Posts Tagged ‘Nadia Comaneci’

Should Jordyn Wieber compete at the American Cup?

January 14, 2009

Jordyn Wieber

Jordyn Wieber

News that the 13-year-old Junior U.S. champion will be making her (two years premature) senior debut at the American Cup next month in Chicago is turning some heads on two popular blogs.

2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan has also been confirmed as a competitor. The other two U.S. positions for the women’s competition have yet to be filled, although according to this article from the Los Angeles Times, the other women’s competitors will be Rebecca Downie (Great Britain), Koko Tsurumi (Japan), Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia) and Jessica Lopez (Venezula and the University of Denver). That leaves two more (ostensibly U.S.) spots to be named.

Back to Wieber. The debate from commenters at Gymnastics Coaching and Triple Full includes these sentiments:

“I think [Wieber’s coach John Geddert’s] nuts… If she’s not going to be a senior for 2 two more years and he’s pushing her into a senior level comp this early? Nuts.”

“From what I have heard, the National Team Staff select the gymnasts to represent USA at certain meets. They can say no, but if they did they would be at the bottom of the list for a long time. That’s said to be why Melaine Sinclair and Kassi Price never made the teams that mattered.”

“I mean come on.. she can’t even compete as a senior! It’s just ridiculous…”

“Jordyn is one of the best in the US right now. Why shouldn’t she get the opportunity to compete. It’s not like the rules for junior meets are any different than senior meets.”

“USAG need a headliner for this meet. Bridget Sloan doesn’t fill the bill imo. They need to break the “next big thing” to get some attention.”

I’m not liking this. Seems to me that juniors should wait to compete at the AmCup until they get til senior status. I’d like to see Sloan, Lorthrop, Shaprio and Larson at the Cup.

Hmmm. If memory serves, the last super-young gymnast to compete at the American Cup was Kristal Uzelac of Parkette’s in 2001 (she would have been 14 at the time). Bianca Flohr of Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy competed in the preliminary round of the 2006 American Cup at 15. Uzelac had certainly proved that she deserved to be there — she was the two-time U.S. junior champion and being talked up as the next big thing.

It wasn’t her greatest competition. Uzelac was good on vault and floor but fell on beam on a Rulfova. Was she pushed into the senior ranks too soon? Maybe. In the long run her career fizzled because of injuries and burnout. Could those have been prevented by not training super difficult things at age 12? Maybe.

Then again, Nadia was at the inaugural American Cup (1976) at 14. And scored a 10 on floor.

Is this a good idea for Wieber? What do you think?

Revisiting Emilia Eberle’s gymnastics

November 21, 2008

She’s known for that awful floor routine — and now, for her accusations that Bela and Martha Karolyi physically abused her and others while she trained on the Romanian national team. What she isn’t so known for is her very clean work on beam and bars.

I wonder why not. Eberle’s work from the 1979 Chunichi Cup and 1980 Olympic Games is quite impressive. On beam she reminds me of a combination of Olga and Nadia, and her swing on bars and some of the neat moves is great. Her double pike off beam had to be one of the first performed. If she weren’t of the same era as Nadia, Nellie Kim and Natalia Shaposhnikova, perhaps she would have been better remembered.

Emilia Eberle, 1979 Chunichi Cup, Uneven Bars:

Emilia Eberle, 1979 Chunichi Cup, Beam:

The judges thought she was pretty good, too. Eberle won silver on bars at the 1980 Olympics.

By the 1980 Olympics, Eberle had mercifully been given a new floor routine. If the music sounds familiar, it’s because Mary Lou Retton used it in 1984.

Emilia Eberle, 1980 Olympics Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Bela Karolyi announces Romanian Senate run

November 20, 2008
Bela Karolyi has announced plans to run for the Romanian Senate.

Bela Karolyi has announced plans to run for the Romanian Senate.

Yesterday a Sacramento news affiliate published an article quoting former Karolyi pupil Emilia Eberle (now Trudi Kollar) saying she was abused at the hands of Bela and Martha Karolyi as a member of the Romanian national team during the 1970s and early ’80s.

Her story was confirmed by choreographer Geza Pozar, a close friend of the Karolyis who defected with them in 1981.

There’s hardly time for people to begin calling for the Karolyis to come clean, acknowledge Kollar’s statements (Bela has refused to comment, and Martha’s in Argentina at the Pan Pacific Games, according to reader Nik) before The Houston Chronicle reports that Bela has decided to run for the Romanian Senate.

Does this mean he’ll relocate back to Romania? Nope.

Karolyi, 66, said he will be on the ballot in Romania’s Nov. 30 election to become a member of national Senate as a representative of Romanian citizens living in the Americas, Australia and Africa.

Karolyi, who has Romanian and U.S. citizenship, said he was approached to enter the race by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, or DAHR. The group’s Web site describes the DAHR, a member of Romania’s current governing coalition, as a political alliance organized to represent the interests of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania.

“I got a call about a month ago from the government saying, ‘Bela, we salute you. We have an offer,’” Karolyi said. “I said, ‘What is the offer? Does it involve hunting?’ They said, ‘It is much more serious than that. We would like you to run for a position in the Romanian Senate.’”

Karolyi said he initially turned down the offer but accepted after he was encouraged to do so by DAHR members in Romania and by supporters living in the United States.

He’ll be a shoo-in. Nadia Comaneci was reportedly approached about running for Romanian Parliament in 2007 last summer but apparently has not followed up.

Related: Eberle says Karolyi beat her; Pozar confirms
USAG: No complaints about the Karolyis
Nadia the politician?

The best male gymnast of all time?

February 11, 2008

Belarus' Vitaly Scherbo is considered one of the best male gymnasts of all time.The best female gymnast of all time question is debated on message boards here and there, but Amy Van Deusen, an International Gymnast Magazine correspondent who recently launched About.com’s gymnastics website, is the first I’ve seen to examine men’s gymnastics in the same way.

In the women’s category, the answer flits between Nadia Comaneci (first perfect 10 in Olympic competition) and Lilia Podkopayeva (one of the most “total package” gymnasts of all time, who was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame last week) Lavinia Milosovici, a highly consistent and successful Romanian from 1992 to 1996 and Russian Svetlana Khorkina, who is known for her longevity, daring, unique skills and high temper, might also deserve honorable mentions.

On about.com, Van Deusen throws out some likely candidates: Valeri Liukin (first ever triple back on floor), Nikolai Andrianov (lifted the Soviet men’s team from obscurity to world dominance during the 1970s) and Mitsuo Tsukahara, the Japanese innovator who introduced the Tsukahara vault and won five Olympic gold medals.

Van Deusen’s vote goes to Belarus’ Vitaly Sherbo, who won a whopping six gold medals at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Hard to argue with that. As a gymnast, Sherbo had it all — great form, great power and an innovativeness that was expressed on all events, particularly vault and still rings. He also had an “it” factor that was almost uncomparable.

And unlike some of the sport’s greats, he didn’t retire immediately after achieving the pinnacle of Olympic success. He returned to training months before the 1996 Olympics after quitting to be with his wife Irina, who lapsed into a coma after a devastating car accident.

His comeback story includes four bronze medals in Atlanta, which seemed reflective of his limited preparation time but not lack of skill.

Vitaly Sherbo, 1994 World Championships, Vault:

Nadia gets fired

January 16, 2008

Nadia ComaneciApparently Nadia Comaneci is better on the balance beam than she is at The Apprentice. She was fired after just her second show, Inside Gymnastics Magazine reports.

That was one show less than Carly Patterson lasted on Celebrity Duets.

She was canned by The Donald, according to the magazine, because she lacked the competitive drive.

Hmm. I don’t see any of Karolyi’s gymnasts lacking competitive drive, even if it has been 32 years since her triumphs in Montreal.

(via Gymnastics Coaching)

Khorkina the politician

December 30, 2007

Two-type Olympic bars champion Svetlana Khorkina and Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Alina Kabayeva have traded acrobatics for politics, The Times of London reported today.

VLADIMIR PUTIN has resorted to an age-old trick to capture the voters’ imagination: sexing up the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, with an array of glamorous new female recruits.

Ahead of this month’s rigged parliamentary elections, Putin was reported to have complained that there were not enough beautiful women in his United Russia party. The error was soon corrected with a platform of stunning ladies, including four former athletes who have starred in topless photoshoots and Svetlana Zakharova, the elegant principal ballerina of the Bolshoi.

Those four include both Khorkina, now 28, who posed for Russian Playboy after winning the world all-around title in 1997, and Kabayeva, 24, who apparently appeared somewhere “seminaked in a fur rug.”

Even among a bevy of sexy women, Khorkina gets top-dog status.

Top debutante among the new Duma intake (already being described as “Putin’s babes”) is Svetlana Khorkina, 28, a leggy blonde who was a seven-time Olympic medal-winning gymnast. She caused a scandal when she appeared nude in Playboy magazine with her unashamed “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” approach.

“I changed people’s attitudes,” she said. “It’s very good to be sexy.”

Some things never change.

The influx of athletes to provide a little star power in politics is not a new concept. How many professional football players have been elected to the U.S. House or Senate during the past 30 years?

Even Nadia Comaneci was reported to have been offered a position in the Romanian parliament earlier this year. Guess she chose to do Celebrity Apprentice instead.

Nadia the Apprentice

November 20, 2007

The Lansing State Journal seemed the first to report Nadia Comaneci’s next move.

Nadia, who was rumored to be contemplating a post in the Romanian parliament last summer, will be appearing on the first edition of Celebrity Apprentice with boxer Lennox Lewis, 2005 Playboy Playboy of the Year Tiffany Fallon and, love her or hate her,Omarosa. All will be playing for a quarter million for the charity of their choice.

Nadia Comaneci

Olga Korbut’s double back

November 8, 2007

Olga Korbut

Even though it was 1976, this film looks like it was recorded during the Chaplin era. Nevertheless, rare footage of Olga Korbut doing a double back, shown at 1:20, as well as other stuff from the 1976 Olympic all-around is well worth a little fuzziness.

The dubbed-in version of “Malaguena” fits Nadia Comaneci’s floor routine pretty well, too. Thanks to Youtube user arthur93 for the amazing videos.