LIVE from Izvorani!

Bellu and his team amaze me! 
The constant updates from Izvorani were among the highlights of the winter for us gymnastics fans. But what happened today is even better: they let the journalists in the gym for an entire training session. GSP was there and aired it live on their website. 
eamyy  managed to catch the last part and upload it on youtube:

ot watch it HERE and HERE 

There are more photos in Prosport

Chelaru "I have a slightly upgraded routine on uneven bars and I tried to clean-up my vaults but I did not succeeded to, as much as I wanted, but by 2011 Worlds, I hope everything will be alright. I am saving the best for Worlds.. I have almost the same routine as in Rotterdam."

Porgras: "I will have the same routines as I had at Worlds, without risking anything. Until 2011 Worlds there is still plenty of time to perfect certain elements. 
And many interviews and articles in Gazeta Sporturilor.


About Bercy 2011, about Romania, about always wanting more

French International Conclusions 

Did you like the French Internationals? Getting the chance to see gymnastics on TV/youtube and read some news on the blogs was nice, but I can’t say I enjoyed the meet itself. First of all, the competition format is bad: when you have four gymnasts in a final, the risk of ending up on the podium with more than one gymnast that fell is very high. This is bad and it says enough.

Secondly, I didn’t like it because I personally was unable to watch it on TV, but that’s a different problem.

But the most important reason for which I didn’t like it was the fact that we were not given the oportunity of seing many surprises. There were some fantastic gymnasts invited, there’s no doubt. But, aside from Mustafina - who had the right to compete on all four events or on whatever events she chose - the others kind of showed same old, didn’t they? I don’t understand the point of inviting only the gymnasts that are in the top and get them compete exclusively in the events that they excel at.
So, besides Mustafina who is good at basically anything (I bet she is able even to pee faster and more efficiently than any of us if she sets her mind to), we saw a group of gymnasts that had spent  most of their winter improving not on their best events but on their weaker, right? But, too bad, they competed on the events they didn’t need much improvement on.
That being said, were you among the people that less than impressed with the Romanian girls? Don’t feel bad, I was a bit underwhelmed as well.
But I am not depressed (yet).


To be honest, I am not dissatisfied with what I saw. There were many signs and hints of evolution:
Sandra Izbasa 
       Izbasa:  new floor routine, rearranged passes, more dramatic and appealing choreo, no more OOB issues, lovely triple twist. Conclusion: pleased. But for wow, I want to see more.  
           Chelaru: she presented two vaults with slightly improved form, more controlled and “taller” landings on the DTY; same floor routine – same music anyway- BUT it was much more artistic, it had a better triple twist, and a very nice jump out of the double back. No Amanar, no new skills; Conclusion: I like this enhanced version of Diana Chelaru but I am not impressed yet;
-        Porgras:  rearranged uneven bars routine that doesn’t look nearly ready – works hesitantely, doesn’t hit handstands, has added one more release skill; rearranged beam set  - but no new skill (she has been doing versions of this routine since 2009) –good potential for further increasing her difficulty; a few hesitations and wobbles  and even a fall on one of her steadier skills (word is that even Mariana was surprised she missed that). Conclusion: interesting but not impressive (yet).

 Where does the dissatisfaction come from?

So I am underwhelmed. Yes I admit there is progress, the work IS palpable, this is gymnastics. You can learn skills in 2 weeks (sometimes more) BUT to change entire whole routines, it certainly takes time.
This weekend’s results were nice! We saw the best three gymnasts of the team winning at least a medal in finals in which only the top 4 in the world (at this point) were able to qualify.

 But we already knew those were not Romania’s issues.

I am dissatisfied with what I haven't seen. (I know, sounds like I am going mad).

I want to see Sandra’s second vault in competition, I want to see Diana Chelaru on beam and uneven bars, I want to see Porgras’ DTY and upgraded floor. And more importantly, I want to see Racea –beam, uneven bars, vault, floor -, Haidu’s rearranged beam set and upgraded uneven bars, Dragoi’s uneven bars etc. Only after that will we be able to form an opinion...

Europeans are a great opportunity of seing four gymnasts competing on all four apparatuses. I hope, (as all selfish gymnastics fans do), that 1) – they will send 4 gymnasts and 2) – that at least three of the gymnasts will compete on all four events (except for Izbasa – for which I will be pleased with two or three events). If this happens then I will be able to form a bit of an opinion about the progress of Bellu’s squad. If no, then we will have to wait until the summer or worse – Tokyo

Until then, I will enjoy the ride, and stay positive, 
or at least wish that the gymnasts will do so :)

TVR goodies

Romanian gymnasts are back from Paris, some more confident, others eager for a rematch:

About Sandra: "it's good she made an impression, she can be one of the favorites for the title at the Europeans"

about Ana "A wake-up call for the ones that were still under the influence of what happened at Worlds- was necessary."

Thank you eamyy!!
You can find this video and many other interesting clips on this channel.

Romanians in French International Finals

Diana Chelaru - Vault

Ana Porgras - Beam

Sandra Izbasa - Floor

Dian Chelaru- Floor


French International 2011 - Finals

Mustafina won VT, UB and BB
Here are the results:
Vault: 1- Mustafina, 2-Nabieva, 3 Chelaru
Uneven Bars: 1-Mustafina, 2- Huang Qiusuang, 3- Seitz
Balance Beam: 1-Mustafina, 2- Porgras, 3- Dementyeva
Floor: 1-Izbasa, 2- Chelaru, 3-Dementyeva

Romanians at French International

Diana Chelaru - first vault - in which she has a huge leg separation but no other major deductions:

Diana Chelaru second vault - where she barely makes it with her hands on the table

Ana Porgras - uneven bars - you know what I was thinking about when I saw this? I was thinking that she looks like a year ago at Euros in that team final when she had to compete on bars after getting injured on beam. She looks in pain. Of course it's not the same kind of pain... It may be the kind of pain you feel when you grow, when you evolve.

Sandra Izbasa - floor - I must say that even if I had my doubts when I heard she was doing the tango thing too... now I know that it was a good decision. This is a routine that suits her very well and a routine that the all the audiences will love.

Diana Chelaru - Floor - A very well executed routine. But she must change that music once and for all... It's almost as old as Lauren Mitchel's :)

Later edit. You can also watch Ana Porgras' beam set HERE.
Ana looks as lovely as she always has. She had two major breaks in the routine, on elements that she usually masters and she missed a couple of connections. Nevertheless she scored 14.733! That means a potential of 15.533 (given that doesn't wobble the switch ring leap - 0.3 and the layout on two feet -0.3  plus a couple of connections bonuses +2). 


Mustafina shines in the first day of French International

Mustafina dominated the qualifications - she could have easily
qualified for all four finals

I didn't watch the qualifications so I only know what happened from Blythe's live blogging, but due to the fact that she is so wonderful and manages to convey everything she sees beautifully, I almost feel like I was there too :)

On vault, the four qualified for the final are Nabieva, Mustafina, Chelaru and Kwhela. - It's probably early in the season but it looks like everybody has problems, low difficulty vaults for everyone and many many issues on landings.

The uneven bars final will be between Mustafina, Qiushuang, Seitz and Nabieva. Ana Porgras didn't qualify for the uneven bars finals - she was only 5th or 6th- but she managed to present the routine without a fall,  which is really more than we could ask from her given that this is a brand new routine for her. I bet in two weeks it's going to be much better and at Euros she will be a serious threat in the uneven bars finals. But it looked like on the uneven bars there was a great battle for those 4 spots. Imagine if He and Tweddle would have been there! 

In tomorrow's beam final, we will see Mustafina, Porgras, Dementyeva and Mitchell. It was and interesting battle here too, but there were quite a few falls and big wobbles. Mustafina seems to have had a great routine, better than the one at American Cup and definitely got rewarded for more connections. Porgras had a few wobbles but with the changed structure of her routine, she seems to be on the right track here as well.   

On floor, the finalists are: Izbasa, Chelaru, Ferarri, Dementyeva
Unfortunately, Mustafina withdrew - she was already qualified for three finals so her coach probably thought that one more would have gotten her tired. But I am delighted with the way Izbasa and Chelaru dominated the floor qualifications.

Here is a video from yestarday's training - I thought it's interesting... the three Romanian girls doing a synronized warm-up, Deng Linlin and Wu Liufang training beam, He Kexin on uneven bars and other goodies:

Or watch it here.


more from Romania

Not a day without interesting new things from Izvorani, I say! 
Watch HERE the video posted by Mihai on youtube.

The footage seems to be from the warm-up, not the verification they were talking about yesterday. However, there are interesting moments: 
-Izbasa's lovely new vault - round-off half on front laid-out with half twist;
-Amelia Racea's new beam acrobatic combination (aerial cartwheel to side somi);
- plus the Bellu's word of the day, which is continuous training. It's interesting how all the girls say it "bit by bit the progress starts to show" - Diana Chelaru; "we worked more, without breaks, we worked continuously" - Amelia Racea; "there is a big difference between continuous training and working for five months than taking five months off" - Ana Porgras.

Cottbus World Cup - Floor Final

A few words about the floor final: I did not get to see Elisabeth Seitz so, excluding her routine, my two favorites were Tan Sixin and Nadine Yarosh. Unfortunately, Tan had a low start value (5.3) so even if she had good execution (aside of some low landings) and exquisite dance and interpretation, she could not score higher than that (14.00).

Yarosh is a fabulous little dancer too... she almost sat her 2.5 twist and her landings were not as confident maybe, but she definitely has a looot of potential.

When I saw Yao on floor, I thought she was Sui Lu, without the socks. To me, the resemblance is astonishing: the way she stops after tumbling passes to make sure of the landing, her body positions, arm placing etc.. So, if you like Sui Lu's floor routines, you will definitely love hers. Plus, compared to her older compatriot, Jinnan seems to be holding it together on "foreign" ground. I'm not that into Sui Lu...

here are the results:

1. Yao (CHN) 14.250 (5.6)
2. Elisabeth Seitz (GER) 14,000 (5.6)
2. Tan (CHN) 14,000 (5.3)
4. Van Gerner (NED) 13.950 (5.5)
5. Nadine Jarosch (GER) 13.700 (5.4)
6. Serseri (FRA) 13.375 (5.1)
7. Brennan (AUS) 13.025 (5.3)
8. Hunt (GBR) 12.500 (5.1)

or watch it here.

Cottbus World Cup Beam Final

Vasiliki Millousi

It was an interesting beam final, with new faces showing exciting beam skills and other not so new faces redeeming themselves ;)

First up was Jinnan Yao - how should I put this... she did her job, there were no major wobbles but the whole routine didn't exactly flow. She looks too much like Sui Lu on beam (which, compared to her lovely uneven bars flow and lightness -although there are two different things- it's disheartening !)... 6.1 D score and 14.75 total. 
The French Sophia Serseri, who was up next, had a fall on the mount and a second one at the acrobatic pass, which threw her out of the medal contention. I loved her style though, she has beautiful skills and is lovely to watch!

I tell you one thing about Natsumi Sasada: her mount is a killer, breathtaking. She had the same difficulty as the Chinese, but her routine looks more like a whole, seems more connected at this stage...I didn't understand the low execution score though (I am sure there is a reason for it,  I will need to watch it again to understand what hapended)(14.425/6.1)

The next competitor was Aagje Wanwallegem, i think (this is how I remember at least :P)- good routine for her-  5.5 D score,  fairly good executed: no major wobbles, overall confident. Not very exciting though.

Valeria Maksiuta - her routine that started on a high note and ended up not so great... she seemed to be owning the beam in the beginning but lost her confidence; bit by bit, little wobbles started to add up deductions, then as she probably realized it was not her best day, the gravity of the wobbles started to climb too... 

Celine Van Gerner - had a great routine, very well executed, few small wobbles, lovely round-off to layout on two feet.. nice, steady double pike on dismount. 

Vasiliki Millousi was my favorite. I mean I knew she may not have the same difficulty as others but her choreo and presentation were marvelou; her routine flows, she shows artistry. Today she managed to convey confidence and seemed to enjoy the whole thing. I am pretty sure she was not smiling during the routine but she looked so serene that she may as well have. (14.45/6.0)

Last up Christina Kruglikova. The Russian looked, well, not ready for a beam final. I mean, she IS elegant and she has the skills, but her routine was maybe not rehearsed enough... she fell on a standing Arabian, in the second half of the routine. I am sure we will see much more of her in the future, she is just not ready yet.

1. Yao (CHN) 14.750 
2. Van Gerner (NED) 14.625 
3. Millousi (GRE) 14.450 
4. Sasada (JNP) 14.425 
5. Van Walleghem (BEL) 13.475 
6. Maksiuta (ISR) 13.325 
7. Kruglikova (RUS 12.250 
8. Serseri (FRA) 11.275


New floor routine for Izbasa and other great news from Romania

Thank you, Eamyy!

Even if they didn't get to show their routines in an official meet this week-end, Romanian gymnasts had a surprise test, replicating the normal competition conditions: different gym, new apparatuses and little time to adapt to the novelty.

You can see by the seriousness in Bellu's eyes that he is working hard on the psychological side... The message is clear... Work had, don't take anything for granted... he declared  "We are not going to the European Championships to try to see if maybe things turn out ok and leave things to chance"
The gymnasts seem much more businesslike, ready for competitions. Porgras has matured a bit  "I am very glad that there is a sort of a competition between us, to see who will make the team"

Diana C.:"I want to win medals but most of all I wish to remain healthy and to get the chance of competing, and do my routines the way I do them at home"

Amelia Racea looks a bit healthier and much cleaner as well "I feel I am more prepared than before and I feel more confident"

As per Sandra's new routine... I am a bit disappointed by the music, I mean everybody has done the tango thing over the past 1-2 years. At the same time I am confident it will be a beautiful one and a "work off art" as Bellu said.

Cottbus World Cup - Uneven Bars

Elisabeth Seitz - silver on uneven bars
First up was Kim Bui - she looked very confident, showed nice form but had a few questionable handstands, maybe some bent arms... A good routine overall, she has good chances of breaking the 14.0 barrier at Euros, she only needs a few more repetitions. (13.975/6.1)

Next up was Elisabeth Seitz who presented an upgraded routine, her form was good overall, aside from the Def who brings her many deductions. She was extremely pleased with her performance. (14.70/6.6)

Natsumi Sasada was the only competitor who fell- which was a real shame, given her nice technique and pretty lines. Sikulova and Palesova were well, complementary - the first had the difficulty, the other had the execution...

The next to go was Jinnan Yao - she looks very nice, very stretched, hits her handstands and her pirouettes... she had the specific problems with the transfer from low to high bar and a small step on landing. The title was decided between her and Seitz - they gave it to Yao in the end... She was my favorite too, she simply has a lightness of movement. (14.775/6.4)

I only saw the same type of lightness of execution at the next competitor, Belokobylskaya of Russia. So the potential is there but she was a hot mess today. Imagine the same long lines and stretched body Komova has, combined with the hesitations of say Kurbatova. She almost sat the landing too. (13.775/6.3)

The last competitor was Celine van Gerner. Her execution was fairly good but her routine was way too easy for a medal- only 5.5 D score, which put her on 5th.

1.Jinnan Yao (CHN) 14,775 (6,4)
2. Elisabeth Seitz (GER) 14,700 (6,6)
3. Kim Bui (GER) 13,975 (6,1)
4. Sikulova (CZE) 13,925 (5,9)
5. Palesowa (CZE) 13,875 (5,5)
5. Van Gerner (NED) 13,875 (5,5)
7. Belokobylskaya (RUS) 13,775 (6,3)
8. Natsumi Sasada (JPN) 13,100 (6,1)

Cottbus World Cup Vault Final Results

1. Oksana Chusovitina (GER) 14,312
2. Steingruber (SUI) 14,250
3. Nadine Jarosch (GER) 13,587
4. Khwela (RSA) 13,575
5. Wagner (SWE) 13,562
6. Pinto Adasme (CHI) 13,500
7. Kurbatova (RUS) 13,450
8. Toth (HUN) 13,100

Cottbus World Cup Highlights of the Qualifications (Part two)

Tan Sixin
In second part, the qualifications were led by Tan Sixin - who qualified first for the floor final (13.95 total and only 5.3 D score) and Vasiliki Millousi of Greece - top qualifier on beam (14.425). Valeria Maksiuta, a regular of the World Cup events, had the second total on beam - 14.350 (5.8 D score).

Celine Van Gerner appears to be in very good shape. She managed to qualify for three finals : uneven bars - with the second total (14.500 - 6.0 D), beam - 14.325 on the third position and floor - 13.725, on the 4th position.
Yao continued her great day, qualifying for both beam and floor finals (14.125 with 6.1 D score and 13.85 - 5.6 D score on floor).

On the downside, Belokolylskaya did not make it into the other two event finals she competed for, she had a pretty rough time on both beam (13.025/61) and  floor (13.300/5.7).

Here are the results for floor and beam:
1 Vasiliki Millousi GRE 14.425/6.0
2 Valeria Maksiuta ISR 14.350/5.8
3 Celine Van Gerner NED 14.325/6.0
4 Jinnan Yao CHN 14.125/6.1
5 Sophia Serseri FRA 13.850/5.4
6 Natsumi Sasada JPN 13.725/5.6
7 Kristina Kruglikova RUS 13.725/6.0
8 Aagje Wanwalleghem BEL 13.700/6.6


1 Tan Sixin CHN 13.950/5.30
2 Jinnan Yao CHN 13.850/5.60
3 Nadine Jarosch, GER 13.750/5.50
4 Celine Van Gerner NED 13.725/5.40
5 Jocelyn Hunt GBR 13.500/5.2
6 Elisabeth Seiz GER 13.450/5.5
7 Ashleigh Brennan AUS 13.400/5.3
8 Sophia serseri FRA 13.300/5.1


Cottbus World cup Highlights of the Qualifications (part one)

Even with the withdrawal of the Romanian gymnasts, the Cottbus World cup remains a very interesting competitions, with plenty of gymnasts to watch,
For instance, I can't wait to see what Yulia Belokobylskaya  is up to- she won gold on floor and bronze on beam at the recent Russian Nationals. There seem to be no recent videos of here on the internet, which makes this competition even more exciting. She qualified for the uneven bars finals (14.225)

Kim Bui
Anther very interestig case is Kim Bui's - this is  her first international competition since she came back from injury. She  qualified for the uneven bars finals with the same total as Belokobylskaya (6.1 D score).

Also on my list are Jinnan Yao and Tan Sixin - first years seniors, these two chinese girls seem to be one more talented than the other. So far, Jinnan  qualified with the highest score for the UB finals while Tan had a fall which took her out of the finals(13.475 - 6.1 D score) 

Oksana Chuchovitina is still around (bien sure) - she even qualified first for the vault finals(!)

Surprise of the day so far: the Rudi thrown by Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland; She qualified second for the vault finals.

The first part of the qualifications is now completed. here are the results:
1. Oksana Chusovitina (GER) 14.137 
2. Steingruber (SUI) 13.987 
3. Kurbatova (RUS) 13.537 
4. Toth (HUN) 13.512 
5. Wagner (SWE) 13.500 
6. Nadine Jarosch (GER) 13.487 
7. Khwela (RSA) 13.462 
8. Adasme Pinto (CHI) 13.450 

Uneven Bars
1. Yao (CHN) 14.625 
2. Van Gerner (NED) 14.500 
3. Elisabeth Seitz (GER) 14.400 
4. Kim Bui (GER) 14.225 
5. Belookobylskaya (RUS) 14.225 
6. Sikulova (CZE) 13.850 
7. Palesova (CZE) 13.825 
8. Sasada (JNP) 13.775 


Romanian gymnasts will not go to Cottbus due to schedule modifications in the competition

Mariana Bitang (from GSP) :

We were going to arrive at Cottbus on Thursday evening and the next day, at 2pm we had the qualifications. We would have had enough time for a training session. The organizers decided to move the qualifying round at 10 am so there was not enough time for the training. We had to wake up and then go straight to the qualifications. We decided that in this case it would be better not to go. The girls will go only to the French Internationals.