Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aesthetic Beauty

Here are some of the pictures I have on my laptop that just capture a sort of essence.

A sort of beauty about that present moment they were taken in.

A powerful reminder of what a still image can show us.

A fragment of the past, captured and held forever in the only form it can be.

A memory. A dream. A thought. A reminder. A glimpse as to what was...

It is but a gift to get to hold that moment.

It brings us back for a moment...

A powerful reminder as to who we are and what we have become. A photo contains so many unspoken words.

Words that will never come about because they cannot be placed.

One day we will only have the memories and photos to remind us of the past.

Forever gone are the moments; good and bad. Buried in the past.

No copyright infringement intended. I do not own the rights to these photos. Please ask me to remove or tell me who to give credit to.

Thank you!


High Tech Clinic 2011

Region 2 gymnastics held their high tech clinic in Beaverton, Oregon this year.

It was awesome to see some incredible athletes yet also, just as gut-wrenching to no longer be included in the training atmosphere as a gymnast.

Being a coach definitely has it's pros and cons; I am included in the conversations that only coaches of elite athletes have, the secrets of what really goes on at the ranch come out late at night, horror stories that I honestly would rather not know--And we are talking about what goes on in the United States, it's frightening to think about what is happening in other countries around the world. It's also exciting to be surrounded by top level coaches who have personal relationships with other high level coaches and athletes. Likewise, some of these coaches were also high level gymnasts at one point, that's really cool to be treated as equals now in the coaching world.

Yet likewise, having to watch these girls who entered the sport much later than I, and who are now kicking ass at this level is honestly difficult for me to watch. Don't get me wrong, it is really inspiring and cool to see their progression. I love watching high level gymnastics! It's just that sometimes, I wonder what would've happened if I had grown up in a different atmosphere, with more committed, quality coaches who had remained in the gym longer to help my gymnastics progress to the level I had wanted. Maybe I wouldn't still feel like there is unfinished business; this dissatisfaction of never attaining my highest goals, I think, keeps me from putting my whole heart and soul into coaching. Everytime I get too involved, I regret. I think that's why this clinic was so hurtful and left me feeling undeniably sick of the sport again.

Nonetheless, the two girls that I went to coach this weekend did a great job; both listened attentively, gaining some new skills, drills and motivation to continue to progress into season.

Here's a couple of clips of a skill that one of the girls I coach, practiced and got without a coach standing by. First one was perfect timing for hitting handstand, but she apparently wasn't prepared for the catch and crumpled. The second and third were past vertical but not by much, I'd still give her credit if I was judging.

I also gained some new drills to also take back. A few shaping drills that Joe Rapp of HITS showed us were definitely ideal for attaining better bar swinging and controlled, tighter handstands.

Some of the top gymnasts from our region were apart of the clinic as well. Baely Rowe, of Auburn Gymnastics and Destinee Davis, now at MAC, were both present and exciting to watch!

Here's a clip of Baely doing a vault drill.

Overall, it was a good learning experience for both coaches and gymnasts alike from region 2.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Evolution of Aging Gymnasts & Oksana Chusovitina-Her Gymnastics Purpose

There has been a lot of old faces among the young guns of gymnastics. Of coarse, being "old" by gymnastics standards is a much different interpretation than what it means to be "old" outside of the gymnastics world. Even so, elite gymnasts in their early 20's was virtually unheard of 20 years ago. A sport that was once represented by females no older than 16 has since evolved into a sport shared by gymnasts in their 20's and even 30's.

Gymnasts such as Alicia Sacramone, (24 years of age) and Chellsie Memmel, (23 years old) of the United States:

College Gymnasts who either returned or are, for the very first time, trying out elite gymnastics!

Vanessa Zamarripa, Anna Li & Casey Jo Magee.

Gymnasts who have made the national team well into their teenage years. Prior to Kayla Williams, no one past the age of 15 had made the US National team, competed at Worlds and medaled. Brandie Jay is another gymnast who joined the national team as an older teen and is currently competing at the Pan Am Games for the USA.

Ariella Kaeslin, from Switzerland, seemed to get better as she aged. She retired recently at the age of 24.

Valeria Maksyuta, from Isreal, has added new skills to her gymnastics as well. She is currently 21 years of age.

Even Chinese gymnast, Cheng Fei, currently 23 years of age, announced a planned comeback. China is not known for keeping Elite gymnasts past their teenage years.

Jessica Lopez, from Brazil, also has shown incredible improvement as she's gotten older. Throwing new skills at the age of 25!

Elizabeth Tweddle, at 26 years, looks better than she ever has before and is winning more medals in international competitions than she ever had as a teenager.

Catalina Ponor of Romania, retired from the sport in 2007. 4 years later, she looks as though she never left the sport of gymnastics. At 24, she looks better than ever!

What is it about the sport of gymnastics that pulls girls back into the constant training, day in and day out. What draws grown women back into the structured and rigid world of physical pounding, pain and struggle that they were sent into as children. Gymnastics is a very addicting sport. Not only do girls feel the lowest of lows in this environment, but the exhilerating highs are nothing in comparison to anything in the "real" world; at least not in a controlled environment.

Prior to the 21st century, gymnastics equiptment was a lot less forgiving. A gymnast body was worn down more swiftly and returning to the sport was often not an option. Likewise, information on eating disorders, over-use injuries and training in general was not known or developed. As information has increased and the sport has evolved, so has the ability for gymnasts to return to the sport well past the age of what was originally normal or even probable.

For many of these women, coming back is based on expectation, unfinished business or a need to be in a controlled, structured environment. For many, gymnastics has given a sort of purpose that not many people outside of the gymnastics world could understand. But there is also sometimes a need to fulfill a purpose in one's return to gymnastics.

Oksana Chusovitina's reason for returning to the sport was based on a deeper purpose. Her story is a very powerful one that makes her remarkable road back to elite gymnastics an incredible feat; one that could only be achieved by love, passion and an immense willpower to save the one thing that mattered most to her.

Oksana is currently 36 years old. The oldest, female gymnast ever to win an Olympic medal, which she did on vault at the 2008 Games in Bejing, China. An age that is virtually unheard of in the world of elite gymnastics, and even in the world of elite sports.

Not only that, but her son's leukemia is now in remission. After the games in China, Chusovitina announced plans to retire, only to tear her achilles tendon. Returning from such an injury was once unheard of in the sport of gymnastics. Yet upon tearing it, Oksana decided to give it another go. 1 year later, she was once again on the competition floor.

From a recent interview, Octavian Bellu was quoted saying, "Looking to the world, 22, 23, 24 years old is not the limit. I don't talk about Chusovitina at 36, [that's] something strange. It's from another planet." [1]

I don't think there are truer words that could describe her gymnastics comeback(s) and journey. Her career as an elite gymnast has gone on for more than 2 decades! Older than most of the girls she currently competes against!

She holds the record for most medals won on an individual event in the world championships; that event being vault. Just this month she competed at the most recent World Championships and brought home another medal for that event.

She has competed in 5 Olympic Games and I believe she has her sights set on 2012 in London.

What she has done in the sport is unheard of as well as unreal. She has done something no one thought possible, but it was done out of a need to save all she had. It's incredible what the human spirit will go through to hold on to what is most important, life itself. For all she has accomplished and won, nothing compares to what she has saved. The life of her only son, Alisher.


I do not own the rights to any of the pictures or video footage.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Brief Overview-Visa Championships 2011

Can we all just say, "WTF!"

Visa Championships were a NIGHTMARE!

Starting from day 1 and going all the way through to day 2.

It's my honest opinion and belief that the elite gymnastics system needs to be changed. I miss the 10.0 start value system. I think it was a safer and was definitly a more artistic approach to the sport of gymnastics.

I couldn't believe the amount of falls we saw. It's unusual to be able to count the amount of gymnasts without falls on one hand and not the other way around. I'm actually not sure if that's accurate, but there was indeed a much lower, MUCH LOWER, amount of gymnasts who stayed on the equiptment verses the ones who fell. It's a sad day when that is the case...

Unfortuantly, due to my living situation and lack of cable and a good wireless internet connection, I have not yet seen all of day 2 of the championships and have only seen the youtube version of day 1; uploaded by: FlippinTitan2010

Where to start...?
I think I should just say before hand that watching these has brought me a little bit of joy and longing to return to the sport I left behind. Even just to be a part of it, in a coaching or judging sense. Lately it feels as though all purpose in my life has gone from me, without gymnastics I feel lost...At the same time, I wish I didn't need gymnastics to make me feel my life has purpose. Nonetheless, writing about it is giving me some hope and allowing me to mix two of my biggest loves in life together: Writing and Gymnastics... Hmmm, can anyone say career? I think I should get out of this school and become an entrepreneur in the writing field... But that's beside the point. Back to Visa's...:

First off, I actually really like Jordyn Weiber's leo for day 1. Bizarre yellow color but she looks good in it.

Next thing is, I am so AMAZED by Chellsie Memmel's comeback! Seeing the footage of her first meet back a couple of weeks ago I was completely astounded! Plus I was asking why the f**k she was back and then I watched her. She looks better than I've ever seen her look before. She looks like she's lost more weight, her skills are solid and beautiful, I am so proud of this girl! Way to make me wanna make a comeback Memmel!...

Gabrielle Douglas has potential, but I feel she is still inexperienced. We'll see if time can change that. For now, 3 falls from beam at a meet is not a good thing...At all...Especially when Martha Karolyi is watching. Fortuantly, for Gabrielle, Martha had a lot more to worry about than just one gymnast...

I love the changes and improvements Alicia Sacramone has shown this past 2 years. Even though she fell on a pass in her floor routine, she is still a huge asset to the team on more than one event. She could potentially be in the line up for all three events she is still competing on! Her beam night one was UNREAL! Both she and Chellsie are just so strong mentally! It was wonderful to watch! And I love ASAC's floor routine. I think the music is perfect for her power and she is no longer doing the sexy, sloppy and prostitute like poses that she did before in so many of her past routines. Thank you Alicia for growing up. 2008 changed her not only as a gymnast, but as a person. She is a much different athlete and human being! Bring on 2012 Asac!

Going back to Jordyn Weiber. She is incredible! As much as her coach drives me completely insane, she is one that much of the world has had an eye on for years! Since 2006, at 10 years old, when she competed at JO Nationals, I think many people knew that she would be one to watch for in the future. They were so right!

Mckayla Maroney...I have a lot to say about this one. Her 2.5 twisting yurchenko is NOT HUMAN!!! I have never, ever, ever seen someone perform that vault like that! I just want to watch it over and over and over again! However, I find the rest of her events to be mediocre...I am unimpressed with her music choice. It doesn't fit her. Her tumbling is good when it's done well. Otherwise, mediocre is the only word I have for the rest of her gymnastics...

Rebecca Bross. :( Poor Rebecca Bross... Maybe if she cracked a smile more often, she'd have more good fortune...Or maybe she and Valerie are pushing much too hard. Either way, if you haven't already heard the news, after an unsuccessful round on day one, she had a horrendous mishap on day 2. Watching her on her vault on day 2 I knew it wouldn't end well before she was even on the mat. It looked as though she tried to pull out of her DTY early, and then in that split second, she was crumpled on the floor, crying out and holding her knee. My stomach gets sick just imagining her desperate cries as Valerie jumped to the mat to try to calm her. I had to watch that vault over and over again, I was so aghast and felt an unbelieveable sorrow for her. Brossy has been through so many injuries, I don't know how's she's going to make it to 2012 at this rate. I think she and Valerie need a new plan...

Aly Raisman. Aly has been Miss Consistent these past couple of years. But there is no denying though that her lack of toe point reminds me all too much of Jana Beiger, and as I recall, I think that was a huge reason Jana didn't make the '08 team...Also really thankful she didn't pull an amanar, I don't think she's ready for that vault...

The Caquatto sister's make a great team! It's neat seeing two siblings competing together and not just against each other. They are both huge assets on bars for the United States. Bridgette needs to seriously fix her hair though...I said that at the last meet I saw her compete at. The flyaways are such a distraction and it doesn't look professional at all... Nonetheless, I love watching her on bars!

Anna Li did not make the national team. Sad day... :( I was rooting for her. Just a few too many falls I guess. I hope this motivates her to work hard and make a comeback! However, her bars could also fill a void for team USA's lack of depth on that event. And doesn't she look like Nina Kim? I keep thinking it is Nina and then I have to remind myself that Nina is done with gymnastics, at least I think she is...

It's so impressive and awesome to see all of these older gymnasts coming back, including the college athletes; Anna Li, Mackenzie Caquatto, Alicia Sacramone, Chellsie Memmel and a newer face, Casey Magee. I was very intrigued by the fact that she had never tried for elite and that her gymnastics improved during her college years. This is exciting news to hear and something you don't hear in this sport. Her gymnastics is unique, but I think the likelyhood of making Worlds or Olympics isn't really realistic. It was still nice to see a new face with a cool story, as well as an impressive skill set.

Sabrina Vega... Oh dear! I really like this gymnast! I love her smile, love her gymnastics, love that her coach is Theadora Ungureanu. But someone needs to tell her that every extra swing she takes is .3 deduction! She would've been better off just jumping off of bars... Oh well, better now than worlds or the Olympics right?...

I know I have to get to her eventually. Shawn Johnson... The most over exposed gymnast on the fricking planet. The less I say about her the better. Mostly impressed with her comeback, kinda wish she didn't make a comeback but I think she'll improve more and more over the next year.

Amanda Jetter didn't make the national team...Anyone else surprised? I read from "The Couch Gymnast" that she face planted her dismount on beam. I didn't see enough of her competition to know what else went wrong.

Why is Nastia on the Gymnastics Commity? I think that is slightly unfair... Am I wrong to think that?...

Poor Martha has to be looking at these last two days and thinking to herself that the USA is in trouble... Knowing her and Bela, they'll get the program back underway and the country will be ready for Worlds and the 2012 Games. They have had the experience and I've seen other teams around the world go through the same obstacles and come out stronger. This is only the first step in these girls road to the games...

2012, here we come...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why have I not heard of this gymnast before? Yvonne Tousek

I was searching through youtube gymnastics videos as I often do out of boredom. One particular video had caught my attention. It was of a Canadian gymnast named Michelle Conway.

I adored her gymnastics. It was graceful, the choreography was exquisite and I loved her backward switch leap, (if that's what it's actually called.)

I decided to continue looking through videos and came across this:

My first thought was "Boginskaya". Her choreography, her body type and her movement in general was screaming out Svetlana Boginskaya!

And then I found this video of the same routine:

Suddenly, she seemed more like Khorki material. The hair style, the body type (again) and the poise and gracefulness she portrayed in her gymnastics was like that of Svetlana Khorkina...

As I continued looking through vids, I was surprised to find a very young looking and unpolished gem of a gymnast in the 1996 Olympics who was again, Yvonne Tousek...

I was, at first, unimpressed with her beam. I was catching minor deductions in her dance and tumbling, but certain things caught my eye. The first thing was that unusual turn where she steps back onto her left foot, lifts up her right and does a really quick full turn. I had to rewind the clip over and over again to figure out what she was actually doing. And then came the most amazing thing...And I was totally unprepared for it.

I was not expecting much. Maybe a front aerial into a jump or something along that line. Instead she pulled out a front handspring, front tuck! The form was a bit sloppy in the legs but the height into the front tuck was superb! Plus I had rarely ever seen that connection performed on beam. I think one gymnast from Parkettes did it a few years ago and there was a video I recently came across where a gymnast does a flyspring, front tuck for her mount onto the beam. Either way, this was a rare skill combo and I was impressed!

I looked through a few more video clips she was in.

I was once again impressed with the choreography and maturity she portrayed in her 1996 floor routine. She looks young, but her ability to perform was definitly something she had mastered at a young age.

Finally, I looked through some of her college routines.

I sat through the whole 6 minutes and 38 seconds to watch every single one of her routines. I was afraid that I might miss something and thus kept my eyes glued to the screen. I loved her originality, her quirky choreography, her strange skills and even tumbling. In her first routine of the four, she does a unique combination of tumbling skills. I had never seen a round-off, back full, arabian into a fronthandspring step out.

Needless to say, I had fallen in love with this girl's gymnastics yet I have never, ever heard of her! This bothers me because I have been apart of this sport for the last 17 years of my life. I can tell you about gymnasts from the 1970's all the way to the present. I can even tell you certain skills that each one performed in their routines, I can tell you what their floor music is. I could tell you who had bizarre choreography and I can tell you whose careers ended too quickly because of injury. It annoys me that the press has to only show footage of the top, oh say, like 6 gymnasts in the world. I have videos from the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. I have watched them over and over again since I was a young gymnast. I can literally quote Tim Dagget, Elfi Schlegal and John Tesh and yet I had never seen or heard of this beautiful and strangely exquisite gymnast. Something needs to change this.

I am sick of the constant attention that particular gymnasts such as Nasty Liukin,

Shawn (Rabbit-face) Johnson

& even Jordan Beiber *ahem* Weiber get on a daily basis. There are other extremely talented, beautiful and incredible gymnasts out there who aren't getting noticed. The public needs to see them too, in my opinion.

And I really want to see more gymnasts like Yvonne Tousek!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kate. My New Hero.

My re-meeting her has been ironic to say the least.

I met Kate years ago while I was on the swim team.

She and my mother were friends and swam together.

This should give you an idea of her age.

I knew she had been into marathons.

I knew she loved to run. Still loves...

I saw her again a couple of weeks ago for the first time in...how many years? Many.

I recognized her but couldn't remember how I knew her.

She came to me first, said she recognized me and began asking about my mom and if she was still swimming.

When she continued talking about having a membership at two gyms, I figured out who she was. (I mean, how many women have memberships at 2 or more gyms?) I don't know anyone else who does...

After that first re-encounter with Kate, I then saw her a couple days later.

I was riding my bike and passed a runner with a teenage body. As I passed her, I realized it was actually Kate. I was immensly surprised.

I then rode another 2 or so miles, before getting off to run 3 miles. As I was riding back, I took a break. As I was about to head back off, I glanced behind me and saw a white shirted figure running a ways back. I recognized her red hair and realized she was still running. No doubt she would be running at least 10 miles round trip. And with having a bike I knew I had been given ample time to ride a greater distance. However, with my 3 mile run, I figured she had to have run at least 3 miles or more while I had taken time to run my 3 miles. In other words, she was running a good distance! I sped ahead, fearing an awkward meeting.

To top it off, the very next day, as I headed out to the 35 mile bike ride and climbed from my car for registration, I saw her once again.

We were both surprised as we greeted each other.

As that day progressed. She and I would pass each other at least 5 times. The final time I saw her pass she yelled out to me, "I don't know why we keep seeing each other, but there must be a reason!"

The next day I told my mom all about the meeting, in which she stated back to me, "You know, Kate does triathlons."

I was stunned. For some reason, I had it in my mind that she only did marathons. Maybe this is the reason I keep seeing her. Whatever it is, she has now become my newest inspiration! She is incredible and I want to be as great as an athlete as she is.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tri-idea Continued.

In the meantime...
After the 35 mile bike ride yesterday I have been so pumped up. I was too tired to do much yesterday after the bike ride, likely from only having 10 hours of sleep over the weekend. But I desperately wanted to go for another bike ride or run or something! I smartly choose not to. This morning, however, I eagerly prepared myself for a day of training! I took my little corgi out for a morning walk to warm up. He isn't much of an exerciser so usually the most I can get him to do is walk or short spurts of running. After that I headed out for a nice run.

The weather was perfect. It wasn't too hot when I started out. The sky was over cast and there was a light breeze. The sun did start to come out as I was heading into my second mile. It felt nice feeling sweat break out across my face. The run itself felt so good and easy too! The only real hard part was the final hill back to my house. Afterward I decided that I felt good enough to go for a bike ride...

Maybe not the most brilliant idea ever...

It was ok at first but it didn't take long before my legs started to really burn. Not sure whether it was from yesterday's ride, or that I had just gone on a run or possibly that it was because it was a mountain bike... Or maybe it was because cycling is supposed to BURN... Either way, I was hurting and dying in no time but I pushed for about a 1/2 hour or so. I haven't the faintest idea how far I rode. My guess is that it was between 3 and 5 miles.

As soon as I stepped from my bike I nearly fell. My legs felt like jello. Fortuantly, that was the end of my leg workouts today.

I did try out hot yoga this evening.
I've done bikram but never in town.
And actually, the yoga was called Power. And I guess it was the second level. It was a lot harder and different than I anticipated. We did a lot of plank holds, in push up position. Then lowering down to almost our chests before rising to "cobra". We did a lot of standing pike holds and lunge holds (Warrior Pose). At the end, we even did what was called "wheel", which ended up being a bridge. It was like doing easy gymnastics in a 105 degree room! It felt incredible! I love feeling like I'm working hard, sweating immeasurably and doing basically conditioning exercises! It was great and I can't wait for the next hot yoga class I go to! The special is great as well. 10 classes for $20. I bet this is the only town you can get this deal in!

Oh, and forgot to show you my amazing power fuel after yesterday's bike ride.

Most amazing, tasting thing ever! Basic Ingrediants: Numerous amounts of fruits; strawberries, blue berries (frozen), black berries (frozen), raspberries (frozen), mango, banana, orange, basically any fruit in the house! Then some almond milk, greek yogurt, whey protein, emergenC and agua! Blend and then top off with granola and sliced strawberries.


New Blogspot?

So, I've decided that I think it's time for a new blogspot. Since I want this to be dedicated mostly to gymnastics, and it's slowly becoming a blog for other sports, especially triathlon stuff. I figured maybe I should start another one directed only toward triathlons. However, my issue with this idea is that I currently have 8 to 9 blogs, and 6 of them are in use... Sooooo... I am unsure whether I want to start another one...How many more will I create after the next one if I do choose to make it? Let me know your opinion. Most likely, I'm gonna make one no matter what anyone says... ;-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My 35 Mile Bike Ride Footage-Short Montage

New Addiction?

Thus a new day begins.

As I lay in bed this morning I pondered whether or not to get up for the Canyon River bike event. Finally, I knew if I didn't go to it, I would regret not getting to try out my first real bike trip with other people. That is, my first one not counting the beginning green way rides I've been on only twice before.

I wondered whether I should bring my dad's road bike or my mountain bi It was really a toss up. I knew riding a mountain bike would be a lot harder than a road bike but the road bike I have is literally 30 to 40 years old... Plus the breaks aren't great and I have actually only riden a road bike 3 times in my life. I am much more comfortable on a mountain bike... And I also have a water bottle holder on my mountain bike...So, that was the most obvious choice.

I headed out early. I was on the road before 8, for fear I would get lost and have to drive around awhile to find the registration area. I easily found it and got registered and then drove to the starting point. I pulled my out my bike which I had shoved into the back of my car. I found that it's easiest to put in from the back side. Just an fyi incase you ever have to use a car to transport a bike... I began prepping for what I feared would be a hard trip.

People were arriving in droves. I wasn't paying much attention to anyone until a girl passed me and said "hi" to me. I realized it was Tonya who does the beginner green way rides with me. We talked awhile and she obliged to riding with me despite the fact that I would no doubt be slower.

Tonya on the right.

I'm on the Left.

And this was taken after 20 miles or so, but we were still smiling. :)

I met and saw other people I knew and didn't know. Carol, aka- "the Bike Nazi" &/or the "Psycho Bike Cheerleader". (Her nicknames according to her spinning class students), was there, of course. Kate, who is an avid marathoner in the area was there as well. We headed off at 9am and I immediately regretted having a mountain bike. I must have been going over 100 rpms for the first 17.5 miles. What I realized later was that I my gears were in the wrong setting... I know what you're thinking, that was indeed a silly mistake that should've been taken care of much, much sooner. What can I say...I don't know much about bikes yet...but I'm learning. Besides, I haven't had much time to play with new sports like this, I've been cooped up in a gym for the past 17 years...

Anyhow, after the horrid hills, flats and downhills being in a low gear, Tonya and I finally made it to the end of the coarse. Many people were already there, milling around & replenishing themselves before the 17.5 miles back. We were only there 5 minutes or so before people started heading back. So Tonya and I did the same. It was much easier heading back but I was still pedaling way too much. The only part that was relatively hard was a uphill climb that took forever to get to the top. After that, I was done. I couldn't go much furthur even at a decent pace. All I could do was peddle and pray that Tonya wouldn't get too far ahead. I felt kind of bad because I felt like I was really holding her back. And it wasn't until the end when I felt completely wiped out that she suggested that I change gears. I told her it was at the highest, but in that moment, I glanced over at the left side and began fiddling with it. Within minutes I was peddaling at a much easier pace and staying up with her without much effort.

I, however, felt super irritated that I had taken this long to fiddle with my gears. It makes me nervous to mess with them, which is why I hadn't done so up 'til that point. When we arrived back, Carol and some of her "pod" group were waiting for us. We grabbed some much needed energy bars and apples before standing around awhile and chatting.

Overall, it was a really good experience and I can't wait to get more involved in these events and races!

Here's a pic. I got with my cell at some point during the ride...


During the ride I managed to only sing 3 songs in my head. Something by Paramore, Eminem's-Til I collapse (go figure) and something from the movie "Hocus Pocus"-Wtf?...

I also got some video footage so I might eventually post that on youtube and on here. For now, it's back to training. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just the beginning of a new journey...

They say when one door closes, another one opens...
This statement couldn't be any truer than it is in my case, right now.
Lately I've been doing something that seems vaguely & strangely familiar...
I've always been in love with "fluff" and gymnastics montages. In the past it has always been the documented gymnastics interviews that caught my attention. They held onto a deeper part of my heart that made me yearn to be like all the young gymnasts at the top in elite gymnastics. I was meant to be in one of these so called "fluff" interviews, or so I believed. When I was a young girl, around the age of 10, I used to watch the interviews over and over on recorded tapes. I could and still can say every line that Tim Dagget, Elfi Schlegal and John Tesh said in some of the early 90's interviews. Here's an example of a fluff peice from 1996 that I can say every single word from...

And this is just one of like 50 fluff peices I can recite every word from...

Needless to say, I have begun watching fluff peices again. I have started listening to them over and over again. I have begun to learn all of the words. But for the first time in my life, they are not gymnastics fluff interviews... Instead they are triathlon documented interviews, also done by John Tesh I believe...

Is this a new path I am being led down? I believe so. All of my life I have always wanted to do the impossible. That's why I became a gymnast. I believe the hardest sport in the world. But there are still things out there that challenge you beyond the extent of anything you thought possible. Triathlons do just that. A sprint triathlon being approximately a mile swim, a 13 mile bike ride and finishing with a 3 mile run. That is not a sprint by any means. How about the ironman though?

I mean we are talking about some hardcore stuff! 2.4 miles swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. I mean we are talking about like a double or even marathon basically! Am I out of my mind to even consider ever doing one? Possibly... But that's exactly why I am considering it.

I am starting at the bottom of course. Meaning a sprint triathlon or quite a few before I start inching up. And that would be if I don't burn out before then...

I've been watching a ton of these "fluff" peices and I think what calls to me about this sport is how deep and strong the emotion of it is. That's something I love about life. I love feeling powerful emotions. I believe this is my favorite montage because of that.

When I watch her cry, I just start crying too! It's just something about training and putting so much of your life toward something that when dreams don't come true... It's gut wrenching...And good gawd, I can definitely relate!

Anyhow, after watching these fluff peices, I naturally became increasingly motivated. Maybe that's why I did that with gymnastics interviews. The more I watched, the more hungry I became for the sport. Either way, it took one montage that drove me to begin my first day of training.

Not only do I like feeling strong emotional feelings, but I think I am also driven by pain and struggles in life. I can't tell you any other reason why it was this final montage that would make me want to begin working toward this sport. I think many people would be turned off and disturbed by the montage. It did the exact opposite for me. I became enthralled...

And so began my first day of training. A hard one at that too...

I hopped onto my mountain bike, fortuantly. The trail I took would have killed my road bike within minutes. I rode only 3 to 5 miles to my old high school, but the trip took a good 20 to 25 minutes. I am willing to put some blame on the terrain. The rocks and sage brush made the bike ride increasingly difficult. Plus I really do need a different bike. I have owned this current one for 11 years since I was an 8 year old girl...

The ride was fairly easy. A bit of burning in my thighs but that was it. I found myself on my old highschools track. The idea of running was not appealing and my body fought the idea. I jogged one lap that pulled myself toward the bleachers to stretch my sore and tight muscles. After 3 minutes or so I was back out on the track. I ran 3 more laps to complete a mile. Even with the stretching, I made the 4 laps in 11 minutes. I took a walking lap to slow my heart down. That took forever. 7 whole minutes for 1 lap. I began running again. My second mile took about 9 minutes. Instead of walking another lap, I instead did the routine Mv and I do when we go for barefoot runs. I did 26 lunge walks forward and backward. Why the number 26? Because the length of the area I was doing them, 26 equaled the 1/2 way mark. I dropped down and did 2 sets of 10 push-ups. My arm muscles are sore from weights earlier this week so I choose not to do 20 in a row. I then did 26 side lunges, on each side. And another 2 sets of 10 push ups.

I decided the weather was nice and my feet needed to start getting callused for summer. I tore off my shoes and socks and began to run. After one lap, my feet were really feeling uncomfortable. I think this track is fairly new so it's not as smooth as an older one. I put my socks over my toes and folded them in half and did one more lap. I decided to call it a day so that I could find some strength to bike back toward home.

Naturally, by then, the wind had picked up and I was riding straight into it. My legs felt somewhat shot and my face felt hot. I peddled hard but didn't seem to be making much headway. I reached the canal bank I had taken to ride down to the school and took a few minutes to breath and stretch out my legs. The rest of the ride went a little more smoothly but the 3 to 5 miles back this time took about 30 minutes or so.

All in all, it was a great first training day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Plain and Simple.
I'm done with gymnastics.
Too much drama, politics and fear.
I wish it didn't have to end this way.
Ironic as it is.
2 weeks before state I decide I can no longer continue on mentally.
For the past three years I have gotten injured 2 weeks before my state meet.
This is the first year I have stayed healthy and yet I found the will-power to give up, instead of push on as I've done year after year.
I'm not proud of what I've chosen to do, but it's for the best.
I guess I was never meant for gymnastics anyway...

I made the final decision late last week that I would finish out this month and then be done. I don't even have enough motivation to continue 'til end of season. I would like to go further into this topic, but unfortuantly, due to the "politics" and naysayers of this community, saying too much would either get me nailed for "slander" or my head ripped off. Neither seem appealing. Unfortuantly, you "can't say it, how it is" in gymnastics.

I have watched so much drama unfold in every gym I've ever been at. I was mostly unaware of it until I become a coach and since then my love for gymnastics has been increasingly thwarted. It's so sad because it is really such a beautiful sport that is slowly becoming more robotic and political, day in and day out. I no longer want to be a part of it. I had wanted it more than anything for years and never got the right training to get me to my highest goals and dreams. It's sad and unfair, but I s'pose that's the way life is.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jordyn Beib-Oh, excuse me, Weiber?

Am I the only one immensly impressed by this powerhouse yet completely annoyed that she is so good? I had to stop watching the American Cup because I was so disgusted with her lack of artistry yet likewise, just as facisinated with her ability to fly.

I just couldn't handle staring at the screen any longer, listening to Tim and Elfi rant on and on, watching Jordyn's irritating movements on beam, watching her get overscored on floor and winning when I felt she didn't deserve it... Who am I to talk though? All the information I have are the short clips that I couldn't even continue watching of the American Cup and Spanny Tampson's blogsite...I shouldn't be posting my opinions at all during this moment.

Maybe I am just jealous of this ripped dynamo because she's gotten or will get everything I've ever wanted. Maybe I'm this irritated because she reminds me a bit of two of my least favorite elite gymnasts; Shawn Johnson and Carly Patterson. Or maybe it's just annoyance over the fact that I think artistry is so much more important in this sport than just having the ability to flip.

All of the elites nowadays seem robotic in everything they do. And those that seem to have more flair or beauty in dance, tend to have sloppier skills and less dynamics. The sport just isn't what it used to be and Jordyn Weiber is quickly moving toward the bottom of my list of "gymnasts to watch..."
I am so completely done with this sport and would like to never enter a gym, or watched a televised gymnastics event, again for the rest of my life...(Likely chance I will get sucked back into the sport...) This may be why everything that has to do with gymnastics nowadays just completely pisses me off.

Even though I know Jordyn is gifted, another part of me just feels sorry for her for having the life she has: The immense pressure she is under, the coach who no doubt will either get her to the top or destroy her and you can't forget the sheer political side of the sport. It's a cruel world in the elite gymnastics community...

Oh, and one more thing, I believe it was John Tesh who made the mistake of nearly calling Jordyn Weiber, Jordyn Beiber at the American Cup. Too bad he didn't complete her last name, I would've been in tears from laughing so hard...

Look! I spy a Shawn Johnson leap...Ew!

Maybe I'm just jealous of the muscles. God! What I'd do for a body like hers! Maybe popping some steroids would do the trick?...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nabieva vs Khorkina

Is it just me, or does Nabieva remind you of Queen Svetlana Khorkina?
I know I've posted about Tatiana Nabieva before, but at the time I didn't see the same edge and style that Khorkina portrayed. Once I saw Nabieva at Worlds I realized how much she reminded me of the 5.5 ft. diva, called Khorkina. And at the time, I didn't like the comparison. The more I've watched her though, the more I am impressed and enjoy the style she has. I think these two videos, (both done by spannytampson), sum up what I am talking about. And it's about time there was a good Nabieva montage on youtube!

PROFANITY WARNING: Don't watch montage with parents or important collegues around. Tons of cussing, but I think the song is perfect for Khorki.
And whether you love her or hate her, Khorkina is still an obsession.

Copyright of videos belongs to: Spannytampson
Other Various Companies and people

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Think Spring 2011

I haven't posted much about my own personal gymnastics so I figured that's what I would do tonight. These last two months have been crazy; so many ups and downs in the gym. My own desire to continue on in the sport that I fell in love with 17 years ago had nearly been extinguished less than a month ago. I didn't even know if I was going to be able to continue on through the rest of the season. For the first time in my life, I actually felt ready to move on. During the past couple of months, I've felt like I've been stuck. And not so much as in 'gymnastics skill-wise,' it's more of a feeling of not being able to grow up. Normally, life does that for you. You get kicked down and you grow wiser, you go through puberty and grow 3 inches taller, (and wider) and you face things in life that ultimately make you grow up. I've been through it all, and yet for the first time in my life, I was given the choice: Remain in a world of childhood or get out of it, begin a career and grow old gracefully. I know I'm not an elite, whose making money to come back and conquor setbacks. I know I'm not going to get a college gymnastics scholarship; or even be a college gymnast. I am solely living in this sport for the pure joy of it. I came back to finish what I've started and that's what this one season is all about.

This season I conquored fears. Fears I've dealt with for years. I re-learned a whip 1/2, punch front pike on floor. I re-learned a yurchenko and even plan on competing it at the next meet. I mastered flyaways and easily do them by myself anywhere, and I do double back flyaways as long as a coach is standing by. I no longer have any fear of these skills that gave me so much trouble for years.

This season was about forgiveness. My past coach, Michelle and I had gone through many years of difficulty, disagreements and disputes. When I left 3 1/2 years ago, for a new gym, I never thought we would find peace in each others presence. I never thought I would ever come back here, to this home. And when she invited me back, 6 months ago, I didn't know how long we could work together. Things have changed within the past month. She is no longer at this gym, but I know that we have both forgiven one another. I have made an past-enemy, a friend.

A dream I had had for many years, came true this year. Norm and Laurie both stepped back into the gym and it has been incredible having them as coaches. It has been something I have wanted since I was a level 6, and for the first time in my life, I can officially say that they are my coaches.

I have watched my teammates grow up. I trained with them when they were all level 6's and I was a level 9, 5 years ago. Now, they are currently level 9's with me and it has been such an incredible experience. I have never been this close to a group of gymnasts in my life. The only time I can compare this experience to, was being at GGC 2 years ago. But even that can't compared to how much I have learned to depend and support these girls! And all the girls, level 4 through 9, have made this experience this year the coolest one I've ever had!

Today marked the annual 'Think Spring' gymnastics meet.
In 2001, as a level 5, it was here, at this meet where I would earn my first gold medal in the sport of gymnastics. How ironic because I never won Think Spring again... until today.

I didn't know how today would play out.
I knew I had missed gym on Monday, that I had left early on Tuesday, that I had struggled on Wednesday and that I would have one of the best practices I can ever remember, on Thursday.
I knew that my endurance hasn't fully been there, that minor injuries were nagging me a bit, that I was struggling daily to just go into the gym and that my skills had been so-so.
I knew that I currently didn't have a vault. That I hadn't done a full floor routine in practice, or a full bar routine with the straddle back to toe-hect combination.

What I did know was that I was painting my nails, black and red, for my final home meet. That I was going to have fun and do my absolute best. And I knew that this was just one more test for the final meets to come this season.

I was surprised then when I managed to connect my series and stay on beam. I had a few mis-steps. I missed my leap, jump combination and my dismount was sloppy. I got a decent 8.55 and tied for first with teammate, Tamara.

We went in a strange order. Instead of going to floor next, we headed to vault. I knew I just wanted to get this event over with. I did one warmup front handspring and one competition front handspring. 7.675...Ugh
Kelsey and SB took 1st and 2nd on this event.

Bars was next. This was a testing event to see how I dealt with nerves. To make matters worse, I didn't have time to warm up a second straddle back, toe-hect since I didn't make it on my first warm up. When it was my turn, I planned in my mind not to do the toe-hect, although there was also a notion in my head that perhaps, because of all the bad straddle backs I had done in practice and in warm up, if I just held my feet together and waited to let go, maybe I would do a phenomanal one. It was just my luck. I hit the straddle back handstand and pulled my feet on the bar, one at a time to complete the toe-hect. Unfortuantly, I wasn't in the greatest position out of the toe-hect and even though I pulled a kip out of my a$*, I didn't have enough momentum to cast. Good god, it was one ugly cast. Not even horizontal, yet I managed to get a giant out of it. I didn't think I'd make it over on the giant, but I did. I felt myself turn in my blind 1/1. It felt sloppy. And then another slowwww giant into a double back that peeled off rather early. I pulled in tight and my feet managed to find the floor. I was so surprised I had managed to stay on the bar. Sheer grit! They gave me a rewarding 8.75, and the wrong sv. A 9.8 instead of the 9.9 it was supposed to be. Oh well, I was still 'overly' happy with the score I had recieved for such a sloppy performance.

Floor was last and by this time, I was wondering how far behind my teammates I was. I actually figured that Sb and Kelsey were way ahead because of their vault scores. I had the joy of getting to be the last competitor in the gym. And for some reason, I was really nervous. My routine was interesting... My dance wasn't great, I was stumbling around. My tumbling passes felt weird. On my second pass, my front handspring, front layout, front pike, I forgot which foot to start with, so I picked one and somehow did a fricking sweet pass. When I landed, I planted my feet into the ground and didn't budge. My legs felt like jello going into my last pass. And I have no idea how I made the back full without tripping going into it! 8.8.

I was ecstatic with the day but I still actually figured I was in third place. I didn't care though. I was just thrilled to have competed with such vigor and joy in my last home meet! And as nervous as I had been going in, was as joyous and relieved as I was going out.

We received our awards and then Norm was suddenly on the microphone making a speech. Something about a special announcement. And suddenly he was telling me to go to the awards stand and telling the crowd that this was my final home meet. My head was reeling. I vaguely knew what was going on but I couldn't believe it. It was 8 years ago when I watched my idol, Jenny Ehlers, getting the same speech and standing on the podium to recieve flowers as a senior in highschool. 8 years later, I couldn't believe I was living this moment, only I had already graduated and experienced a similar feeling at a gym, far from home. I stood there, grinning stupidly. And then Coach Rachel brought up a mini-plaque to me
and hugged me as she gave it to me.
Thinking about it makes tears come to my eyes, but during that moment I was too surprised to cry. As I stepped from the podium, there were suddenly girls surrounding me. Little Katia, a talented level 6, came to me first and flung her arms around me, asking me why I was leaving. I tried to explain but too many other teammates were wrapping arms around me.
I felt a sort of feeling I had never imagined. There was such a powerful force of energy coming from all of the girls around me, a love I had never experienced. It was a precious moment to say the least.

And as I stood there with my awards, medals and ribbons alike, I thought back to the day I wore my first gold medal around my neck. Back then, standing at the top of the podium meant I got to be the best and that I had won a materialistic award. Today, it meant that I have spent the last 9 years working through sweat, blood and tears to hold a dinky circle of metal. Today reminded me why I do gymnastics. It's not for the chance to be number one, it's not to see what level you can get to or how many skills one can attain. Gymnastics is about learning to love, to respect each other, to see silver linings in the dark, dreary days of training. It's a sport where obstacles make you stronger and falling down means getting back up. Gymnastics teaches so much and it has helped me grow wise in my short life span of 19 years.

I couldn't be where I am today without my team family; my teammates, my coaches, my parents, team parents and friends. I could not be here without all the people who supported and believed in me, but likewise, I would not be here if it weren't for the closed-minded people who tried to pull me down, to make me give up and stop trying. I have to thank them all. But honestly, I have to thank my team for making my last year, the best one!

It seems I've come a full circle... A circle with no beginning and no end.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Born For This...Kelsey Morris

I met Kelsey Morris early in 2007, I housed with her during a summer gymnastics camp at Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy. At the time I hadn't any idea who this dynamo was or what she would accomplish in the next few years. I just recall her being very friendly, energetic and an extremely powerful gymnast in the gym. Although she was a couple of years younger, we would both began our first level 9 seasons that year.

She would come away with many wins that year, to top it off, she ended up finishing her prestigious season with two event titles during the Western Nationals and would just miss taking the all around spot by .05. She would instead settle with a second place finish.

It would not surprise many when she headed into her next season as a level 10 competitor. However, finishing in the top 10 at her first nationals might've turned a few heads in her direction. Not to mention, she was also competing in the same session as Kayla Williams, who would later be named to the 2009 Worlds team and would capture the vault title; but Kayla Willaims would not win vault during JO nationals in 2008, Kelsey Morris took that title.

It seemed there was much in store for this talented athlete. Going into her second year as a level 10 she would capture vault and floor titles at regionals but would come up short during nationals, placing two spots lower than she had the prior year and placing on only one unlikely event. A 6th place finish on her weakest apparatus, the balance beam.

Nonetheless, she headed into 2010 with high hopes. She would win both state and regional all around titles, going into Nationals she seemed poised to finish in the top three but on her final event, the balance beam, she had an uncharastic fall that would prevent her from even finishing in the top 10.

Late in 2010, however, Kelsey Morris would sign to Boise State University with a full ride scholarship.

Her gymnastics career has been filled with ups and downs, but gymnasts, judges and coaches of Region II would argue that she is possibly the best gymnast in the region. She is a gymnast with a talent and drive few can compare to in this addictive yet unforgiving sport, and at 17 years old, she still has a few more years in gymnastics to impact us all!




Kelsey trains at one of the top level gyms of Region II with some of the top coaches in the nation.

I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for this gymnast!
Good luck Buff!