Saturday, October 23, 2010


The vault line up was such a motley crew of girls.  It was guaranteed its fair share of drama with the presence of two Russians, of this year's Comeback Queen and of the usual random renegade vault finalists. You never know what's going to happen.

There was no drama from Alicia this year, however.  What we got from Alicia was what she had been delivering all week- good, high and CLEAN vaults.  Then she got to sit in the precious but nerve-wracking position of waiting.

But if we wanted drama, the Russians delivered.  The rest of the Russian team manage to turn up on the floor for every event they are not involved in. It's breaking the rules, but no one seems to care.  Their appearance only adds to the intensity of the Russian presence on the Worlds stage as their voices collide and add to the theatre of it all.

Nabieva and Mustafina work well together, talking each other through the experience, using each other and the other girls as an emotional crutch, as coach, as comfort. Each stood at the end of the runway for the other, giving parting words before they headed for their seven seconds or so of make or break.  They comforted each other when things didn't go their way. Nabieva needs it more than Mustafina, that's obvious, but they still go through the experience together.

The protest

But if they delivered drama, they didn't deliver the vaults, according to the judges.  Three of the four vaults were downgraded, and after doing the math, they attempted an appeal in melodramatic Russian tradition.  It failed.

Imogen, Diana and Ariella did well, but didn't have the vaults to medal.  Perhaps Kaeslin did, but no one, at least not I, expected Jade Barbosa to come out of the gates like she did and deliver two great vaults.

I knew she was capable of great vaults, but after a week like hers, I forgot to believe in her.  She didn't believe in herself either, staring at the scoreboard that blatantly read the score she would need to come in third, but she couldn't seem to get the message.  It was minutes before she seemed to understand that she had won the bronze.

Who ever thought there would be a time when Alicia Sacramone was the quiet presence on any scene?  But that is exactly what she was today.  She went out there.  She did her job.  She waited, without drama, without overblown emotion, without regrets, but with maturity and the class to wait and celebrate at the very end.  She just watched and waited, with a camera stuffed in her face, for it to FINALLY be her turn at the top.  And so it was.  As far as I am concerned.  She deserves it.


  1. I love Jade's expression in the first photo.

  2. I am just still squealing over the fact that Alicia has a gold medal.
    That's all.

  3. PolyisTCOandbannedOctober 23, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Womvault is starting to improve, but it is still pretty non world class. Any time you have barani tucked handspring and FTY (or even DTY) in an even final means things are not really there yet. Only three vaults (of 16) were "hard" difficulty: Alicia and Ariana's Rudis and then Musty's Amanar.

  4. Each post seems to be getting more negative about the Russians... Care to share why? For me my only critique of your posts is the favoritism. Maybe just because I'm all for a Russian comeback! CD

  5. I would give big Kudos for Aliya and the other AA's coming back and competing vault only 15 hours after the big event. Amazing they did so well!! Definitely a disadvantage there for them..

  6. I think you mistake my comments about Russian drama for negativity. I love the drama. If they weren't here this competition would be a whole lot duller! Maybe it is because I didn't think their messy Amanars deserved to win gold. But they are one of my favorite teams here.

  7. Im just thinking exactly the same way Cd comment, every post after team finals seems like not only you, but also the gymblog and others are something negative to say about russian gymnasts.
    Is not anymore pleasant to read you with this kind of favoritism. It feels awkward. I love you for bringing us news about gymnastics, but I have to say it.

  8. 1. This is a blog, not a newspaper. i get to have whatever opinions and favorites I like. i f you want unbiased gymnastics news go read IG.
    2. I love the Russians. When I talk about the 'drama' I am not actually criticising them. I have enjoyed every minute of their resurgence here.
    3. They were very badly behaved in floor finals- as was Sandra Izbasa.

  9. anyone know if this is true? today is sunday.. we should be hearing something

  10. I don't mind see DTY on vault. Personally, I would rather that this vault isn't used to medal, but to have it as a second vault isn't bad.

    I also consider Mustafina and Nabieva's attempt at a half-on front layout 1/1 off a difficult vault. It has a 6.1 difficulty which is perfectly acceptable for a vault final. However, I would rather see gymnasts do vaults cleanly than "chuck" it. That vault was clearly chucked by both gymnasts and they need to go home and work on getting the form better so they can get it credited.

  11. I wonder if all you guys care about is difficulty. Of course it is great to see a girl attempting an Amanar, or any 6.0+ vault for the matter, but when execution is as poor as Nabieva's, you just CAN'T complain about a well executed DTY like Jade's or Sacramone's. Execution plays a bigger role than difficulty and Alicia proved it to Mustafina, as well as Jade proved it to both Kaeslin and Nabieva. Even Imogen Cairns scored higher with a one and a half twisting yurchenko than Kaeslin did with a DTY. I just can't believe some people who commented here still can't get the message. Gymnasts should worry about CLEAN execution. Less Nabieva, more Jade and Sacramone. PLEASE!

  12. Well, Hyunjoo is totally left aside?