Talk about floor disaster...

A good friend of mine asked me this: why on earth did they change Semenova's music?

I did not know what to say, obviously... I thought her "old" music suited her much better.

What do you think?


Or the old one:

Sandra must go on...

so says Bellu: "I think she has everything she needs to continue. It was just a competition, she had just returned after a very serious injury. To achieve the performances that made her famous there is still much work to do. She has the potential, the energy, and the name in order not to give up"

"Sandra has helped me a lot in this competition. Her encouragements have been beneficial, especially that she is more experienced. I am very sorry for what happened on floor, but I hope with all my heart that she will continue and show what she is capable of." Ana Porgras

So far, Izbasa looks pretty good, she placed second at the Arthur Gender Memorial, winning Citta di Chiasso Award for her floor routine.

watch Sandra's latest floor routine:

or here.


the taste of gold - more Ana Porgras in the news

did you crunch your medal?
Ana :"hahaha nooo not literally but I tasted it... it has a... sweet taste, very nice. I already think about next year, to hope to get something in the all around."
Whad did Mr. Bellu tell you?
Congratulations and you could have done better (laughs).

Diana: I did not prepare only for vault, you know. I worked a lot... But until the next Worlds we will have the European championships as well.
Whad did Mr. Bellu tell you?
That if not for that step on the landing, the colour of the medal would have been different.

Octavian Bellu: I think that the girls tried hard, the men also, they wanted to have a better competition but this is what they could do, and in the end the Romanian delegation did fulfil the objectives

or watch it here.

gymnasts at the airport

The gymnasts' arival in Romania was all over the press, as we would have expected the gold medal did draw a lot of attention. Besides the tons of airport photos, there were also many articles about Ana Porgras' private life (but I will talk about those a bit later).

So, they had to show their medals, which they had kept in their pockets because they expected people would want to see them:

There were a lot flowers

and kissing

and officials (in the bellow picture Doina Melinte - now head of the National Authority for Sports)
Diana was promised a studio apartment

and also, many people wanted interviews

-Ana, did you forget about all the injuries, now that you have the gold medal ?
- I can't say I forgot. But I did get over that period more easily. Even if it's gold, this medal doesn't change the way I work.

- Were you nervous before the routine in the beam finals?
- Yes, I did get nervous but I knew I could do the routine very well. I knew I had a pretty good beam set.

- What did you think about on the podium?
- I thought about a lot, I thought about the work in the gym, but it worth it.

- You brought the gold for Romania after nine years. What were you doing at seven years old, had you already started gymnastics?
- Yes, I was in the gym already but I did not think I am going to get a gold medal.

- Did you accomplish your biggest dream in gymnastics?
- No, of course not. The ultimate goal remains a gold medal at the Olympics.

- Was it difficult during the periods when you were injured?
- Very difficult. I did not think I was going to be ready on time for the worlds. But after I took my cast off and I started working, I thought that maybe I had a chance.

- After what happened at the Europeans, were you afraid of the dismount?
- Why? Was it noticeable? I like to work on the beam since I was a little girl and I was never afraid, although most of my injuries happened what I was working at this apparatus.

- And you managed to have an entire competition without a fall.
- It is my biggest accomplishment in Rotterdam, that I did not miss at all and I had only clean routines.

- So next there is a lot of work to do.
- We did not get a team medal, if we want to be on the podium, we must work harder.

- Are you a superstitious gymnast? Do you have a favorite leotard?
- No. I wore that leotard in the finals because that was their order.

Some of Diana's reactions:
"It's nice what is happening right now but there will be a lot of work. The next period will be very difficult but I hope that next year we will have even better results"
"I was well prepared for floor and vault so getting a medal on floor was not a surprise for me. There is a lot of room for improvement and with a lot of work we can do better. We hope that next year we will get e team medal"
"(Mr. Bellu)told me only that if it weren't for that step on the landing, I would have had a different medal. So there clearly is room for improvement"

The next period is going to be really tough, the sort of training regimen these gymnsts never went through before. That's what Bellu and Bitang are famous for and that's how that team medal can be earned. But I can certainly say, after reading these interviews, that the gymnasts are mentally prepared for the next winter months.

The pictures and the interviews are taken from Prosport, Gazeta Sporturilor, Adevarul.


Bellu - on the success Romania had at the Worlds

yes, it was a successful one. The first gold at the Worlds since 2001.

This is the translation of an interview from ProSport.

Do the results from the Rotterdam sketch a possible team for London?
I prefer to be reserved in assessments, as before, actually I was not very optimistic before (the Worlds) either. We had these results, it is better to consider them as a hope for the future.
What's next?
It all depends on how we will manage the success that we have achieved in a situation where these girls recovered very slowly after the injuries that kept them away from the training hall for months. We will have to see how much the gymnasts want to work, to get involved, so that we won't wait for another ten years to get a gold medal.
How do you see Ana now?
This medal is very important for her. She did a very good impression at the Worlds, she was considered the most elegant gymnast, but she also realized that in the all around, without a vault, an uneven bars and a floor routine of great difficulty, it's hard to get a medal. It's very difficult to wait for medal on beam, because you never know what can happen (during EF).
Are there any chances for Romania to be on the podium at London 2012?
Do not think about such a long period, we will see what will happen in the near future, because there are some issues to be addressed. The first step to get to London will be the World Championships in Tokyo, next year.
Wasn't it difficult to watch the competition from the stands?
I did not necessarily remain in the stands because after the introductions, the girls were returning to the training hall. Someone had to be there with them and send them in the competition hall when it was time, so I did walk a lot between the training hall and the stands.


Diana Chelaru's silver medal

She may have been the ugly ducking of the team but that is an ooold story.

Ana Porgras on her biggest achievement at worlds and the change of mentality

But don't listen to the blonde lady, the actual translation is more like this: "I don't even have the words to say it, no... very beautiful, but at the same time when you her the national anthem you think about all the work you had to do"
Is it worth it?
"Yes! When you torment yourself and you work in the gym ... we always have these thoughts, that it's very difficult and that you have reached your limit. Then we have to think about moments like this and maybe it will be easier to get over it"

Some more interesting statements from Ana, here on
"My future will be almost the same in the gym, a lot more work, because in addition to this medal I may have lost more. You learn from all this experience; I will work harder to become the best. A medal at the World does not make you better, it's a medal, and if we want more we have to work hard, even more than before''said Ana.

I am very glad that I got over that (the injury) very quickly and managed to get here. Compared to 2009, probably the experience helped and the mental shift. Now I don't think like I used to and maybe this is a big difference. There's a big difference between saying I am going to attend the World Championships and saying I'm going to win at the Worlds. I was nervous after my routine, there were two Russian girls after me, and Mustafina, the all around champion had a good start value, but missed.

The most important achievement in this competition for Ana remains the fact that she never missed:''From my point of view, these World Championships were good. Since I came here I wanted to do all my routines here without failure. I managed to achieve this and this is my biggest joy''.

Lauren Mitchell Floor World Champion - Finally!!

or watch here.

Ana Porgras hits her 4th routine in a row at Worlds

or watch here.


Aliya Mustafina - World AA Champion

2nd Jiang Yuyan
3rd Rebecca Bross
or watch here.
4th Huang Quishuang
5th Ana Porgras
or watch here
6th Lauren Mitchell

Ana Porgras's scores: 13.966/ 14.433/ 15.433/ 14.300 I keep wondering what happens with her floor D score...

Raluca Haidu's scores: 14.666/ 13.400/ 14.466/ 13.800. She downgraded her beam difficulty and managed to stay on.

I felt really sorry for Rebecca Bross, she is so pale and looks so sad. I am sure that her skin tone is like that but she simply doesn't seem ok. All in all everything happened as expected: Mustafina is the best gymnast in the world right now and the Chinese have those huge difficulty score and very good execution, maybe Rebecca Bross should have lost a little more on execution on BB.


Worlds 2010 Women's team finals

(Romania Libera)
First about the wonderful Romanian team who managed to do exactly what they came for: have a clean competition. This is what I managed to see and what I can remember now after all the madness:

Uneven bars:
Raluca Haidu: ok form, similar to qualifications, but she stopped a couple of times on the high bar, visible split legs on one transition (did she have one bent leg as well?); 13.700 - deserved because she was clearly not as good as in qualifications
Ana Porgras: much better form and lines than Pitic, but she can do better... she looked a little cautious. She got 14.466 - I think the dismount was heavily penalised, she did not seem to have the necessary height in the flight phase and the landing was therefore very low with a large step.
Gabriela Dragoi: very slow work, a few split legs on the saltos; 14.066

Balance Beam:
Sandra Izbasa: the routine looked just like in the qualifications. The mark was.. well, the same 14.333
Ana Porgras: very confident layout and switch ring leap, big wobble on the side somi, dismounts with a low chest - big step - 15.066
Gabi Dragoi: a few wobbles here and there, the most visible at the pirouette with two rotations, big step sideways on the landing, she looks "heavy" but she works pretty well 14.133

Floor: Ana Porgras - much better work thank in qualifications. I did not understand where did the lower D score came from... 14.133 (D score 5.3)
Diana Chelaru: very good routine, nice DLO (with a small step), some stuck landings as well, we did pour best to clap on the music during the routine 14.733
Sandra Izbasa: she had a bit of a problem on the triple twist, I think she didn't get it actually (she must have been awarded only a 2.5), landed outside the floor on the last pass, therefore a 0.3 deduction. Other than that, looks as solid as ever. 14.200 (5.8 D score)


Vault: Raluca Haidu - very good DTY 9.066 E score: 14.866
Diana Chelaru: her DTY seemed a bit better than other times, though she still had a bit of split legs in the first phase of the flight, but ok landing: 14.700
Sandra Izbasa: One big step on the landing (a bit low maybe?): 14.700

So the Romanians had a quite ok final, there were some mistakes here and there, but that's what happens during contests :). As a friend of mine used to say, with one or two Amanars and one more Ana Porgras in the team - things will be much better. But that just means that there is a lot of work to do. Tokyo 2011 will be a different story. We will not be satisfied with 4th place then.

As for the other teams

I was impressed with Tania Nabieva's determination to finish that uneven bars routine. And it really counted in the end. Alyia Mustafina did very well on all the events; if she manages to pull it off like that one more time, she's AA champion and deservedly so... Ksenia Semenova's birthday was yesterday and after the Russian's beam rotation the MC of the arena announced this, she was already wearing the training pants and jacket so she rushed to take them off because she wanted to go on the podium and salute. She tripped on her pants- that was really funny. Anna Dementieva is a funny little mouse as well: when the medals were given, the Chinese congratulated the other teams before climbing on the podium then the Americans congratulated the Russians. But Anna Didn't realise there was no need to congratulate again when the Russians were announced so she started shaking hands again.

The Chinese had plenty of small wobbles and mistakes as well. Only three routines really impressed me: He Kexin uneven bars (although not error free), Deng Linlin's balance beam routine, Sui Lu's floor.

About US... they had nice high vaults and uneven bars routines, but I am not a big fan of their style on beam and floor so, I thought they got a bit high execution marks. But maybe I couldn't see very well from where I was standing :P.

Anyway, to all those who say that the Russians were over scored: yes they were, exactly as much as the Americans!

Conclusion: I was really happy with the outcome of the TF; the team with the most spectacular gymnastic won.


R U S S I A!!!!!!!!!!! What a night!

Yep, they did it! The drama was there, there was some great gymnastics, there were some nasty falls, there was some over scoring but not so much underscoring... Great competition! Congratulations to the winners!
Romania did not have a perfect contest either but I think it was the only team without a fall. In the end they delivered exactly what their fans wanted: no falls, happy gymnasts, some great skills although we all know there is plenty of room of improvement, oh and did I mention that Diana almost stuck all her landings on floor?

I will come back with a more detailed analysis.


Raluca Haidu and Anna Dementieva are officially more than cute

just watch Haidu on bars:

and floor

As for Dementyeva... just watch her beam (here) and her floor (here) from the qualifications.

Lovely gymnasts! It seems to become an increasingly interesting sport with kids like this around.

Many videos of the Romanian in the qualifications can be found on the channel mondialegym2010 on youtube.


Sandra pleased with qualifications

"It was a beautiful contest, with a warm audience. I was not expecting to be so many Romanians to be there. That helped me a lot and we did pretty well in qualifying. I have so much experience that can compete after five years as well, it did not matter that I missed for this long. I felt very good and I'm glad I managed to come back again in the elite. There is room for improvement, but I did well and I had the evolution that I wanted "

Good job guys!


Worlds 2010 - favourite moments of a Romanian fan in day one of qualifications

(picture from GSP)

Today I was in the Ahoy arena with the Romanian fans. I am proud to say that Romania was the only team to have proper fan support in the first day of qualis. That does not mean that we did not cheer for other teams as well, like Russia or China or Japan or even GB.

This is why I will have to make two list of my favourite moments- one for our team Romania and one for the others... so bare with me :)

I will politely start with "the others" :P

#6 China on bars - well is not a moment but it surely feels like one

# 5 Lauren Mitchell on floor- this music and choreo really suit her
#4 Deng Linlin on beam - absolute control
#3 Beth Tweddle on bars- everybody in the arena stopped breathing
#2 Mustafina on vault- wow 6.1 and 6.5 D scores. And what execution!
# 1 The Russian Drama on floor. I actually started praying for them after Semenova fell twice, (once almost landed on her head); they sure seemed to be losing it. But this only made the evening better

Now, Romania

#6 Nadia at the official table hears our shouts "Haide Cera! Haide Gabi! Tareee"... she looks to see where the Romanian cheers are coming from. My friend Luiza and I sense the momentum and start waiving at Nadia. And Nadia waves back!!! Nadia is cool!

#5 Diana Chelaru on uneven bars: 8.6 execution. better than Ana Porgras LOL
#4 all three Romanian DTY receive over 8.8 E score!
#3 Ana Porgras' beam: 15.266 and the best beam score of day 1!
#2 Raluca Haidu's floor. She did not put a foot wrong. 14.2
# 1 for Romania in the first days of qualifications: I would have to give this to the best Romanian gymnast of the day, and not only in terms of scores but in outdoing herself. Sandra Izbasa brought "gargantuan" scores for the team - 14.8 on Vault, 14.766 on floor and 14.333 on beam. Thank you Sandra for keeping it together, you are a great champion!

What was your favourite moment from the qualifications?


Worlds Qualifications - Day 1 starting list

Romania will start on uneven bars:
HAIDU Raluca Oana
DRAGOI Gabriela
RACEA Elena Amelia
CHELARU Diana Maria
IZBASA Sandra Raluca

so Cerasela is the reserve, according to this list. Very sad. I love this gymnast.

China will start on UB as well:
YANG Yilin
HUANG Qiushuang
HE Kexin
DENG Linlin

Wu Luifang is the reserve
HUANG Qiushuang will attempt to qualify to the vault finals

Russia will start on vault:
So Myzdrikova is the reserve after all...
- Kurbatova, Mustafina, Nabieva will have two different vaults, trying to qualify for the vault finals

This is the complete list.


Another championship, another Nadia interview

Actually, this one has nothing to do with the worlds. Nadia was invited to the 21st edition of Sportel (an international convention for sports and media).This is the translation of an interview from Gazeta Sporturilor (they mention that the source is AFP)

What do you recall from the 1976 Olympic Games?
I remember the moment I got that 10. It was very noisy and I couldn't understand what the 1.00 on the scoreboard represented. One of my colleagues told me "It is a 10 but they couldn't post it properly". I did not realised it was an historic moment. Today people talk more about the 10 than about my medals.

What is the place of the sport in your life?
I am recognised as the woman who took the perfect 10. I have influence on certain people. I can travel and I can talk and I can for instance motivate women, no matter what their domain of activity is. In the US, my husband and I have a gymnastics academy. We have 30 coaches and 1200 students. Whenever I get the chance, I watch children training, I show them how to do certain skills, I like that. They have seen pictures of me in the gym on the internet , so they know who I am.

What is the role women have in the world's sport?
There is always a competition in sport, where men are always favoured compared to women; but women must brake the ice. A sport becomes famous if it has a star, man or woman. Today's gymnastics is dominated by women; women can work hard if they are given the opportunity.

Is gymnastics a sport overlooked by the media?
The attention paid by media is very important. You must be exposed all the time, not only once every four years, when the Olympics come. The fans want to know all the time what their favorite athlete is doing, every day, every week, including what his personal life is. There are not only medals and results.

What do you say about people criticizing the training methods of the Romanian athletes back in 1976?
People say that gymnastics was too tough for such small children, but that is not right. When I started, there were very few options for women to practise a sport, and gymnastics was one of them. What I started, at 6, my parents considered it was a positive thing because I was too energetic and I was ruining the furniture in the house.

The minimum age for gymnasts to take part in the Olympics has increased from 15 to 16. Is 15 too young?
There is not a big difference. For me it was ok to go to the Olympics at 15, I had the time to return 4 years later but if a gymnast goes to the Olympics at 17 for the first time, chances are that at 21 she has a different occupation.
Nadia and Bellu, circa 1981 - Picture from GSP


Bellu - optimistic about his team

"At this point we are after the third training session, including the official one that took place on Tuesday afternoon, the only one with this character, considering the large number of teams. What can I say? The girls are not "unleashed" yet, but will do it in the coming days, we continue a program with two daily training sessions until the 16th, when the championship begins. The days that have passed have represented the first contact, during practice there were achievements and failures but this seems to be the general situation, from what i have seen. We have four days until a full shift in the engines, period during which, day by day, we will surely reach the desired physical condition".

Romania - Podium Training

These are all updates offered by TessaW, who posted an extended coverage on Online Sports Forum. Thank you Tessa!

-Sandra Izbasa has a triple twist as a dismount from BB, has upgraded the last pass of her floor routine and is able to stuck a double twisting Yurchenko
- Diana Chelaru has put back in her floor routine the double layout
-Amelia Racea and Raluca Haidu both do double twisting Yurchenkos

The training seems to have been full of wobbles and mistakes but, in the end, it's only a training session isn't it?


Larisa Iordache wins four (out of five) finals in Schiltigheim


Per the competition took place in Alsace region (Bas Rhin department - near Strasbourg) and Romania was represented by Larisa Iordache, Maria Balea, Diana Trenca and Dana Andrei.

The all around contest was won by Larisa Iordache (by a considerable margine):
1) Larisa Iordache- 58.000
2) Dana Andrei - 54.750
3) Diana Trenca - 52.900
View complete results here .

In the events finals, Larisa won uneven bars, beam and floor and was second on vault (she had the same mark as Elodie Perez but a tie-breaker put her in second);
Dana Andrei was second on floor and uneven bars, third on vault and fourth on beam;
Diana Trenca was second on balance beam and third on uneven bars;
Maria Balea was third on floor, with 13.8 (5.6).

I have found videos of Larisa Iordache: vault, uneven bars, beam, floor

There are more on youtube, on eipos24's channel.


2010 Worlds Team Contenders - China

(International Gymnast)

This is the final part of the series "Team Conterders" and the most difficult, for me. The D scores are the ones from the Chinese Nationals that were held in the end of August, combined with the ones the gymnasts had in the beginning of the summer 2010 (for the ones that couldn't compete their full routines or did not compete at all). Secondly, the E scores I gave are an optimistic evaluation of where they should be now compared to August.

An overview of their team first:
Jiang Yuyuan - her D scores are: VT-5.8/ UB-7.2 / BB-6.1 / FX- 5.8; with such difficulty she could challenge for the AA title, but her execution on UB and BB make her lose valuable points.
Huang Qiushuang - her D scores: VT- 5.8 / UB-7.1 / BB - 5.9 / FX-5.4; her strengths are the vault, the uneven bars routine and the presentation on floor; her weaknesses: the inconsistency on uneven bars and the balance beam
Yang Yilin - her D scores: VT-5.8 / UB-6.5 / BB-5.2 / FX-?; strengths: flawless execution/ weakness: lower D scores
Sui Lu - D scores: VT-5 / UB-5.4 / BB-6.9 / FX-5.9; strengths - will probably be one of the favorites to win the EF on BB and FX; weakness - low D scores and quite bad execution on the other two events
He Kexin: D scores: UB-7.4 (or so I've heard)
Deng Linlin: She has not competed in the last competitions; D scores: VT-? / UB-? / BB-6.8 / FX-?

So, here is my line-up:
Huang Qiushuang: 14.45 (5.8/8.65)
Jiang Yuyuan: 14.4 (5.8/8.6)
Yang Yilin: 14.1 (5.8/8.3)

- none that I know of, I think He Kexin and Sui Lu have only 5.0 SV; I do not know what Deng Linin is capable of.

Uneven Bars:
Yang Yilin: 15 (6.5/8.5)
Huang Qiushuang: 15.5 (7.1/8.4)
He Kexin: 16 (7.4/8.6)

Jiang Yuyuan: 15.2 (7.2/8)

Balance Beam
Yang Yilin: 14.1 (5.2/8.9)
Deng Linlin: 15.3 (6.8/8.5)
Sui Lu: 15.6 (6.9/8.7)

-Jiang Yuyuan: 14.5 (6.2/8.3)

Huang Qiushuang: 13.9 (5.4/8.5)
Jiang Yuyuan: 14.3 (5.8/8.5)
Sui Lu: 14.4 (5.9/8.5)

- Deng Linlin (?)

Conclusion: Team China is able to get a score around 176... If something did not change dramatically consistence wise since August we might see 2-3 falls, at least. If they have a good day, they can score more than that.

What do you think?


Romania: last simulated contest before Worlds

These are excerpts from an article by Mirela Neag and Roxana Fleseru published in Gazeta Sporturilor.

Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang have scheduled a workout yesterday in conditions of maximum stress to check their athletes' ability to concentrate. The coaches have tried to simulate the conditions under which the gymnasts will have to compete in Ahoy arena: moments of absolute silence alternated with noise and music.

At 12:00, Sandra Izbasa, Cerasela Patrascu, Ana Porgras, Diana Chelaru, Amelia Race and Gabriela Dragoi and Raluca Haidu were present in the gym at the Olympic Complex Izvorani. Wearing the new costumes, in shades of white and black, dotted here and there with silver sequins. In the first 45 minutes, the girls warmed-up in turn on all apparatuses. They started with the beam, then on vault, uneven bars and floor. In silence. From time to time you could hear the advices given by Bellu and Bitang, and the gymnasts' cheers.

At 12:45 the "competition" started. A workout under the competition conditions. Of time and stress. Each gymnast has tried to imagine how it would be in competition. They started with uneven bars. Order: Haidu, Patrascu, Racea, Porgras, Chelaru*. While they were flying between the two bars, the other girls were on floor. It was not flawless, but it's only a rehearsal. There is room for missing the bar or a fall from beam, some steps out of bounce and less than perfect landings on vault.

Mariana Bitang** has decided not to accompany the delegation at the World Championships in the Netherlands. Only Octavian Bellu will go, but he will not have access to the competition area. "We decided it was better for me to remain in Romania to take care of the girls who will not go to the Worlds and make a selection for the national team. I will focus on the girls that turn 16 in 2012, the year the London Olympics" said the coach. She also said that only three coaches have the right to enter the competition area and the coaches that have worked with the girls before their return to the National team will be there.

A world medal, especially gold, is not ready in two to three months, as we had. I hope the girls will want a medal more than their coaches. Mariana Bitang

I feel I have progressed compared to the Nationals. At the Worlds we will be a team. I hope I will be able to do my routines and to show as much confidence as possible. At this moment I am at almost 70 percent of my potential. Ana Porgras

I do not promise anything, I won't say big words. I want to make a a nice competition and on the floor, to have a very clean routine. Sandra Izbasa

We need confidence and to be able to make our best routines. This is the Worlds and there can be many surprises. Cerasela Patrascu

We do not target these Worlds, but to present ourselves well in 2011 and, and at London Olympics particularly. Hopefully though, in Rotterdam, the girls will reach top form. Octavian Bellu

It will be a great tension. It's my first World. I hope I will be able to do my best. Raluca Haidu

*Where is Gabi Dragoi? I guess this says a lot about Amelia's reserve status