Montage Monday - Tough Times in Gymnastics

7:51 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Last week was a rough week in gymnastics.

Christine Peng Peng Lee
The worst thing for me, as a gym fan, was news from Peng Peng Lee. She sustained a knee injury a little while ago that was believed to be a knee dislocation. Recently, PPL revealed that she actually has an ACL tear and is withdrawing from her run to represent Canada at the Olympics. You can find her official statement here. This is a true loss for the sport since she has become one of our shining, smiling stars.

Peng Peng Lee came on to the scene as a junior in the last quad at Pacific Rims but disappeared due to a back injury, spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis in the L5 vertebrae. She recently re-emerged and has taken Canada and the world by storm. Easily Canada's best all-around gymnast, Lee has a certain amount of spark and personality when she performs. She's one of the few who actually performs while doing floor exercise and she had a fun and interesting beam mount, flares, in an era when most people just jump onto the beam. Lately, Lee had been showing quite a few upgrades making herself more and more of a contender for a top 8 finish in the all around at the Olympics. Sadly, this has ended.

Thankfully, Peng Peng Lee has already been accepted to UCLA. She is expected to enter next year's matriculating class but we'll see. I'm secretly hoping she sticks around in elite and goes for a World All Around title but perhaps I'm being selfish. Either way, Peng Peng Lee's smile, flower in her hair, and expression in artistic gymnastics will be greatly missed at the Olympics.

A few of her videos for your education pleasure: vault, bars (she does a move called a Bhardwaj down to the low bar. As far as I know, there is only one other competitive gymnast, Ruby Harrold of GBR, that is competing this move), beam, floor

Watch on youtube here

More on Memmel, Johnson and Liukin after the jump.

Chellsie Memmel - Petition to Nationals Officially Denied
We spent the bulk of the week waiting to see if Chellsie Memmel's fan-started petition about her denied petition to Nationals would be revoked. It wasn't. I can't say that I'm all that surprised - rules are rules and there are so many girls going for the Olympic spot that you have to wonder if it's fair to let gymnasts compete for sympathy reasons. You have to admit, though, that Chellsie has had quite the career.

Fans affectionately call her CHELLSIE FREAKIN' MEMMEL - and it needs the capital letters. This girl has been around for twelve years, that would be THREE Olympic cycles! Chellsie is one of those gymnasts that you just have to respect for her tenacity and her fire. Through all these injuries, she has never given up.

The video can be found here (embedding was disabled) and contains more info about her past in gymnastics.

Article on Chellsie's retirement: here ""[Steve Penny, President of USA Gymnastics] said, 'Why don't you just retire? We'll make it look good for you,' " Andy Memmel said." I didn't have much feeling about her petition denial until this moment. I'm disgusted that USAG would do that.
Statement from USAG can be found here

Shawn Johnson retires
Next, we have the formal retirement of Shawn Johsnon. Shawn Johnson was often compared to Mary Lou Retton in the lead up to the Olympics. Sadly, Shawn did not win the all around crown but she's had a positive attitude. She always said how she didn't lose the gold, she won the silver. Another article pointed out that she's the first American gymnast, since Shannon Miller in 1996, to win a gold medal on the balance beam. Johnson had a knee injury where she tore her ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus - the unhappy triad. She had a somewhat successful comeback last year but we haven't seen her compete in 2012. Between media events, Dancing with the Stars, and her book release, Shawn's been busy with things other than gymnastics.

Many have been asking what do you most miss about Shawn. I will miss her smile. In '08, she just seemed genuinely happy to be competing. I wasn't always Team Shawn but I was glad when she won her balance beam gold. It's like she was saying, "Finally!"

Here's her formal retirement announcement from USA Gymnastics.

A montage from iLitter can be found here and a montage from AshleyAkaFlipper2 can be found here or below. Good luck Shawn! I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her.

Nastia Liukin
And to leave the sad news behind (and to keep the Shawn v. Nastia alive), we have US Nationals coming up. The competition is from June 7-10 (women will be on June 8th and 10th). We will finally get to see Nastia's new bar routine. Personally, I am excited because her bar routine could change the potential Olympic team. Mine is currently Wieber, Ross, Raisman, Douglas, Maroney. Here's a nice montage done by iLitter/@CSacullo placing her new and old balance beam routine together in all his editing glory. Can be found here or below.

Hopefully, another busy gymnastics week is to come that will be full of only positive news and Olympic team speculation. Happy Monday!