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Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Favorite Gymnast

This morning, Mr. Nonny Nu and I watched the Tyson gymnastic competition on TV. Even though there were quite a few excellent gymnasts there, none of them really caught my eye. Nobody had any distinctiveness to them. Right now, a mere three hours later, I can't even remember what I saw. But, one gymnast I will always remember is Svetlana Khorkina.

Svetlana is the tallest female gymnast I've ever seen. Here she is as a child with her teammates (she's the one on the left). At an early age, all the coaches said she was too tall and wouldn't work with her, except for coach Boris Pilkin. He stuck with her through it all, and what a treat they've given the world. Svetlana isn't just a pretty face. She has been described as the Anna Kournikova of gymnastics, but this is a complete insult to Svetlana, since Svetlana is actually GOOD at her sport. But, because she is really so talented, I felt very bad for her at the 2000 Olympics. She and her teammates were just completely failing at the vault, but it wasn't until after her entire team had warmed up and done their first runs (scored) did they discover that the vault was 5 cm too low. Unfortunately, the whole team had either messed up their landing, if not outright hurt themselves:

Svetlana has a huge number of fans all over the world, and what happened to her at the 2000 Olympics only won her more fans. She is an innovative gymnast (there are 8 gymnastic moves named after her, more than any other gymnast) who never gave up her dream, even though all the "experts" told her she couldn't do it.

Transworld interview (including historical info):


Uneven Bars:

Balance Beam:

But, BY FAR, my favorite is her floor exercises. She always has the best choreography and she is always completely into her routine. Her expressions are fantastic. This is my all-time favorite routine (especially the toe taps at 1:06 and the end):

Sorry about the commentators on this one. The lady is saying that Svetlana is too skinny and isn't womanly. Um, that's her signature, genius. The wondrous thing about Svetlana is how old she is and how tall and skinny she is. How she doesn't knock her head on her routines is a mystery:

At her last Olympics in 2004:


Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

You know NN after you mentioned your high school badminton prowess a couple of days ago, I got to thinking of the mark I left on my high school as well. It's interesting that you've brought up gymnastics, because I was quite the little gymnast - nay leotard wearing pixie - back in my day. In fact, there are several signature moves named after me back at the Mary Lou Retton Gym. And like Khorkina, my best event was the floor ex where as a culmination of my routine I would pull out the legendary quadruple back Boy from U.N.C.L.E. (I hadn't reached maturity yet)handspring with a full twist, then look to the scoring table and see this:

10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0

Ah, the memories!

Anonymous said...

The MOST interesting thing about her, I think, is that she is only 5'5" - not even that tall! My current paralegal used to be a world-class gymnast and competed against her.

- Lucy's mama.

Nonny Nu said...

Man from U.N.KH.L.E.: What kholor was the leotard?

Lucy's Mom: Yes, she is only 5'5"! That is so unexpekhted. Does your paralegal have any stories to tell? I hear that Khorkina khan be khuite the diva.

Mr. Nonny Nu said...

"she is only 5'5"

say what! she always looked very tall to me, as if she could block shaq or something. talk about sleek.

stillman said...

I bet Khorkina doesn't share her bacon. No champion does.

Nonny Nu said...

I bet Khorkina doesn't share her bacon. No champion does.
She's Russian and they don't eat bacon. It's either solid potato or liquid potato, and you know that I am not all that interested in solid potato and liquid potato gives me a rash.