Monday, December 24, 2012

Top Ten: Uneven Bars

Here's the 2nd part of my Top Ten series: the Uneven Bars.

Given the plethora of amazing (and shitty) bar routines from this quad, picking just 5 for the best and the worst was ridiculously hard.

Don't take these to mean that these were the only good (and bad) ones - the majority of the Russians are amazing, but there are only 5 places here.

Top 5:

1. Aliya Mustafina, 2012 Olympic EF

In my opinion, the best bar routine of the entire quad. When it came down to it in EF, she knocked this routine out of the park. That third combination (Inbar stalder 1/1 + Pak salto + Stalder Khorkina) blows my mind every time she does that. For those of you who are not aware, that combo is INSANELY hard. She has to time the Pak perfectly so that she can push away from the bar and swing back up to the high bar. It's fucking hard. While watching this live, the minute she stuck the landing, I knew she had won it. Her dramatic eye makeup + leotard just screamed Olympic Champion. As my dear friend Aunt Joyce put it, Aliya's "eye makeup [was] quite terrifying." Bitch knew she had won it after she capped off that perfect routine with a stuck dismount.

2. Viktoria Komova, 2012 Olympic TF

If it weren't for that fucking orphan half-pirouette, this routine would probably be my #1. Her swing is just gorgeous, and this routine is probably her best landing of the double-double. I love her lines, her swing, the effortlessness with which she does all her skills, and just the overall look. Not to mention, bitch should go teach the flying squirrel how to properly do a piked Tkachev.

3. Anastasia Grishina, 2012 Olympic Test Event EF

Sorry if this is turning into an "I love Russia fest." It's just that the Russians are so fucking good on bars. This is the only time Grishina did the composition of this routine that I like the best, and well. She, like the majority of the Russians, has such a beautiful and natural swing that makes her gorgeous to watch. Jordyn Wieber could take a page or two out of the Russian bars book on how to properly swing bars. The London bars lineup of Grishina, Mustafina, and Komova was literally a clinic on how to do bars.

4. Tatiana Nabieva, 2010 Worlds AA and 2011 Worlds EF

Okay, I know that this is two different routines, but I love them both so much I couldn't decide which one to put in. The 2010 routine has her fuck awesome "Nabieva" skill, but the 2011 routine has a cool low-high-low-high sequence. Her world silver was actually quite well deserved. While she's quite infamous for her fugly form on vault, Nabs is also quite awesome on bars.

5. Ana Porgras, 2010 Worlds EF

Honestly, people just say Ana Porgras is good for a Romanian on bars. But that's not it. She's actually quite good on her own, ignoring that fact that she's Romanian. Her swing is natural and pretty, and that 1.5 was easily the best she's ever done in competition. Don't tell me that she's not good on bars when she has a World bronze medal and an extra World EF to her credit, plus numerous other minor medals on bars.
Now I know you're all going to say, where's Beth Tweddle and the flying squirrel? I like Beth, but she's not quite top 5 in my head. The flying squirrel needs to learn how to point her toes and how to do a proper piked Tkachev before she's anywhere near the Russians.

Low 5:

1. Alexandra Raisman, 2012 American Cup

I had a hard time deciding which of the many shitty and horrifying routines Aly's put out over the years to include her, but I thought her American Cup routine from this year stood out the most. If this piece of shit was properly scored each time she competed it, her E score would be in the 7s for a routine that didn't include a fall or some sort of meltdown. It looks like she's literally flexing her feet on purpose. Not even that she's just not pointing them, but it looks like she's deliberately flexing them. If I were judging this, I would deduct at least .1 for every leg separation and every time she flexed her feet. How this fucking piece of shit got into the 14s internationally several times this year completely baffles me.

2. Maria Paseka, 2012 SUI-GBR-RUS Tri-Meet

Not all the Russians are good on bars, and Maria Paseka is the clear proof of that. I happen to love her floor music, but this is one hot fuck of a mess. It's sloppy, there's no swing, tons of leg separations, etc.

3. Jordyn Wieber, 2012 American Cup

I chose this version of her routine to also highlight what a fighter she is, despite the fugliness of this routine. Not many people have the strength to pull that arch back and not fall over, but she does. That doesn't mean that this routine is good. Yes, the composition is different and unique, but she clearly cannot get through this routine without some mistake or another. I still don't understand why her Midwestern coaches didn't change this, when she had mistake after mistake with it. Her swing (or lack thereof) is the polar opposite of people like Mustafina and Komova. The whole thing is labored and clunky. She makes it look like work.

4. Vanessa Ferrari, 2011 European AA

There's just so much I hate about this. The 80000 leg separations, the muscling of the routine, and the fucking straddled forward giants that's she obsessed with. Why must she do those fugly forward giants, and WHY does she do them straddled? They're SO ugly! And all done in a horrifying leotard.

5. Lauren Mitchell, 2011 Worlds QF

So much is wrong here. The muscling of the entire routine, the way she catches the Jaegar AND the low-high transition so close, the partially flexed feet, and the overall fugliness of the routine. The only positive thing I can say about this is that she stuck the dismount, which wasn't even that good because it was SO close to the bar.

Finally, I love this routine so much, but it was my number 6, but I'm going to include it anyways as an honorable mention. A very deserving bronze medalist, who actually won not one but TWO European bronze medals on bars this quad.

It's December 24th here as I finish this post, so Merry Christmas!

Keep an eye out for the Top Ten of Beam post!

- IllusionSpin

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top Ten: Vault

This is a new series I'm going to do as the calendar year of 2012 wraps up, and we head towards I new quad. I'm going to look back at each event, and pick my top 5 and low 5 for each event (in my opinion).

Important to note, one person will not appear multiple times on the same top or low, i.e. not all of Mckayla's vaults will appear here, only the one I think is best.

With that, I'm going to do these in Olympic order, which means I'll be starting with vault:

Top 5:
1. Mckayla Maroney, Olympic TF

Was there honestly any competition here? This was THE vault of the quad. While it wasn't totally perfect, given the setting and comparing it to everyone else's on that night, this should have gotten a 10 in execution. Still, pure brilliance out there, whether the idiot judges recognized it or not.

2. Ana Porgras, 2011 Worlds AA

This is definitely one of the most under-appreciated vaults of the quad, yet it was beautifully done. Somehow, those idiot judges found nearly a point in deductions. Seriously, who hires these judges? They always manage to find WAY more deductions than actually exist.

3. Aliya Mustafina, 2010 Waalwijk (NED-RUS-ESP-SWE)

Many people have actually not seen this vault before. This was from a small competition between the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Russia that took place shortly before the 2010 World Championships. Yes, her form is not the best (I think we've all harped on that enough), but a stuck Amanar is a stuck Amanar, ESPECIALLY without the extra bounce of a podium.

4. Anastasia Grishina, 2012 Euros EF

Not the most difficult vault, but very nicely done, minus the hop at the end. The Podkopayeva is a nice vault to watch, especially when it's as well done as the lovely Grishina does it.

5. Viktoria Komova, 2012 Olympics QF

Probably one of the better Amanars that she's done in her career. She doesn't get as much height as others, but this is fully rotated, and has an excellent, centered landing. It's even more impressive when you remember that she'd only been training this vault for a few months leading up to the Games. If she hadn't taken those lazy steps off to the side in the AA, she'd be the Olympic AA Champion and we wouldn't have to deal Douglas as the Olympic Champ.

Low 5:
1. Tatiana Nabieva, 2010 Worlds EF

Need I say more? A lovely combination of rancid form the entire way through + short rotation; who could want more? I still laugh when the Russians complain about the judges crediting the vault as a double, not a 2.5 - that vault was clearly at least 1/4 of a turn short.

2. Maria Paseka, 2012 Olympic TF

This was just a complete, fucking mess. She twists wayyyy early off the horse, terrible form, and of course the two huge, staggering steps off to the side. She can do this vault better - it was better in QF and EF, but this was just all over the place. Frankly, I'm not sure this vault would have helped more than a beam specialist.

3. Alexandra Raisman, 2012 Visa Championships Day 2

There is just so much wrong with this. The awful form, the uncontrolled landing, and of course her complete under-rotation of this vault. That vault is in no way, shape, or form a full 2 and 1/2 twists around. I frankly don't know why she bothered with this hot fuck of a mess of a vault. She was risking an injury every time she competed this vault, the team didn't use her score in the Olympics, and she didn't even compete it in TF. This vault scored a 15.3, when her DTY at Worlds last year hit as a high as a 15.233.

4. Sandra Izbasa, 2012 Olympic EF

After the whole debacle in the 2010 VT EF, you'd think she at least do this vault properly laid out. No - her knees are bent for at least the second 1/2 twist, if not longer. When she wasn't splatting in the EF, Mckayla Maroney showed how to properly do this vault. Which brings me to....

5. Mckayla Maroney, 2012 Olympic EF

Quite possibly the worst moment of the entire Olympics. I myself gasped out loud while watching it live when she fell. I'll admit, I was one of many who had basically declared her the 2012 Olympic Vault Champion before the event actually happened. I still believe, along with many others, that she is no question the best vaulter in the world. Unfortunately this happened on the day it counted the most. Just as she described it herself, she clearly did not get the block she needed here, which is why her feet slipped out from under her before she could even attempt to fight for the landing. A real shame. Just to show what this vault looks like when she does it in her usual amazing way:

Well, that's it for the Top Ten of Vault. Keep your eyes out for the Top Ten of Bars! Given the multitude of amazing bar routines from this quad, it'll be hard to only select the 5 best.
Happy Holidays!

- IllusionSpin

Sunday, December 2, 2012

GPF Predictions - Ladies

Here we go. GPF starts in 5 days. I may do predictions for the Junior Ladies, but I may have to watch the performances before I make any sort of legitimate predictions.
Anyways, for your information, here are the senior Ladies qualifiers in rank order: Ashley Wagner, Mao Asada, Kiira Korpi, Akiko Suzuki, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and Christina Gao.

1. Ashley Wagner
Ashley's been on a roll this season, and I can't really see anyone getting in the way of her winning this, not even Mao Asada. While Asada did win both of her events, she looked shaky in both of them, and her NHK win was a joke. As Jackie Wong of Examiner discussed in an article after SA, Ashley now has a solid international reputation, and as long as she goes clean, she should take this. Nothing has led me to believe throughout all of 2012 that Ashley isn't going to skate clean, so I would be shocked if she didn't win this. It could also possibly be a landslide win. Expect a SP score around 64 or so, a LP score between 125 and 130, and a total score somewhere around 190.

2. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
This is where it gets tricky. Ashley seems like the obvious choice for Gold, but honestly, any of the other five could take silver and bronze. Last year, after winning both of her GP events, everyone thought Tuktamysheva would easily run away with the GPF, but she struggled in the SP and only finished 4th. Still, she's looked solid this season, and if she hits her jumps, she could easily be second. Or last.

3. Akiko Suzuki
Akiko has not only looked good this season, but she's probably headed to Sochi with revenge in her heart, given that she was completely robbed of the NHK title. I don't think she can quite get the silver, but bronze is well within her grasp. She also has a strong international reputation, she's the top finisher at this competition from Worlds last year (bronze medal), and she's looked better and better as she's matured and gotten older.

4. Mao Asada
Even though she won both her Grand Prix events, she looked shaky in both of them, as opposed to Wagner who looked at the top of her game here. Mao is still grieving from the death of mother less than a year ago. The memories of withdrawing and not making it back in time to say goodbye to her mother may haunt her at this year's GPF. She hasn't peaked yet this season, and I don't believe it will happen this week. This field is too competitive for her to expect that her shaky performances will make the podium.

5. Kiira Korpi
She has looked great this season, but I don't she quite has the technical level to challenge for a medal, nor the strong international reputation of some of the other ladies such as Suzuki and Wagner. Don't take this to mean she won't skate well - I think this will be a close final, given that these ladies are some of the consistent ladies skaters around today. I'm banking on Kiira skating solidly and having SP scores around 60, LP scores around 110-115, and a total around 175 or so. Her program components are her main weapon in this competition, since most of these ladies lean towards stronger on the technical side.

6. Christina Gao
I could be completely wrong here. However, Christina most likely wasn't banking on a withdrawal, and therefore was probably not training at full strength, given that she wasn't fully planning on going. I think she'll skate well, but she's just not quite at the level of the others, and while she's done well this season, she doesn't have a strong enough international reputation like some of the others ladies. She may also skate well and end up 4th, or skate well and still be 6th. I don't think this years GPF will be like last year when and injured Czisny made a mess out of her LP and finished a distant 6th. I think all 6 could actually be quite close this year.

To close, I think the competition will go one of two ways:
1. Ashley wins by a landslide and the other 5 are packed together, within about 10 points of each other or so
2. Ashley wins, but she's packed together with the other 5, albeit a teeny bit farther out.

Well that's it for the Ladies! I'll probably tackle Ice Dance next, since I'm a bit of a fan of Ice Dance.

Please read and comment!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grand Prix Reflections - The Ladies

Okay I'm back! I know I've been a terrible blogger, but junior year of high school at private school is no easy thing, let me tell you.

Anyways, the Grand Prix Series wrapped up this past weekend, with the Grand Prix Final scheduled to begin Thursday next week. Let's take a look back at some of the highlights and lowlights of the Ladies (these are in no particular order):

1. Ashley Wagner
When did we ever think the day would come that Ashley Wagner would win nearly every competition she entered in one calendar year? Including Nationals and 4CC last season, she's now also won the Ladies portion of the Japan Open, as well as Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard, and is now tied as the top qualifier to the GPF with Mao Asada (more on that later). I'm not a crazy fan of either of her programs, especially her long program. Samson and Delilah for the ladies is very closely associated with Joannie Rochette's emotional and inspiring performance in Vancouver, along with intricate choreography. The piece just doesn't work as well for Ashley - the music offers places for tons of choreography, but she doesn't take advantage of that. I also can't stand the hideous yellow/orange dress. I think Black Swan was brilliant, and while it was definitely a good choice to move on from that, she should have used something else.
Still, her consistency is now also astounding. A clean program from Ashley used to be fluke - now it's something we've become accustomed to, and what's now expected of her.

2. Julia Lipnitskaya's SP: Very cool music, highly unusual yet unique costume, and unlike the majority of Russians these days, she's elegant with interesting choreography, but not trashy (Tuk and Sotnikova can jump, but their music is not good - more on them later). Some people complain about her multiple showings of her flexibility, but I like it. It's something that makes her stand out from the rest of the field, and it's beautiful and highly impressive - crowds always go nuts for her splits. She just needs to hold some of her movements a bit longer. I think she's doing the right amount of splits - leg lift before the axel, I spin, full-split Biellman, and her brief spiral.

3. Mao Asada
I certainly did not expect her to win both of her Grand Prix events, especially facing off against Lipnitskaya at Cup of China. She of course qualified to the Final last year, but had to pull out because of the illness and tragic death of her mother before she could get home. Hopefully she can skate as well as she ever can, perhaps in the memory of her mother. I'm not so crazy about her Swan Lake (another one???), but maybe she's on the way up after two straight 6th place finishes at worlds.

4. Agnes Zawadzki
Despite the fact that this is her 3rd senior season, she seems to be figuring it all out, with a bronze at Rostelecom. There were a couple blips in that program, but she was finally able to hold it together after a good short and win a medal after the long. She should challenge for a spot on the World Team this year.

5. Kiira Korpi
I haven't had a chance to watch her programs yet this season, but I've heard they're wonderful. And she's in the Final! Definitely did not expect that. She had to pull out of worlds last season due to injury, but I think she should challenge for maybe the bronze at the final, and she is definitely a contender for the European title with no Kostner (yes I have heard of the Russians).

6. Christina Gao
I've never really paid much attention to her, and up until this season, she's been very inconsistent. Her performance at Skate America was one to remember, and I love her new SP, which is gorgeous. UPDATE: Lipnitskaya is out of the GPF due to injury, confirmed to be a concussion, which means that Gao will be at the final. She should also challenge for bronze.

1. Gracie Gold
Perhaps the pressure has a been a bit much for her so far. She's one of the most highly touted US Juniors I've seen in a while, but after a super-consistent season last season, she's crumbled a bit this season. Many expected her to qualify to the GPF, but after two very shaky performances, she's not even an alternate. Hopefully she can realize her potential and challenge for a spot on the World Team. Still, she NEEDS to work on her artistry. It's gotten much better since last season, but it still needs a lot of improvement if she wants to contend with the top ladies in the world. The PCS are just not high enough yet. I would say there's time, but she's already 17. I'm aware that people like Sasha Cohen and Alissa Czisny are very artistically gifted, but Gracie does need to make major improvements. Again, this year is a big improvement from last year.

2. Julia Lipnitskaya's FP (and GPF withdrawal)
Julia is a beautiful skater, but she's taking on mature pieces wayyyy too early in her career. From Romeo and Juliet last year to Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker, she's too young to do these pieces. Sasha Cohen did those two pieces at around age 20, when she was a far more mature skater capable of really interpreting the music. I'm not saying Julia isn't artistic, don't get me wrong, but 14 is wayyy too young to do Pas de Deux and really interpret it correctly. She has a long career ahead of her (hopefully), no need to rush it.
UPDATE: Concerning her withdrawal from the GPF - it was confirmed by Ice Network that she sustained a concussion today in practice, and withdrew from the final. A real shame, because the final was setting up to be a great Lipnitskaya-Asada-Wagner showdown for the gold. Again, she has many more years to come, and many more GPFs to qualify to and compete at. Good that Gao can compete, but we'll miss her next weekend.

3. Alissa Czisny
Oh Alissa. What do we do with you? A complete meltdown at worlds, not competing at the WTT, injuring her hip, not training all summer, and culminating in a withdrawal from her only GP event, the NHK trophy. This means that at the earliest, we will see Alissa at nationals at the end of January. Alissa is one of my two favorite skaters. She is a stunningly artistic and beautiful skater, and extraordinarily talented, but is the pure definition of a headcase - ex. Worlds this year. I sincerely hope she continues until she fully lives up to her enormous potential. I also hope that her worlds meltdown isn't the last time we ever see her. I have a hunch she'll show up to Nationals, especially given the fact that she doesn't have to qualify, thanks to her bye from her 2nd place finish at Nationals last year.

4. Adelina Sotnikova
Along with Tuktamyesheva and Lipnitskaya, she is one of three heavily touted Russian juniors. But ever since her senior GP debut last year, she's had major trouble putting it together, including failing to defend her World Junior title earlier this year. I'm sorry, but her new LP, as AuntJoyce puts it, "wins the Mishin House of Trash award." When the music started at SA, my initial reaction was "what IS this crap?" For someone so talented, she should have better music than some sort of Christina Aguilera mashup. And at 16, along with her extensive competitive experience, she should be aware of how many combos she's done in a program, so that she doesn't invalidate a combo (ex. SA). This now marks two years in a row that she was expected to make the GPF and failed to do so.

5. Caroline Zhang
Oh Caroline. She really seemed to be getting it together by the end of last season, with a 4th place finish at nationals and a bronze at 4CC. However, her most recent results make me think that she's going back to her old habits, and I worry this time that she's not going to climb back out. She is semi-artistic, but a tad bit overrated if you ask me. Her technique is AWFUL, the high kick is still there on the lutz, the loop and axel technique are slow and bad, and her only good, high-quality skill is her layback. A 9th and a 10th place finish on the GP circuit do not bode well for her.

GPF Predictions to come soon!

- IllusionSpin

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Olympics - The Good

Similar to how DavaiStoi! did "The Good", "The Bad", and "The Undecided" for Euros, I'm going to the same for the Olympics, starting with "The Good."
(Please comment; this is my first blog post so I would really appreciate comments!)


USA. Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. That's how they qualified in 1st place, and how they managed to have their 3 all-arounders place 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. More to come on that last part later. Marta seems to have finally understood the winning strategy of her home country, Romania. Remember in 2000 and 2004 when the Romanians went out and hit every routine while everyone else fell all over the place? That's how Romania won back-to-back Olympics team titles.

Canada. They just squeaked in, but they did qualify for team finals for the first time in history. Awesome. They could have done even better had Peng-Peng Lee not torn her ACL, but alas, she won the competition for "who can next have an Olympic-dream-ending injury." A real shame, because she had worked hard to come back, and had looked fantastic this year. Instead, we were forced to watch the fugnastics of Elsabeth Black and Brittany Rogers. Where oh where is Mikaela Gerber? At least they had Vaculik and Moors so the team wasn't total fug.

Vault Qualification. Two Germans and two Canadians - i.e., half of the vault final was gymnasts not from powerhouse countries. Toss in Yamilet Pena and 5 out of 8 are not from top countries.

Team Final:

USA, again. They hit the shit out of that team final to take the title in convincing fashion - FIVE POINT difference between them and Russia (more on Russia later), who imploded. However, a team title by 5 points is almost unheard of. Even the Soviets didn't win team titles by nearly that much - yes I am aware that they lived in a different CoP.

Canada, again. 5th place? No one expected that. Most people expected GB to finish 5th, especially considering they qualified in 5th.

Romania, somewhat. After their trainwreck of a worlds last year where they sufficiently humiliated themselves by walking away with NOTHING, they came away with team bronze. I certainly thought they would fight for silver, but more on them in "The Undecided."

Sui Lu - China. The only team member to actually understand the concept of consistency. Yes He Kexin hit her one routine in her first legal Olympics, but while Sui Lu hit, she watched her team implode around here. At least she can take comfort in the fact that no one is filing accusations about being underage at her. Which is more than can be said about some of her teammates. Cough Kexin cough, cough Linlin cough, cough Jinnan cough.


Aliya Mustafina. 2010 AA champ. Tears her ACL in April of 2011. 15 months later, wins the Olympic AA bronze. Yes, in 2010, many expected her to win this in convincing fashion, but given the circumstances, a bronze is pretty damn impressive. Some people can come back from an ACL tear in less than a year, which is what she did, but not many win 4 Olympic medals 15 months after what can be a career-ending injury. Just look at Peng-Peng. UCLA is like a consolation prize, next to what she could have had, had she not torn her ACL. Anyways, she won that bronze fair and square, and don't even attempt to convince me that there should ever be an instance where Aliya is "just as good" as Aly. More on the AA final later.

Viktoria Komova. Hit the shit out of an AA final that should have been her title. The fact that I have to live with Douglas as the Olympic AA champ for the next 4 years makes me cry myself to sleep. Her vault was pretty messy, and she certainly could have saved that landing better, but that Amanar is pretty damn nice. Her bars, as usual, were the class of the field (apart from Mustafina), and beam was actually much better that the trainwrecks we saw at Euros. Her floor was probably the best I've ever seen from her, and should have won her the title. Alas, it seems the international judges suddenly love American fug more than Russian beauty.

Gabby Douglas, I guess. Congrats on winning the biggest title there is in gymnastics - OH WAIT, you didn't really deserve it, thanks to your fug beam and floor. Komova won that title, fair and square. I hope you know it. More to come on you in "The Bad."

Honestly, this AA final had the potential to be the best since 1996, but thanks to injuries and world's stupidest rule (2 per-country), this AA final really sucked.

Vault Final

Honestly, not much good here.

Sandra Izbasa. Congrats on winning a title that you and your messy vaults wouldn't have won if Maroney hadn't sat down her Mustafina.

Maria Paseka. I wasn't really expecting her to win a medal, but she did a pretty nice job and got herself an individual goodie bag. Who thought that Maria Paseka would win more medals than Grishina?

Bar Final

This final was awesome. Fab routines and hit sets. Probably my favorite final.

He Kexin. I didn't think she would make the team, let alone actually hit two sets to make it to the final AND win a medal in her first legal Olympics. Her bar routine it pretty ugly, given that everything is muscled because her routine was designed for a 12 year old, and she's now 16. Still, kudos on getting back to back bar medals. Her opening combination is pretty cool, I'll admit.

Viktoria Komova. That routine was so stunning (with a gorgeous leotard to go along with it) until she kicked her feet on the bar while getting ready for her dismount and cost herself a medal. Still, her bars are stunning.

Elisabeth Seitz. She had no shot at a medal, but hit her high bar routine pretty well. The form is crap, but the routine is pretty cool and exciting.

Yao Jinnan. Her only individual final of the Games, and she did a pretty damn fine job. Nice stick on the landing too.

Elizabeth Tweddle. Fabulous routine, and I actually thought before the Games started that she would win bars. Of course, she headcased her dismount and also cost herself the silver. Still, pretty fuck awesome routine, and kudos for going for the double double.

Aliya Mustafina. Could we ask for a better Olympic bars champion? Her routine blows me away every time I see it, and when she stuck that dismount I knew she was going to win. After everything she went through in the last 1 1/2 years, congrats on your gold Aliya :)

Beam Final

Not much fabulousness to report. Honestly the beam final was a major letdown after the bars final.
Not really nuts about either of the Chinese beam routines. Yes they have a ton of skills, but that's because they have ZERO choreography. This final was also quite a splatfest, given that 3 out of 8 fell, and Komova fell twice.

Deng Linlin. Congrats on your first legal Olympic gold medal. Whoop-dee-doo. She hit her skills, but all the Chinese beam routines are snooze-fests.

Ksenia Afanasyeva. She is so stunning. Honestly. Someone who actually understands the concept of ARTISTIC gymnastics. A couple less wobbles and she probably could have taken the bronze from Raisman. Don't get me started on Raisman's individual medals.

Sui Lu. She wanted it so badly you have to feel for her, but her routine is dull.

Honestly, this final sucked.

Floor Final

This final had the potential to be a fabulous podium. Instead, we ended up with the definition of fug as our champion, a prostitute as our silver medalist, and a beauty as our bronze medalist. Here's a rundown on who was in this stacked final:
2004 Olympic FX champ (Ponor), 2006 World AA champ (Ferrari), 2008 Olympic FX champ (Izbasa), 2010 World AA champ/World FX silver medalist (Mustafina), 2010 World FX champ (Mitchell), 2011 World AA champ (Wieber), 2011 World FX champ (Afanasyeva), and 2011 World FX bronze medalist (Raisman). Here's what was good:

Vanessa Ferrari. I'm not nuts about her floor, but she did hit the shit out of the set. I don't think she was cheated of the bronze, since Mustafina had a much nicer floor. Don't worry Vanessa, you still won an undeserving AA title six years ago.

Mustafina. Even she was happily shocked by the medal. I really like her floor - it's dramatic, artistic, and screams Olympic Arena. The only nice medalist on floor.

Ksenia Afanasyeva. The field was too deep for her to defend her world title, but her new floor is stunning (honestly, what floor routine of hers isn't?), and the choreography as usual is insanely hard. Shame about the out-of-bounds. Still, one of my favorite routines.

Catalina Ponor. I don't like her slutty routine, but she hit one of the best routines of her life and should have won over clubfoot (Raisman).

Well, that's it for "The Good"! Please comment, leave suggestions, let me know what else you would like me to talk about, etc.

- IllusionSpin

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Welcome to Illusion Spin!

Welcome to my new blog, Illusion Spin! I decided to name it so, since the Illusion Spin is one of my favorite skills, and a very cool, underused skill. I'm terrible at writing any sort of introduction, so this will be short.
This blog will mainly be opinion pieces, but also competition reports, and some predictions. Expect the humor to be along the lines of Davai Stoi!, which is one of my favorite blogs (for any of you who don't read that gymnastics blog, it's full of sarcasm, and just generally very funny - I highly recommend checking it out).
This blog will also have some figure skating posts, although fewer figure skating posts than gymnastics posts, as I also love figure skating. Note - the figure skating posts will only be ladies figure skating, since I really only follow that and know about it. Sorry if you follow mens, pairs, or ice dancing.
Lastly, I will try to put out new posts as much as I can. If it's been a while, please do give me a little nag or nudge - I won't find it annoying. That little kick will be what I need to get that next post up.