Experiences at the Commonwealth Games 2022 Finals
Today I have a very special post to share with you! It draws from my personal experience of attending the RG finals at the Commonwealth Games this weekend. The last time I attended a live RG competition was in 2018, and I really missed the feeling of being part of a live audience and witnessing gymnastics from up close, soaking up all the energy and the drama that comes with this sport. So, I was extremely excited to travel to the city of Birmingham, UK for the Commonwealth Games! I wrote a separate post earlier this week about the Games and what they signify, and you can read it here.
The RG event at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham concluded on Saturday with the individual finals. You can have a look at the final rankings and the medals distribution here -hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon. In this post, I will share with you what I thought were the most memorable moments from the competition.
The event took place at Birmingham Arena which was a stunning venue! The hall was full to the brim with people. The entire event ran smoothly and was so well organised – from beginning till the end. I really liked the competition set-up - the carpet was raised above the ground on a platform, with a little ‘bridge’ the gymnast had to walk along to get to the carpet, and a walk to the ‘kiss and cry’ area where the gymnasts awaited their scores. I think for this competition it was effectively more of a ‘kiss and smile’ area. 😉
The Friendly Games
The Commonwealth Games are also known as the Friendly Games and I can see why. As the stakes are lower compared to an Olympic event, for example, and the competing nations are all united in parts of their history and culture, there really was a sense of friendliness throughout the event – in the audience and in the competition. Based on my personal experience as a spectator, RG competitions can be quite dramatic when countries fiercely fight for the top (as in any sport). But this competition was not that, in fact the gymnasts looked happy just to be there to celebrate the sport in the presence of an incredibly supportive audience, and it felt great to be a part of that! ❤
Louise Christie’s Ribbon Routine
My favourite moment was without a doubt Louise Christie’s ribbon routine! Louise is Scottish and was the first rhythmic gymnast representing Scotland to make it to a final at the Commonwealth Games since 1994. Not only did she win a silver medal with her brilliant performance with the ribbon, but she also earned the audience’s love – an award which I think (perhaps naïvely) is the bigger prize. 😊 The amount of support and applause that came from the crowd following Louise’s ribbon routine was unmatched that day. It was an explosion of cheering, and it was beautiful!
You can watch some of the routine as well as the reaction of the audience afterwards in the short video below. I also encourage you to see the full routine here, in excellent quality provided by the BBC - enjoy!
Louise’s routine was very original in terms of her musical choice which really stood out with its meaning and expression, as well as the culture that it embodied. Scottish pipes playing traditional Celtic music, is not music I have ever heard in an RG routine before. It was a cover of the 90s hit track Insomnia performed by Scottish Celtic rock band The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
The routine was fresh, unique, and so well done in terms of choreography which featured Highland dancing and wonderful accents and transitions in time with the music. But what really made this routine happen in a very big way was the delivery. Louise really brought it to life, she felt the music and she gave her emotion to the audience. And that is why the crowd loved it, including myself.
Highlights and Opinions From the Finals
Representing England, Marfa Ekimova was the discovery of the Commonwealth Games this year, taking the all-around title on Friday. I think there will be a bright future ahead of her as she has the training and the confidence to make a name for herself on the big international stage.
Malaysia’s Izzah Binti Amzan took the silver with clubs after a great performance and charmed everyone with her delightful presence on the carpet.
Representing Wales, Gemma Frizelle showed sophistication and elegance on the carpet under the dramatic sounding of the famous aria Nessun dorma performed by Lucciano Pavarotti. She won the gold medal in the hoop final with this unforgettable routine.
Representing Canada, Suzanna Shahbazian presented an enchanting routine with the ball, winning the silver medal in that final. I cannot wait to see more of this gymnast in the future. Teammate Carmella Kallemaa was also stunning on the carpet and delivered her routines with a lot of emotion.
Australia’s Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyrieva was the most decorated gymnast to enter this competition. She showcased her beautiful qualities and skills on the carpet and won one gold (clubs) and one bronze (all-around) medal.
England’s Saffron Severn showed an original and bold clubs routine in her only final, which she delivered with charisma and great energy.
Thank you very much for reading! I hope you have enjoyed this article, and if you did – feel free to share it with other RG fans. Also press the little heart icon at the end so I know you have enjoyed it! ❤ Let me know in the comments below if you have watched RG live and how you think that differs compared to seeing it on a screen. If you haven’t already, consider following me on Instagram and Twitter to keep updated on everything new on my blog!
See you next time,