What an emotional gauntlet being a fan of this sport can be!
Last night Australia threw everything it could in the men's and women's disciplines, with Naoya Tsukahara and Olivia Vivian each making our best finishes in 5th.
Naoya had nerves of steel throughout, even equalling Max Whitlock's score on rings, but fell victim to pommel as so many do and didn't have the difficulty on floor (but certainly had the execution) to contend with any of the fancied Brits. He was greatly encouraged by his teammates along the way, who also had the happy conclusion of ranking within the top 12 - Luke Wadsworth in 9th, Sean O'Hara in 11th.
Naoya will compete in tonight's first apparatus finals day on rings and Kent Pieterse will appear in the vault final -- watch live on the TenPlay website or OneHD if they deign to show it from 11:30pm AEST.
Have to say I love this little shout-out from Kent, especially the main photo!
If you do one thing these Commonwealth Games, go back on TenPlay and watch Olivia Vivian's all-around competition. What she pulled off last night was nothing short of phenomenal.
After not competing in a major event for Australia in 6 years, after not competing all-around on the world stage for even longer, after a broken back, after a fractured hand, after a devastating loss to her family, after having a less than ideal second day of the teams event, after all of that... she hit every single skill to her feet and finished inside the top 8. Her beam was remarkable considering the disasterous round she had the day before, her flip mount and y-scale earning audience applause. And through it all she never lost her smile. Resplendent in the purple leotard (congrats voters!) while Georgia Rose sported the pink, Olivia patiently waited for each gymnast in her rotation to finish their routine and speak with their coach, then immediately offered a high-five or a hug. I wanted to cheer but desperately didn't want to wake my housemate!
In a touching moment after beam, she flashed her wrist strappings to the camera that had [what looked very much like] "RIP Dad" scrawled on in marker. "That was for you, Dad!" she said down the barrel with a big smile. And wouldn't he have been half proud of what had come before it. I am devastated my feed dropped out mere moments before her vault. What a joy and relief it must have been for her to get through four intense rotations, and I only wish it gone as well for her in the team final. The result mattered, but at the same time it mattered the least. This 90 minutes of performance was the embodiment of Olivia: stylish, daring, enthusiastic. She became an internet sensation before she'd even mounted the podium for the last rotation and I hope it serves her well in her ambitions to be an ambassador for gymnastics. It's true she will never be a balletic Hollie, an explosive Trudy or a stoic Slater. But if there's one thing that defines this girl it is guts.
It is then with a heavier heart that I review Georgia-Rose Brown's performance. It was definitely not her best outing and I sincerely hope that if it was down to nerves or a niggling injury she can get the assistance and self-belief she needs as soon as possible. She cuts a striking figure (even in pink!) and the Khorkina comparisons continued unabated throughout the competition, especially after a tidy bars and neat Yurchenko full. Unfortunately the eye-catching illusion turn on beam saw her come undone once again, and she worryingly substituted her arabian on floor for a front layout full twist before going out of bounds on her double tuck. She finished an unlucky 13th. As I always say - onwards and upwards from here. The future is still very bright for her.
Tonight, the hopefully unsinkable GR Brown will take to vault and bars, while her compatriot Larrissa Miller will also contend bars against six fierce Commonwealth rivals. I believe it will be approximately 2:45am AEST. Happy to be corrected on this.
There's still a chance, Aussies. Give 'em hell!