Random Thoughts From Week One in London
(21 votes, average 2.71 out of 5)

With a two-day break from the artistic gymnastics competition, I've compiled a list of items that have moved me, one way or another. Perhaps you can add your own thoughts.

Gabby Douglas: What she has done in London qualifies as the opposite of a comeback, whatever that may be. A year ago, who would have thought she would do the all-around three times in London?

You have to hand it to her. She responded with clutch routines on uneven bars and balance beam in the all-around final. What a time to have the best meet of your career.

Liang Chow & his wife, Liwen Zhuang: Not enough credit can go to Douglas's coaches. Shortly after Gabby moved to Iowa, Chow told me how impressed he was that a 14-year-old would leave home to train at his gym. He also said she was the most talented gymnast he had ever worked with. "Fully loaded" was the term he used.

Jordyn Wieber: So great to see her smile so wide after the team final and cheer for her teammates in the all-around final. Classy. Yes, I thought the 2-per-country rule was silly when they instituted it years ago. Why dilute the all-around competition when there are so few talented all-arounders these days? Wieber's presence in the final would have been good for the competition as well as for the fans who paid dearly for a seat. How thin was the field? The bronze medalist fell off beam.

McKayla Maroney: Her vault in the team final was a missed opportunity for the sport to really grab a global audience. It would have scored a 10.0 in any other Code of Points. Can anyone recall what she scored? 16-something, right? Maroney should have received a perfect execution score so fans could at least say they saw a 10.0.

Men's Floor Exercise: You know something is wrong with the rules when guys are repeatedly glancing at the scoreboard during their routine to see how much time they have left. Yikes! Three more passes in 15 seconds! Better hurry! The great minds that came up with the idea of counting 10 skills forgot to consider the odd nature of floor exercise.

Age-old Question: Does Chinese Deng Linlin, who was a member of the 2008 Olympic team, look 20?

The 2012 Olympic Logo: Every time I see it, I keep wondering how someone got ahold of my lower back X-rays.

The O2 Arena Color Scheme: Two words come to mind: Pepto Bismol.

Aliya Mustafina: Super-talented and probably a perfectionist, Mustafina still has a lot of gymnastics left in her — if coach Alexander Alexandrov is willing to put up with her. Brushing him off after her blown beam routine in the all-around final crossed the line in a coach-gymnast relationship. I don't care how mad you are.

Leotard Colors: A faithful IG reader e-mailed and asked why the U.S. women aren't wearing red, white and blue leotards. I haven't a clue. In 1984 and 1988 they literally wore Old Glory. The Mag Seven had a toned down version of the flag, but it got to the point where the leotards were looking more like football jerseys.

Beth Tweddle: Nice to see Tweddle qualify first for the uneven bars final. Not to take anything away from the other talented bar workers, such as He Kexin, Viktoria Komova or Aliya Mustafina, but Tweddle's routine is unique because it continuously links difficult skills that are different. There are no empty swings, really, which should be rewarded.

Vault: A fall on vault should be penalized 2.0 (or more), not 1.0. The landing is a huge part of the vault and should be evaluated as such. I'm not sure I really want to watch Yamilet Pena in the women's vault finals. She scored a 7.833 in execution for her handspring-double front in prelims. The vault carries a 7.1 D-score. An Amanar is worth 6.5.

Let the Games continue…

Comments (10)add comment

brian bias said:

It was the thinnest AA field I have ever seen. I have been watching Olympic gymnastics since 1992 and every time it gets smaller and smaller. I'm afraid of what Rio 2016 will be like. I'm glad Tim Daggett stated during NBC's coverage that if the 2 per country rule wasn't in place that it would at least be a 5 person race. I appreciate that your articles aren't afraid to call out questionable (ridiculous) rules and scores. I guess my question is why the media, coaches and athletes dance around it so much. If people want things to change, they should SPEAK UP! Does the FIG know that practically the entire gymnastics community despises them so much? Would they even care?
August 03, 2012
Votes: +3

Jj said:

I agree
Great comments! I agree so much about Yamilet Pena. While it is an impressively hard vault, it is performed in such an ugly manner with no technique.It reminds me of run and chuck it. As for Jordyn, what class.

Finally, Gabby. There were people who didn't want her on this team and now look at her. Way to show them Gabby!
August 03, 2012
Votes: +1

Carrie said:

Commentary & coverage
I'd like to see IG weigh in on the terrible coverage and embarrassingly bad commentary and excessive fluff pieces. How can we turn this ship around?
August 03, 2012 | url
Votes: +6

xc3434 said:

Global Audience?
As one of the most watched Olympic sports, I would say gymnastics already has a global audience. Fortunately, Olympic viewership is not a problem with which gymnastics must deal with. I also don't think that scores should be given out on the basis of viewership. If she deserved a ten, she deserved a ten. How ratings would be affected should not be a factor.

That being said, she should have received a 10. This just reaffirms that we will never be seeing another perfect score.
August 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Nadia Garner said:

A gymnast trying a "Produnova" gives us audience something special. Hope Yamilet Pena can stand on her feet i the final.
August 04, 2012
Votes: +1

Alison Clements said:

Aliya Mustafina
Could I please request that International Gymnast doesn't make the mistake of buying into the bile that the US television commentators are spouting about Mustafina. Internationally, TV commentators are not running her down, and international fans are full of admiration for the comeback she has achieved, the support she provides to her younger teammates, and her phenomenal talent. Seriously - a bronze at the Olympics only 15 months after blowing out her ACL ... the girl is incredible.

Please remember that she is only a 17 year old girl, and also that it is inappropriate to judge her by your own cultural norms when she is from a different culture.

As a magazine that sells itself on the basis of being 'international' a more neutral stance is necessary. I hope that despite your natural pride in US achievements, you will be able to celebrate all the international gymnasts, including Mustafina, without becoming swayed by the most unfortunate commentary that is being inflicted on US audiences.
August 04, 2012
Votes: +20

eric peterson said:

right on!
i so agree with you! on everything!

yao jinnan fell off beam last worlds and she was bronze medalist in aa too!!

if yamilet pena falls and gets a medal, im gonna be so pissed. i wanna see her land that so bad, but ive NEVER seem her do it!
August 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Alex Liang said:

Deng Linlin's age again?!
Please stop going on about Deng Linlin's age - Chinese people naturally look younger than their white counterparts. It's nothing new, I'm of Chinese extraction and constantly got IDed when going into clubs, at the bar etc until I was well into my 30s and my much younger white friends were spared the same scrutiny because they looked older. Furthermore, Deng is build like a very young girl - her waif like figure is great for gymnastics. Go to China and you will see plenty of fat Chinese people, but they are not the ones doing gymnastics. Tall, big and fat people don't make good gymnasts, the little, short waif-like ones do and Deng is one of them. To my Chinese eyes, I think Deng does look like a 20 year old Chinese person - just a very short one who has the perfect body for gymnastics.
August 05, 2012
Votes: +6

Robin said:

I guess I basically agree on everything
-Wieber: I was also happy to see Jordyn smiling in the team final. Her contribution to the team's success was key. Had she started the meet with struggles on vault or bars, the emotional impact on her and the rest of the team could have been disastrous. Jordyn + adversity = champion. So proud of her.
On one hand, though, the fact that she, being the current world champ, was excluded from the AA final has the most potential to change the dumb 2-per-country rule. If Aly (or Gabby, perhaps) hadn't made it, oh well, boo hoo, nobody would've cared much. Hopefully Jordyn's situation will have an impact on the future. That would make it slightly more worthwhile. Because, seriously, when only gymnasts A and B have a realistic shot of winning gold, it's just sad.
-Maroney: I agree. She was robbed. When I first saw her vault, it felt like my blood went cold for a second. I keep getting chills every time NBC replays it. It was so perfect. That's what everyone will remember about her--not that she came up short in the vault final.
-Men's Floor: I don't follow men's events as much, but the rushed nature of the floor routines was frustrating.
-Deng: I think Asian people often look younger to me than they are, but I did notice that her face looked older and more tired.
-Logo: hate it. Hated it as soon as it was unveiled. I don't understand why a country like Great Britain would choose to ignore its iconic architecture, rich history, and the most beautiful/recognizable/historically significant flag in the world in creating their logo. Okay, okay, the added in a flag pattern after people got upset about the nasty colors, but it's not the main one they use, and it's still awful.
-O2 Arena: ditto.
-Mustafina: I'm not an expert at Russian culture by any means, but she makes herself look bad when you contrast her to Alexei Nemov's response to the crowd in the 2004 High Bar finals. I have nothing personally against her, it's just disappointing to see athletes acting childish.
-Leotards: I'm extremely disappointed by the Americans' leos this year (perhaps because I personally hate purple), but at least they wore red in the finals. I do like the Russian women's leos and the British men's uniforms. I'm stuck with non-live NBC so that's almost all I've seen! smilies/angry.gif
-Tweddle: hooray for Beth Tweddle! I agree, her routine is absolutely amazing! I'm really angry with NBC for not showing her bar routine during team competition. GRRR!
August 06, 2012
Votes: +2

Twilight said:

Aliya Musafina was just upset. To make a comment like "if her coach can put up with her" was uncalled for. Alexandrov himself if not exactly the most diplomatic and has even called the girls a "diva" and more. He should be move careful how he speaks about them especially to the American press... the Terrible trio i.e. NBC commentators. They would not stop making her out to be difficult and "divaesque" in American Cup 2011 which she should have won by the way.
She has been through so much and to come back from a torn achilles just 15 months ago to make the Olympic team is an incredible achievement.
She didn't just specialise on bars given the leg injury she worked so hard and came back to do all around.
In fact she was the only Russian who did AA in Team Final because they wanted to rest Komova. No wonder she was tired in the AA comptition and I think this contributed to her falling on beam.
The coaches seemed to be all about protecting Komova from too much competing yet use Mustafina who had a bigger and more serious injury and was out of action for longer.
And in the AA final who knew Komova had that incredible floor routine in her. She should have done floor in TF and pulled in a huge score for Russia. She was more experienced than Grishina and also had a higher floor start value.
Blythe from GymnasticsExaminer "gymblog" was present at the Am Cup 2011 and said she never saw Mustafina do anything diva like, bratty, childish or be difficult. She even commmented when asked and said she thought the scoring was fair! That's classy.
August 06, 2012
Votes: +10

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