Posts Tagged ‘Nadia Comaneci’

Anything But Routine

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Okay, so last time I made a Top 10 list of my favourite floor routines ever (I kinda forgot the fantastic routine Dominique Dawes did in 1992 and 1993, but luckily RJL commented on that!). I promised that my next post would be a list of the worst floor routines ever, so here goes….

After a lot of deliberating, I decided to narrow it down to just three routines. Unfortunately, there seems to be a theme (a lot of Romanian routines from the late 1970s!).

Honourable Mention: Emilia Eberle (ROM), 1977 USA vs. Romania

I was debating whether or not I should include this floor routine. It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but it is bizarrely whimsical and the choreography matches the music quite well (though the only video I can find has been dubbed!). I don’t think I can watch the slow-mo part from 0:47-0:52 with a straight face.

3. Nadia Comaneci (ROM), 1978 World Championships

Too bad this floor routine comes courtesy of the perfect Nadia Comaneci. She deserves better than this! Was Marta Karolyi behind this floor choreography?

2. Kerri Strug (USA), 1996 American Cup

Something about this routine just rubs me the wrong way, and it ain’t the tumbling. The little move at 1:12 really has no place on an international stage, but the best part of the whole video is when the divine Svetlana Boginskaya stands up at 1:18 and does her best imitation!

1. Gabi Gheorghiu (ROM), 1978 Romanian National Championships

This routine was choreographed by none other than Marta Karolyi, and it’s got to be the worst monstrosity I’ve ever seen. What were they thinking?! I have no idea what’s going on at 1:08.

But hey, at least these routines have choreography! There have been some routines in the past few years that hardly have any due to all the tumbling and leap requirements. Jade Barbosa (BRA), Park Eun Kyung (KOR) and even current World Floor Champion Beth Tweddle (GBR) come to mind. Even if a gymnast isn’t a natural dancer, she should be able to put together a cool and unusual routine like Mari Kosuge (JPN) managed in 1991 and Gina Gogean (ROM) demonstrated in 1992. Often the powerful gymnasts are the ones who lack dance skills, and that’s why I’m so excited that the complete package that is Russian Viktoria Komova has burst on to the scene. Now that the Code of Points requires fewer skills be packed into each routine, I hope that will give the choreographers a chance to shine as they did twenty years ago.

Pic Picks

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Last week I celebrated the first anniversary of Gymbits! I thought I would mark the occasion by picking out some of my favourite photos that I’ve collected throughout the years. I originally wanted to do a Top 10, but I simply couldn’t narrow it down. So here are 29 of my favourite pictures!

Shun Fujimoto (JPN) poured his heart and soul into the team competition at the 1976 Olympic Games, concealing his fractured kneecap while earning a 9.7 on Rings. Japan would not have won the gold medal without his clutch performances.

Olga Korbut (URS) was the first gymnast with the acrobatic style that epitomizes the sport today. She captured hearts with her smiles and her tears at the 1972 Olympic Games.

Four years later, Nadia Comaneci (ROM) showed that she was perfection personified with her seven Perfect 10s. Korbut and Comaneci put gymnastics in the spotlight at the 1976 Olympics, and it has been a main event at the Olympic Games ever since.

Korbut looks on as Comaneci’s score of 10.0 registers on the scoreboard as a 1.00.

Yelena Mukhina (URS) continues the string of Soviet dominance by winning the 1978 World Championships…but at what cost?

Svetlana Boginskaya’s career spanned three Olympic Games where she represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team and Belarus. This gymnast is remembered for her unique style and her passion for the sport.

The classic Romanian style was demonstrated by their stars of the 1980s, Daniela Silivas (shown) and Aurelia Dobre.

Some of the most difficult skills of the 1980s were performed by Tatiana Groshkova. Groshkova, Natalia Frolova and Lyudmila Stovbchataya highlight the depth of the Soviet team, as these excellent gymnasts never managed to represent their country at a World Championships or Olympic Games.

Yang Bo (CHN) demonstrates exquisite form on her signature skill on the balance beam. A very similar photo appeared on the cover of the book released by the FIG, Gymnastics: The Art of Sport.

Vitaly Scherbo (CIS) was the Michael Phelps of the 1992 Olympic Games, winning 6 gold medals. At the following Games, he won 4 bronze medals.

Lilia Podkopayeva (UKR) is one of my favourite gymnasts ever. The 1996 Olympic all-around champion combined perfect form with tricky skills. I chose this photo because I was fortunate enough to be present when it was captured.

I like this photo of Dina Kochetkova (RUS) because of the colours, lighting and angles. I really miss the Fab Four of the mid-1990s: Kochetkova, Svetlana Khorkina, Yelena Grosheva and Oksana Fabrichnova.

Yelena Zamolodchikova (RUS) had a gymnastics career that spanned many years, and she had an excellent fighting attitude and accepted her role as a leader for younger teammates. She is particularly known for her vaulting.

No photo compilation would be complete without The Queen, Svetlana Khorkina (RUS). Her elegance and her innovative skills allowed her to win 3 all-around titles at the World Championships.

This photo captures Americans Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel as they realize they have tied for the top spot at the 2005 World Championships. You can tell by the expressions on their faces which gymnast was relegated to all-around silver due to a mathematical rounding issue.

Despite the 2005 disappointment, Liukin went on to win the 2008 Olympic Games and ended up modelling for Max Azria.

Li Ya (CHN) shows off unique skills on uneven bars.

Pang Panpan (CHN) was not on the world stage nearly long enough, but she does feature in two fantastic photos.

Liang Chow produced a well-rounded gymnast in Shawn Johnson (USA) while training significantly fewer hours than the competition. He seems like such a kind coach who truly wants the best for his athlete.

Johnson sports a leotard with her name in Chinese on the sleeve.

The stoic Yang Wei (CHN) lets loose with a wide grin after finally winning an all-around gold medal at the 2006 World Championships.

Yang’s team wins top honours in front of the hometown crowd at the 2008 Olympic Games. This team dominated the standings in almost every event.

I love this photo of Anna Pavlova (RUS).

I was overjoyed to discover that the rumour was true: Li Ning (CHN) had indeed been selected as the athlete to light the Olympic Torch high above the Bird’s Nest in Beijing. It was an exciting moment as he “ran” around the stadium high in the air with the fiery torch. Li Ning, winner of 6 medals at the 1984 Olympic Games, is perhaps now best known as an entrepreneur for his sports apparel company.

Other Chinese gymnasts who were part of the Opening Ceremony included Li Xiaoshuang, the 1996 Olympic All-Around Champion, and his Olympic teammate Huang Liping, who took the oath on behalf of all the judges and officials.

A Body Worlds 2 exhibit of a gymnast on rings.

Let’s end on a funny note! Kellie and aevera of GGMB posted many hilarious pictures following Kanye West’s outburst at the 2009 Video Music Awards. I’ll post two of my faves here.

(I’m sorry I am unable to credit the photographers. Please tell me if you captured one of the photos and would like to receive credit.)

Shun Fujimoto: An Olympic Hero

Monday, December 8th, 2008

At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Nadia Comaneci was the talk of the town. Olga Korbut may have put gymnastics on the Olympic map four years earlier, but Comaneci continued its run as one of the most popular Olympic sports when she captured headlines by scoring seven Perfect 10s.

Nadia Comaneci, 1976 Olympic Games, Uneven Bars

Though Nadia’s name remains one of the most recognized in the sport, there is another gymnast who could be considered a hero from same Olympic Games. The Japanese men were engaged in a tough battle with the Soviet Union for the team title, and they had a rich heritage to defend; Shun Fujimoto’s team was attempting to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. During the team competition, Fujimoto fractured his kneecap competing on his first apparatus of the day, Floor Exercise. He didn’t acknowledge that the injury had occurred, lest he discourage his teammates or show weakness to the judges. He continued on to Pommel Horse and finally the Still Rings, where he would have to land a half-in half-out dismount on a hurt leg. In a brave display of Olympic spirit, Fujimoto performed his Ring routine for a career-high 9.70. He landed in agony on the mat below, dislocating his fractured kneecap and tearing ligaments. Fujimoto could no longer hide his injury, Fujimoto was forced to withdraw. He did, however, contribute to Japan’s 0.40 victory over the Soviet Union. Shun Fujimoto: An Olympic Hero.

Shun Fujimoto, 1976 Olympic Games, Still Rings

“Fujimoto took home two souvenirs – a gold medal and a cast on his leg.”  –Sports Illustrated