Sunday, July 26, 2009



First, let's talk about Olivia Courtney.  No one else is.

So, U.C.L.A is gonna welcome this little gun to the fold with way open arms now!
It's funny though.  Olivia Courtney took the crown, but not many people seem to be paying the slightest bit of attention to her!  I know the AA was kind of thinned by yet another US injury-a-palooza, but still, credit where credit is due!  I for one can't wait for this dynamic, talented gymnast to make her way to the hallowed Pauley Pavillion!

See her bar routine here.  AMAZING releases, so high and dynamic.  Sure Tasha is well right about the questionable lines and missed handstands, but I got to say, that clean tight tuck in her dismount rocked my world.  Few of even the best maintain such lovely tuck form.  
Also, I was amazed at how high her first transfer to the high bar was.  She was nearly higher than the bar!! Whoot!

Her beam was steady, but not greatly impressive.  I am not a fan of nervous little turns.  And how much of a stickler is Tasha about connections?!  She always has been!  I think its because she performed in a particularly stickly period of beam herself!  Nice high beam dismount from Olivia.  There were alot of unecessarily timid landings in that routine but I am sure that could be attributed to the sore hamstring they were talking about during the commentary.

Ooh, and Olivia's floor.  Do the small opening movements remind you of another gymnast, someone who is already a floor star at UCLA perhaps?  Huh?  Huh? Think about it? 
No wonder they want her!

Wicked, nicely paced tumbling, fabulous leg up full turn and really, really intriguing pacing to her choreography.  What an interesting routine!  And for the most part, she just has enough dance presence to command it. It will come with age.

And wow, she dropped that Arabian out of the sky!  Beeyootiful!  Watch and gasp!

So anyway, whatever elite business Olivia Courtney does from now on, I welcome her, and hope she does great at nationals too.  But mostly, I am really looking forward to seeing her at UCLA.  She is just the right kind of gymnasts they need.  Val will whip her dance into shape.  Her tumbling is well and truly in place.  She will be a great addition to bars and between she and Zam they can clean up on vault! I don't how good she is on beam when she is at her best, but doesn't matter.  UCLA has some great beam workers (and Peszek is a'coming!!!!) already.

And golly gosh Rebecca Bross has  lovely bar work for a body shape you wouldn't necessarily expect it from?  Lovely handstands.  The only real form break was the leg separation on the pak.  
Also, nice to see Valeri looks just as stern around all his gymnasts!

Okay, so it was great to see Nastia back on beam.  She carries that teeny bit of weight she has gained since the Olympics fairly easily, and is still looking lithe and composed.  Her form wasn't quite so clean.  Her leg-up full turn was a disgrace to her brand of gymnastics and she lacked her usual amplitude on her leaps, but if one thing still looked completely gorgeous, it was her Onodi.  Simply lovely.

 As they say, it's hard to get to the top, staying there is even harder!  Especially given we are talking about the sport with probably some of the most fleeting careers EVER.  The commentators were talking about wether Nastia gets nervous or not. I bet she was a bit nervous going in to this meet.  
In fact, Nastia is such an athlete, that I think there is no way she wouldn't.  She cares too much about how she performs.   
Also, did anyone else find that sparkly WOGA leo was a little bit distracting?

Okay, so before I talk about Sabrina Vega's amazing tumbling, or the wonderful height of her leaps or the fact that her choreographers crafted a fairly elegant floor routine around a girl who doesn't quite have the maturity or grace to pull off better dance, can I just say how completely SICK I am of Spanish guitar music!!!! Gawd.  I know its been used beautifully before, but it just makes me wanna die of boredom these days.  Skip it peeps.  Please.  Anyway, so Vega has great tumbling, high leaps and decent chorey yada yada yada.  She just needs, like a lot of young gymnasts, even the ones who can pull of lovely floor work, to be in her routine, if you know what I mean.  But this girl is gonna be great.  

As for Ivana Hong's new floor.  I really, really like the music for a start.  What I enjoy most about Ivana's floor work, though, is that although she has never actually been much of a dancer, she finds lovely, extended lyrical shapes to create with her body, making her routine look elegant and graceful anyway.  I also like the fact that she is confident to do floor to a piece of music that is relatively thin.  Some girls try to drown out their lack of floor prowess with loud, full-on music and super fast choreography.

Ivana Hong- Ever elegant.  Ever interesting.

As for the discussion about the new code penalising gymnasts for the lunge step at the end of the floor pass- I say BRING IT ON!! Fair's fair.  I've never been that comfortable with that rule, as too many gymnasts try and fake a lunge when its is clearly a stumble.  Too much grey area for me. 
You know what?  There's no way Milosovici would have got that floor ten in '92 if it hadn't been for that allowance, that is for sure.

And gosh, I nearly didn't recognise Sam Peszek!  She looks so different.  Not necessarily older, but different!  
I think it is because she looks like a college gymnast already.  She kind of reminds me of a Georgia or Utah girl.  But I am really glad she is coming to UCLA, especially as she is bringing her killer beam skills.  
I was watching her old one from Nats or trials  last year and I had just forgotten how immense and amazing her tricks are.  It made me really, really admire her all over again.  
At the Classic her two standing somis at the beginning are as great-as usual.  Bit lower on the back pike than in the past, but whose gonna get too upset when she is doing what she is doing?  
She reminds me of another UCLA gymnast, Hopfner-Hibbs, in her great ability to recover from a wobble quickly.  
Pity about the fall, cos it coulda been grand.

Also, as shallowness must always prevail, I am diggin' that leo. 
(Oh yeah and I've figured it out.  It's the hair.  She has college hair!  Gym Dogs hair to be precise.  She looks like she let Cassidy McCombs get to her with the hair straightener!  Not an insult or anything.  i think she looks nice.)

Proving she can still knock out a powerful vault too!


  1. I thought it wasn't fair that the commentators talked Vega up so much and she didnt' even win the darn thing. Yes she's cute but cute's not enough to make it in the elite world.

    I think Peszek looks different in that her muscles look less bulky. She always had a really hulked out look to her and her time at Sharp's gym she seems a little more stretched otu.

  2. I feel bad for Oliva Courtney. They didn't even interview her!

    I actually kind of like her.

  3. While I'm glad Sam is nearly back to form, someone should have told her to go easy on the mascara.