Monday 25 June 2012

Magic Moments Monday

Miller Magic

In 1993 I watched a full gymnastics competition for the first time. It was the 1993 World Championships in Birmingham and I recorded as much of it as I possibly could. I have watched it so many times over the years I am still almost word perfect with the commentary and know instantly who is performing just from the music! The whole competition was magic to me, but one gymnast in particular stood out.

While watching the qualification competition I was stunned by one particular routine. Shannon Miller took to the beam. The way she started the routine with such poise and control, followed by an incredible acrobatic series literally took my breath away. I fell in love instantly with that beam routine and Shannon Miller.

For the rest of the competition I watched as this young American gymnast produced spectacular routine after spectacular routine, fabulous on all four pieces of apparatus. It was with baited breath that I watched the All Around final, willing her on and desperately hoping she would take the title. She started well on bars and followed that with an excellent beam routine. Then came her exquisite floor exercise.

I was utterly enthralled by her tumbling, her style and her expressive music. I was sure that she had to win the title but there was still one piece left to go. Shannon was up on vault very early in the last rotation. She chose to do the simple FTY, playing it safe rather than going for the double twist. It seemed a good choice as her second vault scored her 9.800, the highest possible score for that vault at the time. But would it be enough? I was on the edge of my seat for the whole of the last rotation so I can only imagine how it must have felt to be any of the gymnasts involved.

Shannon Miller did of course win the title, becoming the 1993 World Champion. And the best thing about rewatching it - you know that the gymnast you're routing for is definitely going to win!

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