London Calliing Blog: Changing of the Guard
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2000 Bulgarian Olympian Christian Ivanov continues his blog, "London Calling," for International Gymnast Online, through which he will be sharing his experiences visiting the Olympic host city.

July 30: Changing of the Guard

During the day I took a ferry ride to central London. The ride was fun, though it's actually used as a mean of public transportation. I enjoyed seeing the amazing Tower Bridge with the Olympic rings, which are massive from up close. My trip centered around the Buckingham Palace where I had a chance to catch the changing of the guard. The Palace is right next to St. James Park, where the beach volleyball is being held. I strolled through the park and it was lovely, thank God for another day without rain though!

Me in front of the London Bridge

And now to the gymnastics men's team final. There ended up being no changing of the guard, with China winning yet again. Wow, what a competition... filed with so much drama. In the last few years I've had this realization that in today's high difficulty of our sport we have to accept that teams will go through some errors in team finals, and that the teams with the fewest mistakes will place the best. But today China hit 18/18 routines. After a mediocre qualification round two days ago I would not have predicted that this was possible, and that they would run away with the gold. However, mighty China proved again that anything is possible. In addition, the third place finisher, host team Great Britain, came very close to China's perfect percentage missing only one routine tonight (Sam Oldham on the high bar). From the other teams, USA stumbled early with falls by Sam Mikulak on floor and John Orozco and Danell Leyva on horse. The Japanese were better than prelims but still had large mistakes, four in total to be exact. The Russians, just like Japan and the USA, had mistakes across all of the events and it put them out of the medals. But at the end of the day it was China and Great Britain which had the best competitions. After all of the mistakes and the injury, Japan's silver medal ended up being more of a relief for them than actual disappointment.

Again, it came down to an inquiry, video review and a change of an original score in order the final medal standings to be declared. My wonder is, if the judges are the best in the world, and they are as passionate about our sport as we are, aren't they supposed to get something so important right on their first try? It disturbs me how we had to have another controversy at the end of an Olympic competition, but at least this time they got it right. Unfortunately it should not have happened that way, and five Ukrainian gymnasts will forever feel they were robbed of Olympic medals.

After the gymnastics meet IG publisher Paul Ziert and I had dinner with a few friends including Val Kondos, the UCLA gymnastics head coach, and Carol-Angela Orchard, former Canadian national coach and a British gymnastics team coordinator, as well as the wife of Great Britain men team's technical director Ed Van Hoof. There were some other coaches there, including junior women's coach Nick Ruddoc, so of course we celebrated the British's success with champagne... they were ecstatic about the bronze, Britain's first Olympic team medal in 100 years!

At dinner after the men's team final
Oh, Carol-Angela also ended up with Louis Smith's flowers from the medal ceremony!

Val Kondos, the British men's assistant coach and Carol-Angela Orchard (with Louis Smith's flowers)

My predictions have fallen through so far so I hate to leave one for tomorrow, but the favorite's got to be the USA. Don't forget to follow Paul Ziert's live commentary on Facebook!

Comments (1)add comment

Nit-Picker said:

Right Sentiment, Wrong Bridge
I'm really enjoying the blogs from London. I have a small correction to suggest in the spirit of accuracy: The bridge in the photo and caption isn't London Bridge. It's Tower Bridge. THE London Bridge, referred to in the children's song and the like, is located farther down from Tower Bridge and is much more ordinary looking. Again, love the blog and the photos!
July 31, 2012
Votes: +4

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