Let's say, hypothetically, I coached at a gym. And let's say, hypothetically, a certain World vault gold medal winning Olympian was coming to visit next week. Hypothetically. My question is, at what point does it become totally creepy that the coach is coming to you with more questions than the kids?
Of course, the right thing to do would be to not be a creepy adult stalker-face. But since when am I about doing the right thing? I was under the assumption that the whole reason for Visas being held in my home state was so that I, Spanny Tampson, might have the opportunity to ask the athletes weirdo questions that go above and beyond the "Um... how do you like gymnastics?" questions.
So if this all hypothetically happens, say, next week, I'll update you all on the super innovative and fascinating questions I ask.
Instead of blowing up Twitter and having Johnny R. "steal" her training videos to post online, Chellsie has decided to use actual competition as a steppingstone for her comeback. She has put her money where her mouth is, and is actually out there doing shit, as opposed to just yacking about it.
And not only that, she then gives the best interview that I've seen in a long time. I know she said other things, but all I heard was "Eff you USAG, eff you Marta. You need shit done? Well, I'm the poo so take a big whiff."
The Chinese and Russians know it. Marta, are you listening?
That has yet to be seen, but you go Glen Coco Chellsie.
Not training 8 hours a day 6 days a week? No, Marta would not approve.
My fear is that she will still end up in a boot sooner rather than later, but whatever. That was a ballsy interview, and I dug it. Enough of the "Oh, you know, I just wanted to hit four for four and that's what I did!"
I get more excited about these "comebacks" as they actually happen. It's all fine and dandy to whip up the press by SAYING you're doing all of these fabulous things, but I'm more impressed when it actually happens.
The Progressive Skating and Gymnastics "Spectacular" was not content to make us watch Nastia prance around in daisy-dukes. Oh no. We also had the privilege of watching the beautiful and talented Hollie Vise butcher a real Hollywood classic.
Marilyn Monroe singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of the most timeless performances in Hollywood history. Even if you've never watched anything but Harry Potter your entire life, chances are you still somehow magically know the lyrics to this song. This image is EVERYWHERE. I have it as an ornament on my Christmas tree. This is one of the most popular song-and-dance numbers of all time.
So imagine my excitement when I see Hollie sashay on the floor in a near replica of Marilyn's epic pink dress.
Seems fishy that Nastia would allow Hollie to wear pink in her show, but nevermind all that. They really went all out, right down to the big ass-bow. I'm guessing they couldn't find pink gloves, but the white gloves weren't so bad. Especially compared to the lovely sheer hooker-pumps she got to walk around in.
Marilyn did not wear hooker shoes. Even these faults did not calm my excitement to see Hollie pull off this iconic routine. I mean, Marilyn had built-in WOGA choreo! Buttshelves and everything!
And even WOGA wrists!
The easiest thing in the world for her to do would be to put on a super recognizable pink dress, flex her wrists, stick her ass out, and sashay about. In other words, do a WOGA routine. This is all Hollie had to do, and she would have NAILED this number.
This did not happen.
Don't get me wrong. We saw the wrists and the shelf.
We also saw Hollie giving what appeared to be a lap dance prior to mounting the beam.
After which, she does some weird kicky-thing, while the guys stare at her jugs.
That's not awkward at all. Slowly but surely, Hollie does make her way onto the beam. Upon which she busts out some classic Adi Pop choreography, which pretty much consists solely of choo-choo movements.
And of course, throwing in the random military salute, the quality of which would get me tri-punched by my sister, brother, and fiance if I ever tried it.
This is followed closely by some Chellsie Memmel inspired booty shaking from what has to be the most unflattering camera angle of all time.
Hmm, what an interesting angle. Why in the world would they choose to shoot from here?
Ahhh, you tricky editors! I see what you did here. See, in real life, Hollie fell on her front aerial. But we couldn't have that on TV now could we? So Hollie had to reshoot at least that portion of the routine, I'm assuming after the audience left. Which is why she is shot from below, because you can't see that there is no audience. Very very tricky.
Marilyn didn't get an audience-free reshoot when she faceplanted a curtain in the middle of her number.
Thus ends my review of this horrible recreation gone wrong. For the record, I don't blame Hollie, not for one second. After watching the entirety of the show, it's obvious that choreography, costuming, and song choices were not top priorities. I imagine it was some combination of artistic direction, who probably though that dressing a gymnast in pink and prancing around in hooker heels would constitute an acceptable number, and Adi Pop, who destroys everything she touches.
Who among us doesn't totally love gymnastics and skating exhibition shows? What a treat to watch our favorite athletes don skimpy outfits and prance around to butchered versions of today's Top 40 hits. I, for one, have no problem paying to watch Olympic caliber gymnasts do back handsprings and walkovers.
The Progressive Skating and Gymnastics "Spectacular" (irony much?) gave one Miss Nastia Liukin an opportunity to debut her new super secret Twitter guessing-game floor exercise. Using music a bunch of girls have used before, Nastia put before us an aggressive display of butt-shelves and side boob.
Nastia has always been a posey gymnast. Some people love it, some people hate it. I never minded it, as it seemed to suit her. She had fluid movement between poses, and dammit, they were HER poses. No one could pull off a WOGA-posey routine quite the way Nastia did. Although Lord knows they tried. Oh, how did they try.
Her latest routine does not disappoint. That is, if you really love ass, side boob, and wrists.
Oh, and skating dresses. With a whole bunch of mesh cutouts.
This little number was ripped right the Vanessa Ferrari book, How to Succeed at Making Viewers Really Uncomfortable. And successful she was. She also seemed to be channeling a bit of the Gutsu here, wasn't she?
The armbands are something, aren't they? I wonder why they're there. Not to be outdone, the high-cut neck really brings attention to her Lauren Tanner hair.
But nevermind all that. The real star of the show is the fantastic choreography. It's like Nastia took her old poses, and just thrusted them into overdrive.
They're the old poses, just done a lot slower, and a whole lot deeper.
One of my favorites, and a real classic, is the time-tested flamingo pose.
In all fairness, she does hit a few really nice shapes. This one never gets old.
And while this is still rather posey, I still like it.
See, it's not all bad. But for the most part, it was really, really bad. There is still time, perhaps she will mellow out before/if she ever competes this routine.
There has been a lot of chatter lately about the upcoming Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup. Making its debut last year, the NLSGC was intended to be a high-production competition for Level 10, up-and-coming athletes who had never before had the chance to experience performing on a podium.
Awesome! A meet designed to showcase and inspire Junior Olympic gymnasts! What a fantastic opportunity for these girls, right? Whether it was a chance to experience a big-time meet with the TV cameras, or a chance to be seen by the top NCAA recruiters, there appeared to be a lot incentive to qualify to this inaugural event.
Rumblings regarding the shady qualifying procedures began almost immediately. Organizers paid a hefty sum of $2,500 in order to be considered a "Nastia Liukin" qualifying meet. However, that money was in turn donated to the Nastia Liukin Fund, which provided scholarship money to talented girls who may not have the means to train and compete, so that's actually pretty awesome. The confusion came with actually qualifying the girls: each invitation determined their own selection criteria. One meet might qualify the top Junior and Senior AA competitors, another meet might qualify the top two girls from the 5th of 8 sessions.
The real issue quickly became the question of WHO exactly was allowed to qualify. At one of the very first invitationals, the CGA Club Parents Coaches Spectacular (nice name, by the way) not one but two elite girls became the top qualifiers.
Lexie Priessman, Mary Lee Tracy's latest meal-ticket from Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, qualified to elite in June 2009 by winning the Parkette National Elite Qualifier. Later that summer, Lexie placed second at the US Covergirl Classic, on a PODIUM, and went on to compete in Dallas at the Visa National Championships, also held on a PODIUM.
She was followed by Amelia Hundley, also from CGA, who qualified to elite at the 2009 Excalibur Cup. Despite competing at the US Classic in both 2009 and 2010 (both on a PODIUM), and Nationals in 2010 (PODIUM), Amelia has qualified to the 2011 NLSGC, to compete on the PODIUM yet again.
In the following months an additional twelve elite girls would qualify to the final meet. 14 girls, out of a field of 36, had competed in elite prior to the Nastia Cup.
In some cases, I find it acceptable. If an athlete qualified to elite, gave it a whirl, found it wasn't to her liking and then dropped back down to L10, that's fine. I don't find it fair to punish a girl for trying elite. What I don't find acceptable are girls who are in the MIDDLE of their elite careers competing in meets meant for level 10s.
In the end, Mary Lee Tracy's tiny 13 year old outshone the older level 10 girls to win the first Nastia Liukin Cup. She got a fancy new leotard, a bunch of airtime, and lunch with Nastia herself.
Many fans hoped that the meet's organizers would fix the qualifying issues for the second cup, to be held in March 2011. Either change the premise to simply being another elite meet, or limit who is allowed to qualify.
This did not happen.
As of this past weekend, two girls have qualified to the NLSGC. Are they two new-to-the-scene, undiscovered kids? No. Are they two high school girls who are hoping that maybe Miss Val will give them a look? No.
The first qualifiers for 2011 are Amelia Hundley, again, and Kayla frickin' Williams.
Oh yeah. Kayla Williams. You know, WORLD CHAMPION Kayla Williams.
You remember, that one time when she went to the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS and competed ON A PODIUM and won the GOLD MEDAL in front of the WORLD.
Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Williams. I was pumped when she won (on a PODIUM) and I think she will fit in swimmingly at Bama. It's great that she's back in shape, and that MLT hasn't destroyed her completely. But I just don't see why in the world she would even WANT to compete in this meet.
Is she super excited to meet Nastia? Pretty sure they've been to camp together.
And who is going to get all of the TV time, I wonder? Some nameless 18 year old looking for a scholarship? Or the newest little pixie with the latest tricks? Or maybe, just maybe, the huge comeback story of the Cinderella world champion?
I blame Mary Lee Tracy for this, for all of this, I do. She started the trend last year when she qualified two elites from her home gym at her home invitational. Other groups simply followed suit.
I hope this all gets ironed out. The original concept had so much potential.
But, as it stands, this is just another opportunity for those chosen gymnasts to remain chosen. To quote Emma Pilsbury from the hit Fox TV show Glee:
"You're a constellation of stars. I just hate to think you might be ignoring some of them because they don't burn quite as bright."
It's another fine WTF Wednesday over here in the frozen tundra that is Casa de Tampson. Way too cold to go outside, so why not spend the entire week watching Youtube videos? I know I did.
I, personally, don't see any relation between Lady Gaga and Uchimura, although maybe he was attempting to kill himself with the quad double, I don't know.
For those who don't know who Liz Kotler is, and I'm one of those people, she performed a toe-on Strong on UB back in 2003. The routine itself is rather beastly, but that move is awesome. Sounds exactly like a Chili Four Loko burrito.
And yes, Hong Su Jong most certainly does "let loose."
*sorry it's so tiny, click to enlarge*
I have to let these ones speak for themselves. I'd like to think that Alicia's correlation to Mr. Bean is open to interpretation, and lies within all of us.
I love love LOVE Dominique Dawes. Always have, always will. Is it a massive respect for her talent? Yes. Is it maybe a little bit of a girl crush? Also yes. But more than anything, it's how she dealt with everything. She was a champ. A classy champ. She had all of the poise of a Texas beauty queen without all of the ditziness and fake boobs. She is everything all women should be.
And now she's out there, making sure kids don't get fat. Is there anything this superwoman doesn't do? I have no doubt that if asked to do so tomorrow, she could bust out a back-to-back tumbling pass, in heels, stick that dreaded punch front, and then casually walk off of the floor and go shake hands with the President, with nary a ruffle in her hair. That's how classy she is.
While she does hold plenty of clout in the record books, it's not nearly enough, given how incredibly fantastically perfect she was. Granted, she competed against the best in a very deep field. But even still, she was SO MUCH BETTER....
It's our favorite day of the week! That' right, it's...
And by "favorite" I mean "stupidest" because everyone calls it Humpday, and I hate that. WTF Wednesday is so much better.
Our first WTF comes courtesy of NastiaFan101, maker of montages, capturer of high quality videos.
Our friend Fanny was just minding his own business, checking out some close-to-the-bar catches of Demy. Nothing out of the usual here, so it would seem...
Let's have a look-see, a little closer this time.
There it is.
That is so wrong. There are about five girls on that team who would get into adult videos WAY before Demy.
I wouldn't call them a failure. They were just cursed with following the 1996 gold medal winning team. And the 1992 bronze medal winning team. And the should-have-medalled-but-got-screwed 1988 team . And competing before both the 2004 and 2008 silver medal winning teams.
Speaking of 1988...
I'd say that was most definitely NOT a happy ending. For her.
I know very little about Sam Sheehan, other than she competed for Mary Lee Tracy, and that she won a medal at 2002 Worlds on floor. I know nothing of her intellectual capacity, but she HAS to know that wearing a tube top, taking a picture, cropping off all existence of clothing and then using it as your Facebook default might not be the smartest thing to do.
That tumbnail for the tootin' bathtub baby cousins sure is cute. But I have no clue what it has to do with the 1983 Jr. International. The girls aren't THAT young.
I can't think of any Chinese gymnasts that would ever make me think "Baby got back!" Baby, yes. Back, no.
The Georgia Gym Dogs make me cry too, Jessica Simpson. They really do.
I wonder what James Joyce has to do with Yelena Piskun. Maybe she was super smart? Or was that Andreea Cacovean? She did crossword puzzles.... in ENGLISH!
I can't even tell... are those chimps? Or squirrels? Or one chimp and one squirrel? Bross does not resemble a chimp or a squirrel.
And there we have it. Another fine week full of Youtube WTFs.
Due to popular demand (and by popular demand, I mean one comment from one person) I have completed my previously "lost" horrifying choreography montage! Thrilling. Somehow, and I must have done this in a blackout rage because I have no memory of it, I did manage to resurrect the video files from my old busted hard drive. Goes to show you where my priorities are.
"You have limited time to save a limited about of files from your device. What do you need to recover?"
"Fuck the pictures and documents. I need my montage videos!"
Now, after seeing Nade00's dance montage, I was a little disheartened, because hers was awesome and pretty much did what I was trying to do. But then I remembered that the horrible choreography pool from which to draw from was deep, and I might be able to find additional clips that hadn't been used before. I mean, the content alone from one GymDogs meet is overwhelming.
My video is dedicated to the choreography, and not to the dance ability of the girls. Some of the athletes (victims?) in the video are actually pretty good dancers. I'd be foolish to think Courtney Kupets was a bad dancer; she obviously CAN dance. If anything, she must have a little extra dance talent in order to pull off the crap she did. Yvonne Tousek is a BRILLIANT dancer. She just did batshit crazy moves.
Sometimes performance is what makes a certain piece of an exercise laughable. The girls who just walk through the movements, to the girls who leap and prance with shit-eating grins on their faces. It's all entertaining.
Let me finish by saying that I really miss that days when dance was a part of FX. And not running, twisting leaps. Those aren't dance, no matter what the code currently says. But real creative movement, whether it was a balletic gem or a Geza Pozar masterpiece.