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Archive for the ‘American Cup 2009’ Category

Playing Catch Up

Posted by Rawles on March 10, 2009

So the American Cup came and went I did not say anything about it! Partially because there were shenanigans involved in me getting to see it at all, but mostly because omfg it was such a dull competition. I mean, congratulations to Jordyn for winning and to Bridget for still having the world’s best piked full-in but that was pretty lackluster as competitions go. I was entirely over it by the time I watched three gymnasts in a row fall off of beam AT LEAST twice each.

I know it’s early in the year, but seriously?! They also only bothered to show Becky Downie once and she had watered down and looked tired. I am hoping for better things for her at Euros, however!

Far more interesting things that have since been afoot are Russian National Championships where little Aliya Mustafina took the title over Ksenia Semenova, who’s still coming back from injury, and where The Other Ksenia, Afanasyeva, continued to depress us all by being a headcase. Sigh.

2009 Russian National AA Champion Aliya Mustafina. She is fourteen. LOL age rules.

2009 Russian National AA Champion Aliya Mustafina. She is fourteen. LOL age rules.

Then there was Gymnix which was a fairly disappointing competition in and of itself, but in a different way. Mostly in that there were so few people actually…competing in the World Cup portion of the event. BUT! Among them was my beloved Mattie Larson.

And she debuted a new floor routine which, as is common for her, excellent. Love love love her. Please let her not be broken for worlds. Please let her not be broken for worlds. Please let her not be broken for worlds.

She took floor and actually managed to stay on beam and win that. While another favourite of mine Sami Shapiro took bars. Only two girls even competed vault, but Charlotte Mackie won and I like her so, whatevs, congrats. Her 1 1/2 was very nice.

The upcoming Jesolo meet is actually shaping up to be interesting in that Italy, Romania, Great Britain, and Brazil all seem to be sending fairly A teams. *crosses fingers*

Beyond that I am just hoping Euros will be awesome (though with all the injuries who even knows). I would like to have something better to be excited about than Shawn on DWTS! She is doing well so far, barring the awful wardrobe choices and also tanorexia (though these things are par for the course on the show apparently), but uhm actual gym would be nice in my life.

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Posted in Aliya Mustafina, American Cup 2009, Becky Downie, Bridget Sloan, Charlotte Mackie, Gymnix 2009, Jordyn Wieber, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Ksenia Semenova, Mattie Larson, Samantha Shapiro, Shawn Johnson | 5 Comments »

Modeling and the American Cup!

Posted by Rawles on February 15, 2009

So, while bb Shawn is dancing up a storm (or at least practicing in order to do same!), Nastia was walking in the annual Heart Truth Red Dress Collection at NY Fashion Week and looking lovely in her crazy robe dress.

Nastia models Max Azria for the Red Dress Collection

Nastia models Max Azria for the Red Dress Collection

Though more exciting (to me anyway): her Max Azria campaign is finally officially released and, keeping true to the few dribs and drabs over the last few weeks, is stunning. The full image book is available for viewing at http://www.maxazria.com as is a soft focus, strummy music, artistically shadowed video lovingly depicting Nastia taking the photos for the campaign.

Nastia stars in Max Azria's Spring 2009 campaign

Nastia stars in Max Azria's Spring 2009 campaign

So. Whee! In case you cannot tell, I enjoy seeing gymnasts doing all of this kind of stuff. Except for when Shawn makes me watch Dancing with the Stars. (I still enjoy it, just begrudgingly.)

Now, moving on to gymnasts doing actual gymnastics! The American Cup is THIS WEEKEND. I feel like I have been waiting an eternity for what is arguably the first BIG competition of the 2009 season. The full roster was released a while back:

Brittany Rogers, Canada
Youna Dufournet, France
Kim Bui, Germany
Rebecca Downie, Great Britain
Koko Tsurumi, Japan
Amelia Racea, Romania
Kristina Goryunova, Russia
Bridget Sloan, USA
Jordyn Wieber, USA
Jessica Lopez, Venezuela

I have already spoken on my excitement about Bridget (paticularly since reports that she’s been training a front triple twist!) and I’m sure Jordyn will do fine. It’s also nice to see Jessica Lopez back as I felt her floor was a standout last year. Plus, Koko Tsurumi is always good to see and Brittany Rogers is one of Canada’s outstanding new seniors. But I have to say that the person I am most excited about (hopefully) getting a peek at this comp is Becky Downie.

Great Britain's Becky Downie

Great Britain's Becky Downie

The British National AA Champion wasn’t super on my radar in previous years. I saw peeks of her at 2007 Worlds and heard about her getting into two finals at Euros last year. But it wasn’t until I was watching the full (full!) coverage of the Beijing AA that she really caught my eye. She was in the last group, having just sneaked into the final in 24th place after a rough prelims, and she worked herself all the way up to 12th. Also known as the highest Olympic AA placement for a British gymnast ever.

I was very impressed watching her, moreso even than various people in the 2nd and 3rd groups. She’s clean, has an entertaining and balanced floor routine, and a very nice DTY. She’s also second only to Beth Tweddle on bars in the UK and she hit an excellent set in the AA final (plus she does a Ricna which is just an awesome skill). I’m really curious to see what upgrades she might have and just her new routines in general. I think she could do some good things this year.

Though even more than I’m excited about her at the American Cup (dubious as I am about getting to actually see much of her in the broadcast), I’m excited to see what she might do at Euros. In Beijing, she dropped her second vault to concentrate on AA, even though she made vault finals at Euros. The field is minimized this year with both Chuso and Pavlova out with injury, so I’m curious about whether she’ll go for that, or continue concentrating on AA (or do both!). So, excitement everywhere. Main point being, I think she’s a talent that I would like to see grooow.

Now, let’s hope I didn’t jinx her!

Here’s Becky at the 2008 British National Championships. I WANTED to post her Beijing AA final floor (which was better), but I was thwarted in numerous ways.

Posted in American Cup 2009, Becky Downie | Leave a Comment »

Wieber to the American Cup?!

Posted by Rawles on January 11, 2009

According to her website that’s the case!

Saturday, January 10, 2009
American Cup Competitor
Jordyn will be competing in the 2009 American Cup competition which will be held on February 20th-21st in Chicago, IL. Jordyn will be joining 2008 US Olympian, Bridget Sloan. The United States will be naming two additional athletes to their squad and many international athletes are also expected to participate. The finals portion of the competition will be broadcasted LIVE by NBC Sports on February 21st at 3:00 CT.

This is a surprising twist given that the 13-year-old US junior national champion won’t be a senior international elite until 2011. Wieber’s camp has come under a certain amount of criticism and concern in the past from gym fans who worry that Wieber is doing too much difficulty too soon and will burn out if she isn’t paced better. These concerns weren’t alleviated by the fact that she’s been throwing Amanars at training camps for quite some time now.

Wieber at 2008 US Nationals

Wieber at 2008 US Nationals

Have juniors ever competed at the American Cup before?! For the last few years it’s basically been used largely by USAG as the coming out party for the new seniors that were expected to make a splash or a little ball in honor of the current It Girl. (ETA: Apparently various juniors have actually competed at SCAM in the past, though, unfortunately, very few of them ever went on to anything notable once they turned senior!) For this very reason, people, myself included, were very interested in who was going to get the rather plum assignment with all of the big names currently out of competition.

I don’t think anyone guessed that any juniors were in the mix at all. Especially with new, untested, and promising seniors like Mattie Larson and Samantha Shapiro about. If the announcement on the site is accurate (and not someone in her camp jumping the gun) then this is a huge vote of confidence in Wieber and definitely an investment in her being one of their big stars when the London Olympics are about to roll around.

It also means that Bridget Sloan, many people’s first choice for the headliner of this year’s AmCup (once again, myself included), is definitely getting the assignment that everyone expected her to. It also means that there will be prelims (an issue of much confusion even for people planning to attend) for the competition and two more open spots. Though whether everyone will get to compete in the broadcast final is still unclear. There were four American girls competing at 2008 SCAM though, so it’s a possibility.

Those last two spots, again assuming this update is accurate, will be interesting. I would think that the people really vying would be the aforementioned Mattie Larson and Samantha Shapiro; along with Chelsea Davis, coached by Kim Zmeskal, and who copped to upgrading at the end of last year in an interview over at the excellent Gymnastike; Corrie Lothrop, who exceeded all expectations (including her own) by becoming an Olympic alternate and got some assignments post-Olympics at which she performed well; perhaps Olivia Courtney who was also sent out a bit at the end of last year; and, of course, the ever dogged Jana Bieger. (Is Sam Pezsek back in shape? How’s her ankle? How is her transition to Sharp’s going? Does anyone know anything about what’s up with her?!)

Hell, since Wieber is, at the very least, in the mix, maybe even maybe Kamerin Moore, Wieber’s adorable bespectacled teammate, who brought home some hardware from Top Gym in late November, will make a run. Apparently this is already Crazyville!

I, for one, am quite interested to see how this situation further develops! Especially when gossip starts leaking from the upcoming National Team training camp.

(FTR, my picks for the last two spots with be Larson and Shapiro.)

Posted in American Cup 2009, Jordyn Wieber | 17 Comments »

Inaugural Thinger

Posted by Rawles on December 5, 2008

So, I decided–after much internal debate–to go ahead and create a dedicated blog for gymnastics talk. The pros including, but not limited to, the fact that my television show, movie, animation etc. nerdery and fangirling can live uninterrupted yet again. I also feel more comfortable posting about gym as much as I want in a blog specifically for that, rather than my personal journal where the majority of people reading it either don’t know anything about it or don’t care.

At any rate, I shall dive right into The Latest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in American Cup 2009, Bridget Sloan, Nastia Liukin, Rebecca Bross | 6 Comments »