tricker Alex Sayhi retires

14.jpgHow do you “retire” from street acrobatics?

Well, your “Olympics” is on YouTube. So you also retire on YouTube with a farewell video.

Ex-gymnast Alexandre Sayhi from France is respected worldwide as one of the best.

He trained with Joe Eigo in Toronto. Formed Team Chinese Box in France.

Now ankle injury from landing on concrete has forced his official retirement. I’ve often wondered how long street acrobats can continue considering how many flat, hard surfaces they land upon.

It’s surprising we have not heard of more serious injuries of street acrobats. They train far more carefully than most people give credit.

Chinese Box – Alex Sayhi’s Bio

(via Jump Club)

Utah upsets #1 Georgia in season opener

1655176.jpegDuring the preseason, Utah gymnastics coach Greg Marsden declared that as Ashley Postell went, so went the Utes. His words came true Friday in the Huntsman Center, when Postell won the all-around and Utah beat No. 1 Georgia, 196.300-196.200 before a crowd of 13,339.

Marsden’s prophetic statement referred to his All-America senior’s showing at the past two NCAA Championships, when she placed second in the all-around to Georgia’s Courtney Kupets and Utah placed second to Georgia as a team.

Until the very end of the 2008 season opener for both teams, it appeared as though history would repeat itself, as Georgia led by a relatively comfortable 147.525-147.275 margin. But two falls by the three-time defending NCAA champions on the balance beam cracked the door for Utah. Even so – in a large part due to steps out of bounds on two Ute routines – Georgia held a two-tenths of a point edge going into Postell’s routine. The 15-time All-American erased that and more with a 9.90 score that pushed the Utes ahead on the final routine of the night.

In addition to her second straight all-around victory over Kupets (Postell won the all-around during team finals at last April’s NCAA Championships), the senior won the balance beam with a 9.90 and tied for first on the floor (9.90). …

Ute coach Greg Marsden was pleased with the victory, which snapped an eight-meet losing streak to the SEC rival that dated back to the first round of the 2003 NCAA Championships. “It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. …

CSTV.com: #1 in College Sports

University of Florida opened with 197.125, by the way, at another competition.

Australian ex-gymnast wins diving Championship

… former AIS elite gymnast Alex Croak is competing at the National Diving Championships in the hopes of being selected for the Beijing squad. …

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Australian Gymnastics Blog: One Step Closer

Blythe covered this happy story as well:

… Croak, who represented the Australians in Sydney, rang in the new year by winning the Australian Open Diving Championships, ABC News reported.

Former Aussie Olympian Alex Croak’s diving success « The Gymblog

Many of the best divers in the world started as gymnasts.

Johnson, Liukin, Worley, Horton, Hamm, Hambuechen

Household names …

Inside Gymnastics reports:

Johnson, Liukin, Worley, Horton, Hamm.

Household names in the gymnastics world are set to headline the 2008 Tyson American Cup. Scheduled for March 1, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the competition kicks off the road to Beijing. And the marquee event boasts an all-star roster including last year’s champs. 2007 all-around world champion Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Jonathan Horton of Houston, who finished fourth in the world in the all-around, are set to defend their 2007 Tyson American Cup titles.

2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis.; 2007 balance beam world champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas; and 2007 team world champion Shayla Worley of Orlando, Fla., are also representing the red, white and blue. …

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In terms of the international field, Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and Hisashi Mizutori of Japan, the 2007 all-around world silver and bronze medalists from the 2007 World Championships, have already accepted their invitation to compete. …

News – Inside Gymnastics Magazine

Tickets sell from “cheap” up to $200 / seat.

NEW – Australian Gymnastics Blog – G’day

The best news on the internet in 2008 was the launch of a new gymnastics blog on January 1st.

Mez, from Melbourne, is the editor. She’s knowledgeable, opinionated and writes with cheeky, entertaining style.

I subscribed instantly.

Mez will report on Artistic gymnastics from the perspective Down Under. The Aussies have been the most successful Western gymnastics nation relative to population. We all have a lot to learn from them.

It’s worth reading all the posts from the start. But most interesting to me was the reaction there to Hollie Dykes retirement. (*Insert Expletive Here*) And how National Coach Peggy Liddick handled the troubled super talent.

Another post details the exclusion of Philippe Rizzo from the Beijing Olympics:

Australian-Gym-blog.jpg

Sam Simpson (QLD), pictured at top, is to be Australia’s sole representative at the 2008 Olympic Games after his placing at the 2007 Worlds and winning the Oceania Olympic wildcard slot. Sam is the 2007 national floor and vault champion. He also valiantly spoke out against team-mate Philippe Rizzo’s exclusion from the Games thanks to FIG technicalities which have been deemed controversial by many. …

The Summer of Sams

Click through for the specifics.

It’s tragic that Rizzo and Pommel Horse virtuoso Prashanth Sellathurai will not compete at the 2008 Olympics. Either could have reached the podium on their specialties.

media perpetuates the myth of Kerri Strug

by Rick McCharles

04719strug.jpgI’ve always admired Kerri Strug, “hero” of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

But not for landing her second vault on an injured ankle in the Team Final. That was a mistake. Kerri was a victim of bad coaching.

Actually, I admire Kerri for persisting to compete in two Olympics. For coming back from injury. For moving club-to-club after Bela Karoli retired in order to continue her career.

I admire the fact that Kerri persisted despite often being in the shadow of higher profile American team mates.

I admired her coverage of the 2004 Games as Yahoo! Sports’ Olympic gymnastics analyst. She was “disappointed in the actions of Paul Hamm” (my opinion too) while many other American analysts rushed to defend Hamm.

But the oft repeated myth that Kerri won the gold medal for the USA over Russia in the 1996 Olympics with the “famous” 2nd vault grates. Anyone who does even 5 minutes of research knows that the gold was clinched on her first vault.

… “We had no idea what the score was,” said co-head coach Mary Lee Tracy. ..

Time magazine

Click PLAY or watch Kerri in the team vault final on YouTube.

Why did the USA not have people assigned to track team scores?

I was outraged at the time. And it still irks 3 Olympiads later.

On the other hand, Bela or Mary Lee would have had to physically restrain Kerri from taking that second vault. It would have been a gutsy, decisive coaching move.

I would respect Bela a lot more if he had stopped her. (Certainly it was Bela’s call.)

I would respect the media more if they would report Kerri’s story accurately. How many times are we going to hear it misrepresented leading up to Beijing?

Strug.jpg

The Official Web Site of Gymnast Kerri Strug

Kerri’s dismount on an injured ankle reminds old-timers of Shun Fujimoto — the World’s Toughtest Gymnast — who actually did win the team gold for Japan at the 1976 Olympics. Landing his rings dismount on a broken patella.

Many years after, Fujimoto admitted that doing that rings routine was a mistake. He was sorry he had kept the injury hidden from coaches who he felt, quite correctly, would have scratched him from the apparatus.

Perhaps I’m being too critical of Bela. Leave a comment below if you have anything to add.