Friday 28 December 2012

Hopes for 2013

I hope everyone had a good Christmas/holidays. I will be out of work soon as I messed up my back and have too many sick days to be kept on. Sigh. Still, better to have more time to heal. So I will be on this more I expect. Anyway, onto hopes for 2013!

A fair and balanced American Cup

*splutter*. This one is impossible of course. Regardless of who actually competes at it, it would be great if it wasn't a given that all non-American competitors will enter Madison Square Gardens with an 0.5 deduction for each event for their nationality. As for who I want to see at it, Kyla Ross if she has upgrades, and Simone Biles or Sarah Finnegan. I expect to see Elizabeth Price Vs Kyla Ross with Lexie Priessman as the exhibition. I don't expect to see any Russian or Chinese competitors. Russia are pissed and China have more important competitions to be preparing for. IF Russia send someone I predict Evgeniya Shelgunova. Romania will send one of Diana Bulimar/Larisa Iordache and a back-up of a new senior, Ana Maria Ocalisan or Stefanie Alina Stanila.

Original mounts and dismounts

Come on now, there are fabulous ways to mount the beam without running the (understandable) risk of taking up too much time/energy for little gain, or risking an acrobatic mount.  Much as I would love to see a fabulous planche into pirouette handstand, it does make sense not to do one thanks to the demands on time and difficulty. Aleftina Priakhina/Elena Zamolodchikova's mount should have a revival. As for beam dismounts, yawn I am SO BORED of the double pike. Not that I want them all replaced with full-in's and Patterson's as that's very demanding. More twisting dismounts, more gainer ones and some of the very rare ones that have a high tarriff would be nice.

As for bars, an arabian tuck mount would be lovely. A bit ambitious though I expect, with the margin of error and impending dead hang. Again, Aleftina Priakhina/Elena Zamolodchikova were onto something here, a gorgeous acrobatic mount without much risk. Bring it back! But I would settle for a little flair and originality- like jump to hang under the low bar in pike position to handstand- stalder. I'm sure it would have a catchier title than that though. As for dismounts, snore with all the double layouts and full in's. Bring back the arabian double pike and triple flyaways! I would also like to see Victoria Moors' dismount built on, it is straight from the old school and just lovely.

A return of great releases and transitions

The new code will allow for transitions such as the Mo Salto and Counter Kim to be performed without a deduction- which is what would have happened in the current code. Expecting them to instantly become popular would be insane of course, given how difficult they are, the stature required and the possiblity of it eating into time for other events, especially for all-arounders. However I do think we will see them this quad, in particular from China and North Korea. Contrary to popular opinion, both of the above were not just performed by one gymnast. Bi Wenjing, Mo Huilan, Kui YuanYuan and a good few other Chinese gymnasts did the Mo Salto. Zhou Duan did the Gaylord II. Quite a few did the Counter Kim aside from Kim Gwang Suk- Gina Gogean, Letitia Begue, Nadia Hategan and a few more- including an unnamed schoolgirl who did it from toe-on. As for more run-of-the-mill releases, more Church', Hindorff''s, Downie's and Ricna's would be great. And release combinations- which China are already on top of.

Transition wise, death to the Pak. Shap's are overused too, but slightly harder to replace. Bhardwaj's, Chow's and Ezhova's are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and I'd love to see them in place of the Pak. Shout out to Beth Tweddle for using the Ezhova. I'd like to see someone do the Delladio and the Strong, but both of them have that insanely difficult and therefore rare look about them.

More rare tumbles and combinations on floor

Why has nobody done the double front-half out since 1996? It has been upgraded to an F so is definitely worth doing now. I'd also like to see the double front in a pike positiion (which has been done by a few), and more proper punchfronts (changing direction), especially after harder tumbles like a triple full (Myzdrikova style). If someone did a back-to-back pass that would be AWESOME though I do know they are not worth doing these days. A double full-in would be out of this world, but I'd settle for a much more achievable full twisting double layout. Or a split-leg one like Gutsu. I'd like to see combinations like Aly Raisman's first pass, though I am pretty sure the need for a combination pass is now out of the code. Damn.

Turns wise, scorpion turns and attitude turns are my favourite. I like the Gomez too. Memmel turns often have a bent supporting leg and are also usually poorly performed, so I'd like to see them decrease in popularity in favour of the others. I want to see more old school choreography, like handstands in pirouette, beautiful leaps out of back handsprings, and turns into front walkovers.

More original connections and moves on beam

Beam has some nice scope in the new code for lovely connections. I certainly do not want to see connections like Jordyn's, or other connections that just look like they will never be truly connected- the sheep jump is a major offender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Onodi's in combination, so would love to see BHS-LOSO-Onodi or something similar. And illusion turns, they are beyond beautiful. A return of Ruflova's in combination like Yang Bo would be very much appreciated. My favourite moves on beam are sideways elements (NOT side somi's), so a return of Luisa Portocarrero's side walkover, Yurchenko loops, the Teza, and Tatiana Groshkova's/Yvonne Toussek's flic-flac's from sidestand would be just unbelievable. I am also a big fan of Kotchetkova's, another great move which has been upgraded in the new code.

More variety in vault

I don't think the devaluing of the Amanar is enough to really promote other vaults, especially as all of the girls are so used to Yurchenko entry to begin with. Nevertheless, more Rudi's, more Double Twisting Tsukahara's and even maybe a new vault would be great. My favourite vaults are the layout front and the handspring pike front half-out, so if they could be built on and be difficult enough to be worth doing that would be a dream. I would of course be thrilled to see a Triple Twisting Yurchenko though.

The rise of Japan, Canada, Ukraine, Italy and Great Britain

I know I know, why not Australia? Mainly because I am not exposed enough to their juniors to really assess their future potential. I want to see one of these, or all of them, break into the Top 4. They certainly have the girls to do it. All five have huge potential and I want to see them building on that next year.

The rise of Mai Murakami, Gabriella Douglas, Heaven Latimer, Eythora Thorsdottir, Noemi Makra, Gabby Jupp, Rebeca Andrade and Lou Nina

This will go hand in hand with the continued excellence of Aliya Mustafina, Huang Huidan, Shang Chungsong, Rebecca Tunney, McKayla Maroney, Victoria Moors, Kyla Ross, Larisa Iordache, Yao Jinnan and Diana Bulimar. May they ALL shine.

A total lack of sickled feet

And choppy legs on LOSO's, flexed feet, leg seperations, helicopter legs and non-split leaps.

A wonderful World Championships

Not least because I will be there. I want to see a strong field for the all-around, and for each event final. No score inflations, and hopefully no controversy. Also, more than 4 countries on the medal stand. 


  1. I would love to see Ukraine, their rhythmic gym is great so what is up with their artistic gym? I would definitely love to see more variety in vault and beam, a ton of routines now look exactly the same in composition. But I can see the downsides of using a more risky vault (Alicia Sacramone in Beijing is the clearest example). I am not sure how likely different and more difficult turns/spins are going to be, I think not very likely. The problem is that a lot of the countries do not put much emphasis on dance training and therefore they do not execute turns with much technique - it's more like let's just try going as fast as possible and hoping we get the turn totally around. For example attitude turns - they are not difficult for those with ballet training (and Afan definitely does them well), but they use different muscles as the leg needs to be rotated outward from the hip which is not done in gymnastics at all and these cannot be trained suddenly when the girls are Level 10 or juniors, it has to start much earlier.

    1. A complete and utter lack of funding. Some of their main gyms are decrepid. I also don't think they have a huge junior pool of talent, or as many quality coaches as they should. A resurgence would be wonderful.

      You mean beam mount? Yes, much as I like seeing them..I do get it. There are some, like the Priakhina one, and the variations of front walkover/handspring with hand support that eliminate much of the risk and still look awesome.

      Japan have a number of girls capable of quad spins on floor and beam, and one with a quintuple on beam. Gabriella Douglas of Canada has a quad on beam too. I get what you mean about dance training- though scorpions have shown up in a few surprising places- like Presioza and Ponor, who had a double one on floor in 2006. Also, Andreea Iridon of Romania has a double illusion on beam! I think I might see some exciting ones next year.

    2. I'm trying to figure out the Romanian girls - they clearly don't have as much classical dance training as the Russians, but they still have quite good control over the dance elements and also have more 'flow' e.g. on floor so maybe they do have some training. Unfortunately Romania might be going down the way of Ukraine as far as funding and facilities are concerned! Worst still is how it doesn't look like they have many moving up the ranks anymore. I still worry occasionally about that happening to Russia as well, but Aliya's gold should hopefully stave off a bit of the funding woes.

      Oh yes I did mean beam mount, sorry! If the Italians become more prominent you might see more - I seem to remember that quite a few do planche mounts? Ferrari's is pure strength.

    3. I know the fears for Romania, but I think there is a bit too much scaremongering going on. They have quite a few girls- and lots who aren't actually elegible as they're too young, but for the next quad they have nobody good turning senior next year. There's 2 2014 girls, 3 2015 and 1 2016 who are great.

      I hope so, they have a few stars in their junior ranks- Mariana, Meneghini and Ugrin.

    4. Catherine, I had no idea you were running such a great blog. I am definitely going to start reading it. I hope you have a great 2013. Good luck on the job hunt and getting over your back problems! Terrigymfan

  2. Cat what about gymnast doing press to hand stand on beam?

    Also my hopes for 2013 are an exciting worlds, for Lexie to change hee Fx music. She needs something powerful to go with her tumbling. For Kyla ross to have an awesome floor upgrade and get her amanar back. I don't have issues with her bram but I think shes capable if doing a 2.5 twist dismount.

    I alsi want to see sudden varieties of vaults. More tsukaharas or mustifinas.

    1. Yep I like that, but they're usually too quick to be really interesting. I believe Amelia and Lexie are in the process of new routines- there was something on gymnastike about it.

      I have lots of issues with Kyla's beam- it's SO boring and cookie-cutter. Would love to see a twisting dismount, full twist in combination, and Onodi/Kotchetkova in combination from her. And a Yang Bo. She has so much more potential.

  3. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog & wish you a Happy New Year!