Aug 9 11:30 to 12:15 NBC pm
1:15 to 1:40 NBC pm
Is anyone recording it by any chance? I have to go to lunch :( and I am too dumb to figure out how to record with this machine.
Last edited by Johar; 08-08-2012 at 10:33 PM.
Would that I could!
I hope someone reports on it. I hope they show at least some in prime time.
I think they will post the replays of the competition online. I'm going to have to watch it that way, too, due to work and other commitments.
The standings are as follows:
1. Daria Dmitrieva (RUS)
2. Evgenia Kanaeva (RUS) - She is the heavy favorite trying to get a second olympic gold, however she dropped the hoop in her routine.
3. Lubov Charkashina (BLR)
This was only the qualification so the standings will not matter during finals. The goal here is just to get to the final.
Like subtlety in ice dancing
Notes from the individual qualifications, with the caveat that I don't really follow rhythmic gymnastics. I do, however, know dance and what I like in musical expression.
Yeon Jae Son who went into a surprise first place when she finished (a placement she kept for quite a bit), I remember as being a performance I really enjoyed, and was delighted to find the judges agreed.
The gymnast from Cyprus spun the ball on her fingertip for quite a bit like a basketball player, the audience loved it and so did I.
This is when I started to actually take notes, the prior stuff is from memory.
Of course, even I know who Evgenia Kanaeva is. And it was shocking to see her drop the hoop not once, but twice. But otherwise, up until that point, her routine was the most exciting, intricate and beautifully performed by far. Daria Dmitrieva performed before her, I thought Daria was pretty good, but not first place good. But again, I don't know rhythmic gymnastics.
The American gymnast, Julie Zetlin, might have dropped the ball more than once. Even when she wasn't dropping the ball, the routine was tense, sloppy, out of rhythm and her extensions were pretty crap compared to the other competitors. The music sucked, too. It was by far, the worst performance I'd seen at that point.
Ukraine's Alina Maksymenko came out in the best outfit, a black bodysuit with gold trims, and a golden hoop. Her routine, the music and everything else, however, did not quite live up to it.
Australia's Janine Murray had a truly charming routine, with lots of original moves. She threw some butterfly leaps in there! She did a spin where she went from a crouch to a stand. She had a habit of holding the ball between her thighs or with them, which was rather comical, but then so was the music and so it worked for me. However, near the end of the routine, she just dropped the ball during a non-element. She had to run a bunch of steps to catch it, and the # of steps determine the deduction. As a result, she's in last place.
Ganna Rizatdinova from the Ukraine walks out on her toes, like she's a ballerina on demi-pointe. I immediately scoffed, "how pretentious!" But then she started her routine, and my god, she's not pretending to have ballet training, she not only has it, but dances like an truly gifted ballerina with incredible sensitivity towards the music and the movement. This ball routine stood out completely from all the rest as the greatest dance performance. Just achingly beautiful. I don't think the difficulty level was up there, near as I can tell, but the BBC commentators and I agree: artistically no one comes close. The judges, however, vigorously disagree and give her a mediocre 9.2 for artistry. A pox on those judges!
Neta Rivkin of Israel comes out in an outfit that I can only describe as a swan covered in blood. I brace myself for a morbid routine set to music from the film Black Swan. Fortunately, it's just generic Latin music.
Rotation 1 over!
Oh, man, I hope I get to see this! It sounds tremendous. I wish America would get good at rhythmic gymnastics so they would show more of it on our TV. Thanks so much for the descriptions. I can't wait to see the Ukrainian--well, all of them! The more the merrier, even the swan covered in blood. (>chuckle<)
Like subtlety in ice dancing
Melitina Staniouta with the ball. I liked her movement quality in the earlier parts of the program, but the choreography's a bit too frenetic for the serene music. I don't get it. A great move where she went from a crouch spin right up into a spin in the arabesque position.
Liubou Charkashyna has a truly lovely performance with ball. Lots of intricate and unusual throws and dribbles, ending with a pretty spectacular catch where she catches the ball while upside down, with her thighs! After a pretty and ethereal routine, Liubou pumps her fist in triumph in the most indelicate way. She earned it.
Anna Alyabyeva does a ball routine to a piano version of "I Will Always Love You". A really boring and uninspired piano version of the song, mind you. The performance is nice enough, until she dropped the ball, then it gets a bit frenetic. At least Whitney Houston isn't around to see this.
Austria's Caroline Weber does a hoop routine to Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water!" Heavy metal in rhythmic gymnastics? It's happening! Unfortunately, the performance doesn't quite live up to it. It's mostly staid and pretty and could've been done to any of the usual music.
16 year-old Jana Berezko-Marggrander from Germany uses music from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. She puts about as much feeling into that sad, wistful music as you might expect a 16 year old to be able to: none at all. I am not impressed.
Daria Dmitrieva's second routine with the hoop impressed me much more than her first. Full of speedy, and to my eye, difficult-looking tricks. She gets a monster score to go with it. The gymnast who came in as a replacement is now the one to beat.
Aliya Garayeva does a routine to an instrumental version of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On." The male BBC commentator informs me that this is a piece of music from an iconic British film. The female BBC commentator has no idea what he's talking about. It's The Full Monty! Cheeky selection from the Azerbaijan gymnast, no doubt with her British audience in mind. Alas, aside from one sexy gesture at the beginning, the rest of the routine could've been done to any music. This wasn't even a half monty.
Julie Zetlin is back again. She does not improve my impression of her one bit. Everything she does looks labored and sloppy, and the flexibility is just visibly subpar. She also drops the hoop twice during the routine. And there's absolutely no musical feeling to her at all. For me, she is starkly the worst competitor here.
Evgeniya Kanaeva's second routine with a ball that looks distractingly like candy went much better. No mistakes at all, and gets a giant score. I expected and wanted to feel more from the routine musically, though, and didn't get it. There are great tricks in there, but that seems to me to be about it.
Janine Murray from Australia is back again, this time with a hoop. And no mistakes this time! At the very end, she throws the hoop, and while it rolls back to her, does a butterfly jump right over it before immediately catching it. Very original.
Alina Maksymenko does a routine to the Mission: Impossible theme. The routine is nicely done and all, but there's absolutely no feeling of danger or intrigue. I liked that she dribbled the ball repeatedly from chest height during a spin (most other gymnasts dribble it much lower while spinning).
Ganna Rizatdinova, my favorite from rotation 1, comes out to do a routine to... heavy rock music! She was a delicate ballerina with the ball, and now she's a headbanger with the hoop! She manages to keep the character of the music pretty well, although the aesthetics of rhythmic gymnastics limits how far she can go with this. Some really sharp, angular accents at the beginning with her whole body seemingly shuffling around like pile of blocks in an earthquake. The judges give her the same middling artistic score of 9.2. I want her to ditch this sport and join a modern dance company.
Like subtlety in ice dancing
Group qualifications, first rotation:
Belarus with 5 balls - I'm told they're world champions with 5 balls. I can see why! The white balls streak all over in all kinds of formations. I am dizzy just watching the balls. This was like an impossibly coordinated juggling routine with 5 people who are doing flips and jumps at the same time. There's one genius move after another. It's all done to the very stately music of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which suits it perfectly. I love it so much I rewatch it immediately!
Then Canada shows how it's not done. A much simpler, far less inspired and complex routine, that they nonetheless are noticeably sloppy on (even if I ignore that one ball drop).
Team Great Britain does a simple but cute routine nicely. There's even a moment in which the gymnast in the center juggles 3 balls! But the simplicity keeps the routine from being very interesting, and it wears a bit long even in that short amount of itme.
Team Spain uses a piece of music that would be immediately familiar to skating fans: Ikuko Kawai's arrangement of Concerto de Aranjuez adagio. There is, however, very little feeling of the breezy romance the piece conveys. There are attempts at flamenco movement in it that fell completely flat from inauthenticity. On the bright side, their balls make me think of cherry tomatoes!
Team Bulgaria marches out in dark blue outfits, along with balls the sheen and color of pearls. I construct a story in my head of mermaids dancing at night. Alas, what actually happens is a pretty robotic routine to Moonlight Sonata. I'm not feeling it.
Team Greece emerges in the most egregious outfits at these games yet: magenta bustiers with giant neon green straps on the back, and what looks like hairy epaulets. The music is similarly incongruent: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with a totally unnecessary cut in it, unnecessary because the music that switches unceremoniously into swing music. Still, I liked a lot of their formations and sequences, though.
Team Russia has a decent routine with some neat formations and sequences, as well as a decent match to the music. Each gymnast is very flexible and graceful. I know they'll get a huge score, but Belarus is still my favorite by far.
Team Italy does a routine to some really intense string music. The gymnasts, however, grin their way throughout. And the threat and drama of the music is not conveyed at all by the choreography or the gymnasts' body langauge. They do display very good formations and some amazing tricks. One seemingly impossible trick happened with one gymnast throwing a ball while another gymnast is doing a front walkover (a handstand flip), the upside down gymnast bats the ball with her leg at the apex of the walkover and knocks it to the intended target. Impressive stuff, it just doesn't come together with the music.
Overall, after the smashing start by Belarus, I was very, very disappointed. Belarus was the only one among the top teams who truly expressed the feel of the music.
I hunted around on YouTube and came upon a 2012 group competition of Ukraine. I think group competitions are almost scary. How do they get everything so synchronized among the competitors? How do they get the streamers to coil exactly the same way? It's mind-boggling, and I'm sure the influence of space aliens is involved. Thanks for the report. I hope to be able to locate some of these.
Wow, I saw about 4 routines with ribbon. I guess this has become the beauty pageant aspect of the sports. It does seem they are more dance than gymnast and it is good to be Balanchine ballerina body type. The costumes, the makeup. How pretty the girls, like ice dancers in skating! I have not seen this in a long time and the sport has changed. I missed the ball routines, but expect they will show up on youtube maybe.
Like subtlety in ice dancing
I saw almost all of the rhythmic gymnastics shown so far (except for the third rotation of qualifications where the BBC feed had a snafu, I only hunted down and saw the few gymnasts I was interested in for those missed bits). I would've reviewed more of them except there are so many, and I was too busy dealing with the BBC site snafu to jot down more notes. But here are some concluding thoughts on the individual rhythmic gymnastics:
Evgeniya Kanaeva is clearly, even to someone as uninitiated to rhythmic gymnastic as I, far and above the best. Her routines are packed with the most difficulty and intricacy of any gymnast, and executed with an amount of elegance, grace, control and emotional projection that ranks among the best (I think there are other gymnasts equal to her in those areas, but they, like everybody else, lack the difficulty). You put it all together, and she's just impossible to beat. The BBC commentator and active gymnastic coach Christine Still declared Kanaeva the best rhythmic gymnast that ever competed. That seems indisputable to me.
The breakout star of these games, though, and one you should make an effort to watch (besides Kanaeva), is Yeon Jae Son of South Korea. She moves with a kind of fluidity that I can only describe as delicious. There's just something very satisfying to all her movement. She also has the loveliest smile that projects to every part of the arena. She got the loudest applause besides Kanaeva. Her difficulty level is up there. She is actually relatively low in the rankings because of a GIGANTIC mistake she made during clubs (she dropped both clubs during what looked to me to be the most difficult throw attempted by any of the women here with clubs). She might have been the bronze medalist but for that.
Having watched a nauseating amount of rhythmic gymnastics, I have enough of a feel for it to see that Ganna Rizatdinova, whom I raved about in my earlier posts, have really pretty simple difficulty compared to the other gymnasts (except in clubs, where I think Rizatdinova is up there with the best). I still think she's a superior dancer, though.
I am lukewarm on the silver medalist Daria Dmitrieva. Yes, I can see that she goes for an intense amount of difficulty. But there's something rather unfeeling and businesslike about the way she does all her routines. She hits all the right positions, but a bit too quickly and without sensitivity. That is actually a problem with MOST of the competitors here. But I single her out because she won silver.
Overall, I find the dance in rhythmic gymnastics pretty lacking in most of the competitors. Most routines are just crammed with busywork to rack up scores rather than interpret the music (something that totally applies to figure skating as well). It's obviously an intensely and unbelievably difficult sport, but the artistic part is rather lacking. I find it galling that even though difficulty and artistry are both scored out of 10, the judges refuse to score routines with slightly lower levels of difficulty with the artistry scores they deserve. This results in a competitive environment in which gymnasts would rather rack up their difficulty for the guaranteed points than improve their own artistry.
leave no stone unturned
The enseble finals are today, did you see Italy in Q round? They were amazing!
Like subtlety in ice dancing
While Belarus had my favorite 5 balls routine, Italy had my favorite 3 ribbons 2 hoops routine. The Italian routine was perfectly envisioned choreography to a great choice of music (the William Tell overture, and not a rock or techno arrangement of it either). It worked perfectly. Unfortunately, one of the Italian gymnasts dropped the ribbon during a catch out of bounds, and dropped them from silver to bronze in the final. *sadtrombone* Still, I can't be that mad since Belarus won silver.
On the other hand, I really, really object to Team Russia's choice of music in 3 ribbons 2 hoops. What the heck was that? It was a senseless mix of house music with vaguely Latin tinges, then in the middle, a saxophone version of Etta James' "At Last"! It was like someone with really awful taste in music pressing the next track button really quickly while the music player is on shuffle. I'd have disqualified them for music choice.
I'm jealous of you for getting to see all of it but grateful for the descriptions of everything. I'll have to piece together an experience from YouTube videos, probably of prior competitions by those same gymnasts.
I suspect I'll have the same reaction as you about the way artistry is crowded out by tricks to gain points. After someone here linked to an interview of Olga Korbut, I went back and watched her 1972 artistic gymnastics floor exercise. Korbut (styled by her coach, Knysh) really began the march toward more acrobatically challenging routines in gymnastics. But in those days the tricks hadn't advanced to the point where they are today, and there was still room for grace. (The sprung floor, developed later, had a lot to do with the evolution of tumbling routines to the point where they left no room for dance.) I realize that if I had started watching gymnastics with this Olympics, I wouldn't be as fond of it.
I hope there's some injection of common sense into these three judged sports--artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and our beloved figure skating--before it starts looking as if the music is completely irrelevant because no interpretation is possible. I'm kind of adjusted to the loss of musicality in the artistic gymnastics floor routine, but it would be a pity if those lovely rhythmic moments with the streamers lost any connection with the music. As for skating, perish the thought!
Like subtlety in ice dancing
I don't mind the big tricks in artistic gymnastics as much. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy them most of the time! The problem is when they set a routine to music, as in the floor exercise. When movement doesn't harmonize with music, it's... disconcerting. And movement with music is pretty much my favorite thing in the world, whether it be any of the musical sports, dance, music videos, movie sequences set to a great score, etc. I would love to see musicality emphasized more in all the musical sports: from synchronized swimming to rhythmic gymnastics to figure skating to artistic gymnastics (I want to see male gymnasts do floor routines to music, too). I just don't see why human judgment can't be trusted when it's a group of vetted, trained judges. We trust the judgment of groups of people on far more life-and-death things, from jury trials to elections. And it's not as if the removal of human judgment makes a sport fairer. In fact, from what I can see, usually the less subjective human judgment is involved in deciding the results of a sport, the more open it is to doping.