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From the Stands: Event Finals, Day 2
(13 votes, average 4.77 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

There've been changes to the start list for today's competition over the last 12 hours. The final draft appears to be similar to our initial draft with the exception of Pham Phuoc Hung (VIE) being substituted for Yann Cucherat (FRA) for the PB Event Final.

We made our final hike to the O2 with members of CCTV (China Central Television). This television network is one of the privileged media outlets permitted into the closed Chinese training sessions. We had wonderful exchanges chatting about everything from dim sum to Lebron James to Li Ning to NFL football. Zhi Gang Shi (CCTV sports) was so interested in the United States coverage of the Beijing Games! We provided him our frank appraisal.

Men's Vault Final

Isaac Botella Perez (ESP): Good vaults for the Spaniard, but with the lowest combined start values of the final, his performance will be unlikely to hold up. Anton Golotsuskov (RUS): Dropped out of the sky on his rendition of the Dragulescu. He's mastered the technique since we saw him in Anaheim 2003. Well done Tsukahara double pike. The leading qualifier will sit a wait, but he can rest assured that he put in a fine performance.

Fine sportsmanship between all of the VT finalists. They know what "a roll of the dice" the final can be.

Dragulesu is seated with his gloves.

Nadia Comaneci is seated with the Romanian delegation with former Romanian standouts Corina Ungureanu and Claudia Presecan.

Thomas Bouhail (FRA): Huge exhale at the end of the runway. Overcooked Tsukahara double pike. Really off center on the landing mats, but his legs were together. He performed the vault rather easily. Tall Dragulescu with limited distance from the table for his second vault. Vast French support! There is no doubt why Bouhail is considered part of vaulting's crème de la crème.

Matthias Fahrig (GER) running punch front on the arena floor (concrete) for a warm-up! Getting his legs ready for the assault these vaults pose. The German saunters into his vault only reaching maximum velocity in his last two steps. As deep a landing as one can have without touch the knees or hands on his interpretation of the Dragulescu. Does another punch front on the VT runway in preparation for his second vault a Kasamatsu-1.5 twists. Marian Dragulescu (ROM) The Romanian elects to do round offs on the arena floor for his warm-up. It's apparent that experience is key in the vault final. We can't imagine doing these vaults COLD. Flavius Koczi (ROM) gives his countryman a high-five of support. "HAI MARIAN", is heard throughout the O2! The bona fide Dragulescu vault is 4.5 meters away from the table right on the mark in the vaulting alleyway. Known for his misfortune on his second vaults, Dragulescu plants his highest landing on his version of the Li Xiaopeng. He Flashes the peace sign, and the Romanian trusts that he's got another gold medal to add to his collection.

An enormous Korean flag emerges in the stands in the back of the arena.

Jeffrey Wammes (NED): Elects toe raises and round off step outs for his warm-up. Really handsome Yurchenko 2.5 twists. Hard to believe this athlete suffered bilateral fracture-dislocations of both ankles in 2006. He puts on wrist guards for his second VT. His coach spits on the vaulting table for a tackier surface. His front double full plummeted, and he knew it in the air. Same as Isaac Botella Perez (ESP). With the lowest start values of the final, he needed to be perfect for any chance of a medal.

A Television cameraman zeroes in on Bruno Grandi and Nelli Kim.

Flavius Koczi (ROM): Dragulescu is at the end of the runway inspiring his countryman to a hopeful 1-2 finish. Koczi opens out of his eye-blurring Kasamatsu 2/1.

S.A.T. analogy question:

Romania: Men's Vault is to _________:_________? Answer: China: Parallel Bars

We'll go out a limb and say the Romanian men are to Vaulting as the Chinese men are to PB for the reason these countries have an dreamlike depth on their respective events. Both countries are unmistakably doing something different than the rest of the world.

Last minute pointers from Dragulescu to Koczi. Huge Randi! A Romanian mush pile of the two coaches and athletes. Only one man stands in the way of a 1-2 Romanian finish…. Gwang Ri Se (PRK).

Gwang Ri Se (PRK): Kicks to Handstands are his method of preparation in the vaulting bullpen. Gigantic gamble on a piked-Dragulescu and comes up short. His ankles have to scream at him. He' so disappointed, and so are we. When an athlete takes the risk (without a warm-up and vaulting last) like the stout Korean can you blame him? He looks like a rises slowly (like a kid getting up for Monday morning school) to make his way back to the end of a runway. We really want to know what kind of self-talk he uses to motive himself for another daunting vault.

Huge Tsukahara double pike. He gets a chocolate medal for going for both vaults!

We're just waiting for the final scores. Again, it'd be nice to have the women start the competition or at the very least start a warm-up. We suggest doing away with the judge's march-in. This would save approximately 13 minutes, but more importantly it would maintain the attention of the audience (when was the last time you saw an audience rise up in rip-roaring applause for the judges?). The names of the judges (and their respective country) could be placed on the scoreboard for more valuable recognition. As it stands during the march, we don't know who the judges because they are not announced individually. Just our two pence.

Men's VT final was noticeably unlike the women' VT final. The men were on the same level across the board all the while bringing two equally difficult vaults to the table (literally). To our disappointment, VT has been deserted on the women's side.

The crowd is putting pressure on the judges with unison clapping. At last, the final tally is up.

Golutsuskov makes a phone call home to report the news, and appears displeased.

The Romanian fans celebrated and are pictured on the Jumbo Tron.

Dragulescu and Koczi mount the vaulting table cloaked in a Romanian flag to reaffirm their dominance on this event.

The Union Jack is beats to the music as the vaulters are marched out. They're amped up for Tweddle and we've still got UB and PB to go.

Both Koczi and Dragulescu are draped in their countries flag.

Women's Balance Beam

We yell, "GO IVANA!" Unexpectedly, she shoots us a big smile. She appears calm. We hope she allows herself to unlock her potential.

Four of the eight beam finalists are in red.

Yang Yilin (CHN): such a cute headshot. She fall's and the BB scoreboard stops tracking her time. Finishes with a perfect back 2.5 twister.

Elisabetta Preziosa (ITA): has the most unique leotard of the group with black and highlighter green and pink and white serifs. It looks groovy on her, but not every gymnast can pull it off. Flexible arms on her salute both arms are nearly together and well-behind her head. So bendable. Aerial one legged landing to lift hold with the leg up to her ears. Good double tuck dismount. Charming smile on the Jumbo Tron!

So much activity going on in the BB bullpen with leg kicks and walkovers.

Ana Porgras (ROM): The elastic Romanian falls early and loses confidence throughout the routine. A disappointment for the leading qualifier. A warm reaction from her coach as she walks off the podium.

Deng Linlin (CHN): With early errors from some of the favorites, Deng Linlin exhibits a razor-sharp distinction with confidence throughout the routine. Now she had a minor wobbles, but these quivers would've most certainly resulted in a fall from the Chinese in the early 1990s. Deng Linlin has an obvious will to succeed. We're seated next to a large group of Chinese fans who are flaunting their flags for what appears to another Chinese medal to add to the collection.

Koko Tsurumi (JPN): "GAMBA!" is heard from men and women the delegation seating area! Near fall on a layout that'll take her out of the running, but she kept form and performed and impromptu needle scale in an attempt to stay on. Calculated stick on her back 2.5 twist dismount. It's been a successful and busy World Championships for the Japanese star. She makes her way to her seat next to Deng Linlin and Yang Yilin.

Hyang Kim Un (PRK): uses a spray bottle to water down the beam before her routine. Unusual to see. Her headshot on the Jumbo Tron has her wearing a black sport coat with a white button down shirt. She's not smiling. Unpredictably, this petite gymnast makes a lot of sound when she punches the beam for all of her elements. Very assertive.

Ivana Hong (USA): She looks certain. Good routine for Ivana. She missed a connection, but showed impressive form throughout the routine, and most notably on her piked double back dismount. Her legs are glued and her toes are pointed all the way to the mat. She should be happy with her performance.

Kathy Kelly (USA) handles the clapping as Marta Karolyi peers over her glasses with her chin tucked into her chest.

Lauren Mitchell (AUS): We love her chest roll mount from a half twist. An open standing back pike from a switch leap (with a bit more training, she could make it a standing layout!) Her eye-catching leg and foot form must make for great photos. She has wonderful turnout.

The crowd puts pressure on the judges once again with clapping in unison. The scores are flashed and Deng Linlin and the Aussie embrace. Ivana earns a medal!

The Chinese are racking up the gold medals.

As we await the first medal ceremony we're treated to HIGH level sports acrobatics. This cousin of artistic gymnastics is arguably the most compelling!

The press photographers have taken their spots in front of the medal podium.

Anton Golotsuskov (RUS) still looks displeased as coming in as the leader and leaving with a bronze. Yang Yiling is snapping photos of Deng Linlin atop the medal podium. So sweet!

Men's Parallel Bars

As the men line up Feng Zhe (CHN) is wearing black gloves and Kazuhito Tanaka (JPN) is donning an all white uniform and reminds us 1990s Japanese talent Daisuke Nishakawa who found his way into the PB final several times. After presenting to the judges, Tanaka strategically leaves the arena toward the warm-up gym.

Guanyin Wang (CHN): trouble-free front uprise Diamidov to Dimitrienko. Seamless piked-Belle. His only visible form breaks came on his straddled front 1 ¼ and Tippelt where his feet flexed for less than second. Chul Yoo Won (KOR): Complex routine. I'd be nice if his feet could point more. The highlight is his back toss with a ¼ turn not to be confused with the generally seen Peters. The Korean releases the rails with both hands and winds up on one rail in a handstand.

Adam Kierzkowski (POL): Points his toe and raised his leg 45 degrees as his steps onto the springboard. A low peach ½ turn killed his start value. Feng Zhe (CHN): Remember we'd mentioned Alexander Shatilov's head was well within the rails when he mounted? Feng Zhe's head is about seven apples below the bar. Possibly eight apples if he doesn't put gel in his hair! He does a peach full and the remainder of his routine is the "Chinese PB compulsory" complete with a piked Belle right before his dismount. He wags his tongue disclosing that even the Chinese get tired on PB.

Epke Zonderland (NED): The mopped-top high bar daredevil has become a PB crowd favorite with the help of his Diamidov 1 ¼ with an additional full pirouette off to the side. His score isn't high enough for the audience! Booing and whistling.

Pham Phuoc Hung (VIE): Does a really hard routine but by mere PB mortal standards, but not in the same class as the rest of the pack. In this day and age he needs to add some flipping release elements to make his routine competitive. Nevertheless a treat to see Vietnam represented in the event finals.

Vasileios Tsolakidid (GRE): Elects to do his double flipping element between the bars forward and piked. This athlete barrels down to a front uprise like no one else in the world. This requires a distinctive blend of flexibility and strength. Good routine and a break from the norm.

Kazuhito Tanaka (JPN): Classical music is playing in the background and is quite fitting for Tanaka's routine. Other than a small hiccup while swinging to a handstand, a medal-worthy performance for him. Following his routine, he slips his sneakers on while atop the podium. In accordance with traditional Japanese culture, It's as if he is viewing the PB as his home, and in many ways he appeared "at home" during his routine.

Women's Floor

Beth Tweddle (GBR): Gives the Brits what they wanted.

Jessica Gil Ortiz (COL): A reminder how perilous our sport can be. The Colombian (who trains at Dannell Leyva's gym in Florida) landed on her head during a double front second pass. A really chilling accident. Officials from the FIG table are anxiously motioning the medical staff to make their way to the gymnast without delay (who's visibly disoriented and holding her head). The FIG technical committee is reviewing the fall over and over in an attempt to provide clues to the severity of the injury. The O2 is silent and the stretcher is brought out. We are later updated that her injuries were not severe. Thank heavens!

While these accidents are an unfortunate reality in our sport. We contend that a "one touch warm-up" could be advantageous in the event finals. By no means are we blaming this particular accident on the current rules, then again as the difficulty continues to escalate at dramatic pace, we believe the FIG should make every attempt to allow the athletes to feel as comfortable as possible on the competition floor.

Rebecca Bross (USA): A tribute to her mental muscle. The powerful American delivers a solid performance after a wait that seemed like an eternity. Well done.

Sui Lu (CHN): Still can't believe she's tumbling in ankle socks, but they certainly help her on her triple turn (which was flawless). Truly artistic gymnastics. Stuck double pike dismount. When her score is flashed the Brits are roaring in excitement as Tweddle maintains her position.

Ana Porgras (ROM): Elegant dancer, great leg up double turn. LOVES IT! Did she go out of bounds? The FIG technical committee reviewed it several times, but the deduction wasn't taken. Anna Myzdrikova (RUS): Convincing tumbler. Great triple full back tuck. THAT'S JUST SO HARD TO DO! Botched third pass. A shame for the springy Russian.

Lauren Mitchell (AUS): Another artistic gymnast. Arabian double front piked to stag jump. Performs her rendition of the turns performed by Terin Humphrey (USA). Gets a big from the current leader Tweddle. Deng Linlin (CHN): Tweddle is praying as Deng begins her routine. Her passes ended quite low perhaps showing some fatigue.

It appears that "first up" (in competitive order) is "the new last up". Just look at the number of gold medalists who performed first! Tweddle WINS! The O2 hits its highest volume of the week.

Men's High Bar

Igor Cassina (ITA): The 2004 Olympic HB Champ assaults the bar his typical dynamic (borderline spastic) style. While we're not admirers of his technique, we can't deny his entertainment value! He seems to levitate before regrasps the bar on his release skills. The Italians are over the moon! Aliaksandr Tsarevich (BLR): The silky Belarusian has improved his Kovacs with knees glued and toes pointed. Classic swing and pirouettes. Finishes with a crowd pleasing triple salto. Well done for the long-limbed gymnast

Now that the women's FX final is complete, the athlete area in the delegation seating is packed.

Danell Leyva (USA): We wonder if he's carrying a heavy heart for Jessica Gil Ortiz (COL) who trains at his gym. Yin Alvarev blasts his athlete with his make-believe holy water after a sign of the cross. Athlete and coach appear physically and mentally prepared. Leyva sails through his set with a stretched Kovacs to go with a tucked one. We enjoy the style he sprinkles throughout the routine with his arms and head on his pirouettes and blind change. His jam-dislocate hop to undergrip is a nod to HB star Zoltan Supola's (HUN) hop out of elgrip (with air). He drills his laid out double-double. Yin and Danell both nail their routines! A debut for both of them.

Zou Kai is chuckling at Yin's enthusiasm as he chalks up. Uchimura giggles too! Yin goes out of frame as the Jumbo Tron camera challenges to keep up with his maneuvers.

Zou Kai (CHN): A start value stacking routine with a Pogorelov (full-twisting Jaeger stretched from elgrip mastered by its originator in the early 1980s and later by Valeri Liukin (URS).

Kohei Uchimura (JPN): Does what he's done all week with style and grace. He gives a timid wave to the crowd out of appreciation and respect. The audience has quickly fallen in love this quiet champion. No score flashed would've satisfied the crowd for the 2009 World All-Around Champion. Boos and whistles.

When we review the start list we realize what a great HB final this is!

Epke Zonderland (NED): Goes for broke! Great Cassina with a Kolmann for the second entrée finishing with a ½ Takemoto immediate tucked Gaylord II. Second in start value points behind Zou Kai.

Jonathan Horton (USA): Coach Tom Meadows performs a tight forward roll on his way to check the tension of high bar cables. Horton hangs all of his skills out on the bar and alas misses a Kolmann only to disintegrate on his triple-twisting double layout. A tough competition for Team USA's leader, but not for lack of effort.

Aljaz Pegan (SLO): Customary Pegan style with the widest variety of skills of the HB final. The 35 year-old took a full-size step after his triple to take him out of the medals.

The two highest start values going into the HB final claimed the top spots while Cassina claimed the bronze.

In closing, there existed immeasurable differences in the men's and women's competitions. Most notably, execution scores on the women's side rarely made it about 9.0. Also, the range between execution scores for the women was slight consequently putting more weight on the significance of start value.

As we leave London, we'd like to dispense heartfelt gratitude to International Gymnast Magazine for allowing the liberty to supply vivid observations from our vantage point in the O2 . London was a sensational host. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but it looks as if the British stage is steadily set for achievement in 2012.

Thanks to all who took the time to read the blog.


Domi & Mike

Comments (8)add comment

Willard Felsen said:

Why is the Universal Sports webcast of gymnastics full of freeze-ups
while provides glitch-free webcasts of figure skating?
It looks like tech staff at Universal Sports needs to take lessons
from their counterparts at
October 19, 2009
Votes: +1

gizlesene said:

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Thanks to all who took the time to read the blog.
October 19, 2009 | url
Votes: +1

Vncntdl said:

Excellent blogs all week! I totally agree about the noticeable differences between the scoring of the men and women's competition. There really needs to be some serious reevaluation of the execution scores on the women's side. There is not enough reward for artistry or amplitude and the result is that too much weight is getting placed on Start Value. It is killing the sport (at least on the women's side). I also agree that something needs to be done about Woman's Vault. Soon it's going to reach the point where everyone who throws two vaults will automatically qualify into vault final, that's how few gymnasts actually focus on this apparatus. Along with this, a re-consideration needs to take place of SV for the various vaults (as well as execution scores).

One more thing. I simply don't understand why gymnasts are given full credit for a skill if they flub it or fall on it. This encourages gymnasts to keep skills in their routine that they have in no way mastered (artistically speaking), but which doesn't seem to matter to them or their coaches as long as they can get the highest SV as possible. The result is a lot of UGLY gymnastics.
October 19, 2009
Votes: +5

Denise said:

Vncntdl just so you know, if a gymnast falls or has a major deduction for wobble etc they lose the value of the skill and it cannot count for bonus..if it's on beam or bars and they don't get both feet or hands on showing significant weight bearing they don't get credit for the skill.

Thanks for this coverage, it was quite whitty and enjoyable..much more than than Tim Daggett and his "WOW" after every move in every routine! NBC needs to get some new life in their commentating and they should look to the Brits. It was a great worlds and the USA did a great job, some success and some not, but they showed their stuff and kudos to Jonathan Horton for accepting that it just wasn't his meet but he's not done yet!
October 19, 2009
Votes: -1

dlk said:

I love Beth and am happy she won. But boy, she can't dance to save her life, bless her.
I see that she doesn't have the dificulty, but Porgras' floor!! Those hands, those movements, they take my breath away. Hopefully, she'll take the best of Romanian gymnastics consistency and power, while maintaining her style and we'll have a poster girl for artistic gymnastics.
October 20, 2009
Votes: +3

sikis said:

One more thing. I simply don't understand why gymnasts are given full credit for a skill if they flub it or fall on it. This encourages gymnasts to keep skills in their routine that they have in no way mastered (artistically speaking), but which doesn't seem to matter to them or their coaches as long as they can get the highest SV as possible. The result is a lot of UGLY gymnastics.

February 05, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

porno videolar said:

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One more thing. I simply don't understand why gymnasts are given full credit for a skill if they flub it or fall on it.
June 27, 2010 | url
Votes: +2

dizi izle said:

dizi izle
I simply don't understand why gymnasts are given full credit for a skill if they flub it or fall on it. This encourages gymnasts to keep skills in their routine that they have in no way mastered (artistically speaking), but which doesn't seem to matter to them or their coaches as long as they can get the highest SV as possible. The result is a lot of UGLY gymnastics.
June 27, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

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