Posts Tagged ‘2012 Olympic Games’

Tidbits from Women’s Prelims

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Guest blogger Gymbyte is currently in London with tickets to some of the gym.  While there, she will be contributing some behind-the-scenes happenings that television viewers may not see.  First up, women’s preliminaries, subdivisions 3, 4, & 5.

– Celine van Gerner (NED) helped Salma Mahmoud (EGY) chalk the bars. Here’s van Gerner’s floor routine form the All Around:

– Mixed Group coaches were friendly, chatting to each other and the gymnasts and helping each other prepare the apparatus.

– Mahmoud had finished bars and was warming up for beam on the side when she heard the crowd’s reaction and Egyptian Sherine El Zeiny’s floor music stop.  She looked up in concern and hurried over closer to the floor to see what was going on.

– El Zeiny injured what appeared to be her thigh after landing a double back on all fours.  She stopped her routine and was carried over to the FX rotation seating area. Her coach placed her on the empty podium (used for men’s events) and left her. Another coach (Lithuanian Laura Svilpaite’s, maybe?) put a jacket or towel next to her.

– Kim Bui (GER) noticed she was on camera and held up a water bottle with a message on it and grinned widely. I couldn’t read it but I saw the word ‘love’.

– After Russian Viktoria Komova’s final routine, Aliya Mustafina (RUS) whispered something to her; Komova’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped, then she giggled as she waved to the camera.

– Diana Bulimar (ROM) jogged around in her tracksuit and gloves during the rotations in which she didn’t compete.

– After marching to floor, the Romanians all kicked off their shoes by the side of the floor podium. Diana Bulimar ran over, gathered them all up, and ran back to put them by the floor rotation seating.

– Maria Paseka (RUS) had a good chuckle over simply touching the bar for a 0.000.

– Bela Karolyi was in the NBC commentary booth, usually standing.

– As usual, there were tons of Japanese delegates in the crowd; the Japanese girls waved and posed for photos for them. Also spotted: delegates from France, Great Britain, USA, and Slovenia.

– Prior to each session, there were video features and a performance by Britons Danusia Francis on beam, Marissa King on bars, and two others on vault and floor (Lisa Mason, I heard?). Check back later for notes from men’s team finals and women’s all-around!

2012 Olympic Games – Prelims

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The preliminary rounds of competition are over, and as expected, there was plenty of drama! Right off the bat, all eyes were on Kohei Uchimura (JPN), who definitely had an off day falling on high bar and pommel horse. I have confidence that he can pull himself together for Team Finals and the All Around. He is a star who knows how to handle the pressure, and despite the errors, there were flashes of his usual brilliance. Unfortunately, some of his teammates seemed to struggle as well, but they ended on a good note with several fantastic parallel bar routines. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out in Team Finals.

The Tanaka parents must be so proud! Kazuhito, Rie and Yusuke represent 30% of the Japanese gymnasts on the floor in London, and Yusuke and Kazuhito will be battling it out for the gold medal on parallel bars (the qualified in first and second place)! Rie is one to watch as well, having won the Longines Prize for Elegance at the 2010 World Championships. I really enjoyed her Pink Panther floor routine in prelims!

It’s always exciting when the TV broadcast pans to lesser known gymnasts. Shek Wai Hung (HKG), a vault finalist at last year’s Worlds, sat down his double front and I felt so sad seeing the disappointment on his face. 2011 World bronze medalist Phan Thi Ha (VIE) ended up 12th on vault after a fall and a stumble. Some of the worst moments of preliminaries were when Sherine el-Zeiny (EGY) hurt her leg during a double tuck on floor and had to be carried away by her coach and when Yao Jinnan (CHN) collapsed in pain after aggravating a leg injury on vault. Other heartbreaking moments include learning of the disqualification of Luiza Galiulina (UZB) who tested positive for furosemide (I’m sure Daria Elizarova would have loved to represent Uzbekistan in London!), the exclusion of Jordyn Wieber (USA) from the All Around final, and Kieran Behan (IRE) not competing to the best of his ability:

I’ve got to hand it to the Romanian women. Just last year it appeared their team was fizzling away having won no medals at the Worlds for the first time in 3 decades. Then Ana Porgras retired unexpectedly in January and it seemed as though they might not be able to field adequate lineups for the Olympics. I am so impressed with the improvements they have made in a short amount of time, and with the fact that their team includes the past two Olympic Floor Champions: Catalina Ponor in 2004 and Sandra Izbasa in 2008. Despite having several uncharacteristic errors in prelims, they showed they are back and will once again be in the medal hunt come Team Finals.

Oksana Chusovitina (GER) and Jordan Jovtchev (BUL) should receive some sort of special medal for longevity! At ages 37 and 39, they are both competing in their SIXTH Olympic Games! And not just participating, but competing in the vault and rings apparatus finals!

Canada just managed to squeak into Team Finals in 8th place, an accomplishment made even more impressive after losing Peng Peng Lee to injury. Brittany Rogers and Elsabeth Black also qualified to vault finals, and Dominique Pegg will compete in the All Around. Unfortunately, the top two gymnasts will not be moving on past Team Finals. Kristina Vaculik did not qualify to the All Around after falling twice on beam, and Victoria Moors just missed Floor finals despite nailing her fantastic double-double mount. This has got to be one of the best teams Canada has ever fielded, and it was sweet of the girls to wear white flowers in their hair in tribute to Honorary Captain Peng Peng.

I have very much enjoyed the television commentary by Canadian Kyle Shewfelt. He is enthusiastic, positive, knowledgeable, and is always kind toward all gymnasts while remaining realistic about their chances. It’s refreshing to hear, and he makes it even more fun to watch gymnastics!

Wish You Were Here!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Photo courtesy of  Anirudh Koul.

On the eve of the 2012 Olympic Games with all the excitement of competition looming ahead, I can’t help but think of all the gymnasts around the world who fell short of achieving their goal of competing in London. Some just didn’t quite manage to qualify, some were left out due to politics, but many are at home nursing ill-timed injuries. France was by far the most unlucky country, taking a huge hit by losing so many of its top gymnasts. Here are some of the athletes who will be missed when preliminaries start this weekend in the North Greenwich Arena:

Samir Aït Saïd (FRA) hurt his right knee at the 2012 European Championships in Montpellier.

Thomas Bouhail (FRA) fractured his tibia and fibula in a fall from high bar, an injury which quickly led to necrosis of his leg tissue. Thank goodness his leg was saved.

Marine Brevet (FRA) dislocated her elbow while tumbling on floor.

Benoît Caranobe (FRA) suffered an ankle injury hampered his training in the lead-up to these Olympic Games.

Cheng Fei (CHN) ruptured her Achilles tendon after making a successful comeback.

Talia Chiarelli (CAN) withdrew from contention for the Olympic team with a sore back.

Nikki Chung (AUS) was unable to move forward to the Olympic Selection Camp due to an ankle and knee injury.

Julie Croket (BEL) tore her left ACL in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

Clara Della Vedova (FRA) helped her team qualify to the Games, only to hurt her Achilles tendon three months before the main event.

Anton Fokin (UZB) tore a ligament in his left knee during the London Test Event and was unable to secure a berth to the Games.

Adrian Gomes (BRA) hurt her back while in London and had to withdraw from competition.

Shawn Johnson (USA) ended her bid to participate in a second Olympic Games when it became evident that her knee would not heal in time.

Daniel Keatings (GBR), one of his country’s best gymnasts ever, must be devastated by his ill-timed ankle injury earlier this year.

Peng Peng Lee (CAN) tore her ACL on vault at the National Championships. Peng Peng could have helped Canada to one of its highest finishes ever, with a possibility of making beam and floor finals as well. If only the world could see this fantastic floor routine.

Mariya Livchikova (UKR) injured her knee on the eve of the 2011 World Championships, and as a result was unable to compete in the Test Event to earn a spot to London.

Zoe Lorenzin (AUS) was unable to move forward to the Olympic Selection Camp due to a stress fracture in her foot.

Tatiana Nabieva (RUS) managed to rise to Olympic contention, only to injure her knee before team selection.

Marine Petit (FRA) suffered a painful knee problem that kept her from trying for the Games.

Danny Rodrigues (FRA), a star on rings, hurt his biceps a month before he was to compete in the Games.

Valentine Sabatou (FRA) was to replace Marine Brevet, until she herself required a cast for her ankle.

Anastasia Sidorova (RUS) was unable to make a final push for London with her recurring back problem.

Georgia Simpson (AUS) had a severe ankle injury in the spring that prevented her from making a serious run for the Olympics.

Bridget Sloan (USA) injured her elbow on uneven bars just as she was about to embark on Night 1 of the Olympic Trials.

Lais Souza (BRA) hurt her hand while training on bars.

Eugen Spiridonov (GER) had to give up his chance for selection after injuring his shoulder.

Teng Haibin (CHN) tore muscles in his forearm just days before prelims were to begin. It’s a shame, since he was surely hoping to redeem himself after a disappointing outing in 2004.

Jeffrey Wammes (NED) gave up his fight to challenge Epke Zonderland for the lone Dutch spot after hurting his knee on floor exercise.

There are many gymnasts in London who will tough it out with less severe injuries. Larisa Iordache (ROM) has a case of plantar fasciitis that may prevent her from competing all events, McKayla Maroney (USA) has a broken big toe, Beth Tweddle (GBR) is still recovering from knee surgery, Yao Jinnan (CHN) has a torn leg muscle, and alternate Anna Li (USA) hurt herself after a fall from uneven bars and was spotted wearing a neck brace.

Let us also remember the North Korean contingent who will not display their talents in London after being banned for fudging ages. It’s such as shame, as many of the gymnasts could have been in contention for various apparatus medals.

Ri Se Gwang, Vault, 2008 World Cup Maribor

Jade Barbosa (BRA) didn’t sign the contract agreeing to wear the leotards with the logos of sponsors and is therefore ineligible for the Olympic Games. Jordan Rae (NZL), on the other hand, met the criteria for inclusion in the Olympic Games but she was not confirmed for participation by her country’s Olympic Committee (similar to the situation Veronica Wagner of Sweden found herself in 4 years ago).

Preliminary rounds of competition start tomorrow. I wish all the gymnasts of these Olympic Games a happy, healthy and fair competition…with no more injuries!!!