As we stand on the cusp of a whole new quad, complete with shiny new code and the prospect of a fabulous Olympics in Rio to put the icing on the cake, it’s time to reflect on what was served up in the previous four years. It is, of course, awards season, or it was when I started work on this piece anyway. So in true Stoi! style we once again give out the gongs. Mostly by Clara, with a couple of guest appearances from Bronwyn.
Best team final
2010 Euros. I was there. It had everything. Mother Russia grabbing their first team title in a decade alone would’ve been enough.
But then the high drama of GB getting silver (and with a 3 for 3 beam rotation in the absence of the only two acceptable beamers they’ve actually had this quad, no less) and getting to witness a trademark Ukrainian meltdown in person sealed the deal. I even saw Ariella Kaeslin in the pub afterwards. The only bad part was poor Ana Porgras getting injured.
I suspect Bronners would go for 2010 worlds. And to be fair, it was the most exciting by a long way. It was very kind of Mother Russia to throw away their 2 fall advantage in the interests of a good, close competition.
Rotterdam. Was I ever going to say anything else?
True, the Olympic AA podium was full of win: one that comprised Douglas, Komova and Mustafina in any order could not be otherwise. But it wasn’t quite up there with seeing our girl eviscerate the competition. Also, I wasn’t in labour during 2010 worlds.
Bronwyn – It’s a draw between 2010 Worlds and London for me.
Best vault final
Clara- 2011 worlds, narrowly beating 2009 for me. 2010 had a pretty top notch podium, but the shonky judging left a bad taste in the mouth. Judges ignoring FIG directives about how to tariff vaults is not ok, and nor was failing to downgrade Mustafina’s short Amanar. 2009 worlds was a lot of fun to watch, especially with all three athletes taking their first and, as it turned out, only major medals. However, any podium containing Maroney is better than one that doesn’t.
(except the Olympics, obviously. that one was a shitshow).
Best bars final
While we’ve had some excellent bars champions this quad, we’ve not had a top notch final. Can’t argue with a winners list that reads He Kexin- Tweddle- Komova- Mustafina. Each was the dog’s bollocks, in her own way, and they all won with superb sets too. No fluking it or being the best of a bad bunch. The rest of the field in 2009 was piss poor, but this was back when He Kexin was still pre-pubescent and she’d have beaten them all even if they’d hit.
Still though, it’s a shame there was never a competition where they all hit simultaneously. The Olympic was the closest, but I’m going instead for 2010 worlds. He Kexin got what she had coming, Beth and Aliya were as good a 1-2 as anyone could hope for. Runner up- 2012 Euros with the all ex-Soviet podium. It’s a little known fact that Chusovitina actually gave birth to all three of the medallists.
Best beam final
The only one this quad that has been even close to acceptable is 2010 worlds. I refuse to speak of any other.
Best floor final
As with beam, we’ve hardly been spoiled for choice. Of the four major titles this quad, only one of them has been won by a routine that wasn’t disgusting. True, Afanasyeva arguably makes up for a large portion of the horror. But even her triumph occurred in the context of a final that featured far too much gymnastic lochea.
Euros weren’t much better, especially at first. We love Tweddle, oh yes we do, but not when she dances. Fortunately, the girls from Deva saved us mid-quad: Izbasa’s 2011 win represents the only time all quad that she didn’t fail us. Lauren Mitchell world champion is Sandra’s fucking fault. We can’t blame Afan, she’d already done her hit routine for the championship. She has a quota and it had been all used up.
So, Tokyo worlds it is then. Sui Lu slayed!
Best performance by a coffin dodger
As we tiptoed into the quad with Beijing still ringing in our eyes, all the talk was of youngsters. Specifically, the 14 and 15 year olds that Team China pretended were legally aged and the shitstorm that erupted when the world cottoned on. This time round, however, the more notable performances have come from the other end of the spectrum. The Chinese appear to have dialled down the infants for this quad, although Yao Jinnan has raised a few eyebrows, and the old bitches have taken centre stage instead. Deng Linlin looked increasingly like an old man as the quad progressed, so we did consider her, but reluctantly decided that athletes should really have to be at least mid 20s to qualify.
Ultimately, it has to be a tie between Chusovitina and Tweddle- both of whom I confidently expect to see in Rio. Oksana will now be competing for Uzbekistan again, and about their only advantage over Germany is the lesser competition for the team. And Beth has pointedly referred to herself recently as a gymnast who hasn’t yet retired. Chussy is older, but Tweddle had the better quad, so we can’t bring ourselves to separate them. We’d give an honourable mention to the Brazilians, several of whom are 30 or getting there, if any of them had done anything worth seeing recently. They haven’t so we won’t. You have to do more than be old to win in this category.
Worst team selection
GB in London, naturellement. Regular readers will have heard all about my feelings on this one. Neither Cairns nor Pinches had any business anywhere near that team. And then BG had the gall to pretend that 6th place represented some kind of success!
Team Ukraine finally getting the 1999 world team bronze medal that was stolen from them by China cheating. There are still a few more where that came from, ask Anastasia Koval, but this is something. For me, it beats the US getting the Sydney bronze, as Ukraine need it so much more.
Honourable mention for reference panel stepping in to stop Raisman winning floor gold in 2010. Justified and righteous.
Most irritating commentary
Anything by Matt Baker. It boils my piss that he occupies St Barry’s seat. If it weren’t for Dr Who, I’d withhold the licence fee in protest.
Bronwyn- NBC character assassination of Aliya at Scam 2011. Just fuck off.
Clara- 2012. The ludicrousness of the hors concours athlete kicking the winner’s are rightly got most of the attention, but Iordache being done out of her silver was the bigger iniquity from where I was sitting.
Bronwyn- Jordyn getting 15 on floor in 2011
Obviously Aliya. To bust your ACL 16 months before the Olympics and bring home the medal haul that she did requires levels of grit not seen in the sport since the last time Memmel did a crucial routine for Team USA with a limb hanging off. In a way, it all worked out for the best.
Stoi! readers, do let us know your picks.