Wednesday, December 31, 2008

World's Prettiest Leotard Heat 4...

BEGINS!!

Okay guys, today, we are going to do things a little differently. In my search for the World's Prettiest Leotards, which I have to say, you guys haven't been as helpful with contributions as you have in the World's Worst Leotard Contest, there have been some consistent winners in the pretty leo stakes. The most consistent, in my opinion has been Anna Pavlova. She is nearly always wearing something lovely. And if it is not lovely, it's just on the dull side. I am yet to see her wearing anything even remotely offensive (if you have seen something, please provide evidence!)
I have a file on my compy of pretty leotard photos which i add to whenever i see or get sent something. Pavs, Khorky and Liukin seem to reappear the most, with Pavs winning of the three.
So, this weeks heat will be devoted to finding the best of Pavs. Instead of chucking her in all the mixes. I thought i would let you guys decide which won of her winners will go into the WPL finals. Good Luck!




Pink on White




Patriotic Swirls



Silvery white on White




Sequinned Swirl on Black


Netted Rose


Blue on Black




Black Sequinned Butterfly









Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Couch Gymnast...

........Has A Question


It seems that I have been scrutinising gymnastics leotard so much lately that I simply do not know what is what anymore. For this weeks Worlds Worst Leotard Contest Heat i chucked in this number below, then, in a fit of indecision took it back out ten minues later.

The problem is that I can't decide wether it is actually offensive or not. I realised after a lot of staring that I have no real problem with the black and green, and Ms Slater does tend to look quite classy in whatever she wears.

I think the main source of the badness actually might be coming from the sequinned rose on the chest. But then I wonder.... do i actually think it is ugly, or do i just think it is very inappropriate on an Australian leotard? I mean, a rose has nothing to do with Australia really, so what's the point? But then maybe i just think it is ugly.

BUT UGLY ENOUGH TO RUIN THE WHOLE LEOTARD?

That is the question. I'm really not sure anymore. Is the regal Allanna just pulling the wool over my eyes and this is, in fact a heinous leo? or is it an okay one, marred slightly by a stupid rose? Or is it in fact a very pretty leotard and The Couch Gymnasts is addled by staring at way too much sequin and velvet for anyone's good?

Help me out guys, waddya think?




Has a question...

World's Worst Leotard Contest Heat 4...

.....BEGINS!!



The Sleeveless Snail


Stocking Cleavage


Orange Crush Velvet


More Canadian Flouro


Gold Rush



As usual, vote in the polls at the side bar! Have fun!




Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Couch Gymnasts...

......Year in Review !!!




That's right guys, it;s time for The Couch Gymnast to wax all nostalgic about the highlights, to deplore and despair the lowlights, and generally to pick out some of the defining moments of the year in gymnastics. It's time to celebrate 2008!
Not only is it the end of the year, it is the end of yet another gymnastics quad, a quad that culminated in what so many of us were waiting for... Beijing. Everything was high pressure, high drama and high octane and gosh it was entertaining!
So today I present to you the Couch Gymnast's own personal ups and downs of gymnastics in 2008. As usual, it is full of the trial and tribulations, pointing out the dramas of gymnastics, the controversies and the politics and many of the the deeply shallow aspects of the sport! I will start with a list of the down aspects of the year, if only to leave you with the ups, ensuring you depart this New Years entry on a high note. Enjoy.


THE DOWNS



Anna Pavlova.
Where do I start? The vault zero? The robbery of her beam medal by a crappy scoring system? The lack of recognition for her outstanding grace and execution? The torn achilles? I can’t think about it anymore. It makes me too depressed.





Leotard Choices
I have to admit, I actually look forward to disgraceful leotard choices. Without them, we’d have nothing to laugh at. Some of my own downs this year was the lack of Spanish presence to assault the eyes and Adela Sajn wearing something relatively sane (not the one pictured, obviously!) at the Hungarian World Cup. Easier on the eyes, but far less entertaining.




The U.S Injury-apoloooza.
It started for me with Shayla’s fractured leg at training camp. It’s bad enough to think she was training on that CRACK IN HER LEG but also the realisation that we definitely wouldn’t be seeing her in Beijing. I nearly had a heart attack too, when I heard about Chellsie’s whiplash issues at training camp, then I nearly cried when she hurt herself in Beijing. I was so looking forward to the comeback queen coming back again and my hopes were dashed in the final moments! As for Sam, I wasn’t as upset because I am less of a fan, but still, it was just the icing on the injury cake.

The Chinese Age Controversy.
Opinion was divided. Arguments were heated. Nothing came of it but bad feelings and a realisation that the FIG has indeed no power at all in the face of a country like China’sall-powerful bureaucracy.


The FIG website.
It’s been blogged about plenty and everything they say is true. It’s crappy, crappy, crappy.




Bad News from Brazil
The news about the more traumatic and damaging aspects of the Brazil coaching system leaking after Beijing was saddening to hear. So, it seems Ostapenko wasn’t quite the positive influence he was made out to be. It’s such a shame, because Brazil’s improvement has been exciting to watch. I just hope the cost wasn’t too high for the girls.

Side Somis
The Couch Gymnast has nothing more to say about that but please, please please girls, ditch ‘em.





The Emilia Eberle story.
Her sad story of her training experience in the seventies and eighties told us a little about what many of us suspected maybe true of the old Romanian regime. Depressing.




Dasha Joura.
What can I say? The girl had some wicked bad luck in China (including having to wear this dress in preparation).




Achilles tendons.
Well, these pesky but necessary tendon are known the site of the mythic weakness, but really, come on, gymnastics Gods! This year an achilles injury has taken out some of my favourites; Isabelle Severino, Anna Pavlova, Oksana Chussovitina and Courtney Kupets for the second time. No fair.



Cheng Fei’s individual performance at Beijing.
I am glad Cheng Fei got to be part of the Chinese gold-winning team, but how I wish she’d had the individual experience she had the talent to have. All through Beijing I just kept shaking my head, rolling my eyes to the heavens and crying “Why? Why? Why?” and half the time it was at Chengy.


Andrea Joyce
Her insensitive treatment of Alicia Sacramone after her falls in the team finals was so unecessary. It wouldn’t have killed her to be a little bit kinder to a clearly upset Sacramone. On the upside, it was lovely to see her teammates rally around her and try and protect her from her obvious pain of having to answer questions about her performance immediately afterward. Tsk Tsk. Andrea Joyce always goes on about what young girls these are. Why doesn't she think about it a little more too?




Vanessa Ferrari

The girl had so much talent that, despite her general lack of grace, she was very exciting to watch. After blowing everyone out of the water a couple of years ago it would have been at least nice to see her having made an event finals as some sort of swansong to what was only a very short brilliant career.



Carol Angela Orchard
The Canadian coach’s move to England with her new hubby is great news for her personally, but I can’t help feeling a little sad for Canadian gymnasts. She has done so much over there, training there first world medalling gymnast and fostering the spectacular junior performances of one Peng Peng Lee. I am sure she will be missed.


Whoopi Goldberg
Yes. That's right. I said Whoopi Goldberg and I am referring to her when Nastia appeared on The View (The Edge? The Story? Sorry, we don't get it in Oz) Anyways, I am referring to the end of her post-Beijing interview where, after the other women have been drooling over Nastia, her very proud and very present family, and her gymnastics, Whoopi, in order to hurry them on to a commercial break, delivers a very lacklustre, dismissive line about them and their country being proud of her and shoots off to an ad break. I mean, come on Whoopi, you're an actor- act! It can't be that hard to play sincerity!




THE UPS

Beijing.
Finally it came! I don’t know about anyone else, but it feels like I had been waiting soo long for the Olympics to arrive, and for me, when it did it did live up to the anticipation with it’s heady mix of drama, controversy, upsets, spills and surprise victories. It was everything I was waiting for and more.



China’s Team Gold.
Okay, so maybe secretly I wanted the U.S girls to win, but still, it was exciting to see the Chinese girls pulling it together finally, and matching incredible gymnastics with a new, tougher team that had both the mental wherewithal and the veteran leader to help them snatch that medals they have had the difficulty scores to win for years.



Oksana Chussovitina
Oh who didn’t want to see her win a medal- let alone winning an Olympic medal in her zillionth international competition!? Who isn’t completely sucked in by her story with it’s longevity, it’s happy ending with her son Alisher being in full remisiion and her sunny, impressive presence everywhere she goes? That vault medal was one of the most deserved medals in the entire competition.



Leotard Choices
I’ve said it, and I will say it again, the Japanese Olympic leotards. They are so, so pretty. Also very impressed with Russian team leos. Finally, they have settled on a lovely combination of a light aqua with white. Both classy and pretty.



Romania’s Tenacity.
Romanian holding out for the bronze at Beijing was such a redemptive victory. I am glad to see they are still able to bring it, considering their training regime isn’t what it was (probably thankfully) and they have had to retire mostly on the strengths of talented stalwarts Izbasa and and Nistor to see them successfully through the last quad.



Gymnasts Go Glamour

In the face of so many of the out-of-leotard fashion crimes I have pointed out through the last few months it was exciting to see Alicia Sacramone and Nastia Liukin impressing the hell out of the Go Fug Yourself gals with their New York Fashion Week styling’s. It was also lovely to see them having so much fun after all the sweat of the Olympic lead up.


College Recruitment News
Hearing that gymnasts I miss already are heading to collegiate competition make me so excited. I get to see them compete in a more relaxed, fun environment. I wam looking forward so much to seeing the performances of Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Olivia Vivian, Shayla Worley and many many more.



Nastia Liukin
I was so, so surprisingly glad Nastia had the year she did, and finished it the way she did. In fact, I didn’t think I cared that much, being equally as fond of Shawn Johnson, but I was thrilled for her in Beijing. I was particularly happy to see her snatching back the American Cup, a sweet victory that also functioned as a sign of what was to come in Beijing.




Jiang Yuyuan’s floor exercise.
Even though, as someone else somewhere in gymland said a while back, I think her smile tends to make her a little like a manic elf, that routine is so much fun, something that is harder and harder to come by in the current code.



2008 The Year of the Uneven Bars.
My personal favourite was Elizabeth Tweddle unveiling her new bars routine at British Nationals. It may not have the clean lines and perfect amplitude of Kexin’s or Liukins, but it was so athletics and so exciting to see that this gymnast can keep getting better. The Kexin and Liukin Beijing showdown was saddened by unfortunate tie rules, but it didn’t stop them putting on such amazing performances, showing that the uneven bars has become the high-scoring spectacular to watch in the latest scoring system.


Team Leadership
It was a year of great team captains. It was sad to see Severino go down, but there were some stoic, mature gymnasts like Chussovitina, Sacramone and Fei helping their team’s younger members stay on track in the big comps over the year.



Liang Chow
Proving that a talented gymnast can become an Olympian and have a life at the same time. Kudos to him as a fantastically kind, warm and generous coach.


Svetlana Khorkina's New Career.
Politics. Hilarious. One of my greatest belly laughs in gymnastics this year came from those pics of her fooling around while assembled with the Duma with Kabaeva. Geez, the woman is like Madonna. Will she ever stop reinventing herself? I hope not because it is all so thoroughly entertaining!


Lyssenko on Youtube
Lyssenko has gone from strength to strength this year with his fabulous coverage of older competitions on Youtube. The dude has a backlog of gymnastics which will make your head spin if you haven't seen it, or at least make you wish you had a bigger internet plan! Now that he has invested in a webcam, we also get the privelege of hearing his insightful commentaries of the official gymnastics codes of the past and present, which he decodes in a an comprehensible and interesting way. He is also a favorite of mine because of the way he attends often and rigorously to the commentaries in his coverage, often answering questions about codes, history and particular gymnasts, giving these discussions a real communal feel.

The Sacramone Media Storm
In the gymfan world, we all knew that Alicia Sacramone was funny, smart, outrageous, tough and just a little bit out there- but then the rest of the world found out after Beijing. Despite her less than stellar performance in the team finals, the whole world seem to warm to the down-on-her-luck US gymnast who was having a really bad day. This is, perhaps, because of the dignity and humour she brought to interviews in the weeks after the Olympics, that the media loved her so much. She even seemed to be giving Nastia a run for her money in the popularity stakes!

Olivia Vivian’s WAIS Blog
At last a gymnast with just the right amount of wit, insight, self-deprecation and a uniquely Aussie way with words puts a pen to paper (so to speak) and gives the world a fabulously entertaining account of the road to the Olympics.



Sandra Izbasa’s Floor Gold
What a lovely moment that was for both Sandra and Romanian gymnast. This athlete has brought so much to the sport over the years. The floor finals looked to be another sweep by the same old gang that had been hanging out on the medal podium all Olympics until she took to the floor. And what a performance it was.



What is to Come
Finally, one of the biggest ups of the year is the constant news we have been hearing of so many brilliant young juniors rising up the ranks in so many countries, reminding us that we have so much to look forward to in the next year and the next quad.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Couch Gymnast Wishes you Gymfans..


Out there a happy christmas and all that business. I hope there was much hilarity or at least some good presents.



As you can see, some of our best have suffered at Christmas and I think its time we had a moment for the poor old Romanian girls who it seems, not only have to bear the burden of winning gold for their country, but also the burden of spreading Christmas cheer through some personal fashion humiliation of their own.
(At least these days, no matter how much her family members bicker and squabble over the last bit of breast or thigh or whatever our Romanian friends like to eat for their yuletide meal, Andreea can say "Well, I've had worse Christmasses. Remember the year that magazine made me wear that red maternity gown? I looked like Mrs Claus in her third trimester.")


Poor Andreea.




I tell you guys, It's hard having been far from the internet. I haven't been able to keep up with much gy,mnastics news, let alone discuss it.
After reading the big Ostapenko news briefly the other day, I wandered back to my sis's house the other day, muttering, how"I can't believe the dirty rat has dumped The poor old once might ukes for Russia! What is this world coming to?" But of course, my sister and my two-year-old neice just look at me blankly and go about their business, which mostly consists of my sister telling my neice that she is a big girl now and its time to use the big girls toilet (a hilarious potty shaped like a mini toilet) and my neice looking at it in horror, stamping her feet, shaking her head and demanding "nappy Mummy!" and then using the potty to hide her In The Night Garden toys in instead! No one cares about Ostapenko, or the state of Ukraininan gymnastics in these parts.
Anyway, I am at my Mother's now and she has internet so I will be back good and proper tomorrow. Til then, enjoy the leftovers.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

World's Prettiest Leotard Heat 3

Begins!!

Russian Aquamarine (Is it a Ksenia?)

Rose Velvet (Lozhecko)




Redhead in Red (Dasha)



Black and Blue (Francesca?)



Japanese Bows and Ribbons (Kosuge)



World's Worst Leotard heat 3

Begins!!

Hi Guys, greetings from Tasmania. If you don't know where that is, look at a map of Australia, find the island dangling off the bottom of it, look for the part down south, closest to Antarctica and you have found the Couch Gymnast on her summer holiday (til the end of Jan)! This is why i haven't been posting much this week- you are more likely to find an echidna or a wombat around here thann you are an internet connection in this part of the world! But I will do my best to stay in touch.

So, in the polls, it looks like it was the Ole' PVC collar that took out the worst leotard this week, and the Cherry Blossom Japanese number that took out the prettiest. They are both the one's i voted for so i feel vindicated in my choices this week!

So, to kick things off for the week, lets start with the Worlds Worst leotard Heat 3



To Sleeve or not to Sleeve (Chusso)



Russian Lightning Bolts (Lobuz)

Spain Does it Better



Canada Goes Flouro (Peng Peng)




Shiny Mustard and Brown (Ashley Stott)




As usual, lodge your votes at the poll on the side bar! Good Luck!