The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

A few updates from my favorite national team:

Corina Ungureanu

Remember Corina Ungureanu? She was a member of the Romanian gymnastics team in the 1990s, and was a member of the 1997 and 1999 world champion Romanian teams. She later retired in 1999 due to a spinal cord injury, and then did a number of naked things, including posing in Romanian Playboy (which she did again earlier this year), and doing gymnastics routines topless on a Japanese DVD.

Ungureanu is now 28, and she now lives in England, where she is coaching on the Isle of Man. And, according to this Libertatea article, she is now training bars, beam and floor herself, and recently competed in an internal competition on beam and floor. Remember, she was the 1998 European floor champion.

Check it out:

Awards for Dragoi and Tamirjan

Gabriela Dragoi was named Athlete of the Year for Buzau county, according to this article in Stiri Locale Bucuresti.

Dragoi and Tamirjan

Dragoi and Tamirjan

In other heartwarming Dragoi news, a businessman named Costel Bucur is helping out her family (she has five siblings) by helping to rebuild their house and donating things for Christmas. Very cool. See article here.

Ana Maria Tamirjan was also honored recently by the Prahova Directorate for Sport, which encompasses Ploesti. Tamirjan is second in the competition for best athlete of Prahova county, with first place going to someone who does judo.

Tamirjan said:

2008 was a hard year, in which we had many injuries, which makes this even more satisfying. [In 2009], on a person level, I’d like to come back with medals from Europeans and Worlds. Otherwise, I hope for good health and the ability to work hard.

Tamirjan is recovering from a cracked femur, and consequently has refused to take off more than one day for Christmas!

See Pro Sport article here.

Andreea Acatrinei won the Best Athlete award for Hunedoara, with Ceralesca Patrascu second. Steliana Nistor won for Sibiu.

Sandra Izbasa

And, naturally, what Romanian update would be complete without something about Sandra Izbasa? She is currently in Belgium for an exhibition (see here). She’ll be performing on beam and floor. Dariya Zgoba will supposedly also be there. (In other exhibition news, Chellsie Memmel is in Holland for similar reasons.)

Nadia Comaneci did a new interview with Jurnalul National, complete with ridiculously cute pictures of the DNA-gifted child of theirs.

Honestly, Comaneci bores me these days. Also, like many currently competing gymnasts, she wears too much make-up. The one tidbit I did find interesting: she had Thanksgiving with Geza Poszar (despite the fact that Poszar corroborated Trudi Kollar’s stories of abuse by Bela Karolyi, a dispute that Comaneci clearly wants to stay out of), who knows George Clooney! (Comaneci also mentions that she is still in touch with Bela and Marta.)

Otherwise, the interview is a yawner. They don’t even ask her to comment on the recent Olympics! If I had been doing this interview, I might have started with that, instead of chatting about her friendship with bodybuilder Joe Weider and the 1976 Olympics.

Anyway, what is going on in this picture??? You’ll notice that if you glance at it, it looks like Bart Conner doesn’t have legs.

Whaaaaaaa?

Whaaaaaaa?

Today, Globoesporte published an article about how Oleg Ostapenko is returning to the Ukraine, leaving Irina Ilyashenko in charge of the burgeoning dynasty they created together.

Oleg Ostapenko working with Daiane dos Santos

Oleg Ostapenko working with Daiane dos Santos

In fact, according to this press release, Ostapenko has accepted an offer to be the new junior women’s coach for Russia — this despite the fact that earlier reports had him turning down an offer from the Russian Gymnastics Federation. (Edit: IG has a short story in English.)

This new move has Ostapenko working alongside Alexander Alexandrov, the new Russian women’s head coach, who is himself returning to Russia after fifteen years in the United States.

Everyone was psyched when Ostapenko announced he was returning to the Ukraine. At the time, Igor Korobshinsky, the head men’s coach, said that Ostapenko’s decision was the beginning of the return of all of Ukraine’s best athletes.

This is a huge coup for the Russians. This is a guy who coached Viktoria Karpenko, Natalia Kalinina, Tatiana Lysenko, even Lilia Podkopaeva.

On the other hand, disaster strikes for the Ukraine. The Russians start their training camp on January 8th, and I can’t imagine the Ukrainians would be too far behind. That gives them less than a month to find a replacement for Ostapenko.

In the longer-term, after their disappointing performance at the Olympics, the Ukrainians were really looking to find a new way. I’m hoping it will still happen, because I do love them. But they need a strong coach and, more importantly, a good advocate for better training conditions and equipment. Otherwise, could Ukraine wind up going the way of other Soviet states and satellites, like Belarus and Hungary, that have seen their stock fall dramatically in the past 20 years?

Andreea Acatrinei

Andreea Acatrinei

Olympian Andreea Acatrinei, who trains at Deva of course, was named athlete of the year for the province of Hunedoara. Ceralesca Patrascu, who won the award in 2006, came in second. See the Pro Sport article.

Steliana Nistor won the best athlete award for Sibiu this year. (Article in Pro Sport.)

I don’t remember exactly when it was than I last discussed this shirt of Nastia Liukin’s, but did I mention I dislike it?

Liukin at a Vanilla Star shindig

Liukin at a Vanilla Star shindig

Although she is gorgeous in recently-printed WWD photos, I’ve got to say that her Vanilla Star collection is not to my taste. And apparently Yahoo! doesn’t appreciate it either: she made their OMG! What Were They Thinking? list. I’d like to thank Yahoo! for confirming my judgment of this outfit.

I don’t understand what this shirt is supposed to communicate. Love eating peace? Love eating peace, the bitter taste of which is masked by rose? I don’ t know.

It certainly is in the vein of Shawn Johnson’s peace-obsessed product line for GK, which is literally called “Peace, Love, Shawn Johnson” (see my post here). Ironically, one of Liukin’s t-shirts designed for VS reads “Peace, Love, Us.” We know they’re besties; is this some kind of peace-love conspiracy?

To be clear, I understand that I, a 26-year-old New Yorker, am not exactly the target audience. Still, I reserve the right to comment.

These are some great photos of the Chinese Olympians from a Chinese magazine (I don’t do Chinese, so I can’t translate the text, maybe someone else will be able to?):

We’ve got He Kexin, Li Shanshan, Yang Yilin, and Jiang Yuyuan.

The first day of the World Cup Final is over, and here’s the sitch:

Cheng Fei wins!

Cheng Fei wins!

Vault:

Cheng Fei, unsurprisingly, took vault with a DTY and a laid-out Podkopayeva for a 15.050. Ariella Kaeslin took second with a Rudi and a 1.5 Yurchenko, losing to Fei by less than .05 (she finished with a 14.912), although naturally Fei didn’t pull out her biggest vaults. And Aagje Vanwalleghem took third with a 14.425, just over Elsa Garcia‘s 14.400. It appears that Vanwalleghem and Garcia actually had aBeijing uneven bars finals moment: they had the same A-scores and B-scores, but Vanwalleghem won.

Elena Zamolodchikova performed a DTY and a Yurchenko half-on 1.5-off but sat both down to finish sixth. (The second was also devalued to piked.) Apparently, though, she’s in shape, which I believe means better than she was at DTB.

Hiu Ying Angel Wong finished last with a full-twisting Tsukahara and a handspring front tuck, which she fell on. On the other hand, it was the first time a Hong Kong gymnast had made the WCF. Jana Komrskova also had an off day, after giving up her spot in Beijing to younger gymnasts, with a Yurchenko half on tucked one-half off and a Yurchenko full. IG seemed to suggest that she was not at her top level, despite being in shape.

Honestly, we all knew the vault final wouldn’t be very interesting, and that Cheng would win. The next highest-ranked person was Zamolodchikova, who didn’t seem to be in top form at DTB. Despite being ranked above Kaeslin, Komrskova has been out of competition for quite a while, so it was hard to imagine her being in top competition form. Apparently Garcia got the most applause of everyone — I know a lot of people were excited to see Mexico’s best gymnast ever back in competition! I certainly was. Too bad she missed the medals. I’m happy to see Vanwalleghem come away with the bronze, especially after turning down the International Challenge in Belgium that was also taking place this weekend. This is Belgium’s first WCF medal.

What vaults did we see? Obviously Cheng wasn’t going to perform her hardest stuff in this field. She did a DTY and a laid-out Yurchenko half-on 1.5 off, which gave her actually only the second-highest combined A-score (5.8+5.6=11.4), after Kaeslin. Kaeslin performed a Rudi and a 1.5-twisting Yurchenko, for an A-score of 11.8. The only other person besides Cheng to perform a DTY was Zamolodchikova, who complemented it with a Yurchenko half-on 1.5-off (recorded as piked), for a combined A-score of 11. Unfortunately she was not able to exploit that A-score with a high enough B-score, landing on her knees on both. Garcia, Boczogo and Vanwalleghem also all performed 1.5-twisting Yurchenkos. Garcia and Vanwalleghem then both performed a piked Yurchenko half-on 1.5-off to Boczogo’s handspring front one-half piked, giving them a .2 advantage over Boczogo. (Boczogo also fell on her 1.5 Yurchenko.) Komrskova and Wong had the lowest A-scores: Komrskova did a tucked Yurchenko half-on 1.5-off for a 10.0 A-score; and Wong did a full-twisting Tsukahara and a handspring front tuck, which honestly is a junior vault (A-score is 4.4) for a total of 8.6 A-score.

We actually saw more diversity in vaults than we would see in the average vault competition, but vault still remains the most boring event. The only competitive vaults performed were: DTY, Rudi, 1.5 Yurchenko and Cheng’s laid-out Yurchenko one-half on 1.5-off. Everything else we wouldn’t usually see from the creme de la creme of vaulters. If there’s any apparatus on which I’d like to see a burst of originality, it’s vault.

The Chinese could have swept on bars, but Yang Yillin scratched at the last minute

The Chinese could have swept on bars, but Yang Yillin scratched at the last minute

Uneven bars:

Honestly, the biggest surprise on bars was Yang Yilin’s scratch — with a “waist” (lower back) injury, according to Lu Shanzhen, which sounds like a pulled muscle. Apparently it is not serious. I certainly hope not! The title went to He Kexin with a 16.250, unsurprisingly, followed by Jiang Yuyuan, over .5 behind (15.700). Bronze went to Koko Tsurumi, who has really just amazed me recently. She was nearly .5 behind Jiang, but far ahead of Dariya Zgoba, who took fourth.

Apparently He’s routine was a little shaky. She had trouble on the 1/1 on the low bar, which has actually given her trouble in the past, but did her Jaeger combo, etc. — she competed full difficulty, with a 7.7 A-score. Interestingly, she received B-scores in the 7.5 to 9 range, which is pretty huge. Not sure what happened there. The top three had by far the highest A-scores, which I think tends to be the case on uneven bars more than on any other apparatus. Jiang was also in the 7’s (7.1) and Tsurumi had a 6.8.

Ouch (Koval)

Ouch (Koval)

The next highest score was Zgoba with a 6.2, then Anastasia Koval and Jana Sikulova with 6.0s. Koval finished a disappointing seventh after landing her head on the bar on a Stadler toe-on piked Tkatchev. Yikes. Zgoba also had a mistake, on her Pak to Stadler, on which she went the wrong direction. She actually had the same problem (on a different skill) on one of her routines at Beijing. Sikulova’s routine hasn’t changed much recently; I find it pretty boring, if technically correct. She finished fifth.

The disappointment of the day was probably for Daniele Hypolito, who honestly isn’t very strong on bars anyway. She finished with an 11.875 — ouch. She fell on two different elements — transition to high bar, when her feet slipped; and a Stadler. Apparently her score was also lowered by three tenths for some kind of neutral deduction, but I’m not sure what it was.

I think overall that bars always promised to be more interesting than vault. The three Chinese competitors (which went down to two went Yang scratched), were actually not ranked at the top of the list because they are relatively new competitors. We knew He was going to win, and that it was all but certain that Jiang would place. He could have had a fall and that still would not have made up the difference in A-score between her and Tsurumi. Anyway, there were two Ukrainians in the final. We know they have a beautiful bars heritage — and both are quite lovely on bars — but they are inconsistent and have fairly humdrum routines. It was great to see Sikulova — kind of like it was great to see Komrskova and Boczogo — but I didn’t really expect a medal for her.

As for originality, I was surprised when I made my bars Top 8 list to discover that bars have ultimately been pretty boring recently. Take a look at the dismounts we saw today: three double fronts, three double layouts. He did the only unique (by which I mean, not done by anyone else at this meet) dismount, a Tsukahara.

The FIG:

Yesterday when I read that the FIG was doing a “live broadcast,” I took them at their word, but in fact I was slightly unconvinced because there was no information about where you might see it. I wish the FIG would hire a publicity person for the Web site whose first language is English. (“Broadcast” is not the same as “commentary,” among other things) Seriously.

I don’t hate the FIG nearly as much as other people, but honestly IG‘s coverage was far superior to FIG’s. The FIG’s commentary was barely live — it was consistently far behind what IG was posting, and far less complete. (And, incidentally, the IG coverage was also done by a non-native English speaker.)

Also, do you think the photo galleries have been updated? The answer is no.

Here's hoping Sandra Izbasa (seen here Friday during podium training) takes gold on floor

Here's hoping Sandra Izbasa (seen here Friday during podium training) takes gold on floor

Tomorrow:

Tomorrow we see beam and floor finals. We’ll finally get to see Sandra Izbasa, and Cheng will be competing for two more golds, both of which are entirely within her reach. It will be exciting to see Li Shanshan on beam, especially after all the rumors flying around about her weight gain and return to her provincial team. Meanwhile, Hypolito and Zamolodchikova both have a shot at redemption (Hypolito on both events, Zamolodchikova on floor). But honestly I don’t think Hypolito’s beam will medal, and while she is powerful on floor, I really dislike the sloppiness (also true of Daiane dos Santos and sometimes Lais Souza — it’s a problem). I don’t imagine Zamolodchikova will pull it off, but it would certainly be exciting. On beam we’ll also see Lauren Mitchell, who is lovely on that event, as well as Sanne Wevers who is just so clean. And finally, perhaps the part I’m looking forward to the most: Jiang’s floor.

See you then!

Vault:

1. Cheng Fei (15.050)
2. Ariella Kaeslin (14.912)
3. Aagje Vanwalleghem (14.425)
4. Elsa Garcia (14.400)
5. Dorina Boczogo (13.787)
6. Elena Zamolodchikova (13.475)
7. Jana Komrskova (13.262)
8. Hiu Ying Angel Wong (12.712)

Uneven bars:

1. He Kexin (16.250)
2. Jiang Yuyuan (15.700)
3. Koko Tsurumi (15.250)
4. Dariya Zgoba (14.500)
5. Jana Sikulova (14.300)
6. Anastasia Koval (13.625)
7. Daniele Hypolito (11.875)