The C Score (2.0)

Posts Tagged ‘Jade Barbosa

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.)

Oksana Chusovitina

Oksana Chusovitina

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!

Youna Dufournet

Youna Dufournet

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.

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Sanne Wevers has confirmed her participation in the World Cup Finals, according to her club (Bosan TON) Web site.

wevers2

Wevers, ranked 22nd, moved up to the last qualifying slot after Alina Kozich pulled out of floor and beam finals with a rolled ankle. Kozich, by the way, is just out of competition for maybe a week, although unfortunately that week coincides with the WCF!

This leaves only a few spots remaining. Kim Bui is still unconfirmed for vault, but she was at the Glasgow Grand Prix on that event, so I’m assuming she’s competition-ready. Daniele Hypolito and Koko Tsurumi are unconfirmed on bars and floor, respecitvely, but both are participating on other events. Moreover, this Globoesporte article seems to suggest that Hypolito will be participating on bars.

This leaves only one spot on floor. It looks like it will go to Elsa Garcia, ranked 26th, if Cassy Véricel ever gets around to declining. Before it gets to Garcia, it has to be offered to Pang Panpan and Jade Barbosa. Physically speaking, it would be nearly impossible for Pang to even make it to Madrid by this weekend, and it’s not clear what her physical condition is anyway. And, as we know, Barbosa is out with injury. Moreover, Garcia is already qualified on vault and has accepted, so she’ll be in Madrid anyway.

Amidst the turmoil of a major gymnastics coaching scandal, the Brazilian Gymnastics Federation has made a largely lateral move in electing Maria Luciene Resende as its new president. Resende replaces Vicelia Florenzano, who has been president of the CBG for 17 years. The news is announced here by Globoesporte

Vicelia Florenzano, right, with Simona Amanar and Yelena Davydova, at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, where she received the International Order of Merit in 2007

Vicelia Florenzano, right, with Simona Amanar and Yelena Davydova, at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, where she received the International Order of Merit in 2007

Resende was previously the president of the Sergipe Gymnastics Federation and has served as Florezano’s second-in-command as vice-president of the CBG since 2006. To be fair, the other choice, Marco Martins, is the current president of the Brasilia Gymnastics Federation (of the capital city of Brasilia, not to be confused with the CBG) and was vice-president of the CBG until Resende took over, so neither choice would have been radical.

Resende won by 13 votes to 5. This might not be surprising given that Martins was the previous vice-president of the CBG, leaving in 2006 due to differences of opinion, presumably at least partly with Florenzano.

Naturally, the main goal for Resende will be to “clean up” the image of the CBG following Jade Barbosa’s accusations that she had been submitted to an overly difficult training regimen (amongst other things), an accusation that was backed up by Daiane dos Santos and Lais Souza. Barbosa has since moved from Curitiba, site of the national training center, to train with Daniele Hypolito, amongst others, in Rio de Janeiro.

Resende has said that dialog is the best soution to the problem. On the other hand, Resende is up for leaving Irina Ilyashenko, Oleg Ostapenko’s former assistant coach, in charge of the national team. (Ostapenko returned last month to the Ukraine after declining an offer from Russia.) She also was less eager than Martins to devolve power to the regional clubs. Like Martins, she has also been quite praising of Florenzano, which would have made sense earlier — given that it was under Florenzano’s leadership that Brazil took its current place on the gymnastics map — but seems somewhat discouraging given recent events. Usually one tries to distance oneself from incumbents that have presided over scandal. Then again, if gymnastics politics can be described as anything, it would be as a patronage system.

If you want to compare the views of the two candidates, you can do so here, from UOL Esporte. Martins has been much more detailed in his proposals, with Resende’s limited to finding new talent, choosing good gymnasts, and having good coaches and referees (um, duh?).

Either way, it seems we’ll have to wait to see what changes Resende will bring, since she was even less forthcoming than Martins about how she would like to restructure the CBG and the training program.

For those who are still sketchy on the details of the Brazilian coaching scandal, it goes like this: Barbosa accused her coaches of overtraining her in preparation for the Olympics. These allegations were substantiated by dos Santos and Souza. Meanwhile, Ostapenko took off for Ukraine, leading somewhat of a leadership void — at least in the gym — anyway. Then Barbosa moved to Rio de Janeiro. Barbosa, dos Santos and Souza are are all injured. The only one who seems to have escaped both scandal and injury is Hypolito, who will compete at the World Cup Final next week. For the full drama, see And Now a Brazilian Scandal and The Brazilian Scandal: Part II on Triple Full.

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.

Some thoughts:

Vault:

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.

Uneven bars:

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.

Beam:

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.

Floor:

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.

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.

She says:

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.

Daniele Hypolito and Jade Barbosa

Daniele Hypolito and Jade Barbosa

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.

Jade Barbosa and Daiane dos Santos, two of the gymnasts involved in the developing Brazilian gymnastics scandal, will not be competing in the World Cup Final in Madrid this December, according to the Brazilian news media (see here, e.g.).

Jade Barbosa and Daiane dos Santos

Jade Barbosa and Daiane dos Santos

Following the new rankings, Barbosa is currently ranked sixth on vault and dos Santos is ranked third on floor. But because of injury, neither will compete. Dos Santos won gold in 2004 and 2006 on floor, but will not be able to defend her title. Daniele Hypolito, currently ranked 12th on floor and 15th on bars, will only be able to defend her 2006 silver on bars if enough higher-ranked gymnasts choose not to compete.

In an effort to sum up the quad for myself before the next one really gears up, I’m going to do some Top 8 lists about this quad. Below, a list of my favorite floor routines from this quad.

Perhaps on floor more than on any other apparatus, gymnastics fans have wildly different opinions about what constitutes a “good” floor routine. So in an effort at transparency, here are my criteria, presented in more or less the order of importance:

  • Big, powerful tumbling
  • Precision and good form on tumbling and dance elements
  • Personality
  • Choreography that complements appropriate and engaging music
  • Control on tumbling and dance elements
  • Lightness, neither tumbling nor choreography appear labored
  • Constant movement/no unnecessarily lengthy pauses
  • And occasionally, some dramatic back story

Two other caveats:

  • Gymnasts can only appear once on the list
  • The quad (obviously) begins January 2005 and ends December 2008
  • I reserve the right to modify the list and/or add a ninth routine betwee now and December!

II’ll admit immediately that my evaluation of FX routines is subjective. Judging the start value of the routine is a far less interesting debate, obviously. And I’m not using the CoP to make these judgments. I don’t have a huge preference for artistry over other things, and I don’t think that a routine needs to be balletic to be aesthetically pleasing. Some of my favorite routines have music that is not conducive to classical ballet movement, and that’s fine by me. This does not mean that I discount dance, and especially does not mean that I discount dance elements, specifically turns and jumps/leaps/hops. There are some extremely balletic floor routines that I enjoy, but I don’t necessarily prefer them, particularly if the tumbling is mediocre.

So here they are:

9. Ekaterina Kramarenko, 2007 World Championships team final (Stuttgart, GER):

Especially given the vault disaster (in which Kramarenko touched the horse on a false start in her run-up and scored a 0.0000 for the Russian team), I was delighted that Kramarenko competed a great floor routine in these team finals.  In addition to being extremely precise on her tumbling passes here, Kramarenko also has good dance, and — this clinched it — <em>smiles</em>.  I also like her music choice, also Monette Russo’s floor music in 2005.  Nice Tsukahara as the opening pass.  Not the highest difficulty.  A-score: 5.7.  Score: 14.375.

7. Steliana Nistor, 2007 World Championship all-around final (Stuttgart, GER):

Plenty of people will disagree with me on this one, but I generally enjoy Nistor’s floor, and I really loved this routine.  First, the music — “Stairway to Heaven”?!  That is awesome.  Then, there’s the awesome first two passes: her double layout is one of my favorites, and she sticks it cold; then she does a great Tsukahara.  Overall, clean routine.  This routine was also performed last in the AA competition when Nistor needed a 16.225 to beat Shawn Johnson.  She obviously didn’t get that, but she did score high enough to nab the silver over Jade Barbosa.  A-score: 6.0.  Score: 14.975.

5.  Anna Pavlova, 2008 Europeans event final (Clermont-Ferrand, FRA):

As they say, Pavlova is the closest on the Russian team to doing traditional Russian floor, a combination of great dance and tumbling.  Of any competitor, I think she is the one who best combines elegance and precision in both tumbling and dance.  Her main problem is that her difficulty is a little low; otherwise, she would be pretty hard to beat.  In this routine, she nails her mount, a double layout, and comes back with a beautiful whip-to-triple twist.  A-score: 5.9.  Score: 14.875.  Fifth.

5. Cheng Fei, 2006 World Championships event finals (Aarhus, DEN):

Cheng is everything you want on floor: strong tumbling, great dance.  I don’t absolutely love her choreography, but I do enjoy it, and she has everything else.  In this immensely clean routine, she opens with a double double and ends with a piked Tsukahara.  In between, she does a great whip-to-triple twist that is far better than most under-rotated triples we’ve been seeing.  A-score: 6.4  Score: 15.875.  First place.

4. Jiang Yuyuan, 2008 Olympics team final (Beijing, CHN):

One of the most memorable moments of the team final was the absolutely delightful performance by Jiang on floor, when the outcome had pretty much already been decided and the Chinese girls used their floor routines as a sort of victory celebration.  Awesome triple-twist mount followed by a Tsukahara.  Cute choreography with clear Chinese influence (without being too cutesy) and great personality shining through.  And despite the cute, still very elegant.  Seriously, I haven’t seen a gymnast have this much fun on floor in a long time.  A-score: 6.3 (?).  Score: 15.200.

3. Jade Barbosa, 2008 World Cup (Cottbus, GER):

This routine was just the most precise thing ever, which is often (though not always) true of Barbosa’s floor.  I actually think the music suits Barbosa and her tumbling very well.  Precise, clean landings on every pass, including the double-layout mount and piked Tsukahara.  Even considering the amount of double pikes we’ve seen this quad, I think she lands them better than almost anyone.  Almost no form breaks.  And I think the whole choreography, music, tumbling combination has a quite intensity that suits her perfectly.  A-score: 6.0.  Score: 14.625.  Second.

2. Shawn Johnson, 2007 Worlds all-around (Stuttgart, GER):

Plenty of people will disagree on this one as well, but I absolutely loved Johnson’s 2007 routine.   I thought the music and choreography suited her personality and her gymnastics style perfectly.  (I’m among those who don’t understand the 2008 routine.)  Honestly, I think I enjoyed this routine almost every time it was performed, but during the all-around final at Worlds, she was really relaxed and enjoying herself.  She was also more precise on this routine than she was during event finals.  What can I say?  Double double, Tsukahara, good twisting (not always true, sometimes she gets a little knee bendy).  Love it.  A-score: 6.2.  Score: 15.425.  First in all-around, highest FX score.  Also took first in floor EF.

1. Sandra Izbasa, 2008 Olympics event final (Beijing, CHN)

Of course, she’s the Olympic champion on floor, so it’s not shocking that I absolutely adore this floor routine by Izbasa. The music choice is excellent, and I love the choreography. And check out the difficulty: piked Tsukahara, Tsukahara, two-and-a-half twist to full twist, one-and-a-half to one-and-a-half twist, triple twist. Unbelievable. Gorgeous dance, great style, and she looks really into it every time. I had to watch all of her routines a million times to finally settle on her gold-medal winning routine at the Olympics. She stuck her piked Tsukahara and all of her twists cold, it’s unbelievable. A-score: 6.5. Score: 15.650. First.

Here is her (also gold medal-winning) floor in the 2008 European Championships event finals. (I had a hard time deciding between these two anyway!) Score: 15.775.