Friday, February 26, 2010


Promising news on the MAG side of things.

As the Junior National Clinic concluded on Sunday and those who attended were checking out of the AIS accommodation, the National GA/AIS Olympic Squad athletes were checking in for their week of intense training under the watchful eyes of the National Head Coach Vladimir Vatkin and State HPC coaches.

The week's training will provide an in-site [sic] into our top athletes' preparation for a busy year of national and international competition. The Pacific Rim Championships, Australian Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Championships are all important events for the men’s program during 2010, and camps such as these help build a strong team bond.

The experience of senior athletes such as 2009 National Champion Sam Offord, 2009 World Championship medallist Prashanth Sellathurai and 2006 High Bar World Champion Phil Rizzo is invaluable at these camps as they train alongside our current and future international athletes.

The senior squad has been provided a boost with the return of Thomas Pichler to full training with the national squad after Thomas spent 2009 in rehabilitation after a knee reconstruction.

Yesterday's (Good) News

I've no doubt you've already heard, but...

Former gymnast and acclaimed aerial skier Lydia Lassila won gold for Australia in the women's freestyle aerials yesterday in Vancouver. She is just the second aerial skiier for Australia to ever medal at a Winter Olympics, and the second to manage a gold.

(Once again, work commitments saw me miss the event altogether. Dammit.)

Those of you with mid-90's editions of Australian Gymnast magazine and a lot of time on your hands can find Lydia's name (along with Alissa Camplin's) among some of the competition results tables found at the back.

Lydia has won numerous trophies and medals for her skiing achievements, but as of early yesterday, was missing that elusive Olympic showpiece after a disasterous campaign in Torino 2006.

Australian gold at a Winter Olympics is hard to come by. Lydia not only demonstrated courage under the pressure of a worldwide audience, but courage in the face of injury recovery and courage against stiff competition. She put the politics of the qualification round behind her to let the skiing do the talking. It was interesting to see Parliament proceedings briefly paused so Kevin Rudd could congratulate her!

Congratulations also to Jacqui Cooper (in her FIFTH Winter Olympics!) and Liz Gardner who competed in the final alongside Lydia.

Australia is very proud of you all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's Fly, Jets Stars!

Two Jets Gymnastics clubmates had an exciting trip to the USA recently.

Rising stars Isis Lowrey and Maddie Green competed at the 2010 WOGA Classic and Nadia Comaneci Invitational over two weekends in February.

Read their travel blogs about the WOGA event here and the Nadia event here.

You can read Interntional Gymnast Magazine's coverage of the Nadia event (routines and scores published live for the website) here. Isis features.

Sounds like they had an entertaining time, visiting popular attractions and mingling with international competitors... they also met a few famous faces along the way. Well done, girls, on representing Australia at such prestigious events.

You can see some videos of Isis courtesy of Gymnastike below (why yes, that is an instrumental version of Rage Against The Machine...).

Gymnastics Videos on Gymnastike

Gymnastics Videos on Gymnastike

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So Close!

"DAMN close!"

Apparently the 9 Network didn't even show the men's aerial qualifications today but you should see them tonight from 10pm (AEST) during the day's highlights on Vancouver Gold.

A family friend came into my work to let me know David finished an admirable yet bittersweet 13th, less than a point(!) short of a 12th-place qualifying rank.

We love you, Davo. You tried your best and you can't say better than that. You sure put the skiing world on notice! Here's to another Olympics!

I see You Davey...Shakin' That Ice

The researchers, air traffic controllers, sonar operators, lab technicians, martial arts instructors, gadget monkeys, military personnel, robot repairmen, librarians and tea ladies at AGB home base are all doing a little jig today in anticipation of the men's aerial skiing qualification round in Vancouver.

From around 1pm AEST, keep your eyes and ears out for AGB's favourite little ball of fire and ice, Melbourne's own David Morris!

If you see a big green and gold wig bobbing around in the crowd, that's his brother Peter.

Meet the rest of his cheer squad here:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Go Boldly

The AIS website has updated its page for Australia's 2010 gymnastics cohort.

Check out the men and women set to represent us throughout the next exciting Olympic cycle here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Get Set...

If you haven't already, you can become a fan of the 2010 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Facebook.

While there, you can now see an interview with Stephanie Moorhouse and a short report by Lauren Mitchell, which I have posted below:

Lauren Mitchell became the first Australian woman to medal in an individual apparatus final at a world championships, winning silver on the beam and floor at London’s O2 arena in October 2009.

With a busy year ahead, Lauren continues to provide an insight into her world behind the chalk.

“You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I went to Canberra as part of the national squad to attend the first national training camp of the new year. The group of girls that attended came in from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and of course Canberra itself. This camp was also the first time that the junior and senior Olympic squads (at least for the 2012 cycle) were combined in one camp.

Peggy, as always, was stressing the importance of fitness, skill levels, team work and demanded heaps of work from us all - most days we trained for 9.5 hours! Although it was hard, at least I got to jump into the recovery centre every night - even if it was only 10 degrees - to recuperate.

This time, heaps of other athletes including wheelchair basketball, soccer and swimming were at the AIS, although of course no one as important as the gymnasts! It was great seeing other sports there, but I hated waiting in the long lines for lunch...

Two weeks after the camp’s conclusion I got the okay from the doctor that I was able to start training again on my hand. I felt relieved because I have been waiting for what seems like forever (actually only nine weeks). Ever since then I’ve taken it nice and slow to get back into full training. I am nearly there, I just have a few more skills I need to get back then I can start to work on my fitness again. Treatment wise though there is not much a physio can do for a broken bone, so I’m just monitoring my skills in accordance with the pain. So far the pain has been minimal which is better than I had expected. In case you are wondering, for all those gym girls out there, it is better if you don’t break too many bones – it really messes with your training!

Outside the gym I have been preparing myself for the next stage of my educational journey.... university. After 14 years of school (ok, including pre-primary) I have been accepted into the University of Notre Dame to study Biomedical Science, which is basically learning more about the human body. As an elite sports woman I am very focussed on how my body works, and the balance I need for gym, and the way different food affects me ...even the tiny things make such a difference. It fascinates me to understand how it all works.

So wish me luck for full training, uni lectures and getting back into a routine for 2010.”


On Yer Marks...

Well-known Aussie gymnasts are once again taking part in the Run For The Kids.

Waverley's terrific trio Emma Dennis, Georgia Bonora and Shona Morgan are all participating in the 2010 run as members of 'Team 100k', the same athlete/celebrity team that last year boasted Monette Russo, Karen Nguyen and Steph Moorhouse.

Follow this information page from GA to find out where you can take part yourself, sponsor a runner or donate to the team.

Run run run
As fast as you can

You can't catch them


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pretty Shoddy News

On top of the news that the acrobatic gymnastics component of Pacific Rim 2010 has been cancelled due to lack of interest (see GA for a statement), it is with much sadness and sighing that I now post the following message from Wolfie, moderator of the Aussie Gymnastics Message Board.

Hi Gym Peeps,

It's been fun, but the time has come to say goodbye to the Aussie board. We just don't have the traffic or the interest for it to continue.

If you want to keep up with gymnastics news both in Australia and internationally, I recommend the following links (in no particular order):

Gymnastics Australia:
- (For officially sanctioned news from GA)
GA on Twitter:
- (Get the goss - the recent goss on Aussie gym news)
Mez's blog:
- (Find out Mez's perspective on things. She's a passionate Aussie gymnastics fan, but hey, you already know that. You're here!)
- (Understand what's happening around the world. Chat and debate with people who aren't antipodean)
The Gossip Board:
- (Edgy, definitely adults-only, highly moderated, but a really good source of the latest news, scores, gossip and opinions)
- (A Facebook group for Aussie gymnastics run by Mez)
The Couch Gymnast:
- (An internationally focused gym blog)

There are many more, but I think you'll find the ones listed are a good start.

Long live Aussie Gymnastics!

Love Wolfie.

It is a shame, as I've always tried to direct any prolonged discussions over there.

So, in the past year we've bid farewell to the message board and the A-Z of Australian Gymnastics, two very important and entertaining webspaces that inspired, informed and nurtured this blog from its humble beginnings in 2008.

My best to all who contributed to both spaces, I appreciate the great discussions and experiences we shared. It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet some of you in person. I like to think I have some great friends standing behind me and the blog as we trundle along the dusty path of gymnastics fan reporting and spectating.

To paraphrase a late, great, author - So long and thanks for all the dish.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Good News

Australia named its Pacific Rim rhythmic gymnastics team after yesterday's trial in Victoria:

Senior Individuals: Naazmi Johnston, Janine Murray and Enid Sung (reserve: Morgan Lewis)
Junior Individuals: Taylor Tirahardjo, Marian Barer and Samantha Lim (reserve: Neisha Rizzo)

Senior Group: Vanessa Ade, Georgia Braithwaite, Amelia McVeigh, Lyndsey Murton, Jessica Veal.

Congratulations to all the young ladies named to the team, I know they will do us proud in Melbourne!

In other congratulatory news, Melanie Jones scored yet another 9.9 on floor over the weekend to help Oregon State to, yup, yet another team win (this time over Arizona) I know you've all probably seen the routines several times over by now, but the video below shows Mel's best performance yet from a very good angle. There is also sweet moment where fellow freshman Leilani mirrors her choreography. Look at that smile! How can anyone deny that this girl's destined for big things in NCAA gymnastics?

You can see more footage of Mel and Olivia against Arizona at OSU's channel here.

Foxtel subscribers, don't forget Make It Or Break It continues tonight!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Exclusive: AGB Says G'day To...

Welcome to the first of two Australian Gymnastics Blog exclusives to kick off an exciting year in gymnastics. This is one that I hope to make a regular feature of the blog.

"AGB Says G'day To..." is a short-answer interview conducted with a rising star in the Aussie gym ranks. The questions are designed to let you know a little about their training and competition experiences so you can keep your eye on them in the future.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the very first interviewee.


Brittany Boffo is an IDP8 gymnast from Queensland, a quiet achiever with an elegant style, who scored some serious hardware at Nationals last year. You might also remember her as being the Guinness World Record Holder for most 'body skips' completed in one minute. I sincerely thank Brit's mum and QAS coach Vladimir Joura for allowing her to participate.


AGB: Hello Brittany and thanks so much for taking part. There are people out there excited to hear from you!

Tell us a bit about your gymnastics journey so far - Where/why did you start gymnastics?

BB: I started Gym at Murray Bridge in South Australia 2 weeks before my 5th birthday just for fun. I moved to the State Training center in SA while I was still 5. After a few years my family moved to QLD and I am now training at the QAS.

What have been your favourite competitions so far and why?
I have always enjoyed all my competitions but my favourite is probably Victorian States in 2009.

Which is your favourite apparatus to compete on? Which is your least favourite?
My favourite apparatus during training is bars and in comps it is floor. My least favourite is vault.

You have a very elegant style in your performances, do you do much dance training in addition to gymnastics?
I do dance/ballet once a week during training but I don't do any other training out of the gym.

How did it feel winning the National IDP8 all-around title last year?
I was very surprised to have won but it was cool. It wasn't only winning that was exciting but the whole experience of being with all the other gymnasts around the country.

How do you keep yourself motivated after a bad training session, or a routine that doesn't go your way?
I like to talk to Tianye [Boorman] to get my focus off the bad skills I have done in that training session. It works too!!!!!! Seriously though, I don't stress over it. I just keep trying until I get it.

What do your friends outside of gymnastics think when they see you do your skills?
They always ask me, "How do you do that?".

Which gymnasts do you admire most and why?
Nastia Liukin is my favourite because she is a really good gymnast and is a great role model. Since I was 5 I always wanted to do the skills Philippe Rizzo could do. I have since learned that girls don't do skills that guys do.

What are your hopes for 2010, and your hopes for the years to come?
In 2010 I want to do well in IDP 10 and hopefully continue on to Juniors. Long term I would like to represent Australia Internationally at world events.

Here are some 'random bits' Brittany would like readers to know...

Dogs are my favourite, especially our maltese cross called Wilson
My favourite food is Dad's pasta
Fave colour is fluro green
I love drawing
I don't like sea food!

Thanks again for your responses, Brittany, and best wishes for the coming year!

Mission: Inaccurate

I wasn't going to raise an issue with this new PacRim promo video that will doubtless be shown in the arena multiple times over. Truly, truly I wasn't. I thought it was a great effort. I did. I even hope some of it goes on telly. Fast, sassy, action-packed, emotional, there's little to fault.

Except... I mean... elephant in the room here.

Hands up if you too can spot the gymnasts in it that aren't from Pacific Rim nations and whose national flags won't be paraded during the competition?

Wouldn't it have been a little easier to just use footage of the top 4 London AA place-getters, who went on to be individual apparatus medallists and all of whom happened to be from countries within the Pacific Rim (Sloan, Bross, Tsurumi, Mitchell)? Or even shots featuring the 9 gymnasts in the London top 13 who were from Pacific Rim nations (Garcia, Yang, Kurbatova, Deng, Semenova in addition to the aforementioned top 4)?

Oi dunno, sir *shrug*. It's not a huge deal and I can't do anything about it, of course. But sometimes I just think simplicity is the key.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear O Dear

As Oregon State University's competitive season trucks along, there have been mixed fortunes for the two Australians in their gymnastics lineup.

Olivia Vivian is getting better and better on beam, floor and bars and contributing weekly to The Barometer. Olivia was lucky enough to recover from a finger injury and a bout of sickness recently.

Mel Jones, superb on floor last week, hasn't been so lucky, according to this extract on the team's progress from the Gazette Times:

Freshman Melanie Jones was forced into action on the vault last week for [injured teammate Kelsi] Blalock. Jones has been slowed by a long-term left shoulder injury.

Most of her scoring contributions have come on the beam three times. Her 9.675 vault and stellar 9.900 floor exercise at Cal were the first time she scored on those events. She performed exhibition before.

"Melanie is doing very well," Chaplin said. "She came in and did an OK vault. She just needs her chest a little higher. She's scoring a little higher and needs to continue those improvements. Her confidence is getting better."

Jones injured her shoulder more than a year ago in Australia and waited until after the Olympics for surgery. There was another setback in the fall at OSU on the bars.

She won't be able to do a bars routine this season. Chaplin has doubts she'll ever do one again.

"It's been a slow start getting back onto everything," Jones said. "Hopefully, I can get back on everything next year. Back in Australia (training) was more intense with more hours and harder skills. Here is more relaxing and less intense. So it's easier to cope with."

That's a bit of a downer. But Mel, like Olivia, has been able to stay strong for her adopted team and compete as best she can despite niggling setbacks. Both wear the orange and black as proudly as they wore the green-and-gold and their perserverance is to be commended.

I'm not yet commenting on the business that's going on the previous post's comments until something more official is made public.

In further green-and-gold news, the Winter Olympics opening ceremony is on now (1pm), I thought it was to be midnight! I spotted Dave so I'm happy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Diarise That Shizzle 2

Attention ticketholders and prospective ticket purchasers! I just received an important forward re: Pacific Rim.

Please be aware that session one at Hisense Arena on Thursday, April 28 (MAG Team and AA) has had a time change.

Instead of 1pm to 4pm, the session will now run from 3pm to 5:15pm, with gates opening at 2:00.

Have a nice day,

AGB Cabin Crew

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

That Other Olympics...

Vancouver 2010 kicks off this weekend.

I'm excited!

You can read a little more about AGB's favourite gymnast-turned-aeriallist David Morris here and get a super-secret look at his training regime here (hint: IT'S ADORABLE).

Best wishes to all the athletes representing Australia over the next two weeks. Do yourselves and your country proud, but most importantly - enjoy the experience!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Floor It.

You can see Melanie Jones' 9.90-scoring floor routine from the weekend below. She was included in the line-up after a teammate sustained injury at the competition. Great debut for Mel, and a good performance from Olivia Vivian can be seen in the vid as well. (Watch for the beam fall behind Mandi Rodriguez in the right corner at 9:21, eeeek!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Watch This Space

I have two exciting pieces that will be posted very soon.

Two EXCLUSIVE, exciting pieces.

Stay tuned...

"I LOVE surprises!"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Diarise That Shizzle

The Victorian Women's High Performance Centre Open Day has been set for Saturday, March 6th.

Entry by donation. You can find the gym's address on their website.

IDP 5 - Senior International: 8am – 12pm

Junior Development Area: 12 – 3.30pm

See you there!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top Marks for a Top Kid

After four weeks of US collegiate competition, Perth's own Olivia Vivian is now tied for 10th in the nation on uneven bars!

Last week she scored a 9.90 on the event, her highest yet. You can see video of the routine here. Check out the stuck dismount! At the same competition, fellow Aussie Beaver Melanie Jones showed off an impressive exhibition floor routine to the delight of her teammates and fans.

You can see video of Olivia's floor (with an unfortunate fall at the end) and Mel's exhibition floor below.