2011 Cover Girl Classic

Chelsie during podium training
[Photo Source:  Universal Sports]

Gymnastics doesn't get too much TV time.  I'm lucky if I get to watch it twice a year so I was thrilled to be able to watch the Cover Girl Classic live online on Universal Sports.  It's the first big competition of the Elite gymnastics season and there are three comebacks that should make the line up between now and next year's Olympics in London very interesting.  Chelsea Memmel and Alicia Sacramone put the word Women's back in Women's Gymnastics.  They are so strong at the ripe old age of early 20's and it's just great seeing these ladies in action.  Alica's comeback isn't really and truly a comeback because just a year ago she was at this meet after not competing since the 2008 Olympics.  She ended the year by making the World Team and has been off the radar since then after the season ended.  She's just that good that whenever she decides she wants to go to an Olympic or World Championship, she just trains and makes the team like it's nothing.  I'm most impressed with Chelsea.  She made an aborted comeback attempt in 2009 that didn't quite pan out but I think she's really going for it this time.  She did all four events and could use a little bit of clean up in form but looked so solid in all of them.  She has always been such a strong competitor and injuries are the only thing that has ever held her back.  I was at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim where I saw her win her first World gold medal on bars.   She was on the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing along with Sean and Alicia but due to an injury was limited to only one event-uneven bars.  She has the bad luck of always getting hurt before the Worlds or Olympics and has battled back from so many injuries that I can't believe her body is still letting her do this.  I really hope she can hang in there injury free and make it to 2012.  If anyone deserves to be on that team she does.  Non gymnastics fans might remember Sean Johnson most from Dancing With The Stars which she won in 2009 but her much bigger accomplishment is winning Gold on Beam and the Silver in the All Around, Floor and at the 2008 Olympics.  She only did two events (beam and bars) at Cover Girl and fell on both.  She was admittedly very nervous and scared but I think she'll get better at Nationals next month.  I can't even imagine the pressure she must feel.  I takes a lot of guts for a high profile gymnast like her to make a comeback after three years off of gymnastics with so many eyes watching her every move.  Aly Raisman won the All Around, Chelsie placed 2nd and new comer Sabrina Vega was 3rd.  Very few actually competed all around so this competition seemed to be less about winning and more about warming up for Nationals.
Alicia Sacramone and Sean Johnson during podium training [Photo Source:  Gymnastike]
Missing from the lineup was the 2010 All Around National Champion Rebecca Bross.   She is coming back from an injury (ankle) like so many and couldn't get it together in time.  She was there but scratched at the last minute.  It will also be interesting to see what reigning All around Olympic Champion Nastia Liukin decides to do.  She's been on the fence for a while about if she will go for 2012.  I really like it that a lot of NCAA Collegiate gymnasts are doing Elite during and/or after their Collegiate careers.  They bring so much competition experience with them and it's good to show that "older" girls can still be competitive and that Elite gymnastics isn't just for teenagers.  In addition to the comeback ladies there are many established gymnasts (like Bross) and new up and comers who want their shot at the Olympics too.  The saddest thing is that there are only five spots available down from six.  There just isn't too much Olympics to go around.  There will be many highs, lows and heartbreaks along this journey and I'll be watching glued to the TV screen or internet as might be the case for any coverage I can get.

See full competition results here at InternationalGymnast.com.


Mrs. Pancakes said...

Oooh I love gymnastics!! Wanted to be one when I was younger!! Love watching it during the Olympics!! Loved the days of dominque Dawes and Shannon miller. sad what happened to Shannon but she is strong:-)

Lil' Woman said...

I don't really keep up with it but gymnastics has always been one of my favorites during the Olympics.

Faith said...

i remember when i use to watch it because my older sister was a gymnast! i haven't watched it in years but it brings back great memories! i want gymnastics to come back the way it was when we were younger & everyone was glued to the television oohing and ahhing.

Frugalista said...

I know the Mag 7 in Atlanta 96 was so awesome and the beginning of lots of great things for US Gymnastics. I'm a die hard fan...I can't get enough of it!

Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition said...

I love gymnastics! I always try to go to our local university when they are having conference meets! Dominique Dawes was always my fav!

Sandra said...

I used to be on top of gymnastic happenings years ago! Reading this post made me totally nostalgic and made me look forward to the next time I catch a meet on tv. I love how your such a gymnastics lover. I'll have to go read your profile, but I'm betting you're a gymnast, right?