I’ve been hiding out here in the wings for a while, trying to focus on getting into medical school … now that that’s accomplished (still waiting to hear from some schools though), I’m thinking of returning. My plans are to make the blog a little different though.
First, toward the end of my blogging, I got really caught up in reporting “news,” but I just don’t have the time to be on top of all the breaking stories. My new plan is to focus on opinion, especially from the point of view of a former ballet dancer. Second, I’m hoping to get some interviews going again — that’s more “content” than reporting news already reported elsewhere!
If anyone’s still out there, let me know what you think!
Ever since Vanessa Ferrari stunned the gymnastics community with victory at the 2006 World Championships, it’s been a tough road …
Most recently, Ferrari underwent a short surgery to repair damage to her ankle. According to the Italian Gymnastics Federation, everything went well (see press release here).
Since the Achilles was not involved, recovery should be fairly swift. She’ll be in a cast for 20 days and crutches for another 20 after that. Still, she may not be prepared for Worlds.
This comes after Ferrari won her fourth Italian championship in late May. (She would have had five in a row if she hadn’t been overtaken by Lia Parolari last year.)
I like Ferrari. I think she is a really solid gymnast, even if her path since 2006 has been a little rocky. She does by far my favorite beam mount (in its various iterations) among current international elite gymnasts. She earned a 16.000 (9.3 B/E-score) for this routine at the 2007 Europeans qualifications:
(International Gymnast has an article on this that basically parrots the press release … not unlike what I am doing!)
From Blythe, Level-10 Kayla Williams. I don’t usually post about non-elite gymnasts, but this floor routine really took my breath away.
Opening pass is a double layout, followed by a double pike. Plus a triple full as a side pass …. It is rare to see these skills performed so high and landing so upright. I was honestly amazed.
According to the sources, Williams has received an invitation to the Karolyi Ranch and is planning to go elite this summer. But she seems to be expressing interest in college gymnastics.
The floor routine has a bit of a Shawn-Johnsonesque dance component (that is, somewhat choppy and choreographically lacking), but without Johnson’s spunk, or at least the spunk she had with her old floor routine if not as much with the one performed at the Olympics.
Update: In the cited newspaper article, Williams reports that Marta Karolyi said:
“She said she’d like to see improvements on my flexibility and my artistry on floor [exercise]. She wants me to show off a little more on my dance, but other than that she said that I had really big skills and she’s excited to see what would happen if my flexibility gets better. I’m at home in splits [and] I’m [at the gym] in splits. I’m just trying to get more flexible.”
Sydney Sawa and Anysia Unick came back from fifth place in qualifications to win the senior and junior Canadian Championships.
Sawa performed decently on Day 1 on every event except floor, where she wound up with a devastating 10.050. Unick’s problems on Day 1 came on beam.
Sawa was a member of the 2007 World Championships team, and placed second at 2008 Elite Canada. International Gymnast did an interview with her leading up to the Championships. She shares a few thoughts on being considered a “veteran” on the young Canadian national team.
Full results are not yet posted.
Short interview with Sawa here.
Now that Jade Barbosa is magically training — and planning to compete — one-handed, the Brazilian Gymnastics Federation seems to want her back, according to this Globoesporte article:
- Her wrist is “doing better”
- They were annoyed at her for gaining weight and not taking training seriously
- Georgette Vidor, team coordinator, has observed her training and is satisfied
- Irina Ilyashenko wants the team to stay in Curitibia all the time, but Vidor doesn’t agree, so Barbosa doesn’t have to
- Brazilian choreographer André Marcelo Alves de Figueiredo, who lives in the USA, is working with almost all of the Brazilian gymnasts, including Khiuna Dias, Ana Claudia Silva, Bruna Leal, Ethiene Franco, and Letícia Costa
I suppose it’s not surprising that they were willing to fight with her when it looked like she might be done. Now they can’t afford to bicker with arguably their biggest star.
As Coach Rick points out, the senior turnout was not amazing at this weekend’s 2009 Canadian Championships. Qualifications were yesterday, with finals today.
Actually, the senior turnout was so underwhelming that Charlotte Mackie, who only competed three events (no bars), may actually be competing in the finals.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Lemieux-Guillemette goes into finals in first place, followed by Kristin Klarenbach and Ashley Quinton. Better-known seniors Dominique Pegg, Sydney Sawa and Mackie (with the only 1.5-twisting Yurchenko of the competition) are fourth, fifth, twelfth and fourteenth, respectively. (Brittany Rogers appears to have pulled out at the last minute.) Lemieux-Guillemette took first on all events but vault.
Lemieux-Guillemette 19, is a member of the senior national team. She was fifth at Elite Canada in 2008, and fifth all-around at the 2009 WOGA Classic. Klarenbach and Quinton were tenth and eleventh at Elite Canada. That meet was well-attended, with Rogers first, followed by Mackie, Sawa, and Pegg.
Rochelle Hurt leads a good junior group, with Madeline Gardiner and Coralie Leblond-Chartrand rounding up the top three. Anysia Unick is fifth, and Dominique Nadeau competed only bars.
The top three is not shocking if you recall the results of Elite Canada 2008, where Leblond-Chartrand pulled off a (then considered an upset) first place, with Gardiner (2008 Canadian Championships novice champion) second and Hunt third. Unick finished a disappointing tenth in that competition.
Notably missing among juniors this time around is Caitlyn Keates, but Mikaela Gerber and Jimena Lopez are currently placed seventh and eighth. Probably the most exciting results are for Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto and Riley Cholod, currently fourth and sixth. (The two tied for eleventh at Elite Canada.) Best name award goes to Demi Pas.
Full results here.
Well, I have survived the MCAT (score pending) and my dissertation proposal (passed!). And I’m back!
A top ten of things I’ve missed, ’cause I’m not going back to talk about all of it. Looking forward now, folks! (And, no, I do not care that Shannon Miller is preggers.)
8. Oksana Chusovitina retires: I’ve never been the biggest fan, but she’s pretty amazing. Sad to see her go.
7. Jordyn Wieber wins the American Cup: Honestly, I enjoy her, and I think that her gymnastics is maturing quite well. I thought the most ridiculous thing about the American Cup was listening to Tim Daggett go on and on about Wieber’s toe-on on bars, and how she doesn’t put both feet on at the same time, and how it’s an eyesore. News flash: people used to do this all the time.
6. Shawn Johnson wins DWTS, insults everyone in US Weekly: I was happy with Johnson’s win; I thought she was quite good. And I really do think she is an amazing gymnast. But I am disappointed that she appears to have left gymnastics behind …. And then she said that she was an outcast on the national team, which seems plausible and might explain her less-than-ferocious desire to return to gymnastics. Still, by contrast, it was nice to see that Nastia Liukin (not always my favorite) is, by contrast, sticking with it. UPDATE: Apparently Johnson’s mirrorball is broken.
5. The FIG sucks: A KISS AND CRY CORNER? What a mockery of any sport. On the other hand, the suggested revamping of judging that should have scores coming faster is good.
4. Semenova is a world-class gymnast, remember? Ksenia Semenova and Ksenia Afanasyeva went 1-2 at Europeans. Semenova was 4th in Beijing. She is a stupendous gymnast, and not just on bars. Her floor is much more mature (as is her body.) And Ariella Kaeslin in third!
3. Youna Dufournet scares the crap out of everyone: At SCAM and Europeans, Dufournet totally falls apart on floor, scaring everyone. But then at French nationals this past week, she pulls out an awesome Def (apparently only French women are allowed to do that skill?)! (Interestingly, Dufournet still lost to Marine Petit and Rose Bellemare.)
2. Jade Barbosa wants to compete at Nationals: Somehow, Jade Barbosa, who has necrosis in her hand is training again. There are no words.
1. Nicolae Forminte has cancer: Skin cancer is very treatable, but if it is true that his wife noticed this spot a long time ago, well, that’s not so great. Prosport has the story. I like Forminte. A lot.