We started off the day cheering on Aimee Gupta at the Senior Rythmic Gymnastics Finals. Her family is friends with friends of ours, and it was fun to be rooting for someone in particular! It's amazing what she can do! I wonder if Natalia will now start trying new tricks with her hula hoop...
While there, the family behind us spoke Russian. I found out afterwards that they're originally from Moscow. They have friends there who are looking for a good school for their kids; who knows; they asked for the website and contact information... Maybe they'll join our ours...
We then headed into Hartford in the evening for the Women's All-Around Finals. We are VERY lucky that friends of ours had three extra tickets in a fantastic spot that we were able to get for only $25 a seat!
The evening began with a ceremony to honor the 1980 Olympic Team. It turns out that because of the US boycott of the Moscow Games, these men and women had never stood together to be recognized! Nadia Comaneci was on the floor directly in front of us cheering on her husband, Bart Conner, with their cute little boy. It was really, really nice to be part of a crowd singing the national anthem... The girls and I never really get to do that! Having studied the history of the flag and anthem, Katya loved it.
It was then time for the competition! Watching gymnastics is like watching a five-ring circus! It's so hard to focus with the events all going on at once! Who's up? Who should you watch? What did you miss?
Bela Karolyi and Natia Liukin were easy to spot from where we were sitting. (Like I said, we were so lucky!)
It's too bad there wasn't really any way to get autographs!
Mattie Larson came in second and we really enjoyed her. You can tell she loves what she does! She ended up winning the floor exercise, pulling herself into second position overall.
Briley Cassanova, a teammate of Rebecca Bross' from their gym in Texas. Natalia took this picture!
The All-Around Champion was Rebecca Bross, of Ann Arbor, Michigan! (Just like our Katya!) She was so determined and equally excellent all evening. Here she is on bars:
This was after her last rotation... Just waiting to see if she would hold on to the number one spot!
The All-Around Medal Winners:
It was very inspirational to see how Vanessa Zamarripa recovered after a fall on beam to move up to number 8—all while being a full-time student at UCLA. You also kept wondering what it was like for the parents of the Caquatto girls—Mackenzie (she finished fifth) and Bridgette! They were even in the same rotational group in the finals!
Valery Liukin (Nastia's dad) was honored as a coach. He trains Rebecca Bross, along with others in the finals. I wonder just how many of the girls and their families/trainers have ties to the former USSR...!
We really enjoyed all of the top girls... Now I'm looking forward to the coverage from London in 2012!