Archive for November 2008
The two star junior gymnasts from Geddert’s Twistars in Michigan took two spots on the podium in the all-around at this weekend’s junior international elite competition in Charleroi, Belgium.
Unsurprisingly, Jordyn Wieber, the current U.S. junior national champion, took first. She beat her nearest competitor by just shy of four points, finishing with an excellent 59.80! She was the only competitor to score in the 15’s on any apparatus, and she did so on all events but floor (where she competed pretty cleanly up until her double pike, which she landed very low). Wieber then went on to win in two EFs, bars and beam. The girl is pretty amazing. I don’t know much about Geddert’s, but they seem to be doing a good job with her. A while back, people were shrieking all around the Internets because she had an Amanar at the age of 12, but she’s not competing it (she performed a DTY at Top Gym), and they seem to be pacing things well. She currently trains only 25 hours a week.
Actually, I was excited to see pictures of Wieber from this competition — she has grown up a lot and looks great!
And I’m really liking Wieber on bars:
Kamerin Moore, Wieber’s teammate at Geddert’s, took third to Yvette Moshage‘s second. I know nothing about Moshage, a young Dutch gymnast. I have heard, however, that Moore had three falls and still finished third, so that’s excellent news. She then took first on vault and second on floor.
Here is her vault, a very nice 1.5-twisting Yurchenko:
Other participants of note include Romania’s future star (hopefully) Larisa Iordache, who is 11, and her teammate, the excellent Diana Bulimar. Iordache finished a strong fourth, but over a point behind the podium, but then took first on floor. However, Bulimar sprained her ankle in warm-ups and had to withdraw … joining a number of her teammates on the injury list (including Gabriela Dragoi, Ceralesca Patrascu and Ana Porgras, who recently traveled with Daniela Druncea and Sandra Izbasa to the Milan Grand Prix so they could get second opinions from Italian doctors on their injuries, as reported here by Pro Sport).
Results available here.
1. Jordyn Wieber (59.80)
2. Yvette Moshage (55.90)
3. Kamerin Moore (55.15)
1. Kamerin Moore
2. Jocelyn Kraan
3. Sofiana Makantasi
1. Jordyn Wieber
2. Ida Gustafson
1. Jordyn Wieber
2. Larisa Iordache
3. Yvette Moshage
1. Larisa Iordache
2. Kamerin Moore
3. Jocelyn Kraan
Unsurprisingly, China has named Cheng Fei, He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan and Li Shanshan to participate in the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid. (See here.)
This FIG press release also confirms the participation of Sandra Izbasa, Elena Zamolodchikova and Suzanne Harmes. But it also notes the absence of Anna Pavlova and Oksana Chusovitina. I also assume that Ksenia Semenova won’t be present, but can’t confirm that at this point.
With Chusovitina (who is ranked first) and Pavlova (ranked third) out, Cheng has the vault nearly locked up unless Zamolodchikova has massively improved since her performance at the DTB Cup. Alicia Sacramone is also up there in this ranking, followed by Jade Barbosa — neither will be there. Hong Un Jong may be the only real competition. And if that’s the case, I think Cheng can assume that this one is in the bag.
He is ranked only sixth right now on bars, but she’s the front-runner, with Yang second unless Beth Tweddle shows up. Nastia Liukin will obviously not be there, and I’m pretty sure Semenova is out as well. Dariya Zgoba is ranked high (second) but can’t truly compete against the Chinese start values.
I think at this point, I might consider calling this for Cheng too. Pavlova, Johnson and Liukin are among the top eight, and won’t be there. Steliana Nistor is also out, and wouldn’t have taken first anyway, in all likelihood. Catalina Ponor, who is currently ranked first, hasn’t shown up in international competition in a while, so I don’t know what kind of shape she is in. Cheng’s biggest competition is likely to come from other Chinese women, and notably Li.
This will likely be the most interesting battle, and it will probably play out among Cheng, Izbasa and — to a lesser extent — Jiang. Harmes is ranked tenth on floor, but I don’t think she has a chance at the podium with these players, unless we see a major mistake. Zamolodchikova could also theoretically compete on floor, but only if she’s in much better shape by mid-December.
A new article from Pro Sport announces more bad news (and brief good news) for Russian gymnastics.
Alexander Kiryashov has said that Liudmila Grebenkova-Ezhova will not compete in the World Cup Final in Madrid in December. Why? Ironically, a knee injury.
Grebenkova was qualified in 13th place on beam. This leaves the Russians with few people for the WCF — Anna Pavlova (qualified on beam and vault) is out with torn knee ligaments suffered at the DTB Cup earlier this month; and Ksenia Semenova (qualified on bars and beam) has an elbow injury. Elena Zamolodchikova (qualified on vault and floor) is back — she was at the DTB Cup — but not performing at the highest level.
Enter Yulia Lozhecko.
According to this same article, Lozhecko has experienced “psychological problems” after not being selected for the Olympic team. But things are going better, according to Kiryashov. She has been training again at Round Lake since November 6th and her chances of attending the WCF are “more realistic” now that Grebenkova cannot attend.
The whole thing is a little ironic given that Lozhecko is actually ranked 12th to Grebenkova’s 13th on beam, but so national gymnastics politics goes. I’d be very happy to see Lozhecko at this year’s WCF, and given her 12th-place ranking, she should have no trouble qualifying. (Pavlova, ranked above her, is out. Nistor is retired, Liukin and Johnson will undoubtedly not attend, etc.)
For the record, Semenova is ranked 23rd on beam, with Ksenia Afanasyeva 26th. Other than Zamolodchikova and Pavlova, the Russians have no one in the top thirty on vault. Irina Isayeva is the only Russian other than Semenova who is in the top thirty on bars. Zamolodchikova is ranked 14th on floor, with Ekaterina Kramarenko tied for 29th.
Anna Pavlova underwent surgery last Thursday in Moscow, and reported to her Web site administrator that it went well. However, as hinted early on by the German media (Pavlova herself would not confirm it until she was diagnosed in Moscow), she did tear two ligaments in her knee.
Tearing a cruciate ligament often requires a six-month recovery period, so there is no way Pavlova will be able to compete in the World Cup Finals in Madrid in December, or even at the early events next year (I’m guessing the American Cup would be a stretch).
UPDATE 6:01 p.m.: Unfortunately, Pavlova told All Sport today that she is not confident about a return to gymnastics:
“I hope, of course, that I’ll be able to return to gymnastics, but I don’t have full confidence in that yet.”
Pavlova is still at the hospital, and says she is waiting to see how her body will react to the procedure. She has not discussed a return to training, and says (as I predicted) that it will not be for at least six months.
My montage of Pavlova’s career, which includes the 2.5-twist beam dismount at this year’s DTB Cup, where she injured her knee, is below. I’m still *hoping* I can update it someday.
For those who don’t know, Pavlova has a (new) Web site.
Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) to Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), who is considering “dating” a rich agoraphobe named Gavin Volure (played hilariously by the good ole’ Steve Martin):
“You’re gonna work this thing like a Chinese gymnast: wear something tight, force a smile, and lie about your age ….”
If you don’t watch this show, incidentally, you probably should.
According to this article in Globoesporte, Jade Barbosa is happily training in Rio de Janeiro after leaving what she claims was an abusive atmosphere in Curitiba. She was also recently told by doctors that her wrist has good chances for recovery.
Technically, it is not different from Curitiba, but I am closer to my family and friends, and that makes all the difference.
Sounds like she really has quite the life now, hanging out with the Hypolito siblings, going to the spa, going shopping.
I’m happy to hear it. I really like Barbosa, and I’d be very happy to see her back competing soon.
I haven’t really done justice to the Brazilian scandal, but Triple Full has some great stuff on it. Read it here.
It’s no secret, in the Nastia/Shawn rivalry, Shawn Johnson wins for me every time. International Gymnast has a nice retrospective of all of the team competitions at the Olympics here.
Her toes are always pointed.
Some of my favorites: