I haven’t been able to blog in quite some time. I have been in the midst of a job change for the past 6 weeks and have had time for little else between passing off the responsibilities of my old job and learning all the ins and outs of my new one. But I was finally able to watch the women’s All-Around competition from Melbourne and was, as you may have guessed, quite pleased with the final outcome.

I watched the archived streaming video of the World Championships at WCSN.com. For a cool $9.95, you can watch archives of the Men’s & Women’s All Around and Event Finals competitions. As someone who is not able to travel to very many international meets (I’ve only ever been to one World Championship Competition – and that was when it was in my own backyard in Anaheim! Plus the Olympic Trials the following year, also in Anaheim), this was a real treat. Not since the pay-per-view TripleCast was available on cable during the 1992 Summer Olympics have I seen such complete coverage of a gymnastics meet. I truly hope that more meets will be available in this format in the future. Though occasionally choppy and difficult to “rewind” or “fast forward,” it was well worth the money.

As I have mentioned in past posts, I was rooting for Chellsie Memmel to take the title. I was thrilled to see her come out on top at last. She has been so close in the past but it seemed like the big titles were always just out of reach for her (2003 Worlds – her bars title notwithstanding, 2005 U.S. Nationals, etc). As for her gymnastics… I was disappointed not to see her double twisting Yurchenko included in WCSN’s coverage. Her vault was the one routine that was noticeable missing from their otherwise extensive coverage. I have heard that her double twister is much improved over her performance at Nationals but have yet to see it. Her performance on Bars was top notch, as usual. Explosive, dynamic and clean. Her Beam routine had a few minor glitches but was strong overall. It was her Floor performance that I found to be the most impressive. Under enormous pressure, she really hit the routine of her life. Her tumbling was powerful and well-landed. And her dance combinations were the best I have ever seen from her. Her double turn in the Y position (the “Memmel”) was absolutely exquisite and the rest of her choreography was captivating as well. Overall a job well done. An incredible performance and a well-earned title.

On the flip side, however, was Nastia Liukin. She also had an incredible performance which was worthy of the title. She came in second place by .001, the closest margin (barring a tie) possible in the sport. I can only imagine how hard it would be to come so incredibly close. And although I have yet to watch the archived Event Finals (I hope to watch them tomorrow night), I know that Nastia came roaring back with gold medals on the Bars and Beam and a silver on Floor to boot. A great ending to an incredible competition for her. As for her All Around performance… her one and a half twisting Yurchenko on Vault was not her best. She took a step on her landing and seemed a bit awkward in the air. She bounced back on Bars and Beam with incredible sets on both of those events. Her Beam routine in particular was quite strong. Though not she does not quite complete her triple twist, she still manages to land her Beam dismount with impressive control. Her Floor routine was also well done but her tumbling is not as strong as Memmel’s and she was unable to come out on top in the end. With her impecable lines and unbelievable form and technique, I look forward to seeing Nastia perform for many years to come.

The bronze medal went to Monette Russo. Though third place could easily have gone to Beth Tweddle of Great Britain, I was pleased to see the Australian triumph. I believe Russo to be the more complete All Around athlete of the two and it was a long-awaited victory for Australian gymnastics. They have long been on the outskirts, just out of the medals for several years now and this was just the breakthrough they have been waiting for. And what a way to do it! There’s nothing like excelling in front of a home crowd. And Tweddle came back in the Event Finals to nab a bronze medal of her own on her specialty, the Uneven Bars.

As you can tell, I was more than satisfied with the final outcome of the competition. I even enjoyed the commentary. Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci and Tasha Schwikert made for a likeable combination. The three of them had me laughing out loud a few times. Nadia made several funny comments and one of my favorite moments was when Bart kept trying to get Tasha to say that even when she didn’t win a competition, the experience she gained and the overall process made it worth all the hard work despite the loss, but she just kept saying, “nah, I really wanted to win. It was all about winning for me.” Hilarious.

I eagerly await tomorrow night when I can watch the Event Finals. Until then, a few random side notes…

    One major benefit of WCSN’s coverage was getting to see so many routines that would normally be cut from TV coverage. My absolute favorite was a bar routine by a Japanese gymnast. She made some serious mistakes and her attempts to cover them up were outrageous! You would never get to see this kind of thing on television. I took the trouble to rewind it several times! Priceless.
    Coolest move that I saw: I’ll have to go back to verify who it was but I think it might have been a Swiss or German gymanst. On bars, she mounted with a jump to handstand on the low bar (her back to the high bar) and then she sort of popped the low bar to flip over and catch the high bar. I’m sure it’s been done before but I’ve never seen it. Impressive.
    Did any of you see the competition? What were your thoughts?
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