|By Meredith and Bernard.Barcelona - August 12th 2004 - Page 22.
Before the Athens Olympics.
How fine is the ambiance of the 'Ramblas' in Barcelona! This city welcomed the Olympics 12 years ago. Remember... it was the announced rivalry between Kim Zsmeskal and Svetlana Boguinskaia, Henrietta Onodi and her wonderful eyes, the Tatiana Gutsu triumph, the perfection of Lavinia Milosovici on Floor, the passion of the crowd for the Fraguas sisters, the talent of Carolina Pascual, the farewell of Oksana Skaldina and Alexandra Timoschenko. Australia competed with the talented Monique Allen, France with the experienced Karine Boucher and with the charismatic Cloe Maigre... Memories, memories!
Today... the Athens Olympics!
We don't pretend doing predictions, so many talents are entering the events!
We just write some facts we've noticed.
Romania seems to be a central pretender to a team success, despite the injury of Munteanu, the team competes with Oana Ban, Daniela Sofronie, Catalina Ponor, Alexandra Eremia, Monica Rosu and Silvia Stroescu. Obviously a strong and steady group.
China, Usa and Russia are the challengers for the podium medals, Russia can be a strong team but also can do low performances (6th at the 2003 Worlds!), then it's not easy to predict the Russian possible performance. Maybe individual medal on Vault and Bars?
Australia without Danielle kelly has to confirm its fantastic Anaheim results, Allana Slater can get interesting individual results. Maybe the surprise will come from the Aussies! We hope so!
The competitors are: Lisa Skinner (Yes! 'the' Lisa from Atlanta and Sydney!), Allana Slater, Monette Russo, Stephanie Moorhouse, Melissa Munro and Karen Nguyen.
Spain with Sara Moro, Elena Gomez, Tania Gener, Monica Mesalles, Patricia Moreno and the good Lenika de Simone can pretend to be very close of the best teams, maybe a 5/6th place.
We consider Elena Gomez as a real medals pretender: AA, Floor.
France... the unknown fact is the ability to avoid the stress, to avoid the falls (remember Amsterdam 2004!) and to forget the usual hidden influences small wars! Emilie Lepennec can pretend to enter the final events (Bars and Beam) and is the best French opportunity for a possible medal. The team works in a good way but it's still existing a strange shadow around it.
The AA and finals are so opened... Usa and China own high performers on Vault, Bars and Beam, A Romanian competitor for the Floor and and incredible struggle during the AA!
And have a look on Beth Tweddle, maybe the coming Bars Olympic Champion! (Lepennec, Slater to complete the podium!!). We promise to do the whole tour of Ayers Rock and to stay in Alice Springs during the Worlds (managed in Melbourne newt year!) if we guess well! :-)
And the rhythmics? So graceful routines when the ballerinas come but is it a real sport? Unfair results, difficulty to understand the judges decision ('watch and do not comment, you can not understand!' are the usual wishes dedicated to the crowd by a large part of the rhythmics universe).
If the results have been already decided, Russia, Ukrainia or Ukrainia, Russia? We don't mind, we don't want to know, for us the only important point will be to know which gymnast is going to be the 2004 victim!
Good luck to the Gymnasts, with a special encouragement to the French and Aussie competitors.