Thursday, June 30, 2011

Japan Cup Preview

A short piece from The West Australian online featuring Lauren Mitchell and withdrawn team member Emily Little is here.

Best of luck, team!

Nationals 2011: Best Laid Plan

Morning, comrades.

Schedule your attendance, filming, gasping and excited squealing around the WAG Nationals work plan, which can be found here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Heads Up

Greetings all,

Just a quick note to say that I will be re-instating the Anonymous comment function within a week for the run-up to, and days of, the National Championships.

I simply ask that contributors refrain from inappropriate or unsubstantiated remarks. You are advised that many competitors, their gym friends and their family members, frequent this blog for updates so it is best to think before you speak.

And on the topic of the National Championships, which hometown gymnastics hero was named Outstanding Athlete of the Year at the 2011 Australian University Sports Awards?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunshine State Superstars

Congratulations to all the champs and placegetters at the 2011 Queensland state championships!

Roll on, Perth!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Very best wishes to the Aussie WAG team travelling to next weekend's Japan Cup -

Ashleigh Brennan
Georgia Rose Brown
Larrissa Miller
Lauren Mitchell
Maryanne Monckton

A quick "get well soon" shout-out to MAG strongman Josh Jefferis, who (I am told by someone at the event) was injured at this weekend's Queensland state championships. Hang in there, Josh!

If you have any news, reviews or observations from your state's gymnastics championships this month, please don't hesitate to share them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vics Day 2: Winners Are Grinners

Congratulations to all the newly-crowned Victorian state champions!

I am disappointed I was unable to attend last night, but I am sure it was an exciting round of competition after Saturday's kick-start.

If you're attending a state championships in the next few weeks as we draw closer to Nationals 2011, I'd love to hear your news, notes and quotes!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Champ Changes Gear


Tucked at the bottom of the page in today's Herald Sun sport section is an update on Lauren Mitchell!

Read the full article here.

During the week she finished working with world-renowned gymnastics choreographer Adriana Pop, who designed a program aimed at first defending the West Australian's title before chasing gold in London.

"I needed a new floor, because the world champion can't go back to the world championships with the same routine," Mitchell said.

"Peggy opted for some really different music and when I heard it, I thought, 'Wow, I don't know if I like it', but we got Adriana down here and she's come up with some really cool stuff.

Mitchell intends to launch her new routine at the Japan Cup at the start of next month.

"I needed something that would stand out and Peggy said, "You have to shift sideways and then go up a level"*, and I think this routine achieves that," she said. "Hopefully it's up there. I think definitely the dance has got the potential (for an Olympic gold medal), I just have to add the tumbles in now."

*Wait, whaaaaat?

Edit: GA have given us more info about the exciting new routine!

Pick of the Vics

It was a mixed bag of performances from the seniors and juniors last night.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed that not a great deal of publicity seemed to be given to the guest MAGs - basically the entire Commonwealth Games team was competing except for Jefferis - which was extremely exciting to watch. Then again, this isn't their state so precedence of course would go to the hometown boys.

Now, I did film some routines but they will take a while to go up as I am still without a working high-speed internet connection. So until then, check out Nade00 or MistySakura's channels at YouTube. They did a cracker job capturing the many routines that zigzag your eyes around the arena as MAGs and WAGS compete side by side!

Extended notes for anyone who didn't catch my tweets at

- Angela Donald was withdrawn due to injury. Georgia Bonora was on the sidelines with her foot in a boot, and was wearing her Australia tracksuit top to help hand out the team medals at the end. Amelia McGrath did not compete. Zoe Lorenzin and Tierra Exum watched from the stands. A tweeter on the ground told me Brittany Engellener of JETS sustained a back injury in vault training.

- Everyone kept thinking they were watching Angela Donald, but it was impressive lookalike Ulln Sternburg in the Waverley leotard instead. Not much is known about this intriguing newcomer, although I did see her being interviewed by The Couch Gymnast so we may have some insight before the weekend is out! I only caught half of her beam routine which included a switch split leap to back tuck, dainty Korbut flic and roundoff double twist to finish.

- Peggy Liddick and Stacey Umeh were watching from high up in the stands. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

- For a girl who is reportedly injured, Maryanne Monckton put it in one of the performances of her career. The only significant error was a fall on her bars release (to be named after her if successfully performed at a Worlds) but she recovered from it to stick her double layout dismount. She vaulted a Yurchenko full if memory serves. Beam had a few significant wobbles but a nice double pike dismount, as she turned out to be one of the few to avoid a fall on that apparatus. Floor was absolutely stellar, with dramatic choreo, a nice triple twist, Y-pirouette, double tuck and double pike to boot! The VWHPC girls were cheering their lungs out for her.

- Britt Greeley also put in a commendable comeback performance after a prolonged back injury. Vault was a stuck Y1.5 with bent knees. She showed a lovely double pirouette on beam and a switch leap to back tuck but fell on her BHS LOSO and her double tuck dismount. Floor was a great effort with her "Remember The Name" music, but she sat down her double arabian opening pass and had a low chest landing on her double tuck and double pike.

- Georgia Wheeler showed some big skills but seemed a little off tonight. She was another to show off a nice double layout dismount off bars (I am loving those!) and a nifty tkatchev, but couldn't save an otherwise error-dotted routine. It had a bizarre start where she saluted, mounted with a glide kip and then paused; cast, Weiler kipped and paused; remounted to do a very nice Shaposh then lost her rhythm, then hopped off and re-mounted to go on and complete the routine with a small form break before the end. Her new floor routine (to techno) definitely gets the crowd going and is full of energy, but almost too much energy - she stepped OOB on her double arabian to open and her punch layout full (1.5?) twist through to double tuck.

- Ashleigh Brennan competed with poise, and praise for her HPC teammates. She showed a lovely bars routine but downgraded the double layout dismount to a double tuck and had to take one step. She showed a rock solid beam routine (all Beijing skills back in there) until she fell on her side somi (which always seems to be the clincher for her), only to recover with a stuck double pike dismount. She showed off a new floor routine to classical-techno music with vocals, similar to Georgia Rose Brown's. The new choreo is stylish and striking, she showed great form on her tucked full-in mount but unfortunately put her hands down on a double pike dismount.

- Speaking of Georgia Rose Brown, have I mentioned enough times that I could watch this girl all day? Even just warming up choreography on the sidelines? She showed beautiful lines in her giants and toe-on on full on bars, catching her gienger and straddle jaeger well and making a good job of her double front dismount. Vault was a Yurchenko full with good form throughout and a not-too-shabby landing. Her dance on beam was just divine, she showed great leaps and a nice Y-pirouette with a slight wobble, but fell twice and practically faceplanted on her double pike dismount. Floor showed some of the most elegant dance of the whole session, and she executed her layout 1.5 to punch front nicely. She had a large pause before her last pass, a double pike, and finished behind the music.

- Alex Eade didn't have the best of outings. She stumbled backward and fell onto her back in her Yurchenko full. She then lost her rhythm early into her bars routine after a neat tkatchev and had a few small form breaks, stumbling forward on her double layout dismount. Beam was dainty (walkover mount was nice to see) but she seemed uncertain in just about everything, going on to fall twice. Her BHS back whip was fantastic, as was her pike jump. She had a huuuge wobble after her side somi, showing how much of a bugbear that skill is for the women on beam, and one step back on a double tuck dismount. On floor she debuted her flamenco routine which has lots of fun facial expressions to go with cheeky choreography and "clap along!" moment. She did a layout full twist that seemed like she had suddenly opted out of a double. Her twisting passes are nicely executed overall and her double pike dismount needed just one step back to control.

- Isis Lowry competed with the help of the world's loudest and most upbeat cheer squad - JETS clubmates! Showed a lot of attack in each of her beam skills and unfortunately suffered a fall in the process. Her BHS LOSO was one of the strongest and neatest shown in the competition and got some serious air on her double back dismount. Opened her floor routine with a slightly overcooked double pike that showed great height, and managed to keep her twisting passes in bounds. She sassed up the choreo to the max (jazzy version of Rage Against the Machine's "Kiling In The Name", hilariously enough) and showed she is definitely one to keep an eye on!

- Prashanth schooled EVERYONE on pommel, scoring 6.6/9.5 for a 16.1! He got a huge cheer as he finished his routine, making up for a less-than-stellar routine on parallel bars earlier in the competition.

- Skills of note - Clare O'Donnell's press to double stag planche beam mount, Stella Savvidou's nailed double pike on floor, Sam Simpson's double layout to front tuck on floor (which got a massive cheer), Monckton's triple twist, Luke Wiwatowski's high bar release (Voronin? Gosh I am rubbish at identifying releases!), Georgia Wheeler's huge pike jump on beam.

- The crowd got to meet Bounce, the GV "spokes-sugar glider", who is as nimble as he is cute with his gigantic mammaly head.

- My sincere apologies for not recording scores, there was just SO MUCH GOING ON AT ONCE!

- In terms of the standings, the visiting Christchurch team (who reeked adorableness in spades) won the women's IDP10 team title, and MLC took top honours for jnr/snr combined team. The WAG all-around standings after Day 1 are Monckton 1, Brown 2, Brennan 3. It is unclear yet whether I will attend Monday's session but if all falls through, AGB's helper elves are sure to make up for my absence.

Read The Couch Gymnast's previews, reviews and interviews at GV here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Stately Affair

AGB will be at this weekend's Victorian State Championships for as much as can be managed.

Thus far, attendance at Saturday evening's session (IDP 10-Snr Day 1) is confirmed. Friday is a possibility too.

Unfortunately I still don't have a working laptop, so that means I don't really have anything to upload videos to if I take any. That said, I am definitely not ruling out filming.

But don't despair, bloggerinos - have smartphone, will tweet! You can always follow my tweets, live from the event, at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lauren's Universal Appeal

Hi all.

Universal Sports have an updated interview with our floor world champ Lauren Mitchell available, with added 'behind the scenes at the 2011 American Cup' photos.

We read that Peggy Liddick thinks you can do a four rotation wolf turn.

Maybe on beam? Maybe a three-and-a-half on beam, but probably not on floor. Not [on the American Cup floor] because that was "carpet carpet". The one at Worlds was more slippery so I could do three.

What is the key to that turn? Is it core strength? Quad strength?

Being able to twist your foot and your heel so you get around and using the momentum from your shoulders and being able to balance.

Do you have any other tricks in the works?

One more trick on floor and then bars and beam dismount. [Coach] Nikolai [Lapchine] wants me to do a two-and-a-half on vault, but I haven't attempted any yet, so we'll see how it goes.

Carpet carpet?

Carpet carpet!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chloe the Comeback Kid

Hi all.

A GIGANTIC thank you to the dutiful Sunshine State fan who sent me these links to videos of Chloe Sim's recent QLD regional/state championship performances.

Best of luck on your journey back into gymnastics, Chloe!

Chloe Sims FX

Chloe Sims BB

Chloe Sims VT

Chloe Sims UB

Friday, June 3, 2011


Is it cold where you are?

Here's something adorable (and somewhat blink-and-you'd-have-missed-it) from about three weeks ago to warm your heart:

A name from the list of Sydney Morning Herald's "Team of the Week"...

Luke Wiwatowski. Last year in India, Australia won their first Commonwealth Games gymnastic gold medal, courtesy of this young gymnast. Last Saturday night he donated it to the Castle Hill RSL as thanks for the club's support of his career since he was eight years old.

I bet he loves his mum, too.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kudos and Catch-Up

This is a general "sorry I'm so late for mentioning these" post.

You can read a round-up of Australia's excellent results, and see some lovely competitor pics, from the recent Portugal International here.

You can check out videos of Aussies at the Pre-Olympic Youth Cup here. I have only seen snippets of Alex Eade's new floor routine in training, but the finished product should be fantastic. The day she busts out a double layout, as she has been seen dutifully training, I will be one excited Eade-gionnaire*!

Echoing Lauren Mitchell's World Cup Final win on beam in the 2008 World Cup final, Olympian Prashanth Sellathurai has been named FIG Overall World Cup Champion for pommel horse!

And yes, how awful of me, I am FIVE MONTHS LATE announcing the winners of the AGB Awards. How slack is that!? Exceptionally slack, I know. Call me Slacky McSlackenson why don't you. I will make a "here are the winners" post very soon, I promise.

Or my name isn't Slacky McSlackenson.

*working title for fans of Alex Eade. If you can think of a more hilarious one I'd very much like to hear it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

AGB June Update

Hi everyone.

This is a very important announcement about a decision I have had to make regarding the Australian Gymnastics Blog. I understand that it could divide my readership, but it is a step towards making the blog a more streamlined and un-jumbled space once it gets back in action.

As of this evening, I will be removing the Anonymous comment option from the blog. From here on in, you will have to sign in with a Google or OpenID account (all completely free to sign up for; if you use Gmail for email you can sign in with that ID). Posts are getting bogged down in back-and-forth debate that is veering very far away from post content. There are also random queries being posted here that don't have much to do with anything and they are getting lost and unanswered.

I will also be enforcing the following general rules of thumb:

- If you have a question about what club or level is best for your budding gymnast, please direct it to Gymnastics Australia or the Down Under area of WWGym ( Your query can be answered by the multitude of informed and informative people at either space. And if you're not sure... simply have a crack at Googling or phoning some clubs.

- If you have a question pertaining to club protocol, levels skill requirements or level progression, please direct it to Gymnastics Australia, the Down Under forum of WWGym, or your club. Basically, see the point above. Forums are absolutely the best place for questions (particularly from parents wanting to sniff out resourceful competition attendees) beginning "Does anyone know how...?/Did anyone happen to see the results for...?" and if you've never been to one before, better late than never!

- I encourage anyone with a query not relating to post content or discussion to direct it to GA, WWGym or to my Formspring account listed in the sidebar. These resources can help point you in the right direction.

- If you wish to post results or competition result/video links, kindly email me first at and contain the links in your email. This way I can put them in a lovely big post so they don't get lost in the commenting ether. The whole world can properly see your initiative! You will be of course fully credited (or remain anonymous if you wish) and get lots of shiny kudos.

- Comments reporting on gymnast circumstances that are NOT confirmed publicly by Gymnastics Australia, said gymnast's club or said gymnast's family will be promptly deleted. I do not encourage the rumour mill or hearsay swiped from Facebook.

- AGB frequently highlights gym events in Victoria because its author (me!) lives and works in Victoria. That said, news and observations from around the country are always warmly welcomed. I might appear one-sided but please understand that I am limited by logistic and budget constraints!

So there you have it. Coal is being shovelled onto the fire, and AGB is very slowly shunting to life once again. Stay tuned for news and notes on the road to Nationals.

Your contributions still are, and always will be, extremely important to me. I am happy to discuss any of these changes with you at any time (but kindly don't resort to spamming old posts with complaints).

Cheers ears.

- M.