London: The Bad


1. Grishina

The biggest Olympic letdown since Zmeskal, alas. We desperately hope this one gets the coaching she needs, because she’s an immense talent who, on her day, could’ve been a contender for just about everything. At a minimum, she ought to have been delivering killer performances on 3 events in TFs- though we do support her decision to refuse to do beam. Prod only knows how badly that would’ve gone. If nothing else, she ought to have been good for a 15 on bars. It is unfathomable that she couldn’t achieve even that.

And yet even following her disastrous Olympics, she could be the 2013 world AA champion, if properly coached and managed. The talent is there. The recent shenanigans at Round Lake leave us in no doubt that this won’t happen. Her coach appears more interested in slagging off Alexandrov and Mustafina than doing anything useful. We don’t know how he has the cheek to lift his head above the parapet after this utter shitshow. A shame and a waste. Poor Nastia.

As it turned out, they’d have been better off taking our girl Nabz instead. It’s a sad day when you can say that about someone. We’re left scratching our heads and asking when the fuck a roundoff became something that the world’s top gymnasts fuck up during major team finals.

I mean, I can probably still do one even now, though it doubtless isn’t advisable ten weeks post partum with several pounds of baby weight still to shift. But still.

2. Team China

They gave the dreadful TF performance they’ve been threatening all quad, and frankly their 4th place finish had more than a touch of schadenfraude. Post Beijing they’ve been dull and underachieving, and they’ve screwed over their very few exciting gymnasts. We like to believe this wouldn’t have happened on our Wu Lu’s watch.

He Kexin did, admittedly, do better than we expected, and her laboured marathon was overscored all the way to silver. Blech. It may be worth noting that the judges initially, and correctly, had Tweddle ahead of her. It took the reference panel to step in to put He Kexin ahead.

And of course they did manage an Olympic 1-2 on beam: of all the lovely pairs they could’ve done that with, it had to be the class of 2012. Still, at least it wasn’t Sui Lu who won it. And we all enjoyed working out whether hers or Maroney’s strop was more entertaining. That’s something.

3. Youna Dufournet

Another letdown, and we’d been really looking forward to seeing her bars routine in finals.

4. Men’s team finals

Prelims had promised so much. Rather than treating us to their usual snorefest, the Chinese had thrillingly collapsed, and there were a number of attractive teams in the running for medals. Instead, we ended up with the same old same old on top of the podium and the highly embarrassing and unsavoury spectacle of the judges hashing over what constitutes a handstand for 2o minutes.

Stoi! quite frankly do not know enough about MAG to ascertain whether Uchimura did indeed hit handstand as he fell off pommels. But what we do know is that the issue should have been settled before his score was posted and the Ukrainians and Brits celebrated. Not after.

5. Larisa Iordache

Poor injured munchkin. Promised so much, and walked away with so little. Don’t get us wrong, a team bronze is impressive in the circumstances and she did as much as anyone to secure it. It’s just that she could’ve been one of the stars of the Games.

6. WAG vault final

A total splatfest, with the de rigeur wrongly credited, medal impacting short Amanar to boot. Not the most auspicious way to start the EFs. The only saving grace was that Yamilet Pena once again managed not to kill herself, which is always a relief.

Now it isn’t that we don’t like Izbasa. We do. If she’d won floor again, we’d have been celebrating. And she’s a good vaulter, very good. It’s just that we were supposed to have the greatest champion in the history of the sport. With all due respect to Sandy, she isn’t it. She would have been a fitting silver medallist, and frankly that’s probably what she was aiming for, but not quite gold.

These vaults were very good, but they weren’t great. And we could have had great.

You may say I’m just sore because I had a fiver on Maroney to win, and perhaps that’s true. But there’s more to it than that. I say this as someone who also won money when Raisman took floor gold, but has pilloried the judging that allowed this to happen.

Until London, we were on a pretty good run of excellent Olympic vault champions- you really have to go all the way back to Szabo to find one who was any less than all that. (Hong Un Jong comes in for some criticism, but landing a fully rotated and reasonably neat Cheng and Amanar automatically means you’re the shit). Had Sandra thrown the Cheng, she might belong in that company, not least because she’s five foot five, for fuck’s sake. But she didn’t. Not that we blame her, it would’ve been utter stupidity to take that risk. And she wasn’t the weakest champion of the Olympics, not by a long way. The blame for this doesn’t in any way rest with her.

So ultimately, we’re just left sad that it was Romania who won vault and the US floor. We’d all have been loads better off if it had been the other way round.

And Mother Russia need to stop complaining about Paseka’s bronze, too. She had no business on that podium- not for the bullshit reasons Berger was coming out with (and she too would have been a disgusting, if deserving bronze medallist) but because that Amanar was in no way shape or form rotated. There are times when it is better to keep silent.

7. WAG beam final

Here was us thinking the event couldn’t possibly sink any lower than it did in the 2011 EF. We were wrong. Deng Linlin and Sui Lu are boring, and the only thing worse than Raisman medalling on floor is her medalling on beam. I mean, at least she excels in one aspect of the floor exercise. It’s possible to just watch her first two tumbles on repeat and on mute, and have an extremely enjoyable viewing experience. The same cannot be said of a single thing from her beam exercise.

The memories are hazy, but I seem to recall thinking she’d been credited for the switch half again. That was unjustifiable in Tokyo, and remains so now. One can’t argue with the gold and silver medallists, of course, but one can reflect with sadness on how many attractive beam workers had to fuck up to allow them a 1-2. Ponor, Iordache, Komova, Grishina, Afanasyeva, even Kyla Ross would all have been preferable and plausible podium finishers. There are no videos or photos to illustrate my point here because, like the 1993 world EF, I prefer to pretend it didn’t happen.

By Clara

18 responses to “London: The Bad

  • Stoi!

    Georgert, if you have a problem with criticism of Raisman’s win, you cannot possibly understand the artistry deductions in the COP. You need to read them before you have the temerity to call anyone uninformed.

  • georgert

    Bloggers whinging about what an injustice it was that Raisman would have the temerity to win an FX gold or medal on beam sound every bit as classy and informed as Donald Trump commentating on President Obama’s reelection. Get over yourself.

  • company offshore

    So. Congratulations, ladies. Aliya Mustafina gets a special award for coming back from an ACL tear just over a year ago to win bars, plus bronzes in the AA and floor finals and of course silver in the team. Gabby Douglas, what a victory for her, and how great to have the first woman of color win the AA (now shut the fuck up about her hair). McKayla Maroney did the best vault anyone has ever done. Sui Lu and Deng Linlin showed us how beam should be done. Sandra Izbasa had an utterly hypnotizing floor routine. Her teammate Catalina Ponor did her fantastic beam routine. Jordyn Weiber–competing on a broken leg–came back after disappointment and helped her team to win. Oksana Chusovitna, one of the all time greats, finally said goodbye to the sport at the age of 37 in her 6th Olympics. Beth Tweddle finally got her Olympic medal in front of a home crowd. And the vault finals reminded us just how unpredictable the sport is. Come to think of it, almost every stage of the meet was full of surprises, which is nice in some ways–its good to have things shaken up a bit! Although of course I wish McKayla had won vault.

  • Joon

    Nothing was more entertaining than Sui Lu’s meltdown. I was in fear for Deng Linlin’s life after that.

  • Anerol

    Yep, for sure having the best vaulter … the final was like: WTF!!
    But at leats Sandra had one gold, she deserved it. I am still crying thinking about the floor final, such a pity. do you think she would get the gold with a right last diagonal?

    Thaks for enjoying your followers

  • vanessa steck

    Ugh, vault finals was by far the worst part of the entire thing. God. what a mess.

  • Maria

    The only gymnasts who really had a shot at gold for beam were the Chinese and the Romanians. It’s such a shame the Iodarche was injured and that Ponor had a major balance check. I’m pretty Ponor would have had a fighting chance at gold if she had hit her routine. Raisman’s bronze…. eurgh, I don’t want to think about it. Deng and Sui both had wonderful HIT routines so in my opinion, they had a well deserved 1-2, albeit the lack of choreo.
    Just curious, what do you think constitutes a good (interesting and exciting to be more specific) beam routine?

  • gingercrush

    Great list though being bad can’t really be called great can it. Iordache and Grishina were disheartening. But poor Yao Jinnan watching her was one scary incident after incident. Her vault in prelims was one of the scariest moments of gymnastics I’ve ever seen.

    The shape she was in was disturbing.

  • Julie

    I like to pretend that the vault was set too low, because for some reason, everyone in the EF got wonky blocks high up on the table. So in my alternate universe, they checked the height and then everyone got a do over and McKayla ended up winning.

    Or whatever. It was a hot mess of an EF though. At least the whole McKayla is not impressed meme thing was worth it.

  • david

    I enjoy reading your blogs so much. there is so much gymnastics wisdom and humor 🙂

  • M

    Yeah Grishina was bad. She changed coaches now, so hopefully the new coaches will be better for her. Her former coach has time to run his mouth and slag on others when he obviously didn’t do anything worthwhile.

    Damn Women’s vault and Beam were boring and just poor. I felt for Sui Lu though.

    Dufournet is a headcase so wasn’t surprised she missed the final, she is hot and cold. She needs some consistency.

  • saina

    This Olympics was such a let down from the crappy media and commentary from Daggett and Co. Ive finally been able to watch the entire prelims, team finals, and event finals that NBC cut out. The AA was the most boring not because Gabby won, because thet didn show the other competitors. Oh how I wish Larissa and Yao had not been injured.

    I agree with you regarding Grishina. There’s talent there but she needs a coach to toughen her up. If Musty and Vika stay in shap those two along with Grishina will be a force to be reckoned with in the next quad. As for AA champ 2013, Marta is already fixing so that Katelyn wins it. Lol

  • gottaluvgymnastics

    If I were Grishina, i wouldve take out the double back and do what she meant to do earlier that she had messed up on. Then I would replace the double pike with the double tuck- Grishy needs some endurance work, it seems.
    OH MY GOSH I COMPLETELY AGREE WIH YOU—WAG beam final was boring. If Larisa hadn’t fallen and Vika hadn’t fallen at all then hopefully we wouldn’t have the offensive podium we have now. But I (sorry) do appreciate Sui Lu’s beam work. Also, idler bad for Huang Qiushuang– no medals for her :(.

  • Christiane

    Oh, you forgot to mention: 8. The Sobbing Festival by Mother Russia.

    Now I understand all those videos we watched of them training and crying at Round Lake. They were practicing for all the crying they did in London!

    But serious now, that was disturbing. Some tears here and there are understandable, like those shed by Jordyn (very classy, by the way) or Sui Lu. But to see Vika sobbing, face buried and body shaking was pitiful. I understand her disappointment and a déjà vu feeling that probably hit her full bloom, still one has to be more mentally prepared at a Olympic Games! I wish the Russian team had 1/3 of the Americans mental toughness…

    Nevertheless, it was great to see both Vika and Aliya at the AA podium. Of course I would prefer 1000 times to have Vika first and Gabi second; not only Vika is more talented (in my opinion) but that would have also spared us from the Sobbing Festival #2, followed by her pre-teen “That is not fair!” attitude at EFs.

    PS: Congratulations for your baby-girl!! :o) I still hope to have one some time… Hey, I have been trying for “only” 10 years, ha.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant. As usual, just brilliant. Although I’m surprised you didn’t give a specific mention to the horrors of the winner of the floor final. Still, can’t wait for more posts!!!!

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