Sunday, August 1, 2010

History Lesson: 1996 American Cup


The 1996 American Cup was supposed to be an opportunity for the media to salivate over darling Dominique Moceanu. The injured prodigy commanded a great deal of attention without even competing. NBC showed Ms. Annie Leibovitz photographing Domi for her moment in Vanity Fair (aka The Bible.) Annie is the one who told Domi to change her bangs.

Bogi's comeback was beyond endearing. For a girl who struggled with meeting the technical demands of 1992, it was unreal to see her upgrading every event and still working it like no other. Bogi originally worked out with Alexandrov at Karolyi's and with Bela, but then moved with Alexandrov, only to return to Karolyi's. Stronger and more powerful than ever, Bogi brought it in '96 all the way through Olympic podium training.

Kerri Strug competed with the knife of Tara Lipinski in '96. She saw an opportunity and would not be upstaged by anyone. Somehow, I doubt Kerri was too disappointed that Moceanu sat this one out.

Kristy Powell was invited back to prove just how flukey her win was the year before. Injured in the summer of '95, it is a shame that NBC deprived us of seeing her signature grimace on the vault runway. (Powell's run is the second most hilarious of all time---only outdone by the seizures of Laura Martinez.)

Chuso was in town, but you have to admit that she looked much better once she hit 50.

The American men proved why the put on such a showing throughout the '90s. The were up there with out American Pair Teams.

Note that this is one of the few times we would ever get to see Sang Lan compete.

13 comments:

  1. Okay, two things- did the judges not care about hitting handstands on bars in 1996? And I totally miss how they used to list the gymnasts height and weight stats as they went up to perform.

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  2. Seizures by Laura Martinez, OMFG, LMAO!!!!!!! Soo mean!!

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  3. Seeing as I was a mere 6 years old in '96, i didn't pay much attention to the details of these competitions. But looking at this again it is so odd to see Martha in the USA jacket congratulating Bogi of Belarus. Would that ever happen today? A coach with athletes from different countries in a competition? I guess maybe it happens more in skating than gym?

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  4. I always was confused with the timing, but was Bogi in the gym training with Kim?

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  5. Bogi, Kim, Kerri and Dominique all trained together. There was a period when Bogi was training with Mohini, but then she went back and worked with Bela once Kerri arrived (not sure why.)

    Coaches don't typically work with athletes from different countries but it does happen on occasion. WOGA had a gymnast from Mexico a few years back, Parkettes briefly had Meloche from Canada, etc.

    Bogi was living in Houston and doing shows, so she began training with Bela. Alexandrov was coaching at Karolyi's (really gave Moceanu her skills) and brought Bogi there, but he was fired once Moceanu hit prime time at '95 Nationals.

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  6. Anon- #1- not so much in '96- I think they had to hit HS within like 45 degrees or something, where as now its 10-20 depending on the move. Hitting handstands was just "something extra"

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  7. i <3 these history lessons, please keep them up!

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  8. I read some place that Martinez developed that vault run because her arm was in some kind of cast and would flail around as she hurled herself down the runway. Of course, I'm totally laughing at myself now for giving this explanation a second thought because it doesn't make any sense that she would try to vault with her arm in a cast (let alone with a broken arm), but at the time it sounded plausible. I think I read this on OOBN which would explain a few things... But anyways, I actually have to disagree and say that Powell's grimace is the worst of all time. Hell, even Al Trautwig made fun of her during the 1997 US Nationals.

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  9. Thanks so much for posting this one! You've totally rekindled my high school baby dyke crush on Kerri Strug.

    The other thing I am learning from these history lessons is, we all need to stop bitching about recent skatenastics coverage, because they barely showed any routines in the mid '90s. So much fluff.

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  10. There was more fluff but is was fabulous and hysterical. Remember Morgan White riding her bike in a circle and sitting on her stoop?

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  11. you can find Powell's vault here. Hillarious
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EApAeMVwMVM&NR=1

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  12. I think this was actually the last time I liked anything Chuso did. Mostly because her punch front-back tuck combo on beam was pretty nifty and her Phantom floor routine wasn't as offensive to the eyes as some of the many horrors she has inflicted on them since.

    And Joana Juarez's Malaguena...back then, I used to think gymnasts from second-tier gymnastics countries typically had routines that were different and pretty cool, especially on floor. I'm thinking of the mid-'90s French team, some Spanish (Gemma Paz), Annika Reeder, etc. Now I know better (thanks, Suzanne Harmes and the entire country of Great Britain).

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  13. Listening to Bela shout Bogi through her floor is gigorgeous!!

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