Monday, 22 October 2012

Hong Un Jong and Grandi return! More news

The roster for the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships has been announced for Japan..and North Korea! (China already covered). North Korea's team consists of Hong Un Jong, Kang Yong Mi, Kim Un Hyang and three much younger total unknowns- Kim So Yong, Pak Sin Hyang and Ri Un Ha who all have birthdates of 1995/6. How exciting! First of all to see what Hong Un Jong and the other two are still capable of, and what the other 3 have up their sleeves. I am dissapointed not to see Cha Yong Hwa of the superb bars, but even so. Fantastic stuff.

Japan's team consists of Risa Konishi, Wakana Inoue, Sakura Noda, Erica Danko, Shizuka Tozawa and Mirai Sekiguchi. Like China they are not using Olympians, but they also seem to have gone one further and are using a bit of a b-team lineup. Very dissapointing not to see Mai Murakami and Natsumi Sasada, but perhaps they are being saved for bigger competitions. Hopefully. The competition takes place from 7-15th November and has an AA, TF and EF's. YAY!

In other news, John Orozco is the 3rd victim of the tour, injuring his knee on a dismount. Ridiculous! High level gymnastics is obviously more appealing as a draw, but so not worth it. It is confirmed to be a torn ACL and meniscus, which puts him out for at least a year. This tour is terrible.

The Russian teams for the upcoming Massilia Cup and next July's Universiade Games have been announced. Massilia's line-up will be Anastasia Sidorova, Yulia Inshina, Maria Kharenkova and Yevgeniya Shelgunova. Universiade's will be Aliya Mustafina, Tatiana Nabieva, Ksenia Afanasyeva and Kristina Goryunova. Great to see Kristina get a bigger assignment of more note, and of course, to see Nabs again. Maria Kharenkova is arguably Russia's best junior, so hopefully she can make even more of a name for herself.

The Chinese team for the upcoming Massilia Cup will be Lou Nina, Mei Jie, Chen Siyi and Liu Zhilin who all had strong performances this year at Nationals. Bars and beam should be a highlight and hopefully they can dominate there. The competition takes place from the 17th-18th November.

Romanian Junior Nationals have just taken place. They were split up into 4 categories from girls born in 2001-2002 down to girls who are already on the junior national team. Sadly, plenty of the most promising did not compete- Madalina Blendea, Adela Florea and Andreea Munteanu were all injured and Laura Jurca only did bars due to an injury also. Other girls were also injured, but quite a few only doing 1 or 2 events. Andreea Iridon who is great on bars (not a qualifying statement- she is!) dominated her age category and won bars, beam and floor. Silvia Zarzu did well but is hindered by her terrible bars. Laura Jurca took silver on bars. Sad to see so many absences, especially as the purpose of this competition was to add more to the national team. The big excitement was Andreea Iridon's bars and Asiana Peng's triple full on floor.Their team for Massilia has not been announced yet, but since they have a plethora of injuries it will be tougher than expected. Individuals and other teams have been announced. Of note are the two super exciting and very different Dutch girls- Eythora Thorsdottir and Chantysha Netteb. The former is glorious on beam and has a floor fresh from the 1985 Soviet team. The latter is powerful with her speciality being vault on which she is the reigning Junior European Champion. From Canada, Victoria Moors who is already down for both world cups and Victoria Woo and Gabriella Douglas (LOL if she competes against Gabby at some stage) are among the contingent.

Bruno Grandi has been re-elected. Yawn. New blood please. He will be 82 when his term ends. So has Nellie Kim which is less of a surprise given she ran unopposed. Nellie continues to be biased in her decisions, no longer a direct judge but having the power to sway their decision.

Anna Pavlova will compete at the Tournoi meet. In USA news, there is a big furore over comments Anna Li has made and some sort of (maybe not at all) reply Nastia made. ie accusations of bullying by Anna followed by 'Let it be' tweet from Nastia. Suspicion has been planted firmly in Alicia Sacramone's corner, with 'victims' being Gabby, Anna and Nastia. Personally, it would not take much for me to believe that of Alicia who does appear from several instances to have a mean side. Bullying is quite a step further though, despite the fact they have been cooped up together for quite a while, and dumping girls in their teens and early 20's together and expecting no drama is ludicrous. However Anna should never have posted any comments. It smacks of immaturity, and she is definitely old enough to know better. It's one thing doing something like that on facebook between school friends, but it's definitely worse when these girls have a substantial fanbase and attract a lot of attention from the gym community at large. Not impressed.

2013 Ones To Watch: Part 1

Following on from my posts on upcoming seniors in the new quad and the list of most notable juniors in their senior year (Links to posts on all countries/regions here and non-exhaustive list of senior year here), I want to focus on those that will turn senior next year, and also current seniors who haven't yet had their chance to really shine. This part will be on 2013 seniors, second part will be on the latter category. NOTE: Competitions are not exhaustive in the case of juniors from non-English speaking countries, because it's much harder to find results not in my language! Videos of all of the below are in my first link. Also easily found on youtube. (Read: I am way too lazy to embed them all again).

2013 Seniors- Ones to Watch

Have to start with the two with the most hype and the greatest sense of 'if only x was born a bit earlier'.

Katelyn Ohashi, USA



Katelyn Ohashi created a storm around her when she unleashed her monster beam set in 2010. She also has fantastic bars, an area USA still need improvement on.

Trains at: WOGA, Texas
Competitions: US Classic 2009-2012, Visa Nationals 2009-2012, Pacific Rim Championships 2012, Jesolo 2011-2012
Notable Achievements: 2011 Junior National Champion, 2012 Pacific Rim All-around Champion, 2012 Pacific Rim Beam, Floor and Bars Champion, 2012 Junior National Champion on bars, silver beam and floor, 2011 Champion on bars, beam, floor. Katelyn has won the national bars title 3 years in a row.
Best event(s): Bars and beam
Worst event(s): Vault
Needs to: Fix her vault. Has had a scary time with DTY's this year, needs to either get it back safely or a similar difficulty vault to stay as a strong all-arounder. Katelyn showed signs of overtraining at Nationals, so should possibly hold back on upgrades for the moment.
Weak point: Power a bit lacking
All-around potential? Pretty high. Huge with a fixed vault.
Event final potential: Gold on beam and bars
Why the fuss? As well as being a potentially very strong all-arounder, Katelyn has gold medal world/Olympic titles written all over her bars and beam.

Lexie Priessman, USA



Lexie barely falls short of being a 2012 senior. She has created a stir for being a powerhouse in the style of Raisman and Wieber- she has an amanar and a double double on floor.

Trains at: CGA, Cincinnatti
Competitions: US Classic 2009-2012, Visa Nationals 2009-2012, Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup 2010, Japan Junior International 2011, Pacific Rim Championships 2012, Jesolo 2011-2012
Notable Achievements: 2012 Junior National Champion, 2012 Junior National Champion on floor, second on vault and bars, 2012 Pacific Rim vault champion, second all-around, 2012 US Classic floor champion, 2011 Japan Junior International Champion, 2010 Supergirl Cup Champion
Best event(s): Vault and floor
Worst event(s): Beam
Needs to: Work big-time on her form, it shows up most noticeably on beam. Presentation and choreography a bit all over the place on floor too. Get a second vault.
Weak point: Form, and flexibility to a lesser extent.
All-around potential? Massive.
Event final potential? Vault medallist with a second vault. High on floor.
Why the fuss? This girl is a powerhouse and with a consistent decent beam could blindside the rest of the competition.

Simone Biles, USA



With a phenomenal amanar under her belt, as well as a difficult floor, Simone looks like a very valuable gymnast for USA's collection.

Trains at: Bannon's Gymnastix
Competitions: US Classic 2011-2012, Visa Nationals 2011-2012
Notable Achievements: 2012 Junior National Champion on vault, 3rd place in the all-around, 2012 US Classic Champion, 2012 US Classic Champion on vault
Best event(s): Vault
Worst event(s): Bars
Needs to: Upgrade her floor, a very strong event for her already. She could be a great all-arounder with a decent bars and beam- they need a lot of work. Needs to get and upgrade a second vault, she has plenty of power.
Weak point: In general, not great on non-power events. Lack of finesse.
All-around potential: Yes, not the top one or two but definitely she could be a good one.
Event final potential? Gold on vault, could qualify to floor
Why the fuss? Her amanar is so powerful that she is one of two girls in the world capable of doing a TTY. (Prize for guessing the other). She could quite easily medal in vault, has a strong energetic floor that's valuable and might be able to be a valuable all-arounder too.

Noemi Makra, HUN



Noemi is the great hope of Hungary, and certainly has what it takes to become a great all-arounder, she is the full package gymnast.

Competitions: 2012 Junior European Championships, 2012 Eva Sanyo Memorial, 2011 EYOF, 2010 Top Gym
Notable Achievements: 2011 EYOF champion on bars,  highest all-around total at Eva Sanyo,  qualified 10th to all-around finals at Euros 2012, and qualified to vault event finals.
Best event(s): Floor, bars
Worst event(s): Only because it lacks difficulty so much- vault
Needs to: UPGRADE. Noemi is the full package, everything she does is such a high standard. She just needs more difficulty.
Weak point: Lack of difficulty.
All-around potential: Certainly, especially at Euros. She could make quite a mark at Worlds and maybe even Olympics if she brings her difficulty up to scratch.
Event final potential: Hard to tell, her difficulty is too low at this stage.
Why the fuss? Such great execution, and she does not have a weak event. As I say so many times here, with more difficulty she is a major contender. Remarkable considering she is from outside the top 4.

Gabby Jupp, GBR



Gabby heralds the exciting new age of British gymnastics. She is strong and consistent, showing a nice mix of power and execution.

Competitions: 2012 Junior European Championships, 2012 British Championships, 2012 English Championships, 2011 Gymnix, 2011 British Championships, 2011 Junior France/Great Britain, 2010 Espoir (Hopes)
Notable Achievements: 2012 Junior European third on floor, fifth in all-around, 2012 Junior British Champion, 2012 Junior British Champion on bars, 3rd on vault, 2012 English Champion, 2012 English Champion on vault, beam and floor, 2011 Junior British Champion on beam, 2nd all-around, floor and vault, 2010 Espoir Champion on beam, third on floor
Best event(s): Beam and floor
Worst event(s): Bars
Needs to: Clean up her bars and upgrade across the board.
Weak point: I don't really see one besides some issues on bars.
All-around potential: Yes, she could quite easily go one better than Rebecca Tunney and really challenge the top 4 countries. May have to move gyms to really get her difficulty up to scratch, but she screams potential.
Event final potential: Beam medallist, could qualify to floor
Why the fuss? Major player on beam and floor where she has already beat off strong competition before. A mistake cost her a medal in Euros this year on beam however. With upgrades, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Evgeniya Shelgunova, RUS



Russia arguably have 3 stronger juniors in the works, but Evgeniya is a strong, steady worker who could contribute quite a lot, and not just in team situations.

Competitions:  2012 Junior European Championships, 2011 Jesolo, 2011 Spartakaide, 2011 Top Gym
Notable Achievements: 2012 Junior European Championships, 2nd all-around, 3rd bars. Qualified to 3 event finals. Spartakaide 2011- 5 golds, 2011 Top Gym Champion, 2nd on vault, 2011 EYOF, 3rd on floor
Best event(s): Hmm. Floor and beam
Worst event(s): Bars
Needs to: Clean up her form and execution. She has the consistency and is building on difficulty, but she's a bit sloppy form-wise.
Weak point: Form
All-around potential: Yes, though I do see her being eclipsed not only by current Russian seniors continuing but also by 2014 and 2015 seniors.
Event final potential: Possibly on vault with a second one, and maybe floor finalist.
Why the fuss? Evegeniya is consistent and has decent difficulty. She could well become the workhorse team figure and possibly shine in her own right too.

Stefania Stanila, ROM


Stefania is a welcome addition next year to the much depleted Romanian senior rankings.Not the strongest junior, but a valuable team member.

Competitions: 2012 Junior European Championships, 2012 Cholet, 2012 Jesolo, 2011 Top Gym,
Notable Achievements: Junior European Championships, 2nd on vault, 2012 Cholet Champion, 2011 Top Gym, 3rd on floor
Best events: Floor, vault
Worst event: Bars
Needs to: Work on her consistency and form and get all of her events up to a higher standard.
Weak point: Consistency
All-around potential: Low. She will be outranked by other juniors and continuing seniors.
Event Final potential: Also low. Stefania's greatest asset is being strong in a team situation.
Why the fuss? Arguably Romania's strongest 2013 senior, but will have quite a lot of work to do to keep up with the rest into 2016. Stefania has a lot of potential and should be able to help her team quite a bit.

Elisa Meneghini, ITA



Elisa impressed at Euros this year and shows huge potential. Definitely one of the brightest stars of Italy's future.

Competitions: 2012 Junior European Championships, 2012 Serie A, 2012 Italian Nationals,  2011 Jesolo, 2011 EYOF, 2011 TAM
Notable Achievements: 2012 Junior European Championships, 4th all-around (with a fall), 3rd on beam. Elisa was the only one to qualify to all 4 event finals. 2012 Italian Nationals, 2nd on beam, 3rd all-around
Best events: Beam, floor
Worst event: Vault, purely for lack of difficulty
Needs to: Upgrade across the board, and improve her consistency. She would have medalled in the AA at Euros had she not fallen off beam, and would have done much better in bars finals without the fall there. Needs to work on her toepoint.
Weak point: Slight consistency issue, and toepoint.
All-around potential: Could be a big threat at worlds. No real weak event, and usually very steady.
Event final potential: Has shown herself to be exceptional on pretty much all events. Could continue qualifying to all. Medals possible on beam and maybe bars.
Why the fuss? Such a high place in a strong AA with a fall, and no weak event! Needs more difficulty and better extension, but she really has what it takes and could definitely shake up a few podiums.

Others to watch: Anna Maria Ocalisan (ROU), Roxana Popa (ESP), Angael Romaeo (GBR), Sophie Scheder (GER), Olesya Sazonova (UKR) and Chantysha Netteb (NED), Maddie Desch (USA) and Peyton Ernst (USA).




Saturday, 20 October 2012

1983 Worlds EF in HD and "news"


I thought I'd share this, and it's not too long. I LOVE seeing an old competition in high quality, and this is perfect. Check out Boriana Stoyanova's leotard! I am in love with it. This video contains Natalia Yurchenko (getting injured..), Boriana Stoyanova, Olga Bicherova, Ecaterina Szabo, Lavinia Agache, Maxi Gnauck, Olga Mostepanova and Hana Ricna.

This is of course extra interesting because it is the worlds before the Olympics boycotted by the Soviet bloc. Not only were the Soviet Union not in attendance the following year, but neither were Bulgaria, Eastern Germany and other states who all had fabulous gymnasts. The idea that Mary Lou Retton would have been able to take AA gold had 84 been fully attended is almost laughable. Olga Mostepanova would have swept the board without a shadow of a doubt. Check out the results from the Friendship Games, where she scored 12 perfect 10's. Friendship Games She scored 10's on every event in the all-around. I know, I know- what about overscoring seeing as she was the favoured gymnast of the Soviet team who couldn't compete in the actual Olympics? But I don't think any of them were undeserved, she was absolutely at her exceptional peak at that time. And WHAT a Soviet team, there's no way they wouldn't have taken team gold either. I do find the boycott annoying still, just for the waste of massive talent that were denied their chance. Anyway, back to drooling over her beam. HD is amazing of course, yet it has a tendency to pick up not so obvious flaws from the traditional bad quality of the same routines- like Maxi Gnauck's flexed feet on bars for instance. Vault scores are slightly hilarious too, with 9.9's and 9.95's being handed out for loss of leg form, seriously deep landings and steps. Still, wonderful gymnasts at these worlds.

And yes, there is no real news to speak of. It appears that nobody was added to camp at the National Camp that is just over. Waiting until January when it's a total neccessity. Don't see any good in drawing it out that long but anyway. Kim Bui of Germany has been added to the line-up of the Stuttgart World Cup, which also contains Elizabeth Price, Vanessa Ferrari, Larisa Iordache, Rebecca Tunney and Victoria Moors. Excellent stuff. Still one place left though. The dream is Mai Murakami but I think Anastasia Sidorova is more likely. Elizabeth price will also comepte at the Glasgow World Cup, also in December. I haven't heard anything about the rest of its lineup though. UPDATE: Glasgow roster released here. It is pretty much the same at this stage, not a surprise as they are so close together both in time and in location. The Price V Iordache battle which I assume will take place as long as Iordache is healthy will be very interesting. It's a very strong field otherwise also. I am now finally employed so won't be posting quite so frequently I'd imagine..but it means I can't go to either, and they are so close to me! Damn...

Silvia Zarzu and Stefanie Stanila of Romania both competed at a gala in France yesterday. Stanila turns senior next year, Zarzu in 2014. Both are definitely ones to watch. Zarzu in particular is one of my favourite juniors, I hope she is able to get her bars to an acceptable level because she looks well capable of a good vault and already has stellar beam and floor sets. (My other favourite juniors are Rebeca Andrade, Eythora Thorsdottir, Maria Kharenkova, Madalina Blendea, Bailie Key, Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles, Maria Bondareva, Lu Jiaqi and Angel Romaeo). Here is Silvia's beam, (can't embed it) nothing else up yet. Extremely solid set, she's very comfortable up there. Hopefully she can get more flow to her movements in time, I doubt upgrades would be an issue.
Silvia Zarzu beam

Monday, 15 October 2012

Medals with a fall

You would think, given the furore over McKayla Maroney's vault silver and Mustafina's tying for third (and eventually winning) in the AA, that these gymnasts had somehow cheated and deductions had not been applied properly. Given the open-ended scoring, relying on the gymnast's own difficulty, medals with falls were literally impossible in the old perfect 10 system- despite the deductions for a fall being much less. The current COP has sought to offset this by upping the fall deduction to a full point. It was 0.8 last quad. But there have been several medals with a fall since the new scoring, 2006, and possibly even before then. Certainly there are more than most people think, yet only a few inspire uproar!

2012

McKayla Maroney, Vault Event Final- Silver

McKayla's fall on her second vault took a full point off in the execution score. However, vault is easier than other event finals to bounce back from, because the fall deduction averages to 0.5 when the two vaults are averaged. McKayla had the highest difficulty and there was extremely little to deduct in the second vault except for the fall and lack of height. Interestingly enough, had she landed her amanar in bounds (she received an 0.3 deduction for not doing so)- she would have taken gold. Her medal is testimony to what an excellent vaulter she is, and also how weak the rest of the vault field was. If a girl with a fall and an out of bounds can beat you, then something is wrong. Izbasa's vaults were extremely weak for a gold winner, and Paseka's should have received a boatload of deductions, not least for not being fully around.

Yamilet Pena and Janine Berger both qualified to vault finals with a fall.

Aliya Mustafina, AA- Bronze

This is a bit of an odd one, because she did NOT win bronze with a fall. She tied for bronze with a fall. The medal was determined by her and Raisman's top 3 scores, so the beam of both was dropped. Therefore her beam had nothing to do with how the medal was determined- so it wasn't won with a fall. Nevertheless, Aly had a huge mistake on beam so she couldn't drop her weak bars. So she was left with counting a weak event. Mustafina did not count any weak event, and had 7.0 bars. Not a gigantic surprise there. Only 4 gymnasts were capable of vying for a medal. Mustafina was able to be one of those 4. In what world are Sandra Izbasa, Deng Linlin and Huang Qiushuang top AA-ers?

2011

Yao Jinnan, AA- Bronze

Yes, this one flies well under the radar. Yao fell off beam and would have ended the eternal Komova V Wieber controversy by beating them both had she stayed on. She was still able to score a 13.933 for an excellent beam, which was well able to beat Raisman's disaster of a time on bars where she received a 12.9. This was another fairly weak field, with Ana Porgras dropping well down due to her FTY and Huang Qiushuang once again being a bit of a headcase.

2010

Rebecca Bross, AA- Bronze

Rebecca also fell off beam. She received an extremely high score- 14.1, which was an overscore given the rest of the routine, which was not perfect. However, Huang Qiushuang whow as 4th had a bit of a nightmare on floor so the placement is probably correct. Another win with a fall that is totally blanked.


2009

Rebecca Bross, AA- Silver

Rebecca missed her tuck full in her last pass and put her hands down- which is technically a fall, and received an extremely low 12.875 for it. She had very high difficulty and only lost to Bridget Sloan by half a tenth, in yet another example of a desperately weak field.


2008

Cheng Fei, Vault Event Final- Bronze

This is the other medal with a fall that people remember, not just because of the fall but because she still managed to beat Alicia Sacramone, who vaulted cleanly. The reason behind this was that Cheng Fei had so much more difficulty than Alicia that the fall made very little difference. The difference in difficulty in Cheng's favour is 0.45. The fall (worth 0.8 in this code) averaged to 0.4.Alicia hopped on her landings and great as her form is, Cheng's is second to none. Controversial- but understandable.

Nastia Liukin and He Kexin both qualified into the uneven bars final despite falls in prelims because of their extremely high difficulty.

2007

Jade Barbosa, AA- Bronze (tie)

Jade brought a full-in pike to her knees and touched the floor with her hands, receiving a score of 14.00. Her high difficulty across her events still brought her up higher than 4th and 5th place finishers, Nastia Liukin and Yang Yilin. Her beam and vault really sealed the deal, and the high bars scores of the other 2 were no match.

Vanessa Ferrari, AA- bronze (tie)

Vanessa fell on her Comaneci on bars, literally a few seconds in. Similar to Barbosa, her high difficulty was enough to keep her ahead of Liukin and Yang. 

Li Shanshan, Beam Event Final- Silver (tie, no bronze awarded)

Li's beam was so flawless (fall aside) and so difficult- 0.6 and 0.7 more than the other medal winners, that this result was pretty much a no-brainer. She would have received a monster 16.7 without the fall and would have wiped the floor with Nastia and Steliana easily.

2006

Vanessa Ferrari, AA- Gold

The only gold medal with a fall! Vanessa fell off beam, and still received a generous 14.9 (15.7 without the fall). She exploded onto the scene these championships, and coupled with ehr high difficulty was just about able to steal the scene from Jana Bieger, who also had very high difficulty. Her bars won the day for her, as Jana was weak there. This still does evoke controversy, but Vanessa was still clearly the better gymnast that day. Sandra Izbasa who came third had such a low bars score I thought she had fallen too. But nope, just very sloppy.


So, 10 falls taking medals (or tying for bronze, as the case may be before tiebreakers) since the introduction of the new code. And at least four qualifying into event finals with a fall. Bear in mind this is only covering the major competitions- Worlds and Olympics. Clearly it is more common than what the average fan thinks, yet the majority of the above are not remembered and not talked about! It's a shame to lambast some with falls and ignore the rest. It is possible there are falls with medals in the old perfect 10 code, and I will investigate that- though it is much harder then of course. If anyone knows of any, let me know!

News


It appears that Sabrina Vega has moved to GAGE. She is as of now training at GAGE and although twitter exploded with the news that this is a permanent move etc., there is another train of thought that maybe she is just training there temporarily in preparation for the Kansas City stop of the Kellogg's Tour. We'll see. Sabrina's longtime coach is probably my favourite Romanian ever, Teodora Ungureanu. Sabrina has nice presentation and choreography and is lovely on beam and floor in particular. However, she desperately needs more difficulty if she wants to contend in the elite scene in the new quad, so a gym change is not exactly surprising if that is what has happened.

Stuttgart World Cup roster is out! See here Larisa Iordache, Vanessa Ferrari, Victoria Moors, Elizabeth Price, Elizabeth Seitz and Rebecca Tunney make for an AMAZING floor lineup. Hopefully none of those pull out. Larisa will I'm sure only compete if she is fully healthy and not in pain. The two empty spots will be interesting too I'm sure but Russia have effectively ruled out any of their Olympians competing. Maybe Anastasia Sidorova or Yulia Inshina might be in line for a spot though. I'd like to see representatives from Asia and South America. Mai Murakami and Jessica Gil Ortiz would be my picks. The men's lineup is equally impressive as it stands at the moment. The competition takes place 1-2 December and consists only of all-around, no qualifications. If back to her best and depending on who fills the other two spaces, Larisa should win. If she's still a bit off, then Price should be able to take it.

Diana Chelaru has left the national training centre and returned home to her local club to train. It has been stated that she is unsure of whether or not she wishes to continue. It is sad to see Romania lose talent, or in this case potentially lose it depending on Diana's decision, especially when they are not bursting with top gymnasts. Diana's pet piece is floor, on which she has won world medals as well as team medals in general. Hopefully she makes whatever decision is right for her.

Dityatin Cup results are out. For Juniors, Alexandra Yazydzhan of Russia took first in the AA. Kim Janas of Germany took second and Mariana Oliviera of Brazil was third. Senior AA results don't seem to be available yet. Ekaterina Kramarenko won bars EF with 14.5, Anastasia Cheong of Russia won floor with 13.9, Alina Sotnikova took first on vault with 13.813 and Anna Pavlova won beam with 14.275. Anna also took second on vault with 13.313 and second on floor with 13.725. Those scores are not that high and the competition was not not what you'd call deep, but still a great outing for Anna. Hoping to see videos of her especially. Evgeniya Shelgunova of Russia was second on beam with a 13.75. In the more junior category (2013 seems to count as senior), Kim Janas of Germany was first on floor and second on vault. Alexandra Yazydzhan, the AA champion, was first on bars and beam. Not sure about the senior AA yet as no PDF is opening from that page, but all in all it seems like a bit of a Russian domination.

Danusia Francis, former British gymnast (check out her great beam and floor) and current UCLA 1st year has a (newspaper hosted) blog. The first one is here. It's not very interesting and is just talking about how she came to be there. Future ones discussing training and of course competing will I'm sure be more worthwhile. She is a very sparkly gymnast and is just as exciting as new teammate Peng Peng Lee. 

Not exactly news, but I was waiting for Dityatin Cup results that are still not forthcoming. Brenna Dowell won the Mexican Open, Essenia Estrada of Mexico was second and Anna Dementyeva of Russia was third. Brenna, despite being quite sloppy, convincingly won due to her high difficulty. Her opening pass on floor, a front double pike is awesome. Demy was hampered not only by her scary FTY, but also by a fall on beam. Coming only third is not going to do her case any good for future Euros/possibly Worlds teams any good, unless she vastly ups her difficulty- her bars were lovely, but so weak in difficulty. Alexa Moreno of Mexico performed a piked Deltchev and a double arabian piked! Great stuff. The gala performed after is also available on youtube. Highlights are Anna Dementyeva's charming floor routine, and Daniel Purvis of GB's pommel routine wearing a kilt. Brenna did a sort of ballet class barre routine using the beam, which was puzzling given how unsuited she is to ballet work. Jessica Gil Ortiz and Jorga Giraldo swapped apparatus, competing on the parallel bars and beam respectively. Here is the whole competition in 4 parts: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 And the gala and award ceremony: here.

At the Eva Sanyo Memorial, Team Russia (Anastasia Sidorova, Anastasia Dmitrieva and Maria Kharenkova- senior, junior, junior) took the team title by about 16 points. The other teams were mostly Hungarian. Maria Kharenkova beat Anastasia Sidorova for highest AA total..but Hungarian junior Noemi Makra beat them both! She is going to be an interesting senior. Sidorova took vault and beam in event finals, Dorina Boczogo of Hungary took bars and Maryna Kostivchenko of Ukraine took floor.

McKayla Maroney will be on crutches for another 8 weeks. The boot for her toe will be for another 5 weeks, and the stabiliser for her other leg another few weeks after that. As expected, she is just appearing at the end of the tour shows and waving, and signing autographs. Kyla Ross is headed to camp! Hopefully with some planned upgrades in tow if she wants to compete at SCAM and be seen as an all-around threat next year. Elizabeth Price and Kennedy Baker are also headed, along with the vast majority of juniors. As before, it is expected that some juniors will be named to the National Team. The major suspects for this would be Nica Hults, Nia Dennis, Arianna Guerra, Alexis Buecler, Laurie Hernandez and Polina Schennikova.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Analysis of EF performance by AA medallists

Our reigning Olympic all-around champion, Gabby Douglas, has received a boatload of criticism for not winning any medals in event finals, the first not to do so. This is to look at previous AA medal winners, both World and Olympic, and see what their performances have been. Allowances have to be made for the rising difficulty and the increase in event specialists who have more time to devote to their event, but there are still gymnasts capable of taking the AA and doing extremely well in event finals. It seems that people forget that who they believe is the rightful champion, Viktoria Komova, also tanked in event finals. Personally I think it was astonishing to see Gabby peak at the right time. Anyway, on with the results, in reverse chronological order. Q for qualified in, F for finished in. Qualification results where available (read: easy to find). World Championships where the AA was not contested will be skipped of course. I have picked 1987 World Championships as the start point. This is because they were the first major competition with no boycotting or extremely shady dealings (1985) in a while, had high difficulty and were far enough back to get a good idea. I don't want to go back much further, into the 60's and 70's because difficulty was so much lower then and I think it skews the ability of gymnasts to excel in every event. Team medals are not included. Analysis is at the bottom.

2012. Olympic Games, London.

AA

1. Gabby Douglas, USA.
Q- beam (3rd), bars (6th). F- bars (8th), beam (7th). NO MEDALS
2. Viktoria Komova, RUS.
Q- beam (2nd), bars (3rd). F- bars (5th), beam (8th). NO MEDALS
3. Aliya Mustafina, RUS.
Q- floor (8th), bars (5th). F- bars (1st), floor (3rd). 2 MEDALS

2011 World Championships, Tokyo

AA

1. Jordyn Wieber, USA.
Q- bars (7th), beam (3rd), floor (3rd). F- bars (4th), beam (3rd), floor (6th). 1 MEDAL
2. Viktoria Komova, RUS.
Q- bars (1st), beam (1st). F- bars (1st), beam (8th). 1 MEDAL
3. Yao Jinnan, CHN
Q- beam (4th), floor (4th). F- beam (2nd), floor (4th). 1 MEDAL

2010 World Championships, Rotterdam

AA

1. Aliya Mustafina, RUS
Q- vault (1st), beam (6th), floor (1st), bars (4th). F- vault (2nd), beam (7th), bars (2nd), floor (2nd)  
3 MEDALS
2. Jiang Yuyuan, CHN.
 Did not qualify to any event finals. NO MEDALS
3. Rebecca Bross, USA
Q- bars (7th), beam (2nd). F- bars (3rd), beam (2nd). 2 MEDALS

2009 World Championships, London

AA

1. Bridget Sloan, USA
F- bars (6th) NO MEDALS
2. Rebecca Bross, USA
F- bars (3rd), floor (5th). 1 MEDAL
3. Koko Tsurumi, JPN
F- beam (6th), bars (2nd). 1 MEDAL

2008 Olympics, Beijing

AA

1. Nastia Liukin, USA
 Q- floor (4th), bars (5th), beam (2nd). F- floor (3rd), bars (2nd), beam (2nd). 3 MEDALS
2. Shawn Johnson, USA
 Q- floor (3rd), beam (3rd). F- floor (2nd), beam (1st) 2 MEDALS
3. Yang Yilin, CHN
Q- bars (1st). F- bars (3rd). 1 MEDAL

2007 World Championships, Stuttgart

AA

1. Shawn Johnson, USA
Q- beam (3rd), F- beam (8th), floor (1st) 1 MEDAL
2. Steliana Nistor, ROU
 Q- bars (5th), beam (4th) F- bars (6th),beam (2nd) 1 MEDAL
3. Jade Barbosa, BRA
 F- vault (5th), Q- beam (6th), F- beam (7th) NO MEDALS
3. Vanessa Ferrari, ITA
 Q- bars (6th), F- bars (8th), floor (6th) NO MEDALS

2006 World Championships, Aarhus

AA

1.  Vanessa Ferrari, ITA
 Q- bars (4th), beam (8th), F- bars (3rd), beam (6th), floor (3rd) 2 MEDALS
2. Jana Bieger, USA
 Q- bars (6th, but fell foul of 2 pc. Replaced Memmel, 2nd). F- bars (5th), floor (2nd) 2 MEDALS
3. Sandra Izbasa, ROU
Q- beam (3rd),F- vault (8th), beam (2nd), floor (6th) 1 MEDAL

2005 World Championships, Melbourne

AA

1. Chellsie Memmel, USA
 Q- bars (2nd), beam (7th) F- bars (2nd), beam (2nd) 2 MEDALS
2. Nastia Liukin, USA
 Q- bars (1st), beam (6th) F- bars (1st), beam (1st), floor (2nd) 3 MEDALS
3. Monette Russo, AUS
Q- bars (7th), beam (3rd), F- bars (7th), beam (5th), floor (5th)  NO MEDALS

2004 Olympics, Athens

AA

1. Carly Patterson, USA
 Q- beam (2nd), F- beam (2nd) 1 MEDAL
2. Svetlana Khorkina, RUS
 Q- bars (1st), F- bars (8th) NO MEDALS
3. Zhang Nan, CHN
Q- beam (8th), F- beam (6th) NO MEDALS

2003 World Championships, Anaheim

AA

1. Svetlana Khorkina, RUS
 Did not qualify to any event final NO MEDALS
2. Carly Patterson, USA
 Did not qualify to any event final NO MEDALS
3. Zhang Nan, CHN
Did not qualify to any event final NO MEDALS

(2002- no AA)

2001 World Championships, Ghent

AA

1. Svetlana Khorkina, RUS
 F- vault (1st), bars (1st), floor (3rd) 3 MEDALS
2. Natalia Ziganchina, RUS
 NO MEDALS
3. Andreea Raducan, ROU
F- vault (3rd), floor (1st), beam (1st) 3 MEDALS

2000 Olympics Games, Sydney (adding in Raducan as 1st, using Olaru and Xuan in their final placements)

AA

1. Andreea Raducan, ROU
 Q- vault (2nd), floor (3rd), F- floor (6th), vault (2nd) 1 MEDAL
1. Simona Amanar, ROU
 Q- vault (4th), floor (1st), F- floor (3rd), vault (6th) 1 MEDAL
2. Maria Olaru, ROU
 Q- beam (1st), F- beam (6th) NO MEDALS
3. Liu Xuan, CHN
Q- beam (7th), F- beam (1st) 1 MEDAL

1999 World Championships, Tianjin

AA

1. Maria Olaru, ROU
 F- vault (3rd) 1 MEDAL
2. Viktoria Karpenko, UKR
NO MEDALS
3. Elena Zamolodchikova, RUS
F- vault (1st) 1 MEDAL


1997 World Championships, Lausanne

AA

1. Svetlana Khorkina, RUS
 F- bars (1st), floor (1st), beam (1st) 3 MEDALS
2. Simona Amanar, ROU
 F- vault (1st) 1 MEDAL
3. Elena Produnova, RUS
F- floor (3rd) 1 MEDAL

1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta

AA

1. Lilia Podkopayeva, UKR
 Q- bars (2nd), beam (3rd), floor (2nd), F- bars (5th), beam (2nd), floor (1st) 2 MEDALS
2. Gina Gogean, ROU
 Q- vault (3rd), beam (7th), floor (6th), F- vault (2nd), beam (3rd), floor (7th) 2 MEDALS
3. Simona Amanar, ROU
 Q- vault (1st), bars (1st), floor (3rd), F- vault (1st), bars (5th), floor (2nd) 2 MEDALS
3. Lavinia Milosovici, ROU
Q- bars (7th), beam (7th but replaced by Marinescu for final) F- bars (8th) NO MEDALS

1995 World Championships, Sabae

AA

1. Lilia Podkopayeva, UKR
 F- vault (1st), bars (2nd), beam (2nd), floor (7th) 3 MEDALS
2. Svetlana Khorkina, RUS
F- vault (5th), bars (1st) 1 MEDAL
3. Lavinia Milosovici, ROU
 F- bars (5th) NO MEDALS

1994 World Championships, Brisbane

AA

1. Shannon Miller, USA
 F- beam (1st) 1 MEDAL
2. Lavinia Milosovici, ROU
 F- vault (3rd), floor (2nd) 1 MEDAL
3. Dina Kotchetkova, RUS
F- bars (3rd), floor (1st) 2 MEDALS

1993 World Championships, Birmingham

AA

1. Shannon Miller, USA
 F- bars (1st), floor (1st) 2 MEDALS
2. Gina Gogean, ROU
 F- vault (4th), beam (3rd), floor (2nd) 2 MEDALS
3. Tatiana Lysenko, UKR
NO MEDALS

1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona

AA

1. Tatiana Gutsu, EUN
 Q- bars (1st), floor (5th),F- bars (2nd), floor (3rd) 2 MEDALS
2. Shannon Miller, USA
 Q- vault (1st), bars (3rd), beam (3rd), floor (8th, below 3 ties) F- vault (6th), bars (3rd), beam (2nd), floor (3rd) 3 MEDALS
3. Lavinia Milosovici, ROU
Q- vault (4th), bars (3rd), beam (8th), floor (3rd), F- vault (1st), bars (3rd), beam (8th), floor (1st)
3 MEDALS

1991 World Championships, Indianapolis

AA

1. Kim Zmeskal, USA
 F- floor (3rd) 1 MEDAL
2. Svetlana Boginskaya, URS
 F- beam (1st) 1 MEDAL
3. Cristina Bontas, ROU
F- floor (1st) 1 MEDAL

1989 World Championships, Stuttgart

AA

1. Svetlana Boginskaya, URS
 F- floor (1st) 1 MEDAL
2. Natalia Laschenova, URS
 NO MEDALS
3. Olga Strazheva, URS
F- bars (3rd) 1 MEDAL

1988 Olympic Games, Seoul

AA

1. Elena Shushunova, URS
 F- vault (8th), bars (3rd), beam (2nd), floor (7th) 2 MEDALS
2. Daniela Silivas, ROM
 F- vault (3rd), bars (1st), beam (1st), floor (1st) 4 MEDALS
3. Svetlana Boginskaya, URS
F- vault (1st), bars (5th), beam (5th), floor (2nd) 2 MEDALS

1987 World Championships, Rotterdam

AA

1. Aurelia Dobre, ROU
 F- vault (3rd), beam (1st), floor (3rd) 3 MEDALS
2. Elena Shushunova, URS
F- vault (1st), bars (3rd), beam (2nd), floor (1st) 4 MEDALS
3. Daniela Silivas, ROU
F- bars (1st), floor (1st) 2 MEDALS

ANALYSIS

  • There are 24 All-around Champions between 1987 and 2012 inclusive.
  • Of these, Gabby Douglas IS the first Olympic champion not to medal in EF.
  • 2 World Champions have also managed this feat- Bridget Sloan (2009) and Svetlana Khorkina. (2003)
  • Of the other 16 Olympic AA medallists, 5 failed to medal in EF. These are Viktoria Komova, (2012) Svetlana Khorkina, (2004) Zhang Nan, (2004) Maria Olaru (2000) and Lavinia Milosovici. (1996)
  • Of the other 33 World AA medallists, 11 failed to medal in EF. These are Jiang Yuyuan (2010), Jade Barbosa, (2007), Vanessa Ferrari (2007), Monette Russo (2005), Carly Patterson (2003), Zhang Nan (2003), Natalia Ziganchina (2001), Viktoria Karpenko (1999), Lavinia Milosovici (1995), Tatiana Lysenko (1993) and Natalia Laschenova (1989).
  • 4% of Olympic Champions, or 1/24 failed to medal in EF.
  • 12.5% of World Champions, or 2/16 failed to medal in EF.
  • 31.25% of Olympic bronze and silver AA medallists, or 5/16 failed to medal in EF.
  • 33.333% of World bronze and silver AA medallists, or 11/33 (1/3) failed to medal in EF.
  • Of these, 4 medal EF failures took place in the 2009-2012 quad.
  • 3 in the 2005-2008 quad.
  • 6 in the 2001-2004 quad.
  • 2 in the 1997-2000 quad.
  • 3 in the 1993-1996 quad.
  • 1 in the 1989-1992 quad.
  • 31% of all medal EF failures took place in the 2001-2004 quad.
  • The worst competition was the 2003 World Championships where all AA medallists failed to medal in EF.
  • The second worst was the 2004 Olympic Games where only one medal was managed, by Carly Patterson.
  • The best competition was the 1987 World Championships with 9 medals.
  • The second best are the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games with 8 medals.
  • 13 EF medals were won by AA medallists in the 1989-1992 quad.
  • 18 in the 1993-1996 quad.
  • 10 in the 1997-2000 quad
  • 7 in the 2001-2004 quad
  • 18 in the 2005-2008 quad
  • 12 in the 2009-2012 quad
  • Of the 12 EF medals in the 2009-2012 quad won by AA medallists, 5 or 41.6% were won by Aliya Mustafina, in 2 competitions.
  • Of the 18 EF medals in the 2005-2008 quad won by AA medallists, 6 or 33.333% (1/3) were won by Nastia Liukin, in 2 competitions.
  • Of the 7 EF medals in the 2001-2004 quad won by AA medallists, 3 each or 42.86% were won by Svetlana Khorkina and Andrea Raducan in 1 competition each. Together they won 86% of all medals available.
  • Of the 10 EF medals in the 1997-2000 quad won by AA medallists, 3 or 30% were won by Svetlana Khorkina in 1 competition.
  • Of the 18 EF medals in the 1993-1996 quad won by AA medallists, 5 or 27.8% were won by Lilia Podkopayeva and 4 or 22.3% by Gina Gogean in 2 competitions each. Together they won half of all medals available, or 50%.
  • Of the 13 EF medals in the 1989-1992 quad won by AA medallists, 3 or 23% were won by Shannon Miller.
  • * NOTE: Some of the above won more EF medals in their quad, but medals they won when they didn't place in that AA are NOT counted*
  • The highest total of EF medals by any AA medallist is 7, the feat of Svetlana Khorkina.
  • Nastia Liukin, Daniela Silivas and Elena Shushunova all managed 6.

Clearly, gymnastics is still able to produce excellent all-arounders who are able to collect plenty of event final medals, despite the rise of event specialists which the likes of Silivas, Miller and co. did not have to contend with. Aliya Mustafina and Nastia Liukin prove this point, especially as Mustafina is still active. Gabby Douglas is quite clearly not alone in failing to garner an EF medal, and of course, may yet do so in the future. The poor record of the 2001-2004 quad is a sight to behold, and confirms how weak a period that was. It's reassuring to see that all is not lost and that we are and will continue to gymnasts sweeping medal tables.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Skills: The Best of. Part 1: Floor Tumbles

As it says in the title. Some of these are more subjective than others, but a few cannot be argued with at all.

Best Double Arabian

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Anna Myzdrikova, Russia, 2009 Worlds EF

She stumbled on her third pass and handed her title away, but her other 3 passes were fantastic- one of which is a triple twist tuck back, perfectly done. THIS is amazing, legs glued together and knees at the same height (almost..she does correct it) is incredibly rare. Not to mention how light it is and how she plants the landing beautifully. Stunning. Others with great double arabians are Inna Sckarupa, Alicia Sacramone and Liubov Sheremeta.

Best Double Front

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 Ivana Hong, USA, 2008 Visa Nationals 

This was the easiest, because nobody's compares to this really. Mariya Livchikova came close, but this skill is famous for cowboying and basically everyone else is an offender. Glorious- knees together, feet pointed, light landing.

Best Double Piked Arabian (Dos Santos I)
 

Photobucket

Chellsie Memmel, USA, 2008 Olympic Trials

This was really hard. Although it's one of the most difficult tumbles, there are still quite a few to choose from. The majority are quite crooked in the air. Chellsie's is also, but she corrects it and as well as being one of the straightest she also has great form in the air and sticks the landing. Most take a hop forward, or if they do stick it, it's ugly. Also, quite a lot land it dangerously low. Others in consideration were Sarah Finnegan and Alicia Sacramone.

Best Triple Full

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 Cheng Fei, CHN, 2004 Olympics TF

You would think it would be easy to pinpoint people who have a perfect one, and find examples on youtube. It isn't. So many beautifu floor workers with clean tumbling- Pavlova, Komova, Yao, Ukrainians en masse and many others all failed me. You think it's fine until you see it in better quality or on the replay. But Cheng throws out a perfect one, with zero crossing of the ankles. So high, clean and tidy with super perfect form.The only other that came close was Mattie Larson.

Best Double Double (Silivas)

Photobucket  

Mai Murakami, JPN, 2010 All Japan Gymnastics Championships

It can be tough to pick out the 'best' because not many have actually done it badly or had a rough landing. (Excusing the 80's originators on their unsuitable floor) It seems to be quite easy to keep form on, but some have better, cleaner tuck positions than others. Mai brings a lightness and grace to such a difficult power move. And what a landing! Others considered for this were Cheng Fei, Larisa Iordache and Jordyn Wieber.

Best Double Layout

Photobucket

Lavinia Milosovici, ROM, 1994 Worlds EF

This is probably the most subjective of all. Countless times I went back and watched noted elegant tumblers with lovely floaty DLO's only to see leg seperations, a lot of piked positions in the second layout, bent knees, sickling of feet, totally flexed feet...urghh. To me, this is about as textbook as it gets. Beautiful. Others who came close were Mary Lou Retton, Mattie Larson and Cristina Bontas.

Part 2 will be a mixture of bars releases, bar and beam dismounts and leaps.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

News

Brenna Dowell leads the Mexican Cup after Day 1. The competition is being split over two days, vault and bars were contested, beam and floor is next. Anna Dementyeva is in fourth place, knocked down after a very scary yurchenko full which she barely got around after no block. Dowell had a DTY, the only one of the competition. Although she is a GAGE girl, Dowell's form is pretty sloppy. Nevertheless, her difficulty puts her ahead- her bars contained shaposh 1/2, Jaeger and a full twisting double layout dismount. Demy is usually excellent on beam, but doubtful that it will be enough for gold at this point. Dowell is strong on floor and will be looking to get a double front piked credited. It was apparently downgraded to tucked position before, which as a deduction as she already has one of them. If you're that good at front tumbling, do Podkopayeva's double front half out in place of the tuck and save the penalty! Georgia Rose Brown of Australia is in third and Yessenia Estrada of Mexico is in second, delighting the home crowd. Tomorrow will be a strong day for Brenna Dowell and Marta Pihan-Kulesza who would be able to work her way up the rankings. Nobody's sure what Demy can or will bring on vault and beam, hopefully enough to medal. Videos are available, I will be putting up highlights in a new post along with Dityayin Cup videos, if they become available.

Amanda Reddin is the new head coach for Team GB. Amanda is the long-term coach of Beth Tweddle, as well as Hannah Whelan and Jenni Pinches. It is very obvious from seeing how she interacts with her gymnasts and looking at Beth's longevity and continued extremely high level of performance that she is a fantastic coach. Former head coach Adrain Stan is moving on to high level coach development. Bring on the continued beautiful gymnastics of Rebecca Tunney and the new era of wunderkinds Gabby Jupp and Angel Romaeo!

Amelia Racea of Romania has retired. Amelia most notably had success in 2010 Europeans, where she won beam. She qualified to 2011 worlds event finals on that event, but was hindered by low difficulty. Nevertheless, she had lovely gymnastics and would make a nice addition to Euros teams. Amelia is just not feeling gymnastics anymore and has gone to university, so fair enough. This year has seen the retirement also of Ana Porgras and Gabriela Dragoi.

McKayla Maroney has rejoined the Kelloggs tour. McKayla was still in two casts last week, so I highly doubt she has been medically cleared to do any actual gymnastics. She will of course need to spend a lot of time getting back into peak condition anyway after resting for so long.

Along with the Mexican Cup which will be streamed live here, the Dityatin Cup in Russia is attracting some interesting faces. Anna Pavlova, Ekaterina Kramarenko and Evgeniya Shelgunova are the major Russians competing. Anna has quite low difficulty now and seems to train more recreationally but still gets decent vault scores which shove her up the rankings. Ekaterina is she of the infamous vault touch-automatic zero from 2007 Worlds. Not sure what shape she's in, but I'd say her floor is still worth watching. Evgeniya is a 2013 senior, and is quite promising though probably not the best Russia will have in its arsenal leading into Rio. From Ukraine, Darya Kloptsova, a junior with a lovely elegant floor is competing. Kim Janas, a German junior is also very exciting and elegant. Hope to see videos from this. I'll put some up of both comps if they become available.

China's roster for the Asian Championships has been announced. It's quite the break from the usual faces, but should be very interesting. It is composed of the girls who excelled at the recent Nationals. Zeng Siqi, Li Yiting, Huang Huidan, Shang Chungsong, Wu Liufang and Luo Peiru.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

America's new wunderkinds

Not content with the huge talent moving up through the ranks in time for Rio, attention is begining to hone in on those who are too young for it. Jordan Chiles who is 11 will barely miss Rio. She has quite an incredible arsenal of skills in training which you can see here. These include a front triple twist-layout front which is my favourite and which I will embed because it's awesome, a double layout, 3.5 twist, double arabian, DTY, double layout bars dismount and a triple twist beam dismount (currently competing a fabulous 2.5). She has nice lines and hopefully will be able to achieve better extension and form. Twisting appears to be her strong point..and tumbling in general too. Weak points I would say handstands on bars and leg form on LOSO's on beam, but hey, she's 11. Seeing as she is not a senior until 2017, I hope she is preserved very well and doesn't burn out, because similar to Shallon Olsen of Canada who is a 2016 senior, her skill level is already extremely high.





Irina Alexeeva is being hailed as the second coming of Nastia Liukin. Interesting fact, Irina and her family moved from Russia to America to follow Dina Kamalova- the coach who abandoned Aliya Mustafina for WOGA. She is just 8 and is a Level 9. Looks to have a gorgeous floor routine in her, very balletic. Hopefully she can keep her Russian style..BUT..Irina has expressed the wish to compete for Russia, not USA. However, the longer she stays at WOGA the more unsuited she would be to the training style of Round Lake, and she may of course wish to compete for USA in time. She will just about be elegible for 2020. Her only bars on youtube are level 7 unfortunately but she looks like the type to be strong on beam and bars, maybe strong on floor, and weak on vault. Probably too early to tell at her age.


News

Rebeca Andrade has won the all-around at the South American Junior Championships. A great pity we won't see Rebeca in a much stronger field like Euros, but hopefully other competitions like Pan-Ams will see her square off against stronger competition. Her score was 54.8 Her highest score was 14.5 on vault, a DTY, and her lowest was 12.633 on bars, her nemesis. She does not do much on bars but she has a Comaneci salto..hopefully they can be improved over the next few years. Beam and floor are good events for her too. Brazil won the team competition also. Rebeca is elegible for the 2014 YOG and is lucky to be turning senior for a home games, as serious money is being poured into the gymnastics programme of which she is recognised as the shining star.

Kristina Goryunova of Russia who was suspended from international competition and therefore missed the Olympics due to a positive doping test- has won bars, beam and floor at a local competition called SDUSHOR. Kristina herself has said her difficulty is not high enough for international competitions, but she is thought to be quite useful at the moment as Russia are not bursting with talent. Hopefully we will see her again, even at Euros.

Lexie Priessman has committed to Georgia. Fear not, she will be competing as a senior elite beginning next year. 2016 would be her startdate really, and longer if she wants to hold out. I have limited knowledge of NCAA but there seems to be a lot of dissapointment that it's not UCLA. Georgia I know have been on a slump since the glory days of Courtney's Kupets and McCool but maybe Lexie and fellow recruits can drag it back into the top 6. It is up to her what university suits her best, location, and which gymnastics programme so I think her choice should be respected.

Rachael (whatshouldgymfanscallme.tumblr.com) has uploaded a history and background to Alexandrov's dismissal. It begins with a brief background of him, goes through his recall after the disaster of 2008 and ends up with post-dismissal. Rachael understands Russian so her insight is very valuable. This is extremely well written and don't be put off by the gifs, they add to it! I will add these articles are not suitable to be read on phones because of the amount of gifs. MUST READ.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Anna Li has a double twisting double layout dismount. Invented by Elise Ray, it's one of the hardest dismounts and is extremely rare. Shawn Johnson also did it. Anna would be the biggest contender the USA have to take the bars title at worlds, especially if she actually does have a Kovacs up her sleeve by then as well. Sadly it does not seem like Marta would give her an international assignment like that again. Here it is though:

Also here's a hilarious video of the girls on tour learning shuffling. Mostly hysterical because Nastia seems so bewildered by the whole thing, or else just in awe of Anna, at the front. Rebecca Bross is on the right of Nastia, pretty sure that's Jordyn behind at the back right and Julie Zetlin is behind Anna to the left.
 In other tour news, Gabby has committed to the whole thing and it looks like Kyla has already left as she is tweeting about high school a lot. McKayla did go to Oklahoma with Kyla for the tour stop that was filmed (Oct 14th air date) but seeing as she was in two casts, I doubt she did anything other than wave or something. We'll see. (Or see when it goes up on youtube in its entiriety, as the case may be). Sabrina Vega is expected to join the tour for its east coast stops. It is currently in Texas.

A high-quality version of Yelena Produnova's famous 1999 Universiade double front vault has been uploaded. In this one you can even make out how unimpressed the woman beside the vault is and the amount of chalk on Produnova's legs. No less an amazing feat than it ever was- but I did not realise until the dead-on replay how cowboyed it is. Nothing says 'never let anyone try this vault again' more than how even Prod had to speed up her rotation that much to land it at all.




Saturday, 6 October 2012

Determining a top 10 list

Just stemming from a post on IG which annoyed me a bit. This idea that you must include certain gymnasts in a top 10 list is bizarre. Caslavska, Latynina, Korbut, Comaneci, Silivas, Boginskaya, Khorkina, Podkopayeva, Miller and Shushunova should be included, apparently. You should only consider those who had a long career and who medalled in AA's. Sorry, no.

By its own criteria, this list is missing Gina Gogean, Lavinia Milosovici and Simona Amanar. Gogean in particular very rarely features in top 10 lists despite having a huge cabinet of medals. Why? Because her gymnastics was boring and safe and does not excite watchers. So why should it be the only ciriteria for someone's personal opinion?

I don't emphasise longevity or medals. To me, an all-time great should be either a true all-arounder who broke the mould, a great innovator or someone who shone brilliantly for a short space of time. Some of the best routines ever have been done by gymnasts dogged by inconsistency. It does not lower the performance for me. Medals are not everything, as the case of Gogean proves. Lilia Podkopayeva shone for only a year, suffering badly with inconsistency before then. Mo Huilan and Viktoria Karpenko had stellar performances on all four apparatus, but could never get it all together when it mattered. Aleftina Priakhina was lost in an insanely deep field, yet was the greatest innovator of all. Nastia Liukin picked up a host of medals in Beijing yet remains one of the weakest AA winners ever, due to her insanely strong apparatus making up for not one but two weak routines compared to the rest of the field.

Here is my top 10 of all time.

1. Tatiana Groshkova
2. Aleftina Priakhina
3. Elena Mukhina
4. Lilia Podkopayeva
5. Mo Huilan
6. Viktoria Karpenko
7. Daniela Silivas
8. Olessia Dudnik
9. Teodora Ungureanu
10. McKayla Maroney

The hardest spot to pick is tenth. I have issues with Maroney as a gymnast but when watching her ready to start a routine I am far more excited than I am for the ones vying for the tenth position. So she wins out...barely. All of these are picked because they are exciting and impressive gymnasts to watch. Elegance, power, innovation, perfection of form and difficulty are all here. With a modest 35 individual World and Olympic medals between them.

Who are YOUR top 10? 

Friday, 5 October 2012

2011 Balance Beam Final

I don't think I've ever seen such a 'beauty and the beast' lineup. Power- Ponor, Raisman, Wieber VS artistry Komova, Yao, Sui. Fascinating to see all of the different styles that will be on display. Komova has the burning desire of revenge, Wieber and Raisman are at a peak level and coming off team victory AND Wieber the AA victory. Sui Lu of course can never be counted out. The 2004 beam champion Catalina Ponor is in the mix, along with surprise AA bronze winner, newcomer Yao Jinnan. Exciting stuff AND I have BBC coverage for this.

They do a run through of the Wieber VS Komova rivalry all week which is well done..except for spelling Wieber wrong. Unforgiveable when they've been looking at her all week. Something about this arena seems quite dull and bleak, maybe just the colours they're using.

Catalina Ponor Switch side leap, wobbles slightly. Round off-layout, great height but another small wobble. Beautiful Onodi right into another acro line, steady. Serious speed in her hand movements. Another wobble on an aerial, brings her leg up. Sticks her full in dismount but very low. A very good routine for a comeback but too much hesitation. Gross leotard, her favourite black that she wears so well with sparkles only there's two nauseating maroon panels fighting with each other on the front that totally ruin it. 14.241 Very low even with her errors, but the reasoning is her very low difficulty, 5.7

Yao Jinnan Starts with a standing full twist, nicely done. Foot comes off when she lands but not too far and she easily gets it back on. Perfect acro line- BHS-RO-LO. Great precision. Nice leaps. If that aerial was supposed to be connected to that sheep jump there was way too much of a pause in between. Nice front somersault. Great spin and Yang Bo. Just the dismount left..double pike with a step back. Great routine, pity about the missed connection. Red leotard with some yellow swirls on the bodice. It's eh fine. 15.233

Aly Raisman Nice acro line straight off the bat, pounds the beam. Really crappy split leap with turn, does not hit 180. Pike front into a LOSO, slightly choppy form. Another not great leap but it probably achieved split. Looks like she's too afraid to really go for it on leaps. Into a pike front but as Christine says, 'she didn't make any attempt to join them'. Tiny wobble on her aerial. She is always perfect on her tuck and pike fronts though. Another tiny wobble on her turn. Aly can be much steadier and precise than this, dissapointing from her. Great double arabian dismount, tiny hop back but really well done. I'm conflicted about this leo. Red body which suits her so well, then dark blue sleeves with sparkles..but it's not the full sleeve, it stats from her neck and skips the shoulder. It's weird. 15.055

Viktoria Komova Nice roll onto the beam in straddle position- anything is better than just sitting on it as a mount. Lovely tuck front. Here comes the 1992 acro line- BHS-LOSO-LOSO! Great stuff, no hesitation. So floaty. Standing arabian, foot comes off but just like Yao gets it back on, no damage done. Nice L turn into walkover and she has a true connection to her sheep jump, but foot comes off again. Side somi, one of the most elegant ever done but wobbles slightly. Double spin and comes off. Ughhh. She could have fought for that at least somewhat..didn't seem bothered. The forerunner of things to come, that giving up. Nice double tuck but takes a step back. Just looks underpar and performs like it too, coming off injury. Nice dark blue leotard with some white, elegant but a bit dull. Loses some of her difficulty score too- 13.766

Yulia Inshina  Nice mount, press to handstand into a roll. Great split leap into a tuck back. Tiny hesitation but doesn't wobble. Sheep jump but her legs are too seperated on it, not pretty. Good leap combination, no hesitation here. Okay that was a really nice side somi. (?? side somi? nice?). Fabulous L turn. Steady in the free cartwheel. Good Yang Bo, only brings her head back for the smallest fraction of a second. Very nice routine, but doesn't have the difficulty needed either. Wearing the same leotard as Komova, but it suits Yulia better. 14.525

Jordyn Wieber She is so 'on'. Straddle mount, yawn. Nice free walkover, straight into one-handed BHS and LOSO. Very steady. Extremely effortless hitting her splits in her leaps, great pike front. Side somi, fine. Very slight wobble on her straddle jump, but she is working very well. Standing full twist into back walkover, tiny hesitation on the landing. This is just packed with acro and I don't see why it was changed for the worse. Ughh. Ha I can hear McKayla going nuts in the stand. Great 2 and a half twist dismount, just a slight hop. Super stuff from Jordyn, much more attack than Yao and Komova but no less dynamic and exciting. Wearing the berry pink 'tie' leotard, suits her. 15.133

Sui Lu Komova's fall is her opportunity as the second highest qualifier. Great pike front into Korbut. Tucked barani, wobbles slightly on landing. This is amazing stuff, acro line with a back walkover into tuck back. Turn into turn combination. Love it. Side somi, solid. Wolf jump into split leap, no problems there either. Great sheep jump. Another split leap variation into tuck back, tiny pause in between. Double pike, sticks it! WHAT a routine. 15.866 WOW

Amelia Racea Ooo a full twist in acro line, lovely! Wobbles and leans to the side but controls it well. Great split leap with turn, very effortless. Great straddle leap, they're rare. Free cartwheel into a side somi. Windmills her arms and her fellow Romanians shriek so loudly you'd imagine she'd jump off in fright but she's fine now. Lovely 2 and a half twisting dismount, takes a step. Lovely routine but too weak in difficulty. I seriously love this leotard, lilac body with white structuring stripes. It's beautiful. 14.533

1. Sui Lu
2. Yao Jinnan
3. Jordyn Wieber

Interesting competition. Amelia Racea and Yulia Inshina had the best composed and most elegant and fluid routines, a shame they didn't have higher difficulty. Aly should have been able to beat Jordyn but just wasn't solid and 'on' enough. Komova was recovering from injury here, but nevertheless showed how she does not fight for landings. Glorious routines from Yao and Sui and a good comeback from Catalina Ponor. Such difference between the routines!


I am pretty much done with old competitions. Sadly there is still not enough to talk about otherwise though.









Thursday, 4 October 2012

1992 Olympics AA- "live blog"

The most controversial AA of all- and there are many. Notoriously, Roza Galieva who qualified after Tatiana Gutsu fell off beam was substituted for the latter. It's impossible to blame Tatiana as so many are stupidly doing, she had about as much say as Roza- ie. none. I would not wholly blame Alexandrov either, who made the substitution. If you're under immense pressure to bring home the medals in the last hurrah for Soviet gymnastics, it stands to reason that things like this would happen. It is the Soviet system of creating that pressure which is at fault. Anyway, this is also the all-around in which reigning world champion Kim Zmeskal, a Karolyi protege was also supposed to shine. The Boginskaya V Zmeskal battle was intended to be supplemented by Cristina Bontas of Romania and Tatiana Gutsu of Unified Team. But that's not what happened at all!

The fluff at the beginning corresponds to this. It doesn't start at the very beginning so I can't be sure if it actually ignores Shannon Miller, Tatiana Lysenko and Lavinia Milosovici. There's someone at the start- could be Milo- but the quality is so bad I can't tell. '..of a magic night, when little girl's dreams can come true'. Puke.

- At the arena. Ooo Elfi mentions Shannon. Still seems an afterthought though. Ah a report from the floor now! I love this, they talk about Shannon's liking for powder and her subsequent nickname as the 'Porcelain queen' before mentioning the health of Gutsu and Galieva. And now a reminder that this is the first time 'New Life' is being used, whereby prelims scores did not carry over. Personally I think this was a mistake.

Rotation One

Miller BARS It's always a bit of a shock to see height and weight displayed. Really light work here, nice hop full into geinger, looks like a bit of leg seperation. That is one seriously flat Tkachev, you'd imagine she should be able to soar well above the bar. Sticks her dismount, lovely. Classic white leotard which makes her look an elegant pixie. 9.925

Zmeskal FLOOR I have such a fondness for the perfection of the music to her three whips. Can we not watch a routine instead of waiting for Kim to step up on floor for forever? Here we go. Nice piked full in. Cringeworthy cute choreography that does not suit her in the slightest. Here it comes, three whips into double tuck. Ahhh such a great pass to the music. More idiotic prancing. Jesus the Karolyi's are literally the worst choreographers ever. Look at Shannon's height of elegance routines. Then look at Moceanu's and Zmeskal's. Then back to Gabriela Gheorghiu and Emilia Eberle's, which they are also responsible for. GROSSNESS. Great sky-high double tuck, Dos Santos style but just like Dos Santos it's too high to control and she bounces right out of bounds. A sad ending to only the start of her competition. And wow I have a lot of hatred for that turn at the end with her arse in the air.  Interesting that had she thrown the full-in instead as she was capable of doing she probably would have landed perfectly. Ugh I do NOT like replays of parents devastated for their children in these situations. First mention of Betty Okino! And only because Bela has to ditch Kim and go over to her. Another white leo, good choice 9.775

Bontas BARS Fairly boring stuff. Another super-flat Tkachev but I would imagine that only Dawes actually had notable amplitude on her releases this whole games. We'll see. SUPER dramatic music starts up right before she goes into what looks like quite a messy geinger, classic. Double tuck dismount. Yes this is dull, with an error. I wonder how expensive it will be. Quick! back to Kim's misery! More zooming, trying to catch a tear in her eye I suppose. Yes I think I can determine the flecks in her irises. I wonder if this is Hollie Vise's favourite cameraman? Back to Bontas. Standard Romanian leo, I like how they break out some originality in AA competitions these days. This is larely white with some blue and red. Suits her well. 9.862  

Gutsu BARS Nice form. She look taller than everyone else and she's only 4'8. Looks like a fawn or something. Lovely geinger. And a Tkachev which wouldn't win any amplitude prizes but is probably better than the other two seen so far. Very floaty on bars, nice handstands and a great stuck double layout. Jagged white and black leo, goes well with the fawn look. I would give Gutsu the G V M victory on bars. So would the judges, 9.950

More Kim Zmeskal doing absolutely nothing. They weren't able to show her during Gutsu's bars, a whole 90 seconds away from misery.

Boginskaya FLOOR Looking menacing with the heavy makeup. Shoots an excellent baleful look at the camera. Is this the guitar routine? I hope not. And a seriously low full in tuck, head on knees style. Nice leap series. Combination pass which looks very weak in difficulty but nicely done with her elegant long lines. Lol part of her music sounds really similar to a Metallica solo bit. Double tuck with a slight hop. Elegant routine with very weak tumbling. One of my least favourite leos ever, a nasty shade of green and it looks like either a baby puked on her shoulders or she stood out in the snow. Bleurgh. 9.912 and lucky to get it.

Okino BEAM Gorgeous press to handstand mount. Great floaty BHS-LOSO-LOSO. Quality isn't really enough to scrutinise her form on it but it did seem really nicely done. Glorious double spin. Oooo a planche! This is fabulous. Double pike, quite low with a slight adjustment but apparently she almost missed her foot on the beam so great job in landing at all. Replay shows her dismount is in between a tuck and pike. The hell is that? White velvety looking leotard, great on her. 9.850 and considering this was pretty much perfect besides the step, is too low. Worth a 9.9.

More fluff! Boginskaya, Miller (!!), Bontas and Zmeskal. Nadia namecheck count: At LEAST 7

End of rotation standings: Gutsu tied with Gogean. Miller third.

Rotation Two


Onodi FLOOR Great, I love her. Whip into full in pike, sooo clean. Working well to her nice elegant music. I am bad at counting twists- looks like a beautiful triple? And then a double full into punchfront. Amazing. Lovely low to floor choreography. Unusual spin, looks beautiful. And a full in pike to end, stuck. WHAT a routine. Nice enough leo with a much needed bit of colour, white with a cutaway blue bodice with a pattern on it. Give her a 9.95. No of course not 9.912 Underscored.

Gutsu BEAM Let's start of course with a flashback to her falling off beam on her mount in team optionals. Gearing up for constant CONSTANT replays of Asac's exact same mistake 16 years later. Flic-flac mount, sways slightly on landing. Standing full twist! Dead on, but she's quite low. It sounds like clanking metal on that beam. How is it that loud when she's only 5 stone?? Extremely floaty acro line, same as Okino's. Nice tic-toc and Rulfova. BHS-LOSO-RO- full in. Wow, lot of energy left for all that but the landing is really low. Stuck though. This would have a high enough start value today but seeing as the code then did not really award it, her score should reflect the errors made, a 9.912 is appropriate. YES it's a 9.912 Thank you for not inflating it.

Bontas BEAM Why does every Romanian have the exact same style as Nadia? Shut up John. Nadia would have choked at that bar routine- in fact, hers was more difficult. Flic-flac mount, well done. BHS-RO. That is one totally shocking jump if it was supposed to be split position. Very steady. Nice BHS-LOSO-LOSO, rock solid but looks like flexed feet. Very nice low to beam. Double tuck dismount with a bit of a kick-out step on landing. She's out after that and her bars. Looks like a 9.850 but it's so blurry.

Boginskaya VAULT Her second vault. FTY which was the prescribed vault of these games. (Not literally). Great view of the puke shoulders on her run. Textbook vault, seriously great. Maybe not as beautifl and flighty as one of the later vaults coming up, but wonderful stuff. 9.962 

Yang FLOOR Her beam better be shown. Dramatic drums piece, interesting. Nice full in pike. Lol now it's the music from a chase scene in a Western. GORGEOUS leap from the queen of leaps. 1 and a half into a 1 and a half, super clean but weak difficulty. Nice spin and low to floor but she looks a bit lost and unsure of herself. Double tuck, quite low. Dance did get better. Lysenko just walked by her, show me her! 9.837

Lysenko FLOOR Yes, finally! Even though this will be heartbreaking. Another dramatic drum beginning. Absolutely beautiful double layout which she almost brings to her knees and it puzzles me everytime- a mental break? It just should not have happened because she had the height neccessary to land it. Looks painful too. Decent dance, love her spin into back walkover..Groshkova did that too. So simple and it looks so elegant. Double tuck, punchfront straight into double twist punchfront, PERFECT! Fabulous pass. Full in tuck to end after some nice choreo, low enough. Damn. What a gymnast she was. 9.80 Bahhh.

Miller BEAM Excellent, I really want to see Nunno's jacket and Shannon's scrunchie instead of actual routines going on elsewhere. Okay finally, after almost 2 minutes. Love her mount and acro line straight after, all-time favourite mount sequence. Wobbles quite significantly though. Those wrists are unreal, really ruining her elegant pixie-esque line. The tendinitis in later life is really a mystery. Gorgeous BHS-LOSO-LOSO-LOSO but wobbles again. Lovely Valdez, really shows off her extension so well. Nails her full-in dismount but it's quite low. Woohoo there's Kim Gwang Suk managing to look small next to noted shortarses Shannon and Gutsu. Show me her bars and beam! 9.925 Sorry but she should have got the same as Gutsu or even lower, she had two wobbles versus Gutsu's one. Gutsu also had higher difficulty and both had the same low landing. This round goes to Gutsu too.

Zmeskal VAULT I want to see what the other Kim is doing! A very nice FTY with an upright planted landing but it had a tiny leg seperation and feet apart on landing. This games was noted for its fabulous FTY's so it's time to get picky. Actually she might be slightly slow on landing going by the replay. 9.937

Okino FLOOR Whip into double pike/tuck, slight movement on landing. At least they are not insulting her with a cutesy routine. She's so regal and would have excelled with better choreo. Bad angle- looks like a clean double pike. Great spins from her. Another loose looking double pike/tuck, what is the story with her leg form on these. Nice enough dance but that was weak enough and dull. And I like her! 9.862

End of rotation standings: Boginskaya leads Gutsu and Miller.


Rotation Three

Boginskaya BARS Not this leotard again, I can't bear the sight of it. At least Gutsu and Lysenko have shied away from it. Can you imagine Gutsu in that thing? Stand by for a boring routine. Okay-ish Tkachev, flat enough but I like the grip change straight out of it. Double pike dismount, it looked great and she stuck it but WOW the weakness of this Level 7 routine never ceases to amaze me. Notice how I couldn't say anything else because she didn't do anything else. 'She may not have the very most difficult routine in this competition'. Nice syntax Tim. 9.887 and Tim is surprised. Is he watching the same routine at all? 

Bontas FLOOR I'm not sure why Bontas was hyped so much. A very good gymnast certainly but not even the best Romanian at this point. She looks tired and maybe the Deva closure affected her, as it did so many others. I still expect a strong floor routine though. And it looks like it already- great double layout. Camera cuts away right in the middle of her next pass a bit..looks like a 1.5 into double tuck. Nice and clean. Very long pause in the corner and she does not mask it with arm waving. Full in tuck to end, stuck, slightly low. Great routine. 9.962 Hmm. Suppose there wasn't much to actually take away from this but seems a little high anyway.

'When we come back we're going to show you the other strong American, Kim Zmeskal'. Please, she tanked in the first rotation. Show more Kim Gwang Suk, Yang Bo and Tatiana Lysenko! 'Struggling to get into medal position'. She's in 8th! They've just copped Milosovici is having a great competition.

Milosovici FLOOR Love her start pose. Full in tuck punchfront, nice. Small hop. Fairly bog standard music, some 'rock around the clock' style dance going on. Moceanu definitlely used this music unless I'm losing it. AWESOME second pass, 1 and a half stepout into what looks like 1 and half punchfront stag leap. Had to rewind a few times, very busy pass. Fabulous though. Full in tuck, not that clean but well landed nonetheless. What an iconic end pose. 9.962

Miller FLOOR Needs a 9.938 for first. LOVE this music, so perfect. Whip into full in tuck, well done. Much more upright than a lot of them have been these games. Whip into double pike with a big step back, can't tell by how much she kept that in bounds..barely. Lovely elegant dance. Another full in tuck but this one was quite low. Hmm. 9.9 Now that is correct.

Zmeskal BARS Nice form from this dead-on angle and very nice geinger. Very flat Tkachev, but there's a big club of those here. Double pike dismount? Or extremely pikey double layout. Either way, this routine was fine but nothing extraordinary. 9.9

Onodi VAULT GORGEOUS vault, looks like a Cuervo variety, handspring entry. Fabulous form, height and upright landing. Okay it's a front pike with a half twist apparently. Tiny adjustment on landing in the replay. Had a crap beam apparently, damn. Second vault is the same but she underrotates so the landing is short and she actually hits her head off the mat. Ouch. The first vault got a 9.95 so she'll take that.

Gogean BEAM I forgot she was here. Nice leaps and gorgeous floaty LOSO's. Slight wobble on second acro series. Quick, say she's like Nadia! Check. Great stuck double tuck dismount. 9.9

For feck's sake, how many times do they have to mention Gutsu not qualifying and a replay of the beam fall. Move on to her actual gymnastics maybe?

Gutsu FLOOR I absolutely love the split leg double layout. Lands slightly short and has to take a step forward though. Her dance is a bit wishy-washy and she's not comfortable with it. I hesitate to call it crap but it's really not great. Whip whip into double tuck, perfect. More awkward dance. Full in pike, low enough landing. Very interesting. In the case of floor, G and M were equal. Both had a big step and both had a low landing elsewhere. Gutsu had higher difficulty though, so maybe she would edge it slightly. 9.925 Slightly too high, I think 9.912 is the right score.

End of rotation standings. Gutsu and Milo tie for first, Boginskaya third and Miller fourth.

Rotation Four

Milosovici BARS Elfi seems to be excited about this routine, not sure why. Very slight lep seperation. Nice geinger, decent Tkachev. Very blurry but looks like a full in tuck with a hop. Wow that was cowboyed quite badly in the replay. 9.90

Miller VAULT Long wait, but we all know what's coming up next. Shut up Nunno, way overboard with the last minute coaching. Here it is! The best FTY ever performed. Height, flight, form, landing, all perfect. Crowd and Nunno go mental. 9.975 and nobody's happy with that. Really deserved a 10. Here's the second one, another joy to watch but doesn't hold the stick long enough. 9.95. Robbed of the 10 for the first one.

Yes we know Zmeskal is out of the running, stop showing it and get back to gymnastics.

Zmeskal BEAM Such a fabulous start pose in handstand. BHS-LOSO, wobbles and takes two steps back. Horror from the trio so maybe she was supposed to do another one. Yes she was apparently. Nice leaps. Big break after the second acro line but saves it. Double tuck with a hop back. Mehh. 9.80

Gutsu VAULT Needs 9.939. Oooh lovely and flighty in the air. Feet slightly apart on landing and makes a tiny movement backwards. Replay shows legs apart on block. 9.925 Second vault, plants the landing. Replay shows it to be a bit pikey. 9.95 Too high, that's the same score as Shannon's second vault. They screwed themselves over with the mark of her first vault as the second vault was better and had to be given a better score. Gutsu takes the lead and they immediately switch to Shannon's face.

Boginskaya BEAM Needs 9.977. Why is she still in game after a weak floor and weaker bars? Nice mount. Moves very fluidly. BHS-LOSO-LOSO but they look quite laboured. Jesus, wobbles on the easiest leap. Elfi sticks the knife in 'She's gone'. Plants a nice double tuck dismount. Kinda boring routine all the same. 9.912 is greeted with boos.

Boginskaya is upset after that but it was fairly obvious going into the games that she did not have the routines and difficulty to challenge for gold or silver.

1. Gutsu
2. Miller
3. Milosovici

I do not agree with some of those scores, but I DO agree with the standings. Gutsu was the better gymnast on the day. Miller quite clearly had the better vault but Gutsu had better beam and bars and edged her out ever so slightly on floor with higher difficulty and more upright landings. Both had errors, especially beam and floor but Gutsu did deserve gold here. I can clearly see why the debate still rages on but I'm moreso annoyed Lysenko couldn't hold it together and beat them both. Oh and not showing Kim Gwang Suk's bars and Yang Bo's beam? Plenty of lingering shots of Kim Zmeskal which could have been filled in nicely but not only the best bars and beam respectively of the games but of all time!