A much better turnout for today's women's session. I spotted the New Zealand men's team in the stands and bashfully handed them my poster as a sign of admiration, respect and the need for their women's team to have a hilarious sign waved for them. They said "thenks" and posed for a photo.
AIS girlies (Hi if you're reading this!) sat in the front row of seats; also in the house were some VWHPC gymnasts.
GA's quick hits are here.
NZ once again had a big cheering section, but a lot of other competitors won the crowd's hearts along the way. Big ups to Malaysia for their happy clappy floor routines that kicked off the competition, sleeveless purple leos and all. I did a big "Vamos Alexa!" to Alexa (Alexia?) Moreno as she left floor after a fantastic routine. She's a real powerhouse, showing some strong vaults (stuck a front pike half in warmups) and high tumbles. Everybody's heart went into their respective throats as Mitzi Unda of Mexico landed her double tuck warmup on floor badly, and looked to have sprained her ankle. She was removed from the floor but came back on to perform, to big cheers from the crowd.
NZ's Breanna Mitchell looks like the DNA of Shona Morgan and Ashleigh Brennan smooshed together. The team showed determination throughout, but their form leaves quite a bit to be desired. Brittany Robinson reminded me of Laura Hingston, she was lean and dainty.
One Singaporean gymnast knew the way to work the crowd - Zorba music! That floor staple certainly got the crowd clapping along. Angel Wong showed confidence and class, and if I recall correctly, she was the one who did a Moceanu-circa-1996-by-way-of-Silivas-handstand-wrap-around beam mount?
It's hard for me to contribute when so much has already been said. It's a great atmosphere inside the gym and I wish I had an iPhone to do live updates! I got video of Moreno's floor and a couple of photos. At the very end of the session, Singapore and Malaysia gathered around the beam for happy snaps, including nice smiles and hilariously silly faces. There was great sportswomanship on show as the crowd filtered out, with the teams congratulating and hugging one another after a fantastic round of competition.
Bring on session 2! Gotta run, byeeeee!
Session 2, whooo mama! I am holed up back at home, shivering after a long ride home.
Just first off: my heart absolutely goes out to Brittany Rogers of Canada. Her accident unfolded directly in front of where I was sitting. Her foot slipped off the beam as she entered her double pike dismount, the salto went way too low and our first thought was that she'd faceplant but she thudded onto her back - at first it looked like she'd landed on her neck! She sat up slowly and grabbed her ankle, motioning to the coaches. My seat was two rows from the front, and I was so close I could see her hands shaking and hear her going "owowowowow!" and just sobbing. It was a horrible end to the competition for her. Hope she recovers soon. The team carried on admirably without her.
On a lighter note: Let these words sound from the rooftops. AGB FRIGGIN' LOVES KRISTINA VACULIK. Honestly, people, this Canuck has matured since PacRim 2008 and is every bit the calm, confident, cool operator.
China had fall after fall on beam which the crowd did not expect at all from them! They had neat work but just couldn't get their head in the game. Ksenia Afanasyeva drew everyone's eye to her, and it was obvious her elegant style and solid landings would see her through to the medal podium. I managed to capture a little bit of her beam warmup on video.
Once again, all eyes were on a pink-hot Team USA. The injury to Bridget Sloan did not affect their mood or performances. This is a team that is consistently ready and consistently confident. The only major mistakes came from Bross on beam (stumble after front somi) and Sloan (looked like she did a toe-on on the low bar but ended up facing the wrong way and had to take it again). Raisman is every bit the Sacramone clone, Ross and Vega showed some sass on the floor, Weiber was all smiles and Bross showed she's boss. You'd be hard-pressed to bet your dollars on an American loss in competitions over the next quadrennium.
Australia hung on for 3rd and we are so proud of all of you! Milly for a stellar beam! Emily for a super vault and 5th all-around! Larrissa for hitting bars! Georgia for standing up the arabians on floor and off bars! Emma for staying strong and getting that double tuck off beam! Georgia Rose for being gorgeous and classy the whole way through! Girlies, you exceeded all expectations and the crowd just loved you, keep the good vibes going over the weekend.
Check my Photobucket and YouTube in the next 24 hours, I hope to have some nuggets up for ya. See an awesome photo gallery at Universal Sports here.
See the short clip from the 7pm Project here: http://7pmproject.com.au/video.htm?channel=7PM+Catch+Up&clipid=2689_7pm-300410-sg3&bitrate=300&format=flash
Who was in the stands tonight? The AIS girls again, Ju Ping Tian, Fiona Coley, Naomi Russell, Ashleigh Brennan (the latter two having a good old laugh with Stacey), Josh Jefferis and Team Mexico.
What did AGB do wrong tonight? Talk to Bridget Sloan.
Here is a transcript of our post-meet chat, shared over the arena railing as she took a breather from signing autographs.
AGB: "Um, hey Bridget! You rock!" *unfurls Melbourne <3's style="font-style: italic;">BS: "Oh wow cool! Thank you!"
AGB: "Yeah, well done tonight! You guys were really great!"
BS: "Thanks *laugh*!"
AGB: "Yeah! Uh... it's so fantastic you came. Melbourne's so happy to have you, we can't wait to have you back, you yourself have a love of Australian fans!"
BS: "Awww, thanks! Glad to be here!"
AGB: "...sorry about your foot!"
AGB's Brain: SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
AGB: "Ok, so, yeah, um, bye!"
Not "sorry TO HEAR ABOUT your foot", no, just "sorry about your foot".
LIKE I HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT.
Verbal diarrhoea - I get it a lot. *cringe*