Friday, 31 August 2012

Quick survey

Current favourite gymnast
McKayla Maroney

Current favourite Russian gymnast
Aliya Mustafina

Current favourite Romanian gymnast
Larisa Iordache

Current favourite Chinese gymnast
He Kexin

Current favourite 'everywhere else' gymnast
Christine Peng Peng Lee

All-time favourite Soviet gymnast
Tie: Elena Mukhina and Tatiana Groshkova

All-time favourite American gymnast
Hollie Vise

All-time favourite Romanian gymnast
Teodora Ungureanu

All-time favourite Chinese gymnast
Li Li 

All-time favourite 'everywhere else' gymnast
Henrietta Onodi

All-time best all-arounder
Elena Mukhina

All-time best floor worker
Daniela Silivas

All-time best beam worker
Li Li

All-time best vaulter
McKayla Maroney. I was determined not to pick her, but she technically is the best.

All-time best bars worker
Mo Huilan 

Favourite beam routine
Li Li 1993 worlds AA

Favourite floor routine
Anna Myzdrikova 2009 worlds qualifying

Favourite vault
A tie between Lilia Podkopayeva 1994 Soapberry Shop and McKayla Maroney 2012 Team Finals Olympics

Favourite bars routine
Kim Gwang Suk 1991 Worlds all-around

Favourite bars release
Gaylord 1/1 or Comaneci

Favourite vault
Handspring front layout

Favourite floor tumble
Tie: 3.5 twist (Moreno) or piked double arabian (Dos Santos 1)

Favourite beam move
Tucked Korbut (Chen) 

Favourite turn
Double scorpion

Favourite jump
Tour jete 1/2

Favourite bars dismount
Double arabian piked

Favourite beam dismount
Triple full

Favourite bars mount
Aleftina Priakhina's

Favourite beam mount
Aleftina Priakhina's  

Favourite floor pass
Whip-whip-triple full

Most exciting floor pass
1 and a half twist, double arabian, front layout punchfront. (Aly Raisman's 1st pass)

Best floor routine from London
Tie: Viktoria Komova AA and Aly Raisman

Best vault from London
McKayla Maroney team finals

Best beam from London
Sui Lu event finals

Best bars from London
Tie: Beth Tweddle qualifying and Yao Jinnan event finals

Greatest innovator
Aleftina Priakhina

Most exciting gymnast
Mai Murakami

Most powerful gymnast
Yelena Produnova

Best tumbler
Daiane Dos Santos


The Gabby/Oprah/Excalibur disaster

What a mess. Oprah got her memorable interview by leading Gabby into a sob story. Of course, Gabby may well have been isolated and/or bullied and it may have been racially motivated. Unfortunately, Gabby also stated that she was the only African-American in the gym, which has since been proven to be false. This to me casts doubts on the rest of her story. Regardless of whether it is true or not, it has no place in the media. A good story for Oprah is a disaster for Gabby. Of course she will still get lots of lucrative endorsements etc. but this is tarnishing her name, as is the story about her dad. In order to really capitalise on her fame, positivity was needed. Instead, it is negative story after negative story and it is going to end up that she won't have the lasting power to stay the game. Interesting that her agent also represents Shawn Johnson- the queen of American gymnastics, the girl-next-door sweetheart who is STILL going strong and who people think actually won the all-around in 2008. Positivity wins. Negativity could well drag Gabby down and it is just taking attention away from what she actually DID do in London.

And what of Excalibur? I did not like the mud slinging article they put their name to which appeared about six months ago. It was in really bad taste and some of their reaction now is as well. What they need to do is acknowledge their part in honing Gabby into the gymnast she is, acknowledge that she may have been bullied during her time there- but congratulate her success and move on. They do of course have every right to defend themselves- but former Excalibur gymnasts are doing that very well all by themselves. The gym is the business and they need to gloss over it, publicly. Privately of course they should pursue the Douglas family the money they are owed. It is sickening that after all they did for Gabby- paying her fees, paying for her meets, keeping her overnight, driving her to the gym etc. etc. that they go unpaid for it all and are then blasted as being not good enough as a gym and as a breeding ground for bullying. It's incredibly damaging for them, but they really needed to take the classy route in the media, and then reclaim their money privately. Instead, it's a huge mess with blame on all sides. Although it is very likely that this will negatively affect Gabby's ability to remain at the top of her game fame-wise, it would be great if it all blew over and her and her agent would think twice over the image they are portraying in future.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Olessia Dudnik's beam

I can watch this all day. Such difficulty and innovation in a routine that is 23 years old. Somebody coded it in the current code of points and it works out at 6.4. To put that into perspective, only a handful of gymnasts managed to beat that in London- Ponor, Lu, Raisman, Komova, Deng and Douglas and even then, some of them only managed to beat it once out of a few routines. Incredible. Here is my favourite routine of hers, even though she biffed the dismount a bit.

Dudnik's other events are usually overlooked in comparison to her beam. She is also the owner of a fabulous bars set with the arabian mount and vaulted DTY's when they were rarely to be seen. Her floor too was a delight. A great all-arounder, but will always be known for one event.

Monday, 27 August 2012

London's best two leotards

The best one is He Kexin, uneven bars event finals. It is perfect- lovely design, great colours, it suits her down to the ground AND she co-ordinates it perfectly with a hair ribbon. It's made better by the fact that she designed it herself! The others liked it too, which is why Deng had one in the same design..and there was another floating around as well.

Beautiful. Pity it was bars so NO decent photos of it exist.

Second place goes to Gabby and Aly's AA leotard. A beautiful berry colour which suited both of them extremely well, and a really nice and unusual silver design to break it up. Fabulous.

I would do a top 5/top 10 but none of the rest are in the same league as these two, to me anyway. So two it is.


Official: London judges actually on crack

The judges report has been released and it makes for interesting reading. Some very questionable and downright mad judging going on.



Lauren Mitchell got an 8.0 and a 9.0 in execution for this routine. Seriously a whole point between two different judges?

The 9.0 judge gave Afanasyeva and Raisman the same execution score, when every other judge rightly had 0.1-0.4 difference in favour of Afan. Interestingly, gave Tweddle her lowest execution score too. So you hate artistry or not?


One judge gave Tweddle a 9.2 execution score and Komova an 8.5! Not surprisingly, this was Komova's lowest execution score by three tenths. The same judge gave Mustafina an 8.3, also her lowest by three tenths. Going to go out on a limb here and suggest this judge doesn't like Russia?

Douglas, Mustafina and Jinnan all had an 0.7 range between their execution scores.


One judge saw a tenth in the execution difference between Deng's and Sui's routines. Another saw a full point.

Jordyn's scores ranged from 8.2 to 9.0- 0.8 difference.

Two judges gave Raisman and Ross the same execution score..


One judge gave Douglas a higher score than Maroney's amanar by three tenths. WTF. The same judge also scored Jordyn's and Aly's amanars two tenths higher than Maroney's amanar.

Actually, only one judge thought Maroney's amanar was better than Jordyn's.

Team Finals


Victoria Moors was lowballed, receiving 0.7 less than Raisman for execution by the same judge. Not one judge scored her higher than Raisman.


One judge thought Douglas and Wieber deserved 9.6 for their vaults and Mustafina a 9.5. No, just no. All three have form and technique errors. And had just two-tenths between Maroney and Douglas..


One judge has 0.7 in the difference for execution between Tweddle and Jinnan, and 0.8 between Tweddle and Qiushuang, both in Tweddle's favour. ???


One judge gave Iordache and Ponor 9.0's and Sui 8.3!

Kyla Ross' scores have jumped from qualifying, for the exact same routine.

0.7 difference in Asuka Teramoto's score range.

A full point in Hannah Whelan's. Also the difference between Hannah's highest score and second highest score is 0.6.


If the reference judges scores were used, Komova would have won the AA.


One judge gave four scores over 9. The rest only gave one each. The same judge gave Komova a 9.5! Also gave Douglas a 9.3 which devalues it a bit.


Douglas received THREE 9.5's for hers

Raisman received a 9.6!

Mustafina's lowest score was a 9.4


Mustafina's scores jump dramatically.

Douglas jumps too, and has 0.7 range in her scores


An 0.7 range in scores for Raisman and Komova

Komova received a 9.4! The same judge gave Deng four tenths less.

Douglas' scores have inflated again.

Floor Finals

The same judge who gave Raisman and Mustafina 9.3's gave Ponor an 8.5. This was Ponor's lowest score by SIX tenths.

The e-panel's score gave Ponor one tenth higher overall execution. The reference judges gave Raisman two tenths higher execution. Because of the difference between the e-panel and ref judges of Ponor's execution- 0.4, it was averaged between the two. If it had not been averaged, Ponor would have received 15.4. Still would have lost though.

Ferrari was lowballed completely.

Beam Finals

One judge gave Ponor and Raisman the same score.

One gave Deng a higher execution score than Sui   

Vault Finals

Paseka received no less than two 9.0's for her (not a) amanar.

Berger was lowballed and got an 8.5 for her Rudi.

Maroney's amanar received a 9.8 (before the neutral deduction), despite being noticeably not as good as the team finals one.

One judge have Pena an 8.0 for her unbelievable mess of a first vault. Another gave her 7.0- another point difference.


- Far too much disparity between scores, several instances where there was an 0.7 range and a good few where there was a full point. Regardless of the highest and lowest scores being dropped, this shouldn't be happening in the first place.
- Vault judges all on crack. An amanar once actually landed on the mat nevermind what direction it was facing or how much the gymnast came off the mat afterwards was totally gifted. Not near enough deductions on vault in general- dynamics, height, block technique..all ignored. Not near enough difference between Maroney and others.
- Too much inflation going on. Raisman in particular was gifted a lot of her scores, but few remained consistent throughout the whole competition for much the same routine.
- Some gymnasts were totally screwed, Ferrari the most obvious. Qiushuang another. Sui Lu in team finals beam, and Deng in the all-around.
- What subdivision you were in in qualifying greatly affected your score.
- Overscoring a big problem. Hard to believe that everyone thought crappy amanars were going to get slaughtered and that beam and floor were going to be harsh.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Gymnasts turning senior 2013-16

Gymnasts turning senior in 2013

Katelyn Ohashi USA
Lexie Priessman USA
Madison Desch USA
Simone Biles USA
Peyton Ernst USA
Maggie Nichols USA
Gabby Jupp BRITAIN
Angel Romaeo BRITAIN
Noemi Makra HUNGARY
Stefanie Alina Stanila ROMANIA
Maria Rauta ROMANIA 
Ana Maria Ocalisan ROMANIA
Evgeniya Shelgunova RUSSIA
Ekaterina Baturina RUSSIA 
Alla Sosnitskaya RUSSIA
Yulia Tipaeva RUSSIA
Sophie Scheder GERMANY
Meagan Chant CANADA
Victoria Kayen-Woo CANADA
Jordyn Pedersen CANADA
Elisa Meneghini ITALY
Chantysha Netteb NETHERLANDS
Roxana Popa SPAIN
Maelys Plessis FRANCE
Olesya Sazonova UKRAINE
Olena Vasylieva UKRAINE
Darya Matveyeva UKRAINE
Kiara Munteanu AUSTRALIA
Madelaine Leydin AUSTRALIA
Lou Nina CHINA 
Xie Wenwei CHINA

Gymnasts turning senior in 2014

Polina Schennikova USA
Amelia Hundley USA
Veronica Hults USA
Ashton Locklear USA
Heaven Latimer CANADA
Brianna Clark CANADA
Aleeza Yu CANADA 
Isabela Onyshko CANADA
Maria Kharenkova RUSSIA
Daria Spiridonova RUSSIA
Viktoria Kuzmina  RUSSIA
Yevgeniya Zhukova RUSSIA
Kristina Levshina RUSSIA
Alexandra Yazydzhyan RUSSIA
Darya Kloptsova UKRAINE
Tea Ugrin ITALY
Enus Mariani ITALY
Lara Mori ITALY
Martina Rizzelli ITALY
Emma Larsson SWEDEN
Louise Vanhille FRANCE
Claire Martin FRANCE 
Dayana Hryhoryeva BELARUS
Silvia Zarzu ROMANIA
Bianca Ciobanu ROMANIA
Andreea Munteanu ROMANIA
Miriam Arabisoiu ROMANIA
Ioana Nicoara ROMANIA
Diana Teodoru BELGIUM
Paula Tudorache ROMANIA
Eythora Thorsdottir NETHERLANDS
Mariana Oliveira BRAZIL
Julie Kim BRAZIL
Lorrane Santos BRAZIL
Alexandra Eade AUSTRALIA
Yuki Uchiyama JAPAN 
Yuna Hiraiwa JAPAN
Wang Wei CHINA
Chen Siyi CHINA
Zhu Siyan CHINA
Bai Yawen CHINA
Xie Yufen CHINA
Zhang Yuxin CHINA

Gymnasts turning senior in 2015- these girls are elegible for Youth Olympic Games- 1999 birth year

Bailie Key USA
Nia Dennis USA 
Alexis Vasquez USA
Vanasia Bradley USA
Megan Skaggs USA
Nadia Cho USA 
Lauren Navarro USA
Marissa Oakley USA
Maria Bondareva RUSSIA
Anastasia Dmitrieva RUSSIA
Seda Tutkhalyan RUSSIA
Yulia Biryulya RUSSIA
Polina Spirina RUSSIA
Daria Mikhailova RUSSIA
Raisa Batyrova RUSSIA
Madalina Blendea ROMANIA
Andreea Iridon ROMANIA
Laura Jurca ROMANIA
Dora Vulcan ROMANIA
Antonia Alicke GERMANY
Pauline Tratz GERMANY
Iosra Abdelaziz ITALY
Sydney Townsend CANADA
Tutya Yilmaz TURKEY
Rebeca Andrade BRAZIL
Flavia Saraiva BRAZIL
Ivanka Victory COSTA RICA
Ellie Downie BRITAIN
Tyesha Mattis BRITAIN
Amy Tinkler BRITAIN
Mara Titarsolej NETHERLANDS
Darcy Norman AUSTRALIA
Sae Miyakawa JAPAN
Aiko Sugihara JAPAN
Yuan Xiaoyang CHINA
Liu Zhilin CHINA
Mei Jie CHINA 
Wang Yan CHINA
Fan Yilin CHINA
Liu Ying CHINA
Xu Chujun CHINA
Qin Chang CHINA
Zhu Xiaofang CHINA
Zhang Yan CHINA
Li Haiming CHINA

Gymnasts turning senior in 2016

Laurie Hernandez USA
Norah Flatley USA
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf USA
Emily Gaskins USA
Ragan Smith USA
Christina Desiderio USA 
Jazmyn Foberg USA
Abby Paulson USA
Margzetta Frasier USA
Rachel Baumann USA
Shallon Olsen CANADA
Rose Kaying-Woo CANADA
Ekaterina Sokova RUSSIA
Angelina Melnikova RUSSIA  
Anastasia Kuznetsova RUSSIA
Natalia Kapitonova RUSSIA
Daria Skrypnik RUSSIA
Asiana Peng ROMANIA
Adela Florea ROMANIA
Andreea Ciurusniuc ROMANIA
Andra Stoica ROMANIA
Diana Damian ROMANIA
Cristina Vrabie ROMANIA
Anda Butuc ROMANIA
Pilar Rubagotti ITALY 
Sofia Busato ITALY
Tamires Veiga BRAZIL
Carolyne Pedro BRAZIL
Catherine Lyons BRITAIN
Teal Grindle BRITAIN
Georgia Mae Fenton BRITAIN 
Elizabet Vasileva BULGARIA
Maike Enderle GERMANY
Koko Dobashi JAPAN
Liu Tingting CHINA
Luo Huan CHINA
Lv Jiaqi CHINA
Liu Tianyang CHINA
Zhou Linlin CHINA

If you're wondering where Olivia Cimpian, Jordan Chiles, Ariana Agrapides etc. are...they are not eligible for senior competition this quad, they're too young.

Girls in italics are either inactive/retired, more than likely retired or highly unlikely to return to elite. This list is not exhaustive.

Friday, 24 August 2012

New Kids on the Block: Eastern Europe and elsewhere


Hungary have not really had a break-out gymnast since Henrietta Onodi. Funding is an issue but there is definitely talent lurking.

Noemie Makra

Noemie needs a lot more difficulty to contend with the top few, but is a very good all-around prospect, strong on bars and floor in particular. Slight form issues, but could well go further than any gymnast from Hungary has done since Henrietta Onodi. Nice technique and form overall, and long lines. Noemi will turn senior in 2013. No photos of her.

Nice clean tumbling and classical dance. Needs lots more difficulty and better spin control.
Lovely to watch, such clean acro skills and she's very light and floaty on the beam.
Mistake aside, she has beautiful form here. Lots to build and needs to hit handstands but she has lovely bodyline and flight.
Her execution got her into the vault finals even though she didn't have the difficulty to really compete well. This is fabulous, legs glued together and more PERFECT form. Hopefully it translates well to upgrading.


Ukraine really need a few gymnasts with Lilia Podkopayeva consistency but it doesn't look like that's happening yet, sadly. They have issues both with money and with a lack of team spirit/unity from the coaches. The beauty is there and the difficulty is on the way..some more consistent with not falling than others, but hopefully it can gel together before Rio. Mariya Livchikova the fabulous senior has unfinished business, injured at worlds, injured for the test event to qualify to London, a dissapointing Euros and then a fabulous showing at Nationals. She definitely has more to give. Nataliya Kononenko and Yana Demyanchuk are strong too, though headcases abound in both the junior and senior ranks as usual! Cannot find photos of this lot.

Darya Matveyeva

Darya is especially fabulous on bars, but could definitely be a strong all-arounder. Unfortunately falls are not out of the question for her but the potential is all there, hoping she makes the transition to senior well and builds on her difficulty and consistency.

Tiny leg seperation here and there and some short handstands, but this is a beautiful routine with gorgeous lines. She could have knocked herself out had she hit the bar on that dismount! Bursting with potential here, she already has high difficulty
Lovely. She's usually quite wobbly here, but this one was really well done.
Weak difficulty, but glorious elegance and looks to have lots of room to upgrade

Darya Kloptsova

Darya Kloptsova is bursting with potential. Steadier than some of her teammates, and she has more time to work on it as she turns senior in 2014. Beautiful to watch on floor and bars and her beam has some nice touches.

Gorgeous! Obviously weak in difficulty, but she's quite clean and has beautiful choreo
More of the same issues here, handstands and lack of flight, but it looks great and can only get better.
Lovely work, needs much more attack of course but lots of potential

Olesya Sazonova

Olesya is more of an unknown, but she definitely figures into the equation because she has quite a lot of difficulty compared to her teammates on floor, and seems quite solid on beam too. A very valuable gymnast for them. She has improved dramatically since 2011 apparently, so let's hope she continues. Great power on floor and confidence on beam (cannot find bars or vault), she lacks finesse with landings and some leaps though. She turns senior in 2013.

Wonderful. She exudes confidence here, great choreography. Landings need work.
Great attack, wonderful to see from a Ukrainian. She needs to be more polished, but beam and floor are very strong. 

Other Ukrainian juniors of note: Olena Vasylieva


Belarus has never figured since the break-up of the Soviet Union, although they were the nation that produced some fabulous Soviet greats like Svetlana Boguinskaya. It would be really wonderful to see them make an impact.

Dayana Hryhoryeva

 Dayana specialises in uneven bars, of all the juniors she is the best bars worker as she has phenomenal swing and form and makes everything look effortless. Very graceful to watch on floor, really exquisitite form and she is bursting with poise and artistry. She is another who could become an event specialist or continue building her difficulty up to be an all-arounder, although she desperately needs higher d-scores to contend in the future, she does not lack power or skill to upgrade so she should be able to keep up.

AMAZING. Impeccable form, even on releases, lovely bodyline and she effortlessly hits handstands and transitions. Huge potential here.
Fluke mistake here, but still lovely to watch. Recovers very well from the mistake, excellent form and choreography and does two double saltos from only one round-off which would imply she can fling much more difficult tumbles in the future.
Looks very nervous and fell obviously, but this does look fixable.


Canada will be hoping to continue strong after their best-ever result and first ever qualifying for team finals in London. They are losing their best senior, Peng Peng Lee to UCLA but they still have some strong seniors and a diamond in the rough coming up through their junior ranks.

Shallon Olsen

 Shallon looks to be the full package as a gymnast. She can dance, has good flexibility, clean tumbling- AND super high difficulty. In fact her level of difficulty is a bit worrying as she has only just turned 12- senior in 2016- and having that difficulty so early sounds like a recipe for disaster- either injury, burn out, or a huge struggle to retain her skills as she grows. Hoping she can stay at this fabulous level, she's very exciting to watch and certainly looks like one of the strongest all-arounders if she can keep going for another 4 years.

Love her dance and confidence. GREAT tumbling- what a first pass for an 11 year old! (11 at this competition) Needs more finesse with her leaps and toepoint but this just screams future floor star.
Lots of difficulty here too. Beautiful flexibility and her acro skills look amazing, but this lacks fluidity due to her pauses and excessive bending before skills. Probably a bad habit as she certainly does not lack power.
Bars look to be her weak point, but look as if they could be really good and absolutely not bad enough to hold her back as an all-arounder. Toepoint is really obvious here and she doesn't hit her handstands or hold her leg form well enough- but she's very speedy and flighty and with some hard work on form, these could be special.
Nice DTY, lovely upright landing and she holds the form very well. Again, wow at the difficulty from one so young. She needs to be coached extremely well and paced better to remain at this level.
This is much lower and I'm not sure what it is- one in the Khorkina style obviously but I don't know it's worth. If she gets more height this would be great to see, vault certainly needs diversity.


No country is more in need of fresh young talent than Brazil, as their team was too aged in London to really shine. Funding will probably be more forthcoming as they are hosting the next Olympics so let's hope they can make more of an impact for their home games.

Rebeca Andrade

Rebeca is an unbelievable floor worker who gets crazy height on her tumbles and leaps. Her double tuck and pike have Daiane Dos Santos height, and her twists are reminiscent of the height McKayla Maroney commands on hers. Beam looks really good, her power translates well. Bars are unsurprisingly weak with bad toepoint, but check out her release! Vault is very powerful DTY. Bursting with potential, especially if she can fix her bars and she has lots of time as she will not turn senior until 2015. Wonderfully exciting gymnast who will have all eyes on her to bring glory to Brazil's gymnastics programme for Rio.

WOW. The idea that she would struggle to upgrade is laughable..unreal power and height. Leaps are fantastic too and she can certainly dance.
Super DTY, great height and form, and what an upright landing.
Not her best event, but this is really good. Lovely and floaty and her power serves her well- a standing full twist would be a cinch for her, and a Patterson dismount.
Here comes the weak point! Nevertheless, she has a Comaneci and it is amazing. Lots of form errors like toepoint, but with work this wouldn't be able to hold her back.

I can't find anything concrete on Japan, sadly. They do have plenty of strong seniors, including the as yet untested Mai Murakami of the insane floor upgrades and potential star vaulter, and the wonderful beam worker Natsumi Sasada..not forgetting tiny dynamo Asuka Teramoto as well as veterans Rie Tanaka and Koko Tsurumi, neither of whom look laboured or burned out in the slightest. Japan are the masters of preserving their seniors, which is probably one reason why their juniors are not that big a deal. I know I have missed other countries, but these are the gymnasts with the most potential in MY opinion who come from countries outside of the top 4.



Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New Kids on the Block: Western Europe

Hopefully there will be some dominance by the girls from these countries. Given up all hope on Ireland until at least 2024 or so, but there really is some awesome talent from Britain, Italy and others.


Gabby Jupp

Gabby is being toted as the next British great and not without reason as she could easily be the best all-arounder Britain has ever had. Currently performing low difficulty, yet everything looks to be easy to upgrade as she has has plenty of power behind her. Some form issues on bars, and needs more toepoint on beam. Aside from that and the need to upgrade further, she really has all the makings to be a great all-arounder. Gabby places 5th in the European Championships junior all-around and will turn senior in 2013.

Fabulous. Just better toepoint and confidence and this is ready to go. Especially great to see as Britain are usually really weak on beam (the lovely Danusia aside).

Good technique on both and lands completely upright, so seems well capable of upgrading both substantially.
Nice expression here. Needs more extension to really shine here. Again, such an upright landing on the full twisting double that it looks nearly ready to be a double double. Lots of room for upgrades.
Awesome dismount! Nice form and flight.

Angel Romaeo

Angel is a really nifty beam worker with great attack on that apparatus, so perhaps Britain's beam curse will be broken in the new quad. Floor is lovely but needs much more difficulty as it stands, bars are a weak point at the moment. Quite a good vaulter too, good height and form. Maybe won't be an all-arounder, but an excellent beam and vault or floor specialist would be fantastic too. She will turn senior in 2013.

AMAZING. Just lovely and so precise. Straighter legs on her acro skills would be the only real issue, as well as more difficulty needed. She has struggled a bit this year, probably down to growth but this just screams huge potential.
Whoever chorepgraphed this should be taken out and shot. Ughh. She can move though, and shows really nice form here. Tumbles are very weak but I LOVE her whip-whip double tuck. More of this please.
 Very nice, and looks good for an upgrade


Sophie Scheder

Sophie really shines on bars, definitely looks like she could place in future event finals here. Great long lines help her on beam and floor but both need a lot of work. Vault looks half decent. Could go either way at the moment, event specialist or else massively improve to be a great all-around prospect. Sophie will turn senior in 2013.

Great work, currently has 6.0 difficulty.
Needs a lot of work, nice style and presentation though.
Lovely height


Enus Mariani

Enus has already shown what a superstar she is, winning the all-around at Euros. She is a little shaky on beam but does not really have a weak event. Great sass and floor choreography, and lovely on bars. Here's hoping she makes the transition to senior just as strongly as her junior performances. Enus turns senior in 2014.

Very exciting to watch, great confidence in her quirky choreo.
Textbook form, great fluid swing too
Once she can iron out the shakiness this is great and Italy are usually strong on beam so hoping for good things here.
This is her second vault, she gets very good height on both and lovely form again

Elisa Meneghini

Elisa placed fourth in the all-around at Euros, counting a fall on beam no less. She really sparkles on floor but like Enus, doesn't have a weak event- which shows in that as well as her high place in the all-around with a huge mistake, she also made all four event finals, the only gymnast to do so. The future looks bright for Italy with these two moving up. Elisa will pave the way first, as she will turn senior in 2013.

Excellent energy, lots of power and room for upgrades. Needs toepoint on her leaps.
Great precision, love how speedy she does everything. Again, toepoint..but this is fabulous.
Lovely clean form and lines. In love her dismount, needs work as she fell on it in event finals as well as the big save it needed her. Bursting with potential though.

Other Italian junior of note: Tea Ugrin


Eythora Thorsdottir

Eythora  is wonderful on beam in particular, with beautiful original combinations. Magnificent elegance, to die for.  Hopefully she can go one better than recent beautiful beam workers from non-gymnastics countries and make event finals. Also lovely on floor, just needs more difficulty on both to really contend. Unfortunately she's quite inconsistent so far, but hopefully that can be ironed out. Can't find when she turns senior, 2014 seems the most likely.

It's never really mistake free, she has tanked quite a few times so this is the best one I can find. Truly the most exciting beam worker in quite a while, stunning grace and lovely turns from her. Beautiful.
More fabulousness. You could quite easily mistake her for a former Soviet great if the video quality was bad. Such grace! More fantastic spins. Great choreography, even if the music freaks me out because it was in Stephen King's IT. 5.2 difficulty here, which isn't that bad for a junior. Needs to upgrade her tumbles of course, but this NEEDS to be seen at world and Olympic level.

Chantysha Netteb

Chantysha is weak on three events but really good on vault, she won the vault title at Euros and is alreayd upgrading. Hoping for good things from what looks like a Kaeslin/Steingruber type gymnast, and it also ties in nicely with Eythora specialising on beam/floor. She turns senior in 2013.
Beautiful form


Roxana Popa

(only actual photos of her are way too distant)

Roxana had a rough time at the Euros AA, counting a beam and floor fall. Mistakes aside, she is definitely one to keep an eye on, particularly on vault and floor but she could be strong all-around either as although beam and bars are weaker, they are by no means awful. One of the very few juniors outside of the USA with a DTY, in fact she might be the only one. (Well aware USA have some juniors with amanars, but they are an exception!) This ball of energy is great to watch, turning senior in 2013.

Great DTY, no need for an upgrade at all with the new code
Love how bouncy her choreography is, wish she would get into it more though. Very clean tumbling and decent power, lots to work with here.

Next up: The future stars of Eastern Europe and anywhere else


Monday, 20 August 2012

New Kids on the Block: China

It's quite a bit harder to get an 'overall' look at China's juniors, as it's difficult to find all four routines from any of them. From what I can see, China has a lot of incoming talent on bars and beam but not a huge amount of power, as per usual. They really need a mini Cheng Fei or two in the works! I also cannot find images or birth dates of any of them, not a huge suprise due to how low-key Chinese juniors are and to my inability to decipher the chinese alphabet. There are also a lot of seniors who did not get on the team this year, generally for headcase reasons but injury played a part too. Wu Liufang, Tan Sixin, Zen Siqi, Huang Huidan, Luo Peiru and Shang Chungsong are all still in contention too.

Wang Wei

Wang Wei is probably the most mentioned Chinese junior. She has beautiful style and form, but a lot of issues and very low difficulty. It will be very interesting to see how she progresses, as she certainly has a lot of potential. A good prospect all-around. She will turn senior in 2013 or 2014.
Dodgy landings aside, she is quite nice here but needs much more difficulty and improvement.
Difficulty of 4.4 here, though that's a big improvement on the 3.3 she was showing last year. Lovely form, needs a lot of work on handstands, dead hangs and difficulty, but the base for a great bars routine is there.
Far too many pausesbut some lovely work here

Zhu Siyan

Siyan won the AA at Chinese Junior Nationals this year, as well as uneven bars and floor. Unsurprisingly, she shines on bars where she has really decent difficulty, 5.9, the same as she has on beam. More difficulty on floor and some greater confidence and she could quite easily be China's best junior, especially if she ups her vaults. She will turn senior in 2013 or 2014.

Lovely work, bursting with potential here
Needs a lot of work, but still decent. 4.9 difficulty
Again, too many pauses, but some really gorgeous work here.

Yuan Xiaoyang (reminds me of Deng Linlin)

Xiaoyang is a very sparky little gymnast. Not turning senior until 2015-16 but she is showing decent power in her tumbling and lots of places that she can build on for the future. The 12-13 age group junior AA and vault champion isn't fantastic on beam (can't find any bars videos) but still a really good all-arounder moving up through the ranks. Her very nice handspring vaults and how much more upright she lands on everything compared to her peers shows nice promise for a more powerful gymnast to complement the beam-and-bars stars.

Great style and height on her tumbling, lovely work
Shows good ability to upgrade these vaults

Lu Jiaqi

Jiaqi came second in the 12-13 all-around, so is another who remains a junior until 2015-16. She is a  fabulous beam worker with exquisite form, lovely and speedy on bars but floor is a weak point. Lots of time to improve on the other two though. Really my favourite Chinese junior on beam, even with the fall.

Beautiful work, very exciting to watch
The fall doesn't really diminish this masterpiece at all!
No real power here, and the difficulty (4.7) reflects it. Hoping for a miracle here but she still managed to come second in the all-around so I don't think all is lost..

Other juniors to watch: Fan Yilin, Mei Jie, Lou Nina, Liu Xing and Xie Wenwei
Next up: Future stars of Western Europe: Britain, Spain, Italy, Netherlands

Sunday, 19 August 2012

New Kids on the Block: Romania

Romania continues to have a big problem with lack of depth. Bellu, Bitang and Comaneci have all stated it. It will of course give Larisa Iordache and Diana Bulimar plenty of opportunities to shine and to anchor future teams, as well as to give more chances to seniors that missed out- Raluca Haidu, Amelia Racea and Daniela Andrei. Not only is there is a lack of depth- some Juniors have retired already. Nevertheless, there ARE talented Juniors coming up through the ranks.

Madalina Blendea (reminds me of Maria Olaru)

Madalina is my favourite Romanian junior. In typical fashion, she shows a lot of promise on beam and also on floor, where she has a lovely elegant style. Not only that but she can swing bars! Hold the front page! Some issues on bars probably relating to height but nothing disastrous and she has a lot of time to hone them- she will not turn senior until 2015. She could easily be in the mould of Iordache, strong bars, beam and floor AND she has excellent form on vault already. Exciting stuff.

Obviously weak on difficulty but she's really good at basics (dead hang aside).
Great style here with some very nice tumbling, can only improve.
Needs more confidence and attack on her skills, but this has all the makings of a fabulous routine in the future.
Lovely flight and form..and like the rest, she will not need an amanar to compete due to its devaluing

Andreea Munteanu (reminds me of Lavinia Milosovici)

 Andreea is a very strong all-arounder, placing third in AA at Euros this year.  Unsurprisingly, she is especially fabulous on beam, just needs more difficulty. Lovely and precise on floor, another strong point. Bars have quite a few issues but the swing is good and improvement looks possible. Vault isn't bad at all, decent power. Hopefully sharing the name of a former fabulous Romanian gymnast will be a good omen for her. Andreea turns senior in 2014.

 Stunning, excellent work
Lots of potential here too
Looks to have a good DTY in her

Silvia Zarzu (Reminds me of Oana Ban)

Is using Irish music as a base in her floor, instant brownie points. Floor seems to be her pet piece, amazing first pass! This sparky little powerhouse is a really good vaulter too, and very comfortable on beam. Cannot find a single shred of evidence of her on bars, so maybe she does not do them? Or is just very bad at them. Anyway, certainly one to watch. Silvia turns senior in 2014.

Ahhh, love. Very reminiscent of Oana Ban's energy and sparkle on floor. First pass is particularly special but I love how her choreography is so upbeat and in keeping with the music.
Will probably be overshadowed on this piece, but she works very well here. Needs to work on toepoint. Nice determination after her fall to end strongly.
Awesome! Great potential here too

Laura Jurca (reminds me of Diana Bulimar)

Laura is another tiny powerhouse, who will not turn senior until 2015. Shows nice potential on bars- beautiful crisp form and very springy on floor, where she is exciting to watch. Needs more confidence on beam, but her floatiness is a delight. Vault is nice and powerful, so no real weak points here. More confidence and gradual increase of difficulty- plenty of time for her to shine.

Fluke mistake, but lots of promise here especially as she has excellent form already
Exquisite first pass! Nice balance of power and elegance, in one so young (age 12 here)
Always has issues with the aerial cartwheel and confidence in general is a bit lacking, so room for improvement definitely but she has oodles of potential here also, and such lightness in her work.
Great power and form

Other juniors to watch: Stefanie Stanila, Andreea Iridon, Adela Florea
Next up: China's future stars