Posts Tagged ‘Andreea Raducan’

Johnson unlikely for 2009

November 8, 2008

Shawn Johnson tells the Des Moines Register she’s unlikely to compete in 2009. Rick wonders if this means she’s retiring for good. Johnson even disclosed that she’s not sure whether she’ll return to her high school in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Like the comeback after a potentially career-ending injury, the comeback after a successful Olympics is long and grueling. How do you go back to four to six hours in a gym after you’ve been the face of McDonalds? It’s a question Johnson and Nastia Liukin are likely to be asking themselves. Despite Johnson’s claim that she’d “give anything” to feel more Olympic magic, she may not realize what four more years is really going to take from her.

Only a handful of female gymnasts in the past decade have come back from successful Olympic experiences, and only two — Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes — have been American (Tasha Schwikert doesn’t count because you can’t really call 2000 a success for the American women). The others include Lilia Podkopayeva (though her return was so brief it was almost non-existent), Simona Amanar, Andreea Raducan and of course, Svetlana Khorkina, who always looked better the year after an Olympic Games. than she did at the Games themselves.

A scene from Podkopayeva’s short retrurn to international competition in 1997, at the European Masters:

Vietnamese gymnast suspended, retired

September 12, 2008

Click here to read reports that Do Thi Ngan Thuong, who won the wildcard berth to Beijing, has been suspended from international competition for two years for testing positive for a banned substance at the Olympic Games.

Not for a performance-enhancing banned substance, mind you. Just a banned substance.

Nguyen Kim Lan, Chief of the Gymnastics Division under the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, said according to the International Gymnastics Confederation, the diuretic that Ngan Thuong took is not considered a performance-enhancing drug in gymnastics but it is on the list of banned substances in sports in general.

This sounds like Andreea Raducan all over again, only with a less high-profile athlete.

(I tried looking for some videos of Thuong on Youtube and came up dry. The search, however, yielded this very respectable floor routine to The Mask of Zorro, but whether or not it’s Thuong I don’t know.)

Update: Thuong has announced her retirement.

Morgan Hamm warned

July 6, 2008

Morgan Hamm

From the Associated Press:

Gymnast Morgan Hamm, who was selected for his third U.S. Olympic team last month, received a warning Thursday for getting a prescribed anti-inflammatory shot without the proper clearance from anti-doping authorities.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Hamm tested positive May 24 at the U.S. gymnastics championships for a glucocorticosteroid, a cortisone-like drug that is only allowed during competitions with an exemption. Hamm, the brother of defending Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm, said he received the shot May 2 for pain and inflammation in his left ankle, which he initially injured last August.

“It was an innocent mistake,” Morgan Hamm said. “You always need to get the forms, that’s the most important thing, and that’s my failure.”

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Twenty years later…

June 23, 2008

…and Olympic gymnastics is still a matter of power vs. elegance.

Remember this?

Daniela Silivas, 1988 Olympic All-Around, Floor Exercise:

Elena Shushunova, 1988 Olympic All-Around, Floor Exercise:

Daniela SilivasIt is perhaps a trifle unfair to label Silivas, the first woman to throw a double-twisting double back on floor, as the just “the elegant one,” and Shushunova, who had a well-choreographed Olympic floor routine, as just “the powerful one.”

Still, it’s an easy category to slip most standout gymnasts into, because it’s one of the two things that makes said athlete stand out. 2008 is unique because it’s the first time since the Seoul Games that the disparity between the two all-around front-runners has been quite this pronounced. Still, Gutsu vs. Miller. Khorkina vs. Raducan. Patterson vs. Khorkina — in nearly every Olympiad since 1984, it’s been there.

In 1992, it was the trickster Tatiana Gutsu, perhaps the least elegant gymnast to come out of the old Soviet system, who won over fragile-looking American Shannon Miller.

Lilia Podkopayeva, the 1996 Olympic champion, possessed a rare combination of power and grace. There’s never been another quite as good on both fronts as she was, even though Svetlana Khorkina may have in places done more difficult gymnastics.

Andreea Raducan had a poorly choreographed beam routine but was one of the few to really dance on floor. Few would make the mistake of calling Carly Patterson’s choppy style balletic.

Return of the shaky balance beam routine

May 14, 2008

Balance beam is a shaky event.For many years, the balance beam has been seen as the hardest event in gymnastics. It’s nerve-wracking, those four inches, four feet off the ground. And gymnasts have to do so much these days.

One of the things that makes Olympic champions like Carly Patterson and Andreea Raducan great is the way they almost never seemed to falter on that most precarious of events.

Seems like these days more gymnasts have major problems on uneven bars. Great all-around prospects who had difficulties hitting bars in competition or getting a start value that didn’t deflate all-around possibilities? The ranks burst with them: Vanessa Atler, Alicia Sacramone, Cheng Fei, Anna Pavlova, Sandra Izbasa, Jana Bieger, Catalina Ponor, Gina Gogean, etc.

So it’s almost refreshing to see a gymnast whose worst event is the old classic balance beam, who makes you bite your nails and get so nervous during the routine that suspense movies hardly compare.

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