Memorable Moments of the Quad: 2001-2004

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As we get closer to the Rio Olympics, TCG will look back at the previous quad’s most memorable moments. Now we’re taking a look at the 2001-04 quad.  New powers emerged, legends retired, and we saw the (partial) conclusion of the traditional scoring system (2005 still utilized the 10.0).

The Reign of Svetlana Khorkina Concludes Making her World debut in 1994, Svetlana Khorkina competed in her last quad to much success, heartbreak, and fanfare.  What else would you expect from a diva?  (Note: I use that word lovingly, as she would herself!)  Winning ‘back to back’ World all-around titles (2001 and 2003; no all-around awarded in 2002) even with increasingly difficult code showed what a true champion athlete she was.

Though her reign on uneven bars started to falter—after winning the World title (again) in 2001, she fell in 2002, didn’t qualify in 2003, and fell again on her last performance at the Olympics in 2004—her routines, full of complex transitions and new skills, still influence the bar routines of today.

Without Khorkina, the Russian Federation stumbled in trying to find their footing once again.  Her colossal effort to bring home another team medal—bronze—in Athens and her beautiful floor work to ‘Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye’ were fitting touches to the end of an era.  An amazing competitor who played a significant role in three Olympic cycles, her legacy will be regarded and revered for generations to come.

Sveta’s bar routine during the all-around in Athens.  The 9.725 score would have won gold in event finals:


The United States of America Wins First World Team Title After years of ground-breaking moments (Marcia in 1978, Mary Lou in 1984, Kim in 1991, the team in 1996) the United States still had not emerged as the World team champions until 2003.  Breaking the reign of Romania, who won every team title since 1994 (and the Olympic title in 2000), the United States chances looked promising when they first arrived in Anaheim, California, but soon the team was dismantled.  Which only made the gold even more epic!

After World vault medalist Annia Hatch blew out her knee and World beam champion Ashley Postell was taken down by the flu, the team suffered yet another blow when World bar champion Courtney Kupets torn her Achilles.  Leaving the team with only Olympian Tasha Schwikert with experience on the World stage, alternates were quickly ushered in.  The most remarkable one, of course, being Chellsie Memmel.

Chellsie was a baby senior in 2003 (only 14 at the US Nationals) who was recovering from injury; she placed tenth at that competition.  Not selected for the World team, Memmel competed at Pan Ams, winning four medals.  Marta sent for her from California, and before you knew it, Memmel was competing all four events in qualifying and team finals, as well as all-around finals and two event finals.  Her daring routines and calm competitive nature made her a favorite among gym fans.  (This team final is also where the infamous Carly Patterson “ohh, that’s too bad!” comment comes from, as well as the Hollie Vise not wearing a number debacle).

Chellsie’s bar set, which later tied for the World title with teammate Hollie Vise:


The Emergence of the Netherlands and Brazil The 2001 World Championships were the last Worlds to hold a team competition the year following an Olympics.  Once again, Romania prevailed, Russia came second, and USA regained a spot on the podium.  But it was the young team from the Netherlands that gained a lot of attention.

In a historic fifth place finish (only one tenth away from fourth), the Dutch girls served notice that another great gym program was on the rise.  Verona van de Leur finished ninth in the all-around, and in 2002 led her team to a silver medal finish at Europeans.  She also won silver in the all-around, and later won a silver on floor at Worlds.

Though the team did not qualify to Athens, their early success helped set the stage for stars such as Renske Endel, Suzanne Harmes, and Laura van Leeuwen.  Today, we are fortunate to see the new generation lead their team to the Olympics!

The elegant style and powerful tumbling of van de Leur in 2002, where she finished .050 behind Khorkina at Europeans:


Likewise, the Brazilians made a big mark on the sport during this quad.  After finishing 20th in Sydney, Daniele Hypolito placed fourth in 2001, just .044 behind bronze medalist Andreea Raducan.  She then won her country’s first medal—a silver on floor (again, less than a tenth behind Raducan).

Then, Brazil made team finals at the 2003 Worlds, finishing 8th.  But of course the big story was their first World title on floor from the tumbling machine Daiane doe Santos.  Her routine brought the crowd to its feet, and her win brought tears and jubilation to her federation and gym fans everywhere.

Assuming most are familiar with dos Santos’ floor, I am going to highlight Hypolito’s beam in 2001.  Good luck in 2016, Daniele!



Spain’s First World Champion and Olympic Medal Also in 2002, Spain claimed its first World title.  After great success (but still no medals) in Sydney, the team finished fourth at the 2001 Worlds.  At the event finals only Worlds in 2002, Elena Gomez emerged as the victorious history maker for a team that was always so close.

Introducing the ‘Gomez’ (quadruple spin) and showcasing solid landings, Elena surpassed van de Leur by just over a tenth.  A year later, she won bronze behind dos Santos and Ponor at the Worlds.  In Athens, she was edged out of floor finals by her own teammate, Patricia Moreno, who impressed with her three and a half twist to claim a bronze.  A wonderful display of power and consistency from this team, especially on floor!

A nice montage of Elena from Kerstin1988, which highlights her beauty and dignified performances:


**The New Vault Table ** There are always some significant changes following the Olympics, but the introduction of the new vault table in 2001 was one of the most dramatic equipment changes gymnastics had seen in several decades.  Giving more surface area and stability, it allowed for gymnasts to progress rapidly on this event.

Take a look at the Amanar performed by Simona herself in 2000 on the old horse, and again by her teammate Monica Rosu in 2004.


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**The Impressive Romanians ** Speaking of Monica Rosu, she was of course part of the team that claimed the team title for the second Olympics in a row.  What is quite impressive about that team is that it was not led by legends or veterans—in fact, Belu sent the team to their homes in 2002 because he was so frustrated by their training.  The star from Sydney, Andreea Raducan, was retiring, and the young team was struggling to find its place.

When they arrived in Anaheim for the Worlds, they must have thought they had a chance against a wounded American team, but mistakes and weak uneven bars sets in the three-up three-count format left them with silver.  Still quite a victory, considering the team was barely in existence a year earlier.

Coming into Athens, the team leaders were stepping up.  With the consistent and stylish Catalina Ponor, the super powerful and entertaining Oana Ban, the new ‘Amanar’ Monica Rosu, daring and polished beamer Alexandra Eremia, European silver medalist Daniela Sofronie, and the only remaining member of the 2001 World championship team Silvia Stroescu, Team Romania dominated the team competition with supreme consistency, clean routines, and a whole lot of heart and pride.

With 2001 and 2004 as the last World and Olympic team titles for Romania, this is truly an era to savor.  Here is a great video from Gymnastics Cool Videos (great name and channel!) with a look at the stars from this time period, including those who didn’t quite make it to Athens (ahem, Sabina Cojocar!):



Fan Ye’s 9.812 Okay, so it’s not quite a 10.0, but it was close!  Fan Ye’s performance on beam at the 2003 Worlds is definitely a moment to remember.  Besting future Olympic champion Catalina Ponor and future World champion Irina Krasnyanskaya, Fan Ye was the true beam queen.  Difficulty?  Check.  Grace?  Check?  Combinations, no wobbles, performance quality, confidence, and variety?  Yes yes yes!  (Can anyone verify—is this the highest scoring WAG routine at Worlds or Olympics during this quad?)


Four years is a lot to cover!!  Add your own significant memory and moment from this quad, and watch for the next piece covering the 1997-2000 era as we get closer and closer to Rio!  Tweet me @SuperGymFan with your suggestions!! #MemorableMoments



Memorable moments of the 2005-2008

Memorable moments of the 2009-2012

Article by: Kristen Ras

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