Monday, May 31, 2010

Semi-Breaking News!

Well now. Isn't this exciting!


A NSW trial spectator tells me Mary-Anne Monckton showed off a piked Shushunova on bars over the weekend! Apparently, this is a G-rated(!) release element that, if debuted successfully at a World Championships could - like the famed Dunn mount or McIntosh vault - bear her name in the Code of Points!

Well done to 'Other Mez' for mastering what sounds like a truly awesome skill, let alone competing again after bouncing back from a handful of surgeries!



(Not my hands. They could never look that good!)


Also, Georgia-Rose Brown got a little bit more love this week.

With a Little Help From My Friends

You might have noticed I added a couple of extra names to my 'Useful Links'.

I have publicly admitted in the past that I don't like to advertise as such on this site (believe me, you go a bit mad after several dozen spam messages or requests to plug British fitness equipment stores), but I will say that I do deeply admire those who support gymnastics programs in this country through grassroots business. The following sites in particular provide gymnastics wear and merchandise for teams and individuals across the country, operating independently from big guns like Adidas or GK Leotards. They are also lovely people who are friends of my friends. And any friend of an AGB friend is well, a friend of AGB!

So, please, take a little time to explore the nifty gifts and sincere service of Sylvia P Sportswear ("Hey we know that male gymnast from somewhere!") and GMD Activewear.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Can Talk. Back on Track.

Right, yes, hello, here I am!

Where to begin?

Congrats to the Aussie quartet who did a clean sweep of their age group's all-around standings at the Pre-Olympic Youth Cup! Georgia-Rose Brown topped the field, followed by Angela Donald, Emma Nedov and Pacific Rim rising star Amelia McGrath. Grace Claringbold managed a commendable 9th. Read a competition report from MLC here and one from gymmedia.com here. See a couple of other cracking photos at the VWHPC page here.



Alex Eade
finished 5th overall in the 12-13 age group.


The SE Queensland Senior Regionals and State Team Trials were also on this weekend, and the following observations come from a source on the scene.

*********************************************


Senior International:

The senior all-around competition was won by Larrissa Miller, who competed on all four events for the first time since last year’s state championships, albeit with significantly reduced difficulty on most events and quite a few falls, too. Her vault was tidy layout Yurchenko (she has a nice full-twisting Yurchenko, but her foot won’t allow it yet). On floor she showed an elegant new routine featuring a layout front to layout front-full, layout and 2.5 twist – a far cry from the much more difficult tumbling she did before her injuries. Her beam set was marred by three falls (front aerial, double turn, L turn) and rather a lot of wobbles. It’s a nice routine, though, which can only get better over the next few months. Her bar routine looked good until the stoop-through-half (fall). The Stalder-full at the end didn’t go as planned either, but even so, Miller looked better here than she did a few weeks ago at Pac Rim. It will be interesting to see whether she will be able to pull out a bit more difficulty on all events at states.

Second place went to new QAS recruit Sophie Budack, who showed a good Yurchenko-full, albeit with a deep landing. On bars she only barely hang on to her Jaeger, and her casts seemed rather muscled, but the routine showed some promise. Her beam routine was one of the more stable ones of the evening, the only serious wobbles coming after a punch front and a wolf turn. Her floor routine (double tuck, double twist, layout front to layout front-full, double pike) had good music and nice dance. Budack is definitely one to watch.

The all-around bronze went to Bridget Beattie, who was sporting a brace on her left knee. She vaulted a good layout Yurchenko and hit a nice piked Jaeger on bars before coming off on a blind change. She also counted three falls on beam, including a weird one where she put a foot back after a half turn to feel for the end of the beam, only to lose her balance and fall off. (The other falls came on a back salto and a side aerial.) On floor she showed a slightly overrotated double pike, 1.5 twist to layout front, double full and a double tuck, the latter after a fourteen-second pause in the corner (I kid you not). It wasn’t her best competition, but she’s promising, all right.

The final competitor in the senior competition was Karina Brooks, who vaulted a Yurchenko-full with a very deep landing, then went on to have a nightmare on bars, where she fell on a cast to handstand, hit her feet on the floor after a bail-half, took a scary fall to her back after blanking out on what was probably supposed to be a giant-full, and fell once more on her double pike dismount. The mistakes were all the more unfortunate as Brooks is actually a very good bar worker, with nice technique, great form and good skills (hecht, piked Jaeger). On beam she hit a solid punch front but fell on a back salto, side somi and side aerial. She also landed very low on her double tuck on floor, taking two steps backwards. Despite her many mistakes, though, it was good to see Brooks back in action. Hopefully she’ll fare better at states.

Medals:

All-around: 1) Miller, 2) Budack, 3) Beattie

Vault: 1) Budack, 2) Beattie, 3) Miller

Bars: 1) Miller, 2) Beattie, 3) Budack

Beam: 1) Budack, 2) Beattie, 3) Miller

Floor: 1) Beattie, 2) Miller, 3) Budack

Peggy Liddick attended the competition and seemed to be in a cheerful mood, chatting with all the IDP girls and cheering for many of them. Chloe Sims was also in attendance and was seen snapping funny pictures of her former coach Sasha Beloousov and chatting at length with Peggy.


Junior International:

Four girls competed in the Junior International competition: Natalia Joura and Katie Wurth (both QAS) and Amaya King-Koi and Shar-lee Clark (both MBC). In the end, the all-around gold went to Amaya King-Koi, who wasn’t faultless but made fewer mistakes than her rivals.

On vault, King-Koi showed a decent layout Yurchenko. Her beam was solid but for a fall on her full turn and a big wobble on her wolf-half. All the acrobatic skills (punch front, ff to tucked back salto, front aerial, side aerial, side somi, double tuck dismount) were stuck, as they usually are; give the girl a few more connections and a little more choreography and she’ll have a very competitive routine. King-Koi also did a good job on floor, where she has a new, Middle-East-inspired routine which is an improvement over the old one (double tuck, 1.5 twist to layout front full, double twist, double pike). Her one great weakness is bars, where she has improved considerably since she transferred to MBC but still shows bad handstands and bent legs on the Jaeger. She also fell on her back on her double front dismount. Still, it was a pretty good competition for King-Koi, who reportedly has a beautiful double Arabian and 2.5 twist in the works on floor.

The silver went to Katie Wurth, who is an elegant gymnast in the grand Queensland tradition, well worth keeping an eye out for. Wurth has beautiful lines and excellent presentation on beam and floor, and her skills aren’t bad either (side aerial to ff, front aerial to sheep jump, side somi on beam; double pike, 1.5 twist to layout front, double twist, 2.5 twist, all hit). Sadly, she fell on an Onodi (the only one in the competition) on beam, but it was a beautiful routine nonetheless. Her bars need a bit of work. She had loose legs on quite a few handstands, and the double tuck dismount will have to be upgraded. Nice Delchev, though. She vaulted a somewhat piked Yurchenko-full.

Natalia Joura placed third. Having started with a good layout Yurchenko, Joura Jr moved on to bars, where she had a bit of trouble holding her handstands and only just hung on to her Jaeger (after having missed it by about half a metre in warm-up). She probably showed the hardest beam routine in the competition, with several valuable connections: punch front to sheep jump; side aerial to tucked back salto (fall); front aerial to tucked back salto; side somi; change-leg leap to full-twisting change leg. Her floor exercise sadly came with a couple of falls (double tuck, 2.5 twist). Her style is very reminiscent of her elder sister’s, which is obviously a good thing. Here’s hoping she will hit all her routines at states.

Shar-lee Clark, who didn’t compete floor, finished fourth. She vaulted a rather tucked Yurchenko and on bars suffered a fall on her second toe-shoot to the high bar and a near-fall on her full-out dismount. She hit her Jaeger, though, and generally had very good form, but for a leg separation on the bail-half. Unfortunately, beam was a splatfest for Clark, who fell on a front aerial, ff-layout step-out and side aerial and missed the connection on her normally solid change-leg to gainer layout step-out. It’s a pity she didn’t get to show her floor exercise, as she is a nice floor worker.

Medals:

All-around: 1) King-Koi, 2) Wurth, 3) Joura

Vault: 1) Wurth, 2) Joura, 3) King-Koi

Bars: 1) Joura, 2) Wurth, 3) Clark

Beam: 1) King-Koi, 2) Joura, 3) Wurth

Floor: 1) King-Koi, 2) Wurth, 3) Joura


IDP Level 10:

The IDP 10 competition belonged to MBC’s twelve-year-old Georgia Godwin, who proved that her success at last year’s national clubs was no fluke by taking the all-around gold as well as all four apparatus titles. Godwin vaulted a good Yurchenko-full (a little piked) and showed good form on bars, although she was frequently short of handstands and had a rather late turn on her giant-full. Her beam routine was marred by falls on the side aerial and side somi, but she did show a nice punch front and confident leaps. She also performed the most difficult floor exercise of the day: double tuck, layout front full to front 1.5 twist, 2.5 twist, double pike. What with a double layout, piked full-in and double Arabian in the works, Godwin will be a major contender for a floor position in a few years.

Yasmin Budack (QAS) came second. She vaulted a Yurchenko-half with a bad landing and had a lot of trouble on bars, where she fell twice on a front giant, finished her transition in a dead hang and generally suffered poor leg form. She did better on beam (fall on punch front, wobble on side aerial) and floor (fall on double tuck, bent legs on double twist), where she showed some nice work.

Tianye Boorman placed third. Boorman had a difficult competition. Her bar routine was characterised by a fall on a clear hip to handstand and dead hangs on her transitions. She also had two falls on beam (the first one on a punch front, on which she initially balked, and the second one on a side aerial). She did, however, show the most interesting mount of the competition: a press to handstand, lower down to shoulder stand into an Eremia-like pose. On floor she showed a double tuck (fall), 1.5 twist to punch front and 2.5 twist to techno music.

Brittany Boffo only competed bars, where she had serious problems on a toe-shoot and fell on a giant-full. Brittany George didn’t compete at all, having injured her elbow. MBC’s Brianna Wong didn’t compete either.

Medals:

All-around: 1) Godwin, 2) Budack, 3) Boorman

Vault: 1) Godwin, 2) Budack, 3) Boorman

Bars: 1) Godwin, 2) Boffo, 3) Boorman

Beam: 1) Godwin, 2) Budack, 3) Boorman

Floor: 1) Godwin, 2) Boorman, 3) Budack

*******************************************


And, further to the vault video I posted the other day, check out Olivia Vivian competing on all four events at the OSU team instrasquad event.





Phew! What a weekend!

Can't Talk. Busy.

What? Yes?

Sorry, I'll be with you mo-mentrilly, I'm a bit busy uploading photos and videos from a wedding at AGB central.

Yes, I cried.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pre-Olympic Youth Cup: Early Report

Via the VWHPC site.

Georgia-Rose Brown joins Amelia McGrath, Angela Donald and Emma-Jane Nedov on the Australian National Team; Alexandra Eade and Grace Claringbold will represent the Victorian Women's High Performance Centre.

We have arrived safely in Germany. The flight was long but the girls coped really well. We have arrived in our little town, I feel like we are in the country. There are so many lovely green trees and it is really quiet with lovely birds singing. It was raining when we arrived yesterday, and they told us we had bought the rain with us. The drive from the airport was around 40 minutes. The place we are staying is like being on a university campus. The training gym, competition gym and our accommodation place are all in building pretty much next to each other.


The girls are in a room together, which is not too bad, they have single beds with a small shower, bathroom, and the rooms have a small TV in them. They have internet connection, which I have just got up and running. It is about 6.30 in the morning here.


After arriving we had some lunch, the girls rested for an hour or so, then we went straight to training. The training gym is pretty good, and the girls got to touch the apparatus and mainly have a good strength and stretching session, and pretty much try to wake the bodies up. Alex, Grace and Georgia did a good job, after such a long flight.


Good luck for the competition, ladies! Enjoy the experience!

***********************

Read a further training report here. All signs looking good so far!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Love Gooooold.

A nice haul of hardware came Team Australia's way in recent days, with two male disciplines seeing our gymnasts shine.


* Prashanth Sellathurai won(!) pommel at the Dityatin Cup; Pacific Rim medallist Luke Wiwatowski followed suit with a 1st place on floor and on P-bars. He also managed 3rd on high bar, closing out his best overseas performance yet. Elliott Cook placed 3rd on pommel behind Prashanth.

* Sport aerobics athlete and multiple international medallist Kieran Gorman won the Individual Male division at the FIG World Series event in italy.

Nice job, boys!


And, in other good news: After one season limited to bars and a second season competing just 3/4 events, look who's training vault!



Keep your eyes peeled when watching Channel 10 over the coming weeks, as Lauren Mitchell's Commonwealth Games commercial has gone to air (and been spotted by a few of you!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Goodnight and Good Luck

Best wishes to the Aussie team who depart for Pre-Olympic Youth Cup in Germany tomorrow.



Best wishes, happy travels and Viel Gl├╝ck! to Emma Nedov, Georgia-Rose Brown, Angela Donald and Amelia McGrath.

(Also, special wishes to AGB'S NEW BESTY BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE COMMONWEALTH, KRISTINA VACULIK at the Canadian championships)

Woe.

Holed up with a bung foot and a bunch of lost data - very important data - including (potentially) my remaining Pacific Rim videos that were yet to be uploaded.


I just... I can't... it's not... I don't... I... buh...


DOOMED.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pacific Rim News: TV Coverage!

Bucketloads of thanks to the ever-reliable OlympicGymnastUSA at YouTube (you wouldn't happen to be the same user as OlympicGymnast5, eh?) who has admirably (and quickly!) put up some Non-Specific-American-Broadcast-Network coverage of Pacific Rim. It aired in the States in the last 24 hours.

Check it out here and keep your eyes and ears out for news of OneHD's coverage here in Oz.

(Gotta love 'game faces' played against Flinders Street station!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trial and Error

Unfortunately, I won't be attending the second Victorian women's trial tomorrow at the VWHPC.

Notable participants include recent Pacific Rim team members Amelia McGrath and Georgia Wheeler, as well as Queensland's comeback kid Naomi Russell!

If you will be there, I would love any media nuggets and observations you can spare!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LOLgymnasts: Pacific Rim Edition

It's baaa-aaaack.

Photos courtesy of the ever-nifty Nade who did a cracking job of capturing this competition.











Friday, May 14, 2010

AGB AWOL

Am netbook-less for a couple of days. Might get near my PC, might not. So for now... enjoy a brief hiatus from my waffling.

Bye now.



Let's See Miranda Kerr Do THIS


Aussie rhythmic Olympian Naazmi Johnston had a runway starring role last week for designer Miss Unkon at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week!

Read a little more here.

Gorgeous, daaaaaaaaahling!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here Be Dragons

Based on some correspondence I received this evening, I just want to give a little shout-out to my readers in Wales.

Diolch yn fawr!!!



Knowing you guys are out there and visiting on a regular basis totally makes my day! I hope to visit your lovely homeland at some point in the future, so keep it nice for me, ok? ;)


Friday, May 7, 2010

Life After PacRim

Hi.

How are you?
Good? Well? Well? Good? Great.

Coming in June is the Victorian State Gymnastics Championships and Rhythmic Aussie All-Stars, an event I hope dearly to attend again, as family wedding fuss and fluff will occupy me for the two weekends the WAG trials are held.

It was confirmed in the last week that NZ's Jordan Rae, fresh from the Pacific Rim Championships, will compete as a guest alongside the state's top female gymnasts at the event.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AGB's 2010 Pacific Rim Championships Awards

Australia has just had its Logie Awards so I hereby announce the winners of the inaugural Progie Awards - celebrating the movers, shakers and memory makers of the 2010 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne. Winners, please keep your acceptance speeches to under 45 seconds, lest you face the wrath of Wil Anderson's tweets.


MVP Award: Australia - Sam Offord.
Admittedly I could have gone with a WAG here, very easily. But in addition to good performances on the podium (Australia's first Pacific Rim men's AA medallist in quite a while, I'm sure) Sam did a fantastic job promoting the event in the media, and proved extremely articulate in interviews. He has done much to forge his own gymnastics identity outside of Rizzo/Jefferis/Sellathurai. It was also great to see him hit pommel during the team event, that so often becomes Australia's meltdown apparatus. It's a shame we'll be hearing inexplicably less about him over the next month then we will our new FREAKING SNOOKER WORLD FREAKING CHAMPION IT'S NOT EVEN A REAL FREAKING SPORT GYAAAAAARGH MY INDIGNATION.*exhale*

Honourable Mention: Amelia McGrath. Such a star of the future!Bold

MVP Award: International - Ksenia Afanasyeva RUS). Standing stoic and strong while her teammates were in Birmingham securing gold at the European Championships, Ksenia always had a smile and hug ready for her junior compatriots. She has a stunning, almost regal, air about her performances.

(Honourable Mention: Alexa Moreno (MEX) and John Orozco (USA). Two powerful, elegant gymnasts that proved to be just as cool-headed in competition as their more established teammates.)



Best Leotard - Team China, Apparatus finals. Red body with thick climbing gold swirl pattern. Bold without being garish, topped off with a gold scrunchie.

(Honourable Mention: Team Mexico in their metallic green on white that, from a distance, looked a little like it belonged on Team Australia!)


Best Hair - Team Canada. I loved Vaculik's (almost trademark) ponytail with front braid, and I had a hard time telling the difference between Madeline Gardiner and Dominique Pegg with their immaculate buns!


Best Skill - Tie. Danell Leyva's (USA) laid out Kovacs on high bar; Maddy Gardiner's (CAN) Humphrey turn on the same apparatus - quicker and sleeker than Lauren's, I must say! - and Rebecca Bross' (USA) handspring front layout to double front on floor.

(Wait! It might have been Dominique Pegg! Again with the hair confusion!)


Best Dismount - Emily Little (AUS). Helping secure an Aussie team bronze with a stuck double layout dismount off bars!

(Honourable Mention: Rebecca Bross for her thrilling Patterson dismount off beam; Sam Offord for that gold-clinching rings dismount)



The Olivia Vivian Award for Team Encouragement - Tie. Yin Alvarez and Chris Cameron (USA). Mr Alvarez is now gaining a reputation as 'that coach' with encouragement and enthusiasm to boot. He not only cheered on his own son - Danell Leyva - but had a fist bump for every member of Team USA before and after each routine. Even during warmups, seriously! Chris Cameron's cheers got well known around the arena (it probably didn't help that said arena held a low capacity crowd during men's events), his cry of "Go Steve!" adopted and imitated affectionately by several members of the crowd. He also had some interesting ones in there, including "C'mon Baby, you got it!" and "Let's go, man! This is the [big] show!"

(Honourable Mention: The Team New Zealand supporter who yelled out the most adorable cheer I've ever had the good fortune to overhear: "C'mon New Zealand, continue on!")




The Elsa Garcia Award for Hilarity - Zheng Siqi (CHN). Laughing off the fact her bronze medal fell off its ribbon, and juggling it along with her flowers and toy at the apparatus final.

(Honourable Mention: Team Canada. MOOOOOOOOOSE!!!!!)


The Valeri Liukin Award for Kick-Arse Coaching Team - Team USA. Including the award's namesake himself. Honestly, MAG and WAG, juniors and seniors, this team is always just so ready and so focussed, no matter how far they have to travel or how little time they get to train on the podium. Your eyes are always drawn to them, be it in a warm-up or, to borrow a phrase from one of its team members, "for the show".

(Honourable Mention: Team Australia WAG. Third overall and three individual top-5 apparatus finishes. What a fantastic achievement for a relatively inexperienced team who worked so hard to fast-track their acquisition of difficult skills in time for this competition!)


The Universal Sports Award for Media Coverage - The Couch Gymnast. A fantastic week of blog exclusives and unbeatable Kodak moments. TCG is always value for money (on that note - somebody hire her and pay her millions, stat!) not to mention a lovely correspondent at that. I bow in honour.

(Honourable Mention: Gymnastics Australia/JumpMedia and all PRC media volunteers who worked hard over a number of online channels to bring us some smashing coverage of this event. And thanks for not policing video camera use in the arena!)


Thanks again to YOU for joining the party, don't forget to pick up a gift hamper on your way out!


(Image courtesy of The Couch Gymnast)

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!)

Pacific Rim Championships - DAY 4

Alas, all good things must come to and end!

The train's leaving the station, folks. Empty your cigars and stub out your brandy glasses.


Check out some of Nade's gorgeous photos from Friday night here (make you sure ask before posting elsewhere).

Read an Age preview article here. Don't forget to watch 9's Wide World of Sport from 10 this morning for a Phil Rizzo appearance.

And finally, happy birthday to Georgia and Amelia's MLC teammate Alex Byers-Armstrong!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pacific Rim Championships: DAY 3

...AKA The Morning After The Night Before!

...AKA Cometh The Hour Cometh The Man!

Sam Offord is just one skilled MAG on show today in the men's senior and junior apparatus finals. I'm hoping his presence will see a bigger crowd, it was so great to hear something bigger than golf claps last night.

Going by rankings from the team and all-around, Sam should be going into the rings final ranked first(!) and should also appear in the pommel, p-bars and high bar finals. Luke Wiwatowski goes into the high bar final ranked 2nd, just one of a number of finals slots for him. Brody-Jai Hennessy was the highest-ranked Aussie junior from Thursday night so I hope to see him as well.

Will we see another USA whitewash...?

See finals start lists here.

**********************************

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

Due to unforseen personal circumstances (not Masterchef -related), The Australian Gymnastics Blog is withdrawing its attendance at the men's apparatus finals tonight.
Best wishes to all competitors (especially Team Oz), and tune in tomorrow for coverage of the women's event finals, which - for the moment - should see AGB back on form.

**************************

Stuck at home but just heard the ace news - SAM OFFORD WON RINGS! YEEEEEHAAA!

Later...

Luke Wiwatowski hangs on for high bar bronze!

Juniors Tyson Bull and Jack Rickards score silver (high bar) and bronze (pommel) respectively!

Naazmi Johnston wins hoop gold! And rope silver!

Medals, medals, marvellous medals!



I'm so bummed I couldn't make it tonight and missed all this awesomeness.


Tomorrow, as the excitement rolls on, the last day of PacRim kicks off with...

Wide World of Sport (Nine) will include an interview and feature with Phil Rizzo who will be in Melbourne tomorrow for the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships. Watch WWOS tomorrow at 10am AEST.


Quick hits will be coming thick and fast from the Facebook group, official Twitter and also GymnasticsLive's Twitter here.