Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts21 Jun 2008 10:53 pm

I’m going out of town tomorrow morning and will miss all the coverage of Day 2 for the US Women’s Olympic Trials.   I’ll be on a camping road trip so I likely won’t know anything until the first of July.   So based on what I saw tonight from Day 1 (and from Nationals), here’s who is on my team…

  • Shawn Johnson
  • Nastia Liukin
  • Chellsie Memmel
  • Alicia Sacramone
  • Samantha Peszek
  • Bridget Sloan

Ivana Hong, Shayla Worley, Jana Bieger & Mattie Larson are all legit contenders as well.    With the team scenario I listed above, I think that Bridget would be used on Bars only and if that is the case, she can bring in the highest score there (compared to Hong, Worley, Bieger & Larson).    The rest of the events would look as follows…


  • Johnson
  • Sacramone
  • Peszek
  • Alt: Memmel


  • Liukin
  • Memmel
  • Sloan
  • Alt: Johnson


  • Johnson
  • Liukin
  • Memmel
  • Alt: Sac or Sloan


  • Johnson
  • Sacramone
  • Memmel or Peszek
  • Alt: Sloan

What do you think?   Who would you put on the team based on Night 1?

Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts21 Jun 2008 05:22 pm

Already named:

  • Paul Hamm
  • Jonathan Horton

Perfect 10s Remaining 4 spots + 1 alternate:

  • Justin Spring
  • Sean Golden
  • Joseph Hagerty
  • Raj Bhavsar
  • Kevin Tan

I admit that it pains me to leave Morgan Hamm off this list.  He certainly has the clout and reputation.  It pains me to leave Durante, Townsend, Alvarez & Artemev off as well.  What a tough call.  What do you think?   Who are your picks for those remaining spots?

Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts09 Jun 2008 02:08 pm

No introduction really needed here.  I watched the televised coverage on NBC and have seen a few extra routines on youtube.  In no particular order, here are my thoughts on the competition…

  • Alicia Sacramone really needs to ditch the random chin-stand split in her beam routine.  I’ve blogged about it before and I still think it needs to go.  She’s not full split and it looks ridiculous in an otherwise world class Beam routine.  I think a teammate of mine back in the day did the same skill.  She was a level 8.
  • Speaking of Sacramone, why have we been watching the same floor routine from her this entire quad?  Isn’t it time for something new? (more…)
Gymnastics and Gymnasts23 Apr 2008 10:15 am

So it looks like the same skill to me. Who will get credit for it?

Here’s Nastia’s version from the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships (around 1:26), which, by the way, was one of the best Beam routines I have seen in a very long time. Beautiful.

And check out Nistor’s version of it at the 2008 European Championships (around 1:13). Nastia’s is arguably the more aesthetically appealing of the two but that won’t be the deciding factor.

Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts13 Mar 2008 06:29 pm

I know that this is late in coming but I haven’t been all that excited about the most recent installment of the American Cup. My husband got home just as the last 5 minutes were rolling and asked excitedly, “So, how was it?!” And I just kind of shrugged and said “eh.” While there were a few highlights, I did not find the competition terribly stimulating. It felt like an exhibition with 4 American Women and The Paul Hamm Show on the side. That being said, here are a few of my (admittedly unenthusiastic) thoughts…

Nastia Liukin, USA

  • Nastia’s new Beam routine is beautiful. I liked everything about it. She changed her leap combos and removed the wolf jump, which I’ve blogged about before. She took out the whip back at the end of her bhs layout step out combo, which allows her form and amplitude on the layout to be more fully appreciated. I dig her new move – it’s basically a Portocarrero to a stand position, ending in a scale. It’s original and looks cool. Her switch ring leap is the best in the business. She actually lands it without the deep bent knee that we see from most other women on this skill. Well done. (more…)
Gymnastics and Gymnasts03 Mar 2008 08:57 pm

I hadn’t heard of Tasha Smith until earlier this year.  She’s a gymnast in her junior year at Oregon State University and she has got some spunk.

Tasha Smith on Floor


She choreographs her own Floor routines and they are really something else.  She’s got her own style and it’s different from the other NCAA floor routines out there.  It’s refreshing and fun to watch.   I mean, seriously, the girl plays the air guitar after her first pass…


Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts20 Feb 2008 07:46 pm

Last Saturday the University of Washington played host to the Utah Utes in a dual meet and once again, my husband and I were there to catch the action. Here are my impressions of the competition, focusing mainly on Utah since I’ve blogged about UW in a previous post.

Annie DiLuzio of Utah


  • It was wonderful to see Gael Mackie (Canada) compete for Utah on Bars. I have always wanted to see more of this gymnast and she did not disappoint. Her set was clean and confidant. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
  • Also impressive on Bars (and elsewhere) was Daria Bijak. I don’t remember being all that impressed with her performances as an international elite for Germany but she certainly seems to be thriving on the collegiate level. She may not be as well known as teammates, Ashley Postell & Kristina Baskett, but she is an incredible asset to the Utes. They are lucky to have her. (more…)
Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts and Top Ten02 Feb 2008 10:13 pm

My husband and four of our friends joined me last night to take in the UW vs UCLA meet at the Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus. We had some pho beforehand and then headed on over to catch the action. Here are the top ten things that stood out to me from the competition.

  1. Tasha Schwikert is just so fun to watch. There are really very few gymnasts like her. She has a presence on every event that is unmatched. On Floor she looks so comfortable and at ease engaging and making eye contact with the audience. Many collegiate gymnasts are good at selling their routines but Tasha Schwikert is in a class of her very own.
  2. A gymnast from UW (I unfortunately don’t recall her name right now) rocked a tucked double twisting back gainer off the side of the Beam. I don’t think I’ve seen one from a standstill before. My friends, Allise & Sage, who are not knowledgeable about gymnastics were particularly impressed with it. They referred to it as “the corkscrew.” While numerous collegiate gymnasts dismount with the laid out full-twisting gainer for a dismount, it was great to see something a little different.

    Anna Li of UCLA

  3. Anna Li of UCLA. Her work on Bars and Floor were outstanding. She has a sky high tkatchev and nailed her double layout dismount. On Floor, her choreography and music selection were delightful.
  4. Ashley Houghting performed a full-twisting pike jump on Beam that was beautiful. Houghting was the only UW gymnast to break into the top three on any event, taking second on both Vault & Floor.
  5. Niki Tom of UCLA performed a gorgeous full turn with her leg extended behind her in a raised stag position (think Lindsey Vanden Eykel). And she also performed an extremely high round-off double twist dismount.
  6. Another unnamed UW gymnast performed a beautiful jump double stag mount onto the end of the beam. It was exquisite. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. These are the kinds of mounts we need to see more of on the elite level. Rather than a tuck jump onto the Beam, why not a double stag? It’s not much more difficult but it is infinitely more aesthetic and artistic.
  7. Raimey Iselin of UW performed a round off full twist to prone on Floor. It was spectacular. Although I know some gymnastics enthusiasts are not fond of these skills, there certainly have crowd appeal. This one in particular was breathtaking. My friends loved it.
  8. Brittani McCullough of UCLA, who was strong and steady on all four events delivered a HUGE double back dismount off Beam. It’s nice to see a more difficult dismount amid the sea of front fulls, back fulls & gainer fulls. I’m looking forward to seeing more of McCullough. She shows tremendous promise in her first season (she redshirted last year).
  9. I was disappointed that Ariana Berlin was not part of UCLA’s line up on Floor. She is an incredible breakdancer and I always look forward to seeing her perform. Maybe at the Pac 10s.
  10. It was great to be at a competition where my non-gymnastics friends could understand and thoroughly enjoy the meet. This is one of the major reasons why NCAA gymnastics has such a strong fan base of “non-gymnastics” folks. I sure hope it stays that way.

I’m curious to hear what other folks thought of the meet. Were any of you there? What were your impressions? And if anyone knows the names of the two UW gymnasts mentioned above (numbers 2 & 6), please let me know.

Gymnastics and Gymnasts25 Jan 2008 05:36 pm

One of the greatest gymnasts of the 1970s. Tourischeva was the All Around Gold Medalist at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Photo courtesy of

Gymnastics and Gymnasts18 Jan 2008 10:43 pm

I’ve been without much access to a computer these last few weeks so when I finally got back online today I, of course, immediately hit up youtube for a much-needed gymnastics fix. Sure, I’ve still been watching my VHS tapes regularly but there is something so unique about youtube. Where else could you find some videos of, say, an obscure Mongolian gymnast circa 1978?

Seriously, though, it has been thrilling for me to be able to see more than just the televised coverage in the US (at best, The American Cup, Nationals & maybe Worlds) & more recently, WCSN‘s coverage. I can finally see more of the events on the European circuit and all over the world, not to mention the scores of videos from years past. A sincere thanks to all of you who faithfully post your videos onto youtube. It is much appreciated.

Ok, moving on… I now present the fruit of my youtube perusal for the night. 3 Crazy Beam Mounts.

  1. Isabela Lacatus of Romania in1990. Never even heard of her before tonight. This one actually looks like it had the potential to be quite painful. Basically a staddle front flip off the board to her seat. Slightly off and she could have seriously injured her tailbone.

  2. Daiane Dos Santos of Brazil. The quality of the video is quite poor and she falls. But it’s a layout front! Has anyone else ever attempted this?

  3. Kelly Garrison-Steves of the US in 1988. Round-off, full twisting back. Awesome.

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