08 April 2011

Jevgēņijs Saproņenko & Igors Vihrovs

I have done Latvia a great disservice and it's time to make that country's name a little bit bigger in the word cloud.  Sadly, I cannot find much on Latvian gymnasts!  Why must it be so?  Even the scant information is worth something, so I am going to redirect you to two contemporary gymnasts of Latvia.

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Jevgēņijs Saproņenko is mostly known for vaulting, though his floor exercise is still worth watching.  He won silver in the vault in Sydney, which was quite the Olympics for the Latvian team, as you will see below with Vihrovs.  I found an example of his high bar routine and while it obviously was not his best performance, it's not a particularly exciting routine.  I do love the elements he does include because they are seldom used in competition.  A girl can get tired of seeing the same 7 elements in every routine!  His floor exercise in this video is from the same competition as the high bar routine and my complaints are similar.  It's just not exciting.  It's solid but without the style to make you feel like you're witnessing the transcendence of the human body.  That's why people love Olympic gymnastics.

screen captured by me
Igors Vihrovs won a gold on floor exercise in Sydney.  It was a surprise to everyone, really, and not just because he was from a slightly obscure country.  He wasn't favored to win like Nemov was.  But the routine was flawless.  It didn't have bite or style, but he stuck every single one of those landings.  I understand completely why he won, though I wish he had more presence.  He won a few other international medals, all in floor exercise.  Hats off to that. (I couldn't find any satisfactory pictures of Vihrovs that weren't racy, so I just did a screen capture from the videos his gym puts on YouTube for promotion.)

I embedded the video of his gold medal routine to make it easier to watch:



When I trolled through YouTube, I came across an ad for osteogels that included Vihrovs. Furthermore, I found this absolutely adorable video of Vihrovs training 10-14 year old boys at the Vingrošanas Olimpiskais Centrs, also known as the Olympic Gymnastics Center.  But wait!  Saproņenko makes an appearance as well!  It turns out they decided to found this gym in 2007 in the city of Riga.  It's modern and state of the art (something they probably didn't have) and accommodates serious athletes as well as people interested in the sport.  It's also used for training parkour, snowboarding, and other unrelated sports.  I never did find a video with Saproņenko as a trainer.  Hmmm. 

That concludes our week of Male Gymnasts and next week will be Female Gymnasts.  Equal rights means equal face time.  Right?

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