Beam winner Lauren Mitchell made a few headlines in Australia: "Aussie gymnast makes history in Madrid" (Sydney Morning Herald) and "Lauren Mitchell beaming in triumph" (Daily Telegraph), among others. Mitchell's local newspaper Perth Now wrote a nice piece about her in which the head of her club, Liz Chetkovich (also Australia's national gymnastics TV commentator) said Mitchell's result was simply exceptional. "For Lauren to win a World Cup final against such a strong field confirms that she is an outstanding world-class gymnast," Chetkovich said. "She's shown incredible character to bounce back from the disappointment of not making the beam final in Beijing to make the podium six times during the World Cup season. Last night's result just caps it all off."
Mitchell herself is still to comment on her recent success.
According to Globoesporte, Daniele Hypolito and her coach, Ricardo Pereira, were disappointed after the beam final. "[Daniele] did well in warmup. Everything looked normal," said Pereira. "But in the competition, she didn't make her three-element mount and fell. And Dani needed to stick that mount to have medal chances." Hypolito normally mounts beam with a difficult roundoff - layout - ff- layout to two feet combination.
Daniele Hypolito during the mount that cost her a medal (photo: UOL Esporte)
Despite her disaster on bars and her disappointing result on beam (she would have medaled if she hadn't missed her mount), Daniele Hypolito herself felt she had done "reasonably well" in the tournament. "The year is nearly over and I didn't obtain excellent results. But I'll be back in 2009, different and better, with an eye to the next Olympics," Daniele said. She emphasized that she has no retirement plans for the time being: "I'm not going to retire yet. The new Code of Points is in my favor, so I'll be able to go on firm and strong until 2012," Hypolito said.
In Romania, a tired-looking Sandra Izbasa, who was beaten to the floor gold by Cheng Fei and Jiang Yuyuan, reportedly said after the floor final: "I knew I wasn't going to win after each pass I did, but it's important to know how to lose with a smile on your face. I'm not at all upset. I'll be the Olympic champion on floor for the next four years and that's what matters to me."
In Belgium, bronze medalist Aagje Vanwalleghem, who has suffered many serious injuries over the last few years and has just recovered from a major knee injury, told Sporza that she was very pleased with the vaults she had shown at the World Cup Final.
"I'm glad and relieved that I can still perform as well as this after such a long recovery period," said Vanwalleghem. "I think you can say I'm back, both physically and mentally. It took a long time for my knee to heal completely, but now I can vault well again."
Aagje Vanwalleghem won the bronze on vault in Madrid (photo: Belga)
Vanwalleghem also said she's working on more difficult vaults, but doesn't want to become a vault specialist. "I'd like to stay an all-around gymnast, so I'm not going to specialize on one event just yet," she said. "Also because it's easier for an all-arounder to qualify for the Olympics." Vanwalleghem, who competed in Athens but missed Beijing because of her knee injury, has her heart set on London 2012.
The French media hardly had anything to say about Thomas Bouhail and Yann Cucherat's gold medals in Madrid. A quick "So Beijing wasn't an accident, after all" in L'Equipe and "Congratulations!" on the FFG's website was all the boys got for their gold-medal-winning efforts. Way to make your athletes feel appreciated, guys.
Thomas Bouhail (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)
As to the Brazilian media, we've already posted Diego Hypolito's ecstatic response to his gold medal on floor. According to Globoesporte, Hypolito was "more than satisfied" with his sixth-place finish on vault, as well: "I think I did well in my two vaults and I'm more than satisfied with my making the final on this event. My main objective was to do well on floor, and I did just that. I'm leaving Madrid with the feeling of having fulfilled my duty," Hypolito said.
He also announced changes for next year: "Next year I'll make a few small changes. Perhaps I'll do a more difficult Hypolito, with a few added touches. We'll see. First I'm going to make the most of my vacation." We guess that will be the upcoming trip to Disney World (with his sister Daniele and Jade Barbosa) he announced earlier.
Diego Hypolito (center) on the medal stand with Kohei Uchimura and Alexander Shatilov
We'll post the Chinese reactions to their World Cup successes in a separate entry, and we hope at some point to be able to post some Russian responses as well.