Olimpic Games 2000
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"The laughing person is that person, who laughs the last"
The Olimpic 2000 passed, The Olimpics, which meant that the Ukrainian victories of all Olimpicc in female gymnastics ended. That's true, on the 2 Olimpics, where Ukraine competed independent from USSR, its gymnasts always stoood on the first steps of the podium in rhythmic and female artistic gymnastics. In 1992 they were Tatiana Gutstu and Alexandra Timoshenko, in 1996 they were Ekaterina Serebrianskaya and Lilia Podkopayeva. And not just 1st places Ukrainian rhythmic gymnasts got. In 1992 the bronze was win by Oksana Skaldina and in 1996 the medal won Elena Vitrichenko. Nervously the whole gymnastics Ukraine was waiting for this Olimpics, the hope always left, but now it is over. In Atlanta, Ukraine in the total ranking placed 8th position with 9 gold medals and 3 medals got female gymnastics. In Sydney Ukraine finished just 21st with no medals from female gymnasts at all!
I think nowadays no one will remember Lori Fung, the first Olimpic RSG champion, because she won in 1984, when Bulgaria and USSR didn't go. Even before the Olimpics I read an article in the Russian newspaper : "Alina Kabaeva is already an Olimpic AA Champion, she has good chances to win with all four other routines, Yulia Barsukova can also win some of the medals". Surely, Russians want their gymansts to win more medals, but what the newspaper wrote is quite impossible. In fact, only 2 gold medals are in the program of RSG Olimpic competition : AA group and individual. The first was a group competition
Before the competition it was already practically solved who will win the medals in the group competition: it was Russia, Greece and Belorus, as far as Ukraine didn't go to Olimpics because of its definitely disguisting competition on World Championships 1999 in Osaka. Even the order of the group was very well seen : 1st Greece, then Russia and then Belorus. After the quallification all was correct. Greece was confidently leading.
In the finals started the surprises, Greece lost clubs three times! I have never seen such a mistake in their routines, they are always so confident! Belorus did good under the folk music, only with a little mistake and got an 9,8 the same for Russia. So after the first rotation Greece dropped to the 3rd, which wasn't expected by anybody! The second rotation was started by Belorussians. Like that they won the World Championships 1997, though only 2 gymnasts from that group came o compete in Sydney. The Grieg's "In the hall of the mountain King" seemed to help them, because the composition was just brilliant and without any mistakes. Belorussians got 19,700. The last group to compete was Greece and Russia. The ribbon + hoops routine looked more like for Greek, but they lost all with clubs and stayed behind Belorus group. Then Russia came. The music from the film "Kleopatra" and amazing choreography was in their routine….But after the routine we saw 19,700 on the screen, but anyway, Russia became an Olimpic group champion because in the qualification it placed higher. The leaders of the world group, the Greek team, was on the 3rd position. Four years ago, in 1996, with Marina Fateyeva Russian group placed 2nd, then Marina went to Greece to try to born there an Olimpic Champion, but again her pupils placed second….
Now a bit about Individual competition. Here even the top five was seen very good : Alina Kabaeva (RUS), Yulia Raskina (BLR), Yulia Barsukova (RUS), Eva Serrano (FRA) and our Elena Vitrichenko. Alina Kabaeva practically won the Olimpics before the Games, as far as Yulia Raskina was always on the second behind Kabaeva on the last European Champs and Worlds, she was given silver before the Games. Some discussions were devoted to the 3rd position, because Barsukova, Serrano and Vitrichenko could fight for it. But Yulia Barsukova had a little advantage.
In the individual qualification there were practically no sensations. The leaders took their usual position with Kabaeva on the top. Maybe a little surprise we got from Edita Schaufler, who lost the ball twice and didn't get in the final. Tamara Yerofeeva got to lose her ball and ribbon on the easiest elements after two good-performed routines All waited for the final individual competition.
It looked more like the apparatus finals, though such discipline isn't in the program of the Games. All the gymnasts in the rotations competed with the same apparatus, perhaps, it made the work if the judges easier. The first apparatus to go was rope. All the leaders did good and we saw the usual picture on the screen: Kabaeva, Raskina, Barsukova, Serrano and Vitrichenko. Tamara Yerofeeva earned 9,750 and was dividing the 8-10th positions with Marchesi and Cid Tostado. The main surprises came up with the second rotation, where gymnasts did with hoop. Barsukova started with her hoop routine and I think out of all the finalists, she was less nervous. Only confidence was seen in her two routines. Tamara Yerofeeva and Elena Vitrichenko really did very good and Tamara's routine looked really great in the technique view. Then appeared Yulia Raskina with unbelieverable 9,761 for her routine. No one actually knows what Yulia was deducted for. Some people think it's because of her leotard, which was small for her, others think that her hoop once went out of the floor (actually, the second is wrong, the hoop never went out of the carpet). Alina Kabaeva was the last to compete with this apparatus. She started the routine good, but in the end she just lost the hoop and it flew to the wall, which was after the line of the carpet…I wonder what will be if there is no wall. "I just relaxed my hand," - Alina will say afterwards. But anyway the gold medal flew out of Kabaeva's hand, just like the hoop. Had received 9,641, Alina had practically now chanced to overscore the leader, Yulia Barsukova. Who could say before the Games that after the second rotation Alina Kabaeva will be on the fifth position and Yulia Barsukova on the first? I think none. After the 2nd rotation the nervous went a little down. Yulia Raskina, Tamara Yerofeeva, Elena Vitrichenko - all did brilliant. Only Valeria Vatkina making a little mistake said a "Good-bye" to the 6th position. Alina Kabaeva seemed to relax and earned for her ball routine and amazing 9,950 (the highest score of the competition). I disagree with that score, because the pivet technique was so poor that I wanted to close my eyes and not to watch that disaster. The last on the carpet appeared Yulia Barsukova with her graceful "Swan" routine with ball. Yulia changed the ending a bit, she just stood in the balance with the ball in her hand, while she had to put the ball on the foot. But anyway that was a great routine and Yulia Barsukova stayed the leader. After the third rotation, Elena Vitrichenko was winning 0,001 to Serrano, but Alina was very near. Elena was the first to compete in the last, fourth rotation. With her brilliant ribbon routine she ended her 2nd and last Olimpic Games. Tamara Yerofeeva appeared the next and got for her very good-performed ribbon fourth score of 9,750 and in total had 39,000. Alina Kabaeva and then Yulia Barsukova got over the Ukrainians…That meant that it's not the medal time for Ukraine. Eva Serrano to overscore Vitrichenko had to get 9,786, but she didn't get such score and stayed the fifth. The only person who could overscore Barsukova and Kabaeva was Yulia Raskina. It was practically impossible for Raskina to overscore Barsukova, because she needed a perfect 10,0 for it, but it was possible to catch Kabaeva! Yulia performed a wonderful routine and overscored Alina…Again, like in the group competition, the leader stayed on the third place. Again, like in Atlanta, the gymnast who won qualification (in 1996 it was Vitrichenko), became 3rd.
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