Saturday, November 8, 2008

Same, Same, but different....

I've been watching a bit of  late eighties, early nineties American gymnastics over the last couple of days, mostly for the hilarity of the hair, the hideous leo designs and the fantastically ridiculous choices made in floor music and "street dance" (as Kathy Johnson called it) moves back then. 
As I have been watching and appreciating a few gymnasts I have never really noticed before like Stephanie Woods, Sandy Woolsey and Molly Showen, I have also been looking again at the spectacular work of Brandy Johnson.  She was a pretty awesome gymnast for her times.  Precise, steady and so athletics.
But the other thing i have noticed about her how alike she and Alicia Sacramone are.  Seriously. On and off the podium there quite a few similarities.
So, here we have it, the list- BRANDY VS ALICIA!

















Without looking alike, they actually have similar features  with the blonde pony tail thing, the powerful, short builds and the unfortunate passion for tanning.  Although Brandy's may have actually been achieved in the sun, A-Sac is verging sometimes on what the Go Fug Yourself girls might rate as high in the Tanning Terror Alert Scale.  They both also looked quite mature for their ages, even as very young gymnasts and they both had signature fringes, Alicia's quite tame little bump, and Brandy's hilarious side fringe (I have decided to do another entry just devoted to hair of that era, so wait and good things will come!)

They both performed awesome tumbling for their floor eras, with huge, high skills.  They weren't terribly graceful, but threw jumps and leaps with great height and amplitude and tended toward the high energy routines.  They were both excellent vaulters as well.  Alicia may have the edge over Brandy with her gigantic vaults, but it is a spot where they both shone, and Brandy did win that Olympic silver in 1988 for her work.


They were both comeback kids.  Alicia Sacramone came back from not making the Athens team to get her coveted spot among the Beijing girls after it looked like it would be over for her for a minute there.  Brandy came on strong as hell after the 1988 Olympics, kicking butt in a range of international competitions.  She did also attempt a comeback for the 1992 Olympics and again in the 1996 Olympics but was not as successful.

They were both always competing while riddled with injuries.  Alicia Sacramone reeled off the list of the injuries she was competing on at Beijing in a post-Olympic interview, and I don't know about anyone else, but my eyes certainly bugged as she listed them.  Brandy Johnson was in a similar situation in 1989 in the lead up to Worlds and the 1990 American Cup where she suffered a staph infection, a bleeding ulcer of the mouth, a torn ligament in her ankle and then had kidney problems serious enough that doctors wanted to be doing some exploratory surgery while she was busy training for the Cup!


And they both had pretty awesome death stares!



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