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From the Stands: Men's All-Around Final
(12 votes, average 4.67 out of 5)

1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu and her husband, former-gymnast-turned-surgeon Michael Canales, blog on the hits and misses of the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships, taking place this week in London.


Canales and Moceanu at the O2

We are able to recharge our batteries as the competition begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Yet another sun-drenched day in London.

Four apparatus will be going at once.

We've undergone a significant growth in the audience since medals will be handed out tonight. As a result it's taking the spectators a bit of time to get warmed up. Many newbies have not yet gotten into the groove.

No Jeffrey Wammes (NED) despite qualifying for today's meet.

The all-around final seems a bit unclothed without a Chinese or Romanian all-arounder.

Two medals have already been awarded in the unofficial hairstyle competition: Daniel Keatings (GBR) gets the silver for his short choppy emo hairdo, and the gold goes to Kohei Uchimura (JPN) for his weeping willow with plenty of volume. How does Uchimura get his locks to reside just right atop his head? Does he have more hairs per follicle than the rest of us? Stellar. Classic hairstyle with a dash of modern... just like his gymnastics.

Let the competition begin.

Kazuhito Tanaka (JPN): So right, so light, so tight on PH, but collapses on a one-pommel back moore.

Sergio Munoz (ESP): Easy Kasamatsu 1.5 landed so high with such control. We're used to flinching on these landings (even from the best vaulters).

Marcel Nguyen (GER): Such a quick and dynamic handspring double front VT. It appears that he could put a 1/2 twist on it, BUT perhaps more artistically, he could with no trouble to put his knees together.

Benoit Caranobe (FRA): Hits his signature piked-Tsukahara double back. We want to know the story behind the tape job on his leg. It looks like a cast. He must be in anguish to have that much tape on a single extremity.

Jonathan Horton (USA): A poor landing on his opening tumbling run is sure to test his resolve throughout the day.

Daniel Keatings (GBR): A warm handshake to Horton as he walks up the stairs of the podium. The crowd is alert. RO full-in mount or was it an Arabian double front with a half twist? Keatings flirts with the corners and steps across the lines a couple of times. Nevertheless a good start for Great Britain's big hope for an all-around medal.

Kristian Thomas (GBR): The Union Jack uniform top is patriotic and fashionable. Solid start for him on PH. The British crowd is beginning to sense something great is going to happen tonight. Television doesn't do him justice. This British beefcake as sizeable athlete standing head and shoulders above all of his competitors.

Timothy McNeill (USA): Clean FX. Very little to deduct. His coach Barry Weiner is energized. A hit routine is not a surprise for McNeill. Hard to believe he's had knee surgery in the past.

Sergio Sasaki Junior (BRA): Clean Kasamatsu full twist. We remember when it wasn't so customary to see this vault.

Yuri Ryazanov (RUS): Impressive upper body proportions. Is it possible that his arms have inflated more since Tuesday? Much improved PH routine. Good start for the Russian.

Roman Gisi (SUI): Confident opening out of piked double front on R.

Kohei Uchimura (JPN): Tranquilly awaits his first routine of the day in his Team Japan trenchcoat and black sandals. Remarkable floor routine. Straight arms on his triple twist dismount as he opens out of it! Elegant! Elegant! Elegant! He devotes equal attention to his arm/hand form that he does to his leg/foot form.

Maxim Devyatovsky (RUS): Astonishing cover on his major combination pass: back 1.5 to rudi to an intended punch 1 1/4 to a prone position. Made a mid-salto calculation (like a true competitive veteran) and bounded out of a low front tuck into a prone position with only a handful of people (and judges) noticing the change in plans. Well done. Did not even look like a "cover up."

Devyatovsky's coach is sporting the IWA gymnastics shoes with his warm-up suit. We love that look on the coaches, we just don't like gym shoes on the men on events other than FX and VT. Again, just our two pence.

Campos M. Almeida (POR): Lofty Yamawaki's on R with slack on the straps as well as a Guczoghy stretched! Recharged to see swing return to this event. Now if only the FIG would allow for the cables to cross again!

Alexander Shatilov (ISR): Sleek look on PH capping off his routine with a Russian wendeswing dismount well above the height of the horse and handles.

Enrico Pozzo (ITA): Pleasantly surprised to see this athlete is not simply "another Italian ringman." Pozzo is actually a well-rounded gymnast. Don't get us wrong, but the long line of great Italian ringmen like Jury Chechi (who in actuality was a tremendous all-arounder in the early 1990s), Matteo Morandi, and Andrea Coppolino have a caused a knee-jerk response of thinking male Italian all-arounders are simply ringmen who do five other events. Pozzo was actually weak on rings and in a peculiar way, we are delighted about it.

While Jordan Jovtchev (BUL) is the first gymnast we noticed to unashamedly look at the floor scoreboard mid-routine, it's become a rather popular trend giving the oxygen-sucking routines we see in 2009. Despite the arena being named O2, it doesn't appear to be posing an advantage to the gymnasts as they approach their dismounts. Additional oxygen would greatly be appreciated in the corners!

The female announcer for the competition has been so clued-up on men's gymnastics. She's providing live commentary over the P.A. system. Very nice touch. She's added biographical information along with the specific skills being performed. A+. Her British accent is the icing on the cake.

Artyom Bykov (BLR): R a little high on his positions, but great turnout on his handstands. His arms were free from the straps. This is something that often goes overlooked by the strongest ringmen.

The nation's flags are represented well in the crowd. Brazil, Israel, Belarus, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany had flags a wavin' in the crowd. We even heard a horn and some beating drums. To our dismay.... no Swiss cowbell.

As we move to the next rotation, we spot gymnastics legends Alexei Nemov and Svetlana Khorkina in a section to our left. We are motioned over to their area. A bit hesitant to give up our premier seats, we migrate all the while maintaining a great view.

After exchanging salutations and European cheek kisses, we decide to watch the meet with two of our favorite Russians. This should be interesting! We promise our IG Tourmates that we will return. They encourage us to seize the moment!


Russian gymnastics legends Alexei Nemov and Svetlana Khorkina met up with Canales and Moceanu

The second rotation is about to commence, but the PB warm-up is gumming up the works. The individual rituals of p-bar adjusting, rail stripping, tacky substance smearing, and chalk coating has become a bottle neck for fluidity. Any suggestions to remedy this situation?

Enrico Pozzo (ITA): Yurchenko double full done rather well done.

Timothy McNeill (USA): Solid PH set. Very business-like. In fact, his coach Barry Weiner is far more animated, pumping both fists as Tim makes his way down from the podium.

Yuri Ryazanov (RUS): Another beefy gymnast with impressive upper body proportions. Is it possible that his biceps are more inflated than in the qualification round? Great R set for him. Most notably, huge piked and tucked Yamawakis with slack on the rings straps. The Yamawaki and Jonasson (piked Yamawaki) have made their way back en vogue, so naturally we see many of them, nevertheless there are certainly athletes who perform them better than others. We suppose compulsory skills are not gone after all.

Maxim Devyatovsky (RUS): Manages to stay on the PH, but struggles to move swiftly on his dismount. Svetlana Khorkina delivers an ear-piercing shriek in hopes of helping him up on his dismount. Consequently, it feels as if the entire O2 arena is looking in our direction.

Benoit Caranobe (FRA): Misplaces his hand on a giant swing on PB. Appears to have tweaked a knuckle in his hand. Fiddlesticks for the Frenchman.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR): Surprisingly good positions on his inverted crosses on R. He's so long-limbed his inverted cross looks like a unusual skill. Gigantic Yamawaki sequences (partly due to his stature) with a sharp kick out.

Marcel Nguyen (GER): Motors through his PB routine on the verge of a reckless pursuit, but the wheels fall off. This young gymnast impresses the crowd with his dynamic style. He simply does not hold back. His hairdo reflects his gymnastics. Wild (as he sports a spiked Mohawk with a party out back)!

Kohei Uchimura (JPN): So serene on PH. You can't even hear his hands touching the leather or pommels. Is he levitating? Breathtaking dismount reminding us of Hiroyuki Tomita's shear velocity up to the handstand pirouettes. Tomita (who's in the building) is proud of his countryman.

Sergio Sasaki Junior (BRA): Great originality on PB. Tippelt to immediate tucked Gienger (we presume it's variation of the Bhavsar).

Federico Molinari (ARG): Colossal upper body and great aqua form pants.

The Gymnova pommel horse has a novel and clever tightening mechanism for the pommels. It's a crank device rather than the T-handle system that we are typically used to in the States. We like this crank system more. It appears to allow for more efficient adjustments and uniform tightening rather than relying on the threads of screws for stability.

Compliments to the in-house commentator once again! This young lady has added so much to the entertainment value of this competition. Her knowledge is unparallel for an announcer. No eye-rolling necessary from this audience. Absolutely no dim-witted comments!

The male in-house announcer is also excellent in keeping the energy level high in the arena. Our sole critique is that he continues to pronounce Kazuhito Tanaka's (JPN) last name as, "Taganakee". He must be getting bad information, because he's been first-rate throughout the competition with pronunciation.

Jonathan Horton (USA): Falls on PH. He resumes the exercise with an assertive swing that we wish he would've started with. Svetlana Khorkina attempts to help Horton through his dismount with a boisterous, "You can DO IT" (move over Bela)! He and coach Tom Meadows are clearly deflated, but we know that Jon's best years in this sport are yet to come. Horton knows the show must go on today.

As the athletes move to their third event. We know that the start of the competition will be delayed due to the traffic jam on PB. Perhaps a British Bobby can help direct some of the traffic for the event finals.

Sergio Munoz (ESP): Catches the eyes of the audience as he regrasps his releases (Yamawaki and Gienger) at horizontal. He landed his double-double with such force; his competition pants slipped a full six centimeters down his waist.

Kristian Thomas (GBR): A tidy 2.5 twisting vault. We missed if it was a Yurchenko or Kasamatsu. Nevertheless spectacular for the Brit. He marches on.

Benoit Caranobe (FRA): Shows no hint of feeling sorry for himself after his PB blunder. He attacks his HB routine to prove he's still in the running. Khorkina turns to us and affirms, "He is bronze medalist in the absolute all-around in Olympic Games... I like him!"

Campos M. Almeida (POR): Impressive Tippelt front flip on PB

Marcel Nguyen (GER): Attacks his HB routine like every other routine he does. We love it. It's as if he does not care about consistency; rather, he wants to sail as high and fast as possible.

Will we ever attend a gymnastics competition in which the announcer will not have to remind the audience to turn off their camera flashes?

There is a mini-fridge on the competition floor that houses water for the athletes. Nice touch.

Luis Rivera (PUR): A well-rounded gymnast. We'd like to see him hit 6 for 6 and see where he ends up.

Sergio Sasaki Junior (BRA): Sky-scraping Kovacs on HB and a stuck triple salto dismount.

Jose Giraldo (COL): Really well-executed Tippelt on PB. Unfortunately, the Tippelt has become "one of those compulsory elements,' but it's reviving to see an athlete performing it amplitude.

Roman Gisi (SUI): had the best tap in preparation for his Yamawaki on HB. He bent the bar more than any athlete allowing him to catapult himself over the bar.

Jonathan Horton (USA): Appears to be back to his comfort zone on R. Solid strength moves and holds. He's added style to his iron crosses with a subtle chin lift. These are the details that'll allow him to continue gaining respect in the international arena. His score was far too low.

Benoit Caranobe (FRA): Moves through his FX routine despite his heavily taped left leg. We never realized how large his flairs were on FX.

Maxim Devyatovsky (RUS): Towering handspring double front, but kicked out too early for a scary landing on VT. Khorkina let out yet another blood-curdling yelp. Once again, the O2 arena looked to us. We merely pointed at Khorkina with our lips sealed and eyebrows raised.

Kohei Uchimura (JPN): A quiet and controlled Yurchenko with 2.5 twists. He must feel his grip tightening on a world all-around championship. His coach, 1992 Japanese Olympian Yoshiaki Hatakeda (a mainstay in the PH and HB Event finals throughout the 1990s), looks on with pride. Uchimura cracks a grin.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR): His head is at the height of the rails on PB! For comparison we will look at where Feng Zhe's (CHN) head is he mounts the PB in the event final. Hit routine for the Israeli.

Sergio Sasaki Junior (BRA): Honors his countrymen with a tucked Hypolito. Unfortunately, he sits it down, but the Brazilian actually grabs his knees for the Arabian portion of the skill then releases them for the full twisting front salto. Most athletes attempting this skill blend the twists together. Kudos on the effort.

Sichaca D. Lugo (COL): A rare Gaylord II on HB. Picturesque jam dislocate that stalls at the elgrip handstand allowing him to look back at the bar. So nice!

Niki Böschenstein (SUI): Gives a genuine sportsmanlike handshake to Federico Molinari (ARG) as he walks down the podium stairs. We often forget about the big-picture purpose of the world championships. The Swiss gymnast was one of the most jovial athletes of the competition. He was grinning whenever we looked over to him. Probably smiles while he tumbles.

Louis Velazquez Vargas (PUR): The crowd response to his German (Steinman) giants on HB prove how important unique skills are to the popularity of the gymnastics. Following his routine he's on the receiving end of an attention-grabbing massage of his pectoralis muscles by the team trainer.

Sergio Munoz (ESP): unique double layout in a straight position! Not the arch-hollow position we've seen before, we mean totally straight! It's exciting to see. The only other gymnast we've seen do this is Maik Belle (first to perform the giant double back on p-bars, but also performed a full-twisting triple salto off of HB in 1987 - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAWMKtITDDk).

Enrico Pozzo (ITA): Nice hollow flip from hands to hands on floor. Caranobe did it too!

Kohei Uchimura (JPN): While the Japanese men have been bowing to the judges prior to their opening salute for years, Uchimura reminds us of the class and respect of the Japanese culture.

HE'S HUMAN! Uchimura takes an intermediate swing on PB. Nevertheless he spent more time in the air above the rails than he did on the bars. This error will not result in any changes in the standings

Artyom Bykov (BLR): Stuck his triple full dismount on FX with his feet together standing straight up and down!

Jonathan Horton (USA): Gives all of us something to pump our fists about. Superb PB routine with almost as much flipping as the PB event final at a Chinese National Championships. Coach Tom Meadows is juiced for his athlete.

Kazuhito Tanaka (JPN): Perfectly stuck double-twisting double layout off of HB. Not solely based on "no movement of his feet", but his posture was faultless.

Daniel Keatings (GBR): PB Straddled front 1 1/4 caught in support (this just looks better than the more common finish in upper arms, but also runs a higher risk of dislocating a finger) His poise is growing with each rotation. Stellar peach straddle cut. Concrete Stutz. Unyielding Diamidov. No adjustment of his hands. Just great gymnastics.

Yuri Ryazanov (RUS): Great German giants on HB. Another bark from Khorkina on his botched dismount. Simply a reflection of her Russian pride. This time everyone in the arena knew who was responsible for the noise.

Kristian Thomas (GBR): Such a silky tempo to his HB routine. Such amplitude on his release moves. Stuck full-twisting double layout.

Campos M. Almeida (POR): We are not fans of the emergence of the back 2.5 twister for a FX dismount, but Almeida had the best one of the entire completion. He landed upright and deliberately. He actually made it look like a dismount.

Jonathan Horton (USA): A respectful crowd turned their eyes to the Olympic silver medalist. He provided them with plenty of oohs and aahs, and unfortunately missed his Kolman. He waves to the crowd as if to say, "Thank you, but it just wasn't my day." Teammate Tim McNeill embraces him as Horton makes his way off of the podium. Everyone in the arena knows that Jonathon has the goods to be on the podium. There was certainly a sentiment of sympathy from the intelligent crowd.

Daniel Keatings (GBR): Hits his HB routine to secure a medal. The digital screen reads in big bold letters, "THAT WAS GREAT," and it truly was.

Keatings and Thomas embrace celebrating today's victories but also a bright future for British men's gymnastics. These two athletes along with Louis Smith could anchor a strong team effort in the years to come.

Campos M. Almeida (POR): Great Loops in the saddle (between the pommels) in his PH routine.

Marcel Nguyen (GER): Aesthetically pleasing straddled planche on R. Most athletes are far too piked with their legs hanging too low.

Much like the British men, the British men, the Germans are gaining more and more momentum as we move toward London.

Medal ceremony begins. Kudos to all of the athletes but a special congrats to Tim McNeill. While many see his rise to success as "out of the blue" those that have followed this Cal-Berkeley Golden Bear over the years realize that his top-10 finish was no accident.

As Yoshiaki Hatakeda attempts to take a photograph of his athlete atop the medal podium he's insistently clutched by an official and whisked off to the side of the arena floor. BOOOOOO! That's not warm and fuzzy.

What an all-around final.

Frankly, we were disappointed with the absence of a China, Romania, and Fabian Hambüchen, but we were cheery by the end. Such a variety of countries represented. Watching the competition alongside Russian greats Khorkina and Nemov only added to the meaning of our experience.

Thanks to all of you for reading and sending your comments! ALL of the feedback is letting us know we are on the right trail.

The women's all-around final is certain to provide loads of episodes on and off the floor for lively candor!

Cheers,

Domi & Mike

Comments (8)add comment

Holly Holton said:

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I'm really enjoying your commentary! You've painted a picture of the look and feel of the competition that doesn't come through on a "quick hits" type of commentary. I can't wait to see what you have to say about the women's all-around. Keep up the good work!
 
October 16, 2009 | url
Votes: +1

ShannonS said:

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Khorkina is great!
I love the commentary about Khorkina's reactions to the Russian gymnasts' performances. Love her or hate her, she was always expressive, both on and off the competition floor. Hearing that she still has that feisty spirit and Russian pride are great to see. Also, it's so great to see Sexy Alexei in the house. Excellent commentary.
 
October 16, 2009
Votes: +1

CaliLove17 said:

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I love Sveta too! She may have looked like she was mean mugging you when she was in competition but that was just a face of greatness. I miss gymnasts like her. Hello Alexei Nemov! My all time favorite male Russian gymnast. I remember the '96 Olympics and being soooo incredibally jealous of Dominique when Sexy Alexei picked her up and put her on his shoulder! Wonder if she remembers that?

Anyways, love the commentary from both Domi & Mike, I've always enjoyed reasing/listening to comments by former gymnasts who give better explanations of elements and deductions unlike 3 NBC commentators I know.
 
October 16, 2009
Votes: +0

BouncyAmoebaUK said:

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Loving the commentary...so true of the competition(i agree with all of it!)... hope you enjoyed tonight - we saw Dominique coming out of Starbucks - pre-competition caffeine?!! Was a brilliant competition!
 
October 16, 2009
Votes: +1

Fidel Cabral said:

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Commentary
That was an honest assessment you made on the men's participants at this year's gymnastics in London, UK.
 
October 16, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

jackie w said:

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love it
I'm loving the commentary, especially about Khorkina. I feel like more like I'm there, and sitting in the stands. The commentary is nice and honest, and while your opinions are there, it's not entirely taking over as too often happens with television commentary. Great job, I hope that the Dom&Mike commentary is here to stay!
 
October 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Anna said:

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Have you
Hi Domi such a nice blog. I was wondering what other gymnasts starts are in the house other than you Khorkina, Alexei, Nastia. I read that Andrea Raducan was there too have you seen her?
 
October 16, 2009
Votes: +0

krys said:

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Russia's Legends. Loving to hear about them!
Gymnastics has never been the same since Sveta and Alexei retired. I'm so glad to hear they are still a part of the family though. Good commentary Domi and Michael! smilies/smiley.gif
 
October 17, 2009
Votes: +0

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