Thursday, November 5, 2009


Oh bless, bless, bless the British commentators.  I do love them.  Look at how they analysed each specific vault, discussed varying techniques, honestly debated scores.  It was interesting.  It was honest.  It was educational.  They speak like coaches, as well as commentators.  It was NOT the great big cliched sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing we have come to expect from some other commentators whose names I will not mention.
It's amazing how they talk in a relaxed, slow way, even joking sometimes, and still manage cover so much, while others yap and yip and never stop but manage to say very little at all.

(Christine Still)

And they don't go on talking about other gymnasts while a new gymnast whom they might not be as familiar with is performing.  They give every gymnast, no matter how big her chances of a medal,  no matter where she comes from, her due.

Sure, they are biassed and excitable when there is a Brit gymnast up, but not at the cost of the others.  Even though Christine clearly wanted Beth to win floor, she still insisted Porgras was her favorite for elegance, and really admired Lauren's dance.

And I really, really hope Larissa Miller gets to here how admiring they were of her bar work.

I know they make mistakes too, like Mitch saying Larissa narrowly missed out on an AA medal the day before, but at least he actually remembered that Australia used to have a great bars reputation.  Some commentators would still be hard pressed to name more than one Australian gymnast before this past quad!

And I just love how excited they get about the gymnastics- not just the sob stories, the dramas, the rivalries, though those are fun.  They love the gymnastics, the moves, the techniques of moving and connecting skills.  Look at how they were going off about Bross's "body discipline"  and Bridget's "strength"  and Ana's stoops?!

It was just sooooo refreshing to listen to.

Koko Tsurumi is so dang cute, and the funny thing is, she look exactly what my Japanese friends, a married couple, Atsu and Yuki's kid would look like if they had a little girl.  Makes me laugh!  And she and He Kexin's little medal winning love-in was really cute.

Speaking of He Kexin, she kind of reminds me of an airplane (oh just go with my whimsical metaphors will you?!)  When she is in the air she glides perfectly, as if she belongs there, as if she should always be in the air. But when she is on the ground she is kind of clumsy and awkward and needs a bit of help moving along.  She was kind of tripping off the podium, sideways hugging Yilin and nearly backing into a coach after her routine. It's completely adorable!

That was a really nice interview they did with Nadia Comaneci, and the fact she gave Ana Porgras a little pep talk before beam was quite sweet too.

(or watch it HERE)

I also have to say, that the one thing I really noticed about the Romanians, particularly Forminte, is what good care he took of little Porgras.  He was always by her side.  Just look at how he is looking at her during this clip, all fatherly and proud and 'how exciting is that you are meeting Nadia?'
 I mean, they seem to take care of all the other girls too.  The Romanians have such a family like vibe about them.  Not lovey- dovey, but just a practical, healthy family dynamic that probably comes from living together all year round.

Anyway, as I was saying,  the other girls have been out to major comps before and are old hands.  But Porgras is almost ridiculously new to the game.  Her third competition.  I saw Ana surrounded by girls getting autographs one night, maybe after qualifications.  It was getting late, and they were leaving.  Anyway, Forminte let her sign a bunch of autographs, but then told the girls no more, saying "it is too much".  He knew she was getting overwhelmed and just seemed to want to protect her.

Then I noticed, during the floor final, when Ortiz was hurt, he was kind of shielding her from watching what was happening.  He seems happy to let her just stay the child she is, which is more than I can say for Belu and Bitang whose baby gymnasts looked like careworn war widows by the time they'd made it onto the senior national team.

She is just the baby of this family and I am so glad they seem to be letting her mature in her own time.

What else? Oh, vault finals.  Another reason to love Elsa Garcia, aside from the fact she is funny.  When she congratulated Kayla Williams, hugged her and said something nice, but actually made eye contact while she did it.  I think this is one of the reasons I hate the whole huggy thing.  Most of the girls don't even look at each other when they are doing it.  It seems so in-genuine. But maybe its just the whole awkward teenage thing.

(from gymbox )

I was really interested to hear Beth Tweddle say that Amanda Kirby decided to give her the day off before floor finals.  I'd be really interested to know more about their dynamic as athlete and coach, considering Beth is basically an adult, but yet they have been together since she was little so they totally have the coach/pupil relationship in place.  Anyways, it was nice of her to give Beth the day off.  And it worked!!

I didn't see Peggy Liddick put Lauren Mitchell's hand on her heart after she came off the beam podium, as if to say "feel my heart beating madly!"  Cute!

(Peggy and Lozza- from Gymnastics Australia's Worlds Album )

Cha Yong Hwa's bar routine seriously rocks my world.  It is really cool.  And she hit a perfect handstand out of that squat dislocate thingy!!  I love how she was hooting and talking after her routine, but her coach looked really, really cross.

Who is the Japanese coach and where does he come from?  He doesn't look entirely Japanese to me.  Which one of you Japan fans can tell me something about him?

That's all for now!



  1. First of all can I say how much I enjoy your blog, your insights are very interesting.
    I do agree that the British commentators are very good. However, Matt Baker makes a lot of mistakes. He is very enthusiastic but gets gymnasts and scores mixed up all the time.

  2. Can he recognise a Romanian gymnast? Not their name, their age, their specialty, but just the mere fact that that their red, blue, yellow and white leotard is the same one Romanians have worn since time immemorial? Then he's one up on some of them! Yeah,I know, he does make mistakes, and i wish co-commentators were more inclined to say "hey buddy, that ain't Lauren, it's Larissa" or whatever, but he loves the sport of gymnastics and that makes me happy/.

  3. The Japan coach looks like Kozich's old coach Sergei Butsula.

  4. I like the British commentators too, although they say things like "tiny little gymnast", "real classy classical ..." far too often.
    And they said that Kexin would never be trained for AA because of the way her body is built, when in fact she had been training for AA.
    But they're still way better than "some other commentators whose names I will not mention".

  5. It's okay - you can say it. The American commentators are atrocious. Al is completely clueless and just inserts random awkward thoughts, as though he forgets how to prevent his mouth from oepning when something pops in his head. Elfi doesn't help much, either, because she loves to say "Oh, that was a mistake!" and fails to enlighten the rest of us, which is frustrating when it's either a well-disguised mistake that an amateur might not catch, or a gymnast we haven't seen and aren't familiar with her routine. And Tim...well, his outbursts. His over-the-topness. And don't get me started on Andrea Joyce...ugh.

  6. I think that Christine and Mitch really add to my love of the sport. I was lucky enough to be there at the Championships and on entering the O2 stopped to grab a Latte and Christine was the first person I saw and it literally gave a buzz that I was'at the worlds'!

    No they don't get it all right but they have a passion for the sport and find positives in all gymnasts' routines. The only good thing about leaving the venue at the end of competition was knowing I could watch it all again on TV with their charming commentaries.

    Love your blog!

  7. I don't know his name but Koko Tsurumi's coach is Russian. Glad you had such a good time at worlds. I'm loving the inside info.

  8. Koko has at least 2 Russian coaches. The other one was there in Beijing, but I haven't seen him since the American Cup. I wonder where he's been...

  9. Another affirmation that her coach is an ex-Soviet.

  10. I appreciate the British commentary (or at least the British commentators on the Universal sports broadcast) especially after watching the ABC Broadcast. Universal & thhose lovely broadcasters talk about more gymnasts than just the ones who are expected to win or have a good chance. For the ABC broadcast I saw the event finals--and they didn't even show the gold medalists' routines, but only the Americans' (which I like them).