Sunday, March 29, 2009

Video Bonanza!

Almighty thanks and worship to Nade, for capturing the Dasha/Lauren pre-Beijing story off the Channel 9 website. Hurrah hurrah, I'd been hanging out for this!

Not only that... but she's captured the 'Channel 7 Beijing Fanatic' video of the Olympic girls visiting the Great Wall of China.

Learn!... Who takes the longest to get ready in the morning!
Cringe!... At the sight of their precious team final leotards getting wet!
Observe!... Olivia's humble beginnings in sports journalism!

Aaaaaand those WA boys are at it again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pac a Punch

You can see Olivia Vivian's bars routine from the Pac-10 championships in this clip. She does a kind of... 'spirit fingers' thing at the end, on her dismount? I think it's one of those you-had-to-be-there things...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Boys

With slightly more of an international success rate, it is evident that the West Australian women's gymnastics program is getting more exposure than the men's. Well, let the record show that this post is one step towards more public recognition of their men's high performance program.

This video features WA elites Martin Jozwiak and Matt Goonatillake. Please be warned that the accompanying music contains some adult themes so you may wish to watch it with the sound down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

At last! At last!

I am so glad I caught At the Movies with Margaret and David tonight. Were it not for their review of The Uninvited, I would never have tapped into the thing that's been bothering me for months...

Who Dasha Joura looks like. And now I have it.

It's young Aussie actress-turned-fashion-model Emily Browning! Best known for her role in the Lemony Snicket movie some years ago.

Oooooo-kay, just me then.

We're on a LOL

Can't Talk. Gym-ing.

Attention NCAA fans: Those of you with Foxtel/Austar and who are in states that DON'T have to do complex subtraction to work out program times... put your televisions onto ESPN right this very minute and you'll catch rotation 2 of Georgia vs Florida. The guide said the broadcast starts at 1:30pm but that's actually when it finishes.

It's hi-def college gymnastics featuring two outstanding teams... what more could you want!

Watch it noooooowwwww!

ETA: They will be showing the just-competed women's SEC Championships (Florida, Georgia, 'bama, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn U, Kentucky) on Tuesday 31st. It says 10:30am but given today's outcome, I don't trust that!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dormant Here, Dynamic There

There's precious little happening for the Aussies right now as training camp will soon be underway. We expect Lauren Mitchell to be at mid-April's Maribor Cup.

Our own Olivia Vivian, however, is getting ready to represent OSU at the Pac-10 Conference, an annual meeting of collegiate teams within a certain region that determines who takes a step further to the NCAA gymnastics National Championships. Conferences for colleges in other areas are being held around the country.

Live scores can be followed here, the Beavers started on beam but didn't make the best of it. Good luck to Livvy on bars!

ETA- She managed a commendable 9.8, contributing to the team's fantastic 2nd place finish behind UCLA.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Do Yourself a Favour...

And check these guys out.

Last night I saw The Cat Empire live here in Melbourne. A funk-tacular night was had by all. I was transported to my happy place once the music started (funnily enough, so were several thousand other people in the room).

What I found most impressive was that the support act was just as impressive as the headliners. This was my first encounter with Balkan quintet Paprika Balkanicus (yes, that IS their real name and no, I can't say it three times as fast as I can) and I hope it won't be my last. They had the audience clapping and cheering and swaying and rollicking well before TCE stepped onstage. I met them after the show and they were very obliging with photos and autographs.

At this point, I should point out that I may or may not be wishing to have illegitimate floppy-haired children with the Slovenian bass player...

All I can say is, if you're a gymnastics coach or choreographer looking for new floor music and you haven't yet found that perfect screechy-violin-accelerando-Zorba-sizzling-fiddle-Hungarian-clappy-HEY! piece yet, try these little nuggets on for size:


Niska Banja

Skylark/Introduction and Tarantella

And if all else fails, they do a great version of one of my favourite classical pieces (and appropriately so, given their nationalities), Czardas.

You can visit their website here (under construction, stay tuned) and find them on MySpace. I am yet to find out if their album is available at iTunes so you might want to investigate that one yourself. I bought mine at the gig.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dear Dasha Joura

I have a confession to make, four years in the making.

The very first time I saw you compete, in Melbourne in 2005, I thought everyone was calling you "Dasher".

Like the reindeer.

I thought it was an in-joke, because perhaps you were renowned for being quick (or just festive).

I was wrong. I apologise. I now know the truth. It won't happen again.

You're a goddess. Love what you're doing. Loooving it. Everything. All of it. Work it. Stay cool. Stay badass. We ain't got no beef.

We cool, we cool.

Um... please don't have me fired, Your Sassiness. *cowers*

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Morgan MIA

GA/AIS Olympic squad training camp and visiting athletes have all been announced.

Where's our beloved DJ ShoMo!?

You can watch the sports acro action from last night's TBL here. Look out for it from 2:34 of the clip. Don't know if acro enthusiasts are insulted or pleased that the featured performers are consistently referred to as doing 'gymnastics'...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Biggest SPOILER

Thanks to the Anon for posting the following about tonight's Biggest Loser episode.

For those expecting a prime time debut from our elite artistic gymnasts, sorry to disappoint. For those interested in the promotion of trampoline or acro sports, you'll be pleased.

Don't read further if you'd rather wait to see the episode.
Sorry GA. You may not be able to talk, but the good folk of Bankstown certainly can!

Bankstown Sports Youth Club coaches Karl Chippindall and Breeanna Boath, along with Athletes Greg Clune and Jacqueline Crawford, can be seen on Channel 10’s “The Biggest Loser” on Tuesday 17th March.

The Athletes did some Tumbling and Acrobatics and then proceded to help out coaches Karl and Bree show the contestants physical conditioning gymnastics style.

Michelle Mason, who coordinated the athlete routine and was there as a technical advisor on the day, said that it was a unique experience and any chance to get gymnastics on ‘Prime Time Television’ can only be a positive thing for the sport o gymnastics.

“It was great to meet the trainers Shannon, Michele, the contestants and JJ the host.” “These contestants certainly are an inspiration – giving up friends and family, while they work hard to achieve their goals” Says Michelle Mason.

And, at last, I have found results for the Gliders Invitational! Thanks to VicGym for the heads-up.

Georgia Wheeler - 4th Vt, 5th bars, 7th beam, 6th floor, 6th AA (14-15 y.o. division)

Chloe Turko - 8th vault, 3rd bars, 8th beam, 6th floor, 6th AA (16 y.o division)

Alex Byers-Armstrong - 6th (tie) vault, 7th bars, 9th beam, 7th floor (tie), 7th AA (14-15 y.o. division)

Amelia McGrath - 8th vault, 9th bars, 8th beam, 9th floor, 8th AA (14-15 y.o. division)

Clare O'Donnell - 6th vault, 4th bars, 9th beam, 10th floor, 7th AA (14 y.0. division)

Isobel Looker - vault (did not compete), bars (did not compete), 11th beam, 6th (tie) floor, 10th AA (11-13 y.o. division)

Kristina Ostojic - vault (did not compete), 9th bars, 11th beam, floor (did not compete), 11th AA (11-13 y.o. division)

Georgia McIntosh - 8th bars (only event competed) (15.y.o. division)

Cooke Crook. Fans Sook.

According to a WAIS news update posted on March 12, as an afterthought to Gymnix results (for some reason), Team GB recruit Kayleigh Cooke has decided to retire due to a long-standing injury.

At just 17, it's disappointing that we didn't quite get see what she could do as a member of Team Australia. But injury is injury and it's no good flogging a dead... er... appendage? So if it's for the best then we (sadly) accept that we won't be seeing her in the prestigious WAIS line-up.

So best of luck, Kayleigh, in whatever you pursue and we wish you every ounce of health and happiness.

Monday, March 16, 2009


1. I can't find results from the Gliders Invitational anywhere.

2. I won't be around tomorrow night to watch the gymnastics-related surprise on Who Can Shed the Flab Fastest Without Succumbing to Heart Failure or Humiliation on National Television? So the discussion will be amongst your fine selves until I catch it on YouTube.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Run Fatboy Run

Right, now who was it?

The vast populace of Anon's?

One of you (and I am pretty sure it was a member of my harem of lady commenters) called it a while back. GA tells us to watch The Biggest Loser on Tuesday the 17th* of March for some gymlicious action upon which they cannot comment.

Pffft. I'll try and find a way.

Karen Nguyen has joined Team 100k for the Run for the Kids and will appear with former Victorian team-mates and Athens olympians Monette Russo and Steph Moorhouse in tomorrow's Sunday Herald Sun. My friend works for that publication, I should ask him for some goss...

In other news, a dear friend of mine is shaving her head today for the Shave for a Cure in memory of a beloved teacher. I recently learned that retiree Chloe Sims did the same in memory of a friend. Good on the both of them, and anyone else taking part in this worthwhile charity event.

*17th, not the 19th as I once wrote.

Friday, March 13, 2009

TLC from MLC

Just when I thought there was no photographic evidence of the Aussies in Montreal, save for some of Grace Chiu's always-excellent photo thumbnails, GA lets us know they're alive and well and supporting one another and not travelling in airline animal cages:

Dyaaaaw, best fwends.

Wait a minute.

Wait a gosh darn cotton-pickin' uniform-infraction-deductin' minute.

Are you... are you joking me? Are those velour tracksuits on the MLC girls? What is this, a J-Lo fashion show!? If there was one abomination I never thought would penetrate the Australian gymnastics scene, besides that 'Crazy Frog' song being used as floor music (which I did see once, tragically) it was frickin' tactile tracksuits straight outta Plano, Texas! *sigh*


Buckets of thanks to the MLC gym mum who forwarded me their latest newsletter featuring results and information from the team's sojourn in Canda. Here are some little nuggets about each girl that might interest you...

Provincial 5 Novice Division:

Kristina Ostojic, Year 7 - 11th vault, 3rd bars, 4th beam, 3rd all-around. Some great results for this little one. This was Kristina's first ever optional competition, and her first competition since the Victorian championships in 2008.

Isobel Looker, Year 8 - Isobel only competed floor (7th) and beam (10th) and did so battling injury. She is also working on new skills to add into her repertoire.

Optional National A Division:

Alex Byers-Armstrong, Year 9 - Placed 1st(!!!) on vault with a layout Yurchenko, and 4th on floor with a double pike and double twist.

Georgia McIntosh, Year 10 - Placed 8th all-around and 10th on both vault and floor. Georgia had minimal training for the event as she had a sore hand prior to leaving Australia and had to water down some skills in the competition.

Clare O'Donnell, Year 8 - 12th floor and bars, 15th all-around. Competed a double-pike for the first time and two new beam skills. Hopes to compete a new vault in the coming weeks.

Gymnix International Cup:

Emily Little, WA - Em was dealing with new skills in the competition, and reportedly suffered a one-day flight delay and minimal training before the competition.

Chloe Turko, Year 11 - 11th all-around, 12 floor and 13th bars. She competed 2 'D' skills successfully on floor for the first time and managed a new release on bars.

Georgia Wheeler, Year 9 - This was Georgia's first ever international junior comp so she should be proud of placing 3rd on vault and in the top 20 all-around. She competed a double front and double pike on floor for the first time and has beam upgrades to come.

Amelia McGrath, Year 9 - Like Georgia, her first ever international junior comp. Had a 5.0 difficulty score on floor, including a double tuck mount and a double pike dismount. She tied for 3rd on the event in qualification and went on to finish 4th. Apparently the competition was 5 hours long(!) so to stick it out for that long and make a good routine is a great achievement. She also added a change leg ring to her beam routine and a Stalder on bars.

The girls will now head to LA for the Gliders Invitational which takes place on Saturday, USA time.

Good luck to the girls in the green and the black!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leotard Catalogue Haiku

Dear Amber Fulljames
Please Stop Being Super Cute
It Is Criminal.

Amaya King-Koi
I Think It's Safe to Say That
The Same Goes For You!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best Yet, Bar None

Congratulations to Perth's own ginger ninja Olivia Vivian for scoring a career-high on bars on Friday night, helping Oregon State to victory over two other teams with an impressive 9.85 (yes, out of 10.0 for those of you wondering about the NCAA scoring system)! What a great comeback from injury.

I think from now on I'll have to put her name in orange text...

Again, well done Olivia!

And if you missed it yesterday, check out my fancy-pants celebrity endorsement. You know you want to.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Celebrity Endorsement!

I promised you a celebrity endorsement, and by crikey I got you one!

Adam Hills
is best known as the cheeky host of one of Australia's biggest televisual hits of recent times, music quiz show Spicks and Specks. Possibly the nation's hardest-working (and widest-travelling) stand-up performer, Adam also contributes greatly to charity and community work when he's not headlining comedy nights in major cities.

For guy missing a foot, he's also very, very funny.

You can check him out here or here if you've got a MySpace.

Recently Adam has been imparting upon audiences his experiences at the Beijing Paralympics, as he hosted coverage of the event for the ABC. If you go and see his show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival this year - PLUG PLUG PLUG! - he'll probably share them with you like he did at his 'trial' gig last night, to great joy from the punters. I managed to corner him (politely!) after the show, explain who I am and what I do and joke that "you're the closest thing I have to being in Beijing!"

I also explained the 'Go You Big Red Fire Engine' fan project (Adam heard the phrase uttered by a drunk audience member in Edinburgh some years ago and has since helped it enter our national lexicon) and he was quite touched. He said, "I heard about that [the project], someone told me about that!" but I think he was, kindly, humouring me.


He was more than happy to endorse the blog and smile for my readers. If THIS doesn't convince the authorities that this blog has a morsel of journalistic merit, then nothing will!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

D'oh Canada

Ok, I can't be the only one getting EXTREMELY confused as to which competition components belong to the Montreal World Cup and which bits belong to Gymnix's International Cup division...

It says results are 'still to come' for the World Cup events when, by all accounts, some of it should be completed already. According to GA, Emily Little managed a 4th on bars for what I assume is the World Cup component (although they say it was the International Cup division of Gymnix), as we established she didn't make any Gymnix finals and all girls went immediately through to apparatus 'finals' of the World Cup.

Amelia McGrath managed a 4th as well, this time on floor.

So to finish in the top 5 is a very good effort for both girls (particularly 13-year-old McGrath).

And I'm still confused.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vivian's Vox Pop

Aaaaaaaaaaand news on our own Olivia Vivian keeps on coming.

The Beaver Sports Show wrapped up its final show for the academic term and it ended with a great vox pop/quiz segment hosted by Olivia featuring OSU athletes, including some of her gymnastics team-mates. If you've ever wanted to see her suppress a smirk, high-five a stranger or do a wacky little dance, then the clip at the top of this page, Show #22, is for you!

The fun starts at 22:30 of the clip. Note that she even wears orange when she's NOT competing! (Is it a pre-requisite of OSU students...?) And I had a little laugh to myself, she even does the lip-poppy thing that I do when there's an awkward silence. Nice.

"Gymnastics... um... prob'ly not football."

Shameless NCAA Plug

Dear Elites Who Are Considering Retiring (Or Who Have Recently Retired).

Take a good look at this article and consider the possibilities it raises.


Your Fans.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh Canada

Are ya excited yet!?

Gymnix/Montreal World Cup fever is starting to rise.

MLC Gymnastics sent its North America-bound delegation a lovely little document that you can read here. It's informative and interesting, whether you're savvy with the club or not.

No word on podium training.


Wow, a lot happens when you're away for the day!

You can probably glean a lot from this post's comments, but regardless:

Emily Little didn't do as well as hoped.

Vault: 12.900 (Yurchenko 1.5)
Bars: 11.975
Beam: 12.300
Floor: 12.350
Did not qualify to any event finals and finished 8th in the all-around.

This is quite disappointing, Em's got some some big skills under her belt, some yet to be debuted (see: Baitova). Don't quite know what happened here, nerves or fatigue or under-preparation.

Amelia McGrath's into the floor final with a score in the 13's; as far as I can fathom that's the only event finallist out of the MLC girls in the junior division.

I am having trouble viewing results on this particular computer.

Thanks to Nade for filling the gaps I couldn't. :)


Apparently they have cancelled the qualification round of the 'World Cup' component of the competition as there are so few female participants; they've all been automatically put through to finals.

GA posted the following results -

West Australian, Emily Little has placed 8th in the All-Around competition at the 2009 International Cup in Montreal (CAN).

Little competed all apparatus and finished the competition with an All-Around score of 49.525.

The event was won by Elizabeth Price (USA) with an AA score of 53.450, ahead of team mate Madeline Hanley (51.875) and Canadian Anna Gamelo (51.400).

Little was joined by individual gymnasts Chloe Turko (12th with an AA score of 48.075), Georgia Wheeler (16th with an AA score of 47.775) and Amelia McGrath (18th with an AA score of 47.770) representing MLC Gymnastics Club.

Thanks to the Anon poster who posted these results-

2 other girls from MLC also competed yesterday in the Novice section - Kristina Ostojic and Isobel Looker . Both did really well, Kristina coming 3rd AA , also placing on floor and bars (with a fall) and Isobel (only competed 2 apparatus due to elbow injury) with a 4th on floor with a fall.

So that's a slight mood-booster (falls notwithstanding)!

I'm sorry I've not been as diligent with covering this event for you all as I could be. As I said, I've been working long hours and now I'm having trouble accessing the .pdf competition results.

Rainy Day News

Well, the bushfire areas are breathing a sigh of relief at the moment. It's raining on and off here in Melbourne (well, my bit of Melbourne at least!) so the dry suburbs and outskirts are getting a nice, cool drink.

It's quite a slow news week until Gymnix/Montreal World Cup action begins, so in the meantime, enjoy full-sized photos from the VWHPC Open Day (shanks, Ade) and the news that Tiera Exum and Madeline Wagg are their March 'Gymnasts of the Month'.

If you've got the rainy day grumps like me, 0:53 onwards of this clip might cheer you up. The uninhibited joy of their victory (not to mention the good sportswomanship on show) makes me smile.

Or, you can check out photographer David Wyatt's fantastic work from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival here. Marvellous!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Perfect Ten


I REPEAT: In a period of just under 40 days, this blog has surpassed 10,0000 visitors.

10,000! In under 40 days! And to think, that's only since I've had the traffic counter and in actual fact I've been in operation for over 400 days!

When you think about that statistic, that's...




It makes me a very happy chapette (not to be confused with 'ladette'. Very different. Much less alcohol consumption and boobie action in the former. Slightly less chivalry in the latter).

Thank you, everyone, wherever you may be, for visiting and commenting and discussing and dissecting and reporting and contributing. Keep writing in, keep vlogging, keep sending me news, keep airing your views, keep letting the gymnasts know they're awesome.

This space is for people like you, by someone like you! I can't spell Australian Gymnastics Blog without 'us'!