Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Today was a last big day in training and getting ready for the team competition.  Here are some bits and notes from my day in the Ahoy.

Ksenia Afanasyeva hooded up to do strength.  She was NOT training bars!

Russia looked okay.  I mostly saw bars.  They are really working Kurbatova on them today.  Anna Dementieva cried twice after coming off, but I think she always cries- at least twice a training session from what i have seen.  She is out-weeping Jade Barbosa at this worlds.  I think she is just quite highly strung, because she cheers up quick smart, and the Russian lady 'hens', as I think of them, are generally quite comforting with her.

Anna Dementieva

Aliya Mustafina was repeatedly messing up on bars.  She just kept losing her rhythm or her core strength and dropping off them.  But later, in her second last routine, I saw the reason why she can win all-around, and why those cranky, obstreperous little Russians can still win  the team event.  It was like she just decided, 'okay, I am going to hit bars.'  She belted onto that apparatus like a bat out of hell and just muscled her way through her routine through sheer grit and determination.  It was like she decided she wasn't going home without getting one right.  And if she can do that, I think maybe she can decide that she isn't leaving without gold.

Nabs and Semeonova

The Romanians were clap happy tonight!  They have been wonderfully cheery in training all around, and I see nothing but jokes and warmth between the coaches and the girls. Sandra was in top clown form.  She mucked up a pass, landing awkwardly and decided to flop sideways onto the ground in this sort of melodramatic swoon and lie there, playing dead for a minute.  Everyone cracked up.  Ceresela was in stitches and even Octavian and Lili were laughing.

Sandra- always smiling!
Amelia was working bars again tonight, as was Gabi.  Gabi looks pretty bad on bars I am sorry to say.  Amelia actually looks better even though she is injured.

Amelia on bars

Then I saw Lucian giving Raluca Haidu a back rub, which was making her giggle until then he finished it up with a big whack on the back (not meanly-just being a smart @#$, I think) and she was like "Ooooh!" and looked like she was going to turn around and thump him back.
The other giggle also went to Pitic when I noticed her try and catch Sandra as she over-stepped her landing. As if tiny Raluca could do anything to stop a projectile Izbasa!


Some Romanian media was hanging around ready to interview the girls after training.  They spoke to Ana, Diana and Sandra.  Sandra wouldn't talk to them until she had fluffed out her hair!  Apparently her parents were out in the hall too, but wouldn't come in to watch he train.

Sandra fluffed and ready to talk!

 The Aussie girls were training with the Romanians in the hall.  They looked good.  Bonora and Miller both nailed bars in a major way.  Emily Little was hammering her floor tumbling as usual.  Lauren was doing okay on bars, although it still looks like an effort for her.  Ash Brennan was being spotted a lot.  Georgia Simpson has been having major trouble on bars all week, which is weird because last week she looked quite good.  Wheeler's Tkatchev got some 'ooohs' from the crowd even though they were mainly there to watch Romania.

Peggy one-minute handstand warm-up

The girls were in hot pink and black and many of the people I spoke to were like, 'who is that team?' because they didn't recognise them in pink!

In weird news, in the press room they are setting up for media people to vote for the Longine Elegance Prize.  Me and one of the volunteers were talking about how it would be sheer insanity if Ana Porgras wasn't voted in.  Then we realised that people were going to be all patriotic, and most of the press thus far seems to be Brazilian- so maybe Jade Barbosa?  So then, out of interest, I asked the next press person I saw who they thought was the most elegant gymnast out there.  He hummed and hah-ed in an American accent for a while and then guess what he cam out with?  Bridget Sloan.
Now I was expecting an American from an American.  But Bridget Sloan?  I asked why her and he said 'Well, she is so strong.'  I did my best to explain strong don't equal elegant but I think I lost him on the care factor.

Alicia plays DJ, both for the floor music and the music that goes on between exercises.  The Australians also complain when the music becomes repetitive and bring their own cds.

DJ Asac

I only saw the USA train on floor and vault.  Brossy wasn't training vault at all, so they are giving her as big a rest as possible before the AA.  The girls danced through their floor routines.  Aly tried hard, but she still looks awkward dancing.  She is always going to look awkward dancing and we may as well all live with it!   Galina Marinova has arrived and was watching Mattie from the sideline, tut-tutting every now and then over her tumbling.  I was on the judges viewing side which is fun because judges LOVE to gossip!  Mattie landed her DLO twice with no spot.  Alicia vaulted on her own for a while and looked great.  I hope she wins vault.  It is so her turn!

They're not flexed but they are not pretty either

In hilarious news, one gymnast, I was informed, asked one of the volunteers to smuggle her some cookies, because she isn't allowed to eat them.  She made them stuff them in her backpack when no one was looking and shared them with her teammate.  My spurious code of ethics doesn't allow me to tell you who it was, but she is hereby referred to in the halls of Ahoy as The Cookie Monster!!!

Larissa Miller showing off!!!

Also, I heard several times today in the gossip mills, that a judge didn't realise a guy was doing a second vault, thought it was the end of the rotation, and got up to go to the toilet and missed the vault!!  They used the reference judges score or something!  From the outside these events always looks so shiny and organized.  From the inside you realise that they are a hotbed of malfunction and near-disaster!

Beth watching the Nabs on bars.

Also amusing- watching Beth Tweddle watch Tanya Nabieva do her laid out Tkatchev.  No real reaction, but there was definitely some muttering.  Maybe she'll give it a go!

So- who will win?  My friend Ingrid thinks it will be China.  I never like to guess.  I like the surprise, in fact.


  1. Beautiful pictures, lovely report. Thank you!

  2. Have you seen Barbosa cry yet?

  3. Please!
    Tell us who The Cookies Monster is!

  4. LOL! can you at least tell us which team the Cookie Monster is on?

  5. PolyisTCOandbannedOctober 19, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Well written, Bridge!

  6. I appreciate all your coverage and I don't mean to sound ungrateful BUT you shouldn't tease us by giving us half the story. I'm referring to the cookie incident here. Please, either tell the entire story, or don't tell any of it. In-between is annoying.

  7. Alternatively, at least give us a hint so we may have the opportunity to work it out for ourselves.

  8. Thanks for these comments - I love reading them!

  9. oh yes, please, please, please, give us a hint and we can go work it out. me loves riddles!

  10. Guys-I think the point is so that she doesn't get in trouble with her coach(es). If we can figure out who a gymnast is with a hint, then her coach(es) probably can, too. So let's just leave it at that.

  11. let the cookie monster go, enjoy that we have one cookie monster here.