Wednesday, April 1, 2009

euros podium training...

Greetings From Milano!

So, I managed to drag my rather jetlagged butt (why oh why does Australia have to be soooo far from everywhere) to the afternoon and evening podium training sessions last yesterday. It was interesting but, as noted by Gymedia, not exactly impressive. Here is a bunch of randon notes. As i said, i didn,t see evryone, but here are some pics too. Not the clearest because although i was given a very flash camera when i left my last job, do you think i can work out how to use it efficiently without a flash? I am more your point and click kinda girl. So, gang, I have done my best!!!

As pointed out by Gymedia, there were lotsa spils yesterday, even by the seasoned girls. Of the Russians, i saw the Ksenia's warm up. They were both looking absolutely polished and lovely. Semenova was terrific, but Afanasyeva not so much. She was falling all over the place, although her dances work on beam and floor was gorgeous. She was even falling off beam, climbing up, standing there for a second, and then just dropping off! It was almost entertaining, except that she seemed to be in a FOUL mood. She only had smiles for Semenova, but when any of her coaches tried to address her she would either ignore them or scowl. I was very, very surprised. She still worked very hard, even getting up to do a few quick side somis after their session was over.
Semenova, surprisingly, didn't seem to be hitting her handstands on bars either but her beam was beautiful.

The Italian faction was very delighted to have a last minute Vanessa Ferrari in their midst. They followed her around the rotations excitedly snapping pics and chasing autographs. She was looking okay, muscling a lot on bars. Her beam was solid, and her planche mount still looks strong. Her tumbling was okay on floor, with a lot of stewpping, and she is back to her old music (?). No more 5th element voice music.
In fact i heard the same floor music (not Ferrari's) three times! It is whatever Ariella Kaeslin uses. Speaking of Kaeslin, I wasn,t exactly concentrating on her, but every time i turned around, she was there doing something solid. I was very impressed given the level of the day's practice by everyone. She seems to be improving with age!
Ferrari was funny to watch warm up. She was very organised and moved around like a little lightning bolt. When the girl presented themselves to the judges before beam, she grabbed a lump of chalk on the way their, lined up, and efficiently started in on her hands as they stood there. As soon as the line up was finished, she flung the chalk and got up on beam, not noticing, that she has tossed it right at a judge in the other corner! Her coach tried to intercept but missed. That cracked me up.

The Belorussioan gymnast (Alina Sotnikova?) had some lovelydance work on floor, but her tumbling was not terribly difficult, starting with a double pike for her first run.

My favorite gymnast of the days was definitely Valentina Holenkova. Her work was pretty and she was just so darn chipper! If she stepped on landing, she would laugh and roll her eyes. She smiled all the time, laughed with her coach, but was working really really hard. It was nice to see.
The other Ukrainian girl i saw, and i can not for the life of me figure out who it was was a walking, tumbling dancing disaster in everything she attempted. It was truly painful to watch unfortunately.

Speaking of lovely to see, the Swedish delegation were a great gang to watch. There was a lot of visibly cameraderie and affection between gymnasts and coaches even thought the gymnasts i saw (sorry, not sure who) were visibly struggling on floor. One of the girls was in tears the whole floor rotation, but her coach managed to jolly her out of it and get her to have another go in the last few minutes.

Youna Dufournet's tumbling was impressive, but her dance...was..not. But we already knew that!

The small crowd was very happy to see the two older Romanians, Izbasa (in her hilarious pink legwarmers) and Tamarjan swagger in with Forminte. They basically took over the show, while the girls in their training rotation prowled nervously around them. Some evn asked for pics with Izbasa, who happily complied.
Tamarjan warmed up all four events, while Sandra only did beam and floor, as expected. Her beam was absolutely rock solid, though not as pretty as Semenova's.
Her floor routine was, well, frankly, dull. Her tumbling is still strong, despite strain, but the dance is not great. Tamarjan's on the other hand, was exquisite. They should combine, because it would be superb! Tamarjan's double layout- when she landed it- was terrific too.

Honestly, i felt quite sorry for the other girls on their rotation during floor. When it came to the time when each girl was meant to run through their routines with music, the Romanians started. Then when they were done, they just kept tumbling. The next girl to go up was nervously waiting to do her floor but the Romanian's just didn't seem to notice and it seemed like no one dared point out that they should move so everyone else could run through their routines!

It was nice to see our patron saint of the bad leotard, though she was looking reasonably normal. She worked the hell out of her triple turn on floor but just wasn't hitting it. In fact, she was one of the hardest working gymnasts out there. She didn't seem to be strapped or injured, which probably helped.

What else. I saw a Portuguese girl attempting a double front from beam that was so, so low it just made me think she should NOT be doing it at all.

While I was watching a floor rotation, the Greek girls who were training on beam kept catching my eyes. Stefanie Bismpikou must have started a tradition there, because they looked lovely though i had no idea who they were!
The Frenchies, Petit and Dufournet both looked good on floor, but were less impressive on beam.

I missed seeing the Tweds, which was sad, but am looking forward to seeing her at qualifications tomorrow!

So, that's enough Euros prattle from me. As said, not to exciting. Nothing too spectacular. In fact, less than great all around. Hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting!


  1. Fantastic! Thanks for posting your pics and personal account. I hope we can catch this one on TV or online somewhere in the US...

  2. I was there too, but I managed to get there only for the last subdivision. I totally fell in love with the belorussian girl...lovely, lovely lines!
    I was hoping to see Izbasa's new routine, and I was a little disappointed when I saw she went back to the old one. Loved the way she was smiling and taking pictures with the other girls in her group.
    Tamarjan looked extremely solid...great beam set. That double layout on floor looked scary the first time she tried it..did you notice she was almost in tears for most of the fx rotation? When she hit that, it was great though.
    And how cute was Forminte racing all over the floor mat?
    The wheater is not that great, but enjoy your stay in Milan!!

  3. I am a lurker and just wanted to say I love your blog. Thanks so much for the Euros podium training coverage. I hope the competition turns out better than podium training sounds. I really want Ana Maria Tamarjan to do well after years in Nistor's (and Izbasa's) shadow and bad luck with injuries. I always thought Valentyna Holenkova seemed a sweetheart, I'd love for her to do well also. I always thought Ksenia A. looked like someone you wouldn't want to see in a bad mood!

    Have a great time in Europe!

  4. Thankyou so much for your great update, I can't wait to hear more!

  5. Thanks! I loved reading this!

  6. Plz post some more updates! I love reading your posts!