Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And Ms kick butt Beijing goes to....

It was looking neck and neck for a little while, But Ms Cheng Fei ran away with this week's poll in the end.
 The rock, the stalwart champion of team China, despite her somewhat sub-par performance in Beijing, takes the crown, and rightly so.  
I can't remember what it is I was watching, perhaps it was even at Beijing, that the commentator said something about Cheng Fei that really resonated with me.  She is THE gymnast of this last generation.  If Queen Khorkina is the gymnast of the last, Cheng owns the most recent generation.  She symbolizes everything that has been so striking about the best of the gymnastics we have seen in the last four or five years.  The need for incredible power AND grace to be the best of the best.  Having enough talent to be an all-arounder but succeededing brilliantly as a vault/floor specialist (and still picking up a beam medal every now and then).  
She has played a gigantic role in China's incredible move toward dominating the sport, is the most palpably effective team leader at any competition. has bucketloads of presence and personality, and seems to fiercely, passionately love her sport.
I remember reading once, that her mother said in an interview that on Cheng Fei's rare calls home, she would only answer yes's and no's to any of her parents questions.  I have always wondered if that s because everything she does, she does for her sport.  That there is nothing else.

Jiang Yuyuan came in second this week.  Sixteen or not, it was hard not to love that floor routine or that smile.  All around me, during Beijing, people I knew who never even looked at gymnastics before were melting into little people puddles over Jiang's cuteness.  
My favorite thing about Jiang, is that supposedly, she can actually be a bit lazy in practice and tries to get out of as much work as possible (and still be that good!). The coaches discovered that the only way to get her to do her work was by threatening to shave off her prize money! I say, don't let 'em take your money Jiang! You've been doing cartwheels since you were six months old for that cash!

Poor Li Shanshan was lucky last in this weeks poll.  Now I feel doubly sorry for her.  She was supposed to take that beam medal home and didn't.  
Now no one is voting for her either!
Okay everyone, lets just take a minute and picture that beam routine when it was at it's most exquisite. It was amazing.
Now, feel sorry that like Yang Bo, she couldn't pull it off when it counted.  I hope she has some years left in her so she can grow, perform it again on a world stage, and not let own nerves take her out next time.


  1. why no GOGEAN on your best romianans poll???

  2. Because, alas, I am a forgetful fool who had one to many wines at a dinner party last night and forgot Ms Gogean in her subsequent brain-ache this morning.
    Anyway, I'm sure I forgot many. The list of great Romanian gymnasts is a nearly in-exhaustable!
    Still, there's plenty to choose from.