Sunday, 6 October 2013

Antwerp 2013- SOME MAG THOUGHTS

I was only going to write a paragraph about our British boys, but it turned out that I had more to say than a paragraph could hold, so here goes a whole post:

Firstly, I must mention how proud I am of our British male artistic gymnasts- Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Ashley Watson, Sam Oldham and Daniel Keatings, throughout this competition. I don't tend to write about Men's Gymnastics but I do enjoy watching it and respect it as much as I do the Women's events. My favourite is the High Bar. Anyway I will disclose now, a few of my comments from this World Championships-





I have often heard the pommel horse described as the male version of Women's Beam; it is difficult to stay on there, but if you manage it, and have the difficulty score, you are likely to final.

2013 European Champion Daniel Keatings unfortunately fell on his pommel routine in the qualifications, as did 2012 Olympic Champion Kristian Berki. These facts alone illustrate such an allusion to Women's Beam, demonstrating that even reigning champions on this event are not guaranteed to final. But this does not mean that they are not still champions, although they have missed out on a chance to medal at this World Championships.

Max Whitlock, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist on the Pommel, did qualify however, and topped this off with a World Championship Silver medal for himself and Britain! If he continues to train and compete like he is doing so at the moment, for a few more years, I believe that Max could become our most successful male British gymnast ever. Considering he did not even compete at the Tokyo World Championships of 2011, as the reserve, his last two years have been mind blowing! I have said it before, and will say it again- British Gymnastics is full of talent at the moment. It is very exciting!



Speaking of this, and nicely demonstrating why I have such confidence in our current British Team, our Men did fantastically in the all around Final too- with Max placing 4th and Dan Purvis in 7th. The winner was, of course, 'King Kohei' Uchimura of Japan. This fourth consecutive world title of his has made gymnastics history, not just on the men's side. If anyone can be called a living legend, it is him.  If you want a bit more scale, here is a great article (from an American perspective, not neutral, but still) stating all the facts from his past five years of dominance (don't forget, he also won the Olympics!) http://olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/03/kohei-uchimura-wins-world-gymnastics-all-around-championship-sam-mikulak/





Although they did not qualify for Finals, and have not featured heavily in the media this week, let's not neglect the participation of Ashley Watson and Sam Oldham at this championships, who each competed solely on one event- the Parallel Bars for Ash, and the Floor for Sam.

Ashley competed a very difficult routine, to score 15.133 altogether. Although his routine had a difficulty value of only 0.100 less than Vasileios Tsolakidis, the top qualifier, his execution of 8.433 was a few tenths too low to make the final. Despite this, he still finished within the top 20 on the apparatus, which is something to be proud of.

Part of the Olympic bronze medal winning team last year, Sam Oldham, was here for some Floor work only, in Antwerp. After a number of penalties he also missed out on the final, but we can look forward to seeing him back in full shape on all six events next year, I'm sure.

Dan Purvis on the other hand, did make it to the Floor final, and to complete our lads' championships, Kristian Thomas competed on Vault.

Dan, like Max in the all-around competition, narrowly missed out on a World medal after finishing fourth in the Floor final, however Kristian Thomas managed to pull it just the other way in his favour, winning a bronze medal on the Vault, the next day!!!

Before I go, I can't exclude my favourite male apparatus- the High Bar. Epke Zonderland put joy in my heart, by winning the competition with his incredible routine, alongside his warm bromance with Silver medal winner Fabian Hambuechen. Uchimura finished third this time. I wonder where he puts all his medals, and awards?



Again, I am so proud of our male British gymnasts- of their immense talent, but also of their maturity and sportsmanship here in Antwerp. Here are some videos to round off my little MAG section-




Dan Purvis after Floor Final (4th)


Kristian Thomas after Vault Final (3rd)


Max Whitlock after Pommel Final (2nd)



Saturday, 5 October 2013

World's WAG AA Final


World Championship Gymnastics Antwerp Belgium.
Womens All -Around Finals 4.10.13. British Gymnastics copyright reserved.
AA running commentary thoughts that I typed as I watched (based on the LiveStream footage)-

(I didn't watch the livestream live though, I only just finished watching the full thing on replay, which is why I have just posted this now)

Apologies for the messy punctuation, but this is just a few notes for my blog, not a real article.

Here we go, women's competition.....
kyla ross is up first then. let's go!
kyla's vault...... stunning. not surprised she's won longines award for artistry- long lines, straight shape and legs together!

simone vault MASSIVE of course... all she has to do it control her power to win, and complete her routines without falling

aliya- great vault, but at the end of her twisting (only in the second of the two turns) her left leg, its as if its just not strong enough, can't keep up with the momentum and bends, comes apart which is why it doesn't look as beautful as kyla ross's vault. maybe something to do with her weak/sore knee(s?)

rebecca tunney beam- her dance is awesome -see bg photo that I love at the top of this, shame about offline roundoff straight back, but as her coach claire said to her after 'It's not as bad as you think'- it was not a bad routine, it just could have been better. 'I thought it was funny how claire's next comment was also 'You've just got to smile even bigger and dance even better now' haha

roxana popa- she was born in romania? what a shame she moved to spain- the girl can do bars!

Natsumi sasada- corbut flip to shoulder stand and leg up spin looked good

gaelle mys floor- music stuck in my head so long! looks strong on floor, simple full twist on vault, I like how happy she seems, good for her competing for belgium in belgium and loving it

makra- pretty body shape, lovely to watch, handspring front pike half like seeing more people vault forward

kyla bars- wow, again just so elegant! gorgeous double straight

s biles (or smiles as my mum says)- another job done, 14.700 seems fair too

noel van klavaren- aww she was doing so well, all those difficult skills and then jumps off near the end. bless her, 12.733 she should be proud of that, with the fall and all

aliya bars- nice one! that's more like the gymnastics I'm used to from you. american commentators note how great her rhythm is in the routine. yep. and she is trying her best to cover all those landing steps with pretty salutes today!

elizabeth seitz vault- very good

iordache bars- YOU DID IT! Larisaaaaa! Think that's the best I've ever seen her on the Bars, and she even stuck her dismount! Go girl! Do it for your country, do it for your name!

Yao jinnan- WOWOWOWOW, that bar routine is POETRY! and with that crazy front 'mo' skill too! yao is possibly one of my favourite gymnasts. she wins 15.333, and my heart with that one.

ferrari- beam, nicely done. You can't miss her in a red version of her signature look for this competition- and by that I mean the shoulder peepholes are back (back, back... back again... #eminem)

larua waem looks terrified but is doing well with floor and now vault, for her home crowd.

good to see some british flags in the audience!!!

carlotta ferlito- good vault. a well rounded gymnast, not just a nice beam worker.

ferrari floor- far better than in qualifications even though she didn't do the immediate tuck back after her second tumble of full in.

'smiles' (simone biles) on the beam- she's on form today! she's going to win this, floor is easy for her.

I heard Ruby Harrold's floor music on before.... I want to see her routine :(

Shang Chunsong (had to correct that typing that a few times from chang shunong, chang chunshong...etc. From now on I'm nicknaming her 'little shang'). she falls off but the rest is great including dismount in particular

ferrari is in 2nd place, not at the end of any rotation but still oooh- she's doing really well.

vasiliki millousi- no-one can dance a floor routine more slowly and seductively than her... I'm never sure how to feel. :S. At least she is keeping greece on the gymnastics scene still, age 29 now.

aliya mustafina on beam now.... side note- has she got bruises along the side of her face or just dark lines of make up? Oh, they're even on each side. It's just questionable make up then... Doesn't make my favourite connection of hers with the onodi double spin on the end. awh. 14.166 is good for her though, she may just make it into the medals...

Larisa Iordache- NO! WHY? Dammit, she fell off on that roundoff straight back. Maybe she was playing it too safe by not doing the second full twisting somersault. Ooh she looks mad at herself, look at the way she's ripping that tape off her foot! Random thought- If Larisa was a Pokemon, she reminds me of a Spearow. I think it's her attitude filled eyes and sharp arm movements.

Rodionova- Vault- About as well as it is possible to do that vault for her.

Jinnan falls on her standing back tuck full twist on Beam. I imagine she will now have to do at least 5,000 in the gym in training, to stay on, before they let her compete that again. It is letting her down, because she is so good really.

Steingruber- utilises having a bouncy J&F Floor to her advantage, without stepping OOB today. On top of her effortlessly high and difficult tumbles, her leaps are enormous and her dance is fierce too. Oh, she makes me want to show off gymnastics to the world with routines like hers.

Kyla Ross, Beam-Looking so bold! Unless something dramatic happens now, the silver medal is hers, (I'm sure that Simone will beat Kyla on the Floor).

little shang- Good effort today tot.

Aliya FX- Pure determination and guts got her through that beautifully! Her first tumble was so full of concentration and she spotted that corner perfectly. The whole thing was her campaigning to prove she is still one of the champions, even with her background issues. She looks pleased, as she should. Russia should be so proud of her as well.

Larisa FX- looks mad from beam still. double double... stuck! full in... stuck again! and she stuck her last tumble too! if only she didn't fall on beam :( that was fantastic larisa! please don't be too hard on yourself for not having a perfect day...

Roxana popa- brilliant vault! obviously we haven't been shown everything (mostly just the first group) but it looks like she had a good day from her coach's hug there

yao jinnan- made it! you can relax now girl, the competition is over, you may have fallen but you were a joy to observe, thank you

Giulia steingruber- another sky high vault

kyla fx- great routine, how exciting for her! only her team mate and one of her best friends out here, can change her medal colour. it's difficult to want your friend to do well, and to beat her, simultaneously. she looks nervous. i wonder if she's hoping she can beat simone, or if she's simply nervous on behalf of simone- supporting her and happy for her to win the gold instead...?

vanessa ferrari- solid vault! good landing on that 1 and a half twist

finally, it's time for little miss smiles to make it count, do her thang- deep breath, and go-

(i like how rodionova (i think it's her?) has her arm around aliya. that's so sweet, especially considering she's younger.)

ohhh, her double straight with half twist (her own skill!) was spot on! of course she's smiling a lot now. this is her time to shine! this is her moment. look at that, her third tumble had a superb straight front punch out of it too! full in, small jump forward (getting a bit excited that it's the end now?) but there you have it, no doubt, she's the new world champion! wobbled a bit on her dance at the end haha, she's probably shaking with anticipation!

you can see it in kyla's body language, she knows simone has won it, but she is pleased with her silver, they are both grinning like cheshire cats! the crowd are getting impatient, they want to confirm the winner!

the score is shown, simone looks rapidly, then relaxes her head and body in relief. time to celebrate! 

aliya is certainly relieved to have clinched the bronze too. rodionova kisses her cheek, aww. I'm glad Larisa is not crying, but hugging around too.

The end, ok bring on event finals!
And videos of the British girls that I missed! (If they exist?)


World Champion, Simone Biles













Friday, 4 October 2013

My World Championships Thoughts- Qualifications

As a spectator, this is what I thought as I watched the Women's qualification competition (online via usagymnastics youtube/website- thank you!)---




Qualifications
(I only managed to watch a few videos, not the entire competition of this day)

Firstly, I am SO proud of my former team mates, the British girls who are in Antwerp representing my home nation. They have undoubtedly been training extremely hard in the gym and the whole process is obviously working under the new 2013 conditions by that I mean changes such as Amanda Reddin (my old coach) being the (brilliant) new Technical director, there have been changes in the squad (including retirements), the code... etc

Highlights- Hannah on Floor looked fabulously stylish and sassy. Becky D nailed her bar routine, proving she is one of the top in the World right now. Ruby's unique Bar routine is also a fantastic crowd pleaser, and from the scores I saw she also impressed all around, especially for it being her first competition competing against the entire world. It was really good to Rebecca see back on the podium on every event, especially with pretty new floor dance and upgraded bar routine (I love the way she connects stoop shap, pac, immediate stalder shap).

Watch:
Hannah Floor- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58mOixVGMtg
Becky Bars- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O00wcZiUkIk
Ruby Bars- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sns47f_wiyw
Rebecca Bars- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_CN1jCUZts

My thoughts, excluding the very Great Britain-


Floor-

  • I loved Iordache's floor routine. She looked like she really enjoyed it, which made me enjoy it all the more, plus she had so much energy that the new no-waiting-in-corners rule didn't seem to bother her at all. Her tumbles were fantastically landed and her expressive dance hooked me too.
  • I have also favourited Sandra Izbasa's floor routine, as her presentation in her choreography and tumbling was also incredible. Top marks Romania!
  • On a briefly negative note thought it was a shame that Victoria Moors didn't make her double double straight.
  • On the other hand, a positive point for me with Floor was that I thought Simone Biles' controlled her power with nerves very well indeed. Furthermore, her double straight with half twist is WONDERFUL. I adore it. With what I have seen so far, I am sure that she will win the AA competition.
  • Aliya Mustafina (my favourite gymnast of all time) looked so tired and I heard her knees have been hurting her in training so I was sad but not shocked to see her fall on her first tumble, and not in best shape throughout this competition. Of course, even not at her best she is still one of the best. And you can see the determination in her eyes, whether she has had troubles or not there would be no stopping her competing unless she were forced!
  • Mai Murakami is a gymnast from Japan who I don't recognise from the past, but she is so cute. Her floor routine is great: focused, accurate, artistic- and then at the end she becomes a real human being and her reaction is so happy! I just want to hug her!
  • Steingruber was another gymnast bursting with energy, like Iordache, who I loved watching on the Floor. Her first tumble- full twisting double straight- is awesome, and her second- just a double straight- has gorgeous height.
  • Finally, I read that Mckayla Maroney would have made the Floor Final, if her music had been cut correctly and she had not been penalised by 0.1. If true, this is a ridiculous and embarrassing technical reason for not qualifying, and should no way happen at a World Championships. Whoever is responsible for not sorting that out should hang their head in shame.
Watch:
Larisa Iordache's energetic routine- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tww25jhYyAU
Sandra Izbasa's graceful routine- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrNbJHBdA-0
Simone Biles defying gravity- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynOCwFeTcOs
Giulia Steingruber flying high- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf1NxQkia8U
Aliya Mustafina struggling but still super- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSahbXoIa_A
Mai Murakami be fantastic, then adorable- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cT16Ke4bVw



Wouldn't want to get on Giulia's bad side..

Vault-

  • Let's continue talking about Mckayla Maroney actually- her block is perfect and her form is excellent. She deserves to win the World title without question.
  • Simone Biles is a powerhouse who looks like she could compete the triple twisting yurchenko easily, so I hope she manages to do that brilliantly sometime next year.
  • Oksana Chusovitina is still competing. (HOW? LEGEND.) And she is still awesome.
  • Giulia Steingruber did her Vaults so easily, she should add an extra twist to both of them!

Watch:
Mckayla Maroney soaring- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eO1R9wqq84
Simone Biles' strength- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rar8pEcLAwk
Oksana Chusovitina still killing it- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcwJ7OJlxKE
Giulia Steingruber being ferocious- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCM9MLHo4OQ




Bars-

  • I was pleased to see Tatiana Nabieva back, but wish she would do her huge toe-on straight tkatchev again.
  • Ellie Seitz brought her 1 and a half twisting geinger back onto the competition floor! Yay! She actually did a really fast paced and interesting routine with lots of connections, which I liked a lot, but she is reserve for the Bars final.
  • Jessica Lopez performed a routine with perfect lines and form but sadly fell.
  • I love Olympic Champion Aliya Mustafina on Bars (who doesn't?!), her execution is simply stunning to combine with all that difficulty.... but I can't decide if the new shap full breaks the flow of her routine a bit, or if I do really like it.... hmm.
  • Mckayla Maroney competed on an event which wasn't Vault, or Floor, but still looked good.
  • One thing for sure is that I miss Beth being in there, it's weird having her not even in contention!
  • Yao Jinnan, even without the crazy 'Mo' is SO good, I think I would pick her to win the Gold medal (if I could not choose a British gymnast, and I had the choice). 
  • Iordache looked surprisingly confident, good on her for clinging on with her one hand after that shap half too! Clearly she isn't a natural at Bars but she managed to push her way (just!) through a decent routine.
Watch:
Iordache clinging on- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p92xjsfj7nI
Yao Jinnan is one with the apparatus- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM2FniCtrys
Aliya's Bars (what do you think of her shaposh full twist?)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpFxJJ-ovNc
Jessica Lopez's valiant attempt- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd305BumCFk
Elizabeth Seitz tackling the equipment with explosiveness- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYerCtPJqpw
Mckayla's somewhere new- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTR1JWh2mGg



Beam-


  • Where Iordache is a natural- she somersaults and twists along its surface as if it is the Floor. Her spin with high leg up is lovely too. She approached her qualification routine with confidence (see her smile at the end!) maturity and absolute precision, right through the complicated tumbling pass triple twist dismount.
  • Vasiliki Millousi serenaded the beam with her usual soft and saucy grace, yet didn't qualify for the final.
  • Sanne Wevers- the most original Beam worker of this year, and exciting prospect for the Netherlands- unfortunately let her nerves get to her and missed one hand on her mount at the start of her routine, then had a fall on the apparatus half way through, too. I wanted her to spinning top her way into the final and maybe even medal, so I was disappointed for her greatly.
  • Aliya didn't look comfortable, but she balanced enough to stay on the Beam with her Russian pride intact and make the final too. Newbie Russian Anna Rodionova did a pretty routine, Kyla Ross executed her skills in her poised, controlled manner and Carlotta Ferlito posed her way through it, into the final. Simone Biles got the job done.
  • Chunsong Shang (who looks about 11 years old at the most, and cannot weigh more than 20kg, but I am not accusing anyone!) fearlessly leaped and flipped down the Beam with much spring in her step. Her tiny size means she can get a good run up for most of her elements too, which probably helps. She is flexible and packs a lot into her routine without any hesitation or apparent worries, so will probably carry China to a medal in the Beam final.


Watch:
Larisa Iordache being a star- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzgTrAHGk4I
Sanne Wevers almost amazes- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V3nAcOWU1c
Vasiliki Millousi with her love- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd68QQ703OU
Aliya fighting (and winning the battle) with the Beam- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLPxxVlgh90
Little Chunsong Shang- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvDt8BPvIU0