Tuesday 18 September 2012

Top 10: Beam routines

I appreciate a lot of different styles on beam. Beautiful Soviet and Chinese routines are always a joy to watch, but I enjoy difficult, powerful and innovative routines equally as much if not more. Watching Elena Produnova stomp a beam is just as good as watching Aurelia Dobre float along it. Anyway, here's my top 10 favourite routines.

10.  Fan Ye, CHN, 2003 Worlds EF

This is perfect, everything is done to the highest level with no tiny wobble or adjustment. Leaves no room for doubt on any connection or leap- GORGEOUS Yang Bo leap! and stuck the dismount. This deserves to be a lot higher because there's nothing to take away from it..but I find it slightly dull as there's nothing 'new' or daring about it. Amazing though.

9. Elvire Teza, FRA, 1997 Worlds EF

Elvire lacked the polish most of her competitors had but she blew them out of the water as far as an exciting and original routine was concerned. I'll watch this over Gina Gogean's winning routine any day. So refreshing to see transverse elements- Elvire does two, both of which are her own and also a ruflova, another favourite beam element of mine. Just fabulous to watch.

8.  Yang Yun, CHN, 2000 Olympics TF

A lesson in glorious elegance from Yang Yun. Love her finesse and polish..such beautiful lines. Great ruflova and dismount.

7. Chen Cuiting, CHN 1989 Worlds EF

The beauty of this routine, aside from the perfect form, was that she had a sprightliness often absent from Chinese routines. Beautiful movement and fluidity. I am in LOVE with her tucked Korbut too.

6. Irina Baraksanova, USSR 1985 Worlds QUAL

Irina stood out as being particularly graceful, flexible and having perfect extension at a time when USSR was bursting with this style of gymnastics. Just a great routine, everything is beautiful. Love her crazy back flexibility move, right into a Yurchenko loop.

5. Aleftina Priakhina, 1987 Europeans AA

This routine contains an original mount which happens to be my favourite, and also the gainer ruflova and the standing full, more innovation. No prizes for extension, but this is one of the most exciting routines ever, for which a lot can be overlooked. A trajedy she was too inconsistent to make a major team and get some of her (SIX!) original skills named after her.

4.  Olessia Dudnik, 1989 Worlds TF

Known as one of the greatest beam workers, with good reason. A very exciting routine, from the mount to the full twisting layout to the triple full. Just great, so much daring and so ahead of her time.

3. Yang Bo, 1990 World Cup AA

Yang Bo had a lot of chances to take major titles, but usually tanked. This routine was one of the few where everything came together for her- everything is textbook. She has more fluidity and confidence in her movements than other great Chinese beam workers, and fabulous choreography. The fact that she never got anywhere but is so well known attests to her enormous talent on beam. This is a total masterpiece.

2. Li Li

Another perfect routine, the originality of the mount and her incredible back spin drive it right up to the top. Gorgeous, aside from her leo. Of all the difficult elements done on beam, the back spin is just in a world of its own..amazing. Perfect extension, form and fluidity.

1.  Tatiana Groshkova

Ahh...words can't describe how unbelievably amazing this routine is. 9.95 was a disgrace. I promise she won't top vault and bars lists!

Honourable mentions: Lilia Podkopayeva, Alexandra Marinescu, Hollie Vise, Shawn Johnson, Dina Kochetkova, Kui Yuanyuan, Elena Produnova, Elena Zamolodchikova, Danusia Francis, Mariya Livchikova, Olga Roschupkina, Aurelia Dobre, Mo Huilan, Shannon Miller, Sanne Wevers, Ana Porgras, Tatiana Gutsu, Tatiana Lyssenko, Qiao Ya, Zhang Nan, Teodora Ungureanu, Nadia Comaneci, Natalia Shaposhnikova, Natalia Yurchenko, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Peng Peng Lee, Elena Abrashitova

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