There were some bright spots in Ian Makowske’s performance this weekend at the 2013 Houston National Invitational, and some disappointing ones as well. In the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX, Makowske began his Saturday night on High Bar in the second rotation. Improving on his showing at Winter Cup, Makowske had beautiful Half-Takamoto G2 and Full-Takamoto Yamiwaki-Half combinations. Unfortunately after falling the wrong way on his Weiler, he was forced to take several extra giants, incurring a deduction for change of direction and spending valuable energy. He completed the rest of his routine well, successfully re-trying his Weiler full-spin and full-spin and catching his Yamiwaki-Geninger combination, but in a uncharacteristic dismount came up short and was unable to fight to stay on his feet. He scored a 13.75 and finished tied for sixth with China’s Wang Haoran.
Makowske gutted his way through his floor routine, highlighted by a nice tucked Thomas roll-out for his second pass and one of his better back one-and-a-half punch Rudi down the side. With a low landing on his back two-and-a-half punch full and a hop on his dismount, Makowske finished with a 14.2, tied for fifth place. Ian closed out the evening on pommel horse, managing to stay on the horse but incurring some major form deductions on his opening two on one, 270 Russian and his triple Russian dismount. Makowske scored a 12.45 on the event.
“There was definitely some progress tonight,” Makowske said after the meet. “Obviously I’m disappointed and didn’t do everything I had hoped to, but there were still some positives. I’ve worked the past two weeks to get that Half-Tak G2 combination more consistent, finding a different way to warm it up and be more confident competing it, and that worked; I caught the two I did in warm-ups and even more importantly, the one I did in the competition. That’s 100% and that was big for me- especially on a high bar set up a little differently [the high bar was weighted down using water jugs with sand instead of bolted directly to the ground; this gives the bar a slightly different feel to which gymnasts much adjust]. There will be water jugs out at the OTC for Qualifier too, so this was a good test of my ability to adapt. Unfortunately, after being happy about my two opening release combinations, I lost focus and missed a simple skill and a dismount that I’ve been doing easily for years. It’s a case of not over-thinking during a routine but staying in the moment and focused right then; unfortunately I didn’t do that when I needed to on high bar.
“Although my pommel horse score also wasn’t quite what I had wanted, I was able to stay on the horse for the first time this season, which is a step. There are a lot of skills to clean up, perfect, and make more consistent on that event, but building enough endurance to stay on is a step in the right direction. At this point there’s a lot to be said for perspective; my goal is to qualify for USA Championships, and I have to look at this competition as a learning experience; there were disappointments and moments of great progress. This week I get back in the gym and use both to keep moving forward.
After reflecting on the weekend further, Makowske added that, “competing for Mikey’s Way offers not only support and great opportunities to give back, but a sort of metaphor as well. I would never compare a disappointing meet to a cancer diagnosis, but there is so much to be learned from Mikey’s response. In the face of setbacks we can quit or we can find a way to move forward, we can despair or we can be uplifting. I saw first hand which Mikey chose, and I hope to make the same choice.”
Full results for Houston National Invitational here. Videos to be posted soon.