Thursday, September 30, 2010


What's that?

I didn't get my act together in time to run a Go You Big Red Fire Engine project this year, you say?

But I got a t-shirt made instead? To wear? All the time?



Pics to come!

Delhi 2010: 3 Days to Go! More Media

National champ Georgia Bonora is front and centre on the cover of today's Green Guide supplement in The Age. She is listed inside as "one to watch", as is Josh Jefferis.

Lauren Mitchell features in this article, reaffirming her opinion on the event's security.

"We have had the police escorts behind the buses everywhere but I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel comfortable."
You tell 'em, Loz.

Her Worlds teammate Georgia Simpson was also featured in an article. Thanks to Christine for the scan (click for zoomed size).

Many thanks to Brindabella in WA for scanning the following The West Australian article on AGB'S OFFICIAL BEST FRIEND Liz Chetkovich (Click for zoomed size).

"I put gymnastics ahead of pretty much everything else; if you want to be successful you can't count your working week and clock off after 37.5 hours. You live the position rather than work the position and if you're lucky enough to have your job as your passion, you don't ever see it as a sacrifice."

Keep your eyes and ears peeled as the media bandwagon rolls on!

On a sidenote - you can spot Shona Morgan towards the end of this video, training with the Stanford team:

Update 5:45pm Channel Ten News just showed the MAGs and WAGs in training! All looked good (glimpsed Ash on beam, Sam O on p-bars, Josh on vault) and there was a brief brief BRIEF grab from Vladimir Vatkin. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece, the gym arena is red and white (Gymnova floor mat?). Steve Monaghetti earlier today described it as "huge... about the same size as Rod Laver Arena". The excitement builds!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Delhi 2010: Team Touchdown

Media (mostly featuring this morning's sudden airport gag order) has started filtering in about our teams arriving in Delhi. Glimpse the team on a Nine News flash here.

MLC Gymnastics gives us some tidbits:

The team arrived in Delhi last night after a four hour stop over in Dubai and some shopping. It was 33 degrees and humid when they arrived. The team had to wait an additional 3 hours to wait for the Nigerian team so were late to the village.

The team is on its way to its first training session right now. They were in too late last night to do any training so did a short physical program and stretch in the apartment lounge. The transport is not up and running yet - so they are taking cars to training today.

There is a lovely picture of Ashleigh Brennan in today's Herald Sun, though no mention of her in the article that accompanies it. Thanks to the VWHPC for the scan:

MAG hopeful Luke Wiwatowski is profiled here.

"I’m a bit nervous of the competition, it’s my first big multi-sports competition," Wiwatowski said. He said athletes would have to get used to a lot of media reporting on gymnastics at the Games. "Gymastics is not a big sport in Australia,’’ he said. Of the negative reports about security and hygiene at the games, Wiwatowski said: "I have not heard anything that would stop me from going."

GA has put up a photo and video montage from Worlds camp! Clap your hands say yeah!

The VWHPC Facebook page has also put up some new pictures of the team trying on their official uniforms and checking out the Games Village (complete with huge mosquito nets in their rooms).

Leader Newspapers have an interview with first-time commentator Steph Moorhouse here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Delhi 2010: And They're Off

The Age newspaper included Ashleigh Brennan in their discussions of event security. Ash, like the rest of the team, is travelling to the Games with an open mind. There is also a nice mention of Australia's previous women's team win.

''Four years ago, the Commonwealth Games was the best time of my life,'' she said. ''I got to stand up on the podium with my best friends, and I shared the experience with them all. We have the chance to do that again, it's an amazing thing to be a part of."

There is also a brief competition preview here.

Our men's team was among the first of the athlete cohorts to arrive in Delhi today.

Edit 10:40pm: Channel 10 News just name-dropped Wheeler and Little (as "the youngest athletes at the Games")... I kinda thought they were going to throw straight to an interview but they didn't. It was just another "athletes are arriving despite venues not being completely finished or clean yet" piece.

Edit 7:40am Tuesday: Huh. This article might explain it.

With officials aiming to tighten security as Sunday's opening ceremony approaches, Australia's gymnastics team was strangely denied a chance to speak to the press after touching down at Delhi's Indira Gandhi airport late on Monday.

Despite having waited almost three hours for a delayed flight to speak to gold medal hope Lauren Mitchell, Australian media people were told by police shortly before the arrival they would not be able to ask any questions.

It came despite reporters having arranged the interview and having earlier spoken to members of Australia's bowls team at the same location on Monday morning.

"You will not speak to them, you will never speak to them," one inspector told bemused reporters.

Despite the protests of Australian officials, the gymnasts were ordered straight to their waiting bus and were allowed only to wave and smile at the cameras.

If you keep your eyes on Sky News, you will glimpse Lauren, Ash, Georgia W and Tom in a very quick CommGames update, wheeling their suitcases past media and, indeed, just smiling and waving as they do so. All are in dark green Adidas shirts with gold stripes on the sleeve.

You should also see the issue get mentioned on Sunrise (with longer rolling footage letting us see Josh and Georgia B heading for the bus as well).

Oooh! Fox Sports News has tantalising footage of a PR woman arguing with the security team, gesticulating furiously with biro in hand. Gotta love someone who goes into bat for gymnasts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Village People

Team AUS has departed for Delhi and we wish them the absolute best.

In case you missed it in the earlier post, check out Peggy Liddick's camp report here.

I have a couple of items I want to share with you, because we've all been concerned of late with the state of the Commonwealth Games athlete village and sporting venues.

The first is an update on of the Games site. The following email was circulated yesterday, from CWG Association head Perry Crosswhite to all participating athletes and coaches.


We have now been in Delhi for more than a week and I thought it a good idea to provide another update on the things we have done to prepare for your arrival to take part in the Commonwealth Games. We now have moved into the Village and are occupying the apartment buildings which will be the home for all of us for the next few weeks. I understand that there has been reporting in the media about the poor state of the Village and I wanted to let you know of what is the current situation.

As mentioned in my previous update the residential part of the Village is made up mostly of 8 storey tower blocks which have 3 and 4 bedroom apartments on each floor. These are newly constructed and had in some cases not been adequately finished, and/or had not been cleaned to an acceptable level. The pictures which have been published recently in the Australian media were possibly taken in the residential part of the Village but certainly were not of the Australian Team's area.

With respect to the buildings where the Australian Team will be staying (Towers 19, 20 and 21) we are ensuring that these buildings are thoroughly cleaned, and that required repairs carried out. All of this work should be completed within the next two days.

We have received our sea and air freight which has the equipment and supplies needed to support you. This includes everything from energy bars to medical supplies to vegemite to wheely bins (for ice baths). Jimmy Tansey from adidas is with us in the Village and is setting up the uniform exchange store.

We are confident you will be safe and comfortable in the apartments and today I took the Channel 10 reporters on a tour of one of our buildings so that viewers might have something they can see rather than only reading adverse media reports about the state of the Village.

As mentioned in my previous update the food in the Dining Hall is excellent, while the training and other facilities in the International Zone are good.

With respect to health issues, our Team Medical Director, Dr. Peter Harcourt, who arrived at the Village yesterday has, among other things, spent time in the dining hall looking at food preparation. He has also been monitoring other Team health areas such as water treatment and the Village mosquito spraying program.

As mentioned in my previous update there is a highly visible level of security for the Games (Village, venues, transport routes, and airport). This remains the case, and if anything there appears to be more security persons on duty than a week ago.

I am aware of the not unexpected concerns of the Team members regarding thier personal safety and the Games. All of us have found the Village to be a safe place to live.

The second item is a video of the Games Village's inaugration from Indian news network LiveX. It shows many of the facilities and amenities in a totally different light to what we have been seeing. Make up your own minds about what to expect in Delhi (once they stop spinning from all that zaaaaaany camera work).

Friday, September 24, 2010


It's nearly time!

(In other ace CommGames news, Liz Chetkovich and Gary Wilkinson have been confirmed as Foxtel's gym commentators!)

(And in other OTHER awesome news, the October issue of International Gymnast features a profile on MLC's Amelia McGrath!)

(OH MY GOOD GOODNESS THE AMAZINGNESS CONTINUES! Here's a camp report from Peggy...)

After two weeks at camp and a World Championships Trial, we just had our second verification on Wednesday and the girls are really looking like a well prepared team. The stability of their programs is getting better day by day. Some of the highlights of the verification & trials are:

Lauren Mitchell’s double twisting Yurchenko gets an incredible amount of air time and distance, I hope the International judges will reward her for that. She is scoring 14.80 for it. Lauren scored a 117.41 over the two-day World’s trial last week in the All Around and achieved the automatic selection score of 116.00.

Emily Little’s STUCK double twisting Yurchenko. Emily is getting a great block off the table and has a very clean & tight twist; she scored a 15.20 for it. Emily achieved the automatic selection score on vault with a 5.8 D-score and a 14.80 or above final score. Emily’s bars are really cleaning up, she is capable of scoring between 13.60-13.90 now, if she sticks her double layout dismount, she could crack the 14+ barrier.

Larrissa Miller’s bars have been the most stable program of all. She must have seen the light after Nationals, because she is all business here at camp. Fit and spitting out complete bar routines time after time. Larrissa has won bars at the last two verification and both day of trials, all with scores between 15.0-15.30. Larrissa also achieved the automatic selection score of a 15.20 on an apparatus. Larrissa will most likely make the floor line up as well, she presented a beautiful floor routine at the trials, opening with a front whip + 2/1 twist front layout, she can score 14+ with that routine.

Ashleigh Brennan has been very stable at camp and her landings on floor are very clean. Stacey Umeh has been working on the performance aspect of her dance and I can’t wait to put it up on the podium. Ashleigh’s beam dismount, double pike, is very high, when she sticks it; she has no deductions as her posture is up and high as well. Ashleigh is getting her groove back on bars too, she will contend for a spot in the line up as well with her double layout dismount. Ashleigh’s vault has been extremely stable, with her two stuck landings on both days of the trial, 13.75.

Georgia Bonora has been the stuck landings queen of the camp; she has really come in good shape. Even though she is only performing a Yurchenko Layout 1/1, it is big and she can stick it, maybe can break 14+. Georgia’s beam routines are very stable and she looks ready to go, with a 6.2 D-Score and she scored 15+ on both days of the trial. Georgia’s bar training has been very good, the best shape I have seen her in the last five years. Shoa Yi Jiang has been up at camp the entire time helping us to stabilize the BEAM TEAM, as this is the apparatus we start on in Delhi.

Georgia Wheeler has the biggest Tkatchev of almost any women I have seen, I love watching her train bars. She swings bars like men’s high bar. Her program is stable and I can’t wait to start adding some massive skills to her bars when she returns from Worlds. Her FF-FF-Double Pike dismount from beam is becoming more and more stable with less and less deductions on her posture on landing.

Emma Dennis is getting fitter by the day. Her stability has also improved over this last week as well. Emma is a good athlete and has a good sense of humour, she keeps us all laughing. Emma’s vault is now starting to get up off the table like it was in 2008, she is getting some serious air time now. Stacey has been working with Emma many sessions to decrease the execution deductions on all of her transitions of floor and beam.

Georgia Simpson is one of the most elegant gymnasts around. Her uneven bar work is “Korkina-like”. Her lines on bars and her flexibility on beam and floor are beautiful. Her 5.7 D-score on beam with a FF-FF-Double Tuck dismount is competitive with anyone on the team now. She just added a Toe on Handstand 1/1 + Tkatchev to take her D-score on bars to the mid-5s. She will be a surprise package to many, but I knew when she had potential when she was the Stage 4 National Champion back in 2006.

Last night the CWG Team opened up all of their gear, it was like Christmas. We also debuted the new leotards, they are really beautiful, you will see them at the CWG. The girls are so excited to put them on and perform.

We have a big training session tonight, light Friday morning and then another full verification on Friday night. Saturday we will get some more full routines in and the a light physical conditioning session in on Sunday morning, before we board a bus that will take us to Sydney airport to catch our flight to Delhi. We are all looking forward to the adventure.
More later.
Peggy Liddick

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Delhi 2010: Pre-Event Media Nuggets

Halloooooo from sunshiney Sydney!

Just a couple of pieces of pre-Commonwealths media to sate your appetites.

Here is a Sydney Morning Herald piece on Australia's October double whammy of Commonwealths and Worlds.

Here is a piece featuring Lauren Mitchell's take on the event's security.

Naazmi Johnston gets a mention here.

Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red Set Go

Videos have emerged of Waverley's own Shona Morgan in pre-season training with the Stanford gymnastics team.

Videos courtesy of Tenaya West and Stanford Women's Gymnastics.

Team fitness training:

Team retreat:

"I'm really excited, I'm making S'mores!"

Fwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw. Love her. And YES I will henceforth dub her Shona S'more-gan. Ye wanna fight abouddit?

For more detailed information about the retreat's activities, read a teammate's journal entry here.

Speaking of retreats, Mel Jones and Olivia Vivian also recently attended Oregon State's pre-season team retreat (photos courtesy OSU at Facebook).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rotterdam 2010: Team Australia (WAG)

(Back Row L-R Simpson, Dennis, Bonora, Brennan
Front Row L-R Miller, Little, Mitchell, Simpson)

Congratulations and very best wishes to

Ashleigh Brennan
Georgia Bonora
Emily Little
Larrissa Miller
Lauren Mitchell
Georgia Simpson
Georgia Wheeler

with Emma Dennis as non-travelling reserve.

See more training camp and trial photos here.

While we're on the topic of World Championship teams, very best wishes to Naazmi Johnston, Danielle Prince, Janine Murray, Enid Sung and the NSW group who are over in Moscow for the Rhythmic World Championships.

Understandably these are all exciting developments, but please remember to maintain a respectful manner when discussing the team members and the team's prospects as a whole.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breaking: Rizzo Reneged

I have heard - just this second - on Sports Tonight that Phil Rizzo is officially out of the Commonwealth Games, his shoulder injury not having recovered in time.

Steve Quartermain then went on to introduce a Sam Offord profile piece. You can see both pieces here.

Door closes, window opens, etc.

Best of luck for a full recovery, Phil.

Edit 9:45pm: Confirmed by the Sydney Morning Herald here.

"I was going through a routine and could feel the pain in the shoulder and I knew basically there and then that my Games were over," he said.

"It had come to the point when I just had to find out one way or the other whether I was right to compete in a major competition like a Commonwealth Games."

NSW gymnast Luke Wiwatowski, 23, is set to replace Rizzo in the five-strong men's team 17 days before the Games commence.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Remembering Sydney 2000

Call me tardy to the party (or even late to the fete), but we were reminded this week that it's been TEN YEARS since the Sydney Olympic Games. They've been in the international news again lately because of certain gymnastics controversies, but in the last few days, various national news outlets have recalled that exciting fortnight in Sydney - notably the night of Cathy Freeman's victory that stopped the nation - that now chalks up a ten year anniversary. Ten years since gymnastics action hit the Sydney Superdome. Forgive my misty-eyed nostalgia if you will...

It's been TEN YEARS since I sat feverishly next to our VCR with a finger hovering over the record button.
TEN YEARS since I begged my parents to let me stay up late and watch The Dream With Roy and HG so I could see their funny commentary again.
TEN YEARS since I cut pictures out of Ten magazine and stuck them on my wall.
TEN YEARS since I scoured every newspaper every day for news and coverage from the Games.
TEN YEARS since I tried to take a tippy-toed look over the Myer cosmetics counter for Poppy King's lipstick she made for the Australian girls.
TEN YEARS since the biggest sports event in the world hit Australia, and Australia said "Well, here's how we do things down our way!"

Ten Years since a packed-out Superdome, since the vault disaster, since I Still Call Australia Home, since the historic floor final, since the gala performances, since battered savs and brown-eyes, since a bouncing novelty won us our first Olympic gymnastics medal.

What was Sydney 2000 for you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Delhi/Rotterdam 2010: The Countdown Begins

News and views from training camp are coming through from Ashleigh Brennan of the VWHPC. You can read the updates here.

"We are all staying in the same building together, in our own rooms, so we tend to walk as a group to training."

I don't exactly know why, but this made me go, "Awwww. Yay them."

You can see additional photos at GA.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Featured Artists

The Calgary Herald's recent behind-the-scenes look at Cirque du Soleil features Sydney Olympian Lisa Skinner.

"I think I had an opinion of the circus as many other people do," says the 29-year-old with a laugh, relaxing after a training session that found her suspended eight metres above the ground on a spinning metal hoop. "It was animals and carnies and things like that. It was never part of my life plan.

Lauren Mitchell features in this Commonwealth Games preview article, appearing in a nifty pic alongside Emily Little and Janine Murray.

Image courtesy PerthNow.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Help Wanted

You look lovely today, by the way.

No no, keep the hat. It suits you.

Just wondering if anyone out there has .wmv files of recent competition footage featuring our Senior MAGs? Specifically, the guys heading to Delhi/Rotterdam? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any available video nuggets, or know where I can access some, please drop me a line at

Looooove yoooooou.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not A Duke? No, I'm a Writer

Who left this trumpet here for me to blow? Come now. Honestly. That's not necessary.

... Oh alright.

If you insist.


Watch out for a future edition of International Gymnast magazine featuring an article by yours truly!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LOLGymnasts: The Retort Edition

Use In Case of Emergency.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shaken and Stirred

Very best wishes to all our gymnastics friends and families down in Christchurch, New Zealand. Hope all are managing to cope in the less-than-ideal circumstances.

Thoughts in particular go out to Holly Moon, whose Commonwealth Games progress was updated thusly at Facebook:

"Holly's preparation for Delhi has been affected, it is difficult to get sleep with tremors coming through frequently. CSG [Christchurch School of Gymnastics] is also closed at least for another 24 hours"

With more information from the Gymnastics Coaching Blog here.

Speaking of issues, click through to read a new article about the recent WAG Commonwealth Games team lineup change. Includes statements from Peggy Liddick.

Liddick was adamant Monckton's future remained bright despite the prospect of another six-month lay-off. "She certainly won't give up - a lot of people would walk away," said the long-time national coach.

"She was actually consoling me when she called to tell me. She's a very brave girl."

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Great article on Victorian Ashleigh Brennan in today's Age newspaper, featuring a lovely shot from her recent photoshoot.

"I guess I'm nearly 20, and it's a very demanding sport, and challenging and that's why I think everyone loves it. But as long as you've still got that passion for it and your body can tolerate it, you can keep going, I guess.''

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gold Is So Hot Right Now

Calling all Melbournians!

Tomorrow, September the 3rd, head to Melbourne City Square (cnr Swanston and Collins St) at 10:30 to see Georgia Bonora among a handful of Aussie athletes unveiling our official Commonwealth Games team uniform. It coincides with Spring Fashion Week, so... expect lots of strutting and pouting under those patriotic blazers.
A press release is available here.

Georgia looked faaaaaaabulous in a yellow tee and grey shorts, and even showed off a handstand-walk down the runway (while being asked what she thought of the uniform!). Channel 10 News showed a brief grab of her thoughts on Delhi's security and readiness.

(Images courtesy The Age and JumpMedia)

Read more and see video from the uniform launch here.

GA has linked to video from Channel Nine News here.

Happy Birthday To...

AGB's bloggy best friend and all-around interweb wonder, THE COUCH GYMNAST!

Have an absolute corker and many thanks for all your hard work!

Your birthday present from, er, the internet, is the news of THIS Getty photoshoot featuring Ashleigh Brennan!

(If the link doesn't work, search images under "Ashleigh Brennan" or "Australia Gymnast"... there are also similar shots of Georgia Bonora if you use the latter)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CWG: Monckton Out, Wheeler In

News out of Canberra is that Mary-Anne Monckton is injured, and has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games team. Reserve position gymnast Georgia Wheeler will replace her.

Gymnastics Australia has the full details here.

The 15-year-old landed on an edge of a tumbling strip, forcing a short landing which resulted in a rupture of the ligament between the tibia and fibula (Tibiofibular Syndesmosis).

MLC Gymnastics has issued a statement here, including an update on Georgia's skills.

"... On vault, Georgia has made some good improvements with her double twisting Yurchenko, but this is certainly not ready for competition this year. This type of skill will take a long while to consolidate for competition readiness, and we are certainly not taking any risks at this stage in Georgia's development, but her sound improvement in the basics of this vault will certainly allow her a good platform for 2011."
Very best wishes to Mary-Anne and to Georgia in these new circumstances.