aa 2013

Coping, sober.

I didn’t think I’d use my tumblr again any time soon, but something happened that I wanted to memorialise.

Some years ago I had a quite bad problem with drinking, due to all sorts of things and the lack of coping mechanisms in my own life. It was in 2012 that I stumbled over an interview with Daniel Radcliffe in which he bravely and openly talked about his own addiction. It was this interview that gave me the courage to go to my first ever AA meeting in early 2013.

Yesterday I got to tell him that. I don’t want to forget this memory, for the moment when (and it will happen) all goes to shit and I find myself anywhere near a bottle and with spirits too low to fight the good fight, because this was one of the best things that have ever happened to me.

I hung back a bit, so I wouldn’t discuss something like this in front of too many fans, for both of our sakes, and eventually there he was, and there I was, shaking and mumbling and completely idiotic.

Things I imagined would happen: A polite response. A hug. A “Good luck, stay strong” kind of moment.

What actually happened. His face lighting up like an actual Christmas tree. The two of us high fiving each other when we exchanged success stories (Sober again after downfalls from last year for myself and him going strong for four years now, hell yes man!!!!!!). Him being genuinely interested and invested, asking and asking and letting me have a moment and allowing me to ask in return.

Something else I realised, due to something he said at the very beginning of our encounter, was this: It’s true that I am the one lifting the heavy weight, I am working the programme and attending meetings, and thus I get to take the credit. Yes, I agree 100%. But inspiration and timing matters, and both are vital in certain moments in our life.

Do I think I would never have gone to an AA meeting if it hadn’t been for me reading this interview at this particular moment in my life? No. I hope I would have found my way back either way at some point. But it wouldn’t have been at that precise moment, and that matters. The timing gave me more good days with my daughter, more good days working and enjoying life, rather than losing myself in the haziness of an addiction.

So yes, I believe that people like Daniel Radcliffe, who speak out and share their struggles publicly, get to take credit too.

So, I am sharing this photo that was taken by a kind stranger I met in the queue, to remind myself that someone else was proud of me for making right choices day after day.

Stacked Up - 2016 Olympic Vault Final

While nothing could really hold a candle to the 2012 floor final, the 2016 vault final still carried a tremendous amount of talent. Our finalists were as follows:

1. Simone Biles (USA)
2. Hong un-Jong (PRK)
3. Giulia Steingruber (SUI)
4. Maria Paseka (RUS)
5. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)
6. Shallon Olsen (CAN)
7. Wang Yan (CHN)
8. Dipa Karmakar (IND)

While Simone Biles was close to a lock for gold, a hit TTY from Hong un-Jong had the potential to rattle the cage. Vaulting prowess and talent ran deep in this final. Let’s have a look:

- the reigning World and Olympic AA Champion; Simone Biles (2013 Antwerp) (2014 Nanning) (2015 Glasgow) (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
- the 2008 Olympic Champion, and 2014 World Champion; Hong un-Jong (2008 Beijing) (2014 Nanning)
- the reigning World Champion, and 2015 European Champion; Maria Paseka (2015 Glasgow) (2015 Montpellier)
- the 2013, 2014, and 2016 European Champion; Giulia Steingruber (2013 Moscow) (2014 Sofia) (2016 Bern)
- the 2015 European AA Champion; Giulia Steingruber (2015 Montpellier)
- the 2003 World Champion; Oksana Chusovitinia (2003 Anaheim) [representing Uzbekistan]
- the reigning Pacific Rim Champion; Shallon Olsen (2016 Everett)

Going further than major titles, this final presents major talent:

Simone Biles
- two time World silver medallist on vault, 2013 Antwerp and 2014 Nanning
- World bronze medallist on vault, 2015 Glasgow
- three time US National vault champion, 2014 Pittsburgh, 2015 Indianapolis, and 2016 St Louis
- US silver medallist on vault, 2013 Hartford

Hong un-Jong
- World silver medallist on vault, 2015 Glasgow
- World bronze medallist on vault, 2013 Antwerp
- 2014 Asian Games Champion, 2014 Incheon
- Asian Games bronze medallist, 2006 Doha
- two time Summer Universiade Champion, 2009 Belgrade, and 2013 Kazan
- 2006 Asian Champion, 2006 Surat
- 2013 E. Asian Games Champion, 2013 Tianjin

Giulia Steingruber
- 2015 European Games Champion, 2015 Baku
- European Games AA silver medallist, 2015 Baku
- European silver medallist, 2015 Montpellier
- European bronze medallist, 2012 Brussels

Maria Paseka
- Olympic bronze medallist, 2012 London
- 2015 Summer Universiade Champion, 2015 Gwangju
- Summer Universiade bronze medallist, 2013 Kazan

Oksana Chusovitina
NB: It is worth noting that despite competing as an international elite since 1991, Chusovitina’s first vault event final at the Olympic Games did not come until the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also made finals in 2012 and 2016, while making history both times as the oldest gymnast to ever compete at the Olympic Games.
[representing Germany]
- Olympic silver medallist, 2008 Beijing
- World silver medallist, 2011 Tokyo
- World bronze medallist, 2006 Aarhus
- two time European silver medallist, 2011 Berlin, and 2012 Brussels
- European bronze medallist, 2007 Amsterdam
[representing the Soviet Union]
- World silver medallist, 1991 Indianapolis
[representing the Commonwealth of Independent States]
- World bronze medallist, 1992 Paris
[representing Uzbekistan]
- two time World silver medallist, 2001 Ghent, and 2005 Melbourne
- two time World bronze medallist, 1993 Birmingham, and 2002 Debrecen
- 2002 Asian Games Champion, 2002 Busan
- Asian Games silver medallist, 2014 Incheon
- Asian Games AA silver medallist, 2002 Busan
- Asian Games bronze medallist, 1994 Hiroshima
- Asian Championships silver medallist, 1996 Changsha
- Asian Games AA bronze medallist, 1996 Changsha

Shallon Olsen
NB: Aside from her Pacific Rim title, the majority of Shallon’s vault medals came at smaller domestic meets and friendlies.
- Elite Canada Champion, 2014, 2015, 2016

Wang Yan
- 2014 Youth Olympic Champion, 2014 Nanjing
- 2015 Asian Champion, 2015 Hiroshima
- Asian Championships AA silver medallist, 2015 Hiroshima

Dipa Karmakar
- Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 2014 Glasgow
- Asian Championships bronze medallist, 2015 Hiroshima

It is worth noting that three gymnasts attempted incredibly difficult vaults in the final, with Dipa Karmakar the only one to have a successful landing.

- Hong un-Jong; triple twisting Yurchenko (TTY)
- Oksana Chusovitina; handspring double front (Produnova)
- Dipa Karmakar; handspring double front (Produnova) 

In the end, Simone Biles came through with a clean Amanar and Cheng combo to win her first major vault title, beating out the reigning World Champion, Maria Paseka, who had to settle for silver. A botched landing on her TTY took Hong un-Jong out of medal contention, opening the door for Giulia Steingruber to win her first global medal in gymnastics and become the first Swiss gymnast to medal at the Olympics.

This final had an absolutely incredible field, and there were five or six gymnasts who had a realistic shot at the podium. Surprises erupted all around, to give us the three who reigned supreme at the end of the day.

从*´ ヮ`)<つんくさんは魔法使いです。多分予知できるんですよ、未来のことを。つんくさんは絶対に。デビューしてすぐにあぁ!っていうユニット作ったんですね。でもその時はなんでこのメンバーなんだろうって思ったんですけど、 のちのちベリーズのセンターになったし、℃-uteのセンターだし れいなはモーニング娘。でパートいっぱい歌ったりとかしてるんでつんくさんはそれを予知していたって後々思ったんですよ。

Reina: Tsunku-san will be a wizard. He’s probably able to foresee the future. No, he must be. Soon after I made my debut, I got picked up for an unit named Aa!. At that time I wondered why he had picked up those three. But later, one became the center of Berryz, the other became the center of C-ute, and I became to get lots of lines in Morning Musume. So, I realized it later that Tsunku-san must had foreseen the future.

from an interview on 12 Dec 2013