Okay, so event finals start in about 3.5 hours, I'm about to take a 3.5 hour nap so I can watch them, but here are some of the highlights for gymnastics so far for me.
Mens TF -Sasha Artemev hitting his pommel routine. That's twice in a row at that point: and it came at a time when the USA really needed it. Major kudos to him. -Jonathan Horton sticking every single dismount on the events he competed. That fact is pretty much amazing.
Womens TF -China winning their first Olympic team gold. It all ended with Cheng Fei's floor which she hit beautifully (that floor converted me to a Cheng Fei fan). Deng Linlin's stuck double twisting yurchenko and Jiang Yuyuan's floor were also highlights for me. -Romania hitting 12 for 12 and keeping their mark on gymnastics strong by finishing 3rd and winning the bronze medal. Steliana Nistor and Sandra Izbasa deserve major props for this feat, along with the rest of Romanian team. -Japan finishing 5th place behind USA, China, Romania, and Russia. Kyoko Oshima's floor from team finals was absolutely spot on and has been my favourite routine performed at these games so far.
Mens AA -Yang Wei finally getting his all-around Olympic gold, after missing it in Sydney and Athens. -Kohei Uchimura recovering from falling twice on pommel horse to finish second. His floor routine was absolutely perfection. -Beniot Caranobe getting the first AA medal for France in 80 years. He hit his routines solidly and that proved to be enough into letting him get the bronze.
Womens AA -The duel between Nastia and Shawn. Nastia came out on top over Shawn: which lets hardcore gymn fans breathe a sigh of relief that artistry might come back to the sport. -Yang Yilin. I personally still believe that she should had won, but to see her even medal was fabulous. In fact, the top group (sans Jiang Yuyuan's vault) performed without major error on all 4 events. That's really impressive. -Krystina Palesova of CZE cheering on the other athletes after she finished her routines. You can see her on the NBC broadcast yelling for Nastia to hit her floor routine. I'm a sucker for sportsman ship like this :]
China qualified first into team finals, while counting two major falls: He Kexin on bars, and Jiang Yuyuan on vault. He Kexin fell on her Pak Salto, yet she still qualified into bar finals, but unfortunally goes first in the lineup. Jiang Yuyuan totally bombed her Amanar, but fortunally still qualified for the all-around ahead of Deng Linlin. Yang Yilin was consistant and qualified third into AA finals behind Shawn and Nastia. She also qualified first in bar finals.
USA was a mess. On top of Chellsie Memmel's ankle injury that inhibits her to bars only, Samantha Peszek also injured her ankle and could only compete bars as well. That means that the USA went 4-up, 4-count on bars, beam, and floor. Shawn was strong, the only major issue was her downgrading her rudi to a barani on floor. Nastia was strong as well, qualifying into three finals (floor, beam, and bars). Alicia Sacramone on the other hand was weak, only qualifying into vault finals, after lading totally out of bounds on her fourth pass.
Russia was undoubtebly the strongest I've seen them this quad, easily qualifying third over Romania. Anna Pavlova ended up making three event finals (vault, floor, and beam), Ksenia Semenova made bar finals, Ksenia Afanasyeva made beam finals, and Ekaterina Kramarenko made floor finals. Pavlova and Semenova also qualified in the top 6 in the all-around, and will join Nastia, Shawn, Yang Yilin, and Jiang Yuyuan in the top group.
The highlight for me however was Japan. Japan qualified into their first team finals ever in Olympic history (Japan finished eighth), and also qualified their first event finalist (Koko Tsurumi on beam) in a non-boycotted games since 1964. And as a analysis by Gymnast.com shows, the difference between Japan, France, and Brazil are really close. Gymnast.com took the three highest scores (similar to team finals) and came up with these totals for Brazil, France, and Japan.
Brazil - 176.900 France - 176.325 Japan - 176.125
BTW: Here is Koko Tsurumi's history making beam routine.
It starts. You heard me right, not 08-08-08, but tonight. At 11:00PM Central Time, Men's Podium Training will be broadcasted on the NBCOlympics website. Thursday at 12:30AM Central Time will be the Women's Podium Training. Unfortunally, it's only the rotations in which the USA are participating in.
So, tonight: you can be watching these teams training in preperation for the competition that starts this weekend.
Italy Spain USA Mixed Group 2 (Alexander Shatilov, Daniel Keatings, Louis Smith, Anton Fokin, Jorge Hugo Giraldo) Mixed Group 3 (Leszek Blanik, Claudio Capelli, Christoph Schaerer, Epke Zonderland) Mixed Group 6 (Mohammad Serour, Vlasios Maras, Iilia Giorgadze, Nashwan Al Hazari)
So, I just got a new laptop (my first laptop ever), and very excited about using it. On that note, here are some general updates from the gymnastics community.
-Chellsie Memmel has injured her ankle. She's only doing bars and beam at this moment, so the status of whether she'll do just bars in TF, or try for the AA is up in the air.
-Liudmilla Grebenkova has replaced Daria Yelizarova for the last spot on the team. No official reasons were given for the swap, but it's rumoured that Daria has the flu and will be unable to compete this weekend.