I have noticed the past few weeks that many of the gymnastics bloggers are thinking about the past and are building all sorts of tops of last year's performances and events or the past decade's gymnasts and their performances. I have been doing a lot of thinking too and a bit of a re-watching some footage of the 00's. And I am tempted to make my own rankings. Sill, I am not going to come up with more tops today (maybe with a teeny tiny one... but later :) ) because I don't trust myself in terms of objectivity. I am a Romanian and I was only 15 when that decade has started. So as a teenager I don't think I was able to judge very well what was going on in the sport in the early 00's. Until, say, 2006 I was one of the kind hearted persons who hoped for the other team to make a mistake, for one gymnast or the other to fall... But in 2006 something happened and I learned my lesson. I was watching some tv, hoping Vanessa Ferrari will fall, so that Izbasa would have a better chance. But we all know the outcome. So since then, no more cheering for falls as they might be lucky falls :). I do have some memories of the 00's and this is how I remember things to have happened:
- Andreea Raducan's floor in the Team Finals in Sydney is one of my liveliest memories...
-then next big emotion came during the 2001's Team Finals when an obscure Romanian team (except for the very well known Andeea Raducan) managed to stay on top of the beam and deliver stellar-ly
- I somehow never forgot Zamolodcikova's performances in Sydney. I used to like her so much! Partly because I wasn't able to identify what bad form was and partly because she is such a lovable human being
- Then there was a girl named Khorkina. She was the one who threw away a silver medal in Sydney and cried for bronze in Athens. She was the greatest excitement of the first half of the period I am talking about. And she could swing some good UB sets.
- In 2004 I saw the best Romanian team since 1989. In terms of artistry they are still the best of the last 2 decades. But also the difficulty, the freshness and composition of the exercises, they are still amazing for me, every time I watch the footage.
- Also in 2004, a 25 year old American woman gained my respect: Mohini Bhardwaj (I hope I got that right). She was no beam specialist but she proved what being a mature gymnast truly is.
- then Monette Russo appeared in my heart and disappeared in 2006. I still secretly hope she will come back
- And Nastia was very unfairly beaten by Chellsie in the AA final in 2005
- Vanessa Ferarri appeared out of nowhere (nowhere for me, because she had actually been a very, very good junior). I was never prepared for the TWD (Total world dominance ;)) she served us.
- Catalina Ponor came back and then retired
-I remember He Kexin UB sets from 2008; then Shawn Johnson in the TF, laughing and trying to encourage Alicia Sacramone. Btw, the American team in 2008 knew how to accept a loss much more gracefully that the one from 2004.
- From 2008 I also remember Anna Pavlova's FX. Greatest EVER!
- 2009 was a nice little year too... Although to my mind Rebecca Bross is somehow AA World Champion(?!). Ana Myzdriakova is a star and Lauren Mitchell has replaced Monette Russo in my heart.
All in all it was a delicious decade with lots of drama, 5 different American girls AA champions (World and Olympics counted), plus Andreea Raducan or Simona Amanar, Sverlana Khorkina and Vanessa Ferrari.
In the next decade, I hope to see more Romanian gymnasts up there and more Russians or at least not to see US 1-2 in the AA, all the time. I hope Ana Porgras will become the star she deserves to be and that Amelia Racea will give Victoria Komova and Jordyn Wieber a run for their money.
I still want to make a top of the 10 best beam routines of the decade. Could I? Should I?