Monday, October 5, 2009


(another team we seemed to wait for years to be named!)

I am having an uninspired gymnastics day.  The US team selection is a real teaser isn't it?  You get built up, built up and built up.  They wait til the last possible minute- every other nation has pretty much named their team- and finally they let the cat out of the bag and you know.  Then it's like...nothing.
There is just the waiting until the big event.....

I got my eticket for worlds today.  Very exciting.  I fly to London on Saturday, then am having a wee holiday in Montenegro and Albania for two weeks after.  Yay!


Anyway, the gymnastics world is slow today.
But as you know, I never like to be silent for long, even when I have nothing to say.  So here are some gymnastics thoughts.

I really am looking forward to seeing Kayla Williams vault at worlds.  I watched a couple of vids of her vaulting today and boy, she really, really has it.  With her floor, I share what seems like being a similar sentiment to most- the tumbling is awesome, but the dance is fairly woeful.
I used to think that there was no excuse for that kind of thing, and then I spent an hour watching all those Gymnastic Minute training tips and realised that there must just be a never-ending list of things for gymnasts to work on.  Still, Kayla's flexibility issues are glaringly obvious and I hope Marta is her usual honest self about it.


BUT what she loses in amplitude deductions, she will make up for in the no stepping/lunging on tumbling landings if she lands anywhere near like she did at the Covergirl Classic.  Bam! Bhat girls knows where the ground is!


Also, I was watching the Gymnastike coverage of Maliah Mathis.  What a great little girl.  She is peppy and fun and a fantastic gymnast.   I really admire the crew at  Aerial athletics for their determined focus on getting athletes full ride scholarships to college. The emphasis on health, fun and the future is so, so admirable.

Also, I just love how Gymnastike gives us the opportunity to get to know these young, college-bound gymnasts before they go.  It is going to enrich the NCAA watching no end to already have an idea of these gymnasts, their skills and personality. Maliah and her double layout is headed to the lucky Lousianna State University where her tumbling is sure to be welcomed with open arms.

Over to Romania....

(Eremia and Ponor)

What else?  Oh yeah.  You know what I find amazing?  The fact that Oana Ban didn't make the AA, or any event finals at the 2004  Olympics. I mean i know this, but i forgot it In my mind Romania dominated that competition, and in my mental images Oana Ban was a huge part of it.  But she wasn't really.  I guess that proved what a standout personality she has, to be so, so memorable yet to have been among the least successful Romanians of that competition.  I loved all those Romanian girls, but Oana was such a little cutie with some HUGE tumbling.

(The highly bouncy Oana Ban)

Moving on.....

The IG forum crew have been having a discussion about the gymnasts they thought were going to be huge but fizzled or had their careers cut short by injury.  The conversation mostly revolved around US gymnasts, but started to wax nostalgic  about gymnasts from all over the world.

(The infectious Andreea Munteanu)

The three girls they brought up that made me melty with sadness that their careers were nipped in the bud were the fantastically talented and original Shantessa Palma, the gorgeuous little munchkin Andreea Munteanu and the beautiful and talented Nadezhda Ivanova.

Little Nadezhda was going to be the next big bright light of Russian gymnastics until she was diagnosed with a bone disease in her hip, which caused part of the structure to die away, and was forced to retire and spend months in leg casts.  Apparently, her long-time coach died of cancer around the same time. So sad. She was such a loss to the gymnastics world.  Watching her on floor was so reminiscent of the beautiful and difficult floor work of the soviets of old. Watch and weep. (or HERE)

And Shantessa Pama was a wonderfully spirited and talented gymmast many people looked forward to seeing rise in the ranks. She was renowned for throwing a triple back of bars at age thirteen.  And then she was gone.  It turned out a severe ankle injury had nipped her elite career in the bud.

Tessa went back to level ten, and the last I read had planned on college.  But by my estimations, she should be there by now?  So, the question still remanins, where is Shantessa Pama?
For now, watch this montage of her competing and training to see her awesome moves and signature flair. (or HERE)

Okay, that's all for now!



  1. Oana Ban did qualiy for both AA and floor final.Unfortunatelly she was injured (i think she injured during the last pass of the floor routine in team final,it is noticeble she landed it too low).
    She was replaced for floor by Sofronie who was only a rezerve before.For AA they had noone to replace her with, only ban and sofronie competead AA in qualification
    P.S.You have a great blog and sorry for my English.

  2. Ban actually qualified for the AA and floor finals in Athens, if memory serves me correctly. I believe she had either an ankle or lower leg injury according the NBC commentators...... Romania only competed 2 AAers in prelims so Sofronie was the only one left in the AA for Romania. Sofronie also replaced her in floor finals and won silver.

  3. Oana Ban did qualify in the AA and floor finals in 2004. Her beam was also great, but the "2 by country" rule pulled her out. She didn't compete in the individual finals because she injured her ankle during the team competition, when landing her last pass on floor.

  4. Oana qualified for AA and FX finals, but injured her ankle on FX in TF and pulled out of both

    BTW That picture labeled "Eremia and Ponor" is actually Sofronie and Ponor

  5. Oana Ban did qualify for AA in Athens, and possibly some piece finals as well but an injury (ankle I believe) kept her out. It meant that because the Romanians had only put two girls in for AA in the prelims that only Sofronie was eligible to compete AA - they had no-one to replace Ban with.

    I was lucky enough to go and remember seeing her listed on the programme and not understanding why I couldn't see her on the floor. It was only when I got back after the games that I found out what had kept her out.

  6. Oana made the all around final in Athens. I think she qualified third behind Patterson and Safronie, but pulled out due to an injury. She must have just toughed it out so Romania could with team gold.

    No one else from Romania competed all around in prelims (the other four each sat out on one event), so Ban was replaced by an Australian girl (can't remember her name) who would have been the next to qualify for top 24.

    I'm not sure if Oana made any event finals, but she might have been replaced by a team mate for those...

  7. Hey!

    Thanks for mentioning intlgymnast time and time again! All of us eat it up! :)

    If I'm not mistaken, Oana Ban did qualify for the All Around finals but got injured, causing her to sit it out.


  8. Oana Ban got injured on floor in TFs. She had qualified for AA. When she withdrew, Steph Moorhouse took her place in the AA finals as the first reserve. I'm also of the thinking she (Ban) qualified for floor finals as well.

  9. I'm pretty sure that Oona ban was injured for the AA at the Olympics. Romania didn't have another AA and so didn't feature in the medals at all. same for event finals.

  10. Shantessa Pama went to UCLSA but never competed. She retired due to an alleged injury but rumors said it was more.

    Oh and she was NEVER going to be big. She is a classic case of a mediocre gymnast trying to difficult stuff too early. She was just never talented enough to compete thoise ski8lls and hit them. The triple back was hit ONCE in competition. She fell every otehr time and she usually fell in practice.

  11. Oana did qualify all around (in 3rd place) and to the floor finals but she pulled out due to injury.

  12. I'm pretty sure that Oana Ban did qualify to both AA and FX finals but she got injured during Team Finals and wasn't able to participate in individual events..
    Sofronie was originally not supposed to be in the FX Event finals...