Aliya Mustafina: Queen of Halloween

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Chris made this fabulous video: Aliya Mustafina - Your Vampire. It's awesome and not to spooky. Now we know why Aliya was whispering to Vika!

Watch here or below:



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Story About Bullying As Told to Me by Ana Porgras

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There's been a lot of bullying on the internet lately, and the gymternet is no exception. There have been recent headlines of 2 females, 1 in Canada and 1 in the US, who committed suicide after endless amounts of bullying. Not to mention countless numbers of individuals that have been made so uncomfortable by others that the thought of taking their own life seems like the only solution. October is National Bullying Prevention Month so I figured I'd tackle something that has been on my mind for some time lately.


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Romania left the 2011 World Championships without a single medal but they did leave with a prize when Ana Porgras was awarded the 2011 Longines Prize for Elegance. However, fans and the Romanian media were not happy. Soon after Worlds, there were discussions about how Ana was more interested in boys and how this elite gymnast was satisfied with this Prize for Elegance even though she didn't receive any medals. I remember things getting particularly harsh when a Romanian training video was released and Ana wasn't in it. Immediately, the comments ran to things about her interest in boys or makeup when in reality, Ana was competing while that news segment was shot.

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Montage Monday: As We Wait for Sandy

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A lot of East Coast gym fans are waiting to see what Hurricane Sandy is capable of doing. I hope everyone's staying safe as we wait her out for the next few days. Here are some montages to tide all of you over that still have power and internet. These videos are not in order of preference. The first 2 you may not have seen while the 3rd has been featured on Gymnastics Coaching and Gymnasts 391. Grab a snack and enjoy!

Gymnastics: Olympics 2012 - Fix You
Song: Fix You by Coldplay

Theme: Disappointing Olympic Moments
This first one is really well done but also breaks your heart. The entire time. There's a moment in the middle where I can't tel if I'm supposed to be happy or sad but then the remainder of the video makes me sad again. Very very sad. It's about all the heartache during the games - McKayla falling on vault, Sandra Izbasa, Ksenia Afansyeva, and Anastasia Grishina on FX, and, of course, lots of Jordyn. There are other athletes that make appearances to like Nataliya Kononenko of Ukraine on the uneven bars. It's very well done and the song fits it very well - Fix You.
Watch here or below:


Gymnastics Fluff: London 2012
Song: Audio from the 2004 Olympics, 2008 Olympic Trials

Theme: 2012 Olympic (Team Final?) Fluff using old audio 

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Gymnastics Trailers

9:42 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

This post is dedicated to the recent videos that have been coming out of gymnastics using trailers to different movies. The 3 I've seen are to Mean Girls, The Hunger Games, and the Black Swan.

This one is to Mean Girls and is hilarious! I still laugh every time I watch it. Cady, the main character played by Lindsay Lohan in the movie, is Shawn Johnson. Nastia Liukin is the head mean girl and Alicia Sacramone is "the greatest person you will ever know." That role suits ASac perfectly.
Watch here or below:



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Montage Monday: Jordyn Wieber

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This is the 2nd themed montage monday dedicated to World and Olympic Champion Jordyn Wieber. Just a little orientation: The first 2 videos were made more recently and have a little more Olympic footage to them. The last 3 show more of Jordyn's path to Worlds (Never Say Never and Wild Ones) or the Olympics (I hope you dance). Enjoy!



Jordyn Wieber. 2012 Olympics. Little Wonders.
Song: Little Wonders - Rob Thomas
This is an amazing video of Jordyn Wieber made by carriemydear/@usagymfan2016. It captures the heartbreaking emotions of the All Around final and, at the same time, shows how strong of an athlete Jordyn is, physically and mentally, to perform so well for her team the next day. I didn't realize how beautiful Jordyn's double double is and how she sticks her arm out right as she's ready to land. The mood created throughout really matches with the increasing strength of the music and the strength of Jordyn's performances.
Watch here or below:


Jordyn Wieber - The Unexpected End
Song: So Cold - Nikisha Reyes-Pile 
Another amazing one by fansgymnastic/@fansgymnastic. This song is a bit slower and you have to get through the heartbreaking first half to make it to the 2nd half. Fansgymnastic really highlights the tension throughout the entire all-around qualification, not just the emotion when the results were shown. The emotions by Jordyn and her mother, Rita Wieber, are portrayed. Then, we get to see how much of a class act Jordyn is: cheering throughout the team finals for all her teammates. #classact. One of my favorite moments of the Games is Jordyn reacting first to the USA winning gold.
Watch here or below:


3 more montages below.

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Kellogg's Tour: Best Dancer

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McKayla pronounced herself best dancer in a video that NBC did of the 2011 World Champions. Then, she confirmed it when we saw that she could actually Dougie (can be found here). The Kellogg's Tour seems to have brought out the dancer in all of the gymnasts, including the boys.

There's just one issue. Jordyn Wieber has some really good shuffling skillz! Check out this video from the Kellogg's Tour. Kyla also makes an appearance and I imagine this is what the Russians would look like if we also asked them to shuffle - upright posture and pointed toes throughout. Maroney and Aly come into view with Rebecca Bross behind them and Gabby in front of them. It all looks like fun! So, McKayla can Dougie, Jordyn can shuffle...

Watch it here or below:


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Montage Monday: More Olympic Montages

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New Announcement for Montage Monday: There have been so many great montages recently that I've had a hard time featuring them all and organizing them. From now on, I'll try to alternate themed Montage Mondays with regular Montage Mondays featuring the best videos for the past two weeks. I am more than happy to receive input from you guys for Montage Monday even if it's your own video, don't be shy. Feel free to email me suggestions at arabianpunchfront@gmail.com.

Next week's Montage Monday, Oct 22, will be Jordyn Wieber. November 5 will be Viktoria Komova.



Olympic Event Finals Montage
kiwigymnast16 has made a montage focusing on event finals to the song Undefeated by Jason Derulo.  There were some falls but, overall, it focuses on the positive of event finals. The montage had me smiling the entire time. There are clips of the gymnasts dancing and Ksenia Afanasyeva's choreography fits particularly well with this song. Clips are also matched well to the lyrics "I can't change the past no matter how hard I try" with McKayla's fall on vault, "this might be my last chance" with Beth Tweddle on bars, and "even gravity can't keep me down" to Gabby's sky-high straddled Tkatchev. Watch it!

Watch here or below:


McKayla Maroney - Round and Round. kiwigymnast16 also gets a mention for an amazing McKayla Maroney video. I like how McKayla's floor routine choreography is put to match the lyrics and beat of the song. It also reminds you that McKayla is a great vaulter but also a decent all arounder. Probably what I liked the most was being reminded how amazing her 2011 Worlds Team Final vault was. I know the judges don't want to see straight up and straight down but McKayla got such amazing height on that vault, it's breathtaking! Keep watching to see how she mixes McKayla's 3 Olympic vaults.

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Olympic Wrap Up Part 2: Why The Olympics Made My Summer

8:21 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments


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London 2012, overall, was pretty amazing. It was my first major competition as a blogger and it was fun to share it all with you.

Social Media
Social media is a big part of why the Olympics DID feel like the Olympics. Social media was a blessing and a curse all at the same time. It's great because we got to see so much of what goes on in Olympic village, continue our little ice bucket fiasco, and keep a checklist of who the athletes had met. Ryan Lochte (swimmer). Check. Carmelo Anthony (basketball). Check. Usain Bolt (track)... still in progress. We also got to see some pretty amazing tweets. Justin Timberlake tweeted Aly Raisman, Pitbull tweeted Gabby saying thanks for using my music, dale. Missy Elliott, another Virginia native, tweeted Gabby as well. Missy Elliott has a song, We Run This, on the soundtrack for our beloved movie Stick It and Dominique Dawes is featured in the music video as a coach (video here, the recognizable part at 1:12, and some clips from Stick It near the end). Maybe Gabby will be next.

The only reason I say it's a curse is because now we want more. It has only fed our addiction further. If there isn't gymnastics, we search for the instagram photos, wait for Kellogg's boxes to come to our remote parts of the USA, and watch 10 minute long videos in Russian without a translation, and wait.

Team Finals
McKayla had an AMAZING vault. That vault should definitely go down in history as one of the best vaults of all time. I really wish the judges had given her a 10. Maybe the vault didn't seem perfect to you but it seemed pretty darn close to me and many others. I also think it would have done a lot for the sport, and those who hate the open-ended code, to show that the 10 isn't dead. Perfection is possible. Kyla Ross was amazing and did exactly what the US was hoping for. She had a lovely bars set and was her usual solid self on beam. After she dismounted with her double tuck that she went to her coach, Jenny Zhang, and started crying was probably one of my favorite moments.

Canada coming in 5th. I'm not sure there are words for how thrilled I am. I was concerned for Canada with the loss of Peng Peng Lee due to injury but I didn't have to be. Kristina Vaculik did an excellent job leading the team, making her Olympic dream come true. Dominique Pegg was the only Canadian to make the all around finals and placed 15th. Ellie Black and Brittany Rogers both made vault event finals. I think the live coverage showed Victoria Moors on floor in team finals and I was just filled with joy. Her routine was amazing and I wish it could have made event finals. Canada placed the highest in their history as a team in this Olympic Games. What an amazing accomplishment!


All-Around
The AA was a good battle to the end. It really was neck and neck event after event for 1st and 2nd, then 3rd and 4th. My surprise was Sandra Izbasa. I didn't think she would make top 5 let alone try for the all around given her injuries in the past year. She proved me wrong. Jessica Lopez qualified for the 2008 Olympics and finally qualified to the all-around final this year. Unfortunately, she took out her release move on bars and lost at least .5 in D-score.

One AA finalist that I'm probably the happiest for is Marta Pihan-Kulesza. She also went to the Olympics in 2008 and qualified to the all around final in 2012. She is one that we've seen a lot on the World Cup circuit and she's very steady. She may not have the high difficulty of the Big 4 countries but she's original and pretty clean. You may know her as the girl with the braids and the glitter. Wear all the glitter and braids you want, as long as you keep doing your original gymnastics.

Another one who makes me very happy is Giulia Steingruber. We all know her as a vaulter but when I did the post on athletes competing as individuals, I realized that she's actually a pretty good all arounder. With D-scores of 6.3/5.2 on vault, 5.7 on uneven bars, 5.6 on beam, and 5.5 on floor, she's doing amazing. Her chances for a vault medal were dashed when she fell in qualifying to finish in 9th place, but she finished the all around in 14th place, just behind Great Britain's Rebecca Tunney. I also really enjoy her floor exercise with a big opening double layout and mature choreography to Carmen. Watch her floor from the Test Event here or below:


Vault
It's interesting to see the direction that vault will go in given the changes to D score. Perhaps we saw the last of Chusovitna, perhaps we did not. However, I think we saw the new face of German gymnastics or at least German vaulting. Janine Berger had the 2nd highest difficulty after McKayla Maroney with a Rudi and Tsukahara double twist and pretty decent execution. I imagine these 2 vaults will only get better and more precise with time. I hope we see more of the girl who calls Chusovitna her idol and now Olympic teammate. Also, vault is the most diverse event with 6 different countries being represented.

UB
I'm happy for Aliya and I'm happy for Beth Tweddle although that step did scare me for her medal chances. But, to be entirely honest, I am happiest for He Kexin. Her gold in 2008 was questioned because of the tie break and many were even saying that Yang Yilin deserved the gold over both He Kexin and Nastia Liukin. She has struggled a lot since then. She won bars gold at 2009 World Championships. In 2010, she fell during event finals and, therefore, didn't medal. In 2011, she fell during qualifications and wasn't even used in team finals on bars. She has traveled a rough road and overcame a growth spurt and injuries to make the Olympic Team. If you think about, He Kexin went from almost an alternate to Olympic silver medalist. That's pretty amazing to me.

Also, an honorable mention goes to Celine van Gerner of the Netherlands who placed 10th and was in 1st reserve spot. I look forward to seeing more of her and the team from the Netherlands on the international stage.

BB and FX are actually hard for me to write about because of the tie breaks. I will attempt to highlight the positive though.

BB
I'm glad Deng Linlin won. Honestly, I don't see the minutia of differences between Sui Lu and Deng Linlin's routines. It was left in the judges hands and they chose the winner. This is another amazing victory for China and gymnastics. If I had a list of 2008 Olympians to potentially make their countries' team, Deng would not have been on my list or she would have been dead last. She proved me wrong winning Chinese Nationals and leaving the Olympics as a gold medalist.

Although I'm angry that Diana Bulimar did not represent Romania in the balance beam finals, I do have to admire Larisa Iordache for competing through the pain in order to have a shot at a medal and make her country proud.

Fun fact about balance beam: the top fourteen spots after qualifications were taken by the big 4 countries - 2 from China, 4 from each USA, Russia, and Romania.

FX
I'm thrilled for Aly and I think the routine played to her strong suits and to the current code of points. I'm glad Catalina won a medal, especially after what happened on balance beam. Her routine is choreographed so well to an amazing song. Catalina Ponor, at 24 years old (now 25), has such a maturity and air around her that adds to her performance. Aliya was a shocking medalist for me. I thought that she would not make floor finals due to her knee injury. She has proved me wrong.

Fun fact about floor: floor and vault were the only 2 events that did not have to use the 2 per country rule. Honorable mention to Lauren Mitchell of Australia who competed on an injury and still performed well despite it.

So, the Olympics are over and now we wait.

Read Olympic Wrap-up Part 1: Why The Olympics Didn't Feel Like the Olympics

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Olympic Wrap-up Part 1: Why The Olympics Didn't Feel Like the Olympics

7:40 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

I wrote this post about a month ago and have been waiting to post it until I had Part 2 ready. Part 2 will may come tomorrow.




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A lot of us are sitting, waiting for the next gymnastics competition to come along (which is tomorrow!). We're frantically refreshing blogs, searching for pictures of training, while praying for a new meet and no retirements. After the Olympics ended, I felt empty. That's not to say it wasn't a great Games, something just wasn't quite right afterwards. Something just didn't sit right with me.

The All-Around Battle
The All-Around Battle was probably everything we did not expect. There were main headlines - Jordyn v. Gabby and USA v. Russia - that we didn't quite get. Gabby was supposed to be fighting with Jordyn, not Aly. Viktoria Komova was supposed to prove to the world that she deserved that all-around crown over Jordyn. Unfortunately for this duel, Jordyn wasn't there. We had the return of Aliya Mustafina but who thought that the bronze medalist would, like Yao Jinnan in 2011, again have a fall on beam? Who thought that the bronze medal would be determined by a tie break where only THREE scores count in the all-around? Where did that come from?

Romania's New Kid on The Block
Romania left 2011 Worlds without a single medal. A shocking realization for the country and their fans leaving us wondering where they stood in gymnastics. By 2012 European Championships, they seemed like they had it figured out. Larisa Iordache was to help save Romania!

Yes, that's a bit dramatic but that was the way it seemed. Romania was lacking on bars and Iordache could hold her own. She also had an exciting floor routine that was as electric as her Pikachu leotard. They came into the Games with two amazing beam workers and three amazing floor workers. I was waiting for a duel for the balance beam gold and for a duel between whichever two of the three athletes made floor finals.

Sadly, Iordache's heel was injured. Just before the Games and throughout, Iordache was dealing with plantar fasciitis. She tried her best to compete but it was not enough. After their surge (thanks to Pikachu) at the European Championships, there was talk of Romania fighting for gold at the Olympics. Sadly, it didn't happen.

Team Finals
I am thrilled that the USA won gold but it was not a pretty finals. Much like 2011 Worlds, I was left wanting more just because the competition seemed to end before the meet was over. The USA essentially hit 12-for-12. Aly needed a little more than a 10.0 for the USA to get gold. There were a few missed routines or a few missed moments for USA but no country seemed to capitalize on it as they were making their own mistakes. USA beat Russia by 5.426 points. Remember when we thought it was going to be a tight battle for gold, silver, and bronze? Remember when we didn't know which country would be left out of the medals? It all unraveled rather quickly.


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Montage Monday: McKayla, "McKyla," and Gabby

8:14 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Another Montage Monday!

McKayla Maroney. Impressed
This one is by AshleyakaFlipper2 and for McKayla Maroney. McKayla's already tweeted this video, that's how good it is. The video starts with McKayla prepping for TF vault, then gives you a little flashback of her childhood, and Olympic Trials - her journey to the Olympics and to that vault. It reminds you how amazing she is at vaulting but also that she is a decent all-arounder. Throughout the video, I was impatiently waiting for McKayla's TF vault and when it came, I had chills. Ashley did an excellent job building the anticipation and using all the different camera angles to build even more tension. It's amazing!

Watch here or below:



McKayla and Kyla. Count on Me.
There's a really cute video of the "McKyla" friendship. I don't usually like videos with pictures in them but this one is so well done with the right mix of pictures and videos. Of course, my favorite clip of Kyla crying after BB and McKayla rushing to hug her is in it. Pulls on your heart a little. :)
Get to it after the jump:

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Montage Monday: The Aliya Mustafina Edition

6:59 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments


Aliya Mustafina


Sunday, September 30th was Aliya Mustafina's 18th birthday! Aliya has quite a few titles to her name - most decorated gymnast of the quad, most decorated Russian gymnast at the Olympics, most decorated Russian athlete at the 2012 Olympics, and the list goes on and on. I must admit that I admire Aliya's tenacity. After an ACL tear, she refused to give up and now has an Olympic gold medal, among other medals, to her name. This Montage Monday is dedicated to her :)

Let's start with a pre-London preview. This great video by uswntgymfan (on twitter, youtube, and tumblr) made an Aliya Mustafina London 2012 preview - Will London be her time? It's perfect. It starts with all her nicknames and amazing stats, then goes to a training montage, and highlights her successes at 2012 European Championships.

Watch here or below:


uswntgymfan has made quite a few montages of Aliya. So I strongly recommend that you check out her channel. There's one that she made specifically for her birthday sort of chroniciling her uneven bars victory.


Aliya Mustafina: Golden by uswntgymfan

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