Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Top 10: Bars

I love watching perfect routines like Fan Di and Lu Li, but innovative routines always win for me. The ones I have included here that have insanely difficult release skills are always perfect or almost perfect elsewhere- there are quite a few for example doing the Def very sloppily so they won't be included! The ones without a unique release move are there because they are innovative or awesome in some other way. Bars top 10's are always China-heavy and this is no exception.

10. Irina Krasnianska, UKR 2006 Worlds QUAL

Irina was probably the most inconsistent Ukrainian, which is a feat in itself. She had a long career and performed this exact routine many times, and this is the only one without a major error. GORGEOUS long lines and fabulous German giant combination, very tidy double front too.

9. Amy Chow, USA 1996 Olympics TF

My favourite part is her high-to-low transition, the straddled Pak which is named after her. I'd love to see it used again as it looks amazing. Amy has fantastic lines and form- even in her very difficult dismount. What's noticeable is that her height does not mean she loses form on her downswing- some taller gymnasts like Nastia and McKayla break form slightly when they are clearing the lower bar and it ruins the whole look. Amy does it perfectly.

8. Beth Tweddle, GBR 2012 Olympics QUAL

A-MAZING. Love her release combinations and the Ezhova transition. Fabulous dismount and she has spectacular height on the Markelov which is often flat for everyone else. Beth also has absolutely perfect form and toepoint. It doesn't really get more exciting than this in the new codes.

7. Zhou Duan, CHN 1997 East Asian Games TF

Zhou Duan was a nifty vaulter, which were and continue to be rare in China. However her unbelievable bars really outshine her other events. Zhou performs a Gaylord 1/1- so a very rare Gaylord release WITH a full twist. Really just astonishing. Beautiful pencil-like form throughout- and another 2 releases on top of that. Fantastic.

6. Li Ya, CHN 2006 Cottbus World Cup

I picked this routine because it has her combination AND that dismount..piked double arabian, wow. Li does the Jaeger combination a lot straighter than He Kexin, fabulous to watch. Very very crisp turns and perfect form.

5. Liu Xuan, CHN 1996 Olympics TF

Liu Xuan's one- arm giant was one of the greatest tragedies of the code of was considered dangerous and was lowballed into a C rating, meaning it wasn't worth performing. Liu did ditch it, but kept it for the Olympics. It's incredible, especially as it's done right into a release. Fabulous lines and form in the rest of her routine, and I love her high-to-low transition.

4. Mo Huilan, CHN 1996 Olympics AA

What made Mo stand out amongst China's fantastic bars workers at this time and overall and even over her teammate Bi Wenjing who also did the Gaylord was her flight, especially on the hecht transition. She completely hangs in the air- nobody can fly like that. Fantastic height on all of her releases, perfect form and line throughout and at a time when jump to high from the low bar was perfectly acceptable Mo was doing two much more difficult transitions. Perfection.

3. Teodora Ungureanu, ROM 1976 Olympics AA

Teodora never made it beyond Nadia's enormous shadow. In my view, this routine is more interesting by far, and performed to the same excellent standard. Everything about this routine is great. 

2. Elena Mukhina, USSR 1979 Spartakaide AA

Everything about this routine is amazing, the first transition, the form, the Mukhina flip and her original dismount. Seriously the greatest gymnast ever.

1. Kim Gwang Suk, PKR 1991 Worlds EF

Not a suprise, I've mentioned quite a few times how much I love this routine. I do see the bent knees but the excellence of the routine- and her age- make it totally forgiveable. Unbelievably easy swing, perfect handstands and form, crisp pencil like line and turns and THAT combination. Outstanding.

Honourable mentions: Enilia Eberle, Bi Wenjing, Elvire Teza, Yang Yun, Liz Tricase, Hollie Vise, Courtney Kupets, Courtney McCool, Elise Ray, Ma Yanhong, Li Li, Lu Li, Fan Di, Olga Roschupkina, Becky Downie, Lori Strong, Emilie Lepennec, Cha Yong Hwa, He Kexin, Viktoria Komova, Yang Yilin, Nadia Comaneci, Karin Janz, Steffi Kraker, Gabrielle Fahnrich, Nadia Hategan, Aleftina Priakhina, Olga Korbut, Elena Abrashitova, Charlotte Mackie, Daniela Silivas, Maxi Gnauck


  1. Okay I have to ask: no honorable mention for Khorkina? ;)

    1. There's something about her gymnastics for me, as if her attitude kills my appreciation of it. Her bars are infinitely more enjoyable than her other events I think, but still I would skip past them on youtube. I also can't watch Boginskaya.

  2. Haha fair enough. I could definitely understand her bitch faces at Sydney though. Her UB gold was well deserved.. I can't say the same for 1996 though.

    If you have time:
    It's.. hilarious for so many reasons. :)

    1. Ah no I laugh at when she shouts in vault warm-up and when she's so thrilled at Zamo's vault in finals- and that was nice of her to give up her place for Zamo. It's moreso her attitude when she doesn't win in a fair contest, like she got too confident over the years. In 1995 she was thrilled to come 2nd to Podkopayeva but in 2004 when she was being handed huge gifts of scores and still couldn't beat Carly, it's a 'fix' and predetermined. I think after Sydney she changed for the worse in general. That vault also took down Elise Ray and Adrienne Nyeste, she was not the only victim but yeah the one with the most to lose.

    2. Ah watched both parts, what a find! Mo is sooo cute and Khorkina seems drunk ha. I would have loved for Mo to criticise He Kexin's dead hangs since she was the queen of flight, but alas..

    3. Mmm yes, a sense of entitlement ruins sportsmanship quite badly. Do you think that overscoring is due to judges favoring their favorite gymnasts (whether consciously or not) or it's from the anticipation of a hyped up gymnast so that they expect them to do well and give them the benefit of the doubt? Or sometimes, I feel like it's just the margin of error for judging- it's pretty good for the most part (maybe 97%), right? But it's those other times that we remember so clearly as spectators. You should make a collection of all those moments: the "what should have beens." (Or maybe you have- I'm slowly getting through your earlier posts.) It is quite heartbreaking because non-gym fans will only remember the gold medalists and assume they were #1 (except for Mckayla Maroney thanks to US media/social media!).

      And haha I don't see Mo criticizing anybody willingly. I loved how none of them spoke each other's language but would still try to interact except they'd have to wait for the translation to respond.

    4. I think in Khorkina's case the judges were falling over themselves to 'make up' for Sydney. Also to reward a true veteran in her last outing. In general, I think it is hype. Like Gabby, there were other overscores but hers were the most blatant in London. But they come off the back of massive scores in all of the US competitions and the SCAM and Trials win.

      Yeah, that was really nicely done with the translation. The interviewer seemed determined to find about their BFF days, as if they had translators following them around on podiums.

  3. Aw that's terrible. I hate the overscores for US nationals, too. I wish judging wouldn't work that way.

    haha if only there were translators on podiums (better use than those people who just silently hold up the sign that says "group 1.") I'd totally do it if I knew Russian & Romanian (and of course, if it were an actual job). Maybe I'll take Russian next semester instead of French anyways.. so I can understand Musty's sprashivai. But, it's always so great seeing gymnasts from different countries interact with each other. My favorite moment was when Khorkina said, "UB was my event and Mo's was BB." Then the interviewer moved on to another question, but Mo should've said, "Bitch please, have you SEEN my gaylord?!"