Olympics: Gymnastics

Zetlin 22nd after first day of rhythmic gymnastics

Julie Zetlin is in 22nd place at the end of the first day of rhythmic gymnastics qualifying. (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Bethesda’s Julie Zetlin achieved a career goal in making the cut for the 2012 Olympics. But the lone U.S. competitor in rhythmic gymnastics faces an enormous challenge to qualify for Saturday’s final.

After two of four mandatory events were contested Thursday, Zetlin, 22, stood 22nd among 24 competitors, with a score of 48.200 out of a possible 60.000. The other two events will be contested Friday.

Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva leads qualifying with 57.800 points.

Only the top 10 among 24 gymnastics will advance.

Zetlin received marks of 24.450 for her ball routine and 23.750 for her hoops routine. Daughter of a former Hungarian junior champion, Zetlin has trained as a rhythmic gymnast since age 4 and endured multiple knee injuries to achieve her dream of competing in the Olympics.

She has proven in international competition that she’s capable of higher marks than she scored Thursday. But in each of her two routines, the apparatus slipped out of her hands, and she was deducted points for execution. Zetlin composed herself quickly in both instances. And judges ranked the artistic components of her routines high.

She’ll return to Wembley Arena Friday, hoping to finish strong with the ribbon and clubs.

Zetlin’s struggles continue with hoops routine

Julie Zetlin performs her hoop routine. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)

Julie Zetlin’s struggles continued on Day One of qualifying for the Olympic rhythmic gymnastics final Thursday, with the Bethesda native losing the grasp of her hoop three times during the second of two routines.

Judges scored her 23.750 out of a possible 30.000 for an elegant hoops routine, favoring its artistry (8.250) over its difficultly (7.400) and execution (8.100).

She faces a tough challenge to qualify for Saturday’s final.

Earlier Thursday Zetlin earned 24.450 for her ball routine, which was marred by an uncharacteristic early error, with the ball getting away from her momentarily.

With her performance on hoops, Zetlin is 17th among 24, but her standing will drop as the remaining gymnasts complete their routines.

Only the top 10 scorers advance. And Zetlin has two more routines, with the ribbon and clubs, which will be contested Friday, to lift her marks inside the top 10.

The hoops is one of the Olympic sport’s four mandatory apparatus, along with the ball, ribbon and clubs. And hoops routines are intended to show off a gymnast’s flexibility, balance and leaping ability.

Zetlin displayed her signature jumping skills, but the timing of her tosses was off.

With a handful of gymnasts yet to compete, Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva leads with 57.800, earning 29.000 for her hoops routine.

Defending Olympic champion Evgeniya Kaneava is second (57.625). And Liubou Charkashyna of Belarus is third (56.450).

Dmitrieva leads qualifying; Zetlin 22nd

Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva has the early lead in rhythmic gymnastics qualifying. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

After the first of the day’s two rotations in qualifying for the Olympic rhythmic gymnastics final, Bethesda’s Julie Zetlin is 22nd among 24 competitors.

She’ll have a chance to raise her standing later today, when she performs with the hoop.

No medals will be awarded today or when qualifying continues Friday, with performances with the ribbon and clubs. After all four rotations, the top 10 gymnastics advance to Saturday’s final.

Zetlin scored 24.450 for her ball routine. She’s capable of better, but lost control of the ball on her opening sequence though recovered impressively to compete the routine. Out of a possible 10.000 for each facet of her score, Zetlin earned 8.400 for her routine’s artistry, 8.150 for its execution and 7.900 for its difficulty.

Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva leads with 28.800 points. Defending Olympic champion Evgeniya Kaneava is second (28.100), and Yeon Jae Son of Korea is third (28.075).

Zetlin recovers from glitch in ball routine

Julie Zetlin performs her ball routine during rhythmic gymnastics qualifying. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)

Rhythmic gymnast Julie Zetlin of Bethesda had a somewhat rocky Olympic debut this morning with her ball routine on Day One of qualifying for Saturday’s individual all-around final.

She recovered nicely from an early error, though, in which she lost control of the ball, to earn a score of 24.450 out of a possible 30.000. Zetlin drew her highest marks for the routine’s artistry. That placed her 17th among the 18 competitors to have gone.

Three panels of judges award a maximum 10 points each for difficulty, artistry and execution.

Zetlin, 22, will return to the mat later today to compete with the hoop.

Only 10 of the 24 gymnasts will advance to Saturday’s final. Qualifying concludes Friday with the ribbon and clubs.

With all but six performers remaining in the first rotation, Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva leads with 28.800 points. Defending Olympic champion Evgeniya Kaneava, considered the sport’s queen, had a rare glitch, muffing a catch during a complex hoop routine, yet is second (28.100). And Yeon Jae Son of Korea is in third (28.075).

Rhythmic gymnastics made its Olympic debut at the 1984 London Games and has been dominated by Russians and gymnasts from republics of the former Soviet Union.

Rhythmic gymnasts are taller than traditional gymnasts, astoundingly flexible and trained in classical ballet, performing on demi-pointe like ballerinas.

Zetlin opens qualifying for rhythmic gymnastics final

Rhythmic gymnastics is to Russia what beach volleyball is to the United States: The Olympic sport that just keeps giving one gold medal after another.

So Bethesda’s Julie Zetlin faces fierce competition when rhythmic gymnastics gets under way shortly at Wembley Arena.

Zetlin, 22, has already achieved her goal by qualifying for the London Games. She’s the only American among the 24 gymnasts vying for the individual all-around title.

Only 10 advance to Saturday’s final, and the next two days of qualifying will cull the field, with gymnasts performing with two of four mandatory apparatus each day.

Zetlin, whose mother was a junior champion in her native Hungary, competes with the ball and hoop today. Friday, it’s ribbon and clubs.

While wildly popular in Russia and throughout Eastern Europe, rhythmic gymnastics is little known and often mocked in the United States. But it’s a rigorous athletic discipline that incorporates dance, music and theatrics.

Russia’s Evgeniya Kanaeva, considered the sport’s queen, is favored to repeat as the individual Olympic all-around gold medalist. Her toughest challenge will likely come from compatriot Daria Dmitrieva. Russia has won the last three Olympic golds in the individual and group competitions.

Here are some rhythmic-gymnastics basics:

Routines are performed to music and must be 75-90 seconds long.

In addition to difficulty, routines are judged on their execution and artistry. The highest possible score is 30; 28 is deemed excellent; 26, good.

The term “ongoing relationship” is used to describe the rapport judges look for between the athlete and her apparatus during a routine.

In seamless motion, gymnast will toss, catch leap and pirouette while performing with the apparatus. Zetlin is an exceptional leaper, with a theatrical flair.

Following Tuesday’s training session at Wembley, Zetlin exulted: “I love it! The bright, shiny lights! It’s like I’m on Broadway!”

Coach: Wieber may have stress fracture in leg

Jordyn Wieber competes in the floor exercise. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

American gymnast Jordyn Wieber didn’t perform as well as expected throughout the Olympics. Now we may have a reason why. From the Associated Press:

The coach of world gymnastics champion Jordyn Wieber says she may have a stress fracture in her right leg.

John Geddert said Tuesday she has been dealing with pain in the leg since the U.S. women’s pre-Olympic training camp, which began the second week of July.

Wieber came into the Olympics as a favorite to win multiple medals, but she leaves London without any individual medals after finishing seventh on floor exercise.

Read the full account here.

Raisman wins gold for floor routine, finishes with 3 medals

Aly Raisman hugs coach Mihai Brestyan after winning the gold medal in floor exercise. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman closed her Olympics with a second gold medal Tuesday, winning the floor exercise to add to the balance-beam bronze she won earlier in the day and the gold she shared with the U.S. team.

It was powerful affirmation of Raisman’s hard work and dedication after laboring so long in the shadow of her more decorated American teammates, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas. Raisman closes her Games with three medals. Douglas won a pair of golds. And Wieber, one.

After gaffes by several contenders, the only gymnast in position to bump Raisman from the top spot was Sandra Raluca Izbasa of Romania, the defending Olympic champion on the floor, who went last. But on the final tumbling pass of what had been an elegant, impressive routine, the Romanian landed short and fell face-first on the mat, clinching the gold for Raisman (15.600).

Romania’s Catalina Ponor took silver (15.200). And Russia’s Aliya Mustafina claimed  bronze (14.900).

Read the full story here.