London Calling Blog: US Women Steal the Show!
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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 31: US Women Steal the Show!

Me during the women's team final at the O2

I think that this is the best American team of all times; a big congratulation is in order! The Russians had a lot of spirit, great gymnastics and fought for every tenth during the meet, but at end it was simply too much. Perhaps after beam they felt that it was no longer possible to keep up with the strongest team in the world and their team suffered a set back on the last event. Regardless, the gold was USA's and they deserved it! Like I expected Romania showed more consistency in the battle for the bronze between them and China and deservingly got third place!

At the end of the meet the host announcer gave tribute to legend Larisa Latynina, announcing her to the crowd and showing her on the big arena screen. Ironically, Latynina's record of 18 Olympic medals was broken today by the US swimmer Michael Phelps.

Larisa Latynina on the big screen at the O2 during the women's all-around

In the evening a caught up with the highest-ranked Bulgarian judge Zdravko Kurtev. He actually happened to be one of the E-panel judges on the pommel horse yesterday at the men's team competition. For some of you that are still wondering what happened with the fiasco on Uchimura's pommel horse score change here is a play-by-play report. The D-panel judges originally didn't recognize Uchimura's dismount, which cost him .5 plus no value for the dismount (the E-score, deductions, have no impact on the change of the score). The Japanese team inquired right away, which was reviews by the FIG technical committee members (none of the seven judges were involved in this review). After a substantial amount of replays the committee ruled that there was a dismount of a C value, which adds to Uchimura's score .5 for the dismount requirement, and .3 for the C value skill; hence, total of .8 change on the final score. The interesting part is that one of the two D-panel judges was from Japan and he didn't give the dismount to Uchimura. Now that is a judge with integrity.

I hope for a great competition tomorrow for the men's all-around. Uchimura has looked a little frail in London, but he is still the man to beat. The American men have a great chance too. In addition, we have Hambuchen who has returned to the all-around stronger than ever, the British boys, Ukrainian Kuksenkov, young Russians all of which are capable of medaling. It will be fun following the battle!

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