December 3, 2008

Some World Cup Final News (For a Change)

The FIG has released its latest list of World Cup Final competitors. Obviously several names on the list are misspelled, but it looks better than some of their other recent press releases.

Daria Zgoba (photo: Reuters)

Ukraine's Daria Zgoba and Anastasia Koval are now listed as confirmed for the UB final, which makes us happy as it's only fair that Ukraine should be represented on this event (Koval is especially gorgeous). Furthermore, Lauren Mitchell is listed as being confirmed on beam, which also makes us happy as Mitchell has one of the more original routines currently being performed on the event.

What's interesting about the newly released list is the names the FIG still wishes to see confirmed. Hong Su Jong on vault? Fair enough. Nobody has a clue what's going on in North Korea, but she might come if she's not injured. Daria Zgoba on beam? We guess she'll be there, especially if she's already confirmed for the UB final. He Ning on bars? We haven't seen any form of confirmation yet, but she might well join He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin in the final (and what a final that'll be, featuring four Chinese girls!). Chellsie Memmel on beam? It's not as unlikely as it seems, as Memmel is supposed to perform (with Jonathan Horton) at 3 Dutch galas the week after the World Cup Final. She might choose to go to Europe a week early and attend the Final. We doubt it, but she might.

Chellsie Memmel (photo: Rob Carr/AP Photo)

Then there's Aagje Vanwalleghem on vault. Vanwalleghem is an interesting case in that she now has 3 competitions to choose from for the December 13-14 weekend. She could choose to compete in the Bundesliga Final, like Fabian Hambuchen and Marian Dragulescu. Or she could choose to compete before for a home crowd at Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, as she's slated to do. Or alternatively she could choose to show up in Madrid and try to keep up her great work of the last few weeks in a field that includes Cheng Fei. Must feel great to be so spoiled for choice!

Other names to be confirmed prove just how out of touch the FIG is with its own sport. Monica Rosu and Emilie Lepennec? Really? When was the last time they competed? And Lais Souza has been injured for a while now. She expects to be back, but not until next year. So really, why wait for these gymnasts to confirm their absence? Why not invite some other gymnasts right away and give them time to prepare for their trips?

On the men's side, things are actually beginning to look quite decent as well. Sure, more Asian and American competitors would have been nice (China is sending 3 second-tier gymnasts, Japan has Hiroyuki Tomita on 2 events, and Sasha Artemev is to be confirmed on pommels, but that's it). Still, we're beginning to get a teeny bit excited about this competition. Here's hoping the gymnasts won't be completely out of shape by the time the 13th of December rolls along, it being the end of the season and all.

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