Posts Tagged ‘Yang Yilin’

Beth Tweddle news

January 9, 2009
Britains Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain's Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain’s best ever isn’t hanging up her grips yet. From the Chester Chronicle:

Beth Tweddle hoping for another world title in 2009

Beth Tweddle is preparing for what could be one of the most challenging years of her career.

Currently recovering from a shoulder operation, the gymnast from Bunbury will spend 2009 building towards a shot at glory at the World Championships in London in October.

Tweddle remains the only British gymnast to win a world title – on the uneven bars in 2006 – and despite the fact she will reach the grand old age of 24 in April, she is hoping to win a second.

The former Chester Queen’s School pupil is also eager to prove she has what it takes to go on and compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

“That is still in my mind,” said Tweddle, who had originally earmarked this year’s World Championships as the time to end her glittering career. “I have nothing set in stone, but I would like to compete at the London Games.

“Home crowds are the best and I don’t get to compete in major international competitions on home soil very often, so I am really looking forward to the worlds and possibly the Olympics.”

Tweddle, who finished an agonising fourth on the uneven bars at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, was due to have a medical assessment yesterday after undergoing shoulder surgery in November.

“It was unexpected but completely necessary,” she said. “It is a bit sore but that is mainly because I haven’t used it for 10 weeks. I am hoping I get the all-clear to begin training again so I can make sure I am fit for the Euros in April, the Grand Prix in Glasgow and the other events I need to get up to standard.”

When Tweddle resumes training she will have some work to do. Her uneven bars routine, the most difficult in the world, needs to be altered after rule changes which have reduced the time gymnasts can spend on the bars.

“It should actually help me,” said Tweddle, a member of Liverpool Gymnastics Club. “A shorter routine, but with the same difficult moves in, will be a benefit to me and hopefully help me continue my success.”

Still studying in Liverpool to become a physiotherapist, Tweddle says she is taking the autumn of her gymnastic career one step at a time.

“I just have to see what happens,” she said. “I am continuing to study and plan for the future and for what I will do when I leave gymnastics. But as for when I take all that up, I am not sure yet.”

Is it possible? Maybe, but she has to get through the Chinese (and maybe Nastia Liukin) first. If He Kexin and Yang Yilin look as good in 2009 as they did in 2008, it will be difficult for Tweddle to break through. Still, it’s always easier to be the hunter. Home court advantage in London could be a big help, too.

10 things that should have happened during the Olympics….

October 7, 2008
Aussie Daria Joura deserved better than she got in Beijing.

Aussie Daria Joura deserved better than she got in Beijing.

…and didn’t.

1. The Australian program, which aside from Russia and China has the best combination of artistry and athleticism, should have made a bigger impact. The unfortunate injury to Aussie star Dasha Joura in team prelims undercut Australia’s chances of being a bigger hit at these Games. Hopefully Joura goes on in gymnastics, although her countrywomen have certainly been able to translate their gymnastics prowess into other sports. She’s the best Australia’s ever had, and could continue to have a big impact on sport in her country.

2. The Russian program, which aside from China and Australia has the best combination of artistry and athleticism, should have made a bigger impact. The elegant and classy veteran Anna Pavlova, who knows something about peaking during the Olympic Games, was robbed of medals on both balance beam and vault. At 20, she’s also a candidate for continuing, and can draw inspiration from her more aged elite teammates Yelena Zamolodchikova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova.


Who stays, who goes?

September 19, 2008

After the Olympics there’s usually a flurry of discussion and speculation — who will continue, and who’s retiring? This ongoing post will attempt to chronicle that.

Staying. Chellsie Memmel, at least through the 2009 Worlds. Hard to blame her — despite the Olympic team silver, Beijing was hardly her dream competition.

Going. Alicia Sacramone, who has hinted she might try diving.

Staying. The bionic Oksana Chusovitina, who was given $20,000 Euros by Li Ning to help pay for son Alisher’s lieukemia treatment.

Staying. Beth Tweddle, who wants to compete in London at next year’s world championships.

Going. Romanian Marian Dragulescu, the — so close! — two time Olympic vault champ, who announced plans to become a coach.

Going. Morgan Hamm, who told the press that he’s done. M. Hamm plans to marry and attend chiropractic school.

Undecided. Paul Hamm, who apparently is trying to choose between an advanced degree in business administration or further competition. Hey, the MBA will always be an option, Paul — Olympic-caliber gymnastics won’t.

Undecided. Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, the big winners of the Games. Johnson has professed that she’d “give anything” to do another Olympics, while Liukin has mentioned 2012 in a few interviews but seems more focused on breaking Shannon Miller’s world championship medal count, which could happen in 2009.

Staying. Non-2008 Olympian Yelena Zamolodchikova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova, the grand dames of the talented but aging Russian teams.

Going. Aussie Olivia Vivian, to the talented and often under-appreciated Oregon State University.

Staying (likely). Yang Yilin. After her performance in Beijing, do you think the Chinese government is just going to let her retire? She could be even better in 2009.

Nastia Liukin, Olympic Champion: Wow!

August 15, 2008

Nastia Liukin salutes the judges after her balance beam routine, en route to the all-around gold in Beijing.

Nastia Liukin salutes the judges after her balance beam routine, en route to the all-around gold in Beijing.

With elegance, style, poise, her signature pink leotard and a ton of flawlessly performed difficulty, Nastia Liukin captured the women’s all around gold medal, living up to promise and expectation that’s surrounded her since she won her first junior national championship in 2003.

Shawn Johnson took silver, while China’s Yang Yilin proved her all-around mettle, leading after two rotations and finishing with the bronze.

It was a class field that performed wonderfully. There was nary a huge mistake, save Jiang Yuyuan on vault. Yang, given her relative lack of experience and the enormous pressure to follow up Yang Wei’s heroics before the home crowd, also had the meet of her life. Her bronze was well deserved.

Liukin, however, was the class of the field, putting together the four best routines she’s done in years and not giving an inch to her competitors. So she was underscored on vault. Maybe Johnson was a bit underscored on bars. Maybe Yang was overscored on beam. The best woman still won. That’s all that matters right now.

What I liked most about this competition was that Liukin in some ways did something that seems almost relegated to old school gymnastics — she stuck her landings on vault, her beam dismount, and on that very difficult first tumbling pass. She polished every movement. She made it look easy. Johnson, despite sticking her bars dismount cold, did not. They talk about that a lot in gymnastics these days, but we so rarely see it now, particularly on vault.

When Liukin retires (and I hope it’s not this year) she’ll be remembered as one of the greatest American gymnasts ever — for her heritage, for her elegance, for her innovations (she was gutsy enough to attempt a quad on floor), for competing as a senior elite for three long years before the Olympic Games, for not listening to people who said she was too old, for not listening to people who said she was a two event gymnast, for not letting that ankle injury consume her, for maintaining a healthy rivalry with Johnson, a gymnast who is day to her night, and continuing to believe in herself.

She’s not the new Mary Lou. She’s nothing like Mary Lou, except in spirit. Maybe in 20 years some artistic kid will come along and they’ll wonder, “Could she be the next Nastia?”

Fantastic, Nastia. Just fantastic.

Women’s All-Around predictions

August 15, 2008
Could this be the woman at the top of the podium after tonights all-around final?

Could this be the woman at the top of the podium after tonight's all-around final?

Generally the feeling is that the United States will be on the podium — but in what position(s), it’s very hard to say. This blog’s official prediction is that Nastia Liukin comes back with a vengeance to take the title. Jiang Yuyuan takes second with a clean performance, and Shawn Johnson gets the bronze after a small mistake…somewhere.

The problem with saying this right out is that Nastia is, although always near the top, a gymnast that tends to make small errors (steps on landings, lots of going out of bounds on floor.)

Nevertheless, she looked on fire, determined and capable through the first two nights. Johnson, though she smiled and performed well, somehow (again, my opinion only) doesn’t look as unbeatable as she did in 2007. Could she have peaked before the selection camp?

Those who could surprise: Ksenia Semyonova, who qualified in fourth place, Anna Pavlova, and Yang Yilin, China’s other gymnast in this event. Any could climb onto the platform.

Women’s team finals: most/least impressive

August 14, 2008

Most Impressive Surprise Routine: Yang Yilin, vault. Despite the NBC commentators harping on the landing, her power and especially her form, were very impressive.

Most Impressive Failure: Alicia Sacramone. Enough said.

Most Impressive Newcomer: Deng Linlin. No China Syndrome among the newcomers, either.

Least Impressive “Great” Routine: Ksenia Semyonova, uneven bars. As Rick at Gymnastics Coahing has said before, she’s really better on beam.

Most Impressive Closer: Cheng Fei, floor. One of the great routines of the Games, whether she wins in event finals or not.

Yang Yun to be investigated?

August 11, 2008

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Bruno Grandi told USA Today that he may initiate an investigation into whether Yang Yun was really 14 at the Sydney Olympics.

Yang won the bronze medal on uneven bars after a brilliant routine in event finals and was a contender for the all-around title as well before falling on balance beam in Sydney. Her pretty layout Cuervo vault, one of the best ever done, clinched China’s team bronze medal in 2000.

Yang Yun, 2000 Olympic Games Team Finals, Vault:

Yang gave an interview on Chinese television saying she was only 14 in Sydney, The New York Times reported in late July.

Grandi apparently doesn’t watch Chinese TV.

Nevertheless, after the news conference, Grandi said he wants to look into the dispute over Yang’s age. “I want to evaluate,” he said. “I want to speak with my executive committee.”

Oh yeah: Grandi suggests solving the age of athletes snafu (brought about by documents available on the internet indicating that He Kexin, Yang Yilin and Jiang Yuyuan may be younger than the 16 the government says they are) by issuing licenses to gymnasts earlier in their careers.

Which may not be a bad idea. But what’s to prevent a country from fudging its athletes’ ages beginning at age 10 or so instead of age 15?

Come to think of it…

August 4, 2008

Chinas Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.

China's Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.

This doesn’t really seem like the face of a 16-year-old, either.

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to pursue whether half of the Chinese women’s team is underage, the news media seems reluctant to let it go. And hey, Yang Yilin does have a very, very youthful face.

Whether Yang really is 16, or 15, or 14, or whatever, she hangs with the best in the world. She should compete. So should He Kexin. So should Samantha Shapiro and Charlotte Mackie and Aliya Mustafina. Shame on China for breaking the rule — if they are — and shame on the FIG for making a rule that is so easy to break.

Chinese women’s team is…

July 25, 2008

The rumors were true. International Gymnast Magazine has confirmed that Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Yang Yilin, He Kexin and Deng Linlin will represent team China in Beijing.

Team captain Cheng is the only returning 2004 Olympian but also the lone member of the 2006 World Championship-winning squad.

In China, gymnasts seem to flame out faster than they do elsewhere — perhaps it’s the emergence of stunning new talent like He and Deng that makes it that much harder to stay at the top.

Yang Yilin, 2008 Tianjin World Cup Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Like the Chinese men’s squad named earlier, this is a dream team — if they can all hit in team finals. China’s reputation there is sketchy. If they hit in event finals, the Chinese could sweep the gold medals.

Whether they win team gold or not, China has certainly locked up the depth prize this quad. Talk about a country whose B team could challenge for a medal –not making the final Olympic cut was Olympic veteran Zhang Nan, artistic Sui Lu, snazzy Pang Panpan, powerful Xiao Sha, and 2006 World team members Zhou Zhuoru, He Ning .

Chinese Dominate Tianjin World Cup

May 16, 2008

Chinese floor specialist Zou Kai had a mistake on floor but won high bar at the Tianjin World Cup.Eight world cup golds. In a single competition. Out of 10 events. Goodness.

The Chinese are certainly putting on a display of strength leading up to Beijing. This week’s example is the World Cup, held in Tianjin, where the Chinese won everything, except men’s floor (that one went to Japan’s Kohei Uchimura and men’s vault, which was won by North Korea’s Ri Se Gwang.

The usual suspects won everything else. (Women’s vault, beam and floor went to Cheng Fei. Bars were won by Yang Yilin after teammate He Kexin withdrew from the competition, citing “exhaustion”. Li Xiaopeng won parallel bars, Xiao Qin won pommel horse, Zou Kai high bar, and Chen Yibing rings.

Youtube user Fanbutterfly has videos.

It’s a little deceptive, given the fairly weak field and the fact that the competition was held in China. Then again, Americans like me probably shouldn’t complain. It’s not like we don’t do the same thing every year.

(via International Gymnast Magazine)