Thursday May 16, 2013
USA Gymnastics linked out to this video of Liang Chow as a competitor in the 1991 American Cup. It's fun to see him compete -- and Tim Daggett is the commentator, even here!
Decades later, Chow coached Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas to Olympic success in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Chow (who changed his name from Qiao to the American phonetic spelling when he moved to the US) finished sixth all-around. Americans Trent Dimas and Chris Waller went 1-2, and on the women's side, Betty Okino bested American teammate (and future world all-around champ) Kim Zmeskal by a little over .2.
There's also video of Chow crashing on high bar later in the meet.
The entire 1991 American Cup, in parts.
Pictured above: Liang Chow with Shawn Johnson in 2007; © Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images
Monday April 29, 2013
There's plenty of not-so-pretty elite gymnastics being performed in 2013, but Russia's Anastasia Grishina manages to throw high difficulty levels while still paying attention to things like form, amplitude, and presentation.
One example? I could watch her bar set, from the recent European Championships, over and over again: Watch Grishina on bars
She throws high release moves, connects interesting elements (like a piked reverse hecht to Pak salto), and still keeps her feet together and pointed. It's gorgeous to watch. (With one exception: the bent knees on her tap before the dismount.)
Grishina is a hot-and-cold gymnast -- she scored a dismal 13.566 on this event in prelims and didn't make the event finals at Europeans -- but when she's on, she's great. In the all-around finals, she was .1 behind Olympic bar champion Aliya Mustafina with a 15.033.
Full women's results of the European Championships
Watch the women's all-around competition
Saturday April 20, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The University of Florida won its first-ever NCAA title on Saturday, with a 197.575, edging Oklahoma (197.375) and Alabama (197.35). Florida, led by 2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan who also won the individual all-around on Friday, had a nightmare start to the competition. With two falls in the first rotation on beam, Florida's total of 48.875 was the only event score in the 48s all night long.
But the Gators came back with an incredible 49.725 event total on the next rotation on floor, and were on fire the rest of the night. Highlights included Marissa King's easy double layout on floor and Tsukahara 1.5 on vault (she scored a 9.95 on each event), and Alaina Johnson's picture-perfect bar set, that capped the meet and also earned a 9.95.
Florida has been the team to beat all season long, so it was impressive that the gymnasts were able to live up to the hype, even with such a bad start.
"It's taken me awhile to compose myself because I'm so proud of this team... It speaks volumes for their desire and their passion, and their never-give-up attitude..." said coach Rhonda Faehn after the competition. She called the mistakes on beam "uncharacteristic" and felt like it only served to rally the team for floor.
"It's an absolute dream come true... we've come so close every year, and to finally achieve it is amazing," said senior Marissa King, who turned 22 on the day of the competition. "I'll definitely never forget my 22nd," she joked after.
UCLA was fourth, LSU fifth, and Georgia sixth. UCLA, national champs in 2010, has had an injury-ridden year, with 2008 Olympian Samantha Peszek out all season, and 2010 world team member Mattie Larson injured halfway through.
Watch the meet on YouTube.
More quotes from the athletes and coaches after the competition.
Quotes and results from semifinal session one
Quotes and results from semifinal session two
Monday March 25, 2013
American Cup runner-up Simone Biles won the all-around at the 2013 Jesolo Trophy on Saturday, a small-scale international competition that included competitors from the US, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland.
Biles led an American sweep in the all-around, with Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross in second, and 2012 Olympic Trials competitor Brenna Dowell in third. Not surprisingly, the US won the team competition as well. Bailie Key, fourth all-around at the 2012 US junior nationals, earned the junior all-around title.
Full results and lots of videos are up, from USA Gymnastics.
Since it's still early on in a post-Olympic year, it wasn't the strongest of competitions, but Biles was certainly a highlight. Check out her new tumbling pass -- a back 1.5 to a full-in! -- as her third pass. And that's after a tucked double-double mount, and a double layout second pass. Impressive!