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.
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.