Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pacific Rim Championships: Wrap Up

Apparatus final report and results can be found here. Don't forget to check The Couch Gymnast for more on-the-ground observations and photos. The VWHPC wraps up the competition here; MLC does the same here, complete with behind the scenes photos.

AGB went into this last day of competition with a simple wishlist:

1. Film on my new video camera without getting frogmarched out
2. Finally meet Liz Chetkovich
3. Get a 'moose antlers' photo of/with Kristina Vaculik (as per the 2010 Cottbus bars final when her score flashed up).
4. Give my "Wieber > Bieber" poster to Jordyn Wieber

I can proudly say that, with a little help from friends, I managed all of these!

I was also given the lovely surprise of a PacRim poster signed by some notable names (read below). Check my photobucket and youtube (links in previous posts) over the next few days, I am slooooooowly uploading vids and pics. I also recorded the medal ceremonies so those will go up in addition to routines.

Congrats to Amelia McGrath and Emily Little for their individual medal wins! We're so proud!


America was once again stellar, save for an uncharactertistic beam fall from Wieber that had the whole crowd gasping. Bross was steady as expected, performing without batting an eyelid. Amelia McGrath made a gorgeous effort on the same apparatus, despite a few pauses causing her to go overtime. She made up for it with a fantastic floor that snaffled her a shared bronze medal. I could re-watch her back walkover sequence for days on end!

Larrissa Miller fought for her bars routine but it couldn't be saved - apparently that injury is still a bother. Best wishes to hear on the road to full recovery and difficulty level.

Kristina Vaculik was again adorable and smiley. I watched her beam warm-up and something was making her want to giggle, you could see her trying hard to suppress it but she just ended up grinning the entire time! She showed a great Korbut full on beam and a sassy floor routine. I love, love, love this girl.

Peggy is very happy with Emily's vault efforts, as the linked report above shows. After the competition, Peggy snapped some solo pictures of Emily on the podium, with Em giving the biggest smile I've seen her give so far.

USA were in a spectrum of their Olympic leos - purple fireworks, pink all-around, red with stripes, red with white slashes and writing - while one of China's looked like a Miro painting, a fading red into yellow. Afanasyeva's simple red glittered leotard could have stopped traffic, she pulled it off so well. Australia's pink and black from Worlds 09 is dazzingly sparkly under the lights! It was like watching bright sunlight bounce on lapping water.

In a slightly embarrassing moment (and a flashback to Pacific Rim 2006), one of the bronze medals broke! It was Zheng Siqi's for bars. It got put round her neck and came away from the ribbon in an instant, clunking loudly onto the dais step. It was returned to her and she juggled it along with her flowers and toy, the audience laughed it off.

Now. To my faffing about.

After the competition I got a lovely surprise - Sloan and Vaculik had signed a poster for me! I unfurled and read it with much blushing. Many thanks to the involved parties.

I walked around the seating area barriers, weaving madly between pre-teens, trying to get near Jordyn Wieber to give her my sign. I gave up hope as she was lead away by Martha Karolyi and co, until I heard an American voice next to me call out to her, "I'll see you at home, honey". I politely asked the woman beside me if she was Jordyn's mum, and yes she was! Jordyn's parents are a lovely pair who were so glad to hear Jordyn's efforts were being noted on the other side of the world. They got a real kick out of the sign and said JoJo would too. They've unfortunately not had any chance to interact with their daughter in the last two weeks but did do a small amount of sightseeing over the past few days, hitting up the Great Ocean Road. Hearty handshakes all round.

I was then ushered down onto the floor - it helps to have connections! - where I was brought face to face with Goddess of All That Is Worldly and Good, face and voice of televised gymnastics, the one and only Liz Chetkovich! She was shocked yet flattered to hear she had a fan (and a Facebook group! Which funnily enough I didn't start) and that her contributions to gymnastics are so loved. She said all is well up in Perth, Lauren and Dasha are plugging away. She confirmed the latter is definitely looking to return to competition!

Team Australia were having a bunch of group shots taken on the podium, everybody looking happy with the way their PacRim campain rounded out.
I then had a little chat to Stacey Umeh about her work and her travels, and took a happy snap for posterity.

But while all this was going on, I was keeping an eye on Team Canada, and Vaculik most of all. They were moving nearer and nearer the exit corridor and I felt my chance to finish my wishlist slipping away. The venue staff were really cracking down on lingerers (apparently assuming that they were all malingerers). By a stroke of good luck, I spotted Kristina coming back into the arena to grab some things. I waited by the barrier nearest the exit tunnel to call out to her, but then I spotted her coach. I do my best to stick by my rule of always asking a coach's permission first, so I asked the him if it would be ok if I could photograph his team, as the other Canucks were milling by the exit at that point. He obliged! And so did they! I shyly stated that my one request for the photo was that they all do a moose antler pose. Bemused but entertained by the prospect, they did it ("Do you want all silly faces?") letting me capture one of the best moments of the whole competition! I wished them a safe journey home and thanked them for their willingness to participate.

Outside the arena, I spotted Team USA hailing a taxi to their hotel. How dare all those cab drivers ignore them and drive past. Don't they know who Marta Karolyi is!?

All in all: A crazy, busy, exciting, tiring, thrilling, amusing, inspiring week of gymnastics in my home city.

Thanks for sticking with me despite my brief and oft-delayed updates. If I'd had my laptop (or an iPhone) in the arena, I'd have given you all live and more detailed updates in a heartbeat. GA really covered a lot of ground at this event.

In the meantime, keep checking back for pics and vids and I hope you enjoyed the 2010 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships!

(And Happy 20th Birthday to the most magnificent Lady Dasha!)


Anonymous said...

I was so pleased to see Amelia McGrath get a medal on floor, she is such a delight. I was right in front of beam too and everyone was just gushing over her, even those who knew nothing about gym. Hope she can fix up that big pause she has in the middle of her routine cause once she can put it all together she'll be unstoppable.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading she was training an onodi and a rulfova! And also once she gets a D dismount she will get full CR value too.

I can see her doing a great double layout and 2.5 + front layout 1/1 one day. She seems to have a really natural air sense when tumbling.

Anonymous said...

So who is the front runner for the youth olympics? I assumed it would be Emma, but she seems to be not as far ahead now. I think GRB is - if she can get her Yfull for nationals and her 2.5 twist DM on floor, she is going to be hard to beat in the AA. She scored a respectable 13.750 in finals today on bars and a mid-12 with a fall on beam on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Well done Milly!! I too, like 7:56 was so pleased to see her medal on floor (and 5th on beam). What an amazing effort. The highest scores for the aussies all night! Well done to Emily Little as well, such a consistent comp.

Anonymous said...

Yes Amelia was close to getting both those skills (rulfova and onodi) into her routine but stopped to focus on Pacific Rim and Germany comp. Hopefully she will have them for Nationals! Can't wait to see more of her on beam and floor especially.

Anonymous said...

anon 8.47 which Emma are you talking about

Anonymous said...

I think they are talking about Collister because she has been dominating the juniors the past year, if it was Nedov it wouldn't make sense.

I have to agree that EC didn't look as crisp as she has in the past, but I think she will still be an asset to the team in future on vault and floor. Tumbles so effortlessly!

Anonymous said...

Considering its the youth olympics, only juniors are eligible anon 8:47 would have to be talking about Emma Collister.

Well done Mez on achieving everything you set out to do today.

Its great that Dasha wants to return to competition. Having that terrible olympics as her last competition just doesn't seem right.

Anonymous said...

Emma Collsiter was the highest ranked Australian in junior AA and I assume that if that continues she will be selected for the Youth olympics but things could change. I assume nationals will be a good guide to who will get selected.I think Oceania can send one gymnast to Youth Olympics and I assume that gymnast will be Australian.

Anonymous said...

What's the age limit for the youth olympics?

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how old that little russian girl called Anna Rodionova is or the tiny chinese one who was so small?
they looked so young!

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure what the age limit is for the Youth Olympics. I think for WAG it the oldest they can be is turning 15 this year, thus not eligible for senior competition until next year. I am not sure what the minimum age limit is.

Anonymous said...

What would have been the result if Japan had been at this meet?

Froggy said...

Anon 11.06 .. Rodionova and Siqi certainly looked young! The rules for PacRim say 'turning 12 in the year of competition', and I could accept they are maybe 12 or close to it. But, I checked Russian and Chinese speaking coaches on the bus one morning, and ( according to them) both are 14. No way, Jose :)


mistysakura said...

Videos are going up on my youtube page:

Anonymous said...

Competitors for the Youth Olympics have to be born in 1995

Nik said...

I got back from Melbs last night and loved every second! You Melbournians are lucky- nice city.

As for the comp- Jordyn Wieber is the next Olympic gold medallist if she plays her cards right! She is amazing- loved loved loved her floor! Team Amercian was fantastic, so freaking solid and difficult- Ross and Raiseman were awesome and Bross too, though she should try smiling just a little sometimes!

Even a falling-everywhere China was amazing! I could watch their perfectly pointed feet and stretched fingers all day! Russia's b-team was pretty sweet too- Ksenia is gorgeous! Though, there is no way those babies are 14, they were so tiny! I wasn't a big fan of Canada- I liked Vauclik but Rogers scared me, even before her fall and i wasn't a fan of the juniors' messiness, but I guess that will improve with time.

Australia's saving graces were Amelia and Emily. Emily is so solid and her vaults are great! She was businesslike and someone we need on the team because of how consistent she is. Amelia looked so intense but her gymnastics was beautiful! I thought that her beam mount should be changed to take out the handstand pirouette- its nice-looking but takes too long. Everything else was awesome! Larissa's bars were great when she hit but I felt for her in finals. Emma Collister was nice to watch I thought- solid gymanstics- needs a bit more difficulty or wow-factor. GRB's lines were awesome but again more wow I think and she'll go far.

And poor Georgia Wheeler- when she fell on beam and Peggy walked out I felt for her. I think there was too much build up for her, I would have liked her gymnastics better if people weren't saying that she was the next-big-thing so much. She seemed nervouse especially when waiting on the podium for her turn doing drill after drill after drill. It must be hard up there but the Aussie's seemed the most nervous of all while waiting for their turns.

Overall I loved the whole competition.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but GV just posted a whole lot of info about Vis, which is only 6 weeks away. Says international and interstate teams will be there for WAG. Anyone know who? I would die of happiness if some of my fave QAS gymnasts came again.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to say congratulations to Gymnastics Australia for providing such terrific video coverage on Youtube. If you could do the same for nationals, even if it is just the technical video, that would be amazing.

Anonymous said...

I hope those responsible for the GA web and media hype around poor Georgia W pre event learn their lesson. It placed too much pressure on a girl who is still learning and who quite frankly didn't match the PR hyperbole. It set her up to fail.

Anonymous said...

I don't really get why they even thought she'd do amazingly well, her start values are still very low, and only with near perfect execution was she going to post anything even approaching 14.0. Plus, obviously under international conditions they were always going to be more stringent in that department.

The best thing for her to do now is go away and work on getting the double twisting yurchenko and upgrading bars to high 5s if she wants to make worlds, otherwise, they will almost certainly go with the veterans. Morgan/Bonora/Dennis can all probably beat her on bars and if she doesn't have the DTY on vault then obviously she will not be used there either. Brennan has a 6.0 BB routine back too, and I'd say Emily is now also ahead in the pecking order given her stability and yurchenko double. There are only 4 spots after Miller and Mitchell, 3 for CWG.

Even if Wheeler can execute routines well in training (offsetting the low difficulty), evidently she can't perform to that same level yet in competition. I am really looking forward to seeing her gym in the next few years because she is clearly an amazing athlete, but there is work to be done.

Anonymous said...

At what point did anyone say that Georgia was going to do amazingly well? She was one of 6 athletes on the team and was chosen to do some PR work. That she is in Melbourne would make access for the work they were doing easier. I didn't read that because she did the promo work that she was supposed to be our best gymnast. Hasn't Emily been the front runner for some time? Outside of the seniors from 2008 of course. Each of the gymnasts had a job to do. Peggy has implied or said that Emily was expected to make all apparatus finals and medal on Vault. Amelia to make floor and beam finals. They both achieved this. I would assume Larrissa was expected to make bars final. I don't know what the expectations were for Georgia but it's fair to say that on this occasion she probably didn't meet them. Next time she might. I have no idea if Georgia RB or Emma did what was expected of them as I don't know enough about what either is capable of. All in all I am a very satisfied gymfan. the competition lived up to my expectations and I thouroughly enjoyed it. Can't wait for Natioals to see some of those who were not fit to trial for PACRIM.

Nik said...

Peggy is quoted as saying this:
"Georgia Wheeler and Emily Little should make a statement and a bid for the worlds team later in the year." and
"Georgia was just a rock this week... She’ll definitely be the core of the team"
“It’s really nice to have an athlete that takes you seriously and trusts you and knows that you wouldn’t ask her to put something in her routine if she wasn’t ready for it. She takes her gymnastics seriously, not only physically, but also mentally. And she’s still only 15 years old."

More comments about her than anyone else. I'm not saying Wheeler wasn't a good gymnast I'm just saying it seemed as though there was a lot of pressure and expectation put on her. She was good and has a LOT of potential but seemed very nervy. I feel like there was big expectations from Peggy, she didn't walk out of the gym when GRB fell, just G.Wheeler.

nade00 said...

Some pics of Amelia from EF. She was amazing this week, not only her gym but keeping her cool and counting no falls.

To get the largest size you have to click the medium sized one that comes up after you click the thumbnail.

Anonymous said...

It was mentioned that there are only 4 spots in worlds after Mitchell and Miller. I thought that there was only 5 per team for worlds now because that is whats its going to be like at the olympics in 2012. That would leave only 3 spots left for worlds too.

I too think Emily would be ahead of Georgia W for major meets this year. I know she has artistry and execution problems but she is only a first year senior and Australians do seem to improve as they get more experience so I wouldn't write her off totally. She's a good vaulter and was solid throughout basically the whole of PacRim.

Anonymous said...

London will be a team of 5 but Wolds this year and next year will be a team of 6. Stupid, I know. I get that FIG wants to promote AAers but I think there should be at least one major comp that's the same format as the Olympics. 2011 should be 5-3-3 or just keep the Olympics as 6-3-3.

I don't get the Georgia W bashing. I don't think Peggy over hyped her. From the comments I read it seems more like she was saying she has great potential. I'ld say she has mroe potential than Emily but Emily is way ahead at the moment in terms of consistency and difficulty. It'll be interesting to see how those two develop over the rest of the year and next year.

This year will be a bit of a struggle for Aus with UBs being so weak right now. Looks like Larrissa is the only one that can break 14.

Next year could be another story. If Dasha and Lauren are fully fit next year then that could take care of 2 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB and 2 FX in finals. That's 6 of 12 routines. With Shona and Ashleigh back and improvemnts from Larrissa, Emily and Georgia W we shoudl be able to fill in the rest of the slots. Not to mention some of the talented juniors turning senior nect year and Georgia B and Emma D and Britt being healthy.

Though somehow I doubt that everyone being healthy at the same time won't be the case. Hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Has Joura completely ruled out competing this year? If she had a bar routine ready by October, I could see her making the team for only that event, because her routine would add 1.0+ to the team total.

Anonymous said...

Stop saying that Peggy walked out of Georgia W.'s beam routine, she mearly went to the other side of the gym where she watched every routine. Get your facts straight, I was standing right in the doorway next to her the entire beam rotation.

Nik said...

From where I was sitting in the stands she looked like she walked out- if she didn't, I stand corrected and I am sorry.

I think Peggy did a good job picking the team actually and she just looked quite frustrated on the night. The current crop of seniors (taking into account the injured who may be ready for Comms and Worlds) are great and the future looks good for Australia. I don't envy her position having to pick a team later in the year should everyone be ready.

Anonymous said...

Let's also not forget that this was the first major international comp for some of these girls, and I'm sure I also read that most had never competed on a podium before. And apart from that I've never understood how people really expect a country like Australia to run away with bags of medals from international meets. We have nowhere near the same depth as the US and European countries. The US has 10 times our population, as does Russia & China, and the Europeans have lived and breathed gym for centuries. As far as I can see Aust does much better than people are willing to give them credit for.
(Just my 2 cents:)

nswgymnast said...

mez it was SO nice to meet you! i had a great time in melb and enjoyed sitting next to you on thurs night!

Anonymous said...

anon 6:58
I am not sure if Joura has ruled out competing this year. There was a story on her comeback I think it was in late-ish January. Liz C said it was unlikely that she would make Commonwealths or Worlds because the first trial is at nationals in July. Liz C did also say that you never know she maybe able to compete this year. Most of the time she has been good on ub and given the fact that it is probably Australia's weakest apparatus and the apparatus which would pose least of a problem for her ankle could work in her favour. But there wouldn't be room in the team for her and Larrissa both at UB specialists and most people seem to think Larrissa is a lock for commonwealth games and worlds so I assume Dasha competing this year is unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain what "inexperienced means". This was Georgia W's 4th international meet.

Anonymous said...

Peggy did in fact 'walk out' on Georgia. I was standing at the very corner, nearest to the door and you could clearly hear her swear and hurriedly walk around to the other side of the podium.

Anonymous said...

if you count montreal, it is her 5th international meet.
montreal, czech, paris, national clubs aus vs japan and pac rim.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that doesn't sound like 'inexperienced' to me.. she has competed her handspring pike at all of those competitions and her floor tumbling has been the same for the last three comps.