November 29, 2008

Quick News Roundup

--- We have yet to see any official results (or substantial unofficial results for that matter), but it seems that American national junior champ Jordyn Wieber has won the Top Gym competition held in Charleroi, Belgium, despite feeling a little under the weather. According to her website, Wieber received the top scores on all events (15.000 vault, 15.250 bars, 15.000 beam, 14.550 floor) and consequently ended up winning the all-around competition. No word yet on the other highly touted competitors (Kamerin Moore, Larisa Iordache, Diana Bulimar), nor on whether the Russians ended up sending any competitors (Tatiana Nabieva is supposed to be in nearby northern France) to Top Gym, which is traditionally a good spotting ground for junior talent. We hope to have complete results for you later.

Jordyn Wieber, winner of the Top Gym competition

--- According to German newspaper Zeit Online, supposedly injured Fabian Hambüchen just performed the most difficult high bar routine ever in KTV Straubenhardt's last match before the Bundesliga Final, to be contested in two weeks. Hambüchen is reported to have thrown a routine with a 7.5 start value, up 0.2 from his previous record. Way to prove you're seriously injured, Fabian!

--- According to the Gazeta Sporturilor, Sandra Izbasa is one of five nominees (four female, one male) for Romania's Athlete of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on December 2. We have a feeling Sandra will grab that award too.

--- Speaking of Athlete of the Year competitions, remember we told you last week that Yang Wei had been voted China's male athlete of the year, and his coach Huang Yubin China's coach of the year? Well, it now seems that the female gymnast closest to winning the award (which ended up going to table tennis legend Zhang Yining) wasn't Cheng Fei, as you might expect, but Deng Linlin! We can't find the details anymore (we'll have a look for them later when we have more time), but we do remember that the article said Deng got many more votes than Cheng, outscoring her by something like 5 to 1. We like Deng, but we do wonder - what did she do to outscore Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin by such a hefty margin?

A big thumbs-up for Deng Linlin indeed! (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

--- Finally, we'd like to draw your attention to this delightful Times Online article about Britain's new star on the pommel horse, Louis Smith. It sounds like Louis is quite a character. According to the article, he auditioned for The X Factor and is planning to unveal a new, highly showy element on the pommels at some point. He'd also love to compete wearing a giant Afro, but has decided against it because he feels the judges wouldn't appreciate it. Read the article for yourself - it's entertaining!


  1. An Afro!? Louis Smith seems to have a great personality!? Also, I can't wait to see Jordin Weiber as a Senior! She's so cute:) And I want to see more of her.

  2. Jordyn Wieber looks like she's six... This is why I'm in favor of keeping the age limit... I know these girls are small but she likes like she's six!

  3. Hannah, we like Louis Smith too. He's cocky but at least he has a personality, unlike many other gymnasts out there. We look forward to seeing more of him. Same with Wieber. We expect to see a lot of both over the next few years!

    Katrina, Jordyn Wieber has grown a bit since that picture was taken. She's also gotten a more mature face. Have a look at the link provided in the post - she looks older now!

  4. Oh, Katrina - "in the post" refers to the next entry - the actual meet report. It contains a link to some pictures of Jordyn and other Top Gym competitors, taken yesterday.

  5. If you are going to edit the copyright notice out of Miss Machel's photo you should at the very least give her credit below the photo.

  6. Chalkbowl, we always credit photos if we know who took them. We never edit copyright notices out of photos. We only shrink photos to make them the right size. If there's no credit with the Wieber photo, it's because we honestly didn't know who took it. We ran a Google image search and lifted the Wieber photo off another blog which didn't credit the photographer. So you see, there wasn't much we could do about it.

    If you give us Miss Machel's full name, we'll be quite happy to credit her below the photo.

  7. Deng linlin was by far the best gymnast for China in the team final and the most consistent through the competition.
    She did a perfect vault, put her team back on track after cheng fei's fall on beam and set the mood for the rest of the team on floor.
    I do wonder why did you expect Cheng fei to be the favourite after almost totally missing her competition?

  8. Hee hee. We knew we'd get a response to the Deng comment, and we did! Thanks for playing, lamar.

    The reason we'd have expected Cheng to be the favorite was because despite all her mistakes in Beijing she is the standard bearer of the team. Yes, she fell on beam in the team final, but she posted some pretty high scores for the team on the other events. Her individual dramas didn't affect the team. AND she won a few medals elsewhere. Just before the Best Ahtlete event, for example, she had won three gold medals in Stuttgart. We thought that might tip the scales in her favor but apparently it didn't.

    What we're really wondering about is why Deng outscored He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin. Sure, she was stable and consistent, and she has great form on some of her skills, but don't you think she lacks some star quality? And she was never in the running for an individual medal. Why not choose He Kexin, who actually won an Olympic gold, or Yang Yilin, who should have won an Olympic gold but ended up with two bronzes (which more or less made her China's most successful gymnast in Beijing)? Or even Jiang Yuyuan, who should have gotten a few votes just for her brilliant smile and for actually qualifying to a few individual finals, which Deng didn't?

    Don't get us wrong. We're not taking issue with Cheng's not being the most highly regarded Chinese gymnast of the year. There's no denying Cheng's Olympic experience was disappointing. What surprises us is that Deng got more votes than Yang, Jiang, and He, who were arguably more successful in Beijing. Particularly since Deng hardly ever smiles. You wouldn't think she'd be a natural candidate for such an award, would you? Even though she WAS, as you say, very consistent.