On Sunday, U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman gave such an amazing performance on the uneven bars that she scored one of two spots competing for the all-around medal. But it’s her parents that stole the spotlight. Watch Ricky and Lynn Raisman contort themselves as they cheer their daughter on from the stands.
So, yesterday was basically one of the most exciting days I’ve ever had. As you know, Julie is headed to the Olympics in London in August, but I got the chance to attend the gymnastics Olympic trials this week in San Jose on behalf of P&G Beauty. For three hours, I had the opportunity to watch, up close, the country’s best gymnasts practice for competition. It was, quite simply, awe-inspiring. I’ll be posting photos and videos in the next week.
But equally as exciting was sitting down to talk with an incredible athlete who is not competing this year – Shawn Johnson, who won the gold medal on balance beam, and the silver all-around individual medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Earlier this month, despite prior intentions to compete for a slot on the 2012 Olympic team, Johnson announced her retirement due to recurring problems with her knee following an injury. Instead, her new role at the Olympic Games will be as a P&G correspondent, interviewing athletes and cheering them on from the stands. After the jump, read my interview with Shawn, who talks about what she learned from being surrounded by so many other women, how she feels about being a role model, and what question she’s dying to ask the Olympic athletes in London. Oh yeah, and we also obviously talked about gross beauty tips, Ryan Gosling, tall guys, and “Magic Mike.” Because duh. Keep reading »
Johanna Quaas is 86 years old and still doing cartwheels. The German gymnast wowed at the 2012 Cottbus World Cup with this impressive floor routine. She also competed on parallel bars. OK, I feel lame. First of all, she looks amazing in her leotard. Second of all, SHE’S FREAKING 86 YEARS OLD. I’m going to work on my handstand this weekend. What are you doing? [Dlisted]
And now from the “Things Which Sound Like Something On ’30 Rock’ But Are Actually Real” files: The Up Yer Pole pole dancing school in Scotland has begun offering classes for elementary schoolers ages six to 12. Up Yer Pole calls the lessons “pole fit” classes, alleging they are gymnastics classes with no sexual dancing and are open to both girls and boys.
Be that as it may (and I won’t deny a workout on the pole is athletically rigorous), who do these Up Yer Pole people think they’re fooling? Keep reading »
For fans of NCAA basketball, March Madness is the culmination of the collegiate sport year. But for me, a former gymnast—mediocre in skill, but a gold medalist in mania—April is what I live for. See, April is women’s college gymnastics month and this year the National Championships were held in Gainesville, Florida, the home of the Gator chop, a choreographic staple in every Florida floor routine. The Championships took place April 21st and 22nd, but aired on CBS this weekend. I watched in awe of all the scrunchies, the hip-hop-“inspired” performances, the eye glitter seemingly applied by a Texas pageant mom, and the women flying through the air and toward the vault and eventually their futures outside of the gym. Keep reading »
Why is no one obsessing about the new gymnastics show “Make It Or Break It”? It’s on ABC Family and is technically for teens, but even though there’s a cheesy family moment at the end of every episode, this show is totally awesome! ABC Family has generally oscillated between amazing shows (see: “Greek”) and craptastic ones (see: “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), and for the summer of 2009, “Make It Or Break It” is the stupendous to the hard-core sucking of “10 Things I Hate About You.” In just five episodes, a lot has happened. But no worries. Let me fill you in on why you should be clearing your schedule on Mondays at 9 p.m. Or at least making space on your DVR. Keep reading »
If I could still do a cartwheel without hurting myself, I would. Just watching Shawn Johnson do those amazing gymnastic-tastic moves at the Olympics made me hearken back to a time when I would spend recess walking on my hands without worrying that my shirt was covering my face instead of my mosquito bites. Sigh, those were the days. But sadly, a grade school in Australia has banned “dangerous” cartwheels and handstands in an attempt to avoid injuries. Needless to say, parents are baffled and kids are bummed. What’s next: banning writing because it could cause carpal tunnel? Outlawing hopscotch because you could sprain your ankle?
Keep reading »
I’m more than a little into watching the Olympics. In fact, I made my friends rush through dinner earlier in the week so I could run home and catch the women’s gymnastics team finals. Last night, the women’s individual all-around competition aired, and I wasn’t able to watch them live. This really ruined my otherwise pleasant day. I got home just in time to watch the recap and got a little emotional when the announcer said 18-year-old Nastia Liukin had won the gold medal and 16-year-old Shawn Johnson had taken the silver. They were both just so excited and not at all jaded about the whole experience, which I found refreshing. Watch Nastia and Shawn with their parents and coaches on Today after the jump… Keep reading »