10 things that should have happened during the Olympics…

Nastia Liukin was fabulous in Beijing -- as it should have been.

Nastia Liukin was fabulous in Beijing -- as it should have been.

…and did.

1. Nastia Liukin should have won the women’s all-around. With a highly respectful nod to 2007 World Champion Shawn Johnson, only Nastia combined the balletic artistry that makes gymnastics a truly special sport with the difficulty that makes people say wow. Not only that, she stuck almost all her critical landings during the all-around final — on vault, off beam and on that tricky front-full, front double full first pass on floor.

Liukin’s performance in that all-around final was a throwback to the “perfectionist” gymnastics of old — and hopefully, an inspiration to the perfectionist gymnastics to come.

2. Sasha Artemev should have impressed on the international stage. With so many great event specialists not able to compete because of messed up rules, I’m glad this event specialist was able to perform his awesome pommel horse routine four times during the Games — and hit it for three of them. Will this cure him of his consistency problems? Maybe not. But it’ll certainly give the naysayers something to think about.

3. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura should have made a huge splash. And he did! Uchimura has amazingly clean technique and an elegant style. Plus he bows to the judges after he salutes before beginning his routine. How nice can you get?

4. The American men, criticized and characterized as the underdogs for so long, should have had a spectacular competition. It was especially gratifying to see everyone step up in the abscence of Paul Hamm and prove the U.S. to be a world class competitor.

5. The Chinese women, underage or not, had the best team in the world. Age debate aside, they deserved their win.

6. Yang Wei, after so many titles and honors and years of coming so close, deserved the all-around gold. That and if he hadn’t gotten it, Uchimura would have won with not just one fall, but two. Eeek.

7. The Romanians deserved something, even if the 2008 team was a shadow of Romanian domination of the past. Sandra Izbasa’s floor gold and the team bronze gives them that.

8. With a great performance, Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina finally got the Olympic vault medal she richly deserved. Olympic gold medalist-turned-sportswear-mogul Li Ning was so impressed with her performances — and her story — that he gave her 20,000 Euroz to help pay for her son Alisher’s medical treatments for lieukemia.

9. A few relative unknowns, most notably France’s Benoit Caranobe, should have made names for themselves. Also exciting were Epke Zonderland, Louis Smith, Justin Spring and darkhorse all-arounders Yang Yilin and Ksenia Semyonova. 2009 will be exciting with them around.

10. Shawn “Bubbly” Johnson deserved the gold medal on beam just for hitting one of the hardest routines ever performed on four inches not once but four times during the Games.

Honorable mention: The judges should have nailed their performance. With the exception of women’s uneven bars, they did.

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6 Responses to “10 things that should have happened during the Olympics…”

  1. rickmccharles Says:

    Good recap.

    Thanks.

  2. bishop Says:

    Actually, Li Ning gave Oksana Chusovitina $40,000 euros. And will pay her another $100,000 euros to come back to Beijing next month to give speeches and seminars to both the Chinese coaches and the women gymnast.

    Also, your right the judges did get the uneven bars wrong. Gold=Yillian Silver=Kexin, bronze=tweddle. The only true bar workers in the event were Kexin and Tweddle. Except that Yang’s perfomance was flawless, including her stuck dismount.

  3. Truth Says:

    I don’t agree. Johnson should have one the AA for being the only complete AA package at that games in the womens AA. Shawn’s form is better then Nastia’s. Her leaps being her only weakness. Nastia was overscored on every event where Shawn was lowballed on all but one vault

  4. Truth Says:

    Nastia’s gymnastics was not a throw back to anything. Her weak and over rated floor, vault and beam wouldn’t even come close to the greats of the past. Nastia’s bars set while difficult was a mess in the form department.

    I am so sorry because I know how Nastia fans get but this is getting ridiculous how people put her on this pedistel when she doesn’t belong there.

  5. liftingme Says:

    Truth, your statements only serve to prove that you know absolutely nothing about this sport. Shawn was scored fairly. Something that never happens on home soil. Love her or hate her, Liukin rocked the all around. She basically won the title on stuck landings alone. Johnson got away with never sticking any of her landings in the lead up to the games and it bit her hard in the all around final. Nastia picked up .3-.4 on Shawn by sticking landings on vault, beam and floor alone. It is funny that you don’t see Nastia’s gymnastics as a throw back to anything when many of the greats of the port including Latininya, Touriseva, Khorkina, Comaneci (the list goes on) see it in her.

  6. liftingme Says:

    Frankly, I think Nastia should have finished ahead of Shawn on floor as well. Not to mention that she basically had to throw away the gold on beam for Shawn to walk away with a top podium finish.

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