“The US women winning gold. So nice to see this group live up to their potential!” –
I somewhat reluctantly bought my tickets to the Kelloggs tour of gymnastics champions. After all, how could I miss this celebration after following these girls with so much intensity for the past few years. On the other hand, after watching some of the major competitions in person, would I be satisfied in any way with the watered down gymnastics I knew would be presented at a tour?
The Kelloggs tour was everything I hoped – and expected- it to be. It was wonderful to see the Fierce Five. It brought more joy and emotion than I anticipated. The round the clock dancing has paid off for Aly and Gabby, who showed more dance prowess during their many numbers than I thought possible. And though I have enjoyed every minute of Nastia Liukin’s career as an artistic gymnast, seeing her as a rhythmic gymnast and cirque du solei performer had an incredible rightness to it.
In addition, men’s gymnastics live never disappoints. TV just cannot do justice to the incredible muscles they have. And there is no more exciting event than high bar to do a performance routine to. And the Kelloggs High bar, rings and parallel bars do not disappoint.
On the other hand, the tour was all I expected it to be. There is no way that the girls can maintain a high level of difficulty night after night with little training in between. In the show, tumbling is watered down. There are wobbles galore. After seeing all the girls can do, watching them perform is definitely a let down. And seeing the enormously talented Alicia Sacramone and Anna Li as back up dancers, I was seriously almost offended.
But all in all, it was a fun show celebrating all that was accomplished this year in gymnastics. I am glad that I went. And I am glad that they are doing the show. Watered down gymnastics or not, it is worth seeing! Seeing it on TV this weekend was even better! The camera’s and up close view brought a whole other dimension to the performances.
A few highlights for me. The sentimental fool that I am delighted in seeing Alicia Sacramone in the Olympic rings as she filled in for the injured McKayla Maroney. There was just a rightness to it. I also loved seeing the fierce all out gymnastics of Rebecca Bross. She was the star of the show in my opinion and her gymnastics left me hoping and wanting her continued participation in elite gymnastics. All in all, I loved seeing the joy that these gymnasts have in performing, and the fun they are having together. After a lifetime of work, they deserve it!
Feast then famine. After the 1996 Magnificent Seven won the team gold, we had a 4 year famine in USA gymnastics. Apart from the USA domination at the 1998 Goodwill Games, USA gymnastics had a drought in medals for the entire quad. This may leave many gymnastics fans wondering, what will happen after this USA team gold?
The USA Gymnastics program is in an entirely different place than it was in the 1990’s. The semi-centralized program that we currently follow has led to an incredibly strong USA team. And though the remarkable team we fielded this year was stronger than we could have ever hoped for, the future of USA gymnastics continues to look even brighter.
Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross of the Fierce Five have all declared strong intentions of staying in elite gymnastics and trying for the 2016 Olympics. Jordyn Wieber continues to say it is the back of her mind. On top of the most dominant gymnasts the USA has put forth, we also have a host of Juniors and 2012 Olympic hopefuls who will undoubtedly make a name for themselves in the upcoming quadreneum.
First and foremost are the Olympic Alternates. In one of the most competitive years of USA history, these girls almost made it. Many people believe that a USA “b” team, including these girls, could only be beat by USA’s “a” team. Sarah Finnegan and Elizabeth Price both show a great deal of promise of being shining stars in the next few years. Anna Li sustained a serious injury during training as an alternate to her neck. It is rumored that she will have to have surgery to continue pursuing her gymnastics dream. There is also Sabrina Vega, a beloved member of the 2011 World Championship team, who has declared her intentions of staying in gymnastics and trying for 2016. Brenna Dowell, who competed in the trials most recently won the Mexican Open, making her bid to be part of 2013 history. And don’t forget Kennedy Baker who showed much promise.
Then come our up and coming seniors; Simone Biles, Madison Desch, Katelyn Ohashi and current National Junior Champion Lexie Priessman. Simone shows one of the best amanars outside of McKayla Maroney and adds incredible tumbling and a decent bars set as well. Madison has shown herself to be a true GAGE gymnast with beautiful and consistent gymnastics. Katelyn is already an accomplished gymnast with the most difficult beam routine in the world and past junior national championships to her name. And Lexie is our current US Junior national champion.
As with the past two years, the USA will find themselves with an embarrassment of riches. The battle for national champion will be fierce – again possibly more so than any international battle. The upcoming world championships will only compete for all around and event finals. Only four gymnasts will be sent per country. Choosing those gymnasts from the plethora of incredible USA gymnasts will indeed be a challenge.
Out future is bright. And I can’t wait for it to start!
There is nothing like a weekend of gymnastics to pull us out of our post Olympic doldrums. We started out on Friday and Saturday with the Mexican Open. Sunday was a NBC highlight of the Kelloggs’ Gymnastics tour. And Monday will be a replay of the team and all around Olympic Finals.
Brenna Dowell of the USA had her breakout international performance this weekend at the Mexican Open, easily clenching the title with four solid performances. Brenna impressed me this year by competing at Nationals and the Olympic Trials with a broken hand. She has the clean lines and beautiful toe point of all GAGE athletes, and finally got her time to shine this weekend. Brenna has said that one of her favorite things about gymnastics is the feeling of accomplishment when you do well at a meet. Her goals for the year were to make the National Team again, to keep improving her skills and to compete in more international competitions. Check, check and check Brenna! Your first international title is quite an accomplishment.
Yessenia Estrada of Mexico came in second with some elegant and consistent gymnastics. Mexico represented themselves well at their home meet! We were also delighted with the beautiful offerings of Anna Dementyeva of Russia who, despite a fall on beam rounded out the podium in third.
To see all the routines from the Mexican Open, check out CICIGINASTICA’s youtube page.
Thanks be for new gymnastics to watch!