Archive for August, 2009

Nastia withdraw’s her name from consideration for world team.

08/31/2009

No Nastia

I am glad she came to her senses and decided to not compete and I must say I am proud that her camp made this decision on their own. We all know Marta never would have done the right thing and left her home. There have been rumblings for a week now that she was having a really hard time getting through training. She was still not hitting her bar set and her beam was a mess only two weeks ago.

I also was told that this was not entirely her decision to not try for Worlds. Her father sat her down and told her that she wasn’t putting in the effort to win and that she wasn’t ready to compete. (Confirmed hours later by IG2. )I must say I have a new respect for Valeri if this is true.

Nastia says this does not mean retired but she is taking a break. Good for her she deserves a break. Now she can enjoy the money she has earned and the US can get back to sending deserving athletes to Worlds instead of Nastia for what she accomplished last year.

Marta Karolyi. Does she deserve the credit for the US’s success? Part 1: The 01-04 quad

08/31/2009

You cannot argue with Marta Karolyi’s record. Or can you? Back to back Olympic Champs. First ever Gold World team Championship are just some of the amazing achievements the US gymnasts have won under the tutelage of Marta but is the US winning these medals in spite of her or because of her? Or are these medals being won because the rest of the world has faded?

IMO Marta gets too much credit for gymnasts already in place. She has yet to develop a gymnast into a World Champion and the only gymnast I would give her credit for is Sam Sheehan winning a bronze medal on floor in 02. Also maybe Annia Hatch who would not have made any Olympic team if it wasn’t for Marta’s doing.

Should Marta get credit for developing the Carly Patterson’s and Shawn Johnson’s of the world or where they already in place before she got there?

Please excuse some of my opinions and the way they are added to the article. (especially the part on the Olympic team in 04) that is a hodge podge of opinions I didn’t have time to put in proper place. It’s late and I want to get this out:)

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The talent was already around in the year Marta was hired. Carly Patterson, Terin Humphrey, Hollie Vise, Sam Sheehan, Courtney Kupets, Ashley Postell and Chellsie Memmel all competed at the 2001 Junior National Championships. Tasha Schwikert, Tabitha Yim, Mohini Bhardwaj, Katie Heenan and Rachel Tidd competed Senior that year. These gymnasts will make up your World and Olympic teams for the next quad.

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In 01 Tasha Schwikert finished 5th AA (Tabitha Yim finished 7th) and the team won a bronze medal. The 4th place team was Spain. Tasha was less then a tenth off a bronze medal in the AA and Katie Heenan won a bronze medal on bars being one of only 3 gymnasts to stay on the event. It was a great stepping stone for the US team from the quad before but hardly Marta’s doing. At this time some note worthy gymnasts were still competing including World AA Champion Svetlana Khorkina, Oksana Chusovitina and soon to be Olympic AA gold medalist Andreea Raducan.

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In 02 the US (womens)team came home with 3 medals including Golds for Ashley Postell and Courtney Kupets on beam and bars and a bronze medal for Sam Sheehan on floor. Sam actually led the semi’s on floor but stepped out of bounds in the finals. Svetlana Khorkina fell in the UB finals which was the only reason Kupets won the event (and IMO she should not have anyway) Beth Tweddle was underscored per usual of World events save the year she rightfully won. I am not sure if Marta should get much credit for these wins being how weak the competition still was at this point.

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In 03 the US team won it’s first ever team World Gold medal in spite of Marta not because of her. The team that competed was not the team Marta chose. After injuries to Kupets, Hatch and others alternates Chellsie Memmel stole the show and led the US team to the surprise Gold medal. The reason I give Marta little credit for this win was because of Chellsie Memmel. Memmel was one of the top gymnasts at camp before the team was chosen but Marta kept her off the team only adding her on after the injuries piled up. If Marta had had her way Chellsie never would have been on the team.

Hollie Vise made the team in spite of Marta after finishing tied for second at Nationals. The rule stated that the top 2 finishers at Nationals were guaranteed a spot on the World team. Marta was not to happy having to add Hollie Vise to the team and changed the rule immediately after. Hollie had some trouble at the 03 worlds but after falling off bars she came back and nailed a beam set that helped the US team win.

Russia imploded in team finals counting a ridiculous low 7.575 on floor and a 8.137 on beam. Australia finished third after the Chinese team was downgraded some points for training on the podium during a meet.

Carly Patterson won a silver in the AA and Chellsie and Hollie tied for Gold on the UB.

I don’t give Marta credit for any of these medals either when you consider she only had both girls on the team due to luck and rules she later changed more then her eye for talent. Carly Patterson would have succeeded on her own IMO.

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FLOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 2004 Olympics: The US was the reigning World Champions and were expected to win Gold at the Olympics in 04. Thanks to Marta’s lack of floor workers the US fell to silver in the team event. This was based mostly on the fact that Marta insisted on having two gymnasts for vault ignoring the floor event altogether. Not totally to blame for injuries to the floor workers in the end I don’t think having healthy floor workers would have mattered. Marta was taking Annia no matter what anyone thought and that was the death of the 04 Olympic team.

The team:

Annia Hatch: Annia was kept out of Nationals by Marta “due to injury” In layman terms that means Annia was held out Nationals because Marta couldn’t take the chance of her competing badly and still being named to the Olympic Trials or missing the Olympic trials altogether. Annia then finished 11th at the Olympic trials and was named to the team anyway at camp to compete just one event, vault. Annia was a decent tumbler on floor but her dance was a joke. Her UB and beam were atrocious. She had an amazing DTY that Marta thought would score really well at the Olympics but it didn’t (barely a half a tenth more then other DTY’s at the Olympics) There is no way in hell she should have been on this Olympic team under any circumstance. Her one event did us no help and because she was on this team we had no back ups when Courtney Mccool had a mental meltdown and we had to use Mohini on beam and floor in team finals.

Mohini Bhardwaj: Named to the team after getting high profile help from a second rate actress, first rate whore and IMO should have not been on the team either. Mohini went from barely making the Olympic trials ( only making it after Ashley Postell fell from the UB on her last event at Nationals)to making the Olympic team. Suddenly her sloppy form was not being deducted. Most people think Marta wouldn’t name a gymnast to the Olympic team for any reason but talent but some how Mohini’s luck turned exactly at that time. Mohini herself was whining about her scores pre Olympic trials.

At the Olympic’s Mohini performed above her capabilities but playing it safe at the Olympics is not the way to go. Her lower start values on beam and floor had to be used in team finals (thanks to the total mental melt down of Courtney Mccool) and in the end it cost the US big time. Mohini missed her dance combo AGAIN and got the lowest floor score for the US in team finals.

Carly Patterson: No complaints here. Carly deserved her spot on the Olympic team.

Courtney Kupets: No complaints again. She was injured during the meet but competed on floor anyway in team finals due to Marta not preparing enough floor workers. With McCool’s meltdown there was no other choice.

Courtney McCool: A beautiful gymnast that couldn’t hit her connections on beam to save her life. She had not been given credit for her connection on beam once during the year but some how Marta thought the Olympic judges would give her credit? Courtney was young and decided the year before the Olympics to stay a junior instead of becoming a senior so she never having any practice with pressure on the big world stage. In the end that did her in. Rumor has it Courtney was in tears for hours and messing up big time in practice after her meltdown in prelims at the Olympics which is why Marta did not use her in team finals. For this I cannot fault.

Terin Humphrey: Terin was someone back then I really wanted on the Olympic team. In order to appreciate her you have to see her live. I couldn’t stand her before I saw Worlds in 03 (IN Anaheim) but she grew on me after seeing that event. For some reason she did not compete floor in the team finals and for the life of me I don’t remember why. What I do remember is her hitting a beautiful DTY on day one of trials but missing it on day 2. Many people thought this might keep her off the Olympic team.

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A lot of bad luck happened in 04 to gymnasts that could have been on the Olympic team but in the end I don’t think it would have mattered. I only give Marta partial blame for what went on here but I don’t give her credit either.

Who could have helped on floor?

Tasha Schwikert had a horrible Nationals (finishing 9th) but made up for it at the camp to decide the Olympic team. Marta instead of choosing her and her solid dance for the Olympic team chose to take Annia instead. Marta told Tasha after the camp that if she had performed the same way at Nationals that she performed at camp she would have been on the Olympic team. Isn’t that what the camp was supposed to be for? Maybe Tasha should have skipped Nationals like Annia and maybe she would have made the team.

bad luck:

Tia Orlando- Injured at trials
Tabitha Yim- Her floor drove me nuts but her dance connections were solid.
Chellsie Memmel- If not for bad luck no luck at all

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So that leaves Marta .025 (Sam Sheehan) for 4 in the 01-04 quad. The successful gymnasts like Carly would have made their respective teams regardless of who the national team coach was.

So in conclusion:The team events could have improved without Marta or stayed the same. We will never know for sure what could have happened but me personally I think these gymnasts would have had success with or without Marta.

Onto part 2. The 05-08 quad…………..

Gymnastics blog review- Updated 9-6-09

08/30/2009

The best gymnastics blog has closed ( Triple Full) and I was beginning to think that there weren’t any decent blogs out there anymore (except mine of course:) Now if you want 100% honesty and no bias then stop here at my blog. I will hold NO punches but if you are looking for a Blog about Gymnastics done in a much nice way then me then look no further then these blogs:

The Gold Medal goes to:

GymNICEtics She posts quite a bit and so far I have not seen a ounce of bias coming from the site.

The Silver medal goes to:

Live. Breath. Gymnastics She/He updates the blog a lot and while there is some lovey dovey posts there doesn’t seem to be much bias going on “yet”

And the Bronze medal goes to:

NO ONE. The rest of the blogs out there have some heavy bias ass kissing going on and I hate that.

Honorable mention goes to these blogs. While these blogs have heavy Nastia ass kissing I couldn’t over look that the blogs are well done overall and updated semi often.

Gymnastics coaching Uniquely done but I sense a little bias going on…

The Couch Gymnast Cute name but way too much Nastia ass kissing to get my bronze medal.

The C score Hasn’t been updated in a while but she says she will be back. I used to love this blog until it’s recent posts.

UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found two new decent blogs.

The Examiner

and the other is the Gym Blog

Nastia, twitter and training or lack there of

08/28/2009

Nastia Liukin in the last week and a half since Nationals has once again posted she is on her way to the airport. I feel like Inside Gymnastics magazine tweeting her every word but my point for posting this is quite simple. Nastia does not have her head in the game of gymnastics.
Maybe if she was actually fighting for a spot on the team instead of being handed one by Marta she would be at home training full time but as it stands now this is Nastia’s second trip out of the state of Texas for one reason or another since she finished 4th at Nationals on beam. Nationals was only a week and a half ago.

The training camp is September 8th and Nastia is not even training full time? What kind of work ethic does this set for the Jordyn Wieber or Kyla Ross’s of the world that the Olympic Champ isn’t earning her spot on the World Team?

Nastia deserves to enjoy her Olympic medals just as much as anyone else does but after the 96 Olympics Dominique Moceanu had to go to Nationals (in 97)and earn her way onto the world team. She was not handed a free pass.

Everyone defends the gymnastics shape Nastia is in but saying she looks great for someone that has only been training for 9 months. I don’t see what that has to do with her attending Worlds. She finished 4th at Nationals on the one event she competed in. Only two women can qualify for an event final at Worlds on each event. That in itself should have left Nastia out of the running for a sport on the world team.

Then we have bars. A pretty weak event for the US team. That is the event most people think Nastia will compete on at Worlds. Well at Nationals she couldn’t even compete on the event because she was having a hard time putting together a full routine. An extra month and a half of training at half staff is not going to help Nastia beat Beth Tweddle or He Kexin on bars at Worlds in a month and a half and if it does then the judges at Worlds should all be fired.

Examples: One month ago

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Here Is a link to an article about the Russian cup. The leader of the prelim competition (Aliya Mustafina) Took the gold for the women.

Some videos from the event

Women’s All-Around Final
1. Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) 59.434
2. Ksenia Afanasyeva (Tula) 57.034
3. Anna Dementyeva (Samara) 55.133
4. Svetlana Klyukina (Severodvinsk) 54.166
5. Ramila Musina (Surgut) 54.067
6. Kristina Goryunova (Veliky Novgorod) 53.533
7. Valeria Sviridova (Novosibirsk) 52.700
8. Kristina Pravdina (Voronezh) 51.300
9. Alexandra Telitsyna (Yoshkar-Ola) 47.000
10. Zhanna Toporova (Obninsk) 45.334

Random day at GTT.B plus a rant on usa-gymnastics

08/25/2009

First my rant. Why is it that USA-gymnastics sends it’s 8th and 9th place Junior’s to one of the few Junior events outside the US? No offense to Briley Cassanova (best name EVER!) and Sophina DeJesus but Kyla Ross or any of the top 4 gymnasts at this years Junior Championships should have been sent over Briley and Sophina. I am sure Marta will create some US junior competition against the US and Zimbabwe any time now but those competitions serve NO PURPOSE but to prop up US Gymnasts.

I have been complaining for years about the lack of competitions Marta sends the top gymnasts to outside of the US and Canada. It’s like she is afraid of having them lose.

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Camp for the selection of the world team is set for September 8th. Here is the list of invited

* Jana Bieger, Coconut Creek, Fla., Bieger International Gymnastics
* Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
* Mackenzie Caquatto, Naperville, Ill., Naperville Gymnastics Club
* Kaitlyn Clark, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Precision Gymnastics
* Olivia Courtney, Orlando, Fla., Orlando Metro Gymnastics
* Ivana Hong, Lovejoy, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
* Kytra Hunter, Frederick, Md., Hill’s Gymnastics
* Alaina Johnson, Tyler, Texas, Texas East Gymnastics
* Mattie Larson, Los Angeles, All-Olympia
* Anastasia Liukin, Parker, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
* Chellsie Memmel, West Allis, Wis., M&M Gymnastics
* Samantha Peszek, Indianapolis, Ind., Sharp’s Gymnastics
* Samantha Shapiro, Los Angeles, All-Olympia
* Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind., Sharp’s Gymnastics
* Cassandra Whitcomb, Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Gymnastics
* Kayla Williams, Nitro, W.V., Gym Nest Inc.

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Anna Pavlova is back in training after her injury. Right now she is taking it slow. She does not have her skills back but is working hard. Info can be found here

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Alina Mustafina holds the lead after day one at the Russian Cup. Only details so far are HERE

Ksenia Afanasyeva finished third. She is injured and according to IG will not be going to Worlds. I think IG spoke too soon.

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Chellsie Memmel came back from Nationals and is in full training mode. Looks like Memmel has some unfinished business after God ruined another chance at Olympic glory for her. Bad form and all you just can’t hate Chellsie Memmel the kid. What a fighter.

Where are the Romanian gymnasts anyway?

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Things we miss. Number 14

Until next time….

If gymnastics was easy it would be called football

08/22/2009

I ran across two gymnastics articles while I was surfing the net and had to comment on them.

First a former gymnast now a football player (DeAngelo Hall) talks his love for the sport and the 1996 Olympic Women’s gymnastics Gold medal team. Even calling Shannon Miller by her first name. If only athletes that had not been gymnasts could do the same thing and maybe our sport would get some credit it deserves.

The second article is about how the Georgia Football team went up against the Georgia gymnasts and couldn’t compete with them pound per pound. A really great read

The contenders for the World team. AA

08/19/2009

It’s still a month plus away from Worlds (They start middle of October) but who would you put on the team as of now?

The US gets 4 spots overall but only 3 gymnasts for each event. With two AA’ers a given that leaves two spots and only one event)

IMO Marta has already decided most of the team. Sloan and Bross for AA. Nastia for bars and beam. Then she will take a vault and floor specialist. That I can’t predict. I can’t believe she is considering Kytra Hunter for this team.

The reality:

AA:

Bridget Sloan : is your National Champion. She should be on the team. She had some trouble on beam day one but she nailed all 4 routines on day two and took all 3 event finals when combining scores from both days. When she needed to she hit her landings on floor and with the new code taking deductions for steps and lunges Bridget stepped up when she needed to.

Ivana Hong : was a clean landings on floor away from being National Champion but it wasn’t meant to be. She almost nailed her vault to end the competition but with lower start values on 3 events then Bridget and Rebecca she will be the one left off the team. She doesn’t stand out on any event except beam but thanks to Marta taking Nastia at all costs Ivana gets screwed. My advice to Ivana is train a second vault. Your DTY is beautiful (except the leg separation at the end) You are capable of it.

Rebecca Bross: She fell, fell, fell at Nationals and you would know it by looking at her scores. The judges just didn’t deduct. Marta controls those judges which pretty much makes her a lock for the second AA spot. She competed injured (she is always injured) and has higher start values then above. The only reason she finished 3rd besides the judges with all those mistakes was because the competition as a whole was the weakest it has been since 1997.

Of the 3 mentioned above (and with worlds being so weak this year) Bridget has a chance to make beam and floor finals and possibly bars (but she won’t medal) Bridget can make beam and floor finals and Ivana could make beam finals. Possibly floor if she cleans up her landings but that could be said about Ivana also.

Next up Event Finals.

Sloan and Hong shine on day 2 of Nationals. Take first and second

08/16/2009

Results

Article on Bridget’s win

Bridget Sloan wins 3 event finals. Results

2009-10 Women’s National Team (top 10 plus petitions): Bridget Sloan, Ivana Hong, Rebecca Bross, Kytra Hunter, MacKenzie Caquatto, Jana Bieger, Kayla Willams, Cassie Whitcomb, Alaina Johnson, Kaitlyn Clark, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, Samantha Peszek, Mattie Larson (petition), Samantha Shapiro (petition) and Olivia Courtney (petition).

Bridget wins National Title

Bridget Sloan is your new National champ and I am not even going to complain about a thing tonight. Ok maybe a little complaining but Bridget nailed all for of her events tonight (especially floor) and won her 1st National title. It was actually an inspiring performance that didn’t put me to sleep. I can’t remember the last time I was actually happy to watch the sport. Thanks Bridget.

Ivana Hong came in second nailing her vault for a 15.250 which should have been the best vault score of the night. Beam was the same as night one and her floor had some bumpy landings which is why she was in second place and not first.

Rebecca Bross messed up big time on bars and a sloppy beam set to fall to third. Her bar score was way to high with all the mistakes.

Chellsie Memmel had a much better beam set then night one but you wouldn’t know it by her score.Nastia also did a much better beam set (still missing a few connections)

Other Observations

: Nastia Liukin is a camera hog and it is not in the name of support. Who ever was in the lead Nastia followed them around until they messed up then she followed around the new leader. Even pushing Jana out of the way one time when she tried to get air time I mean congratulate a competitor. Bridget even tried to get away from her at one point and Nastia followed her anyway.

: Anyone else notice after Sam Peszek hugged Ivana Hong she kind of rolled her eyes. It was to funny.

Overall tonight actually had some highlights like Ivana Hong’s vault and Bridget Sloan’s floor. Both events happened at the end so maybe my opinion reflects that since I was so bored watching the Nastia Show for the first hour and a half.

: NBC we are not dumb. Don’t tell us that Mackenzie Caquatto was the last competitor when we heard people in the back ground screaming for Ivana on vault. (Not to mention Bridget cheering on Jana) Oh and I think I noticed a gymnast fall off beam after you came back from commercial.

: John Rothlisberger I didn’t miss you tonight but next time please take Al Trautwig with you.

Until next time….

Kyla Ross takes junior National title. Men World team named

08/15/2009

US National Junior results

Results with B score

Not bad for a 12 year old. There are no reports on what happened but it looks like Kyla fell off bars (12.700) Over a full point off her first day score (13.750) but she nailed her vault to take over the lead from Bridgette Caquatto who was on beam. Bridgey must have fall off beam (scored a 13.500 on day two and a 14.400 on day one)
Third place went to Alexandra Raisman from Alicia Sacramone’s old gym. Someone needs to get this kid an UB coach. Alicia could have used one also.

Sabrina Vega moved up to forth place after hitting her floor set. More details as they become available.

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Mens team named

The US named their men’s world team. David Sender was named just because they knew he wouldn’t except the invite and he didn’t. An alternate will be picked soon. Probably some pommel horse help.

Your team is

Jonathan Horton
Dannell Leyva
Sasha Artemev
Steven Legendre
Tim NcNeill
David Sender (Declined)

Alternates

Jake Dalton
Daniel Riberio
Wes Haagensen

IMO Wes deserves the AA spot over Leyva and he earned it at Nationals. Read the IG article for reasoning behind this team.

Horton easily wins Nationals. Sender sinks

08/15/2009

Jonathon Horton easily won the US Men’s National title tonight by 3 points despite falling twice over two nights. With David Sender falling on 5 of his 6 events(eventually ending up in 10th place) Horton didn’t even need to break a sweat to beat second place Tim McNeill and 3rd place Wes Haagensen.

Olympian Joseph Hagerty finished 8th ahead of vault / floor specialist Steve Legendre. Junior Champion John Orozco finished 11th. Other notables are Guillermo Alvarez finishing 17th.

Other random opinions.

: John Orozco is a great talent. Lots of potential at this meet. If it wasn’t for a disastrous pommel horse he would have finished in the top 8. Amazing for a 16 year old.

: Tim Daggett is a much better men’s announcer then a women’s announcer. Even Elfi was kind of funny tonight

: Danell Leyva’s dad needs to stay away from the caffeine. He was WAY over the top and it annoyed the heck out of me until I saw his dad kiss him on the head. Aww men don’t do that in public. So now I like him. Tim made a big deal about him being so loud but he is no worse then Steve Nunno in his day and Steve never got the team any deductions. Still over the top.

: Kyle Bunthuwong ended up in 4th place and was lucky to be shown twice tonight. Bad job Universal sports.

: About time Wesley Haagensen. I have been waiting 4 years for you to live up to the potential. Nice to see you getting 3rd.

:Kyson Bunthuwong finished 12th. Brother to Kyle shouldn’t worry though. He has the much better first name.

: It’s to bad our best pommel horser’s ( my new word)aren’t any good at any other events. Kit Beikmann and Daniel Ribiero need to work at their other events.

: Some of these execution scores were way to high. I can’t say anything bad about Jonathon Horton but a 9.500 execution score on his vault?

: You have to feel bad for David Sender. He wanted to win Nationals and then leave the sport as an extra FU to usa-gymnastics and the way it has treated him over the years but he couldn’t even screw them over right. Poor David. Good luck at school.

: Steve Penny seems like a likable guy but his comments about finishing on the podium being good enough for him were not well thought out. I kind of got the impression he didn’t mean to say it the way he did.

:Alicia Sacramone was interviewed tonight and she is coming back for next year. She said she didn’t like the way she ended her career at the Olympics. True she tanked the Olympics compared to what she did even the year before but she should remember how injured she was.

: Daggett again made a comment about no one sticking their landings. It was funny when he said that because I was thinking something a little different. While they weren’t sticking their dismounts they at least were trying to stick them. The women don’t even try to do that anymore. IMO men’s gymnastics is going in the right direction. Women’s is not.

Until next time….


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