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Coco
09-19-2011, 07:31 AM
The funny thing is Mary Lou is nowhere near the gymmnast even for her own time Miller, Patterson, Zmeskal, Liukin, Johnson, even Bross or Dawes all are. She was never anywhere near the best in the World, without the boycott she would have been about 5th in the Olympic AA even with the home country advantage, and that would have been by far her career highlight. Yet the casual American talks about her as if she is the greatest gymnast (especialy American) ever and seems to really believe that. You constantly hear about the next Mary Lou, when in reality a gymnast of Mary Lous caliber would really have no chance at an Olympic Gold now that the boycotts are probably gone from the Olympics forever. Why would one want to be the next Mary Lou in one sense of things, a gymnast like her today probably wouldnt even make the super deep U.S team, let alone winning a gold medal at the Games. Like you said though alot of factors which went in her favor make all the difference.

I think you are overstating things quite a lot. Name two people, let alone four, that would have defeated her in LA.

Unlike things are today, she competed internationally QUITE a bit in the 18 months before her Olympic AA victory, and was virtually undefeated.

She beat Shushanova in Japan 8 months before the games, and 4 months later, Stoyanova, Yurchenko & Ricna at the American Cup (it wasn't close, so you can't blame politics).

The only gymnast she never faced was Olga Mostepanova, winner of the Olomouc games.

In any event, she beat the rest of them, some of them on foreign soil. Also, a big part of why she became so famous was her physical dominance. Sportswriters who didn't know the nuances of the sport could see her vaults going more than 2x as far from the vault as her competitors. She was the only one doing a double layout at the Games, iirc. Her athleticism upended the traditional notion of a gymnast, and mainstream writers found this refreshing. Her personality was just the icing on the cake.

Here are results from '83 Worlds:
1st URS Natalia Yurchenko 10.00 9.850 9.900 10.00 79.350
2nd URS Olga Mostepanova 10.00 9.800 9.900 9.850 79.000
3rd ROM Ecaterina Szabo 10.00 9.950 9.600 10.00 78.975
4th BUL Boriana Stoyanova 9.900 9.900 9.800 9.900 78.775
5th URS Tatiana Frolova 9.800 9.900 9.900 9.900 78.725
6th ROM Lavinia Agache 9.900 9.900 9.350 9.900 78.575
7th GDR Maxi Gnauck 9.900 10.00 9.300 9.900 78.425
8th BUL Zoya Grantcharova 9.800 9.900 9.800 9.850 78.350
9th ROM Laura Cutina 9.900* 9.850 9.800 9.700 78.275
10th CHN Chen Yongyan 9.800 9.850 9.750 9.800 78.175
11th USA Kathy Johnson 9.900 9.800 9.800 9.800 78.150
12th GDR Sylvia Rau 9.800* 9.900 9.400 9.750 78.025
13th BUL Silvia Topolova 9.800 9.850 9.800 9.600 77.925
14th TCH Hana Ricna 9.600 9.900 9.800 9.750 77.775
15th GDR Gabrielle Faehnrich 9.600 9.950 9.800 9.700 77.725
16th USA Julianne McNamara 9.850 9.900 9.550 9.250 77.575


And here are AA results from the Alternate Games (Olmouc):


1st Olga Mostepanova (URS) 79.825
2nd Hana Ricna (TCH) 79.425
3rd Elena Shushunova (URS) 79.125


Yurchenko wasn't in the top 3 and therefore didn't compete in the AA final for USSR. Not sure who the 3rd Soviet was in the AA final.

Here's the link for the '83 Chunichi Cup in Japan:
http://www.gymn-forum.net/Results/CCup/Women/1983.html

judgejudy27
09-19-2011, 08:29 AM
I think you are overstating things quite a lot. Name two people, let alone four, that would have defeated her in LA.


IMO Mostepanova, Gnauck, and 1 or 2 other Soviets (there are so many to choose from so who knows which would have made the AA) would have beaten her barring a major mistake (and they didnt make those as often as the inconsistent Szabo who would have destroyed Retton had they both hit). It is pretty much a consensus Retton had no chance against Mostepanova especialy. Mostepanova could have even afforded a major mistake or two and still beaten Retton in fact, especialy since Szabo who was much weaker than Mostepanova was this year had 3 major mistakes, including a fall, and still nearly won the AA.

Rob
09-19-2011, 03:43 PM
Move over Chussy! http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/pages/post.html?PostID=8567&prog=w

OnyxRose81
09-19-2011, 04:29 PM
IMO Mostepanova, Gnauck, and 1 or 2 other Soviets (there are so many to choose from so who knows which would have made the AA) would have beaten her barring a major mistake (and they didnt make those as often as the inconsistent Szabo who would have destroyed Retton had they both hit). It is pretty much a consensus Retton had no chance against Mostepanova especialy. Mostepanova could have even afforded a major mistake or two and still beaten Retton in fact, especialy since Szabo who was much weaker than Mostepanova was this year had 3 major mistakes, including a fall, and still nearly won the AA.

Mostepanova would have beaten her easily. American and Chunichi Cup is also completely different from a Worlds/Olympics. While she did beat them at Chunichi (I discount all AC in the 80s), Worlds and Olympics are a horse of a different color. Retton's vault and FX were world class. Her other two events were horrid and were overscored. Maybe with luck she could be Top 3 (Top 5 is more feasible) but she wouldn't have won, unless Mostepanova completely bombed.

Allen
09-19-2011, 04:40 PM
Pardon the Mary-Lou-Retton-reminiscing-fest interruption but do check out Elizabeth Seitz's (GER) bar routine: http://gymnasticscoaching.com/new/2011/09/seitz-adds-def/

That full twisting Maloney is pretty fabulous! Her execution still isn't great, though.

ilovesalchows
09-19-2011, 04:48 PM
I was 8 in 1984 and LOVED MLR. I will never forget watching that comp, and then watching it over and over on the well-worn VHS tape. I begged for gymnastics lessons after that. I bet her popularity led to many young girls trying gymnastics and maybe even the flourishing of the sport in the US in the 90's? It wasn't until I was older I learned she wasn't so hot. I am glad I didn't know when I was a kid.

OnyxRose81
09-19-2011, 05:12 PM
Yeah, her win was a major part in getting the gym program going in the US. That was a good thing.

Fridge_Break
09-19-2011, 05:58 PM
Any news from the Parade of Injuries (ie: camp)? :sekret:

ilovesalchows
09-19-2011, 06:04 PM
The only things I've heard, and I don't know how reliable this is, is that Sloan is looking very good, Maroney is working through back injuries but performing all events, Johnson is back to at least Nationals form, and Memmel is performing bars again.

Scintillation
09-19-2011, 06:08 PM
I think the only person who comes close to MLR's level of celebrity is Kerri Strug, and she had to tear ligaments in order to do it.
I was ten when the 1996 games were on, and I will never forget that moment. It's only because my parents would talk about MLR that I know of her, but Kerri Strug landing that vault will always stick (PUN!!) in my mind.
Oh, and Shannon Miller winning the balance beam. That was also awesome--I was convinced at the time that she and Dawes got the short end of the stick in the AA, that they were the best gymnasts there. Now that I'm older and have rewatched the competition it's plain that Lilia was by far the best AAer there, but my 10 year old self felt everything was back in balance (I DID IT AGAIN!!) once Shannon got her gold medal.

VIETgrlTerifa
09-19-2011, 06:15 PM
That was also awesome--I was convinced at the time that she and Dawes got the short end of the stick in the AA, that they were the best gymnasts there. Now that I'm older and have rewatched the competition it's plain that Lilia was by far the best AAer there.

I'm partial to Mo Huilan myself. :)

Loves_Shizuka
09-19-2011, 06:51 PM
IMO, had she gone 4 for 4, Mo would have won in both 95 and 96. Except she was also something of a headcase. Sigh. Lilia is a brilliant gymnast, though I do feel is ever so slightly overrated. But that's JMHO.

I watched the 87 and 89 worlds earlier. My god they were good.

Beefcake
09-19-2011, 06:53 PM
Good fun, I suppose, to conject and ding away at Mary Lou, but ...

If
If
If
If
If

Real: MLR was a terrific dynamo with a look and demeanor that countered the trademark dour gymnast of the time (e.g. Szabo) who had the competition of her life at the most optimal time ... and - importantly - won fairly under the circumstances presented her.

It's hard for me to bash someone whose win brought joy to tens of millions, and who still gets me goosepimply when I remember that perfect vault that sealed the deal. Kudos to Mary Lou, great even if your gymnastics weren't pure enough for purists. :cheer:

floskate
09-19-2011, 07:05 PM
I watched the 87 and 89 worlds earlier. My god they were good.

Ok I'm jealous! I would much rather have spent the day doing this than working!! I think that '83, '85, 87 and '89 Worlds are championships for the ages. There is just so much to admire from many many gymnasts competing. Mostepanova and Yurchenko, Shushunova and Omeliancik plus baby Silivas winning beam in '85, Silivas's glorious compulsory floor in '87 along with Dobre at her very best, then that amazing soviet team of 1989 with all those incredible floor exercises to name just a few highlights. :swoon:

Loves_Shizuka
09-19-2011, 07:24 PM
The Soviet women in 89 were just unreal - Bogi, Dudnik, Strazheva, Laschenova, Baitova - just amazing! The Romanians in 87 were also brilliant; their gymnastics was actually exciting and dynamic back then. I know Silivas was pretty damn special, but I actually prefer Dobre. She was just had a little edge for me.

I've never seen 83 or 85. That can be my plan for Friday :D