Top Ten


Gymnastics and Gymnastics Ramblings and Gymnasts and Top Ten29 Jul 2008 05:14 pm

So I realize that the entire gymnastics world is talking about one of three things right now… Paul Hamm’s withdrawl from the US Men’s Olympic Team, the alleged age falsification of some Beijing-bound athletes, and the Dominque Moceanu/Jennifer Sey “stuff.”  All of these things have certainly been on my mind of late and I have been preparing a post regarding the Sey controversy, but for now, I’m going to keep things on the lighter side.

I wrote a post last Fall about the ten things I dislike in the world of gymnastics and thought I should counter balance it with a list of ten things that I do like.  I find myself complaining about the current state of gymnastics far too often.  I thought it would be fun to remind myself of what is good about our sport right now.  Without further ado…

  • I like the return of the aerial cartwheel on Beam.  Yes, I suppose it’s overused already (what isn’t with this code?  Wait, this is a positive list…)  but it’s a gorgeous skill when done well.
  • Mattie Larson.  Isn’t she fun?  She has such spunk and seems so unaffected by the things that have happened this year.  We need more athletes like her, with expressiveness on the apparatus and clean, precise execution.    I hope she recovers well from her stress fracture and look forward to seeing her in the years to come.

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Competitions and Gymnastics and Top Ten06 May 2008 01:44 pm

Everyone has their dream teams for this Summer’s Olympics.  I certainly have mine.  I also have some dream placements and story lines.    So here are the Top Ten Things that I would like to see happen in Beijing this August.   These are, of course, just my hopes, some more realistic than others.

  1. Ivana Hong (USA) winning a medal on Floor.  Yes, yes, I realize that Ivana may be a long shot for the US Team at this point and that her difficulty on some events leaves something to be desired  but her form and style are unbelievable and should be displayed on the world’s greatest stage.
  2. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs winning a medal on Beam.  Her consistency on her series of aerial to two layout step outs is uncanny.  What a feat that would be for the Canadian Women’s Team and I can think of no better way for Carol-Angela Orchard to cap off her incredible coaching career with Canada. 

    Hopfner Hibbs - Photo Courtesy of photogymnastics.com (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 Gymnastics Ramblings and Top Ten30 Nov 2007 07:14 pm

I wrote about my distaste for tank leos, gym shoes & the leg-up full turn a few months ago. The list has now expanded. These are the top 10 things I dislike right now in the world of gymnastics.

  1. The jump-up mount on Beam. Think Shawn Johnson & Li Shanshan. I did this mount as a Level 7 compulsory gymnast way back when. This is an ugly and uncreative mount and way too many gymnasts use it. It is possible to get on the Beam without risk but still with beauty and originality. Using this mount seems lazy and I expect more from world class athletes.
  2. I’ve said it before but I must say it again. The leotards worn by the United States Women. Now that we’ve seen that the floor and matting is going to be red at the Olympics next year, I hope they come up with something more interesting than this.

    USA Leotard (more…)

Gymnastics and Gymnastics Ramblings and Top Ten26 Nov 2007 06:08 pm

My apologies for the lack of posts recently. I have been completely consumed revamping my website for work. Now that it’s pretty much up and running, I’m back in action here on p10.

So my all-time favorite Bar Worker… It’s a toss up. I’m having a much harder time choosing one with Bars. Beam was no contest. But I keep thinking of so many incredible Bar workers. So I decided to make this a Top Ten list. In no particular order…

Jamie Dantzscher performing a Gienger

  1. Tatiana Lisenko, UKR – Great rhythm
  2. Nadia Comaneci, ROM – Beautiful form
  3. Jamie Danztscher, USA – Incredible swing (more…)
Competitions and Gymnastics and Top Ten14 May 2007 04:29 pm

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted one of my Top Ten Lists so I thought I would bring one out with a post on the 2007 Women’s NCAA Championships. The competition aired yesterday afternoon. Here are my top ten impressions of the meet, in no particular order…

Photo by Chris Peddecord

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Gymnastics and Top Ten01 May 2006 10:13 pm
Missy Peregrym & Jeff Bridges in a scene from Stick It!

Spoiler Alert! This post contains information and plot details about the movie, Stick It!
Let me start by saying that my expectations going in to the film were low. Very low. But being the true gymnastics fan that I am I dragged my husband to opening night last Friday and worried that I would never live it down. The reviews weren’t stellar and let’s face it – “tween” movies can be so bad. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the theatre was packed. True, it was packed primarily with girls aged 8-15 but still not a bad sign. As the previews winded down, I found myself giddy with excitement. This was it! The movie that the gymnastics world has flipped for (pun intended) over the last couple years. The movie that made it onto the cover of International Gymnast was finally here. And, surprisingly, I liked it. I really did. And even more amazing, my husband liked it. If that’s not a recommendation to see the film, I don’t know what is.

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Gymnastics and Top Ten15 May 2005 03:31 pm
  • Ludivine Furnon (FRA), 1995 World Championships
  • Svetlana Boginskaya (BLR, then USSR), 1991 World Championships
  • Mo Huilan (CHI), 1994 World Championships

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Gymnastics and Top Ten11 May 2005 09:24 pm
  1. Crowd involvement. Some schools have special cheering sections & awards for the most enthusiastic fans. For example, as reported in the April issue of International Gymnast Magazine, Georgia home meets feature the “Best Seat in the House,” where the rowdiest fans are called out of the audience to sit next to the Floor Exercise mat on a leather couch for the last rotation of the competition.
  2. The enthusiasm & emotion of the athletes. Unlike elite competitions where most of the athletes remain quite stoic, NCAA gymnastics showcases typical collegiate spirit. When the athletes stick a landing or hit an incredible routine, they typically jump up and down as they salute the judges and then proceed to sprint back to their teammates who are waiting on the sidelines to celebrate with high-fives, hugs, and raucous cheers.
  3. The floor routines. The choreography and crowd appeal of women’s NCAA floor routines is unsurpassed.
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Gymnastics and Top Ten19 Apr 2005 06:24 pm
  • Onodi, Backhandspring, One-arm Backhandspring, Layout Step out on Beam – Catalina Ponor (ROM)
  • Two-footed Fronthandspring mount, double stag jump on Beam – Courtney McCool (USA)

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