Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Blokes

Congratulations to the members of our men's World Championships team bound for London-

Joshua Jefferis
Sam Offord
Philippe Rizzo

Prashanth Sellathurai

Sam Simpson

Luke Wiwatowski

And they say there's no country for old men? Pssshhht. Two team members have already represented Australia at an Olympic Games. Two are previous World Championships medallists, four represented Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and all but Philippe competed at the 2007 World Championships.

Read more about the team and their expectations here. Offord will compete all-around, the only member of the team to do so. Rizzo and Sellathurai, as event specialists, will aim to repeat their 2006 individual apparatus successes; Simpson and Jefferis themselves will specialise on just two apparatus each.

(There is some serious facial hair going on with the Sams!)

The men's team for the Japan Cup was also named this weekend. Congratulations to Mitchell Morgans and Michael Merceica for their selection.

Don't forget to send your photos and messages of support for the teams in the 2009 Go You Big Red Fire Engine Project!

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Bit They Only Eat Plinkton...

As easy as it might be to overlook the gymnasts in the national levels program for their more travelled counterparts, they seem to be getting a lot of press lately as they prepare for their trans-Bass challenge in New Zealand.

Read about pocket-sized Victorian champ Caelen Bacon here (can I be honest? I saw him at States, I just wanted to scoop him up and put him to rest in my lime squeezer for my friends to marvel at)

Get to know Alex Caulfield here.

Say Hello to Brendon Lee here.

Meet Emma Longmuir and friends here.

Don't forget to send in your entry for the Go You Big Red Fire Engine project! And if you don't feel like sending a photo, why not a message of encouragement? Words are as striking as images, you know!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to National Clubs?

Hint: It starts with a "J" and ends in "A Pan".

That's right!

Word is that a Japanese delegation will be headed to Oz again to take on senior and junior WAG teams at the National Clubs championships, our first big event after Worlds, which this year will incorporate an international team 'duel' component. This competition will be very significant in regard to future national squad and international team selections.

Konichiwa, visitors!


You might also be interested to know that the senior and junior WAG profile pages at the GA website have been updated with new pictures!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Go You Big Red Fire Engine 2: Destination London

It's baaa-aaaack!

With no sort of vengeance whatsoever.

After the mild success of last year's GYBRFE fan project for the Olympic team, I'd like to keep that encouragement going and going and going for our male and female gymnasts bound for London in October, particularly as they are up against an apparent public post-Olympic lethargy.

Once again, show your support for the Aussie teams by undertaking the following steps:

WHAT IS IT? A warm, fuzzy message of support to our gymnasts. It'll be one big blog entry consisting of a series of photos of you guys (and me)! It's easy to do and anyone can take part. Last year's entries did boast an infant child, a gymnast and a dog.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO? Simple. Take a photo of either just you or you-and-your-family-or-friends holding a sign with big smiles, as well as any other Aussie memorabilia (such as green-and-gold accessories or a flag) if you so wish.

WHAT KIND OF SIGN? It can be on a t-shirt, it can be on an A4 sheet of paper, it can be on a laminated poster with drawings, it can be scrawled in the sand, it can be on a big cloth banner, you could spell it with your bodies! Anything, so long as the message is visible!

WHAT DOES THIS SIGN HAVE TO SAY? This is the integral bit. It's the catchiest, most enthusiastic and most AUSSIE phrase ever to come out of the mind of a comedian and television host:


That's right. The phrase made famous by Spicks and Specks' Adam Hills that follows him everywhere he goes as he spreads positivity and humour all around the world. It means "Go for it", it means "Go hard or go home", it means "Go because we believe in you!"
It's like Roy and HG's "Go You Good Thing!" but with a level added by reference to a coloured vehicle.

I couldn't think of a better message to send to our teams in London- we're behind you all the way so just go for it!


This is important. Email a copy of the photo/s either as a .jpg attachment or list its web location (a link to, say, a Photobucket or Flickr url) to with the subject title "Fan Project". It would be great to know your name and what state you're from, however you do not have to give me your name with your photo if you wish to remain anonymous. I will then collate all the photos I receive and and post them in one big entry here just prior to Worlds kicking off. I will also put them in a collage of sorts and upload it to the Supporters of Australian Gymnastics group at Facebook. Of course, using my network of contacts (and I don't mean that in a patronising-air-kissy-ooh-err-matron-look-at-me-and-my-little-address-book kind of way) I will also definitely try and get the message to the teams personally. I can tell you that one member of our Olympic team from last year got a real kick out of seeing the signs. Let's hope we can bring more smiles.

There are far more of you reading here now than last year so our strength lies in our numbers!

And if you don't believe this project can get off the ground, take a look at who has bloody well endorsed it!

That's right, folks, Hillsy says to get doodling!

Entries close Friday October 9th! Get your masterpieces in and show your support for our hard-working gymnasts heading into the biggest thing to hit London since giant intergalactic rhino thingies in Doctor Who. Oh, and an Olympics or something...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trial Scores and Standings

All-around (both days combined):
1. Lauren Mitchell 111.975
2. Georgia Bonora 107.625
3. Emma Dennis 105.650
4. Shona Morgan 105.525
5. Britt Greeley 101.325
6. Fiona Coley 98.475
7. Emily Little 89.900
Larrissa only did bars. Amber only did beam.

Lauren: 5.8 vault (double-twisting Yurchenko). Her execution score was listed as 18.125, which gives her a 9+ execution average.
Shona / Britt: 5.30 vault (1.5-twisting Yurchenko)
Georgia / Emma: 5.00 vault (full-twisting Yurchenko).

Lauren's beam DV: 6.20 on Day 1, 6.60 on Day 2. Not the 7.00 routine Peggy projected.
Georgia's beam DV: 5.60. She posted the highest beam score on one day, and came fifth on the apparatus on the other day.
Shona's beam DV: 5.50
Britt's beam DV: 5.40

Georgia received the highest execution score on bars: 8.60, a few tenths higher than Larrissa. Unfortunately she only had a 5.30 DV.

No word on floor scores, except that Lauren was the most outstanding.

Hope this is of use :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Left?

Haters can go there.

I will admit I was quite hasty in airing my disappointment that Emma Dennis was not selected for the World Championships team and relative unknown Larrissa Miller was. This was primarily because I've had the honour of being privvy to certain aspects of Waverley goings-on and therefore felt the planets were aligned for Emma, and furthermore that she was to receive sweet redemption for Beijing. I felt that Peggy's selection of an apparently lesser-prepared, single event specialist was of benefit to few except the athlete in question, who I presumed will not do the selection justice in the end. Yes, my friends, that was my initial reaction in no uncertain terms.

That said, and a good step back taken, I will clarify am more than willing to get behind Larrissa (aaargh, too many r's and s's. What does she get for short? Larry? Riss? Her name is getting harder and harder to type!) and support her role in the team. It's true we have not been able to view a great deal of her routines and therefore have judged her potential from what we've got. A few short videos do not a reputation make. I truly have nothing against Larrissa and to be honest, I have to reason to. I now wholeheartedly accept that she is on the team for the reasons she was chosen, and wish her the best alongside her team-mates who I'm sure will have a lot of advice and words of support for her in this exciting position she is in. She will no doubt grow in confidence and reputation during her time with the other girls.

I also have it on very good authority that Emma is quite content with her selection to the 'shadow squad' (note: NOT a travelling band of superheroes, whatever you may think) and the unique opportunity to travel to Europe.

Any nay-sayers will have to be behind this team come their day of departure for London because they are the girls Peggy has picked to represent us and from there, there is no going back. She will have prepared them as best she can up to that day.

A Worlds selection is a bloody good PB in Larrissa's book, no doubt the first of many.

"I reckon she's tops!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2009 WAG Worlds Team!

There's no "I" in "team" but there IS one on the bank of the Thames for the following girls to ride over and over in celebration of their selection to the 2009 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM:

Georgia Bonora!
Lauren Mitchell!
Shona Morgan!
Larrissa Miller!

Peggy Liddick (head coach), John Hart, Nikolai Lapchine and Sasha Belooussov are the travelling coaches.

A secondary 'shadow' group will be taken along to watch the event and compete in smaller competitions in London and Paris, as reported earlier this year. This comprises Britt Greeley, Emma Dennis, Emma Collister, Emily Little and Fiona Coley

I shall hereafter dub them Team BEEEF.
A full press release is available at GA. Congratulations to all the gymnasts who have been given a fantastic opportunity that they will remember for a lifetime!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Worlds Team Trial Countdown 3

I am well aware I wrote the incorrect date.

Just as a small distraction for those of you hunched over at your computers, feverishly hitting 'refresh' repeatedly on the GA homepage (you are not alone!), you might be interested to know that Naomi Russell has allegedly moved from Queensland down to Melbourne and is continuing her gymnastics training.

Aaaaaaaand back to clicking.


It's nearly 1:00 and no announcement yet. I really can't keep my internet on for another hour or three hours or however long it's going to take. I was very surprised the announcement wasn't made at 9am like the Beijing team was. I have contacted JumpMedia to try and find out when a media release is expected but of course the announcement really lies with Peggy and not with them.

Anyway, I'm going radio silent for a while so if the news breaks while I'm gone, run with it and have some fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Worlds Team Trial Countdown 2

Alternatively titled: "Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!! *clapclapclapclapclapclap*

I am completely scrunching up my face and emitting small yips with excitement. There is something about THIS world championships and THIS potential team that has me thrilled rather than nervous like selections past. Don't ask me why. I just feel like the right decisions will be made for the right reasons and we have some big opportunities this year...

Oh all right, I'll cut to the chase and give you some goss.

This came today from a source:

"Larissa won bars first day of comp with 14.1, she had an extra kip handstand in there, so that's about.5 deduction.
Amber was only trialling beam and had a fall.
The judges are being much tougher as at nationals they were 'apparently' too nice and were not giving the gymnasts realistic international expectations."



I am hoping the team is named by 9 tomorrow as I am having another adjustment to these damned braces of mine. I will do my best to inform you as soon as I can though I will certainly not be miffed if someone finds out and breaks the news. Please ensure, however, that you are using reputable sources when doing so. I do get miffed when people post speculation as 'official' news.


Here is my loud and semi-inspirational Getting Excited for the Team-Naming and What Will Happen With the Namees in London Thereafter playlist that you might be interested in.

* Queen: "Don't Stop Me Now"
* Pulp: "Mis-Shapes"
* Bluejuice "Vitriol"
* Edith Piaf: "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien"
* Jebediah: "Fall Down"
* The Cat Empire: "Chariot"

Hey, I never said my tastes were straightforward... ;)

ETA sometime later: Lauren Mitchell debuted a Baitova (Yurchenko double) at the trial.


A motherflippin'.



Sitting her in first place over the two days' trialling AND bringing the Australian double Yurchenko count up to four: Mitchell, Morgan, Dennis and Joura. Holy amazing vault line-up, Batman!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Japan Cup Catch-Up

Just before we hit the Japan JUNIOR event, let's take a look at some items that have emerged from the recent SENIOR Japan Cup!

Look our pretty team at the welcome ceremony, with their big smiles, and the creepily identical way they hold their hands! ("Now that's discipline", I hear you say with a satisfied nod)

(Don't be fooled into thinking Lauren's the one in the black cardie. That'd be Larrissa.)

There are also some smashing videos. Lauren's all-around vault is here and her team final floor is here. High definition for the win!

Thanks to DavidDC and Penguin888 for bringing these up.

Happy Birthday To...

Rising star from Victoria, Zoe Lorenzin! She turns 15 today.

I had the pleasure of (very, very briefly) chatting to Zoe and her mum prior to the Victorian State Championships. Zoe is a hard-working and polite young lady who has some impressive gymnastics already under her belt. All the best for the future, Little Miss Z!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Worlds Team Trial Countdown

Thanks to the Anon who pointed out this new article on Fiona Coley. I didn't realise she was nearly 20, I thought 18 at the most! Good on her for staying in the game; it reminds me of Karen Nguyen c. 2006, talking to the media just before worlds trials about what it's like being the older athlete in the squad, battling to not be overlooked for all the young hopefuls and enduring the long chase for the big dream... hmmm... could selection indicate a sentimental element of the vote in addition to ability/consistency being taken into account? Only time will tell.

And, in a new segment I like to call, "Ummm... are you seein' it?":

In his analysis of the senior women's AA final at US nationals, Dwight Normile notes that Georgia Dabritz of Ace Gymnastics in Massachusets looks like our own Dasha Joura (only with slightly longer hair).

(These photos are a little bit dated. If I find a good quality one from '09 I will post it to help with comparison)

Saturday, August 15, 2009


They must be handing out free kittens or something at Moreton Bay College.

Amaya King-Koi has now made the move to the centre, and begun training under Chloe Sims' old coaches. This means MBC now boasts four national team members in Bambi, King-Koi, Larissa Miller and Georgia-Rose Brown (the latter two are pictured below).

Speaking of Bambi, it is believed her recent leg injury is actually a sustained hip injury. No confirmation on this yet (but it's pretty crap news either way!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Old Dog TEACHES The New Tricks!

The West Australian HPC gymnast who uploaded this states, "One of our coaches, Sergei, said 'Give me $10 and I'll do a triple back' [y'know, as you do]. What do you know, he did, with no warm up, no guards and he hasn't done gymnastics in over 20 years!"

Proving that you can take the man out of gymnastics but you can't take gymnastics outta the man, Sergei is (apparently) 41 and still able to crank out tricks like that.

Your move, Chusovitina...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Queensland Clarifications

The following message was forwarded to all GQ-affiliated clubs in the past week, on behalf of Executive Director Wayne Hill. I hope it answers some queries and concerns.

As I had advised earlier this year, the GQ Board requested we undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the HPC for both Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics.

A part of this process was to form an Advisory Committee, made up of key support clubs and technical members.

The recommendation of this committee was that the Men’s program be retained in its current format, with the proviso that the key support programs be strengthened so that gymnasts could continue to train in the club environment, and ultimately leading gymnasts transition to the HPC. This, over a period of time will mean that the number of gymnasts training at Chandler will reduce. The reduction will occur through natural attrition, and be managed as the clubs strengthen.

With regards to the Women’s program it was the recommendation of the Committee and the direction of the Board that every effort be made to form a Joint Venture with Moreton Bay College. The rationale was that there would be considerable advantage to Queensland to have one united program.

I want to state very clearly that despite rumours that prevailed, it was always our intention to involve our current coaching staff in these plans, as we have always had every confidence in these key people.

Protracted negotiations with the Principal of MBC finally ceased late last week, when both parties realised that a Joint Venture was unworkable.

It is therefore our plan to continue the program in its current format, with a plan to strengthen our “Feeder” clubs with a view to ultimately reducing the number of gymnasts training at the HPC. We will hold discussions with all stakeholders over the next period to ensure all will work together for the long-term benefit of the program.

I should also like to advise that the National Head Coach is supportive of the current plan and we are working closely with her to ensure that Queensland continues to be a part of the National Program.

The Gymnastics Queensland Board continues to maintain a strong belief in the benefits a viable Elite program can bring to gymnastics as a sport, and the review was intended to ensure Gymnastics Queensland Elite programs are an integral part of continuing the contribution to the National team over ensuing years.

I know you will understand the process and give your support to the HPC staff.

With Best Wishes,
Gymnastics Queensland

Friday, August 7, 2009

Naazmi in the News

Leading Australia's charge at the 2009 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships will be national champion Naazmi Johnston, who has made the news here and here.

She is now training under 2000 Olympian Danielle LeRay.

Australia's team to the 2009 Trampoline World Championships (it still sounds weird, doesn't it? Like the Totem Tennis World Championships or something...) will be announced on the 17th of August.

Also named is the team to the Japan Junior International event. Congratulations to Emma Collister and Emily Little.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Maker's Mark

Cirque du Soleil's latest e-news featured a profile of former Victorian coach turned Cirque acrobatic coach Mark Calton.

(via Gymnastics Coaching blog)

For the past 20 years, Mark has worked as a high-level gymnastics coach in Australia. Our team met first met him in 1999 during the American Cup in St. Petersburg. The following year, during a stay in Sydney for the summer Olympics, our paths crossed once again, and Mark accepted our proposal to collaborate as a partner to the Casting team. At the time, his mandate for Cirque was to keep an eye on the local acrobatics and sports scenes, cover major competitions, and lend a hand during our auditions. A few months ago, Mark joined the Cirque family by becoming Acrobatic Head Coach – Touring Shows.

What is your most memorable experience with our casting team?

Apart from the 3 a.m. phone calls I used to get from Montreal (there is a 10-hour time difference to Australia), I would say it’s the true satisfaction of seeing an athlete I have auditioned go into a show and the great feedback that the majority of them give me on the life-changing experience it is. My new position also allows me to catch up with some of them. Also, the actual casting team in itself is a pretty memorable group

How is it working at Cirque du Soleil IHQ?

Working here is like being in the wash cycle. There are many things going on at once, a lot of different perspectives to be considered and so little time to do it all. I travel a lot so time here is short with a lot to do.

Which aspect of your new coaching job at Cirque do you enjoy the most?

The mix of people I get to meet and work with. They are from such a diverse range of backgrounds.

What is the biggest motivation or challenge for a coach working with athletes who will be performing on stage?

8–10 shows a week, 350–440 shows a year… keeping artists healthy and motivated, and trying to balance the demands of training and performing to allow this to happen. This is totally different from peaking for specific events, as they’d be used to from their athletic careers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Wes-day

A cracker of a montage has come up on YouTube, showing highlights from this year's national championships, set to that damn catchy Wes Carr song. And yes, Stacey Umeh gets an adorable look-in too. Nice use of the music.


(Kudos to NastLiukinFan AND ChaChaKid!)

We're the Volunteers. And You Can Be One Too.

'Cause being at PacRim is the thing to do!

Download the volunteer application form here. You have until October 31st!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chloe The Comeback Kid

Thanks to lovegym99 who not only graciously provided the video of Natasha Hammann's floor from Nationals but also...

Wait for it...

Waaaait for iiiiiiit...




Which, I am sure I needn't remind you, she won.

So click, watch, judge for yourself and PLAY NICE.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Choice Cuts

Nade's latest collection of Nationals photos contains some fantastic moments (Hey look, it's Hollie!) from on and off the floor.

In other news, Australia has named its team to the 2009 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships.

Congratulations to...

* Naazmi Johnston
* Chloe Hayes
* Danielle Prince
* Janine Murray
Jaelle Cohen named as team reserve.

GA have also put up a fantastic little summary of the recent IDP clinic in Perth (complete with cute video!) where some recent and past Olympians helped out. Apparently Olivia Vivian showed off a fancy-pants new floor routine!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Two in the News

A couple of news articles/profiles about Aussie gymnasts have cropped up.

Read about artistic gymnast Karina Brooks here.

Read about rhythmic gymnast Christina Wijeratne here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rising Aussie Stars

Did you know...

Australia recently fielded gymnasts to the Maccabiah Games (the "Jewish Olympics") in Israel? Well then! Allow me to introduce...

Maia Avram and Stephanie Goldberg,

Morgan Baum (who you can read about here),

and Janey Nestadt!

Their Aussie team-mates included Noam Geffen, Vared Mazin and Elizabeth Zimmet.

The girls feature very, very briefly in some still photos in this montage. Seems like some lovely group displays were on show to entertain the crowd in addition to the excitement of the gymnastics competition.

Congratulations on representing Australia overseas, ladies. Hope to see more of you in the future!