Thursday, August 5, 2010


Somewhere, in an idyllic place far far away, there existed a Magical Faraway tree.  If you were lucky enough to climb all the way to the top of this magical tree you would find all kinds of strange and wonderful lands to visit.
Sometime it would be a land full of sweets, or a land of talking bunnies who ask you for Cuban cigars.  Another time it might be a land of mischievous elves who sold you into the shoe cobbling slave trade or even a land full of birthday parties. Though Enid Blyton would have you believe that The Magic Faraway Tree can only be found in the primrose woods of England, in fact, every country has one, even the USSR....

One day, Svetlana and her red leotard-ed comrades decided to see what was at the top of that  special tree in the woods out back of Lake Krugloye.  They waved to their coaches, curtsied to the bust of Lenin, grabbed their hamper of carrot skins and apple seeds for their picnic lunch and skipped away to the woods.  Together they climbed the tree, all the way to the top, munching the apple seeds.

It was little Svetlana who got to the top first.  She scrambled to the top of the ladder that sat at the top of the tallest branch.  When she reached the top, she stuck her  head through the hole in the cloud that hid the land from the rest of the world.
And what did she find that made her gasp and grin and call her team mates to hurry up?!!

That's right folks, on that lucky day at the top of the Faraway Tree, the Land of Do what You Like and You Still Get a Ten was there.

Svetlana hurried up the ladder.


Okay, I know I have complained about spurious tens before, but this one really fooled me. Here I was watching it, thinking, 'aside from the tumbling, that's a pretty sad little floor ex for a Soviet'.

 Then... I see the comment. "Wow. A ten" And I think, 'Are they kidding? They think it deserved a ten? Maybe some non-gym person just happened on this vid and is impressed.
 Then I realise, no, we are going to see the score.  A ten?  really?

I get that little Sveta did some fabulously hard tumbles and I truly admire and respect that. I do. The girl did some amazing stuff. I love that she did a double layout to a punch front that will always remind me of Mohini Bhardwaj, but sheesh, people!! THE LANDINGS!!! Yes she stuck them, but they, especially the two punch front landings were so effing low! Really, they could only be considered appropriately high enough if she was supposed to be landing seated in an armchair.
And if you wanna be picky, the legs were apart on the layouts and she cowboyed her tucks. But it's the ignoring the landings that bugs me.

Oh, I know the Japanese were all hot for any Soviet gymnastics- that judge guy in the background looks just happy to be in the presence of a cog the gymnastics machine- but really, I could not pay that a ten with those landings.

And what about the artistry factor?  Maybe I am over-reacting, and it may also be because I hate the choreography of that routine with a fiery passion. Particularly the low-to-the-ground bit. I mean, we saw the floor writhing from above and it looked silly, imagine, from the side it would have just looked like she was lying on the ground flapping her legs about.
It was also one of those rare times when Soviet choreography failed.  It's like, they used all the usual tricks in the book, the same moves, same chorey cliches, but it just didn't work.  It didn't match the music at times, and was danced by a hardcore gymnast who couldn't summons up the sass, or at least the fake joy or Soviet 'haughty' to pull it off.
I deplore the idea of giving a ten to someone who looks like they are going through the motions, that's all.

Anyway, story's over, Sveta and her comrades climbed out of the clouds, back down the Faraway Tree and went home.  They ate their dinner of celery leaf soup, went to bed and dreamt all night of blue mats and score boards saying 10...10....10......

And now some of you are probably going to comment and say you don't think it was so bad.  And that's okay.  I know I am being harsh!



  1. IMO, it's not that's bad per se, it's just not that good. Too cookie cutter and bleh. Nothing pops out at you. I don't think you're being too harsh. Some FX just rub ya the wrong way. I hated Baitova's 87 Worlds FX. Between the weird jazz/circus music and bland choreography I wasn't sold. So glad she went with more traditional music otherwise.

    Now I need to cleanse my palate with some Groshkova and Frolova!

  2. And some Baraksanova, too! :)

  3. and the trees whispered "Wisha, Whish, Wisha - you wish that was worth a ten!"

    I don't think so!

  4. That's 4 combo tumbling passes, w/ a 4th pass harder than a lot of girl's first passes at the time. She wasn't a dancer like Bogi or sky-high like other Soviets but I still think the ten is deserved.

  5. That's 4 combo passes, with a 4th pass harder than a lot of girl's 1st at the time. She wasn't a ballerina w/ a 10inch waist like Bogi or ski high like a lot of other Soviets, but the toes were pointed on leaps and the passes all stuck. I feel the ten is deserved. Coming from a team with so much talent its easy to get overlooked, I don't think you would be saying she didn't deserve it if she was from any other team.