The beginning-of-the-quad recap project continues today with a trip back to a far-off land called 2001, the last year in which a team final was held in the season immediately after the Olympics.
If you’re wondering why we don’t do that anymore, allow me to…
Yeah. That. It’s pretty much that.
My favorite part is how she has a balance check after the fall.
That GIF said, having a full-team worlds the year after the Olympics does give us a chance to see some highly unexpected people—who will obviously never be allowed to see the light of day ever again after disgracing their nations with their very existences.
We also get some highly unexpected final team placements (because of reasons like China fundamentally not being able to even…), which is exciting and interesting in its own way. It’s why I wish we had team finals every year. “It would be a catastrophic mess” is a reason for it, not a reason against it.
Embrace the mess. Khorkina clearly has.
The year 2001 also takes us back to the good old days when worlds were on ESPN—starring Bart—and were kind of, sort of, almost treated like a real sport. Or something. What a concept.
Sadly, that also means we’re barely reaching the requisite amount of vaguely inappropriate jabbering commentator stew (except for Bart’s “Postcard from Ghent,” and we’ll get there I promise). Which will never do.
That’s why it’s exceptionally important that Eurosport swooped in with Monica “YOU get an eating disorder, and YOU get an eating disorder” Phelps for the final two rotations. So…we’re more than set.
Such a savage buzzard. So unnecessarily blunt. I know we shouldn’t be encouraging her. I know. But…come on. This actually is one of her better-behaved broadcasts. She doesn’t even call anyone “chunky.” Someone got some notes?
Anyway, we begin on ESPN with Bart telling us that the Russians have been inconsistent so far in the competition.
MY WORD THIS CANNOT BE. The Russians?!?! Inconsistent?!?!
In other news…
Significantly, Andreea Raducan is making her return to major international competition at this meet in the aftermath of cough medicine. We’re going to hear a lot about cough medicine. Like a lot.
So, Cough Medicine is fine on vault. MY GOD A HIT ROUTINE. She has that momentary invention of the concept of Tatiana Nabieva on pre-flight, though her layout version is better than her piked version because Cough Medicine.
Up next, Khorkina on floor.
Monica sums it up: “Moody as a film star…Not such a pretty landing.” Autobiography subtitle?
Khorkina’s rickety stork legs were a detriment to her on floor about 50% of the time, but then occasionally you’d be like, “The stork is really Robin Hood!”
The first rotation also provides us with a first look at new senior Verona van de Leur.
A first look, but surely not a last look!
The US team starts on bars, where everyone in the entire competition scores a 0.00gohometrash, except for Khorkina who gets 9.7. Bars scoring in 2001 was basically just Nellie Kim writing F- on a piece of paper and then shouting, “Slut!” from the judges’ table.
Or as Monica puts it, “Gymnasts are practically having to draw blood to get into the 9s.”
Khorkina’s like, “ON IT.”
Heenan and Schiwkert are quite clean on bars for the US, Heenan performing a fully-twisting gosh-golly-gee directly connected into wide-eyed wholesomeness.
We’re in Ghent, Belgium for this championship, so Bart is here with a POSTCARD FROM GHENT to help us get to know the chocolate.
I mean area.
The area is chocolate.
Because Belgian chocolate.
Did you know Belgium has chocolate?
Noooooooooooo. You didn’t. You just didn’t.
“My wife’s going to love this!”
AHHH BECAUSE YOUR WIFE IS NADIA AND SHE GOT A 10!
How many times in Nadia’s life do you think she has been asked to eat something and then look to the camera and say, “That’s a perfect 10!” Like a billion?
This empty spoon is a perfect 10!
This moose is a perfect 10!
Meanwhile, as I’ve already alluded to, Khorkina fell on a Yurchenko full.
Khorkina is followed by a figment of your imagination named Maria Zassypkina.
I swear we’re just making up gymnasts now.
Romania is putting up Zippy Chunceau on bars. She fell.
The US has moved to beam, where Tasha Schwikert goes, “I wear makeup now” for 9.237.
Fun fact: the Ashley Miles 8.6 on bars and the Rachel Tidd 8.1 on beam didn’t make the broadcast. Cool how that worked out.
Bart tells us that the new code of points encourages a lot of fugly trash leaps on beam with stupid molasses rhythm because gymnastics is a butthead now. But, like, with professional words instead.
Tabitha “also does figure skating” Yim is up next. She mentioned figure skating once, so we’re never going to stop talking about it. Also, she does figure skating. BUT IS SHE DOING FIGURE SKATING RIGHT NOW????? WILL SHE MOUNT WITH A LUTZ?????
Tabitha’s routine is an effective demonstration that a split full on beam is a good choice for nobody. Not even Tabitha.
But don’t go away! Up next is the Romanian team on bars!!!!!
Octavian Bellu told Bart that he has just now decided that Romania needs to hire a bars coach. OH OK. I’m sure you’ll get on that.
All the pirouettes are done at exactly horizontal, Cough Medicine goes over on a bail, and everyone is disqualified from gymnastics. The end.
Moving on to rotation 3, this is where Eurosport/Monica Phelps get in on the action to spice things up, so strap in.
Also this happened.
Was it “dress up like your favorite 1994 Jim Carrey facial-expression vehicle” day?
You know that day?
Also note the various evolutionary stages of Daniel Radcliffe sitting in the row behind him.
Oh good. Now we’re having a fun little conversation about why the women only do four events to the men’s six, and “the idea being that the women aren’t quite as strong.” OH WHAT A GREAT START.
They seem to think it’s “Ziganshiva” not Ziganshina. I guess they were already planning to sit shiva for her bars dismount and simply got ahead of themselves.
Now, I’m usually the king of “I miss that skill!”
…but I’m kind of OK that the splay-legged dismount isn’t a thing.
Fortunately, just…whatever that thing was (squish it, squish it, squish it!) is palate-cleansed by the wonder of Khorkina’s bars and the glorious form and rhythm of the woman of a thousand transliterations, Ejova/Ezhova/Yezhova. Usually, the person who invents a skill does it kind of dumpily and blah, but Yezhova’s is still the best Yezhova.
The Dutch head to vault in the third rotation, where Miss Literally Everything Is A Cuervo just identifies every single vault as a Cuervo and then takes a nap. Thanks, Monica. I feel like maybe someone got a little too acquainted with one Jose Cuervo during this rotation.
We’re also introduced to the new vault table, in its first year in 2001.
I enjoy how Eurosport is basically just like, “Yeah, there’s a new vault. It’s better,” whereas during US Nationals NBC had to perform this whole “Er…What is it? Is it a shoe? Do I eat it?” kabuki about the new apparatus.
At that meet, Beth Ruyak does an entire report on how “they call it ‘the tongue’ and ‘the potato chip’,” and everyone’s just like
Ashley Miles begins on floor for the US in the third rotation as Sarah Patterson lurks off-camera with a net and some chloroform.
At this point, Monica almost says something awesome. “We seem to be going into a new era in women’s gymnastics. We’re not looking for prepubescent stick insects. We’ve very much got women in front of our eyes, which is great for the sport…”
Whoa. Weird. That was almost like…a positive, progressive thing to say.
“Providing they manage their physiques.”
Ahhh, there we go. There’s our girl.
Also, what is this floor routine, Ashley Miles?
“Interesting medley of songs” is Bart for “bulbous trash clatter.”
But Monica is digging these groovy tunes. Apparently, starting this year, we’re going to see some artistry on floor.
Starting this year.
Monica also confuses Tasha with Tabitha, thinks Tasha performed a double double, and is promising the extension of the floor area, so she’s def 78% through the bottle at this point.
In her defense, the guy calls the code of points the “code of conduct,” so she’s clearly sharing. Charitable.
Although, if we thought Monica was digging Ashley Miles, she’s really digging Tashabitha’s new “series of Las Vegas stereotypes that definitely wasn’t choreographed by Geza Pozsar” routine. So say we all.
There isn’t a single person who hasn’t gone OOB on floor the entire meet. GREAT JOB WINNERS.
Now that Monica is fully liquefied, it’s time for her favorite: Romania on beam. She takes one look at them and goes, “YUCKY POO POO BARF TOWN.”
She spends the entirely of Ionescu’s routine just coming up with names for skills that aren’t even things.
Lovely Q turn. She performs a wonderful Dominguez-Leibowitz. Named after……Connie? Probably? Gorgeous on the turtle leap, first performed by Milli Vanilli.
And yet, The Monica Show doesn’t truly arrive until Stroescu’s beam.
“We are seeing a Romanian gymnast whose flexibility is extremely poor.”
“Work on the hamstrings, which are obviously inadequate.”
Where is the lie, though?
Monica’s sensibilities have been forever offended by the feces that dares to masquerade as Silvia Stroescu’s legs. Meanwhile, Romania was crazy solid on beam and beat all the other teams there by a billion tenths, accounting for more-or-less the entire margin of victory. No other country could even.
Cough Medicine’s PERFECT beam routine is…I guess acceptable. Barely. She only has the best one-armed back handspring to layout stepout ever. Ugh, must try harder.
Russia, however, does not pass the Monica Test much better than Romania, as Monica gets immediately distracted during the “Ziganshiva” routine and spends the whole thing talking about what “a lovely, lovely man” Victor Gavrichenko is. Keep it in your pants, Monica.
“Abnormally tall” Khorkina is also a bucket of slop, because she wobbles a couple times (WHAT DEMON HATH POSSESSED THOU???) but also because “I don’t think she’s a dynamic beam worker.”
THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS.
“It is rather monotonous” she says as Khorkina dismounts with a gainer 2.5. You know, that monotonous dismount everyone does.
Also, Yezhova’s name is “Aona” now.
Drink up, Mon.
WHAT A DIVA BITCH.
Even though Russia had a terabyte of falls, the hit beam from Yezhova is enough to put them ahead the US since the US had a poor beam of its own and didn’t have Khorkina to draw blood for a precious, precious bars score.
For the Dutch on bars, Gabriella Wammes turned to soup on every single pirouette and was eventually absorbed into the floor. Monica: “The equivalent of 50 points.”
……yeah I have no idea either.
25 points to Hufflepuff for that floor routine!
Van de Leur’s bars is interrupted by this little nugget: “They’ve promised not to change the code again until 2008.”
AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
“We may yet see perfect 10s scored again somewhere in the next six or seven years.”
AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Oh, thanks Eurosport. I needed a good laugh.
On to the US on vault in the final rotation, where Ashley Miles provokes a Flubber reference that we’re just going to pretend never happened.
But…Flubber, you guys.
Meanwhile on ESPN, we get the old chestnut: “Is that considered a stuck landing?”
That isn’t even jargon. That’s just…the meaning of words.
It’s funny to watch Ashley Miles, with her power, vaulting fulls and 1.5s, even in elite. These days she would be put on Team Don’t Even Look At Us Until You Have An Amanar, Peasant.
Monica thinks “they have the computers out.” 100% they don’t. Martha has an abacus taped to a fax machine though I think.
Will that help?
Mohini Bhardwaj’s Yurchenko 1.5.
Bart: Beautiful technique!
Monica: Very bent left arm. A bit slack around the knees.
One vault. Two worlds.
For Romania on floor, it’s Ulmeanu who gets the Stoescu treatment. “She hasn’t got a streamlined body” is some peak euphemism work. It’s the new chunky. “I expect this is the type of gymnast…who would not be granted many of the three tenths for artistry.”
Cough Medicine, who was stripped of her medal for “taking a couple cough sweets”—OH BRITAIN—needs a .0001 on floor to clinch the team title because, even though bars was yucky yucky, Romania didn’t fall on any other routines. That put them a thousand miles ahead of all the other miscreants.
Raducan gets her .0001. JUST BARELY.
So there we have it.
Romania in 1st.
Russia in 2nd despite 5 of the 12 scores being in the 8s, Khorkina playing Duck Hunt on vault, and the rest of the team being 8 out of 10 on the Russia score.
The US in 3rd because of 8.1 on beam.
Netherlands dropping to 5th because of Gabriella Wammes’s soup recipe.
Monica sums up the competition as follows: “Octavian Bellu, a wonderful gentleman.”
Meanwhile, “Bart Conner is with the happy winners.”
“Ashley Miles, tell me how you got your act together for this competition.”
As good a conclusion as any.