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.



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