Saturday, 30 June 2012

Curse of the beam: Trials Day 1

What a jittery Trials. Here's hoping these girls can knock out their full potential on Sunday. Cheers for no broadcast of Anna Li or Kennedy Baker. Jordyn wins! Poor Bridget Sloan, hurt her elbow in warm-up and had to scratch. Would have made a good alternate, though unclear if she can compete on Sunday yet.

McKayla Maroney- I like the leotard colour, not gone on the tie bit. She has her own vault scoring, she can do both those vaults better than that..amanar had a big step and Mustafina was underrotated slightly. But still incredible. Fell off bars, which looked great aside from that. Fell off beam, normally so steady on that! However she is still a lock..she HIT FLOOR! It was great :) That third pass was great and the 3.5 had the best landing yet..I'd call that stuck. Floor got a 15.2 and shows potential to beat Gabby in London. Falls are bad at Trials obviously but since she hit the two events she is needed for and fell on the ones nobody cares about that doesn't really hurt her..especially since both falls are very uncharacteristic.

Jordyn Wieber- Seriously so impressive. Not flawless but wow, she's amazing to watch. She's been 'on' since what, 2009? Looks better than Nationals, even with the slight struggle on bars and the missed connection on beam. Floor was great as usual, stuck landings! Deserved higher than Gabby's. Also wow on sticking the full-twisting DLO cold! Loved her old-school meets new-school leo. She is of course still getting a good but of the spotlight but she's being eclipsed a bit..not really fair.

Gabby- Uncharacteristic mistake on bars..hopefully a total fluke. Leg up on beam, great routine otherwise. Floor tumbling was great however the choreo is still to be honest, shit. Vault I haven't seen, wasn't broadcast? Or else missed it as the dodgy webcast did cut a few times. Am sure will see perfect bars on Sunday, but I'd question these mythical upgrades? Still too dodgy to trust on beam. Still overscored, but enjoyable to watch. Boring bling, never liked that leo.

Kyla- Kyla nailed floor and bars. Floor not helping her out much of course, still no upgrades. Beam had plenty of bobbles and subsequent missed connections, otherwise lovely. Vault- does that count as being sat? Hands down, incredibly low- only got a 14.4 so must have counted as being sat. GET RID OF THE AMANAR! She clearly cannot do it to a safe level. Wore Nastia's AA 2008 leo! Interesting.

Aly- Bars were fine, for her. Floor- great but had an OOB, uncharacteristic. Vault looks a little cleaner before she twists, probably the safest of the three dodgy amanars (G and K too). Beam again, looks like she spotted a coin on it, that's how ungraceful her low-to-beam is. Also had balance checks! Normally so rock solid, so that was surprising. But not damaging. Another tie leotard, looks good on her but she's worn nicer.

Nastia- It actually looked like she was going to get through the routine at one point, lovely clean lines. Unfortunately it was incredibly laboured and slow. She messed up a handstand, struggled and bent her knees and the stupidly flung herself into a dismount that was never going to happen and landed on her back. She needs to scratch bars on Sunday, that was scary and humiliating. It's ridiculous on both counts, a) actually got to Trials and b) competed bars when they are quite clearly in a state and she does NOT have the endurance. Beam had two big balance checks, looked good otherwise. Misses the last hope at an alternate spot.

Rebecca Bross- GREAT bars, she nailed it. Fell off beam, another wobble and then sat the dismount. That was obvious, as she was knackered. Sad that it ends here, she cannot be trusted after that as alternate.

Sarah- HEARTBREAKER! I've heard rumours she is injured, and it certainly seems so as she has looked sluggish all week and just not 'on'. Floor she took out the whip before the double arabian and almost fell on the last pass, poorly rotated. Bars were very good for her. Vault not seen. Beam she missed a connection and wobbled..I think. May have said goodbye to alternate. She looks tired, I wonder what's the story there. I love her, sad to see her not at her best.

Elizabeth/Ebee- Choreo on floor worse than Gabby's but WOW at her tumbling, it's unreal! Made a very strong case for herself as alternate. GREAT amanar, it looks amazing. I still do not see her touching McKayla though. Bars not shown, were great apparently. Beam neither, had a few checks but nothing major. Actually apparently bars were not great and only got got a 14.5, must have a a biased source where I heard they were great. That damages her chances at the team and displacing Maroney bigtime.

Alicia- I can't believe she wobbled on beam, soo unlike her! Looked fierce otherwise. Vault, Rudi shown looked great, more power in it. FTY not shown. I think throwing the double would break her, she has already said she can't train the Rudi as often as the rest are flinging amanars so I don't know people are constantly saying she should do the double..absolutely not if she is not capable of landing it safely or without having the endurance to repeat it.

Kennedy, Li and Dowell not broadcast. Vega had a decent floor and one or two wobbles on beam.

Beam had a great night for itself...it claimed McKayla, Anna, Rebecca and Kennedy. EVERYBODY else had either big balance checks, missed connections and/or small wobbles.

Best routine: Kyla's bars!
Favourite Routine: McKayla's floor
Worst routine: A toss-up between Rebecca's beam and Nastia's bars. Crap day for WOGA.

Looking forward to night two! Hoping it will broadcast earlier than 2AM for me...zzzzzz...very very thankful I got hold of a webcast for this, however illegal the quality was good. Hmm you can tell this was written at about 5AM. But so will the next one!

Nastia eats bars

It is tough to see a gymnast fall at Trials or anywhere but we all saw this one coming. Not enough time, no endurance. Can we please leave it there and have her scratch bars if not retire before Sunday..it is dangerous for her. And humiliating.

Friday, 29 June 2012

NBC are still dicks but....

....A live stream has been found! I CAN WATCH!! I am delirious with excitement right now. I shouldn't really because it will be 2-4AM here and I have to get up at 7AM because I'm going away for the weekend...but I will. So worth it. This link has some ads on it and you have to mess around with it, Stream 2 will work. It's absolutely not legit but hey, no viruses like that gobshite who posted up one with a Trojan earlier on the USAG facebook.

The link is being publicised a bit now, you'll find it on Spanny Tampson's twitter (THANK YOU SPANNY), Full Twist's twitter and it's being discussed on the intlgymnast forums under 'can I watch in the UK' in Trials forum. It was confirmed as fine there by people who actually have NBC.

HURRAY!!!

Canadian team named and Barbosa signs

The Canadian girls really have a lot going for them, it's a great pity they don't have higher difficulty (read: 7.0 bar routines or a few amanars) to really challenge the top 3. However they will give Australia, Britain and maybe even China good run for their money. A great pity Lee is injured of course because she has such AA potential, but nevertheless, it's a strong team. Vaculik, Moors, Rogers, Pegg and Black. Desperately want to see Moors in the EF for floor, it's amazing. Must look up her SV to see if she has a fighting chance.

Jade Barbosa has apparently agreed and has signed the contract. What this means for me after the Olympics is hard to tell..I hope she doesn't end up penniless. That of course is speculating that there was a good reason for it and not just greed. Or huge pressure from her sponsors.

I did not watch MAG Night 1, not that I could have really what with REGION BLOCKING. I am not comfortable with downloading IP blockers and disabling nti-virus, particularly since I keep hearing that to watch the live streaming you have to enter a password from your satellite/TV company anyway. That team looks similar to WAG in that three are locks and the other two are still a bit up for debate. Looks like Orozco, Lleyva, Mikulik, Horton and...Dalton or Legendre. I find pommel horse and rings extremely boring. High bar is great, I enjoy that and vault and floor are fine. PB..snore. Anyway I find Orozco very endearing and easy to root for...Lleyva less so. I hate the towel thing and his super crazy coach having heart attacks all over the podium. It just smacks of 'easy for NBC to get fluff out of this'.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Jade Barbosa- WTF

In non-USA news and probably the most retarded gym-related news I have heard all year, Jade Barbosa has kissed her Olympic place goodbye. Not because of injury. Jade refused to sign a contract binding her to wear the leotards and warm-ups of the team sponsor, rather than her own sponsor and also did not attend a selection meet. There may be more to this than we are hearing. Maybe her sponsor put her under a huge amount of pressure not to sign- if so, shame on them for forgetting to put her first. Maybe it is a case of if she signs and joins the team she will have absolutely no money to live off afterwards due to breaking with her sponsors- who knows? This news is such a WTF is she seriously jeopardising her place over THIS but I will hold off on that until it's certain who is to blame and whether there are any other factors at place. Regardless, she was an asset to this team and her vault especially will be missed.

New podium training breakdown

I have to say I really really love the National team training leos. The patriotic red, white and blue designs are very nice. Kyla's at the first podium training probably my favourite, Rebecca wore it too if I remember correctly. Not the biggest fan of McKayla's night two, decent night one though. Anna Li's night two definitely a stand-out, loved the back of it! And yes I will say night because podium training for me starting at 11pm yesterday, it's easier.

McKayla- Again proving herself a lock. Much impressed with her floor, her expression in her dance looks more confident or something. Nicely done with the third pass, in bounds by oh..an inch! Vaults perfection as always. Bars definitely have improved a lot this year, beam again very very solid. Not needed to do those two but it is great that she IS usable on them in an emergency.

Aly- Not much to say here. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Had issues on bars, but looked solid doing full routine. Not really a big deal except for her shot at doing AA of course. Sloppy amanar but may be safer than either Gabby's or Kyla's so it's great she has it!

Gabby- Her issues with handstands were a bit shocking..didn't expect that! Still, great full routines. Such solid beam in training! Her standing full twist is amazing, sooo upright. Her amanar can't really be relied on to replace Aly's sloppy one..looks like her block is the problem. She sat a good few and landed very low on the rest, not a good sign. This is a skill she probably shouldn't be doing, we all know the dangers of messing up an amanar. Here's hoping she sorts out these jitters and gets a lesson from McKayla on blocking.

Jordyn- Not much to say here either, except her bars looked great. She managed to stick the full-twisting DLO, making a great case for including it in comp and upping her SV. Lovely amanar, I would put it ahead of Ebee's.

Kyla- Ooo, lots of wobbles and balance checks on beam, surprising to see. Of course they may be long dissapeared before comp, I have faith in her. Amanar again dangerous, she stepped off the mat and takes a good few steps to save herself.  Her and Gabby are keeping us guessing as to whether they have the capability to replace Aly's. Bars and floor lovely as always.

Anna- LOVE her bars. Fell on a release elsewhere. Beam too low an SV, but I like it's flow. Probably because it isn't stuffed with connections that it flows better. She is making a good case for alternate but even the pool for alternates is deep! How much would other countries give for that problem..

Bridget- Only bars shown again. Lovely form and execution. Some issues with stalder work..I'm sure she can fix that. She STOOD on the high bar. Twice. For five seconds! Amazing. A pity she can't stick a Korbut/Mukhina flip in for some H rating.

Sarah- Consensus on her from quick hits is that she seems sluggish. Floor and beam have certainly looked better alright. Hope she gets it together in comp, in an ideal 6-7 person team she would so be on it.

Ebee- Making a strong case for alternate. WHAT a double double she has. Bars look fine too.

Alicia- Only showing FTY's. Hmm. Does she have the endurance to knock out Rudi's every day? It kind of puts paid to the rumours that she will throw doubles. She is surprising though. Fierce beam as always.

Nastia- Fair play to her, that was an improved bar routine. The interior looked great. I didn't think it possible she could really get through the whole thing plus dismount. HOWEVER, it may be the case that she can't, that was some heavy spotting. It remains to be seen

Rebecca- Woohoo, landed that Patterson consistently, both days. It still gives itself a strong case for removal though as we all know it's not consistent and landed very low when it is landed.

As I said in the previous post, specialists have gotten shot down by Marta. The team is obvious to everyone according to her. Yes it is. Stay healthy, girls!

See I managed to get through another post about Trials without moaning about being region blocked from the comp! USAG facebook remain hopeful about it being on youtube very shortly after. Like, when I wake up (I am 5 hours ahead of eastern time), I EXPECT it to be waiting for me on youtube. Optimistic I know.

News just in: Marta condemns specialists

In a post podium training interview, Marta has confirmed what most people already know. She has an ideal team in her mind and this team is obvious to those watching competitions all year, in her own words. She also said she does not value specialists highly because she likes girls who can do everything. This further cememts the places of Kyla and McKayla (read: McKayla may only compete 1 or 2 events in TF but specialists don't train all 4, which she IS doing) and damns the chances of Nastia, Bridget, Alicia, Anna and Rebecca. Price and Finnegan are more up in the air and are still extremely likely alternates. Strong execution will be favoured over difficulty apparently, which doesn't really change anything..maybe puts Finnegan ahead of Price for first alternate.

In other words, Nastia is definitely NOT on this team.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Thoughts on podium training 27/6 or 6/27

Just to keep this seperate from the more detailed info we will have from tomorrow's media attended PT.

McKayla Maroney- Is looking great and healthy and training all 4 (floor music can be heard during another video). Bars look much improved, still a struggle on one handstand but this event is uselessd for her anyway. What is the story with that weird kip angle? I may mean cast, always confuse the two..that angle, you'll know what I mean. Beam solid and low-SV as ever, wish it was higher. Vault was just a timer but as always the height and block show that it's highly unlikely her amanar will be messed up. Update: Amanar looking awesome as always. The floor pass looks very clean too, only small adjustment on landing. Reassuring to see her so ready for this.

Jordyn Wieber- She always trains the full-twisting DLO dismount..will we see it? She always sticks the DLO, she risks taking a large step with the more difficult one and negating the higher SV it brings her. Beam as frustrating as ever, they've had so long to make the connections work for her or change them. We can hope.

Gabby Douglas- Only beam has emerged. It looks great, love her standing full twist, sooo upright! However I still wouldn't put her up in TF, risky. Update: Amanar looking very well! If she can stick this both nights and in Olympic warm-ups then stick her up in TF, it's much cleaner than Aly's. Bars great as ever. Floor choreo annoying as ever, just doesn't work. I do agree that if she must use this music then she should throw in some robotic moves.

Aly Raisman- Only beam as far as I can see. Looking like the solid consistent gymnast she is, she's better than Jordyn on it even with that god-awful low-to-beam.

Sarah Finnegan- Bars, not a full routine. Messy shap. If she had bars she would strip Kyla of her place and though I like Kyla, Sarah is much more exciting. Her swing is good, her and McKayla frustrate me with their bars potential. Beam, her turn not as good as usual. Standing full twist quite low, wobble also. Hopefully just a bit of an off day, I'm rooting for her as alternate, bars kills her chances of the team.

Nastia Liukin- Bars dismount only, it looks so much cleaner than a few years ago but of course the real test is yet to come. A bit ominous both her dismounts, beam also, are seperate. Beam had great lines, but laboured with slow connections, much like Classics. I doubt she can nail both, but even if she does, not enough to displace Kyla. Update: That bars routine is dissapointing. I do not think she deserved to go to Trials or can possibly get on this team but I do want to see her do well. That bars was so heavily spotted, it does not bode well. I would be surprised if it has no mistakes in comp and if she puts the dismount in.

Alicia Sacramone- Beam as fierce as ever. Some leaps not 180, though I like her sheep jump. Hate her low-to-beam, Mihai needs to reevaluate it, it's important to the flow and look! Alicia's displays her lack of flexibility unfortunately. Right foot taped- so is Gabby's, stay healthy!

Kyla Ross- Bars only a bit of routine, it looks very clean as always. Floor is just dance, would be great if harder tumbles were stuck in. Update: Beam looks very clean and floaty, very consistent here. More and more confirming her place as the fourth member. Amanar- what a surprise! It's much much cleaner in the air and her landing much improved. Would still use Gabby over her I think.

Will include Li, Sloan, Bross and Price in tomorrow's PT eh..analysis.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The beautiful but infuriating Ukrainians

Lilia Podkopayeva remains the only gymnast from Ukraine to fully realise her potential, aside of course from pre-Soviet breakup Ukrainian greats such as the record-breaking Larissa Latynina. As a national style, the beautiful long lines and unique combinations of the Ukrainians remains my favourite. Yet time after time, these gymnasts have crashed and burned when it counted or suffered due to mistakes of teammates in team finals. It is maddening!

 Here is the lovely Inga Shkarupa. Inga won numerous small floor titles and won Ukranian nationals AA more than once. With her team she came third in the 1999 worlds TF (belatedly, China were diaqualified) but did not compete in the Sydney Olympics due to a foot injury. Although floor is her strongest apparatus, she wasn't half bad at the others. Beautiful long lines and unique combinations on floor with great landings and tidy punchfronts so like the Myz, she was a victim of blatant underscoring as well as the Ukrainian plague of inconsistency.



Liubov Sheremeta was of course overshadowed by Lilipod. She had a floor routine that blew the latter's out of the water! Incredible tumbling, stamina AND choreo and form, just the whole package. She also had great bars and decent vault and beam, and suffered from underscoring.


Irina Krasnianska is the most infuriatingly inconsistent of them all. It boggles the mind why she was allowed compete her amazing german giant into tkatchev combination so many times when it caused her so many problems. 2008 Olympics, 2003 Worlds and just about every competition in between, Irina struggled and either fell or jumped off after making critical errors. The german giant combo is magnificent, but not worth so many falls. She DID manage to reap her potential on beam.


Viktoria Karpenko was a truly great all arounder and was a top contender for the doomed Sydney all-around.  Mistakes sadly cost her the title.


Like Sheremeta, Olga Roschupkina was a tiny powerhouse with great tumbling and expressiveness on floor. Again, not a specialist, she was decent all-around but had a lot of mistakes in Sydney on floor both in the AA and TF but knocked out a great routine in bars in EF.  She is a great example of someone with a stockier build performing beautiful gymnastics. Odd to see a beam routine with TWO side-somis in it, but they're so clean!



Alina Kozich, another strong AAer. Her vice in the AA (Athens) was a fall on her beam dismount, without which she would have and should have medalled. She left without any medals, a shame when you see her floor routine in particular. (The TF one was better but embeds too small) Those floor judges were on crack, Carly scored far higher than this as did Sveta. Oh and Cheng Fei was also screwed over on the same apparatus, much more famously than Kozich.




The great hope for Ukraine in this quad, Mariya Livchikova, will not be in London. Due to Ukraine's not-surprising-at-this-stage disastrous performance at Worlds, they could not qualify a team. The lovely Livchikova was injured and unable to be in contention for the single spot. Hopefully we will see her next year at Worlds better than she was at Euros this year.



I don't get it! They have the whole package. Lovely long lines, excellent form, flexibility, difficulty, great tumbling especially the notoriously difficult front tumbling, amazing choreography, artistry and expression...and yet over and over again, these gymnasts and others have achieved medals at minor competitions only to have Worlds and Olympics be a total splatfest. Somebody please fix Ukraine! No other country has ever had such potential before and be frustrated over and over again. I would put them ahead of the Russians in the 90's and 2000's in a heartbeat. Just AMAZING.



That sense of horror

Yesterday I showed my boyfriend  the best amanar in the world, and a horrific chucked one that should never have been credited.

Obviously they were McKayla Maroney's TF Worlds 2011 one, and one of Tatiana Nabieva's- 2009 this one was.

He saw...no difference. None. The mind boggles. Not appreciating the difficulty of the skill is one thing, but the difference between a straight legs-jammed-together body and a tucked legs-everywhere body you would think would be glaringly obvious. Weird.



Sunday, 24 June 2012

Good luck to Nastia and Shawn in the olympics!!

USAG facebook is the funniest thing ever. It's going to be hilarious when the team is announced and everyone gets butthurt that Nastia won't be on it. Oh and the 'OMG where's Shawn??'. Can't wait. Youtube comments with a team of Nastia, Alicia, McKayla, Aly and Jordyn also crack me up. Especially since I won't have access to the actual comp, so analysis and comments are where it's at. I would also appeal to any US readers to please upload the comp if possible. Nobody outside of the US can watch Trials at all, and there is major interest in them! It's a disgrace.

British team predictions

Congratulations to Rebecca Tunney! Knew she had the potential in her to be great. I hope the delightful NBC trio glorying in her meltdown at SCAM were watching. Jenni Pinches has made huge strides in improvement too. Hannah Whelan did not have the competition she had hoped for but still is a lock. Imogen Cairns and Becky Downie made strong comebacks too and Beth's floor is much improved choreo-wise. Missed her bars and it's been removed off youtube (brilliant...) but apparently she did not compete full difficulty, saving herself from London. Also doesn't change her lock status. Unfortunately Danusia Francis has done damage to her status, her floor is great but the tumbling is so weak difficulty-wise. Beam is what she makes the team for, and a fall coupled with Beth's status as a specialist may mean she's out in such a small team.

Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney, Jenni Pinches and Imogen Cairns.
Alternates: Danusia Francis, Ruby Harrold and Niamh Rippin.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Thank you NBC you insufferable dicks

I'm waiting to watch Trials after they happen, when they are archived online as I won't be able (and don't particularly want to watch them starting at 2am my time). But I'm blocked as I am outside the USA- you absolute wankers NBC. I don't normally swear but I'm so infuriated by this. Here's hoping it goes up on youtube within a week but in the meantime I'm going to have to survive off live blogging and youtube videos of single routines which is of course fantastic to have but I so wanted the full thing. AGHHHHHHH! Rage!

There is HUGE interest in Trials outside the US. Plague us with ads on the screen all you want but they should be webcast with no region block. Universal managed it!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Olympic teams named

Excitement is building now that teams are being named. Japan, Australia, France and four-fifths of the Chinese team have now all been named. Japan's team was surprising in that almost all of its members are veterans of the 2008 Olympic team and do not include Mai Murakami. Australia's team includes Georgia Banora as the fifth spot, a spot which Mary Anne Monckton and Georgia Rose Brown were supposedly locks for. China's team seems to be taking risks for a medal- Wu Luifang and Huang Huidan are not even in contention for the fifth spot, whereas surprisingly, Huang Quishang has been named.

Britain will name their team on July 4th. They have depth on some events so this isn't very predictable. Hannah Whelan and Beth Tweddle certainly are locks. Rebecca Tunney has a very good chance. Danusia Francis could be picked for her beam alone, which GB are very weak on- but that puts pressure on the rest if she is picked just for beam and Tweddle is picked just for bars, and possibly floor. Jenni Pinches and Ruby Harrold also stand a very good chance, and Becky Downie is still competing for her second chance.

USA will of course name their team at Trials. Whoever wins Trials is guaranteed a spot. This is no longer Jordyn's spot, if Gabby hits she could take it, her difficulty is higher and she is overscored more than Jordyn is inside the US. These two are locks, and so is Aly Raisman. Number four is less guaranteed but is extremely likely to be Kyla Ross, barring injury. Plenty of ideal teams floating around the internet are forgetting her entirely and are using Sacramone and Maroney. That would be nice, but Sacramone's beam is not needed and there are enough decent amanars. She can't be used on bars. Fifth spot is Maroney's to lose. She adds the biggest difference to the team total and does not even need to show more than one event as the other four have those covered. It is however likely she could outscore Gabby on floor in Olympic prelims with a fixed third pass, we shall see. Certainly it is the most elegant and artistic floor routine they have in that team, and should be used. Not forgetting that she was injured at Nationals, but there is no reason to suppose she will miss Trials. Her petition was accepted and she is being monitored closely in the gym. The fact that she never lost consciousness and that the fracture is described as being very minor are both very positive signs. She does not really need to showcase AA at Trials. Her beam is extremely steady and can be used if it comes to it. Her bars are fairly unusuable, though substantially better than Aly's. Her floor can be great and her vault is always perfect- she could get away with only doing the two but hopefully can do all 4.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

FIG slams its own code

As we all know, the current code of points places a much higher emphasis on difficulty than on execution and artistry. We have seen routines with falls and mistakes win over perfect routines, due to the boost higher difficulty gives to the former. While I appreciate power and artistic routines, I deplore poor form and 'skill chucking'. Now that the FIG have criticised the direction their own code is forcing gymnastics to take, what can we expect from the next code and future codes? From the draft, there is a concerted attempt to downplay the bonuses that difficulty gives. The real test is whether London will add any changes to it.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/oly-gymn-artistry-idUSL3E8HI5VB20120619


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Great gymnasts we won't see in London

Inconsistency, injury and recovery and sheer depth has done these gymnasts out of their chance to shine in London.

Ana Porgras






Ana is the most artistic gymnast to emerge this quad. Her lines are exquisite and very reminiscent of old-school beautiful lines such as Aurelia Dobre. She could also swing bars like Romanians haven't since the late 1980's. A beautiful bar and beam worker, she also had an elegant floor. Vault was her nemesis into breaking into the AA, as she never really mastered a DTY. Truly a gymnast who would have flourished in the perfect 10 code, Ana was dogged by injuries for most of her senior career and has now retired. With more and more older gymnasts making comebacks, we can hope she will also.

Mariya Livchikova




Mariya is quite similar to Ana, her artistry is evident in her beam and floor, which are works of art. Her beam also showcases great original connections. Unfortunately she also has the Ukrainian tendency to splat all over the place, but it was her injury last year which counted her out of receiving the only WAG place for Ukraine, who shockingly placed so badly they cannot field a time. We can hope Mariya will stick around.

Cheng Fei


Admittedly she had her chance at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, but individually failed to shine at both. A huge departure from the Chinese tradition of having petite gymnasts excel at bars and beam, Fei was a powerhouse on vault and floor, with an amanar and a double-double as her highlights as well as a fierce beam routine. This time around, her strengths would have been helpful in complementing those of her team-mates. Unfortunately, Fei has fallen victim to the plague of achilles tendon, ruptured performing a triple twist on floor. Her presence and strength on floor will be missed.

Rebecca Bross

 Rebecca Bross peaked in the middle of the quad. Seen as a lock for the US Olympic team two years ago, she will now be very lucky to make alternate. She blew her knee vaulting last year, and it appears to have impacted her greatly. She is now only training two events and neither will score high enough to justify taking her. A sad end for a great gymnast.

Mai Murakami

I've already spoken quite a bit about Mai. In short, she is amazing and has incredible difficulty. Inconsistency was an issue at the Japan nationals so she missed out. Thankfully Japan love sending veterans so we can hope she will be around for the next quad.. 2013 worlds!

Monday, 18 June 2012

The most memorable floor choreography

Not whole routines, though often the entire routine IS iconic. Here is just my favourites, the parts that I most remember. Not all of them are beautiful, some were just a big departure in choreography and noteworthy because of that. Or just plain awesome to see.


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Chellsie has put this into almost all of her routines. A master of illusion turns, it isn't elegant or pretty but it looks amazing. Originality is usually the key to a part of a routine's dance sticking in your head.

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Daniela Silivas showcasing the greatest way I have ever seen of uniquely getting from the floor to standing. I would love to see this again, but I doubt it'd ever be used because it's so recognisable.

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The best part of the best 'cute choreo' routine. Mo also had great tumbling here.

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Yes, I love Groshkova. This has been done in a variety of ways and is a great way of getting out of a spin, chose this because both the spin and her extension are just beautiful.

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This entire routine by Olga Strazheva is famous and rightly so. Side-by-side with the most beautiful elegant routines, Olga performed her modern dance extravaganza with great aplomb. This is the most memorable part of the routine for me.

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Another ground-breaking routine, Camelia Voinea displays her breakdancing skills. Always overshadowed by Silivas and Dobre (HOW deep was that team), Voinea not only had brilliantly unique choreography, she also had very difficult tumbling- double layout punchfront!

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Elena Produnova attacks the floor so fiercely even in her dance!

A great emotional gold medal win

Daiane Dos Santos gets a lot of flak for her landings. I think it is a bit out of proportion. She has phenomenal tumbling, the highest and most powerful we have ever seen AND she has a great sense of rthynm. She senses the music far more than others do. I can forgive her often not-stuck landings easily when I see a floor routine like hers. Admittedly her tumbling form has deteriorated recently but at age 29 she is still displaying a double layout AND a full-twisting double layout as well as her ever-present great dance, impressive stuff! Very sad that she is most remembered for the two tumbles named after her and not for winning copious amounts of floor titles, due to plenty of OOB's and over-rotations. Plenty have landed her Dos Santos I, but never as high and as upright on landing. Nobody has dared her Dos Santos II yet!  Here she is clinching gold in 2003. It's always great to see someone from a non-gymnastics country win, but especially here in hindsight that she never achieved a victory of this level again.





Hilarious Mo Huilan wiki edit






I love good wiki edits. Apparently to celebrate successfully performing her Mo salto, she bought a leopard from the local zoo, boiled it in a pot and ate it. Who knew!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ireland's gymnastic hope for London

Kieran Behan is the second gymnast ever, male or female, to qualify to the Olympics for Ireland. Yes, ever! As I mentioned before, Ireland pours very little money into most Olympic sports and this is no exception. Facilities mean going abroad to train- Kieran trains in England, but competes for his home country. His story is more incredible than that though, at age 10 an operation to remove a tumour from his leg resulted in him being consigned to a wheelchair for a year. Shortly afer that when he bravely resumed training, he fell from the high bar in his gym onto his head and sustained damage in the part of his brain which controlled balance, of all things, and had to relearn everything. On this occasion he was told he would never walk again and it took 3 years before he could train. He also ruptured ACL's in both legs!

He qualified for the Olympics at the London test event. For a country which will only take home a handful of medals this year and for one which is an utter unknown in the gymnastics world, this is a huge deal. Kieran is a floor specialist, his difficulty is less than others (but he is upgrading) but his execution scores extremely well. He qualified third at europeans this year, but finished seventh in EF after making mistakes. He will obviously be against a deeper field in London, but here's hoping he can salvage a medal now that he is upgrading. Even if he doesn't- what an incredible story and what a brave man. Go Kieran! I'm not into MAG really at all, but will definitely be watching this.

Here's Kieran qualifying in third.


That irrational anger at youtube comments on gymnastics videos

For me, it is people who check out an old routine, see a big difference in the composition compared to today, and instead of researching why or asking about it, they just go ahead and dismiss it because of that. You're watching a classic and beautiful bars routine that scored very highly and then a comment underneath says 'Ehh she didn't hit all her handstands, didn't deserve that score. Nastia is better'. Instead of the perfectly acceptable 'Oh were perfect handstands not a requirement back then?' or something. Okay so Nastia doesn't appear in all of those comments but they are quite common and plenty cite her...anyway that's my only issue with youtube comments. I totally gloss over personal wars gymnast x versus y, so they never bother me.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

No live webcast of Trials :(

..makes me very sad. Fair play to universal sports for their visa and classics live webcasts which were not region blocked. Surely there's money to be made in webcasts for international viewers if they throw ads on the page? Poor show NBC. Because of the time difference (five hours ahead of east coast US) and the fact the women's competitions are starting pretty late, it will be very late here BUT maybe by the time I get up in the morning some hero will have uploaded them to youtube. Visas were uploaded very fast..international readers..we can have hope for that, and in the meantime drool over podium training videos and quick hits. Thank God for youtube!

Code-whoring and hypocrisy

We hear a lot about code-whoring, which basically means taking advantage of the current code for scoring purposes. And yet, why shouldn't gymnasts and their coaches do this? If the code allows for bonuses for certain connections which are easier than throwing hard skills, why wouldn't they be overused? It makes perfect sense. And yet, it's not really open-ended scoring and overused connections that annoy me, it's the selective response to this overuse, which to me IS hypocritical. The prime example in this code is, leaps out of passes, which absolutely are overused but are a quick and easy way to up SV on an event where scoring can be quite low (internationally, NOT in the US).

Lauren Mitchell is the scapegoat for this. She was definitely amongst the first to do it, and generally does it after every pass or almost every pass. Sometimes they appear quite forced, which ruins the flow, but it's moreso that they are low and don't have the 'wow' factor. Her artistry and sense of dance is so nonexistent that she needs all the help she can get from difficult tumbling and bonus connections. This is smart manipulation of the code, and not her fault everyone else jumped on the bandwagon. Here is her 2011 worlds AA floor, probably the best she has ever done her leaps. Lauren is far from the only one who gets the flak for this, but is the most obvious.


Aly Raisman has been criticised for it, but not near as much. Her leaps are much higher so tend to look better, but are arguably worse as the form on them is bad- particularly the last one with flexed feet.

They are quite similar as regards floor styles- no artistry or dance, HUGE tumbling. Lauren should take a lesson from Aly here, if your music is good and matches your power you can manipulate people into forgetting the lack of artistry.

But this is where the hypocrisy really comes in. When the leaps are done brilliantly as well as having great height, everyone keeps their mouths shut and gazes in awe at the exact same code-whoring they complain about when others attempt it. Here are two examples of great leaps


These leaps are high with great form. So nobody cares that it's the same code manipulation they criticise others for doing more sloppily! Very very annoying, either censure everyone for it or quit complaining about it full stop.

This isn't of course the only 'code-whoring'. Last quad, it was pirouettes on bars. Yang Yilin, He Kexin and Nastia Liukin showcased very beautiful turns in handstand, Onos and Healys and with their pencil bodyline it looked amazing. Yet it was done so much solely to boost difficulty in combination, Beth Tweddle needed a huge amount of releases and releases in combination to rival their D-scores. But you'll find very little about that manipulation and overuse- again, because it looked great.

The moral of the story seems to be- we don't mind code-whoring, once it's done well. But woe betide sloppy form- suddenly they face a barrage of criticism. Infuriating.

(It's interesting to note that FIG do not appreciate overuse and code-whoring. Next quad's code gets rid of pirouette combination connection bonuses AND leaps out of passes have to be at least a B leap- making it far more difficult to do. I'm sure there will be overuse of something else, and the same hypocritical opinions though!)


Favourite uneven bars mounts

Almost all are acrobatic. I can't stand seeing glide kips or jump to hang on the high bar, so boring. I understand why these aren't done due to the risk (Ungureanu's aside, but the second part isn't possible these days) or because a lot of them end in a dead hang which will be deducted for but it would still be awesome to see.



Aleftina Priakhina, 1986 Chuichi cup. This one bears Gurova's name, but is hers originally. Yes it's very similar to her beam mount. It just looks so beautiful, is very difficult AND doesn't have a dead hang.


Olessia Dudnik, 1989 Worlds. This one is the hardest of them all. Just amazing!


Teodora Ungureanu, 1976 Olympics. Not near as difficult but love the creativity behind it. Impossible now of course, but the first part could be incorporated differently.



Celestina Popa, 1988 UB. Overshadowed so much by her teammates, but what a unique and great mount.


Natalia Frolova, 1986 US Vs USSR. Major dead hang which takes away a bit from it for me, but still love it.

There's a lot I can't find, but it seems to veer between boring A mounts and risky D-F mounts with little in between.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Favourite beam mounts

There are so many amazing ones, I'll make it easier by picking one from each category. I'm not going to complain about how today's gymnasts jump on the beam- that is the code's fault, not theirs. Hopefully this will change in the future.

Acrobatic mount:


Natsumi Sasada, Japan. WOW. I couldn't decide between this and Daine Dos Santos' front layout mount, but I chose this because Daiane fell off but Natsumi doesn't even wobble. Usually the most daring acrobatic mounts come with a built in wobble.

Incredible strength mount:

We've seen our fair share of one-handed awesomeness on the beam (Mo Huilan 1996 is great) but this in its own category. The sheer strength of that, unbelievable. Jackie Bender gets a good bit of internet kudos for this but is pretty unknown all the same.

Best handstand mount/most interesting handstand variant:

I love how unexpected her drop onto the beam is, it's great. I find the standard press into handstand boring, she shook it up very nicely.

Best show of flexibility:

This mount has plenty of variants- Zmeskal, Miller and others come to mind- bit this is my favourite shaped one! It's no harm either that it's done by the widely acknowledged greatest beam worker ever, Yang Bo.

Best mount sequence:

This just has it all, flexility, handstand, more acro. Beautiful.

Best planche:

These were pretty common, I chose her because it looks so easy and effortless for her.

Most inventive mount:

 Once again, Priakhina displays incredible difficulty and  another move she didn't get the credit for. (This mount was named for Zamo). I'm a sucker for inventive side-beam mounts and back hip circles. All this AND combined with acro and the splits and it doesn't take too much time..should be used these days.

There are loads more that blow me away, but these are the ones that stick in my head. My absolute favourite is Priakhina's. I'll do one for bars too.

A selection of favourite leotards

Awful leotards are much more fun to pick apart, but it's generally a concensus on that and the Leotard Fashion Police over at TheCouchGymnast do such an awesome job there seems little point in trying. But favourite leotards are based more on personal opinions and favourite colours etc. Here are some that come to mind.

 Jesolo 2012

As a team leo, I love this. I love the cut and neckline and the waistband sparkles were just perfect, jazzing it up without ruining it or looking tacky. There's better photos on this but they're generally of the back only! A little bit too shiny  and I do think US need to get rid of all-red. Blue would be nice! But props to this leo for looking great and suiting everyone






Russian Cup 2012

An even more recent one, but it's just beautiful. Russia often has amazingly elegant leos (I'm not a fan of GK designs, they are so samey and everywhere) but this is their best one ever and I would be thrilled if it came with them to London. Love the colour, the elegant split down the centre, tasteful white accents and the mesh..works! It so often doesn't but not here, just fab. It beats the awesome 2010 worlds one, which lost marks for having cuffs and being of a snakeskin pattern.  This one does suit them all but Musty is really rocking it. Logo a bit prominent however.


Visa Nationals Day 2 2012

My favourite from Visas and my favourite one she's ever worn to competition- bit too fond of crappy GK swirls usually. This leo is of course no stranger, being the 2011 worlds TF leo as well as Kyla Ross' day 1 leo at visas too. But LOVE what they've done here, the great colour contrasting so well with the black and the sparkles thrown in in such a great way. This could easily have been slightly boring, but instead it's amazing.


Chuinchi Cup 1989

Now to go much further back. In an era of extremely dodgy leotards, Tatiana Groshkova paves the way. This leo is so iconic, what a great way to break up the boring white so often favoured. Not a big fan of the neckline but probably my favourite white leotard of all time. Looked awesome on her amazing beam moves!


1996 Olympics

This one gets mixed opinions. Either it's boring and drab or it's inspired and perfectly elegant. As suspected because I featured it here, I love it. You can't seem them too well but there are sparkles. It's the sweetheart neckline and black/white contrast that make it great for me though.

I'm sure I could do a part 2,3,4 and 5 but I'll leave it there for now. Can't wait to do analysis of London leotards!

Who will take the 2nd AA spot for USA?

I used to think it was guaranteed, but it's a two horse race now, with a strong third chasing on their heels. The first is Jordyn's barring injury.

Aly Raisman I thought she had this in the bag last year. Her difficulty has actually increased and her floor and beam are great and will score well. She has a glaring weakness which is of course bars. This will score mid-13's at best, it really is brutal execution-wise. There really does seem to be a seperate bars scoring for her. That was great...for Aly. She always manages to stay on, which I think is the main objective but wow, it will get slaughtered in London. Her vault is dangerous, badly landed, not fully around and with crappy leg form at every point of the vault. It deserves maybe a 15.4 being generous, though possibly lower. She's a magnificent beam worker, so strong and steady on it with great skills. Her form isn't great on it though which will incur deductions but I bet the fact that it has no flow and that the low-to-beam work is just thrown in perfunctorily won't affect the score. On to her best, floor. Love love love the tumbling and the choreo is very clever. Again, her form will be penalised, and her non-existing toepoint, certainly won't get near a 15.8. She is great, but her form does deserve to get shot down and I question whether her strengths are enough to make up for her weaknesses when you have such a gymnast as

Gabby Douglas nipping at your heels. Gabby has great lines and difficulty, but inconsistency is her major weakness, the opposite to Aly's rock solid routines. Like the other two, she has an amanar and it isn't bad. It will score higher than Aly's, if she hits it which isn't a given. Her bars are great with a huge SV and she never misses there, this bumps her up massively ahead of Aly. beam can take her right back down again, she usually has major wobbles on it and has often either fallen or grabbed the beam. It's not as good as Aly's when she hits but won't take her significantly down score-wise. Floor is a bit unknown scoring-wise. Difficulty is below Aly's, but her tumbling is great. Unfortunately the choreo is pretty bad, and scrappy. The music may also do her no favours at all. Despite this, if she hits, the spot is hers.

Kyla Ross has been touted as an AA threat, but it's not even certain Marta would allow her when her vault is dangerous and her floor has such a low SV. Her DTY is beautiful but it puts her at a .7 disadvantage straight off, which she also has or even more compared to Aly's floor! She is likely to throw the amanar and throw is the correct word, her landings are so dangerous that her score could easily be better on the DTY. Beam and bars are great, but won't surpass the efforts of the other two (Gabby's bars only, not Aly's). Floor just falls too far behind for her to threaten the other two and it's such a shame. Just throw in some leaps out of passes, anything to make it approach a 6.0!

So, I see Jordyn and Gabby taking on Aliya, Viktoria, Larissa and Diana. May the best gymnast win!

Anna Myzdrikova is back!



And I'm thrilled! She unleashed the most spectacularly beautiful floor routine in 2009 with amazing connections and then totally dissapeared after Euros 2010. She came sixth in the Russian Cup today, though floor was quite low, 13.23. Her vault was highest but nothing broke the 14 mark. She's extremely unlikely for this team at the moment but she may make alternate, especially if Sidorova doesn't improve. My Russian team is Komova, Mustafina, Grishina, Inshina and Paseka. Alternates: a bit more murky, especially with no recent footage. Afan, Pavlova/Sidorova and Myzdrikova would be nice. If she can get her floor back to this level she would be very valuable, especially as Musty's floor is full of mistakes these days.

Anyway, here is my favouritest floor ever. Yes I have posted it before, but it needs to go with any post mentioning her. They should have put a big fat bonus on it for the excellent first and second pass, unique connections, the choreo and the fact she lands like she's doing single layouts.

Edit: Just found her floor from Voronin Cup 2011, which was in December. Must have been long after I trawled Youtube for her. Anyway, unfortunately it's pretty bad, she's very tired and out of shape in it. Fingers crossed her not too shabby Russian Cup showing means she's back in the game somewhat.


Old-school favourite bar routines

It's odd to look at bar routines where gymnasts are doing skills impossible these days, and with no giants. Incredible releases were still present, and interesting transitions were the order of the day, as well as fabulously original dismounts, especially off the low bar- never seen today! The margin for error in some moves was massive, and very painful- belly beats were very brusing if misjudged even slightly. Routines known for one spectacular release will be included as the rest of the routine was also very impressive and exciting to watch.


 The most famous of all, Olga also had, apart from her flip, very dairing transitions and a perfect dismount but was never rewarded for her excellence, due to the dissaproval of her 'circus tricks'.


Elena Mukhina, who would have won the 1980 all-around due to her brilliance on all events upped the ante with the full-twisting Korbut. Her difficulty was astounding.


This includes both routines. Nadia's form was absolute perfection here, but her releases and transitions were also very difficult, if not as creative as some other routines of her era.


Teodora was underscored compared to Nadia, as well as being totally overshadowed by her. A wonderful gymnast in her own right, she excelled on bars and her routine is the most exciting to watch by far. She deserved 10's on bars.


Ma WAS the Queen of uneven bars, and deserved to beat MacNamara outright every time. Beautiful form and my favourite bars dismount, just incredible.

Emilia is another true great of the bars. She always looked so sad and thin, which helped to corroborate her later assertions that the Karolyi's were abusive. She is known more for that and for her ecletic floor choreopgraphy more than for her spectacular and exciting bars, which is such a shame because they deserve just as much recognition as Nadia's did. Amazing.

My all-time favourite uneven bar worker is Teodora. Others I enjoy but didn't put up here are Maxi Gnauck, Steffi Kraker, Karin Janz and Gabriela Fahnrich. I wish bars were creative again, instead of the tired old..geinger..tkactchev..pak salto..ono..double layout. It gets so boring. Would love to see someone crack out a Ma dismount, it's still rated an F whereas the other dismounts here are too easy to do.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Overrated gymnasts

I'm not one to be nasty about gymnasts. This is more about overblown hype. These girls are talented, but not as much as the hype allows for.

Nastia Liukin




..invented gymnastics if the hype around her is anything to go by. She was the well deserving 2008 AA champion. Nastia is of course famed for her beautiful long lines and extremely difficult uneven bars. Her beam and bars in particular were amazing to watch, especially skills like her Onodi, Ono and Healys which were so well executed. She was not, however, flawless. On bars her cowboyed dismount and bent legs on her giants are obvious, and her artistry is characterised by an uptight upper body and head throw-backs. She's regarded as an excellent dancer by most but her lines carried her and her choreography was dull, empty and stiff. I will also echo the excellent Spanny Tampson in deploring her stupid flexed wrists, which ruined lines. Butt shelves also are not valid choreography but she is of course far from the only culprit there. Nastia DOES deserve her success and was an excellent gymnast still showing several signs of that brilliance today. However her hype detracts from other gymnasts, exhibited by NBC cameras focusing on her face and her dad/coach instead of other routines performed by other gymnasts. Her hype alone got her to Trials, ahead of other gymnasts who performed much better than her. The crazies in the Nastia camp seem to forget that there were gymnasts before Nastia came along, and many were far better, which is not a good thing for gymnastics. I won't even mention her weak vault and floor being made up by her extraordinary bars difficulty as this is the case in general these days, though only in reverse in the US.

Svetlana Khorkina


Svetlana's fame has probably been well overtaken by Nastia now, but her dominance for an entire decade was unbelievable. Known interchangeably as the diva and the Queen of the Bars, Khorkina competed in three Olympics, an amazing feat. She was a great gymnast, especially given her height and it is sad that she never clinched the AA gold, especially in 2000 when she was well ahead of her contenders and the vault controversy and the upset of that causing her to fall from bars were the only reasons why she didn't. However, she competed against extremely difficult uneven bar routines like Mo Huilan's and Bi Wenjing's and won every single time, their added difficulty appeared not to matter. Bi did snatch the gold from her, but only in a World Cup. She was also blatantly overscored in the 2004 Olympics to try to get het to win, in order to 'make up' for 2000. This is such BS. 'Making up' to a gymnast score-wise is just ridiculous and I am glad it did not succeed. Khorkina in 2004 was gaunt and emaciated and her gymnastics had deteriorated- Carly well deserved that win. Khorkina's diva attitude and comments such as implying Carly's win was a fix are extremely annoying, I do not like rudeness and egos in any sport. However she clearly had a good side to her, I absolutely loved that she gave up her vault EF place to Zamo- her reaction to Zamo's perfect vault is priceless! She was a strong all-arounder even with her beam and vault getting worse over time, and she did make an impact on gymnastics by altering it to fit her height (especially bars) but I still think her fame in the gymnastics world is a bit over the top.

Mary-Lou Retton


Mary-Lou would never have won the AA had the Olympics been attended by the Soviets. In a way it seems to unfair to cloud her achievement like this but there were at least 5 Soviets who would have beaten her- Olga Mostepanova who achieved 12 perfect 10's at the friendship games that year was a given, but Baraksanova, Shushunova, Illienko, Yurchenko and Frolova would all been frontrunners too, if that many were allowed qualify. Mary-Lou was highly talented, I have no issue with her body-type, it's moreso her form, execution and presentation were wholly eclipsed by other gymnasts of the time. But it's easy to see why there was so much hype around her as the first US AA Olympic champion, it would be odd if it wasn't. The fact remains that she was not up against the best in the world and the hype often forgets that.

That's all I can think of for now. Gymnasts like Shannon Miller, Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci fully deserved the hype that surrounded each, all of them had amazing form, artistry and difficulty. It's harder to think of those that didn't fully deserve all of the hype.

Amazing uneven bar releases

The problem with the majority of these is either that they are now illegal in the code of points or the fact that they end in a dead hang and/or require empty swings which incurs an 0.1 automatic deduction, which means they are unlikely to be done again, especially as they are so difficult in the first place. I would love to see Viktoria Komova, Yao Jinnan and Beth Tweddle have a go at them though.



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The legendary Olga Korbut performing the famous Korbut flip at the 1972 Olympics. Korbut also had creatives moves elsewhere but judges did not appreciate her 'circus tricks' and she never cored as highly as she should have.

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Elena Mukhina adds a full twist to the Korbut flip. Mukhina was a true all-arounder and swept the 1978 Worlds. She was a shoe-in for the 1980 Olympics but was paralysed a few weeks before due to her over-ambitious coaches insisting on a dangerous roll-out move, which she landed on her neck in training. These moves have since been banned for women but are still fine for men to perform.

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 Mo Huilan competes a Gaylord, a tucked salto over the bar. This was also competed by Bi Wenjing and Meng Fei. What's almost as amazing as the release is the flight Mo gets on her transitions. The Chinese today are famed for their dead-hang transitions and laboured kips, Mo however shows them how it's done.

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Zhou Duan performs an unheard-of Gaylord II, which does not bear her name. This is a front tuck with a half twist to regrasp the bar, and is pretty similar to a Kovacs that the men perform. Just as above, it requires empty swings and a dead hang, both verboten. Zhou was also a beast on vault, difficult floor and a really difficult beam which appears to include a barani. She took bronze on vault at worlds but form issues and falls kept her from taking centre stage.


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Kim Gwang Suk competes a counter-Kim, also known as a Marinich. I'm not too sure how to define it but the motion of it is where the difficulty lies. This routine is always overshadowed by the age falsification scandal. Kim was no more than 12 here. Her age, the release AND the fact that it was done in combination in a routine which also features other releases is incredible. Bent knees aside, that was an issue she could have fixed had she been allowed to keep competing. This has never been performed in competition since, but footage has surfaced of an unknown high-school girl competing it from a more difficult toe-on position. There are other, such as Nabieva's layout over the bar and the Church, but these are the ones I love the most.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What putting Nastia on the US team does to scores

This is assuming the most likely team of Jordyn, Aly, Gabby, Kyla and McKayla and is using their highest Nationals scores. Yes, this team score will be huge because of the overscoring but since all of them and Nastia were overscored, it makes little difference. The only one who wasn't is McKayla, who CAN get a 16.15 on vault internationally. This team assumes using Gabby on floor, but that depends on whether it can outscore McKayla's in prelims, assuming McKayla has a beautiful third pass.

UB: Jordyn, Gabby, Kyla- 46.4
BB: Jordyn, Aly, Kyla- 45.6
FX: Gabby, Jordyn, Aly- 46.35
VT: McKayla, Jordyn, Aly- 47.85

Team total- 186.2

Enter Nastia. Now because Kyla is competing Nastia's two events, we'll switch them. Firstly using Nastia's actual highest scores from Nationals.

UB: Jordyn, Gabby, Nastia- 44.55
BB: Jordyn, Aly, Nastia- remains unchanged, 45.6

Combined with floor and vault gives..184.35, almost two points lower. In a sport of tenths seperating winners, obviously this format is unusable. But let's be fair and assume Nastia did an alright job on bars, using an easier dismount than her old one and with form errors, but not as disastrous as what we actually saw. We'll also give her beam a realistic score, assuming no errors besides missed connections. Hypothetical bars score: 14.4 Hypothetical beam score: 14.7

This gives a team score of 184.7, only a bit better. Now let's be REALLY generous and assume Nastia really nailed her bars and had no missed beam connections and then was overscored on top of that. We'll give her beam and bars a 15.

Team score: 185.6 I have to admit I was a bit shocked at that, thought it might close the gap more. She needs to manufacture 6.05 more tenths. She can't do that. I really admire her gymnastics of old and for her to make a pretty brave comeback. But the admiration ends there after the free pass to trials and the realisation that she absolutely cannot help this team whatsoever, even assuming impossible scoring. Give it up already.