Sunday, 13 January 2013

Two New Skills and Demy BB

Really exciting stuff this week, videos emerged of no less than two new skills. The first is a double double laidout, performed by McKayla Skinner of USA.  Though we have seen an arabian double layout, and a pretty loose double double by Ebee, nobody has yet done this. Would be great to see it even at Nationals. Though she is using a mat, it doesn't look like she really needs it. Decent landing, and hopefully with time she can force her legs straighter. The second skill is a double layout dismount off beam, performed by Catalina Ponor of Romania. She is supposed to be retired! This was rumoured to be done by Armine Barutyan (yes, of GAGE) of USSR in training, but no video ever emerged so it is not widely credited. Clearly she is doing it into a pit so it's nowhere near ready, she gets spotted and she's below the floor before she's upright...but it DOES look very possible. Even if it never materialises- respect!

McKayla's double double laidout

I can't believe when pondering the possibility of this skill a few days ago, that I couldn't figure out exactly what it would look like. Eventually it struck me that it would look exactly like Elise Ray/Shawn Johnson's bars dismount. Duhh.


WOW! EDIT: This video was only uploaded yesterday, and several good sources are similarly reporting it as new. Others are saying its from last year. Point still stands regardless, Cata is awesome and this could well inspire another gymnast.

Anna Dementyeva's beam routine at Voronin last month caused a stir, and scored extremely highly- in excess of 15.6 if I remember right, must recheck. A video has been anxiously awaited, and here it is! Such a beautiful gymnast. I hope she gains more fluidity with this and one or two of her connections are a little tentative, but this is lovely and difficult work. Well done Demy!





9 comments:

  1. Much as I love Musty and think she had great guts with performing on beam in TF, I do wonder about what London might have been like with Demy on beam instead and Vika on floor in place of Grishina.

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    1. Demy was not in shape/full fitness in time for London. Poor Grishina- absolutely beautiful floor and beam routines, such potential! Hopefully she and Vika can get the Musty competition frame of mind if they hang around her long enough. Round Lake have no sports psychologists, hopefully they relent on that one. The girls themselves in their interviews mention how it could have been different without Afan and Grishina's floor falls/grave errors.They would have gained back a maximum of 2.5 ish points. They still would have needed a third amanar, and for all 3 to be much better performed than what we saw. And even then there's quite the shortfall- more difficulty on beam and floor needed.

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  2. I always love to see innovation in gymnastics. It can really become mind numbing seeing the same routines over and over.

    Imagine if Catalina had been able to to the double layout dismount in London-that would have been interesting to see!

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    1. She flung the full in pike in EF, which she didn't do in TF or prelims. It was slightly hinted at, since she did it in training, but she also did a full twisting DLO in training and that didn't materialise. Now picturing her doing the DLO instead is mindblowing.

      Another interesting thing is that Cristina Bontas commented on Cata's original upload of the video and said she tried it back in her day! She is the queen of double layouts, and of full twisting ones so I'm not overly suprised...

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  3. That's really impressive that Bontas was working those same skills, especially given the time period and equipment.

    I have an off-topic question: Do you know anything regarding American gymnasts Julianne McNamara or Stefanie Willem?

    I can find a bit of information on McNamara because she had much lengthier career, but Willem is impossible to find. I do know she was coached by former U.S. Men's figure skater, Michael Weiss, but that's about all.

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    1. Yes, there's absolutely nothing on Willem. I don't think I've heard of her- but then, she was never a senior so that's probably not surprising. Here's what I did find- she performed Mukhina's hecht bars dismount before her- though I'm not sure if she could have been the first, because Liu Yachun did it in 1976- and Willem would only have been 11 then. She retired in 1978 at the age of 13 when it was discovered that she had a congenital birth defect that meant she was missing a vertabrae. She had to retire as continuing with gymnastics would have paralysed her. That is all I can find.

      On McNamara who really should be more well known..she retired in 1987, though did not actually participate in a competition since the 1984 Olympics. She appeared in television shows Knight Rider and Charles in Charge and also did some TV gymnastics commentary. She married baseball player Todd Zeile in 1989, who she met in UCLA. They have 4 children. Pfft, Mary Lou hogs all of the 80's! You never hear anything about any of the rest.

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    2. More digging- Willem was 2nd AA at 1977 Junior International Championships in Japan, and won the Mardi Gras invite in 76 or 77. It's also thought she competed exhibition at the 78 American Cup, or on the Nadia Comaneci tour. There is a dispute over whether she went on to compete in diving or showjumping- it seems a Canadian gymnast who retired at the same time with the same problem was a diver. IG had a write up on Willem in 1978.

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  4. Wow! Thank you for finding all this information.

    I always felt that Julianne was a tough cookie for sticking it out after the 1980 Olympic boycott by the USA. She supposedly trained on some of the apparatus used in men's gymnastics, such as rings and horizontal bar. That would explain her incredible upper body strength and skill level on UBs.

    I vaguely remember hearing about Stephanie Willem's back issue, but had forgotten why she left gymnastics.

    It would have been fun to see what she would have done for the sport had she been able to continue. She was also trained by Michael Weiss's parents, not Michael himself, since he was born in 1976 or so.


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    1. Ah right, I don't follow figure skating at all. Yes, always sad for someone promising to retire so early. Julianne was such a beast with her transitions, though I thought Ma deserved it ever so slightly more, less bent arms, and that dismount..

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