Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pacific Rim News: Aussie WAG Trial

It's less than a month away, people! Who else has their excited shirt on!?

The women's training camp and trial is on as we speak in Canberra and a few tidbits are arising. Thanks to everyone for sending them my way.

You can read about the MLC girls trialling at camp here. Barring some disaster (not wanting to jinx anything), I think Georgia Wheeler is a lock!
And thanks to the Anon for the scores:

1. Britt Greely - 14.00
1. Emma Collister - 14.00
3. Georgia Wheeler - 13.70

1. Georgia Wheeler - 14.302. Larissa Miller - 13.90 (fell maybe?)
3. Emily Little - 13.50

1. Emily Little - 14.30
2. Angela Donald - 14.10
3. Georgia Wheeler - 14.00

1. Amelia McGrath - 13.95
2. Amaya King Koi - 13.85
3. Emma Collister - 13.50

Day 2- MLC has another report up, looks like Georgia and Amelia McGrath did well again.

The team will be announced on Friday. I hope that Good Friday means Good PacRim News!

ETA: A couple of observations from a source on the scene. Many thanks!

* Katie Wurth vaulted a Yurchenko layout, a little piked. Her bars routine includes a Deltchev, reverse giant half and a double tuck dismount. Not a stellar routine from the report, but competent. Stuck her 2.5 twist ending on Day 2 floor after falling on it Day 1.

* Georgia-Rose Brown vaulted a Yurchenko full on Day 1, landed feet first "but practically on her stomach" so did a Yurchenko layout on Day 2, with running steps backwards to land on her backside.

* "Mez" Monckton still with boot on leg.

Day 2 scores:

1. G Wheeler 109.25
2. E Little 107.6
3. B Greely 104.85
4. A McGrath 104.2
5. G R Brown 101.55
6. R Collister 100.25
7. A Donald 99.95 TIE
7. E Nedov 99.95 TIE
9. A King Koi 99.05
10. K Wurth 98.95

The competition lots have been drawn; see the draw here.

(Wow - 87 comments and counting! You guys are fired up! Can't wait to have some smashing conversations at the event. Don't forget that the official PacRim Facebook page also has a discussion topic about potential team line-ups.)

Pacific Rim News: Team Australia (MAG)

GA has confirmed our men's team to the event!

Congratulations to...

Senior -
Phil Rizzo
Sam Offord
Sam Simpson

Jack Rickards
Tyson Bull
Brody-Jai Hennessy

“The Pacific Rim Championships will provide a benchmark to see where I’m at, and to see where I need to improve ahead of the other major international competitions this year,” said Rizzo.

“To be put under pressure this early in the year and to go to the Commonwealth Games with one major international competition already under my belt will be invaluable.

“It will be great to compete in front of a home crowd in Melbourne. It can be nerve racking but it can also lift you up and to have the world’s best compete in Australia will hopefully inspire the next generation of young gymnasts.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pacific Rim News: Miscellaneous

Jack Rickards thus far has been the only publicly announced member of Australia's Pacific Rim men's team. Fingers crossed we hear the rest soon. Well done, Jack!

(Early source says Rizzo, Offord, Simpson?)

WAIS have put up some videos of their WAGs' recent routines in training. You can view them here.

Speaking of WAIS and potential Pacific Rim team members... Happy Birthday to the Perth pocket rocket Emily Little who turns 16 today! Check out her double layout bars dismount among the videos above, it's pretty wicked.

Thanks to everyone for keeping me advised and updated in the comments. I'm a bit hopeless when I come home from work!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Birthday To...

MLC young gun Amelia McGrath!

The marvellous Miss Milly, who has already represented Australia at competitions in North America and looks to have a bright future among the ranks of the GA Olympic squad, turns 15 today.

*dons a black and fluro green trackie in celebration*

Saturday, March 27, 2010

AGB Goes to Waverley

The AGB convoy rolled on through the eastern suburbs today as your trusty blog captain had the chance to sit in on a training session at everybody's favourite smile time variety show.

Yes, that's right, I had myself an audience with the coaches, athletes and parents of Waverley Gymnastics Centre. I am extremely grateful to club president Bill and club director Tanya, not to mention the coaches who allowed me to observe their squads today, for this very special opportunity.

I don't quite know where to begin! Myself and my accomplice had a tour of the facilities (including kitchen and canteen area, physio room, uniform/merch store room, ballet room and coaches room) and a walk around the main gym, complete with introductions to accomodating coaches and gymnasts (who didn't seemed to mind visitors while they stretched and prepped) and me tripping on a trampoline mat. I am truly class personified. Peggy Liddick visited last week and apparently all went swimmingly. Seniors, juniors, and national levels girls were working today. Being a recreational club in addition to an elite training centre, the gym is often a difficult place to both be in and maintain during school holday time.

Around the gym are posters and banners celebrating gymnasts past and present, notably the three Olympic Squad members from 2008 and its 2009 European Tour team members. Plaques, pennants, trophies, medals and photos from competitions line different walls of the gym - the club has a formidable national reputation in addition to its international one - but this is one club that celebrates achievement without ego stroking. In short: lovely atmosphere, lovely people.

One of the niftiest things there is a quite unassuming length of rope near the tumbling track with a bell tied to the top, and a smaller bell mounted near the bars sets that was given to the club after a past team's European tour. They've each been dubbed the 'new skills bell'. Each time a gymnast masters a particular skill or sequence on their own, the bell is rung to call for both celebration and attention. Once it is rung, everyone in the gym stops to watch them perform the skill and then go back to training. It's a brief moment that says 'Wahey! Good on you!' and reminds everyone of the importance of progress.

Now to the gymnastics on show.
I have some photos which you can view here at the blog's Photobucket account.
I also have a few short videos here.

Both my phone and camera were running on low battery so I apologise for their abrupt and blurry nature. Please also disregard the conversations going on in the background. Gymnastics doesn't stop so one can chat! I only started taking notes about halfway through the session, once I'd clambered onto some disused seats for a good vantage point. I tried not to be a distraction with all my moving and clicking and scribbling and red-light-flickering.

Shona Morgan, Emma Dennis and Georgia Bonora were all in training today. Emma had her ankle strapped up. She is gunning for this year's Commonwealth Games so I wish her the best in the post-PacRim hoopla.
The Collister twins were also training, in almost identical croptops, so I had a very hard time picking one from the other!

* On the tumble track, Georgia showed a couple of double pikes. Shona showed a double pike and a layout double twist.
* Emma D did a dance-through on floor (still the Chinese opera music) and pushed a spotting box along to represent her tumbling runs. I captured it on video and it looks bizarre, but it's to simulate the resistance she would get doing the tumbles. Still gorgeous dancework, I even had the pleasure of meeting the club's ballet coach who worked with Stacey Umeh to choreograph the routine.
* Both Collisters trained bars and did dismount repetitions (double tucks, half in half outs if I recall correctly...?)
* One of the National 9's on floor showed a nice double front twist and another warmed up a double tuck. One had Beth Tweddle's 2005/06 floor music, which made me giggle considering Tweddle trained at the club during the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
* Emma and Rachel C have a similar beam mount, a little piked swing over the beam to sit, much like a male gymnast commences a pommel horse routine. Emma's skills included a front aerial to roundoff, a side somi, a switch split leap to wolf jump and a switch side. Rachel's skills included a switch split leap to wolf, a side somi from a front somi approach and a double tuck dismount. I really hope I didn't just watch the same twin twice! Emma was nicely told off by coach ShaoYi for completing a full routine in one minute, thirty one seconds.
* Shona trained some toe-on to full pirouettes on bars. She did some light beam work top (single LOSO, and BHS-LOSO after long pauses) which I didn't quite catch because I was watching floor.
* I got quite excited at one point because it looked - to me at least - like one of the Collisters was doing preparations and timers for a layout front handspring vault (cf. Trudy McIntosh, Daria Bijak); she was getting some big air, travelling in a forwards laid out position right over the horse (padded with an extra mat over it) onto a high stack of mats, but we left the gym before I could see more of its progress.
* Some of the younger girls showed lovely straddle press to handstands on beam as well as tic-tocs, stag handstands and very focussed arabesques, plus some nice single front handsprings and back layouts on floor. All were doing their best to pay attention to presentation.


There. I said it. You can't miss her now.

This girl is a star of the future, something I am sure of since her standout 2008 performances at Nationals. She has impressive skills and impeccable form to boot.

* On bars she showed crisp handstand work and determined double back timers before performing a full routine.
* On beam, she really drew your attention. Under the watchful eye of ShaoYi, she warmed up a Korbut flic, that became a confident Korbut full when it came to performing her full routine. Unfortunately I didn't capture her final, full routine on film in which she added the Korbut full plus an elegant Liukin-esque scale with back leg touching her head (there must be a word for that?), a switch ring leap, and a sheep jump to immediate back tuck. The other skills she warmed up included a front aerial and BHS-LOSO. Her dismount was a BHS-flic-full twist. Girl's got some serious style.

I think that's about all I managed to take in. There was simply so much going on! I got to quickly chat with John Hart at the end and he's looking forward to having the girls perform to their best in camp. It's a great atmosphere there and I hope to go back again. Best wishes to all coaches and athletes for this competition year. Thanks again to the Waverley staff for letting me drop by and walk all over your mats.

Good Morning!

Up early to go and get my exclusive! Can you taste that on the air? - That's excitement, my friend! No caffeinated beverages for this little helicopter, no siree!

In the meantime, read about our national coach's expectations for the 2010 Pacific Rim and World Championships in a new article from International Gymnast that you can find here.

Now, to on-location reportings... and beyoooooooooond!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Other Pac

Very best wishes from back home to Melanie Jones and Olivia Vivian who will represent Oregon State tomorrow in the cut-throat Pac-10 Conference Championships in Arizona, a stepping stone towards the NCAA National Championships.

OSU have some stiff competition from fellow conference schools UCLA and Stanford (both sitting above the Beavers on the current team ranking list) but also have to tough it out against another 4 colleges in the event. Good luck to the team!

(Here is part of Olivia's uneven bars performance at last year's Pac-10 Championships)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pacific Rim News: Aussie MAG

Best wishes to all competitors, coaches and officials at this weekend's trial for Australia's Pacific Rim Championships men's team. Only 6 competitive slots are open - 3 seniors, 3 juniors- so it will be a tough race for the much-envied positions.

The trial is being held at the AIS from 11am on Saturday so keep yer eyes and ears open for news!

Don't forget, you can show your support to Australian gymnasts by signing my petition here.

And, just finally, I'll have yet another exclusive for you in a couple of days!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yo You Good Thing

An interesting discovery was made at the Commonwealth Games Swimming Trials this week.


14-year-old Queensland dynamo Yolane Kukla (nickname: YoYo) announced herself on the national stage with a cracking time in the 50m butterfly to qualify for the Aussie team to Delhi, and also earn a spot on the national squad. She is the second youngest swimmer to make the squad, one week shy of a babyfaced Ian Thorpe. She is even hastily being compared to Thorpe, given her unique body type and remarkable rise through the ranks in recent years.

It's been revealed Yolane was a competitive gymnast before turning to the pool. Thanks to special agent A for bringing this article to my attention.

“We’re always trying to find new exercises to challenge her because she adapts so quickly,” Palfery told the Herald Sun. “She probably is 12 months in front simply because of her gymnastics background.”

Best of luck to Yolane this year, we hope she has more success in the years to come.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Disgruntled of Melbourne

You can follow a link to the petition I have created (re: National Sports Museum) here.

I apologise for any typographical or factual errors, I did my best to include the most 'resume boosting' results across the gymsports (and I admit I do not know a great deal about sports aero or acro), not counting Commonwealth Games results. I unfortunately neglected to mention that a number of Aussie gymnasts have skills named after them in the artistic Code of Points (you'll also notice that neither 1999 nor 2000 falls "between 2001-2009", duh).

Errors aside, your signature and support will mean a lot. I'll be emailing it to the National Sports Museum once I reach an adequate number of signees. You can opt to make your email address private when you sign, and I will not be passing on any details to advertisers or other parties. Please send the link to families and/or friends and get them to sign too. Our strength lies in our numbers!

This petition is not being circulated in association with, or on the behalf of, Gymnastics Australia or its affiliated state associations. I take full responsibility for any and all outcomes involved with its publication.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pink Ladies in the Black

Great update, including some more photos, from the Victorian Women's High Performance Centre after their recent Team Pink fundraiser and open day.

They reached their target of $2000(!) to be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and were very pleased with the turnout.

I particularly liked this bit:

It was wonderful to see not only family and friends but also many of the fans who came last year who came along "just because we love gymnastics" as one group of lovely young ladies told me.

I can think of two special little spectator clusters to whom that quote is referring...!

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the HPC's next event, a Senior Invitational. Prahran is where it's at, gymnistas!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Big Hearts, Strong Feet

Congratulations and pats on the back to Waverley seniors Shona Morgan, Emma Dennis and Georgia Bonora who all participated in the annual 'Run for the Kids' fundraiser on Sunday.

The trio completed the 5.2km course as part of Team 100k that raised over $500,000 for the Royal Children's Hospital.

Friends 'til the very end, all three clocked in at 1 hour, 2 minutes, 31 seconds.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dear National Sports Museum


So... It was nice paying you a visit today. I like what you've done with the place.

Just one little thing, if it's not too much to ask.

Any chance of... maybe... getting a little more gymnastics in there? At all? I mean, the Nadia footage on the 'Olympic Champions' video archive was nice to see. But we seemed to have uniforms, equipment and and photographs from every sport Australia's had Olympic representation in, except for gymnastics. Why did only the medallists seem to get acclaim? And furthermore, why wasn't Alexandra Croak listed in the section of 'athletes who have represented Australia at multiple Olympic Games in multiple sports'? You seemed to have everything else updated to reflect Beijing results, except that.

Furthermore, why does the 'Hall of Fame' plaque and biography wall list world champion aerobics athletes, lacrosse players and HANG-GLIDERS alongside names from the more fancied sports, but no gymnasts? We've scored, what, more world championship medals in the last 9 years than across our entire time participating in the sport (which is, I remind you, over 50 years). We have one world champion and a handful of minor (though you'd hardly deem it that given the standard of competition!) world medallists. We've hosted two world championships in this country and one of the most memorable rounds of Olympic gymnastics competition ever seen. It's not as though the sport is completely foreign here.

All I saw was a photograph of Dasha Joura forming part of a wacky "Wahey! Athletes come in all sizes!" height chart display. That was it. Nothing else in the museum showed a trace of Australia's gymnastics footprints.

C'mon, Melbourne sports boffins.

Stick some leotards in those glass cases of yours. Put up some photos. Tell some stories.

...Think of the children.

Friday, March 12, 2010

You're Looking Lovely Today, By The Way.

Quick quezzie:

Who would want/wear a fan shirt if I got some made?

They'd be very simple in design and, of course, wouldn't feature my freakish mug on them anywhere. There may not even be anything on the front, just a small printed slogan on the back.

(And yes, I have already ruled out both pink and purple for the colour scheme).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Man Camp

As opposed to 'camp men'.

Which is a different, and infinitely more unpredictable, kettle of fish.

Sam Simpson reported for the PacRim Facebook page on the recent MAG training camp at the AIS. All signs point to good, except for Mitchell Morgans' untimely injury, and a slight struggle for Tyson Bull. Mind you, it ventures into TMI territory when he mentions Jack Rickards!

Hey everyone just thought I’d write a quick little blog on what happened at our training camp in Canberra.

Everyone got down there on the Sunday about midday with the exception of Declan who was running a little bit late for his flight but that happens to everyone at some stage. I know I’ve missed a flight before because of traffic!

Early in the afternoon the "rookies” (which is what us senior guys call the juniors who were there for the camp) were all playing table tennis in the rec room and some of us were there watching.

I looked up and who did I see walking down the residence but the dreaded ASADA people - I knew straight away they were there for us!

So after the rigmarole of sorting out who was getting tested and getting guardians for the juniors, most of us went off to the room for testing. All went smoothly for testing except for Jack, who it seemed no matter how much water he drank just wasn’t ready!

After all of that was done, we went to the camp meeting where we got the plan for the week and also made sure everyone was there and knew what we had on during the week. A quick dinner and some time spent in front of the TV watching the Winter Olympics, we then hit the hay and got ready for the busy week of training which lay ahead.

Monday was the first day of actual camp and the juniors started half an hour before us so that there was a little more space for warm-up.

Unfortunately that morning, Mitchell fell on pommel and injured his hand. Suzanne took him off for X-Rays - it was broken! So that was it for him for the training camp. We all wish Mitchell the best recovery and hope that he’ll be back in the gym in no time.

Afternoon training was pretty straight forward. Everyone got in, tried out all the equipment and got prepared for showing their skills/connections/routine
s for later in the week. Skin folds were also done for the seniors with mixed results - some people were happy and some of us have a little work to do in the coming weeks!

Tuesday was much the same with training. Tyson had to take it easy because of some back issues but seemed to come back fine by the end of the week. The juniors had their skin folds done on that day with much the same results as us seniors.

Wednesday was our sleep in except for those of us who had our planning meetings first up at 8am (the Queenslanders). A pretty relaxed day in general with everyone having their meeting with Vlad about our strategies for the next 12 months. Afternoon training was much the same as the last couple of days, just everyone showing skills and combo’s.

Thursday and Friday went much the same way as Monday and Tuesday, the same training regime.

On Friday night, the seniors went out for dinner and a bit of a catch up outside of the AIS.

Saturday was the final day of camp and a bit of a shorter training session as everyone had to get everything sorted for checking out and getting back home.

All in all the camp was successful with everyone showing the progress they’ve made and also what progress we are all planning to make in preparation for Pacific Rim, Commonwealths and also World Championships.

I think that if we can make all of the plans we have, then we are in good stead for the upcoming comps this year.

Sam Simpson

Make 'Em Laugh

A sweet article about Olivia Vivian can be found here.

You can see why she won the inaugural AGB Award for Team Encouragement!

Aside from what she's doing in the gym - where she's posted career-bests of 9.900 on bars, 9.850 on beam and 9.825 on floor - Vivian has also proven to be a viable team member in the locker room with her comical, outgoing personality.

"She's just really fun to have around," senior Mandi Rodriguez said. "She really knows how to keep things light."

"She's always enthusiastic," junior Jen Kesler said. "She always finds a way to make us laugh, no matter what."

Vivian said she gets her personality from her dad and that she "doesn't take a lot of things too seriously."

"You just try and have fun with it," she said, "and that's what I try to do: Make (my teammates) smile, make them laugh and make this more enjoyable for them."

Like this, Liv? ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pacific Rim News: USA MAG

The USA has named their men's team for the Pacific Rim Championships in Melbourne.

Put your excited faces on, it gets nearer every day!

SENIOR: Chris Cameron, Danell Leyva, Steven Legendre, Tim Gentry

JUNIOR: Dylan Akers, C.J. Maestas, John Orozco, Sam Mikulak

I can't WAIT to see the high bar final if Phil Rizzo is named to the Aussie team. He and Leyva duking it out will be fantastic.

Also? Danell's dad is always worth the admission fee:

ETA: Australia has also named its trampolining teams to the event:

Senior Men
Blake Gaudry
Ben Wilden

Synchro Senior Men
Blake Gaudry
Ben Wilden

Senior Women
Aslin Styles
TBA - selection to be made after Victorian Championships

Synchro Senior Women
Aslin Styles
TBA - selection to be made after Victorian Championships

Junior Men
Patrick Cooper
Riley Glazebrook

Synchro Junior Men
Patrick Cooper
Riley Glazebrook

Junior Women
Madeleine Johnson
Nikita Wilson-Beddoe

Synchro Junior Women
Madeleine Johnson
Natalie Skinner

Sunday, March 7, 2010

VHPC v2.0

You can see more videos from yesterday at MistySakura's channel here.

I've added some of Ade Foster's fantastic photos to the blog's official Photobucket account here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

AGB Goes to the HPC Yet Again


An epic storm has hit Melbourne and I got caught in the middle of it, right in the middle of the CBD. Never have I seen people line the streets for cover as hail set in, then whip out cameras to take photos of the giant hailstones! Alleyways and large thoroughfares got flooded, trains got stuffed around due to ice on the tracks, yours truly slipped down an escalator... it was pretty chaotic.

All I can say is - I hope the gymfamilies and gymfriends that went out to Prahran today, especially those that stayed for the second training session, got in an out safely! It's still bucketing down out there!

So, to the all-pink open day.

I have so much thanks and credit to give to the Women's High Performance Centre. Today had a bigger turnout than last year;s bushfire fundraiser, and will probably end up more financially successful, too. Spirits were high and intentions nought but good as the girls trained in their special GK pink leotards and ribbons, proffering pink cupcakes and raffle tickets alongside the parents association. Three cheers for you guys.

The seating arrangement was good this year, as you didn't have to go over bar wires or beam mats to get to the 'spectator' section. Mind you, where I was sitting didn't give me the best view of floor/vault, but gym parents will always get there early so I took that in my stride.

Now.... to the gymnastics! *dramatic flourish*

As I walked in, seniors were warming up beam. I took my seat and got ready for a day of action.

Naomi Russell -
One of my major focus points for the day (not... y'know, in a creepy way). Is this girl awesome or is this girl awesome? She was looking SO GOOD today. She was also keen to encourage her training partners, especially Tierra Exum. In the beam warmup I saw, she showed a lovely double pirouette that also features in her floor. Some of her friends came and sat in front of us, she had no qualms about chatting with them as she worked some bars releases and giants on the single bar over the foam pit.
Beam: Skills included a front somi mount (which I missed on video), a back tuck and a side somi. Also a double pirouette, becoming a common occurrence among the seniors. Will have to refer to my video to remember her dismount (double back tuck?)
Floor: Lots of bodies in the way so I couldn't quite see. She warmed up a switch split leap to split jump full, plus a double pike. She opened with the double pike and shows two quite nice double pirouettes (one with bent knee, one with leg at horizontal).
Vault: A couple of very nice Yurchenko 1.5's, lots of encouragement from Tracey P. At one point I believe she went for a Tsukahara full as well.
Bars: This girl ATTACKS the bars like an American gymnast. She showed great height and form on her straddle tkatchev and geinger on the single bar, nice 'Shap' to bail work on bars. It's the same lovely Naomi from 2006! She had a smile on her face the whole time.

Britt Greeley -
Work it, sister-girlfriend! This young lady is looking more and more like a contender for the big international assignments this year. She got a lot of the apparent kinks in her form worked out and hit lots of skills clean today.
Floor: Did her tumbles on the side mat, danced through on the floor mat. Still no sign of the double arabian, but her double pike looked nice and she really sells the choreo. Fumbled her pirouettes a little.
Vault: Yurchenko 1.5s, one or two a little tucked at the end but she really went hard for them. I wasn't looking at the time, but one of my co-attendees tell me at one point she did make what looked like a promising attempt at a Y-double.
Bars: GIRL'S GOT A HINDORFF, Y'ALL! And a pretty one at that. Dismount was a tucked full-in. She also worked on a tkatchev on the single bar.
Beam: Hm... Don't think I took notes for her. I might have taken video, stay tuned for that. I remember the warm-up looked good. Still no rulfova yet but nice acro skills otherwise (side somis, side aerial) and a double tuck instead of a twisting dismount.

Georgia-Rose Brown -
Proved any naysayers wrong today. Ro-Bro looked great! Very elegant and, from a distance, even Liukin-esque. A light, floaty carriage to her work. I almost didn't recognise her at first as she didn't have her hair in the usual bun.
Floor: A techno opera piece (complete with vocals, as is now accepted by the FIG). Double tuck to open, landed nicely. A laid out front 2.5 twist. Fell out of double turn. Punch front... I think it was a 1.5 twist? Full turn in Y-position (gorgeous), single back layout to close.
Beam: She warmed up, among her skills, another full turn in Y which she completed successfully in the actual routine. Her warm-up routine looked great. Double twist dismount.
Bars: Warmed up with kip to handstands on the low bar and toe-on giants on the high bar. I don't have notes for her bars because I believe I filmed it. I filmed A LOT today, my phone got a real workout!
Vault: No notes for this but I definitely got it on video. I think it was a Y-full.

Ashleigh Brennan -
This girl has NOT given up, she is definitely still fighting fit and smiling throughout. Versions of her two Olympic leotards are framed and displayed on the gym walls.
Beam: Most of her 2008 skills, but also showed a double pirouette. Side somi, side aerial, back tuck, BHS-LOSO. Helped Naomi chalk up and stay giggly.
Vault: Captured on video. Did one false run.
Bars: Still neat, with a little more attack this time around. On single bar, did a giant full to tkatchev. Nice stalder work. Fiona would hold up a length of rope across the pit for her to simulate where the low bar would be as she swung. She warmed up a double tuck off the single bar also but did her standard dismount off the unevens (I think... much of my bars view was obscured).
Floor: Still the Cold Case routine. Did her piked full in on the tumbling strip. A few single layouts substituted for normal passes.

Fiona Coley -
Didn't perform at all today, I'm sure, as I go back through my notes. She had the leo on and did some conditioning but didn't do any full routines. Not that we saw, anyway, and we were there from 8:40am.

Zoe Lorenzin-
Still as teeny as ever. I caught some of her beam on video and the bits of her floor that weren't obscured by the beams.
Beam: Included full turn in Y-scale. A side aerial and a side somi. Split jump, switch side.
Floor: Dance through. Hiphop-jazz music, with some violin for good measure. Full turn in Y-scale, double turn with leg at horizontal. Her mum says she's still working on her layout front handspring to double front that we saw last time.

Highlights and Miscellaneous Others-
Tierra Exum: I filmed her new floor routine. She's still as tall and as striking as ever. Finally controlling her double pikes.
Svetlana Sanders: Nice work from her today to cries of "C'mon Svetty!" which is still as adorable as the first time I heard it. Had elegant, sweeping floor choreo to middle eastern music. Opened with a double pike. Single layout. Punch front layout. Trained some piked jaegers on bars with a couple of other girls.
Grace (Claringbold? Flood?): Had a few rough goes at a piked jaeger on the single bar, caught a lovely one in the end.
Ebonie Boucher: Nifty (as Nade00 put it) roundoff to back tuck on beam.
Laura Hingston: Elegant as always, I'm pretty sure it's her who is working on a lovely onodi on the low beam. I love that skill when it's done well.

There was a lot going on at once today so I captured what I could with my stodgy phone. Nade's camera died but MistySakura helped saved the day, doing some tandem filming (and some doubling up, teehee). I thank both for helping me ID skills and gymnasts and for generally reeking loveliness. I also captured a couple of 'candid' moments on film, including Ash and Naomi having a laugh, gymnasts eating cupcakes, and a choreographer working with a young gymnast on her compulsory floor routine.

I really enjoyed myself today and once again thank the VWHPC for opening its doors to the public. I had the chance to say "Good luck this year!" to Ash on my way out and she beamed as she said "Thankyou!"

(Nade also overheard a sweet moment: "The classic moment of the day came when Alex Eade approached her dad at the end of the session and said 'Daaaad, I'm hungry', and he replied enthusiastically, 'Hi Hungry!' and put his hand out for her to shake." Fwaaaaaw....)

Please stay tuned for my photos and videos. In the meantime, stay warm and dry, Melbournians!

(PS- I'd like to give a special shout-out to the young lady who came up to me at the end of the session, recognised me [was it the shoes?] and said how much she loved the blog. That meant the world to me, and I wish we'd got to chat longer. Thanks heaps.)

(PPS- Hi Ashleigh's mum. I'm pretty sure you were sitting behind us. We wanted to probe you politely with questions but thought the better of it. Your daughter is ace... that's all!)


You should be able to view my few, pitiful photographic efforts here.

Videos will show up here. Again, please excuse the quality. I will link to MistySakura's (and any others from the day that crop up) when they become available.

Off to Prahran

AGB's friendly ground crew, asseeeeemblllleeeee!!!!!!

*blows into a conchy thing*

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday To...

Commonwealth Games and World Championship team member Sam Offord!

Sam, a strong candidate for the 2010 Pacific Rim team, recently attended the AIS/GA men's squad training camp and turns 24 today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Splitting Hairs

Good evening! Some news items for you.

1. Northern Districts Gymnastics Club in WA (former stomping ground of Lady Dasha) is taking part in the World's Greatest Shave to raise money for cancer awareness and research. Athletes in the club rallied for their coach, Derek May, to appear on The 7pm Project and have his head shaved live on national television, along with a handful of other nominated candidates, as part of the cause. You can read about Derek at the show's website here and sponsor NDGC at the Shave site here. I thank the club's gymnasts for getting in touch with me and letting me know about their participation in this fun and worthwhile campaign.

2. Peggy Liddick, Allana Slater and outgoing GA head Jane Allen all gave their opinion to ABC radio on the Team China 2000 Olympics age-falsification scandal. Read the transcript or hear the news item here at the ABC site.

Seen/heard anything in the Aussie gymnastics realm? Hit me up (do kids even say that anymore?) at ozgymblog@gmail.com