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From the Stands: Women's All-Around
(19 votes, average 4.00 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

It's the showcase evening of the gymnastics year!

Sunny and windy in London. We'll need our cagoules (windbreakers) for our voyage to the O2.

In the spirit, we relived the men's all-around final by viewing the broadcast in our hotel room this afternoon. It's a real treat to see how the Brits call a meet. The diction, data, and optimism make the British broadcast among the most entertaining in the world!

UPDATE: We ran into Peggy Liddick (AUS), and she informed us the injury to Shona Morgan (AUS) was "merely" a subluxed patella. No collateral ligament damage. Four to six weeks of physiotherapy, and she'll be back on track. Pleased to hear the injury wasn't nearly as severe as it appeared. Stretchers out on the gym floor typically represent tragedy.

The O2 is jam-packed on all levels with over 20,000 spectators. More flags, more noise, and more cameras.

The ladies are literally sparkling in an abundance (some may argue over-abundance) of sequins and rhinestones on their leotards.


As with most all-around finals there are loads of unanswered questions…then again that's why we have meets.

At this point, we can only be certain that we're geared up for FOUR BOILED SWEET HELPINGS of HOT KOKO to go with three servings of REBECCA (Bross, Downie, and Wing)! The Romanians, the Aussie, the Russians and the Chinese should give us something to cheer about, and we're hoping Bridget Sloan (USA) can rally and improve upon her performance from the qualification round.

Let the all-around final begin: NEW LEOS, NEW LIFE and NEW COMMENTARY.

Pauline Morel (FRA): Nice feet. Nice hands. Stuck back 2.5 twists with crossed feet on BB

Miki Uemura (JPN): Huge grin coming off FX. Really looks like a hale and hearty athlete-coach relationship for the Japanese.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): Looks lovely in purple. Soft hands on BB. Graceful Garcia!

Brittany Rogers (CAN): Delightful Omelianchik to double stag on BB! Kudos to the Canadian.

Ariella Käslin (SUI): The Swiss Miss has a butterfly on the chest of her leotard to continue a theme that started in the qualifying rounds. Insistent Geinger on UB. Her arms actually go behind her prior to the regrasp.

Becky Downie (GBR): This Nottingham native says her perfect day would include not having to get up early and being capable of eating whatever she wished. This is the biggest competition of her life, and she is surely feeling the energy of the O2. Good start for Brit.

Rebecca Wing (GBR): This self proclaimed nervous nelly and admitted goody-two-shoes is trying to give the crowd what they want. Stepped out of bounds on FX, short triple turn, finished with a back 2.5 twister. Avoided major breaks and kept her fans happy.

The Chinese UB pit crew includes He Kexin (CHN). We suppose nobody knows how to prepare the bars like she does. He Kexin is sporting a ponytail in contrast to her standard competitive bun.

Yang Yilin (CHN) appeared to be setting up for an unyielding start to her all-around run until she was seemingly shot out of the sky after a perfect routine. She landed in a heap after her full-twisting double back on UB got hung up in the air.

Anamaria Tamarjan (ROM) is a throwback to unendorsed 2000 Olympic champion Andreea Raducan (ROM) (who's in the building with Maria Olaru (ROM)).

Coach Marvin Sharp (USA) giving Bridget Sloan (USA) last-minute single thoughts prior to her VT. A monumental career moment for both coach and athlete.

Koko Tsurumi (JPN). A gripless Koko is CRISP. We didn't see her execution score, but she was perfect. BIG GRIN from the promising Japanese teen. Oh my word! A treat to watch.

While Bridget Sloan prepares for her VT at the end of the runway, Deng Linlin (CHN) prays off the podium.

Deng Linlin (CHN) upgraded her VT from the qualification round to an incomplete Yurchenko double-full. Nevertheless she and the coaching staff are pleased. We really loved how she performed this vault in Beijing with a slightly delayed double twist. It didn't look quite right for her today.

He Kexin (CHN) is watching all of the bar competitors while nestled in the corner of the arena. Just when we think she's surveying them in scrutiny, she lifts her hands from her pockets to applaud the efforts of each competitor. She really appears to be a kind soul.

Paola Galante (ITA) looking chic in white with aqua on her flanks and black (zebra?) patterns on her arms. We can't get enough of her leg up turns. Squeaks out her double pike dismount on FX.

Bruna Leal (BRA) Punjabi MC music for FX. Long name, little gymnast. Just a cutie. Manages to pull out a back 3/2 to punch front 1/1.

Veronica Wagner (SWE) Did most of her tumbling from a run without a front handspring.

Rebecca Bross (USA): deep in thought and appears very centered on her goal.

In contrast, Nellie Kim appears very cozy and jovial positioned in the center of the FIG technical committee table.

We can hear Svetlana Khorkina coaching Ksenia Semyonova (RUS) through her UB set. This time Khorkina is on the other side of the arena. All the same, her voice projects in almost digital clarity. >Hyang Kim Un (PRK) wearing a short sleeve leotard, but the sleeves are cut off just past the shoulders. It resembles a men's UnderArmour shirt. She manages to make all her tumbling around to her feet. She's animated as she exits the floor almost comically wagging her tongue as if to emphasize how tired she is. Refreshing to see from a PRK athlete not typically known for their humor.

An upclose gaze at Ksenia Semyonova's (RUS) face brings to light how much she has matured since she burst onto the international scene.

Canales and Moceanu meet up with Romanian coach/judge Eliza Stoica and 1999 world champion Maria Olaru

Rotation 2

He Kexin (CHN) is guarding the groceries at the chalk bowl as Deng Linlin (CHN) makes her way to UB.

The line of coaches atop the podium at UB humorous. It looks like a track meet line up at the starting blocks. We're looking for the guy with the starting gun. Valeri Liukin (USA) makes the bar prep look like a calisthenics. It's funny because he got precisely the same expression on his face when he prepared the PB during his competitive days.

From afar Marvin Sharp (USA) has a calm demeanor, but a closer peek makes it clear how much he's pulling for his athlete to do her best. It's rather endearing.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): Her growth spurt has only improved her gymnastics. Viva la Mexico!

Becky Downie (GBR) sturdy double-twisting Yurkchenko. Her coach was pleased, but Downie still has her Pa-Pa-Pa-Poker face on!

Ana Porgras (ROM): Good double layout from UB. It's just as fun to watch her coach "will her" through the routine. Today's all-around final has shed a great deal of light on the coach-athlete relationship during competition.

Speaking of which, He Kexin has emerged as an assistant coach for Team China as she shouts tips of encouragement to her teammates during their routines. Khorkina's not the only one! GO HE! GO HE! GO HE! True team camaraderie.

Veronica Wagner (SWE): Barrels down the VT runway like few do.

Ivana Hong (USA) is the leader of Team USA's UB pit crew.

Rebecca Bross (USA): Great attack on UB. She stares down the low bar like she's going into a title fight. She sailed through the routine and capped it off with a lofty full-twisting double tuck and a stuck landing.

Koko Tsurumi (JPN): Waited an eternity to perform. Cool as fan, she rocked her routine that included an Onodi and high-quality sheep jump on BB.

Paola Galante (ITA): she's been stretching her hamstrings for the last 10 minutes to add the finishing polish to her FX routine's leg up turns. As she mounts the podium she clasps her hands, inlocates her shoulders with straight arms, and circles them behind her back without releasing. BLIMEY!

Brittany Rogers (CAN): Piked full-in, back 3/2 through to double tuck. Great tumbling. We wish she'd crack a smile. The routine was worth at least a smirk. It was good.

Yekaterina Kurbatova (RUS): UB clipped her toes on her dismount. We think it was a double front with a half twist. Svetlana Khorkina gave coaching tips to the young Russian during the routine.

HEY! We see a female camera woman on the floor. Not a common sighting. She seemed to carry the hulking camera with ease. YOU GO!

Ana Porgras (ROM): has brought the striped leg warmers back for another go-round.

Lauren Mitchell (AUS): Solid UB with great tempo. This young lady is a talent.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): expressive hands and eyes on FX. Good Arabian double front, back 2.5 punch front layout, and double pike finish. Well done.

Debbie Van Horn (Team USA trainer) is lugging two large duffle bags and two winter coats to the next BB.

Rebecca Wing (GBR): VT wonky in the air, but landed her Yurchenko 3/2 twists.

Thank heavens! It appears the meet is moving along swiftly.

Rotation 3

Ksenia Semyonova (RUS) is winded after the FX warm-up.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): landed her VT, but a bit stiff-legged. Be careful Elsa!

Brittany Rogers (CAN): Solid Yurchenko 3/2 twists.

Rebecca Bross (USA) BB was packed from A to ZED. Much improved Arabian double front dismount from the qualification round. Even better considering her warm-up was shaky.

As Bross competes on BB, Becky Downie (GBR) is still warming up on UB.

Liukin and Bross rush to the technical committee table and leave the arena. They return just a couple minutes later much more relaxed. Perhaps something was left in the warm-up gym?

Youna Dufournet (FRA): adds style to her back 1.5 through to back 2.5. She keeps her arms down at her waist and straight during her back 1.5 as opposed to the typical position of the arms crossed at the level of her chest. Nice touch.

Ksenia Semyonova (RUS) watches her teammate Yekaterina Kurbatova (RUS) compete on beam from across the gym. Semyonova puffs out her cheeks as Kurbatova falls.

Bruna Leal (BRA): great elgrip work on UB

Deng Linlin (CHN) has her face in the riser as she goes through her prayers and mental imagery.

Ksenia Semyonova (RUS) makes eye contact with everyone in the arena on FX. She corrects her error from the qualification round and lands her back 1.5 punch front 1/1. We hope Semyonova ditches her Lion Paw wrist supports soon. They take away from the beauty of her hands.

The announcer is not quite as spectacular as she was yesterday, but we loved it when she said, "The ladies in pink (Team USA: Sloan and Bross) came to do business!"

Ariella Käslin (SUI) this 22 year old is a pleasure to watch on FX.

Yang Yilin (CHN): heavily bandaged left leg with flesh colored tape (Benoit Caranobe could've used some yesterday). It appears to be tape job to alleviate strain on her Achilles tendon. On FX she performs the best back 1.5 punch front 1/1 of the competition. Straight body position with symmetry in the two elements.

Koko Tsurumi (JPN): salutes the judges with one arm and a smile. Clean tumbling. Smiles to the judges before her last pass. Scores are really tight on FX.

Bridget Sloan (USA): after UB, she made her way to an isolated area of the arena for her mental preparation for BB. Her set had small hesitations, but much improved from the qualifying rounds. Good for her.

Lauren Mitchell (AUS): in a time when the rules are making BB routines look more and more alike. The Aussie has a refreshing variety of skills including jump ½ twist to chest roll mount. It's easy to see why she's in the Event Final.

Becky Downie (GBR): has five television cameras pointed at her on UB. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off for her, but great height on her elements. Teammate Wing is really pulling for her.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): has been getting her shoulder worked on for the last 10 minutes.

Spoke too soon. The competition has come to a screeching halt. Are we waiting for the judges or television? The gymnasts are getting cold and the audience is getting edgy.

Koko Tsurumi (JPN) has resorted to running laps in a circle with a one-meter diameter. Humorous but effective.

While we wait, Elsa Garcia (MEX) wins the Best Leotard of the competition with her sleek purple leotard with lines down the arms and rhinestones on the chest and down the flanks.

FINALLY, we rotate to the final piece.

Rotation 4

Bross almost runs over Sloan during the floor warm-up. Amusing to Sloan. In all probability, Bross was so focused she didn't realize the close call. Bross works some extra double turns with her leg at 90 degrees as advised by Coach Liukin.

Ariella Käslin (SUI): First-rate double front dismount from BB. Not labored or heavy. Well done.

Youna Dufournet (FRA): Good vault with a round off entry to a hollow Cuervo

Brittany Rogers (CAN): the gripless Canadian performs a solid UB set with authority and nice feet! A low landing on her Arabian double front dismount, but she should be proud of the effort she put forth today.

Marvin Sharp is praying to the gymnastics gods as Bridget starts her floor routine. Solid effort for her. Kudos to Sharp and Sloan for a true team effort. This routine on FX should help to erase the memory of some of the errors from the FX qualification. We really wanted to see her in the FX event final. A solid four events for Sloan. She's undeniably relieved and waves to her fans.

Deng Linlin (CHN) FX. It's funny. She's so precise in the placement of her feet (right in the corner) in preparation for each tumbling run. It appears she's attempting to maximize her space along the diagonal; however, she only uses about 3/4 of the diagonal with each tumbling run. Perhaps she's anticipating a growth spurt and planning for the future. Too bad she missed BB.

Ariella Käslin (SUI): Gigantic Rudi on VT!

Lauren Mitchell (AUS): Great elements out of her tumbling runs (i.e. Arabian double front bounding into stag jump) An entertaining gymnast.

Becky Downie (GBR): erased the memory of her overcooked double pike off of BB, but fell throughout the set.

Rebecca Bross (USA): final FX routine of the evening. High tumbling on the first two passes, but crumbles on her final pass. AN EXPENSIVE MISTAKE. Not only was the mistake a shame for Bross's all-around score, but it's a shame the Code of Points forces her to solely perform combination tumbling. Bross is the type of athlete that could almost certainly tumble a tidy tucked double-double.

The scoreboard reveals the final standings and Bridget Sloan and her long-time coach Marvin Sharp are over the moon. Marvin and Bridget are overcome with emotion as they embrace one another with tears in their eyes. Marvin and Bridget graciously wave to the crowd.

Bross and Liukin are clearly disappointed, but I think we all know that Bross' best years are ahead of her, but another 1-2 finish for Team USA in the women's all-around. Kudos to the athletes and coaches whose commitment to excellence through daily toil has allowed this to happen. Keep up the great work.


Most of the spectacle of this competition came in the final moments, and to be quite candid, the meet lacked a certain spark. We can't quite put our finger on it, but we were not alone with this sentiment. Did any of you feel this way?

We're pleased to know Jani Tanskanen (FIN) and Nastia Liukin (USA) have been elected to represent the athletes at the FIG Committee meetings. After conversing with members of the media and gymnastics fans, we suggest the FIG elect two representatives from the media as well as two gymnastics enthusiasts (who've never participated in competitive gymnastics) in an effort to brainstorm suggestions to improve our sport. By no means will this solve all of the problems, but by and large the opinions of these critical components of our sport (media and fans) don't make it to the decision makers. Just our two pence.

We'll see you tomorrow for the first half of the event finals.


Domi & Mike

Comments (12)add comment

Crystal Isaac said:

Sloan is wearing the same leo as Nastia was when she won her gold!!
October 17, 2009
Votes: +1

Diana Crump said:

Diana Crump
Domi- in reference to the hand guards there was an article in IG about the 95 worlds that said the exact same thing about your hand guards!!
October 17, 2009
Votes: +1

Diego said:

Do they want suggestions to improve the sport?? Here's a piece of advice: bring back the compulsory routines and you'll see the artistry come back in a sec. Everything is about E skills and big-time acrobatics nowadays. I miss the artistic part from artistic gymnastics. Just a thought.
October 17, 2009 | url
Votes: +7

Diane Lee said:

hhmm elect somone with no gymastics exp to fix or save the sport of gymnastics. I THINK THAT IS A BRIALLIANT IDEA. I would love to be that person. First thing i would suggest is to get rid of bruno. Second the age limit must go. Third lets put back some of the ridicoulus things bruno and nelli changed, ie the warm up rule and compeltly downsizing the number of gymnast on a team. Finally a word to NBC. WE WANT MORE GYMANSTICS COVERAGE.... LIVE PLEASE. sorry for all the spelling mistakes....
October 17, 2009 | url
Votes: +5

Gymrat said:

Seriously, Bridget needs to just have her hair in a simple, clean ponytail. The loose bun is very distracting.

And it was sad to see most of the gymnasts finishing their routine w/ no emotions on their faces. Too much stress.
October 17, 2009
Votes: +1
..., Low-rated comment [Show]

Rachie said:

Ok, first off 'are we waiting for judges or television?' - in Britain, especially at meets such as the World Championships, we do not force gymnasts to wait for TV. We are not NBC.

I'm glad to see Koko win bronze, that's amazing for Japanese gymnastics.

And I agree with Gymrat. Sloan's hair looks like she doesn't care she's at a huge meet, it just looks like she tumbled out of bed and stuck it up without paying much attention.
October 17, 2009
Votes: +1

ShannonS said:

I think electing gymnastics fan to represent on the council is the best idea I've ever heard. Suggestions: Kill the minimum age. (Moceanu herself was U.S. Champ at 13. That couldn't happen these days.) Bring back compulsories. Bring back the 10.
October 17, 2009
Votes: +0

Katrina said:

The female announcer is Kelly Hackman, retired GB gymnast from the late 90's.

As to what the sport needs, just a few ideas: Artistry and execution being rewarded equally alongside acrobatics and deducted where necessary (We should not have AA and Floor champions who cannot dance and do not even attempt to do so). A code that does not force gymnast to perform ridiculous amounts of difficulty. Scores that reflect the performance rather than the gymnast name/country or rep.
October 17, 2009
Votes: +1

Megan said:

agreed about the lack of spark for the meet. i enjoyed most of the girls' routines but it didn't seem quite competitive enough like other recent meets have. i definitely enjoyed the men's AA much more.

but am still very very happy for Bridget,Rebecca and KoKo.
October 18, 2009
Votes: +0

calikitty17 said:

Personally I enjoy exciting and difficult skills in gymnastics. I do think that the scoring needs to be changed, at least for vault, that prevents a person from winning gold after performing 2 terrible vaults just because of the large start value. The North Korean in Beijing last year is a prime example.

As much as we all love to see a "Perfect 10", it just isn't logical anymore to have that scoring system. Gymnastics has changed and it should change. Just think if women were still doing the same skills they were doing 30 years ago?

As far as the minimum age requirement, I say keep it. Not only does it protect younger athletes but I believe it has added longevity to the sport. I don't care how talented a 12 year old may be at the sport, they don't belong at the Olympics.

On on another note I am wondering why Dominique is so fixated on what these girls are wearing. I mean I don't particularily like sleeveless leos either but I know that all that matters is how the gymnast wearing it feels. Maybe they feel it will help them in competition? And the wrist guards. Is she seriously hoping this girl gives up the guards that help protect her from injury just because she doesn't like the way they look? I thought her commentary ws supposed to be related to the gymnastics of the sport and not the clothes or politics (always has a comment on Martha Karoyli...).
October 18, 2009
Votes: -1

Clare said:

I think this type of commentary is nice, sort of a different take on the sport, by insiders who have been there. everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I actually liked the "realness' of it, and the leotard comments, especially since I can't be there to see the competition or on tv myself. it was personal, I liked it.
October 20, 2009
Votes: +2

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