Posts Tagged ‘2008 World Cup Final’
Posted December 18, 2008on:
Nicolae Forminte did an interview with Replica.
In the interview, Forminte talks about the Romanians’ performance in Beijing and their hopes for 2009, and also has some very kind words for Steliana Nistor.
Of the Romanians’ performance in Beijing, Forminte says that Nistor and Ana Maria Tamirjan didn’t really finalize their routines until Beijing, where they did a lot of last-minute training. Moreover, Gabriela Dragoi was suffering from leg pain. This left Forminte with only one team member fully able to contribute: Sandra Izbasa. No wonder she was the only one to win gold.
On the other hand, Forminte is not disappointed in his team’s performance:
I believed in myself and in my colleagues, and I managed to fulfill our objectives. I was tremendously happy that the team remained on the Olympic podium.
Forminte also says that he didn’t really publicize news of Nistor’s back problems before the 2008 Olympics (among other things) because he didn’t want to use it as an excuse for the Romanians’ performance.
You’ll recall that when she first retired, Forminte tried to convince Nistor not to, but he now says that he wasn’t sure she could continue, concluding that, “For me, the gymnastics chapter of Steliana’s life has ended, but we remain in contact.”
Because of her injury, Nistor was not able to train at the level of intensity that was necessary to achieve Forminte’s biggest goal for her: to win gold in the all-around. This is disappointing to Forminte especially because, he says, “She was more talented than the American [Nastia] Liukin.”
(That’s a difficult argument to make! But I’ll let people fight it out amongst themselves. Suffice it to say, Liukin does seem to have a lot more medals. … Then again, natural talent and hard work are too different things. Then again, Liukin’s entire DNA is a veritable vault of talent. Aaanyway.)
With Nistor gone, there is certainly an aura of stress surrounding Forminte. He talks about the difficulties the Romanians faced in the last quadrennium, saying that it did not go unnoticed by foreign coaches and others that he kept showing up to competitions with new gymnasts. He says that he has been anxious and unable to rest.
As for the looking to the past and hoping for the future, Forminte attributes the Romanian decline to two things: the Code of Points and the current Romanian system for training children and junior athletes. You’ll recall that Forminte said after the Olympics that under the old CoP, the Romanians would have won: they had the cleanest exercises. But, he acknowledges, it’s important to change with the times and address these issues, even citing a desire to improve on bars. (Thank god.)
For 2009, Forminte is looking at Izbasa, Tamirjan, Dargoi. He hopes to see Dragoi and Andreea Acatrinei back, but both are currently injured. He also mentions Diana Chelaru. Otherwise, he says, he has not yet found a junior with the talent to replace Nistor. (I assume Larisa Iordache doesn’t count because of her age.)
It’s going to be tough for the Romanians. Lots of problems on bars among juniors (more on Romanian juniors here); I hope Forminte’s serious when he says he wants to work on that.
I respect Forminte. As Al Trautwig always used to say about Octavian Belu, the man lives in a one-room house adjacent to the gym compound. It’s a tough life. Also, if Izbasa is any reflection on him, he’s a good coach, I think. She’s been dealing with this ridiculous schedule really well, and dealt with her World Cup Final disappointment exceedingly gracefully. Anyway, as you can tell, I’m glad she’s still around. I really liked Nistor, but Izbasa’s my favorite current Romanian senior. (We’ll have to wait until 2012 (!) to see if Iordache can grab that spot.)
So at the World Cup Final, during beam, Cheng Fei and Lauren Mitchell had a brief attempt at conversation that was serendipitously captured by the live feed. Everyone’s talking about it.
The transcript goes something like this:
Cheng: Hey! Very good.
Mitchell: Oh! Thank you!
[they look around awkwardly]
Mitchell: [pointing toward the vault] Your vault, yesterday?
Cheng: Uhhh …
Mitchell: Your vault? [makes international hand gesture for vault] Yesterday. Was good. [gives thumbs up]
Cheng: Ah! [laughs]
Cheng: [all of a sudden, pointing to floor] You do floor?
Cheng: [shrugs, goes back to winding up her tape]
Mitchell: Good luck for floor.
Posted December 14, 2008on:
Day 2. Let’s do it. Big surprises on beam, with Lauren Mitchell taking gold. Fei made it two golds on floor after major problems on beam. I managed to get a bit of live-ness from Brazilian TV station BAND, so I saw from Zamolodchikova on on floor: scroll down for my thoughts.
In a bit of an upset, Mitchell took the gold on beam in the World Cup Final while the two highest-ranked competitors, Cheng Fei and Sandra Izbasa placed out of the medals.
Actually, the whole podium is somewhat of a surprise: Yulia Lozhechko was second, and Li Shanshan placed third. Sanne Wevers unfortunately scratched at the last minute with an elbow injury.
Fei, who I totally expected to win, fell off the beam on her sheep jump and put her hands down on her front tuck to finish with a 13.825, placing her sixth. Overall, a wobbly routine, rated “not her best effort” by the live commentators at IG. Isbaza was a different story. Her routine was fine but watered down, with a 5.9 start value (including a 2/1 twist dismount) in a field of 6’s; she finished with a 14.925, which actually placed her fourth. Not bad considering she had the second-lowest start value of any gymnast.
The lowest start value award goes to Dariya Zgoba, who has been dealing with a foot injury — **she apparently had surgery but is still recovering — and started at only a 5.4. To give you a sense, her dismount was a round-off-layout. Sad. On the other hand, despite this, she finished above Cheng — the two falls did her in — and Daniele Hypolito, who also finished poorly in the vault finals. Hypolito had a fall on her mount (a round-off layout). Without this, she would have finished ahead of Cheng and Zgoba. Too bad.
Mitchell had the highest start value (6.6), and a seemingly nice routine, but with a few wobbles. Lozhechko actually had the second highest (6.4), a tenth above Li, which made the difference — their scores were only .5 apart. She apparently almost fell on her standing Arabian, and somehow managed to cowboy a back double tuck, but the rest of her routine appears to have been consistent. Li did her flic-flic-layout-Korbut series and a double pike dismount.
I’m totally distraught that Wevers wasn’t in this final. I really wanted to see her leg-up double turn. It is amazing. Would have been named after her too. On the turn front, though, at least we got Zgoba’s full turn with leg at head, which is awesome. By the way, since I’m using this as an opportunity to consider the level of originality on the apparatus, let’s consider mounts, shall we? Hypolito fell on her round-off-layout, Zgoba did her great planche, and everyone else did a hop up. It’s tragic. While we’re at it, dismounts were 2/1 (Cheng and Izbasa), double backs (Hypolito and Lozheckho) and double pike (Mitchell and Li). Interesting statistics: 7/7 did a switch jump (6/7 did it in combination); 6/7 did a switch leap; 5/7 did a front tuck (Mitchell did hers standing). Only one (Lozheckho), thankfully, did an aerial to scale. Also thankfully, only two did side somis: Lozhechko and Izbasa. Lozheckho was also the only one to do an Arabian. Naturally, there was an epidemic of full turns with leg at horizontal, although Zgoba does her awesome turn with leg at head, and Mitchell did hers with leg in lunge.
Redeeming herself after beam, Fei took first on floor with an excellent, precise routine (15.375), ahead of Jiang Yuyuan (15.225) and Sandra Izbasa (15.000). Fei and Jiang had the best routines of the night: Fei’s was precise and clean, Jiang’s was happy and bouncy, as usual. Izbasa looked tired.
Tragically, Suzanne Harmes injured herself during her routine, twisting her ankle (gruesomely) on a front handspring. She wound up having to end her routine early, and somehow still wound up with a 12.650. Overall, alot of falls on floor. Besides Harmes, Koko Tsurumi fell on her double pike dismount and Elsa Garcia fell on her tucked full-in.
I actually finally scored a live feed of this final after some trouble with the plug-in. From Zamolodchikova on, I actually saw it with my own eyes. Nice.
Zamolodchikova looked good — and happy! She landed low on her double pike dismount, and stuck her 3/1 (despite crossed legs, which I hate). I had the same reaction to Hypolito: relief. Her routine was very good, she had good presentation and seemed into it, and she stuck her dismount (double pike — what else?).
First thought on Garcia was: I miss her old routine. She has quieter music now; I thought the old music suited her better. She fell to her hands on her full-in, but her mount of an Arabian double-front was good. After what seemed like a really low score for Garcia, the judges were on the phone for a while. At this point, the Brazilian commentators started going on and on about how Hypolito was in third place, as if they were unaware of the reputations of Izbasa, Cheng and Jiang on floor.
Anyway. Izbasa takes the floor. Sadly, she looks really tired. Still a good routine though. Her triple turn was only OK, and she underrotated her 3/1 dismount, but everything else was fine: 15.000. She just didn’t seem to want it as much as …
Fei is precise today. Very nice two first passes: piked full-in, whip-to-triple. You can tell from the first seconds that she is going to take this. And she does: 15.375.
Jiang was great. The presentation was somewhere between the level of TF and AA at the Olympics. Very very nice. Besides landing a bit short on a 5/2 and on a 3/2-3/1, her tumbling was very good. Great ending to the women’s competition. How can you not love her? And she takes silver! 15.225.
Other floor things:
Naomi Ruiz competed as the nominee from the host country, with what IG described as a routine with “no expression,” but she still managed to place fifth (13.900). Zamolodchikova’s 14.075 placed her fourth, nearly a point out of the medals, but ahead of everyone else. That is to say, eveyone else struggled: pretty significantly. Of course, Harmes finished last after ending her routine early. Tsurumi had a disappointing day, falling, as I mentioned, on her double pike dismount. Fortunately she still has that shiny bronze from the bars final.
Best presentation was by Jiang, Cheng and Garcia, at least of the ones I saw. Zamolodchikova looked better than she has. I was disappointed by Izbasa. Hypolito was good, but not great.
Cheng had the highest start-value (6.3), followed by Izbasa and Jiang (6.2). Garcia had the next-highest, 6.1, but still finished 8th after some sloppiness and the fall (which also went out-of-bounds). Everyone else had a 5.7/5.8.
Naturally, we saw a lot of double pikes: seven of them, to be precise, and Harmes didn’t finish her routine, so that could have made it eight. Of these, all were dismounts except Garcia’s. We saw two 5/2-punch front layouts, one of my favorite combination passes (if the layout doesn’t look like the gymnast is about to fall backwards). Lots of full-ins (six of them, to be exact, two of which were piked). Besides Cheng, everyone who did a 3/1, in combination or not, was short. This is a perpetual problem on this skill. Perhaps the best skill of the day was Jiang’s quadruple turn. I liked it.
The IG commentary is here.
1. Lauren Mitchell (15.250)
2. Yulia Lozheckho (15.200)
3. Li Shanshan (15.150)
4. Sandra Izbasa (14.925)
5. Dariya Zgoba (14.000)
6. Cheng Fei (13.825)
7. Daniele Hypolito (13.425)
1. Cheng Fei (15.375)
2. Jiang Yuyuan (15.225)
3. Sandra Izbasa (15.000)
4. Elena Zamolodchikova (14.075)
5. Naomi Ruiz (13.900)
6. Daniele Hypolito (13.700)
7. Koko Tsurumi (13.575)
8. Elsa Garcia (13.175)
9. Suzanne Harmes (12.650)
I’ve gotten a few questions about where to watch the WCF. So far, the best answer is on-demand from NBC Universal Sports. That means it’s not real-time, but I would assume they’d get it up there fast.
- The FIG announced today (December 12) that it would broadcast the WCF LIVE on its microsite for the event
- WCF on NBC Universal Sports will have on-demand coverage, which means not live, but more practical
- Rumor has it that Band (Brazil) will be streaming the event, but I can’t find it on their programming grid
- Teledeporte will be airing the first day of the WCF on Monday, though oddly, I can’t figure out if they’ll be airing the second day or if the broadcast will be available online
As has been recently noted on a few message boards, the USAG Junior Olympic Committee recently revised the 2009-2013 Junior Olympic Code of Points (see preview of changes here) to reflect the fact that the FIG has recently changed the dance passage requirement on floor in the new CoP from 3 back to 2.
Which leads us to the obvious question: why is the FIG still making changes to the 2009 CoP when 2009 is exactly 22 days away?
Now, given the posting by USAG, it seems that the FIG has in fact made this change, although that is not reflected in the most recent edition of the 2009 CoP available for download from the FIG Web site. (That link may or may not work. It’s temperamental.)
But the real question floating around message boards is whether the FIG has decided to scrap the new eight-element requirement on bars, beam and floor to return to the 10-element requirement of the previous quad. A lot of gymnastics fans heralded this as an attempt by the FIG to reemphasize good choreography and dance. But rumor has it that because MAG didn’t want to change from 10 to 8, the FIG may have decided to keep WAG at 10 for consistency’s sake.
The first passage at hand concerns an A-panel (now D-panel) requirement on floor exercise. In the previous CoP, a dance passage was required that featured “at least two different elements one of them with 180° cross split position. The leaps or hops had to be connected directly or indirectly, without jumps or turns because these are considered stationary. The other requirement was that the first leap or hop had to land on one foot.
In the most recent CoP, the dance passage requirement is worded the same but requires “a dance passage of at least 3 different elements …” (emphasis mine). Now, both the first and second elements must land on one foot. The only other difference is that there is now .5 points specifically awarded for this element as part of the “Composition Requirements” (formerly “Element Group Requirements.”
However, if the J.O. CoP is to be trusted (note that the wording is very similar to the FIG wording), the FIG has reverted to “A dance passage of at least two (2) different leaps or hops.”
Both this and the 8 element requirement were theoretically attempts to incentivize an emphasis on good dance. Is the FIG reneging on its word?
The truth is, I care much less about that than I do about the fact that there is no official CoP despite the fact that January is just around the corner! I know running a World Cup Final is hard and all, or whatever, but come on. I assume coaches and federations have better updates than the rest of us, and it goes without saying that brevet judges definitely do, but still. But inquiring minds want to know!