Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Weirder Side of Gymnastics

Today’s list celebrates some of the weird and wonderful moments and people in this sport…

Craziest Equipment Failure.
Remember, back in 1972 or so, when Ludmila Turischeva landed her bars dismount and the uneven bars collapsed in a heap behind her? That was hilarious. It was even funnier that it happened to Ludmila, who was always so poised and cool. Of course, she was so polite, that she just saluted the judges and walked away as if NOTHING HAD HAPPENED!
I bet if it had happened after her team mate Olga Korbut’s crazy new bar stunts, we might have though, ‘oh well, its understandable, they’ve never had a workout like that before,’ but things like that didn’t happen to Turischeva.
(I am so glad someone decided to attach the Uneven Bars to the ground after that. Imagine the carnage if they were still like that today.)

The Worst Case of Commentators Curse I have ever Seen!

This strange affliction seemed to have infected Kathy Johnson at the 1995 World Championships All-Around competition. It was amazing. Uncanny even. Every time she said someone was a consistent gymnast, they fell. Every time she admired someone’s form, they broke and every time she said they were confident, they faltered! I almost wanted her to stop commentating for the poor gymnasts sakes!
(Watch it on Youtube to believe it. Lyssenko, the gymnastics archivist and code-decoder extraordinaire has it in onhis playlists.)
It got so bad that I’m sure if she’d said, “No gymnast has ever gone under the vault in a competition,” a little Romanian gymnast would have accidently dive rolled!

Weirdest, well, anything: Oksana Chussovitna’s striptease/Dance Routine
(Unfortunately, being as computer illiterate as I am, I can only provide The You Tube url for this vid. If you haven't seen it, you must!!! Find it at;
All I can say about the video is....Oh boy. There are no words. Oh please, God, WHAT WAS SHE DOING!?!?! Make it Stop!!!!

Elena Produnova’s Whacky Eyebrows
She certainly wins for strangest grooming technique. Remember those little gaps she used to shave into her eyebrows? One of the commentators said she told him she did it to look like a warrior. If you ask me, she already looked like a warrior with her big hair, bigger tricks and super-tough demeanor.
If you want the judges to notice you, point your toes, I say ( that’s a joke. I loved Produnova.)
(A girl at my local supermarket has the same shaved bits in her eyebrows and I always want to ask her if she does it for the same reason. But I never do. She’s kind of tough-looking too, and I’m not sure I want to be the crazy girl, rabbiting on about an obscure Russian gymnast at her while she stuffs my groceries in bags.)

Disaster Area: 2003 World Championships Team Finals
The Anaheim team finals can only be described as a total and utter comedy of errors. It was bordering on diabolical.
What the hell was going on that day? It was like they were pumping mind-altering substances through the air conditioning vents.
-For starters, Gymnasts that are usually as solid as a rock were falling off, well, everything.
-The Chinese all of sudden decided it was a good idea to practise their tricks ON THE PODIUM while waiting for their turn on beam and incurred a penalty that lost them a medal.
-THEN, it just happened to slip Hollie Vise’s mind that she ought to be wearing A NUMBER when competing and had to go on bars with a piece of paper safety pinned to her back! Then of course, what with all the distraction and SHEER DRAMA, she fell off.
-Then, while all this insanity was going on, the Australian team managed to slip into third place while no one was looking, setting a historic record for both gymnastics and Australia!!!
That was one crazy day for gymnastics.

Stage (or lack thereof) Presence: Gina Gogean’s Weird disappearing Act.

Now I am not saying Gina Gogean had no personality. I’m sure, out of competition arena, she possessed a sparkling wit and a dynamite personality. It’s just that during competitions, she seemed to keep it pretty well hidden (Maybe it was in her bag out in the back gym with Hollie Vise’s number)
I have to say, as much as I admired Gina Gogean’s gymnastics and always felt such pity for her that she never quite got that coveted All-Around before retiring, I was always slightly worried about her mental health. She always looked so damn forlorn! Even when she managed a smile, she looked sad.
Now I know that the Romanian team members were an especially solemn bunch in those days, but seriously, Gina sometimes looked like she wasn't even there. (Or as Difficulty plus Execution puts it so hilariously, she’d gone to “her happy place.” (I wonder where it was. I can’t say I’d like to go there some day.)

Monica Zahiu’s Zany Retirement Scheme
Romanian gymnastics news announced several years ago that Monica Zahiu had been on a talk show offering her entire gymnastics medal and trophy collection for sale to the highest bidder. She wanted the money, apparently, to buy a small apartment and she had no other money or income. It’s weird because you’d hope a national team member might be paid in some way for her work. Considering too, that she was one of the girls who 'fessed to having her age doctored, she was basically a product of a type of child labour. The worst part. It turns out she could only sell the collection for 150 euro.Weird, and sort of depressing.

Most Dubious Fashion Choice: Three Words. Spanish Team Leotards

Someone should really tell the person who designs these that less.... nearly all of the time... is more. And the worse part…they are repeat offenders.

1 comment:

  1. The Spanish leos are unbelievable. Why do they appreciate neon colors so much?