Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Billy on the Box: Gym'll fix it

I speak to you from my hospital bed where teams of surgeons have been working through the night with crow bars, axle grease and gritted teeth to try and prise me out of my all-in-one leotard I bought especially for the World Gymnastics Championships.

Some of the outfits on show were interesting to say the least, Romania turning up in what can only be described as a Lidl bag and Great Britain modelling a natty little sparkling Union Jack number that wouldn't have looked out of place on a middle-aged woman dandering behind a flute band on the Twelfth.

Britain's great hope was Rebecca Downie, and she lived up to her name by landing on her mouth and nose in the parallel bars, any wonder then that Gabby Logan's partner in the studio was Craig Heap, former Commonwealth champion.

“We've seen a few wobbles there,” said commentator Matt Baker, comments that would have lost him his Blue Peter badge, a greater achievement than a Commonwealth medal, while Gabby referring to Rebecca's crash said ‘maybe she thought she had let the house down when she fell off the bar.' Been there myself, Gabby.

Mind you Gabby looked about the only woman in the building old enough to go into a pub, albeit somersaulting with triple pike, spilling pints everywhere, as far from being all-round they all looked like lollipop sticks in leotards.

Maybe it had something to do with Bross being in the building, turns out it was another Rebecca, an American gymnast and not a tale of mis-spelt youth, but there was only one Logan in town.

“We've been sat together like some Richard and Judy of gymnastics,” she said of her and Mr Heap, giving us all an image of Judy in a leotard that none of us ever wanted.

Onto Saturday and Louis Smith was the man who was going to deliver a medal, but it turns out there was more chance of the Royal Mail delivering a few letters as he promptly fell off his pommel horse and that was that.

Matt had come across Louis before, in his days of Blue Peter. Maybe some sticky back plastic on the handles next time.

The rings are my personal favourite and they came on Sunday, the final day, with Gabby telling us that it's 'all about your upper body' and dismissing some poor Bulgarian's hopes because ‘he's not as strong down below'. Leotards are very unforgiving.

“Next up is the floor, the one we've all been waiting for,” wailed Gabby as Beth Tweddle, the former guitarist from Slade, was cheered in by 12,000 screaming girls as the Beeb desperately prayed for another medal.

She was up first and bounced jumped about like a good 'un before the routine everyone will be talking about for years, Colombia's Jessica Ortiz, who performed her first hop, skip and jump like Rene Higuita but her second like Rene Artois, landing on her head. Watch it on YouTube, unbelievable.

Then again, Matt told us she was being treated by a Dr John Aldridge. Get proper medical help, not a Scouse striker with a tache.

It seemed to put everyone off, a wee Chinese girl called Deng Linlin, 17 going on seven, was having a blinder until her Sindy fell out of her pocket and moments later Beth was our golden girl and surely a leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year according to Gabby.

I think Mr Button may have something to say about that.

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