Thursday, January 7, 2010



In a sport where the result is becoming more and more obvious before a competition because of difficulty values, it is a particularly lovely surprise when the result is unexpected. Here are some of my favorite surprise results of the year.


With their most recent results throwing their scores up into the 198’s and a run of terrific performances, who would have though there was a chance in hell Georgia wouldn’t take the SEC conference? When they were defeated by stalwart stars, Alabama, everyone, including the Tide were surprised and a little bit pleased because it meant the Super Six championships was about to get a whole lot more interesting.


If asked who was going to take the gold at the European beam finals my answers would have included the typical contenders, Tamirjan, Dragoi or one of the Ksenias. I might even have considered Millousi who had qualified so brilliantly, but I had taken relatively little notice of the teeny Demyanchuk who got onto that beam, performed her difficult batch of tricks at warp speed and got the hell off before gravity could have its way before she was ready, leaving the crowds breathless and impressed as hell. It was a pity she didn't have quite the same meet at Worlds.

Canada has produced its fair share of Canadian stars over the past few years. Some of them retired after the run at the coveted two Beijing spots, some of them have kept going. One of those was the quiet achiever, Sydney Sawa, who surprised everyone, and maybe even herself by becoming Canadian National Champion only a short time before the Olympics. Sawa, who had been fighting a nagging injury put it a fabulous performance and was rewarded by a berth to Worlds and the confirmation of her recruitment with the UCLA Bruins for next year.

I guess it would have been less of a surprise if Beth Tweddle had medalled on bars. In fact, it was quite the shock when she fell in qualifications! But floor was definitely a surprise! Though she had one of the highest difficulties in the field, Tweddle's weakness has never been difficulty, but execution. When she marched out on floor as the very first gymnast in the line up and produced her tremendously difficult gymnastics with terrific (for her) execution, I still wasn’t convinced that someone, perhaps Myzdrikova or Bross wasn’t going to come and take her down. But it wasn’t to be. It must have been a nerve-wracking wait for Tweddle as she sat through every other competitor until it was certain, she was the floor exercise World Champion.


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