The fan on the back – sports

It is the beginning of the end. Kim Bui performs gymnastics in qualifying, the start of the first long weekend of this European Championships at the Olympic Hall. As always in gymnastics, it is not particularly certain what will happen, but what will happen after these three days is certain: Kim Boy’s active career will end thereafter.

Like all other gymnasts in the long run, she also wishes a solid way out for this stage of life, which shaped her and perhaps also influenced her subsequent career, who knows. But it’s too early to talk about that now, because she now has to solve the problems of the present, like asking, “How do I have this clash now?”

It comes from Tübingen, and from there and from the base of Stuttgart, a number of Bowie fans traveled to Munich to see this player’s latest acrobatics. But gymnastics is a continuum of crucial and fragile moments, like the one Bowie now encounters in the Jaegersalto sequence. This is a standard item on uneven bars, the gymnast runs a giant ledge back around the beam, breaks off, climbs, somersaults forward and has to hold onto that wood, but the whole plan is in jeopardy, because, as Bowie later said – “because the mast was suddenly too far away.” “.

As part of the 4th best team, Bui has another chance to win a medal

Gymnasts can actually do just that: recap every single move, every mistake, and every exercise sequence in detail. And Kim Boy is especially good – after nearly 20 years in the world. She hasn’t achieved the kind of success herself that sometimes gets a mention in the news in the sport. However, over the years, she has always supported the team with her strong gymnastics skills to achieve the best performances.

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Now this team is in the team final again, and as the fourth-placed nation, it is fully capable of achieving EM medals once again in the team and individual machine. After qualifying, they are led by the teams of Italy, Great Britain and France. As individual gymnasts, Pauline Schaeffer-Petz and Emma Maluski also reached the balance beam final on Sunday, and Germany’s Elizabeth Seitz and Kim Boye are in the final on uneven bars. The team is already there on Saturday from 2pm, and because so much can still happen in the sport, you know roughly where each team is, but not how much they could improve. Add half a twist here, add an item there until it’s too risky. Before that, however, one must master the basics, and Bui knows this also includes the flawless Jagersalto.

So how do you speed up a very short flight while lying in the air if you don’t have fans on your back? Usually it only works if the gymnast sees it all, sees it, learns it, and has spent a long career working on the basics, alignment, and correct spacing in 3D. Bowie won a world championship bronze on this machine 11 years ago when new teammate Emma Mallowski was trying her first rotation. Thanks to her experience, Kim Bui has amassed a treasure that has made her almost indispensable during such a long period of time, even without great difficulties.

Suddenly Bowie was climbing on a jagged hook

Former men’s national coach Andreas Hirsch once coined the term “Asian lightweight build” for some gymnasts’ bodies. He was referring to Marcel Nguyen, the Olympic silver medalist in Unterhaching, who combined strength, flexibility and elegance. This also applies to Bui, whose mother was from Vietnam and her father was from Laos. And while she didn’t invent any new items to bear her name, she didn’t become famous after her sport either, but she’s still in great shape, which she showed in this team’s playoffs, which ended only Thursday night.

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“Stretching” is what she called it when I explained what to do if the top bar suddenly flew away. Bowie took all 20 years of experience into this rescue operation for her participation in the final, which was initially unnoticed in the auditorium, as well as unknown from the outside. Anyway, Bowie stretched her lightweight body in such a way that her fingers could still actually grab onto the handlebars, but the safety rollers to the right and left of her palms were wrong. And Bowie knows this a lot after all this time: “It can get criminal.” Suddenly she climbed onto a jagged hook, but had not yet completed that swing that would have prepared her for the last somersault.

Rarely has gymnastics reporter Kim Boye seen 20 years as enthusiastic as Thursday in mixed territory. Perhaps it was partly just realizing that she only had a few days left of her 20-year career, partly also that she just kept her big dream of recent solo success alive with the stretch. At that moment, she gave one last glimpse into the state of mind of the athletes competing at the highest level.

“It’s a split second, in which you realize: I’ve landed,” Bowie said. The soles of your feet touch the carpet, very briefly, this is enough to realize that you are stable and will not fall. It’s a precious moment, a great relief, but it disappears again instantly. Because in gymnastics, posture is always maintained, he greeted the judges before disappearing from the carpet. Twice more, and then finally landed.

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