Stretching Out: The Year In Review, From A to Z
Print
(12 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

As 2012 comes to a close, it's time to reflect on the past 12 months in gymnastics. It's definitely been filled with inspiration, weirdness and heartbreak. Following is a summary of the year, from A to Z.

A - Alexander & Aliya: Created by circumstance, Alexandrov's dual role as Russian head coach and personal trainer to Mustafina resulted in the Olympic team silver and three medals for Aliya (bars gold, bronze in all-around and on floor), and later a reduction of duties. So much for success.

B - Butcher: Always upbeat, Steve Butcher ran away with the MTC President election over incumbent Adrian Stoica. Let's hope the job doesn't wipe the smile off his face.

C - Chusovitina: Making the vault final in her sixth Olympics says it all for Oksana. Runner-up: Canada, for working to potential for fifth in the women's team final without its star, Peng Peng Lee.

D - Douglas: Gabby pulled off the improbable in London. Even though her memoir came out in December, her story is just beginning.

E - Exhibition: Gabby's unofficial win at the American Cup as an exhibition gymnast was a first for national TV. Runner-up: Excalibur, for making the news as Gabby's former club, which denied her charges of racism.

F - Fierce Five: The U.S. women's team won Olympic gold by more than 5.0. Enough said.

G - Great Britain: With the fourth-highest medal total (4) in gymnastics, the Brits, especially the men, were royally satisfied at the Olympics.

H - The highest-rated skill: The FIG added an H category to the difficulty tables of the Code of Points (which will go into effect in 2013). Runner-up: Kytra Hunter, for winning Florida's first NCAA women's all-around title.

I - Illinois: The Fighting Illini beat the odds in winning the NCAA men's title, having dismissed a top scorer from the squad and upsetting favorite Oklahoma in Norman.

J - Jovtchev: Like Chusovitina, Jovtchev made a final in London (rings). Since 1996, his record in Olympic rings finals: 4th, 3rd, 2nd*, 8th, 7th. (He did not make the final in 1992.) *He was the people's champion in 2004, if not the judges'.

K - Kellogg's: With the success of American gymnastics, the cereal-making sponsor is surely eating it up.

L - Leyva: Danell's all-around bronze and lucky towel — or maybe it's the other way around — combined to make him one of the most intriguing gymnasts of the year.

M - Maroney: Her two-second smirk made her famous. Question is, Can she top it?

N - Nguyen: During the Uchimura era, silver medals seem like gold, and all-around runner-up Marcel is reaping the rewards in Germany.

O - Orozco: Up and down — and now out with a torn ACL — the U.S. national champ has made quite an impact between major injuries.

P - Price: Elizabeth's two lopsided World Cup wins at the end of the year should kickstart her 2013.

Q - Qiao: OK, Q's are tough, so we're using the Chinese spelling of Chow Liang's name. But his transformation of Gabby Douglas (along with help from wife Liwen Zhuang) makes him coach of the year.

R - Raisman: Aly definitely got it done in 2012, and proved that hard work and consistency are a potent combination.

S - Shawn: Johnson's DWTS silver kept her in the news, and overshadowed her retirement announcement in St. Louis (another S) at the Visa championships. Now what? Stanford?

T - Tie-breakers: Of the infuriating tie-breakers that tarnished the London Games, the worst was that which bumped Ukraine out of the men's team medals.

U - Uchimura: His Olympic gold in London completed an all-around sweep of the quadrennium, and with room to spare. Factoid: From 2009-12, he won one apparatus gold (floor, 2011).

V - Visa: OK, we're struggling here, but Visa has become synonymous with U.S. gymnastics competitions. Or maybe Vanessa Ferrari is a legitimate choice for her impressive form, six years after winning worlds.

W - Wieber: It's not easy to meet expectations, and even harder to be humbled on global television. But Jordyn bounced back as a role model for attitude.

X - X-rays: Sadly, the sport continues to create its share of injuries. But the sport of gymnastics is one huge family. Visit the "Get well Jacoby Miles" Facebook page when you get a chance.

Y - Yang Hak Seon: The Korean teen dominated vault in London with his own creation: handspring-front with triple twist (7.4). His second vault, a Lopez (Kasamatsu-double twist), might have been the best ever.

Z - Zonderland: Epke had certainly paid his dues on high bar, so it was only fitting that he achieved his biggest title in one of the most thrilling apparatus finals in history.

Happy New Year.