Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back In Time To Anaheim

This week marks 10 years since an Australian gymnastics team (or individual) first medalled at a world championship.

Our purple-clad women's lineup pulled off the unthinkable in the team final (technical infractions to an opposing team notwithstanding) and snatched a third place podium finish with 110.335 in front of a parochial California crowd. The Aussie flag was finally out of the box and raised to the rafters. It was sweet redemption after a shaky showing in the qualification round.

Belinda Archer, Jacqui Dunn, Danielle Kelly, Stephanie Moorhouse, Monette Russo, and Allana Slater (honourable mention to an injured Lisa Skinner) completed the four rotations commendably, finishing on beam to book a bronze medal spot while the crowd roared for their home country heroes on floor. Russo would go on to finish right behind Slater in the all-around final's top 13 placegetters, and compete alongside the world's best in the balance beam apparatus final. Two standout routines that cemented the team bronze can be viewed below, Russo's floor and Slater's beam. Solid, solid, solid!

Male artistic gymnast Philippe Rizzo came tantalisingly close to a history-making medal of his own, relegated to fourth in the men's high bar final by an agonising .037!. As we all fondly remember, he would go on to best that in 2006 with the gold he richly deserved. Slater wrote on Facebook today that, "[I] Can still remember the magical moment the score board flashed Australia 3rd!!! And the immediate tears that flowed by everyone on the floor!!!" (and later) "It was sooo loud but it didn't matter because we had trained with every sound effect going at training camp! Peggy prepared us very well for the crowd and the day! Peggy believed in us and we went out there and performed like we knew we could!" Take a bow, ladies.

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