Moved to Tears by Brazilian Gymnasts

I saw this video today on the Bulgarian forum. It is in honor of Maria Petrova (World All Around Champion - 1993, 1994, 1995, European All Around Champion - 1992, 1994, European Cup Winner -1993, Olympics 5th Place - 1992, 1996)

Maria is my favorite gymnasts of all times. As a child, I wrote to her and she responded to my letter with an autographed picture! I have also met her personally and she has never disappointed me with her beauty and grace. In 1996, after the World Championships, I spent all of my pocket money on a large bouquet of white lilies for Maria. When I rode on the crowded bus number 313 in Sofia, Bulgaria, to get to the gym, where Maria trained at the time, everyone moved to make room for my flowers, I was even offered a seat and even asked who will receive the bouquet! :-)

Here is the routine that inspired the flowers AND this tribute. With this routine Maria won the silver medal in ball at the 1996 World Championship in Budapest. At this particular performance, a true swan song, she is at the opening of the Atlanta Olympics, her last big international competition.

She looks like her feet are not touching the ground, and her red ball is floating on her own, as though drifting into a cloud of melancholy.


Congratulations to the New Champion of Asia

Anna Alyabieva from Kazakhstan has won the Asian Championship this year, not surprisingly, yet, convincingly scoring higher than her strongest Asian rival, Ulyana Trofimova from Uzbekistan, who was my personal favorite for the title. 

I like Anna a lot more than the previous prima from her country, Yussupova, who I thought did not show a lot of emotion while performing, nor express the music. When I watched Anna in Montreal, I thought she was very tall and elegant. Although I have objections with regard to her apparatus technique, I think she is pleasant to watch and can develop her own style. So I'd like to congratulate her on her title and wish her the best!