Monday, March 16, 2009

You Tube Gems #2

The 1998 International Teams Competition

Today, I watched yet another gem from Youtuber Lyssenko's awesome competition archive.  This particular meet was the International Team Championships battled out between China, Romania and the USA held in 1998. This weird little comp was carried out in a odd, transient little period in world gymnastics.  It was in turns exciting, strange and sometimes downright depressing.  Nonetheless, it was an intriguing meet.

Here is a list of reasons why the 1998 ITC is a competition worth watching.

Getting to see Corina Ungureanu looking young and innocent (and dressed) and doing a  corker of a floor routine.  The music, however, was completely bizarre.  Someone commented that it reminded them of something out of an 80s Stridex commercial.  I have no idea what Stridex is, but I bet B-girl Camelia Voinea would have got some mileage out of this music in the eighties!

Seeing the Romanian delegation look even glummer than usual after one of their delegation (not a gymnast) had been very recently shot during a robbery and hospitalised, and after nearly half the team had broken, sprained or snapped something important in the training for this comp.

Hearing the commentators say that when they asked about one of the floor workers (Onel's) chances of being on the Euros team for Romanian later that year, that Octavian Belu simply said "Absolutely no chance."  The commentators were actually having a pity party for her until she shuffled out of bounds.  And I mean shuffled, not stepped or tumbled, or even stumbled!!! She was simply backing into the corner for her next tumbling line and managed to shuffle her feet over the line. Doh!

The bittersweet sadness of seeing Sang Lan competing on a few events, doing pretty well and knowing what is going to befall her in the not-too-distant future.

Seeing Maria Olaru perform what Lyssenk0 describes as a technically flawless routine and it still being completely and utterly underwhelming.  Her triple twist at the end though?  Holy toledo!(You know when you're in a car and it goes over a tiny dip and you lose your stomach ever so slightly?  That's what I felt on seeing that unbelievably beautiful triple.)

Seeing another Vanessa Atler meltdown.  The fluff piece built up and built up her bars mental  block, the commentators built it up, a Vanessa interview built it up.  And duh, guess what happened?

Hearing Donna Strauss holler "You're an animal!  A freaking animal!" at Kristin Maloney after she  finished a (rare for this particular team) nailed beam routine.

Also, watching Kristin Maloney watch Atler on beam, and on seeing her nearly fall, grabbing her team mates leg and doing this hilarious nervous, terrified high kick!

The Chinese doing a fairly mad bars set (aside from landings of course) and seeing a very young Ling Jie strut her stuff.

Seeing Andreea Isarescu getting pulled in to perform at age thirteen after a Romanian injury-apolooza and doing a pretty good job.  You kind of got the sense she had no idea what was going on really, so she had no idea she should be nervous!!

Getting close ups and microphones on Octavian approaching the judges.  Twice.  Something about that gruff bear-man makes me laugh, especially when he hadn't realised Onel had stepped out of bounds and was enquiring about the penalty she'd received.

Though most fascinating thing (in that kind of horrifying way where you can't stop staring at the badness) was seeing a pretty crap USA team competing against a pretty crap Romanian team and making a lot of dumb mistakes.  That's a rare thing from two such usually deep teams.


  1. 1998 was a good one, and Lyssenk0's channel is one of the best ones out there. if it ever gets suspended for any reason, I will cry.

    Another YT gem is the 2003 Worlds team final (same channel). Such an unbelievable competition. I would have to give credit to the 1996 Olympics TF and the 2007 Worlds as well.

  2. Oh, PS, Stridex is a topical zit medicine.

  3. That was the music used by Aurelia Dobre in 1987 World Championships on her floor exercise. I loved it! Not anymore when seeing at least two Ro gymnasts performing on the same old music in the late nineties, even copying Dobre's style.