Don’t worry, NBC-watchers, I promise not to spoil anything.

I just wanted to talk a little bit about the things I really enjoy about watching gymnastics. So I will!

Awesome beam mounts:

I love when ladies get on the beam in an interesting way. I feel like a lot of the beam mounts in this games are fairly ho hum compared to some that I’ve seen, but I didn’t get to see everyone, and hopefully the beam event final will have some more interesting tricks. Here’s a video of what I mean by interesting mounts:

Crazy hard bars routines:

I love watching a difficult release skill. Check this out:

Fascinating Gymnastics History

Yesterday, when I was learning some more about the history of gymnastics, I learned about a former Soviet gymnast named Elena Mukhina. I hadn’t read much about her before! She was world all-around champion, and preparing for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. She did a lot of daring and dangerous skills in her routines, including a Thomas salto in her floor exercise. It’s a 1 and 3/4 flip with 1½ twists ending in a forward roll, meaning the gymnast is basically landing on their shoulders after the flip. Here’s a video of a Elena Shushunova doing the skill in 1987:

The salto is about 9 seconds in. You can see how if things didn’t go right for whatever reason, the gymnast could land on a pretty sensitive bit of head or neck, and that’s what happened to Elena Mukhina. She wound up a quadripalegic, which is bad enough, but the really crazy thing is that the details and severity of her injury were concealed for some time by the Soviet Gymnastics Federation, who kept deflecting questions and it took a while for the truth to come out. Eventually, the Thomas salto became a banned skill for women in gymnastics, though it’s still performed by men.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty fascinating.


I’m pretty much a big huge fan of the Olympics. Summer, winter, I like them all. So I’m pretty excited about the London 2012 games that just started. One of the interesting things about living in Canada is that we have some more choices for Olympics coverage- we can watch the CTV coverage broadcast in Canada, or the NBC feed from nearby NBC affiliates in the US.

So we watched the Opening Ceremonies twice last night- first when it was broadcast live on CTV, and then when NBC broadcast it on delay. There are some things about the NBC coverage that I like- first of all, they have John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme. Which I love. Also, they do make a pretty montage.

I could pretty much do without Meredith Vieira, however. When I saw that she was hosting the Opening, I was surprised, and then thought “hey, maybe she’ll do well!” I was wrong. It was kind of a foot-in-mouth parade for her. I do kinda like Bob Costas, mostly because he’s been doing the Olympics forever so he’s like, the Olympics voice from my childhood. But man, Ms. Vieira really brought it down for me. Thankfully I’d already seen the ceremony once (including the bits NBC cut out in order to run more commercials), so I was just watching again to see the initial bits that I missed and to compare the coverage.

So a few point-form comments on bits I enjoyed of the Opening Ceremonies!

  • Kenneth Branagh in a stovepipe hat
  • Um, the Queen as a Bond girl.  I <3 being in the commonwealth.
  • And her CORGIS.  I swear, corgis are turning me into a dog person.
  • Glowing beds and dancing nurses and kids and a tribute to the NHS
  • Childrens’ choirs singing pretty songs I know
  • Abide with me, so pretty.
  • All the pretty sod that they used for the opening
  • The hill with all the flags of the represented countries on it
  • OMG, each country a part of the cauldron. How awesome is that?

So the actual events start today! Artistic gymnastics is a favourite of mine, so I’ll be watching that. We’re watching a good bit of cycling (fresh from watching weeks of the Tour de France, we love our cycling). I like gymnastics and diving the best, but I also like to watch sports I don’t get to see much of otherwise- canoe/kayak, badminton, equestrian, rowing, etc etc. I like the opportunity to learn more about the various nations that have sent athletes, and about the host country. Super excited.

So yeah, for the next couple weeks, it will be Olympics fever up in here! Yaaaaaay. 😀