Cheng Fei is one of the greatest vaulters in history. Admittedly, the events of 2008 did slightly sully the memories of her earlier highs. That year brought us the news that she too was younger than she really claimed, she stank up Beijing TFs and then showed up with this slop in the Olympic EF.
Underrotated first vault, mangled beyond recognition second vault, and the judges still cheated her all the way to bronze.
Nonetheless, in her pomp she was divine. Even in 08, she was still capable of a very strong Amanar.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as effortless a display of dominance as this, in the 2006 world final.
But it seemed like she’d gone the way of many Chinese athletes once the puberty fairy bites, and was on the way to the vault runway in the sky. Serious injury in what, 2008, led most fans to think we’d seen the last of her.
But she’s now on the roster for the Chinese Nationals in August. That proves nothing, you say? True. But here is training footage of her doing a very good DTY.
This alone would’ve been enough to justify taking her to Rotterdam. It’s better than any of their vaults in 2010 TFs, including that of veteran Yang Yilin, who was taken for vault only.
So this makes things interesting. For all her later inconsistency, Cheng Fei was one of China’s most successful gymnasts of all time- none of the others have won five world titles. And they’ve never won a major title without her. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the situation in the Chinese training camp just got much more interesting. Only a fool would think she isn’t at least considering beam and floor too. I’ll nail my colours to the mast now and say that I’d love to see her make a run at another major competition. She may not really be as old as Sacramone, whatever she claims, but she’s still a true veteran. Maybe we’ll see an entire 20+ vault final!
In other news, He Kexin is working on another pirouette that looks the same as all the others.
Wake me up when she’s half as interesting as Cheng Fei.