Friday 2-10-2001: Women AA-final

It's the first gymnastics competition ever that I went to. I was so nervous, luckely it wasn't me who had to get everything together on that beam. I arrived at the hall around 15.10h. I got out of the car turn around and bang! there sat Sun Xiaojiao from China. Now I even got more nervous tried to look away from her again and went to the entrance.

Once inside there was a lot of rumor, I could hardly find the time to look around. I immediately got to my seat, remember for tomorrow that I should get something to drink first and look around at the stands! I was sitting in section A2, stairs 2 row 17 which was one of the last rows but right before my nose was the beam I loved, and started thinking on Ljudmilla Ezhova one of my favorites who performs a really nice side flip with split standing position. Love it! She's the queen of beam! On my left there were three German girls who ate thereselfs trough the competition, while I could barrely swallow. On my left some Dutch, there was some Dutch crowd oh boy! And behind me some french speaking belgians, who where always talking about long or short girls but never knew a name. She was a coach I think and really liked Khorkina and especially her hight. In front of me some Limburg people (Belgium) who were very loud.

The competition began. Of the B-group I really liked Chusovitina, her floor was amazing to Queen music! My mum would love that. And the little spanish girl Elena Gomez, she is adorable I took quite some pictures of her, and had to remind my self constantly that I only had a role and half. If I remind some more of that group I'll update but for now my head is full with the A-group.

They come out: Raducan, Khorkina, Van de Leur. It's like an explosion in the hall. I waited like all my life to see this. Immediately on beam Ljudmilla Ezhova for Russia with a perfect routine, I hope the photo's come trough. She scored I think 9.5 something like that. On floor starts Evgenia Kuznetsova former Russian now Bulgaria. She was the first gymnast together with Ezhova that I really liked (Euro's 98). I love her work she has style and elegancy. If she can come back to 9.9 or 10.000 SV I think she's a potential champion. Raducan, Khorkina and Van de Leur start on Vault, not my favorite apparatus but it's like 5 meters in front of me, and today I started to appreciate it. With those top gymnasts there was also Daniella Hypolito for Brazile. I saw her once last year on the Olympics Sydney. She landed on her head in vault, and I always wondered then why she made the AA and our belgian gymnast didn't (altough it was close). Today I stopped wondering, opened my eyes and saw a very good A-class gymnast. She worked hard last year I'm sure. Good vaulting from everybody not much mistakes, only Verona who stepped of the mat. Wammes the other Dutch was on bars and did a good performance, much better than two days ago in team.

Second rotation: Khorkina as usual splendid on bars, confident like a winner. Raducan good bars classical routine but with difficulty don't mistake me here. Verona has medal positions on bars for sure! We'll see that sunday. Zhenya was on vault not her best apparatus but she got trough it nicely. Ezhova on floor with a good routine no big mistakes if I remember correctly. Wammes on beam stayed on. Sara Moro Spain was on bars too I think or on floor? anyways she had a really good performance tonight and was amongst one of the favorites (hearing the chears in my section).

Third rotation: Khorkina and co move to beam. Khorkina with a higher SV if I'm not mistaking stays on the beam but you can really see that it's not her best apparatus, altough her dismount is fantastic. Raducan has a good routine nice moves as usual too. Verona on the other hand has a weak moment, or were there some nerves? She comes of the beam once which spoiles her chances of getting a medal. Ezhova on vault has a good first vault but falls on the second one, it is her weakest apparatus for something. That reminds me that Moro (in what rotation she vaulted, think it was the second) did her first vault but her hand slips away and she fell too and rebounced on her back next to the mats. Kuznetsova was on bars with a really good performance just a little lack of tension in her legs when she did flights I think.

Last rotation: Kuznetsova on the beam with a really nice performance untill she dodes that flip with a full twist in to sit where she misses the beam but didn't fall of neither, she had two legs to one site and still managed to get them split over the beam somehow. Ezhova on bars showed some work of hers, lovely routine I was in favor of her transition to the lower bar, really good!

After her and I haven't mentioned her yet, how could I forgot? Natalia Ziganshina (actually she was the last gymnast on bars) She took lessons with Zhenya I swear. Difficult routine with something that looked like a faillure to me but the score told me otherwise. Her dismount where the same split leap giants Zhenya used to perform. On beam than she went to Lobazniuks for the amazing standing arabian! Good performances from Ziganshiva. What will bring her into second position. Kuznetsova herself ended up 15th due to a little lower starting value.  Ezhova ended up where? 10th? I don't remember but it definitely was her bad vault that caused that. Floor: Khorkina starts with her same Sydney routine with some new elements in it, esp. on the artistic side of it. Very good score hard to beat it. Raducan is next and the hall is like in extase! BUT she steps out of the floor with her second or third line (with the front salto, same mistake as in Olymic finals). Further there were no mistakes and I loved the routine altough I was a megafan of her Irish one. Van de Leur sticks her lines has a wonderfull routine but not enough to get her back to medals. She changed music and composition in the last 6 months. Cocojar took her part of the applaus to with er thrilling routines on all apparatus. She's lovely to watch and has such a nice smile.

The winners: Tada! I said it earlier today that Khorkina would win and she did too. Giving a very fast talked russian speech, the only thing I understand was Spasiba, Thank you in English, but she thanked her coach and family for support and the crowd for beeing so nice to her. She wanted her coach next to her I think as she stretched her arms for him when they honored him. But he kept himself on the side. I like him a lot, he looks really nice to me, like a (grand)father. When they took podium Khorkina got a nice applaus, the one for Ziganshina was a little less but it was Raducan again who was crowned queen of the night (evening) taking in a lot of chearing and hand-clapping, much more than the first and second. I hope this makes her understand that we don't want her to quit yet, she said earlier she would after worlds. Also Sabina and Hypolito had a lot of applaus especially Sabina. But maybe I was under influence of my section which where (the belgians) big Raducan and Cocojar (not Cojocar as the scoreboard has been saying all week). And even Sara Moro got chearing. I loved today, let's see what tomorrow will bring.

Who caught my eye and amazed me: Hypolito the complete night especially her beam was super!

Slater on beam the other apparatus was average but the break dance twist she does on beam I like it so much! Chusovitina on floor and beam especially. I thought she would have been bigger than she is in real life. TV is always wrong. Ezhova on beam and bars fantastic! Ziganshina (same apparatus) much difficulty deserves the second place altough many would have liked Raducan there (or even higher). Elena Gomez, she has nice routines with a lot of flair. Kuznetsova especially on beam, she was elegant and her mount was super! (the rest was too of course). The americans, altough (I'm honest) I don't really like there style it's ... yeah what is it actually to blocked I think and to citsch (as we say in Dutch). For example the way Yim enters the floor area, is that really necessary, it's like the Rhythmic groups do. Or there artistic beamwork I'm not a fan of it, it comes over unnatural to me. As an Ezhova flies over the beam they block over it from one positition into another. Van de Leur and Wammes amazed me on the other hand on all apparatus. Those Dutch are really tops! That's it for today I think, I have some shots of the teams in the crowds too but have to find out what I shot actually :o)


Saturday 3-10-2001: Apparatus finals (women: Vault and Uneven Bars, men: Floor, Pommelhorse and rings)

I thought that I would be calmer today, considered that it was already my second day. There isn't a bigger lie than that. My knees were still shaking maybe even more than the day before. I was a little late to it was already 15.30 when I arrived. I almost ran into gymbo (the mascotte) but didn't had time for him, sorry Gymbo!! I immediately searched the stand where they sell those posters of Raducan (and I found it too, amazing!). But it was already 15.50 then and I really had to go to my seat, maybe tomorrow? 

I had the worst seat I think! It was on the front row so I was thrilled in the beginning but ... I was sitting behind the camera so I couldn't see the pommelhorse nor the podium and behind the scoreboard so I couldn't an important floorline neither! That will be terrible for beamfinals tomorrow, maybe I'll try to move to my old seat again.  

First where the mens floor, they are good but I go for the women or girls more, sorry guys. I did notice a lot of mistakes tough, hoped for Bondarenko untill he fell of the carpet in his last line. Next was vault for women (on the paper it was beam and floor today so I was almost crying untill I saw that there wasn't any beam). All of a sudden they were there, Verona was already chalking her hands, and I was still stunned (she was so close to me!) that I almost didn't notice the feet who came up in front of me (I could touch them if I wanted to). Who was standing on her hands, yes indeed, Lady Khorkina! I was so nervous I couldn't  find my camera and she was gone again before I did. I hope my shots of vault come out a little good, it was so close to me. Khorkina won, deserved again, I wanted Verona on the podium too actually but it was good the way it was. Oksana and Sveta seem to be very close somehow. Next the pommelhorse with some falls. I had to watch it on screen can you imagine! Moving to the bars, with my star Ludmilla!!! First on was Renske Endel from the Netherlands, she had a very good routine with lot's of difficulty in it. All those orange Dutch people were like freaking out when they saw the score! Sara Moro was the next gymnast, she is even smaller then Luttie only 139 cm! And she was born in Mexico. I found that out later, that might explain the hight a little. She was very fluent, beautyful to watch. Only her dismount was a little bit messed up but she corrected in the second phase of the flight. Verona came out and again the Dutch crowd wasn't silent at all. Untill she missed her Stalder in pink/L-grip on the lower bar. Bye 10 SV, bye medal. It still was a good routine tough. Katie Heenan from US was next. A good routine with some nice elements, I like them on bars actually they have always something inventive in those routines, in the others too but I'm not always in favor of their extra things. Zharganova BLR good bars gymnast as always. Nice routine with the classic bars work, I don't know anymore if she made some mistakes but I don't think they were that big. Only on her dismount she went trough her knee which meant no bronze medal. Svetlana needs no comment I think, fluent, elegant, Queen of Bars once more. Altough her score was just some thousands more than Renskes. Ezhova showed fantastic work but than fell of when she grabbed her Gienger. I could cry! She would have won a medal but now it was over. And as Ludmilla fell of Jacqui Dunn of Australia followed her. She just mounded kipt up tried the difficult Comaneci and was off again. Shame cause there weren't any big mistakes further on. 

Men were next on the rings, I didn't watched it with much attention, I was doubting that I should stay or leave already. I stayed anyway but was with my head already backstage.

I med Renske! Yes! I was running around (walking actually) then I saw a little group of people around a girl so I got a little closer and noticed it was Renske Endel. I grabbed my pen and handed it over to her. She's very sweet, and I could slap myself in the face for not changing the film during competition. Now I couldn't take a picture. Tomorrow more gymnasts!! Hopefully.


Sunday 4-10-2001: Apparatus finals (women: Balance Beam and Floor, men: Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar)

I had a lot of hopes for today as Ludmilla was definitely into medal position. I also met a Dutch-American woman, Ingrid. Thanks to her (dank je Ingrid :o)    I learned a little more about the American girls (and boy, Sean Towsend) 

The men were impressive on vault but as I like the women more...

Women on Beam, tiny but yet very big star Ludmilla goes first, yes!! She was super, nice positions no wobbles as far as I could see, only a little step on dismount I think. Scor: 9.650She was the winner for me. Sabina Cocojar comes in next, with the usual Romanian Beamwork, which is excellent. She had a little wobble on her front walkover, and had a Tripple! twist dismount, for such a small girl! Esther Moya mounts with her usual Silivas mount, I love that one! But there were a few small errors and a low 9.6 startvalue kept her out of the medals. Next the other spanish girl, tiny Elena Gomez, I like her style her elegancy and she lookes so adorable, good routine but again a SV of 9.6 and a score of 9.025.  Schwikert is next. As I know the Americans are just a little bit to powerfull and want to have it a little to fast so she had a few little wobbles, nailed her dismount tough. But it was not enough to grab a medal. Raducan had the crowd with her, only a little step on her dismount but everything else was quite perfect. Score: 9.662 she comes in first with Ezhova after her. Sun Xiaojiao, I didn't know she was in the finals altough I could have expected it. She wobbled a little after a jump and a little step on the dismount, otherwise an inventive and daring routine with the fantastic chinese combinations. She ends up third. Rachel Tidd, I had a feeling it was going to go wrong and indeed she fell of after the ff-Arabian. A lot of little errors follow altough Tabhita Yims brother (who wasn't sitting to far from me) yelled that she should end strong. Her dismount was good so she followed his advice. Raducan first, Ludmilla second, Sun third. Lovely podium ain't it?

Next men on parallel bars. Before my nose I saw those little men (there were some very little, esp. the chinese). I couldn't resist taking a close up of Ivan Ivankov (he has gorgeous eyes, esp. the colour of it, but I don't think that will be visible on the picture). Don't know to much about the scores sorry for the fans.

On floor begins Tabhita Yim. She dropped a little of that Rhythmic groups thing she has. Gracefull but not so much difference in her lines with only twists and a 9.7 SV. The second girl I never heard of before Daiane Santos for Brazile. It shouldn't surprise anybody as I say she was the best dancer on floor, with up beat Brazilian music. Besides that she had good tumbles too, only a small step everytime. 9.325 with a 9.8 SV. Where Svetlana is the Queen of Bars you could say from Raducan she's the Queen of floor. Her tumbles were perfect, I was holding my breath for her turned line 2 1/2 twist with the punch layout sometimes the problem, but very good this time. Deserved that gold medal more than anyone. Silvia Stroescu had a good routine with good music and choreography but she opened her legs on her double layout. 9.012 for a 9.6 SV. Khorkina gracefull and elegant but a little bit to much steps after the tumbles to put her in first. Tasha Schwikert was going well a little to well, what seems to bring a little bit to much nerves with the US girls. She steps out the floor on her final tumble. Nice tempo music with good choreography that was clear. Allana Slater was next. She had the nicest outfit of the worlds, I got a close up from that as she was walking by I hope it works out. A little problem on her second tumble the 2 1/2 twist punch layout but she handled it well. Her triple twist wasn't fully rotated neither. I loved the music and the choreography very good work Allana! Danielle Hypolito Brazile, amazes me more and more! Her routine was very good just a little over rotation on the Arabion double front. Loved it! And she was thrilled after she saw the score 9.487 SV 9.9 she's second after Raducan and in front of Khorkina. Start a victory lap with the brazilian flag and takes in a big applaus. Andreea and she took a flag up on the podium. Everybody seemed to be happy that Raducan won on floor after the disaster in Sydney.

I watched the horizontal bar but my mind was away from that, untill Ivankov fell twice!! on his Kovach. I don't know anymore who won but there was a tie for silver.

I met Verona first, Yes again! Took pictures too this time as I still had six pics. After that I ran around a little and saw this tiny but fantastic gymnast and stunned I was. Ludmilla was standing in front of me. I think she was a little angry cause she was looking like that and screaming (well not that hard) in russian. Privalova was there too. But she got away somehow, I didn't see her again. I asked Lutties autograph she said yes with a lovely and very big smile and signed. She is so nice!!! I think I took four pictures or so from her, hope they work out, cross my fingers. My first but not last worlds ended perfect!!!

I also bought to pictures one of Ludmilla on beam and another one from Raducan on bars this time. Both from Gymbox.

See ya at the next event!