Today, today, today, today TODAY marks the first round of Pacific Rim competition!
Yours truly will be at both men's artistic sessions. I will probably have my NZ sign for this morning, I may not. I have a lot in my bag as it is, and lugging a big roll of cardboard around will get frustrating. If not... then... just guess which one I am (clue: the one with a beet-red nervous face asking for autographs or photos of fan signs)!
But yes! Warmup is from 1pm and I'm told ticketholders can rock up anytime from then on to watch before march-in. And don't let those seating goons (apologies to any lovely volunteers reading this) boss you around during that time - go mingle with your fellow fans and share the good vibes* with those you spot in the stands.
Now, just a couple of final words before I head off on a rattling train:
1) Twitter (PacRimChamps) and Facebook (2010 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships) will be doing 'quick hits' simultaneously. There is no web video streaming for this event so keep your eyes there. I don't own an iPhone so cannot update the blog's twitter - or the blog iteself, for that matter - while I'm in the arena.
2) According to Michelle Cook of JumpMedia, filming will NOT be permitted during Friday's women's competition, and at the request of NBC they will enforce that rule rather strictly.
3) Those of you interested in following the rhythmic competition can follow Cameron Pegg's live tweeting here.
Now, go forth and be Mezzie, for today is a glorious day for gymfans!
*not a euphemism for narcotics. Jussayin'.
Where do I begin!?
How's about here: Congratulations to Sam Offord for winning silver in the men's senior all-around!
There was a small but loyal turnout to both sessions. NZ had the biggest support contingents, after Australia in the latter session. I sat behind some NZ coaches and supporters who thought it necessary to talk THE ENTIRE TIME THROUGH EVERY ROUTINE.
Just going over the notes I saved in my phone... NZ had a lot of stuck landings and more confidence than ever in their program. They topped Singapore (the only other full team in session 1) convincingly and have some real rising stars in their lineup. I probably can't add anything you didn't already read at Twitter or Facebook. There were some very low scores in the first session, but the highlight was Hong Kong's Wai Hung Shek sticking a near-perfect double front tuck vault. Kiwi Brandon Field had a scary rings fall but recovered alright. Aaron Clutterbuck (hope I spelled that correctly) showed some nice work, especially on p-bars. In short - go you big silver ferns!
There was a larger turnout for session 2, and from the second you walked in your eyes locked on the Americans. They showed such power and confidence in all their work, and you couldn't ignore their enthusiastic cheers. Danell Leyva's dad was the pick of the bunch (he of the whoop-whoop celebrations), fist-bumping every one of the gymnasts after they did a good skill, or mounted the podium, or hit a routine, or was re-starting a fumbled routine... it was fist bumps abd backslaps all round once the team was declared the overall winners. China were elegant as always, with textbook twisting style and pirouettes on bars. Unfortunately, Leyva didn't have the best night, falling on either his bum or his face on 4/5 floor tumbles. The crowd loved USA's Steve Legendre and CJ Maestas, and picked up on several of Chris Cameron's rowdy cheers. Canada and Russia quietly plugged away while the crowd went nuts for the home team and America's daring. Nathan Gafuik won the senior all-around, John Orozco was tops for juniors.
At the end of the night, Team Canada posed around the pommel horse for the fans, Nathan hopped on the phone to what I assume was Mum and/or Dad to let them know how it went.
The medal dais was everyone's favourite green one that didn't quite look like the right size for a team event but everybody juuuuust squeezed on there and looked happy to receive medals, flowers and stuffed animals (I think it was kangaroos this time).
Spotted in the crowd at session 2: Team NZ MAG, Ben Wilden, Josh Jefferis, Valeri Liukin and Mihai Brestyan, Stacey Umeh (I saw you, sister-girlfriend! But you were too busy chatting and being fabulous to notice li'l old me trying to catch your eye!), Ian Bartlett, Liz Chetkovich and Team Russia. They are indeed tiny girlies.
Daddy Liukin, Bridget Sloan and the US girls were spotted souvenir shopping this afternoon on Swanston St. I was in Elizabeth St, DIRECTLY PARALLEL, AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME. *sigh*
AGB and The Couch Gymnast finally encountered one another, at which point the universe was turned upside down and the sheer awesomeness of the moment melted the faces of all and sundry.
More photos are up at my Photobucket account, and I have two videos up at YouTube (see useful links in the sidebar).
Hurray! *claps, jumps and fist-bumps* Here's hoping Day 2 has a big turnout and some big cheering for the ladies.