Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Mitchell’

On the World Cup, day two

December 14, 2008

Once again International Gymnast leads the field in providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the World Cup. If you couldn’t catch it live, this is a very good alternative.

The home Spanish crowd got a nice boost when their countryman Issac Botella tied for the bronze on vault (with Russian Anton Golotsutskov, 16.075 each.) Botella showed a Kasamatsu 1.5 and a handspring double front. Golotsutskov showed a Tsuk double pike and the same second vault as Botella.

Olympic silver medalist Thomas Bouhail of France won the event, despite putting his hand down on his Tsuk double pike. He nailed his Dragulescu (16.575, the highest score of the competition thusfar, for a 16.225 average). Jeffrey Wammes of the Netherlands, a capable young gymnast who did not qualify for Beijing for various reasons, was second with a 2.5 Yurchenko and a handspring front double full (the same vault Raj Bhavsar used.)

On beam, up and coming Aussie Lauren Mitchell narrowly edged Russian Yulia Lozhechko for the title, 15.25-15.2. It’s nice to see Lozhechko, who was left off the Russian Olympic team for reasons that sounded like continuing discipline problems, is still competing, even if this wasn’t the 2007 European beam champion’s best effort. China’s Li Shanshan, who’s amazing when she stays on, suffered a few little wobbles and a low landing on her double pike to place third with a 15.15.

Other notable performances: Ukranian Daria Zgoba balked on her dismount, performing only a layout, Sandra Izbasa was OK but not spectacular for a 14.925, Cheng Fei looked completely distracted (13.825) and Brazil’s Daniele Hypolito may have received the lowest score of the final (13.425) but is probably relieved it wasn’t an 11-something like she had yesterday on bars.

On parallel bars, China’s young Feng Zhe turned in a spectacular 15.775, matched by French p-bar specialist Yann Cuchrat. Ukraine’s Valery Goncharov was nearly as good, scoring 15.675 for third. Every man in this final dismounted with a double pike.

Floor: Cheng Fei redeemed! The two-time world floor champ didn’t need to throw her biggest tricks (namely the Silivas) to outscore the field with a 15.375. Teammate and Olympic floor finalist Jiang Yuyuan threw a quadruple turn and dazzled everyone with her presentation for second (15.225). Tired-seeming Olympic floor champion Sandra Izbasa, who’s been in a hell of a lot of meets since the Olympics, was decent but not at her best (15.0, third).

Slovenian Aljaz Pagan, who unless he continues on to 2012 will always be the gymnast who really, really deserved to go to an Olympic Games, scratched from this WC final because of a back injury, a.

At his best, Pagan probably could have beaten Dutchman Epke Zonderland, an Olympic HB finalist who is just getting better and better. Zonderland took the title here with a 16.175, more than one-third of a point ahead of Philippe Rizzo of Australia (15.875). This one wasn’t even close.

In his final competition, Japan’s Hiroyuki Tomita finished a distant third after falling out of his double-twisting double layout dismount (15.325). It was not the way for one of the sport’s great champions to go out.

The weeks in review

November 25, 2008

There should be a blog that keeps tabs on all the gymnastics blogs.

Tidbits of the week: Triple Full reports that 2006 World Champion Vanessa Ferrari is having a sort of identity crisis. Ongoing injuries have hindered her training, and she’s gained some weight. Nothing precipitates an identity crisis in gymnastics like the expansion of a couple inches of waistline. It seems doubtful that the feisty 2006 World Champion will be able to make a tremendously successful return to elite international competition.

Rick at Gymnastics Coaching reports that Georgia is once again on top of the yearly NCAA coaches poll, followed by perennial runner-up Utah. And that Bela Karolyi called accusers Trudi Kollar and fellow defector Geza Pozar “trash” for their accusations of Bela and Martha Karolyi’s abuse. Tactful. Very tactful.

Before becoming U.S. Team Coordinator, Martha Karolyi was the shadow behind Bela, who obviously prefers the spotlight. Rick calls for her to address the abuse allegations, as well. I kind of doubt she will. Or that USA Gymnastics will make her.

A flurry of competitions, including the Milan Grand Prix, Toyota Cup, Massila Cup, Asian Championships and DBT Cup have taken place in recent days. The rule of thumb has generally been that if you dominated during the Olympics, you dominated these competitions too. Stars include Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, He Kexin, Sandra Izbasa, Koko Tsurumi, Lauren Mitchell, Fabian Hambuchen, Maxim Deviatovskiy.

“Competing” against a weak field, U.S. gymnasts Samantha Shapiro, Corrie Lothrop and Olivia Courtney steamrolled everyone else at the Pan American Union Championships. Lothrop won vault, Shapiro bars and beam, and Courtney floor.

Olympic parade

June 30, 2008

Australian Daria Joura
More and more countries are naming their Olympic qualifiers. Here are the latest, in alphabetical order by country:

Women: Daria Joura, Lauren Mitchell, Shona Morgan, Ashleigh Brennan, Georgia Bonora and Olivia Vivian. Alternate: Emma Dennis.

Men: Sam Simpson

Women: Jade Barbosa, Daiane dos Santos, Daniele Hypolito, Lais Souza, Ana Claudia Silva, Ethiene Franco, Juliana Santos

Men: Diego Hypolito

Great Britain:
Women: Beth Tweddle, Becky Downie, Laura Jones, Marissa King, Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Wing. Alternates: Imogen Cairns and Kayleigh Cooke

Men: Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings

Pacific Rim redux

April 13, 2008

Al TrautwigThanks NBC, for broadcasting the women’s team competiton (and three half-performances from Paul Hamm.)

Many gymnastics fans don’t agree with everything NBC commentators say, particularly color commentator Al Trautwig, a basketball/hockey expert who often comes off as a buffoon in his attempts to translate the sport for the couch-potato watching public.

But they do slip interesting tidbits into their talk when not reminding viewers that the balance beam is only four inches wide (which, to their credit, I don’t believe they did in this broadcast.)


Dasha Joura: Gymnast, journalist

February 27, 2008

Australian Daria Joura

“…as I embark on the journey to share my experiences on the journey to Beijing, I hope that I can captivate the interest of the community in our sport; help everyone respect our sport and the fantastic talent and perseverance of the athletes, coaches and staff; and be utterly charming, entertaining and inspiring at once. Not anything I can’t handle.”

So says two-time Australian National Champion Daria Joura in her inaugural column for PerthNow, an Australian news portal loaded with other goodies (currently on its homepage right now one can watch a video of a “wild monster python” that ate a local family’s dog.)

Joura will be penning a weekly column, sharing her views and experiences in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. Joura is widely recognized as Australia’s leading competitor and best hope for a medal (though, as Northernriver points out, Lauren Mitchell’s not bad either.)

In her first column, published Feb. 26, Joura crusades for more recognition for Australian gymnastics in her home country.

Gymnastics has never had a large following in Australia, though I don’t understand why there is seemingly little interest in this great sport of ours.

It is repeatedly one of the most, if not the most, watched sports when Olympic and Commonwealth Games are broadcast.

I believe the ratings were also sky-high during the airing of the 2005 Melbourne World Gymnastics Championships. So it is definitely not a question of entertainment – speaking from experience, people never seem to tire of pleading for a demonstration of a back flip.

It’s fairly apparent that the style and spunk that make her gymnastics so much fun to watch are present in her writing too.

(via Difficulty plus Execution)

Jiang Yuyuan wins Good Luck Beijing

November 29, 2007

Jiang Yuyuan won the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.

Third after the preliminary round, China’s Jiang Yuyuan rallied to win the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational Thursday, International Gymnast Magazine reported.

Jiang, did not compete beam at the 2007 World Championships, posted the highest score on all four events during the all-around final to edge Australian Daria Joura, who led after the preliminary round. Jiang had a 15.4 on balance beam, a 15.725 on uneven bars, a 15.225 on floor and a 14.875 on vault. Joura also posted a 14.875 on vault.

The tiny, charismatic Jiang is quickly making a case for her inclusion on China’s 2008 Olympic team.

Jiang Yuyuan, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

American Bridget Sloan was third. 15.1 on balance beam was her high.

2005 World Champion Chellsie Memmel came in fifth behind Australian newcomer Lauren Mitchell. Memmel posted a 14.55 on uneven bars and a 14.7 on balance beam, but barely cracked 14s on floor and vault, where she competed a watered down Yurchenko full.

Canadian national champion Kristina Vaculik, Russian veteran Svetlana Klyukina, Great Britain’s Marissa King, Dutch standout Verona van der Leur and Romanian Andreea Grigore rounded out the top 10.

Dasha gets her due

October 30, 2007

One of the most engaging performers of this quad has been Daria (“Call me Dasha”) Joura, the star of an Australian squad that hasn’t quite lived up to its hype.

Joura, who earned her first World Cup gold on her favorite event at last weekend’s DBT Cup, has proven herself among the best in the world in terms of what I’d call complete package gymnastics; her difficulty is on par with world medalists and there’s certainly not much to criticize about her form.

From her spunky “look-at-me!” salute to the wink she gave the camera as she took the floor at the 2007 World Championships, Joura oozes personality; she’s a  performer in an era where the code of points leaves many gymnasts little time to breathe — let alone dance — on the floor exercise. Imagine how great she’d be at a Rock ‘n Roll Gymnastics Championship or Olympic gala.

U.S. gymnastics fans got their first real look at Joura’s generation at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, where she and superelegant teammate Hollie Dykes dazzled on all events, particularly balance beam and floor exercise.

Hollie Dykes, 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, Balance Beam:

Daria Joura, 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, Vault:

Dykes was actually the one tagged by Australian Marta Karolyi National Team Coordinator Peggy Liddick as “the prima ballerina” of the new Australian generation, one that seemed in 2006 like it would be able to better the 2003 World team’s bronze medal achievement.

The Australians obviously put a huge emphasis on form from a very young age, and it carries over in their wonderfully balletic style on balance beam and floor exercise.

Hollie Dykes, 2000 Australian Institute of Sport Olympic Display:

Daria Joura, 2001 Australian Nationals, Floor Exercise:

Joura, Dykes, Chloe Sims and newcomer Lauren Mitchell could prove a formidable team at any World Championships or Olympic Games, provided they hit their routines. Unfortuately Australia doesn’t seem real heavy on depth. Fielding a strong fifth and sixth gymnast has proven challenging for the team this quad. They had a rather shockingly shaky performance in Stuttgart (three of the five to compete on both bars and beam fell), finishing 11th as a team and barely scraping by with an Olympic berth. 

Lauren Mitchell, 2007 World Championships Team Prelims, Uneven Bars:

Hopefully a little 11th place scare will be good for this team. It’s worked before. Look at how the American men turned out after placing 13th at the 2006 Worlds in Aarhus.

— Further reading: Joura a World Champion gymnast, from Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper