer gymnastics, it was Australia, … and I would cry every time I heard the National Anthem.

“Voice-over”: When she first arrived in Corvallis her teammates were eager to hear stories of her Olympic experience, … and they got an earful …

Jen Kesler: We just probably like … mind-boggled her with all these questions, and it was really cool to hear her experiences, ‘cus I think it would be amazing to go to the Olympics, but only certain people can do that …

Mandi Rodriguez: We were jokin’ on bars the other day, and I was like … “Hey Olivia, remember last summer in Beijing when you stuck your bar dismount in the Olympics?, … remember that?” … so it’s kind of surreal having someone that has reached the top level in our sport, being able to join us and share her experiences with us … it’s great!

Olivia: The team atmosphere here … it blows everything out of the water! All the girls are extremely close, we help each other get through training sessions, it’s really nice here …it’s really nice and friendly.

Todd Mansfield: She may be a long way from home, but this is where her heart is … and this is where she plans to win.

Hope you all had a really great Christmas. I know I did.
I'm pretty sure I'll have to be rolled onto the plane home Willy Wonka-style...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ok, So I Lied!

I couldn't possibly leave you all without bringing your attention to this.
One word: Kyoooot!
It just goes to show you that gymnastics knows no language barriers.

And if that doesn't warm the heart of your cockles in time for Christmas, then you're a real Scrooge!

Have a good one, niblets. See you in the '09.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hiatus Here I Come!

Hi everyone.

I'm going away for a week over Christmas and, seeing as the elite season proper has come to a close with the World Cup Final completed, I find it only fitting that I bid you adieu from now until the new year.

If there is something unbelievably magnanimous concerning the gymnastics world that arises, then by all means I'll get myself access to a computer where I'm staying and try to give my two cents worth. Otherwise, there isn't a great deal to talk about so why waste the broadband usage? Mind you, I will be back to announce the winners of the Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards (on which you can still vote until well after Christmas so PLEASE DO!) on December 30th so you'd best stay tuned for that.

So now to the formalities -

I thank everyone who has contributed to the blog this year, in comments or articles or news or links. I am grateful for any and all feedback I have received and am most touched by the gestures offered by gymnasts and gym families who have allowed me to share some of their special experiences with you all. In less than a year I have gained insight into the gymnastics world from coaches, choreographers, gym journalists, gym mums and Olympians (or "gym-lympians"). This kind of insight, I am sure, would never have come my way had I not decided to simply start this old thing on January 1. I'd like to think I'm a better gym fan for it. You've helped the blog along, from drooling, stumbling cyber-infant with food all over its face to stealthier, more confident and more substantial web-kindergartener, who might still get food on its face but who can at least stand up, wipe it off and fling it at you.

To the readers who tell me that they enjoy reading, that I make them laugh, that I am a good news resource - thanks. It means the world to me to get positive feedback, when I at first thought this space wasn't anything special. I live to make people enjoy themselves and to be informed in all that they do; I hope this blog serves a fraction of that purpose. To get comments from readers overseas and interstate is pretty damn cool too.

Finally, to the great exponents of the sport in this country - to our gymnasts. Thank you for the joy you give us in your performances. For giving us theatre, fashion and athleticism in one daring spectacle. For flying the flag, for not giving in, for showing us what hard work brings - all fans thankyou. We wish you a safe and happy gymnastics journey through 2009 and beyond.

So that's it from me for now.

I hope you all have an enjoyable festive season, may you and your families stay happy and healthy. Go You Big Red Fire Engine, etc.

Hold on to your trouserlegs, wombats, 'cause here comes 2009!!!

World Cup Hangover

The news is spreading about Lauren's gold medal and our other fantastic World Cup Final results. This article has quotes from Liz C, and just a *little* bit of chest-puffing-out about the WAIS.

I hope they all have a nice Christmas which, according to GA, will go thusly:

Prashanth will return home and then head to New Zealand to holiday with his family, Lauren is returning to WA to spend Christmas with her family and Phil will remain in Europe.

You can watch video of Lauren's routine here, on the right-hand side of screen. I am waiting to see YouTube clips surface, as apparently she and Cheng Fei shared 'a moment' off the podium.

Again, congratulations to all the medallists and their hard-working coaches. This has been a great year for international competition and I wish all gymnasts the best as they head into a new year and work towards an exciting World Championships.

Monday, December 15, 2008

World Cup Final Day 2

Let's not beat around the bush, shall we?

Philippe Rizzo scored a silver on high bar and LAUREN MITCHELL WON BEAM!!! Over Li ShanShan no less!

Congratulations, Lauren! We're so proud!

In fact, I'm thrilled for the whole Aussie trio - they all medalled!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

World Cup Final Day 1

Results as they come in.

Congratulations to Prashanth Sellathurai who scored an excellent 16.025 on pommel, putting him in the bronze medal position behind Zhang Hontao of China and Kristian Berki of Hungary. Apparently his A-score was lower than usual.

Live "Quick Hits" from the event can be found here.

Women's beam and men's high bar to be competed tomorrow!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

AYOF: Siblings' Great Expectations

A short Youth Olympic Festival preview piece featuring Jack Rickards and Natalia Joura can be found here.

In elite news, you can follow the World Cup Final live via International Gymnast or the FIG site. *fingers crossed* it works out!

Things to Keep Your Eye On

1. FIG's photo page of WAG podium training at the World Cup Final. It will be updated as the sessions go on... I hope.

2. Melbourne-raised "Angel" Wong of Hong Kong, the first gymnast from Hong Kong to qualify for a World Cup Final, who'll be competing on vault in Madrid. She appears confident, articulate and, let's face it, just plain luvverly, in this video, about four minutes in. You can see some of her gymnastics in this video. She's no Alicia Sacramone but for an 'unknown' gymnast from a non-powerhouse country, it's a good effort.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Aussie Upstart Starts Her Engines

Speak of the devil!

Photo credit: Andy Cripe

Perth's own Olivia Vivian has featured in yet another pre-season NCAA article, sharing a little bit more about her Olympic experiences and how she's faring in her new gymnastics environment now that she's been cleared to train with the OSU team. Evidently she's ready and raring to go. Good luck to her.

Vivian said the memory she cherishes is when she stuck her bars dismount on the first day of the competition.

“It was the biggest relief, just making your routine and of course, once touching those bars, I’m an Olympian,” she said. “I’m an Olympian forever and no one can take that away.”


Fancy That!

Remember a while ago how I saw a slight resemblance between "Awmygawd didja see me, didja see how pumped I was!!!???" Olympic silver medal-winning hurdler Sally McLennan and Olympic uneven bars expert Olivia Vivian?

Turns out there's more of a resemblance than we thought:

McLellan used to be a gymnast!

When McLellan was four, her mother got her involved in gymnastics. "I was doing flips on the monkey bars at school and in the park. So mum thought that was a pretty good sport for me to start off in."

At eleven, McLellan turned to athletics, and putting her gymnastics training to good use, found herself at home over the hurdles.

Aw... no wonder she was so bouncy and dancey once she crossed the line!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Goodnight and Good Luck

Best wishes to Lauren Mitchell who leaves (left?) today for the World Cup Final in Madrid. The beam final takes place this Sunday. She'll be flying the flag alongside Philippe Rizzo and Prashanth Sellathurai.

If past results are anything to go by, all three could end up with a gold medal on their respective events; if not, they're damn good enough for a medal of any other colour!

Australian Olympic Youth Festival

...is coming up in January!

Unfortunately I will probably not be able to cover it because I'll be overseas for 12 days, jetting off on the 8th. I will certainly try, though, to make time and get internet access if I can. But that's not important now.

The annual (free!) Sydney youth sports event boasts such gymnastics alumni as Dasha Joura, Chloe Sims, Emma Dennis, Ben Wilden and Naazmi Johnston.

Australia's 2009 WAG team includes nationals medallists Emily Little and Britt Greeley as well as budding pee-wee champs Natalia Joura, Emma Collister and Mary-Anne "The Other Mez" Monckton. For the men's side, look out for promising Jack Rickards (from the PacRim men's junior team) and Luke Wadsworth.

Exciting stuff.

For these are the stars of the future. These are the kidlets aiming for, notably, the PacRim/Commonwealth/Worlds spots of 2010 and the Olympic slots of 2012. For the likes of Rickards and Monckton, this is also another crack at AYOF success and a chance to prove themselves as true team assets as they progress towards the senior ranks.

Such little kneecaps.

Here is a preview of some of the competitors:

Mary-Anne Monckton, 2007 AYOF floor here.

Natalia "BabyDasha" Joura, 2008 Nationals uneven bars here.

Emma Collister (and Angela Donald - not an AYOF competitor but still one to watch), 2008 Nationals vault here.

Jack Rickards, promotional video here.

Thanks to everyone who filmed at the events. Without you we would have no vision of Australia's future stars. And this entry would be a bit blah.

Don't forget, you can also see Emily/Britt at the recent Massilia Gym Cup at the "AureliaGym" channel on YouTube.

Lead us, tiny-footed ones, into a great gymnastics future!


... Well go on!


I like hearing your opinions and feedback so please keep those votes coming in for the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.


You can follow the Youth Olympic Festival live (quote unquote) at the following sources, as well their official website at olympics.com.au:

Official YouTube Channel

Official Twitter Account

Become a "Fan" on Facebook

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vale Kerryn McCann

Some sad news.

When I wasn't attending gymnastics at the 2006 Commonwealth Games here in Melbourne, I made time for track and field events. I braved the hot sun and an uncovered part of the MCG to watch, among other things, the women's marathon. It was won impressively by Australia's own Kerryn McCann, a 'supermum' in every sense of the word. The crowd went nuts and appropriately so. It was a great thing to witness.

News sources reported this morning that McCann has lost her battle with cancer. My deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends. They will forever have the memory of the MCG crowd roaring and leaping to its feat with joy when she crossed the finish line. She's an inspiration to athletes everywhere.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

Ever seen this fluff? It's pretty insightful for something that is six years old.

The whole competition, in fact, is an interesting little nugget to pore over. Go through the parts on YouTube if you like; the whole "ZOMGZ it's gunna be tough defendin' that Commonwealth title!" talk is a bit funny seeing as we know the outcome.

Watch a great floor routine from Allana Slater. See Jacqui Dunn stick her bars dismount. Listen to the team encourage one another as they compete. Be bemused as they have to stand there in limbo and wait for the score to be announced before they can go and sit down.

Sit back, relax and enjoy.

...or go and watch the AFI Awards, I don't mind.

Making The List

A couple of elegant Aussies have made some lists in the last few days.

PIKED's list of The Top 100 Floor Routines of the Last 8 Years features Lisa Skinner's 2000 Arabian Princess routine at #13 (not the first time she's been the highest-ranked Australian with that routine, yuk yuk yuk), Dasha Joura's 2008 effort at #48, and Allana Slater's patriotic 2000 routine at #61. Unless it's just me, her 2001-2004 Tango del Roxanne routine doesn't appear to be listed anywhere, and I think many of us, artistry-wise at least, would rank that above I Still Call Australia Home.

Dasha J is also mentioned (fittingly) on the Top 10 Funkiest Gymnasts on Floor list over at the Double Salto blog. Although I, for one, would certainly not put her unique salute down to being 'a bit drunk'.

Don't forget to cast your vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards!

Friday, December 5, 2008

From the Beijing Collection

Olivia Vivian has kindly said that she would be happy for the following photos to be shared with you all. So let me present to you moments from her exclusive Beijing Olympics collection...
(apologies for blurriness, I had to resize them a bit)

The leotards arrive in Canberra, plastic-wrapped and ready to do their job as part of Australia's Olympic campaign. As you can see, there were a few that did not get selected for use by the team, including the interesting two on the far right, and the two in the middle of the top row.

The pride of an Olympian: She certainly has it.

Pre-comp: In the training gym

Pre-comp: The team gets "pumped up" and feels the love before prelims. Could we love this team more? I think not.

Oh wait, apparently we can. Post-comp: Despite the rain, the girls converge on The Great Wall to amaze onlookers and bemuse television reporters...

All good things must come to an end. Byebye, Liv! Good luck in Oregon!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Awards Amendments

I have amended category #8 and #13 of the AGBy list, adding one or two extra names I had forgotten, so please look closely at the nominations list before voting.

Those who have already voted prior to this afternoon (you know who you are) may review the list and may change their vote/s within those altered categories if they wish to; otherwise the original rules still stand (only vote once, one vote per each category etc etc).

Thanks for your patience, and keep the votes coming to ozgymblog@gmail.com.


*slight cough*

Ummmm... I have a bit of a clarification to make.
Those Worlds '07 montages. The ones I linked to. Yeeeaaah... remember how I said we were dealing with an exciting new montage maker? Well, um, I don't think we are, exactly.

Watch those two montages.
Then watch this one.
Then this one.

And try to think where we've seen them before.



That's right. They're the GA montages they play at Nationals! I've been waxing lyrical about stuff we'd pretty much already seen, thinking it was new and done by some amazing person with MovieMaker on their laptop way out in the wild blue yonder. Well, technically they ARE a pretty amazing person with a laptop... but they're montages made for public broadcast and promotional purposes! That people, in a roundabout sort of way, are charged to see (insofar as they pay for a ticket to the event and then they play these on video screens). Oh, how foolish I was to think some individual was finally making use of good Stuttgart footage they had on their computer and having some fun with it! And to tell you all that they had! Little did I know someone was doing it for a job! Professionally! I even said they had used Nade's song... when in fact it was the other way around! THAT'S where we first heard it!

Oh, the huge manitee!


In other words - rest assured, Nade. You are still the individual non-for-profit supreme overload of YouTube-based gymnastics montagery. I don't know if that'll fit on a business card.

Don't forget to vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mid-Week Updates

There's a GA "mid-week update" up. Who are these people, Saturday Night Live all of a sudden?

LOLlity. I shouldn't complain. It's certainly an improvement! That it talks of "overnight" events goes to show they're kind enough to bestow the news on us.

Thanks to speedy secret agent Nade for the heads-up:


Overnight, GA has received an invitation for Lauren Mitchell to attend the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid (ESP). Lauren and coach Martine George, will leave Australia on Tuesday 9th December in time to compete in the Beam final which will take place on Sunday 14th December 2008.

Best wishes to Lauren, Phil and Prashanth, who will all be flying the flag for Australia at the 2008 World Cup Final.

And while they're at it, they've also named the Youth Olympic Festival team:

Britt Greeley - VIS/VIC
Emily Little - WAIS/WA
Mary-Anne Monckton - AIS/NSW
Georgia-Rose Brown - MBC/QLD
Emma Collister - Waverley/VIC
Ashley Cooney - WAIS/WA
Natalia Joura - WAIS/WA
Karina Brooks - QAS/QLD

Svetlana Sanders - VIS/VIC
Zoe Lorenzin - VIS/VIC
Tierra Exum - VIS/VIC

Let's Hear It For the Boys

It is an acknowledged fact that, in the unfortunate absence of stalwart Philippe Rizzo, our MAG team did not do as well as hoped at the 2007 World Championships.

Well, this rather uplifting montage, courtesy of the montage-maker behind the WAG Stuttgart montage from t'other day, would make you think otherwise! It's to the Foo Fighters (or at least appears to be) so... get ready to rock out with your chalk block out.

*does the rock finger salute thing*

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brain Bleach

Clearly, something is needed to sedate our eyes and memories from that horrible crash in yesterday's video.


Feast your eyes on Britt Greeley's new non-doofdoof floor routine here (talk about mature new choreography!) and her beam routine here. What a difference a few months makes!

Image courtesy of Kostikal.

And while you're at it, check out this fantastic new montage about our WAG team at the 2007 Worlds. Not too shabby at all. Nade, methinks you have some competition! Heck, they're even using your song!

Don't forget to vote in the 2008 Australian Gymnastics Blog Awards.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Remember that old video someone posted of the Aussie gymnast who was doing a bar routine and hit her shins unexpectedly on the low bar while doing giants? A fall that just about makes you jump out of your chair because you're not expecting it and it looks super painful?

Yeeeah. Just warning you now, this video, featuring Victoria's own Svetlana Sanders at the recent Massilia Cup, has that in reverse. I honestly don't know which is painfullier.

...what do you mean that's not a word!? Ask Lano and Woodley, they'll tell you.

Anyway, good on her for getting up and continuing. Just listen to all the "ooh la la"-ing from the spectators!

But believe me. You don't see it coming. Watch at your own risk.

In brighter news, nominations for the 2008 Agbys are already starting to emerge. Please keep them coming in, a new category was added today!

New Email Address!

Please send any and all correspondence (including, but not limited to, nominations for the 2008 Agbys) to my new email address, created for this blog:


That'd be ace. Thanks.