Thursday, July 31, 2014

Glasgow 2014: MAG/WAG All-Around

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!


Anonymous said...

Lovely commentary Mez! Nice words on Olivia - pretty amazing who would have though say back in 2008 that she would end up doing the AA at the Commonwealth Games??? But she definitely made the most of her opportunity to the '4th' member of the line up on most apparatus and made it to the AA.

I just read an article via Grandstand that had a quote from Lauren saying that selection was not based on team gold. It was on individual merits (which was what people thought)ie. individual medals. It makes sense - Peggy hs gone for medals (probably due to funding) and if she had of selected a less experienced team it is unlikely they would have outscored England.

However, the thing I don't get is why doesn't (didn't) Peggy or G release a statement saying that?? Perhaps not that the tem gold wasn't a realistic goal - but more like 'We're going for individual medals...' blah, blah - still make it sound like a positive to the general public. Then there would be less speculation/anger etc at the selection - atleast people would know the rationale behind selection. As far as I am aware there was never an article made public about the reasons behind selection - anyone know why/how this works?

Based on Lauren's comment of 'individual selection' then I would assume (so far):

Lauren has fulfilled expectations of qualifying for beam and floor final

-Larissa - only half her job by qualifying for bars. Is it a reasonable assumption that she 'should' have also qualified for floor?

-Maryanne - done her job by qualifying for beam finals

-GRB - qualified for AA finals. Disappointing result....but also qualified for bar final and vault (was qualifying for the vault final a bit of a nice surprise??). Perhaps an outside chance of qualifying for beam finals....but Maryannae and Lauren both did their job so she may have been the 'back up' for beam final? Perhaps also 'back up' for finals but obviously she was nowhere near.

-Olivia - did well in the AA - exceeded expectations here I would imagine with her placing. Probably would have liked to have qualified for bars.

Anonymous said...

A home gymnastics competition could have got better scores than Vivian, what a joke. She should be ashamed at what she put up and grb choke as always

Anonymous said...

A home gymnastics competition could have got better scores than Vivian, what a joke. She should be ashamed at what she put up and grb choke as always

Anonymous said...

GRB looks waif thin. I wonder if she is seriously lacking in nutrition and that is possibly the reason why she is underperforming???

Anonymous said...

GRB looks just fine. The fact she's so much taller than an average gymnast height makes her looks super lean. Until she looks like Khorkina I wouldn't worry.

I must say I like the sportsmanship amongst the gymnasts. Isabela Onyshko gave Liv a "that's was amazing!" (Or something like that) as she got up to compete bars after Liv in the AA, totally cute. Lots smiles and hugs and positive affirmations throughout.

I can't wait for bars. Fingers crossed the girls bring it!

Anonymous said...

Amazing result for Larrissa! Totally hit bars, her routine was so clean and lovely. Thrilled for her!

Mez said...

I am also thrilled for Riss, compliments are pouring in on twitter and I smiled hearing her name get mentioned on the radio this morning! Just wish she'd get more mentions in Channel 10's coverage.

Great article this morning I'll be linking to shortly where she said something afterward like "I feel like I'm finally good enough." Girl, you've been good enough since '09 Worlds! Take a bow!

Anonymous said...

GA needs to take a leaf out of Athletics Australia book and get rid of Piggy

Anonymous said...

haha i would love to c peggy getting marched to the airport and sent home

Anonymous said...

I just watched England in the team finals on catch up TV and I now have a new favourite gymnast. Wow Claudia Fragapane's floor routine was IMPRESSIVE!!! Her tumbles were amazing. No one in Australia could get anywhere near her in that department. In fact after watching England's beam and floor we are waaayyyyy behind them. It's going to take a good 3 or 4 years before we can get anywhere near them and they definitely deserved the gold. I'm scared for the future of Australian gymnastics.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Come on credit where credit is due - it is not Olivia's fault she is the best we have in the AA at the commonwealth. She placed 5th - way ahead of most competitors.

Anonymous said...

lol piggy

Anonymous said...

Oh please, she was only our best Australian because we only had one other who had a shocker. Congrats Larrissa. Well deserved.