Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Ugly Duckling

One of my childhood and still favourite fairy tale is The Ugly Duckling. In a way I think Afanasyeva is considered an Ugly Duckling story. I must admit when I first saw her in Beijing I didn’t really notice her or paid attention to her. I remembered watching Deng Linlin’s beam routine in TF and kept on thinking who is using that kind of floor music? I thought it was unique and was curious to see how a gymnast would perform to that kind of music Afanasyeva's FX music. Then it was BB EF and all I could remember from Afanasyeva was a lot of missed connections but I thought her hand waves were beautifully done. Then when YouTube videos surfaced of Afanasyeva’s prelim routines I finally got to see her routines and liked them. What made my ultimate decision of being a fan of Afanasyeva was that I wasn’t expecting her to move elegantly, gracefully and with good posture/carriage. She looked quite masculine in my opinion but when she performed her floor routine I was hooked on/ drawn in.

She has long been known as a “headcase" but finally last year in Tokyo she got herself together and finally won a gold medal for herself. She has now proven herself to be a team leader/veteran for Russia's 2012 Olympic team. She may not be a "lock" for the team but I wish her all the best in the new year. She has a chance and with her new found confidence her goal of London 2012 is looking realistic/positive. She is a one of a kind gymnast. There is no denying that she is one of the most artistic gymnast of this generation. She is an Ugly Duckling story.

Plot Summary of The Ugly Duckling Via Wikipedia "The story is beloved around the world as a tale about personal transformation for the better"

When the tale begins, a mother duck's eggs hatch. One of the little birds is perceived by the duck’s surroundings as a homely little creature and suffers much verbal and physical abuse from the other birds and animals on the farm. He wanders sadly from the barnyard and lives with wild ducks and geese until hunters slaughter the flocks. He then finds a home with an old woman but her cat and hen tease him mercilessly and again he sets off on his own. He sees a flock of migrating wild swans; he is delighted and excited but he cannot join them for he is too young and cannot fly. Winter arrives. A farmer finds and carries the freezing little bird home, but the foundling is frightened by the farmer’s noisy children and flees the house. He spends a miserable winter alone in the outdoors mostly hiding in a cave on the lake that partly freezes over. When spring arrives a flock of swans descends on the now thawing lake. The ugly duckling, now having fully grown and matured cannot endure a life of solitude and hardship any more and decides to throw himself at the flock of swans deciding that it is better to be killed by such beautiful birds than to live a life of ugliness and misery. He is shocked when the swans welcome and accept him, only to realize by looking at his reflection in the water that he has grown into one of them. The flock takes to the air and the ugly duckling spreads his beautiful large wings and takes flight with the rest of his new family.

The Ugly Duckling in Russian Part 1

Part 2

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