January 4, 2009

Injury Report

--- According to Globoesporte, Jade Barbosa is currently in America (supposedly in Miami) for a second opinion on the osteonecrosis in her right hand. "The doctor over there is used to treating elite athletes, and he is studying the problem," said Elisete Chagas, Jade's stepmother and agent. "We hope that she won't have to leave the country for treatment, because that would be very costly."

--- Despite our best efforts, we haven't been able to find any information on the injury that kept Yang Yilin from performing at the World Cup Final, beyond Lu Shanzhen's initial statement that it was a "waist injury" (which may also be translated as "lower back injury"). As far as we can tell, there hasn't been any mention of Yang in the Chinese media recently. If anyone has any information on her situation, do share it - we're intrigued by the Chinese media's silence on the subject!

Sang Lan (photo: Sina)

--- Meanwhile, things are looking up for another Chinese gymnast who sustained a much more serious injury, Sang Lan. Sang, a Chinese national vault champion who got paralyzed when a timer vault went horribly awry at the 1998 Goodwill Games, is probably China's most famous disabled person. Sina reports that she was very busy in 2008, traveling around the world as an ambassador for the Olympics and Paralympics. She also carried the Olympic torch the day before the Games began. Sang recently told Chinese reporters that 2008 was a great year for her and that her main hope for 2009 is to be able to learn how to drive a car. "If it's possible, I'd like to try and drive my own car. That would make me so happy." She went on to explain that being able to leave the house on one's own is a great hope for any disabled person, but conceded that it might be difficult to fulfill her wish, as it's hard for disabled people in China to get an adapted car, or a driver's license for that matter. Yet Sang remains optimistic. "Things can only get better, right? I'm sure a day will come [that I can drive a car]." (Check out this link for a recentish New York Times interview with Sang Lan.)

--- Dutch national team members Suzanne Harmes and Sanne Wevers appear to be recovering well from the injuries that prevented them from shining at the World Cup Final. Both gymnasts performed at the Univé Gym Galas held in three Dutch towns just after the World Cup Final. Their heavily watered-down but none too painful-looking routines can be seen in this ten-minute, high-quality video, which takes a long time to load but does give a good impression of the galas. It also shows a rather heavy Chellsie Memmel performing her bar routine, as well as glimpses of several other performers strutting their stuff.

Yvette Moshage (photo: Iris van den Broek/Gymnasticsphotography)

--- Meanwhile, another Dutch gymnast, promising junior Yvette Moshage, seems to be less lucky. Moshage, second to Jordyn Wieber at Top Gym, twisted her knee on her dismount in the beam final of the Belgian competition. According to her website, Moshage has been diagnosed with a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament, a serious injury which will require a long recovery period. Ouch.

--- Finally, according to a print article we sadly can't reproduce here (L'Equipe, December 17), Russian-born French veteran Dimitri Karbanenko (aged 35!) underwent arthroscopy in Cagnes-sur-Mer on December 17. The article says Karbanenko has had problems with his left meniscus ever since the spring of 2006, but never had time to have it looked at. He wanted to shine one last time at the Beijing Olympics, but just missed out on a spot in the high bar final, and didn't make the all-around final either as he was outscored by his teammates Caranobe and Bouhail. He can't see himself performing at another Olympics. He may stick around for a little while longer to perform on a few events, but not for long, he insists: "I've never been able to do things just for the sake of doing them. I need a motivation, but I don't have one anymore. So I think I'll gradually retire."

Dimitri Karbanenko in Beijing, powerful as ever (photo: Reuters)


  1. Why on earth is it relevant if Chellsie Memmell has gained a little weight? Maybe the poor thing is finally eating something other than chicken and fruit again.

    I love Triple Full in general but as fat person I am constantly vigilant for fatphobia.

  2. Yes, the Chinese media has been absolutely silent on Yang Yilin's injury. Let's hope that no news is good news!

  3. I agree with Vanessa.. And honestly She doesn't look overweight. Yes she has gained a little weight but that's to be expected coming off a huge event such as the Olympics.

  4. I really think that Chellsie Memmel didn't give an accurate description of her diet on the REALsports interview. Why would she eat more fruits than vegetables. Yes, she does look bigger, but I don't think she's gone back into hardcore training yet.

    Anyways, I've been wondering what Sang Lan was up to. She said she wanted to compete in table-tennis in the Paralympics, but that didn't happen.

  5. Wow, an actual controversy! I (Mihaela) am sorry if my Chellsie Memmel comment offended anyone, but as I see it, our job is to report the things we find and analyse how they are different from what they should be. If a gymnast looks out of form, we'll say so. If a gymnast looks injured or bored, we'll say so too. And if a gymnast looks rather heavier than she normally does, well, we think we have a right to point this out, because frankly it comes under the "out of form" heading. A gymnast's weight directly affects the way she's going to perform. Every coach knows that. I think we all agree that less is more in gymnastics, as far as weight is concerned. Therefore, while I apologize to those of you who feel offended by my remark, I reserve the right to make such comments when I feel they're warranted. Please believe me when I say I had no intention of maligning Chellsie or fat people in general; I was merely pointing out the very obvious fact that she looked rather heavier than she usually does, which kind of amused Heidemarie and myself as she was announced on the galas' Dutch site as "often described as the most elegant gymnast in the world" (we think they were mixing her up with Nastia) and she didn't quite look the part. Again, I meant no harm, so please try not to take it personally.

    Now as to whether it's a BAD thing for Chellsie to look a little out of shape at this point of the season, no, we guess it's not. Every athlete needs some down time after the Olympics. We're well aware of that. And Chellsie has definitely earned her down time. But maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't have performed at those galas, considering the form she was in (her casts to handstand looked horrendous). And maybe Suzanne Harmes and Sanne Wevers shouldn't have either. Sure, it was nice to see they were physically capable of performing after sustaining those injuries at the World Cup, but to tell you the truth, we weren't impressed with the routines they showed. But maybe that's just us. We're a bunch of hard-to-please perfectionists and we admit it. We've all got our foibles. We're bearing with ours; we hope you can too. :)

    We agree with Cidlover on Chellsie's diet. There must be more to it than chicken and fruit. At least we very much hope so, as chicken and fruit only is a very unhealthy diet for a competitive athlete. Or for anyone else, for that matter.

    And yes, Anonymous, we agree - let's hope that no news is good news. But isn't it strange how the Chinese media aren't paying any attention to Yang? Especially since she was actually their most successful female gymnast in Beijing. Very strange.

  6. Upon reflection, maybe Yang was China's second most successful gymnast in Beijing. We guess He Kexin, having won an individual gold medal, might deserve the "most successful" title. But still, it's strange how Yang is being ignored by the Chinese media.

  7. Actually, I don't think Yang Yilin has been ignored by the Chinese media. She's been featured on a few TV shows and in photoshoots. Most recently, she joined Jiang Yuyuan and He Kexin on this Phoenix TV show--apologies if you've seen these videos already! (The show was taped about a week before the World Cup Final.)


    But on the whole, I have to agree with you. Of all the Olympians, Jiang Yuyuan and Cheng Fei seem to be the primary media darlings--perhaps because they've enjoyed the most international success since the Games. Then, too, Cheng Fei was famous to begin with, and Jiang just exudes X-factor!

  8. I appreciate the explanation, and understand that you felt that the comment about Memmel's weight was relevant. However, I suggest that we ALL--as a culture--need to pay attention to our own biases against heavier people, and that includes in the sport of gymnastics. Note, for example, how thinner gymnasts are virtually always described as more graceful than their chunkier (but not necessarily less graceful) counterparts.
    And I agree that her routine wasn't that great. With the exception of the highbar routines, I wasn't really overwhelmed by *any* of the routines in that video-if I had paid a significant sum to be in that audience I would have been very disappointed.

  9. Again I agree with Vanessa. Commenting on weight is never a good idea and frankly I find it very off-putting.

    I don't think "less is more in gymnastics". Because less can also mean less healthy. Weight must be prepositional to height and if a girl weighs less than her height, it's not always a good thing.

    Again I hope you don't discuss weight anymore.

  10. Anonymous, thanks for the video! I can't understand any of it myself, but I'm sure Meiying will be able to make sense of it. She's kind of busy right now but she'll get back to gymnastics soon, or so she keeps saying. :) At any rate it's good to see that Yang isn't completely ignored on TV. From what I've heard, she gets little attention in the print media, taking or leaving the odd photo shoot. We guess she's not quite exuberant enough for that kind of treatment...

    Actually I've been meaning to ask you a question. Would you mind shooting me an e-mail at mightymihaela@gmail.com? Thanks very much in advance!

  11. Vanessa and Katrina, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. I do think comments on weight are occasionally relevant. I certainly don't go around calling chunky gymnasts fat all the time, but when I feel their weight is related to their performance, I think it's acceptable to say so. But I won't make a habit of it if it offends you so much.

    Vanessa, for what it's worth, I agree that thin doesn't equal elegant and that chunky doesn't equal unelegant. There's more to elegance than physical proportions; it's an attitude, a state of mind, and a matter of training. Chunky gymnasts can look elegant if they have the right kind of training. But I do think gymnasts have a greater chance of looking elegant if they're slender. And just so that we're not going to get any misunderstandings about this, when I say "slender," I mean slender as opposed to rail thin. I don't like emaciated gymnasts. I thought Svetlana Khorkina looked horrible toward the end of her career, so I'm certainly not advocating all gymnasts try to emulate her look. But I do like slender gymnasts. I think I'm allowed to have that preference, and to voice it on what is to a large extent my site. :)

    As to the Dutch galas, from what we've heard they were fun despite the occasionally low level of the performances. Some of the lesser known Dutch gymnasts (not featured in the video) showed full-difficulty routines, and by all accounts the "other" disciplines (rhythmic, sports acrobatics, and so on) were good. Quite a few people who attended the galas said the highlight was the Chinese men's four, whose performance you can see here. We wouldn't have minded paying to see that.

    By all accounts the Belgian gala where Sandra Izbasa and Daria Zgoba performed was better than the Dutch galas.

  12. That Globoesporte article confused me. Eliste said that she hopes Jade does not have to leave Brazil to be treated. The article only says that copies of Laranjeira's examinations are in the US. Does this mean that Jade is still in Brazil and a clinical team is looking at the MRI's and the examination reports and will go to the US if treatment is needed? Or does it mean that Jade is in the US now and being examined by the team, will go back to Brazil once they are over, and go back to the US if treatment is needed there?

  13. The latter. As far as we know, Jade is currently in the US. Remember she was supposed to go on vacation there with the Hypolito siblings? To Disney World, which is conveniently located in Florida. So she could easily fit in a trip to a doctor in Miami.

    We assume Elisete Chagas is distinguishing between getting an assessment and getting treatment. Jade is currently in the US to get a second opinion, not to get treatment. Apparently her family is hoping that she won't have to make frequent trips to the US for treatment, because, as they say, it would be a costly affair.

    Hope that helps.

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcVuc4tpAhM

    If you want the translated videos of the interview with Jiang Yuyuan, He Kexin and Yang Yilin.

  15. Excellent, Anonymous! Thanks very much. I look forward to watching all the videos and reading all the translations, and will post a link to them for our readers. Thanks!

    Sometimes I feel I should spend more time watching YouTube videos and less time translating news articles and interviews. My inner fan girl craves more YouTube time!

  16. Gym Girls, I understand what you mean, and I would even probably agree about slender gymnasts--but I also think it is worth paying attention to our thoughts and feelings and prejudices about weight.
    I have never thought, incidentally, that you all preferred skinny gymnasts to chunkier ones. As I've said, overall I really love Triple Full and it is one of my all time favorite blogs. I just also feel that people need to be mindful of body politics.
    The men's four was AWESOME.
    Are any of you going to the American Cup? I am, and thought about starting a blog just to liveblog the Cup, but I don't know enough about international gymnastics to be able to really sustain a blog (don't have the time either). But if you want little tweets or something from the Cup--I'd be happy to do that.
    And thanks for your thoughtful replies.

  17. Glad we understand each other, Vanessa. We'll try to be a bit more mindful of body politics, as you put it, from now on.

    Chances are we won't be able to attend the American Cup, so if you're willing to provide us with updates, live or otherwise, that would be fantastic. Drop us a line by the time you go there and we'll figure something out. Thanks very much for the offer. We'll probably take you up on it!

  18. Marian Dragulescu decided to retire, Prosport reported this today.
    Keep doing the good work!
    Mihaela, Timisoara

  19. Look at those GUNS on Karbenenko! Is he juiced? A lot of the males look juiced.

  20. TGG:

    Don't listen to the politically correct stuff. Let the honesty flow.

    I lurve Chelse...her look and demeanor and her ballsy gymnastics. I can't even imagine doing UB with a torn labrum! And I actually completely believe that her diet was exactly as stated in that interview. She is more honest and adult than the other girls. She had an obvious taper (although not even fat per se prior to the Olympics, she has a heavy build and she really slimmed it). I think this may have helped her performances.

    And I've said before, that Jana should have rolled the dice and done a similar taper for reasons of both performance and appearance (don't agree with judging appearance, but it occurs...stupid judges...so deal with it). It's the Oly's. You gotta suck it up.

    What I don't agree with is people juding the GYMNASTICS by the look. If someone is a fatty, but still does a double back...well that's all that matters. I don't see this whole look thing being emphasized in men's. It's more about the sport. But with ladies, you've got all these people blathering about how elegant Nastia is just cause she's thin and has an oversplit. What I care is what tricks she can throw.

  21. Chellsie does look out of shape and I would even use the word heavy but I would end the word heavy with the words, FOR A GYMNAST. In person she is very tiny.

  22. Mihaela, thanks for the kind words! We'll do our best. By now we've posted the Dragulescu story, as you'll probably have seen.

    TCO, we're going to have to agree to disagree on Nastia. As far as I know, all of us at the Gym Girls headquarters love Nastia because she's genuinely elegant. It's not because she's thin and has an oversplit, although that definitely helps. It's because of the way she carries herself. She stands upright, has near-perfect form on nearly everything she does (her giants on bars are a notable exception), and moves around with a grace few gymnasts can match. To many fans and judges, that outweighs big tricks. It certainly does for us. We know you love Shawn, but please allow others to be Nastia fans, eh?

    Anonymous, you're right - Chellsie currently looks heavy for a gymnast. Anyone else would probably look very decent with her body proportions. Still, we hope to see her slightly less heavy next time we see her. Hopefully she'll recover quickly from the injuries that have been plaguing her...

  23. I think she looks heavy for a girl in a swimsuit.