Gymnastics and other hodgepodge

Well, my favorite part of the Olympics has come and gone…

this year, it’s been pretty awesome, all the success Team USA has had this year… plus they’re getting comparisons to the only other team to win gold…
that REALLY brought me back ๐Ÿ˜Ž

my first gymnastics memory was Kerri Strug’s vault… I mean, who could forget that right?

I remember it like it was yesterday… rather, the 2nd vault she did where she hopped at the end, not so much the first vault…
of course they showed the footage from the 1996 team that won gold and the footage of the vault had really been solid in my memory for a long time… I was only 10 and wow… sometimes Im thinking my memory doesnt go back as far as it used to… stuff like that stays with you forever

these past couple days have been exciting with a little twinge of disappointment…

at least now I can relax in the fact I got around to watching footage from the team competition… because I became increasingly pissed off by the fact I wasn’t around when they had it… I mean as a gymnastics fan, I felt like I missed out on a helluva party… rather, THE party…
although lately the party of the Olympics has been the all-around women’s competition…

considering how much an impact the 1996 Olympics had, I’m aghast that I can’t remember anything about the Sydney olympics… except for the rivarly between Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe (the principle of it rather than the actual races/results)…

maybe cuz we didn’t do as great that year…

but my memory has gotten better… Carly Patterson in 2004… she was a STAR… all the stuff she could do have me absolutely wow’d… I took the liberty of rewatching her footage and Nastia’s from their all-around competitions…

Carly has this great personality that shined through everything she did… probably the first gymnast of this generation that did all those fancy tricks and did them that well… now she has a balance beam dismount that’s named after her… of course I remember seeing her do it a couple of times, that acrobotic move…

to this day, though… I have no idea of any of the terminology… I tried to google it but there was just too much to it for me to get my own footing… I know a few terms but can’t really say what they mean or explain them…

pretty much all you need to know about excellence in gymnastics… 101…

no matter what apparatus you’re on… you gotta stick it (and that is the name of a movie, but I refuse to watch “Stick it” because I treat this sport with too much sanctity to watch it be spoofed)…. stick your landings…

with the vault, that’s all you got… once you flip onto the horse, twirling in the air, keeping a solid form and landing on your feet… all of 10 seconds determines whether you pass or fail… I’d call it the easiest event, but its not without its issues…

my biggest issue had been with the commentors… I mean, they are obnoxious about saying how great someone is until they jinx them… its like the guys talking during the golf tournaments, but they interrupt a little too much for my liking…

there were a few moments like that… most of them were surrounding Gabby Douglas, our new postergirl of the sport… she was up for two event medals and as if jinxing her, she couldn’t nail it with either of them…

…more on that later

another incident came with the Vault where McKayla Maroney was an OVERWHELMING favorite to come away with gold… not even close… sure, she stuck it the first time, but with the 2nd vault (they average the two), she landed particularly on her butt and everyone was all upset about it… she was lucky get the silver, which is great… probably one of the most disappointed silver medalists in the games (edged out only by the Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova, who missed out on the all-around gold and every event she was in)…

Carly was probably the first fan letter I ever wrote… the first was to the Universal animation staff for the Land Before Time series… got answered, even got sketches of the characters so I could learn…
then the series went downhill for… well, same old story… they changed voice actors and it was never the same

(plus I’m still a little sore that they didn’t bring my favorite character for a 2nd movie… although the only “guest” character that made a 2nd appearance was the little t-rex Chomper… so I shouldn’t feel too bad… I’m also kinda saddened that that was the only role that voice actress had… I looked her up on IMDB… she’s about my age, but that was her only credit… she had a nice voice to bring that character to life)

I got a response from my Carly Patterson letter (that I can’t find now so most likely I threw it away by accident) that was most likely a generic reply because she was getting so much fan mail…

kinda funny how a lot of these things have gone missing over the years…
my reply from Universal and Carly… not to mention my autograph from Ash Ketchum him… er, herself, Veronica Taylor… the only thing I had of one of the greatest days of my life…
and all the figures I bought are still in their original packing… I don’t know why… I dont think its so much the collector’s value (its not like their comic book hero action figures) but that I don’t have a place to put Cloud, Sephiroth and Sora

I became an even bigger fan when she and a couple atheletes from the games came together to do this special where they do what they do to popular music…
JMac was there to perform, she did her floor routine to “La La” by Ashlee Simpson… that was before I got the album and all that, so it wasn’t until later I kinda developed a dislike for that song… she’s a punk “rocker” on that album in general, but she was trying a little too hard with that song…
Vanessa Carlton also performed live…

but those were all artists I liked as well… ๐Ÿ˜Ž yep, Carly Patterson was pretty awesome

I wanted to be on top of things so after that, I watched all the college and national competitions whenever they showed on TV… I came up with a couple names from that… Courtney Kupets I think I saw more after the Olympics as part of the Georgia gym dogs… one of the most successful college gymnastics programs there are…
Alabama has been dominating lately, but aside from the gym dogs, my favorite team are the Gators… moreso on the principle that I like gators in general… I decided to start watching the football team before that… just cuz of the mascot… Tim Tebow was a wonderful coincidence in that instance, been a fan ever since

I also knew Chelsie Memmel and Nastia Liukin pretty well from their competitions… Nastia in particular because everyone was saying she was going to be the next Carly Patterson… partially because they came from the same gym…
not to mention her dad/coach was a successful gymnast in his time and it runs in their blood…

she blew me away everytime she came around…
so when the Olympics came along, I kept wondering who this Shawn Johnson was that I kept hearing about… hadn’t seen her around before but she was getting all the hype…

the all-around competition, no surprise, was between the two of them… and I was floored, beyond estastic that Nastia came away with the top prize… because I could say “I’ve had my eye on her for years… I knew she could do this”

and of course Shawn Johnson came off the better known athelete… her consolation prize for not winning the all-around, was a gold in the Balance Beam and… a mirror ball trophy… she and Mark Ballas waltzed and cha-cha’d their way to a win for DTWS

Nastia’s sorta royalty in the gymnastics community, same as Carly and Mary Lou Retton… of course this exclusive club also includes Shannon Miller (who does a lot of commenting now), Nadia Comeneci, and I’d also say Svetlana Khorkina from Russia…

she won silver the year Carly won gold… she is a beauty of an athelete, my god… it was very vague in the back of my head, but part of me always remembered her even if I have to always google her just to spell her name right

Nastia in the all-around was nothing short of perfection… the only misstep was a step on the landing of her uneven bars and it was a small step too… she stuck every other landing so flawlessly…
the biggest disappointment I thought was Chelsie Memmel during the Olympics… she won one of the national competitions in the years leading up to it, but because she messed up her ankle, the only thing she could compete on to help the team was uneven bars…

I’ll say this, injuries suck…

part of the reason I wrote my fan letter to Carly was because I heard she was having issues with her back… maybe not the same I “experienced” (the x-rays showed a lot more wrong with me than I felt… and thats probably a good thing)… that was another bit of common ground…

I always hope to see my champions come back for another Olympics or competition in general… unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards for the 2008 team…
never saw Chelsie again…neither of the Courtneys outside of the college arena (and they disappeared from the sport after they graduated)…
Shawn Johnson was gunning for it, but a ski accident (dammit!) sidelined her so she couldn’t even compete… she bowed out deciding not to go through with it

I would have liked to see Alicia Sacramone get another shot… I’d seen her around, same as Nastia and Chelsie… during those national competitions… she was pretty much the reason why we got silver instead of gold in the team competition that year… that was probably one of the worst moments I ever witnessed and I felt SO BAD for her… because I knew what everyone else was thinking and it was kinda true…

makes me want to rethink my recent assessment of Gabby Douglas… I’ve got a while to think it over, though…

Alicia and Nastia competed in the trials, mainly as specialists in their unique events rather than an all-around contestant…

Alicia did vault (really well) and balance beam (AMAZING… kinda redeeming herself for that fall in the team competition… I figure that took one major chip off her shoulder)…

Nastia competed on uneven bars, which she got silver on for that particular event… it was a controversial discussion cuz she tied with the Chinese girl that won gold… and they had to break that tie, so it seemed like… I dunno, we all go into the thing about biases… the world probably thinks the Americans are a little biased in that they have to always dominate in stuff like this… I was thinking the same thing about the Chinese just because they were the host nation

they’re still bugging the hell out of me this year because they’re ahead of us in medals and they’re just so freaking atheletic that it makes you wanna quit…
at least they didn’t come away with the top prize in diving last night, but I would have LOVED Troy Dumais to medal… he was so good and he’s 32… I don’t think he’s gonna get another chance at that (although in synchronized diving, he got bronze with his partner)

so anyway… I think I watched Nastia compete in the VISA national championship and the trials with Jordyn Wieber…
I could not believe my eyes… like wow…

I think she fell once and the other times in the trials, she’d do a handstand on the top bar and her back bent too far forward… she didn’t fall over, but she broke form and pretty much lost her shot to get back on the team…
It sucks to see a former champion fall

after watching the footage back, I have a sneaking feeling that Nastia will be my all-time favorite gymnast instead of Carly… don’t know what it is, maybe because her routines were just… prettier… must be that Russian blood on her dad’s side, just that amazing artistry…

the Russians this year really brought that with them… although it was sad to see them in the all-around where they were making those fatal mistakes that kept them from the gold…

the uneven bars a couple night ago blew my mind… didn’t think anyone stood a chance after that Chinese girl… but one Russian, Aliya Mastafana, was FLAWLESS… I hadn’t seen anyone that good since Nastia on the bars and her winning gold was a great thrill…
the only thrill bigger was the Brit that came away with Bronze… she FLEW on those bars with all those release moves and it was so fast… about as fast as Nadia Comeneci’s perfect 10 on that event…

Gabby Douglas was the last to go and she committed one fault that landed her in 4th place…
she did a handstand on the higher bar… it looked like she even bent forward a little bit, not to the same degree as Nastia cuz you could barely tell… but she did that handstand and stayed there for a while as if she forgot what her next move was…

that sucked but it sucked even more when she fell off the balance beam last night… she looked amazing until a couple of almosts… she did a back flip and she had one foot way off to the side in the air to steady herself… then with another, she just plain fell and that was it…

I blame the commentors for overhyping her…

she was an up & comer that I saw a couple of times before the Olympic trials… in one, she was there to gain experience, but she wasn’t competing for the championship (and she was getting higher scores than the people actually competing)…
then with the trials, she was doing so well that she was the first one automatically a spot

I saw Jordyn really live up to the name of champion on a number of occasions… at first I didn’t get why she was the talk of the sport instead of Nastia, but it was pretty short-sighted of me to think that she’d maintain the same physicality 4 years later

now its like… she was a blip on the radar because not only did she miss out on the all-around (that spot was given to Aly Rashium), but she committed the biggest fault on the floor exercise… she stepped out of bounds and fell out of the standings…

I’ve seen her succeed so much that it was pretty sad to see her unable to deliever…

I also didn’t get why Aly was heralded as the “captain of Team USA” when I hadn’t even seen her around before… I mean, if anyone was gonna be captain, it’d be Jordyn :shrug: still don’t get it… they’re around the same age too, so that can’t be it…

I’m thinking that gymnastics haven’t been quite the same this time around because I’m older than all the gymnasts competing, they’re in their teens… Nastia was in her early 20’s, same as me… Carly, I think we’re also close in age too… I regard them higher because I saw them deliver and maybe because I saw them as role models with the small age difference

maybe I’m just plain spoiled cuz Carly and Nastia got medals on other events as well…
Gabby was unable to capitalize, but if anyone from our team was gonna get gold for the all-around, it was gonna be her without a doubt…

with Aly, the competition has been extremely stressful in a lot of cases
she committed a fault on balance beam that had her miss out on a medal for the all-around…

and actually, that was the first of two ties she was in… she and Ailya Mastafana were sharing the bronze until they broke the tie… they took their balance beam out of consideration as their weakest event and Ailya edged her out in the end…

the LEGENDary coach, Bela Karolyi… was not happy about that at all… he got interviewed by Bob Costas and said them breaking the tie was “stupido”… he felt Aly was the better athelete of the two…

then it happened again…

Aly was excellent on balance beam and her score had me almost ready to cry because I didn’t get it… she was so good and she only got 14.9 on it… given her starting score, she deserved at least 2 tenths higher…
the crowd was booing, the commentors were in shock…
from the stands, Bela URGED the coach to fill an enquiry… the first time I saw this happen (supposedly the Japanese team did that and thats how they got on the podium for the mens’ team) ever…

and they got it right… apparently she wasn’t given full credit for all the skills she was doing so her starting value was a tenth lower than it actually was…

on the floor, she was EXCELLENT without question… there was no debating that…
I quickly got over the fact Jordyn fell short of expectations

then the other medalists were from Romania (the same girl she edged out for that bronze on beam) and Aliya Mastafana got bronze… but she was, wow… she was breathtaking on the floor… she was so acrobatic and so fluid… beautiful…

I was happy the Russians got some much needed recognition this year…

as for the guys… I wasn’t expecting too much… the team has never been anywhere near as successful as the girls… I prefer watching the girls because of the artistry…

with the guys, its all about showing stoic strength that is superhuman at times…

they share the vault and the floor with the girls… with the vault, its about the same, but higher starting scores and there’s a lot more force when they flip in the air…

with the floor, there’s no music, first of all… it’s about keeping form and instead of prancing around as if they had ballet lessons (I know for a fact that the Russian girls are well-versed in both from childhood), they either do dramatic head-stands and spin their legs around as if they’re break-dancing…

as a further testament to their strength, they have the rings… where they spin around and hold form in a lot of different positions… and the pummelhorse, which is like the kiss of death… kinda like the balance beam is for the girls…
the Americans are by far the weakest on that event…

then are the two kinds of bars they have to be versed… there are parellel bars like the girls have, but they’re of even height… not nearly as thrilling as the girls’ or the guys’ high bar…
the high bar is kinda like THE event, much the way that floor is the most thrilling on the girls’ side…

[I’m working on this in the living room and had VH1 Classic in the background… and cuz I need to keep a little background noise, I turned on the last half hour of “Two girls & a guy”… mostly just to hear Robert play an original piece on the piano towards the end of the movie… later on, I’m probably going to turn on “Ally McBeal”… I’d been thinking about it for a while, although not quite sure which one to watch…

this is for background noise really… I just like listening to him talk
I don’t really plan on turning around to actually watch…
his voice is kinda the only thing that hasnt changed over the years ๐Ÿ˜‰ so I could easily listen to this and picture him as he is now…

tee-hee and of course Iron-Man is gonna be on this week so that’s an option… the question is whether or not I take it… its always entertaining, but not nearly as much as it was the first dozen times..

man, I’m almost as bad as the guy Roman that was mentioned in “Easy A”… supposedly he updated his facebook status and said he had a coke zero… and Emma Stone was like “he had a coke zero again?! oh that Roman, incorrigible”…

things are nowhere near as thrilling as they are the first couple times… where I don’t know everything backwards and forwards…

it was kinda interesting earlier listening to him quote from “Hamlet”… his accent has only gotten stronger over the years… him doing those Shakespeare-esque films helped with that a bit, but his most valuable experience was working with Andrew Jack in “Chaplin”… awesome vocal coach (and supposedly he did some of that in “Snow White & The Huntsman”as well… pretty cool)…

with the rest of the guys’ gymnastics… the Americans were pretty much outmatched for most of it… the starting value of the Chinese and the Russians and Germans… was just too high for them to compete with…
and luckily, Darnell Leyva was so good on the high bar that he got a bronze in the all-around ๐Ÿ˜Ž supposedly his lucky towel has a Twitter account with as many followers as Cee-Lo’s cat :falloff:

he and Jonathan Horton competed for the High Bar medals and weren’t nearly in the same class as the other atheletes… they didn’t have a LOT of skills to show off and wow the audience

but I was wow’d by the German on the high bar as well as the guy from the Netherlands who got the first EVER medal for that country in mens’ gymnastics… I mean, he was just WOW…

kinda in the same respect as the guy who won the gold in Vault… the American competing did a respectful job, but right after, he said “oh man, I gotta see this guy”…
I forget which country he’s from but he just FLEW over that vault and nailed…
I think Jake Dalton was man-crushing on him because he couldn’t wait to congratuate him afterwards…

these past couple days I’d been working through my chapter for Dirty Mind… still on the first chapter where I’m going into just about every detail other than discussing the music itself…
I’d been on pretty much a different paragraph a day, making sure I chose all the right words to convey the message I want to bring to that particlar discussion…

stuff like how they were demo tapes turned into an album, my first “high fashion” alert… talking about the changes in the line-up… bits and pieces of the stuff going on on stage… although  I didn’t go into too much detail about that… Jimi Hendrix comparisons and the simulation of oral sex…

Robert has such a unique style on piano and whenever I recall bit and pieces of what he’d written… I just love it…
I still haven’t figured out how to describe it…

JMac’s voice is like catnip for my heart… but with everything kinda falling into line, every positive aspect of Robert is like… well… I’ll be super cheesy and clichรฉ in saying he is like the chicken soup for my soul… with a touch of catnip

not quite sure how it got to be that way… maybe because he’d proverbially been there for me so many times or having him around took my mind off the stuff getting me down… but when he’s around, everything feels like its aligned…

sadly, that’s the kind of stuff I should feel about the guy I end up marrying… not an A-list celebrity whose happily married and old enough to be my father…
that’s one Hollywood marriage I wouldn’t want to mess with, even if I am crazy about the guy… or crazy in general

its funny how he still comes to mind every now and then even when I haven’t done anything related to anything associated with him in ages…

the craziest thing I came up with was the mere idea that… well, Jamie Foxx is a Prince fan and he and Robert are close friends…
that’s just rich, that idea…

I’m not sure what’s worse:
the fact I’m getting all these motives coming out of the wazoo when it comes to getting The Word out there
or each time I do, I recall the fact motives are a run-off for him… like I shouldn’t come into all this just to make an excuse for thinking things will come out of it…

I personally feel that Prince is a force in music that ought to be recognized and that should be all there is to it…
everything else is just a matter of chance, but shouldn’t be the reason why I’m doing it in the first place
not that it hurts to have a little extra motivation beyond getting this thing done

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