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…)
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 (more…)

Gymnastics29 Apr 2008 10:25 am

I first heard of Cirque du Soleil about 9 years ago when I was in college. I have longed to see it since then but it was always just out of reach. I was either in the wrong city or did not have enough money. So many of my non-gymnastics friends have seen multiple Cirque shows and it always seemed so unfair. They could not possibly appreciate it the way I could, right? But Cirque has now come to Seattle and my husband and I decided that money was, for once, no object. We were going to go no matter what!

Photo courtesy of

So last Friday night we drove out to Marymoor Park in Redmond for Corteo and I can honestly say that the show lived up to my 9+ years of expectations. It was breathtaking. Three acts stand out in my mind as the most memorable…



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.

Dear Perfect10 and Gymnastics28 Mar 2008 05:07 pm

Every month I receive questions from concerned gym parents regarding everything from the safety of gymnastics to what’s best for their child in training. I am in no way an expert but I attempt to answer all their questions in some form or another.

So I thought I would introduce a new category on this blog called Dear Perfect10, where I post these questions (with permission) and my respective responses. I think these parents would appreciate additional feedback from my readers. Please leave comments and add your perspective to the conversations.


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.

Competitions and Gymnastics30 Jan 2008 07:58 pm

I recently realized that I get a fuzzy version of ESPN2 and some station called FSN (Fox Sports?), which is not actually included in my basic cable package. And I was delighted to learn that these 2 channels regularly air NCAA gymnastics meets. It’s been great watching some of the meets I would never see otherwise.

Tasha Schwikert of UCLA

But I am even more excited about the meet at the University of Washington this weekend. I get very few opportunities to see live competitions so I’ll be hitting up all of the UW home meets this season. In addition to UCLA this weekend, they will be competing against Utah at home in a couple weeks, and at the end of March, they will play host to the Pac 10 championships, which will be a real treat. Will any of you local readers be in the stands at the Bank of America Arena as well?

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