We were hoping to be able to give you a Chinese response to the Sydney action by now (or, failing that, some nice pictures of Cui Jie, Tan Sixin, and Wu Liufang), but the Chinese media aren't being very obliging - yet. We hope there will be more news and/or photos once the AYOF is over.
The only picture of a Chinese AYOF gymnast we've been able to find so far. Come on, Mark Nolan of Getty Images, we know you can do better than that!
For their part, the Australians aren't providing us with any interesting news or quotes either, but then we guess they don't have an awful lot to be excited about. Yet.
We did, however, find this: a video with quick glimpses of the women's team competition, courtesy of the AYOF site. It features footage of Cui Jie's new Yurchenko-1.5 as well as snippets of an interview with Australia's Britt Greeley. Here's hoping the AYOF site will post some more videos like this at some point...
The AYOF site also has a weirdish little radio interview with an Australian gymnast. They say it's Mary-Anne Monckton, but then they go on about her competition, and Monckton didn't actually compete, so we're not sure who's doing the talking here.
Also, the British team is getting plenty of media coverage. The British AYOF site is doing a terrific job of keeping its readers updated on Team GB's successes. This is what the Brits had to say after yesterday's all-around competitions...
Team GB’s male artistic gymnasts continued exactly where they left off yesterday by winning all three medals in the individual all-around competition and creating much excitement for the British contingent in the Sydney Olympic Park crowd.
Ashley Watson (Leeds) took top honours with a score of 82.800. His achievement was all the more remarkable given the fact that he fell during his pommel horse routine and was trailing in fifth place after half of the six apparatus competition had been completed.
Britain's three all-around medalists. From left to right: Reiss Beckford, Ashley Watson, and Max Whitlock (photo: British AYOF site)
Compatriots Reiss Beckford (Enfield) and Max Whitlock (Hemel Hempstead) took the silver and bronze medals with scores of 82.033 and 82.000 respectively. Team-mate Sam Oldham (Nottingham), who was forced to watch from the stands as he rested an injury, was impressed with what he saw, “I’m proud and pleased for them. They did really well today, especially beating the Chinese.” Oldham confirmed he will compete in the pommel horse and rings individual apparatus competitions tomorrow.
Russian Head Coach Andrei Popov was understandably chuffed, “I’m over the moon. Yesterday was a surprise for us but today we just carried on. I’m particularly pleased with the parallel bars and high bar performances, especially Ashley. He showed he can now compete with the best gymnasts in the world on the parallel bars.”
Watson was overjoyed with the victory, “I’m happy, especially after falling off the pommel, as it meant I had to keep fighting hard all the way to the end.” Commenting on the spirit within the group he said, “We’re a good team, we all work well together, helping each other when we’re feeling down.” Looking ahead he added, “Hopefully I’m going to excel on the parallel bars and high bar in the individual apparatus competitions.”
Beckford was also happy, “It was really good, apart from a little mishap on high bar when I missed a move. I was pleased with floor, vault and parallel bars. It feels really great to be competing in a multi-sport event and having a medal with the Olympic rings on it around my neck. Ashley and I are really good friends, we’re team-mates and rivals at the same time. Well done to him.”
Whitlock enjoyed the atmosphere in the arena, “It was a really good day and I was especially pleased with my pommel horse result. The crowd was amazing; they were really cheering for us.”
The British girls' team. From left to right: Danusia Francis, Nicole Watson, Jennifer Pinches, and Nicole Hibbert (photo: British AYOF site)
In the women’s event 14-year-old Nicole Hibbert was the top-placed Briton in fifth position with 54.775 points. Danusia Francis was close behind in sixth with 54.300 points and Nicole Watson came 11th with 51.425 points. Jennifer Pinches was forced to sit out the competition through injury.
Anyone know what Jennifer Pinches's injury is?