Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Larisa in strike #5- Updated

Larisa Iordache has been pulled for the fifth time from a world cup, Cottbus. So too has Diana Bulimar but she doesn't have quite the same track record. Sigh. I get that if Larisa is injured then she has to be preserved for Euros and it wouldn't be smart to pull out of all of the March competitions in one go. It does look pretty bad on the part of the Romanian gymnastics federation though and I doubt the meet organisers are enjoying the last minute cancellations. As for Diana, it's possible she tweaked something when she fell off the beam awkwardly, or in training but I think it's more likely they want to work on her beam before she competes again. Who knows. Coming up the week after is Doha which both girls are signed up for still, so we'll have to wait and see what happens there. This meet clashes with Chemnitz- the USA-Romania-Germany friendly and it's quite possible if both girls are healthy that they might be transferred to that instead as the competition is a lot stiffer with USA's a-team and the meet itself being in Europe, preferable to the middle east.

The good news is that Cottbus still has great competitors- Anastasia Grishina, Anna Dementyeva, Evgeniya Shelgunova, Kristina Goryunova, Huang Huidan, Chantysha Netteb, Noel van Klaveren, Sophie Scheder and Roxana Popa. Not to mention Jesolo taking place this weekend too. This meet will hopefully showcase a consistent and strong Simone Biles with more controlled landings on floor, Lexie Priessman's incredible 6.7 floor routine, Bailie Key's upgrades and general fantastic all-around work and a sneaky little upgrade or two from Kyla Ross. I don't expect Kyla to knock out upgrades like Simone has been doing, especially as she lost training time recently, but it would be nice to see her floor at least approach 6.0 and some little adjustments to her beam and bars. I'd like to see improvement on beam and bars from Amelia Hundley and I'm looking forward to her floor. Probably Bailie's the most after Simone's though- she has a new floor routine at last! Not to mention beam and bars upgrades. As for Maggie Nichols and Peyton Ernst, I'll be eager to see what they come up with as they are definitely unknown quantities at this stage. Brenna Dowell's amzing front double pike is always welcome too. Sadly Katelyn Ohashi has pulled out of both Jesolo and Chemnitz, due to a back injury. Hopefully she can recover quickly but I'm happy she is getting a rest from competition anyway, as she looked exhausted at American Cup. Mai Murakami and the rest of the Japanese team will be competing though, and there's an enormous pile of Italian talent on the roster. Can't wait!

Sadly, Huang Huidan had a disaster on bars today in her attempt to qualify to Cottbus bars finals, though she apparently did not fall on her dismount, just a big stumble. She also came to a stop halfway through. Evgeniya Shelgunova suffered the same stop, and had other errors- her Pak sounds as unique as ever, and she scored higher. Must wait for video to judge how big an error Huang's dismount was. She lost the tiebreaker for the eighth and final place to Jessica Lopez so she won't get redemption there. Hopefully she nails beam. Next week we will see Zeng Siqi, Tan Jiaxin and Zhang Qing at Doha. The Chinese are barely out of winter training and I don't expect amazing things from them just yet, but hopefully some lovely work materialises. The good news I got from the quick hits is that Anastasia Grishina performed beautifully on bars, earning the top score by a mile- 14.9. Apparently Oksana Chusovitina has cleaned up her form? I thought when I saw her vaults recently that she had downgraded, as they looked much cleaner. How amazing that they're the same vaults. I wouldn't be surprised if she suddenly emerged as a top all-arounder capable of scoring 60+. Well I would, but she keeps defying logic. Beam and floor finalists at Cottbus will be determined tomorrow. Hopefully video emerges soon, or even just of finals.

Interestingly enough, Cottbus is not using the new vault code. As a world cup., it really should be, unless FIG have reneged on it since LRSY. Evgeniya Shelgunova fell on floor in quals. That, her bars error and her scary second vault should be enough to seal the deal for Afan to go to Euros. Anna Dementeyeva scored well on floor but fell off beam. She is capable of such beautiful work but I doubt they will trust her with a spot somehow. I'm so happy that Anastasia Grishina hit beam. That's two in a row and top qualifier for both I believe. Huang Huidan sadly grabbed the beam and then fell off trying to regain her balance after that. Looks like she will be joining Demy in the inconsistent lovelies box so far this year, but Grishina has clawed her way out so hope remains. Let's hope Shang Chunsong, Tan Jiaxin, Zeng Siqi and Zhang Qing all produce stellar work in their upcoming meets. It will also be interesting to see how Wu Liufang competes nationally this year. They may actually need He Kexin and Deng Linlin to hang on for a while, particularly if Yao Jinnan is not on top form.

In Jesolo news, Simone Biles second vault was very high. I have no idea what it is. I'm guessing a Mustafina. If it is that will be amazing to see, especially as it hasn't been done really well by the handful that have already done it. Even Maroney's was a little low every time she did it. Always great, but could have done with more height all the same. Mai Murakami apparently trained very well, high double double (generally it's been low recently) and a DTY. So excited to see her routines. Loving their training leo, it's showing up USA's (hideous bright pink, black bit and obligatory swirl) leos as extra tacky.

As well as Jesolo and Cottbus, British Championships are taking place this weekend. I'm not sure if Becky Downie is competing, I hope so, for a chance to redeem herself after her unfortunate performance at LRSY. Or Rebecca Tunney, who hasn't emerged yet. Ruby Harrold and Gabby Jupp are both going to Doha next weekend but will still have to give British Championships their all as it's a major qualifier for Euros. The senior AA will be livestreamed tomorrow! Last year it was not region blocked whatsoever, they're good like that. The clocks have not gone forward yet so please bear in mind that normal time conversions to GMT are out. Currently we are 4 hours ahead of EST, not 5. I made this mistake when talking about Russian Championships, apologies. Rebecca Tunney is out with an injury so won't be there. This was mentioned on TCG as well as my comments. Hopefully she will be back on form for worlds if not Euros but Gabby Jupp is competing so all is right with the world. It should be a good battle between her and Hannah Whelan all the same. And hopefully there will be more fantastic bars routines from two certain seniors and some more nice displays of corner dance with which British juniors have paved the way. Tyesha Matthis, who very impressively won the AA at AYOF, repeated her feat in the junior competition. Amy Tinkler and Ellie Downie were second and third.

Alla Sosnitskaya, a new Russian face, has some extremely beautiful turn combinations in training. Neither materialised at Russian Championships though, but nobody was pulling out all the stops there. She had some very out of control landings on floor at Russian Championships, but she does have a nice double layout and triple full so hopefully she can gain more consistency with her landings in time- they're not bad in this video, except one. Check out the BEAUTIFUL illusion-Memmel-double turn, and later the triple turn which starts as an l-turn, graduates to a Moors turn (I don't know what that position is called) and then down to being held at ankle height. Exquisite stuff, hope to see it again soon. Alla turned senior last year but doesn't appear to be on the radar as of yet. I'm not sure what's like on the other events, they could certainly do with a strong clean vaulter if her strengths also lie in that direction. Video is here.

I'm trying not to get excited about the training video of Aliya Mustafina doing a double layout. Granted it's definitely not appraching competition surface and she has a whole bunch of extra backhandsprings in, but wow is it beautiful. As a sidenote, I'm sick of hearing on places like gymfanconfessions (good for a laugh) that Aliya has terrible form. I wasn't aware that her triple fulls and amanars are all that her routines consist of. It's hilarious and yet infuriating when people submit confessions acting as if she is Aly Raisman, Evgeniya Shelgunova or Shallon Olsen in the form department. Yes, she has creepy fans and yes, there's quitea lot of hype around her even now on the gymternet- but no need to blast her as having crap form. There was even one that said she was the worst gymnast ever. LOL. Nobody is acting like her triple fulls and vaulting are Cheng Fei-like objects of beauty, but no need to get delusional. Anyway, I wonder where the DLO would fit in? I hope not to replace her first pass, which is so well done. I'd like to see her do the double arabian-stag, DLO, 1.5 into double tuck and then a 2.5-front layout last pass. No triple full in that routine, and she's generally very solid on dance elements too to bump up that d-score. Hopefully it will appear and isn't just a tease like Jordyn Wieber's. The link is here, it refuses to embed.

I'm busy lately so I can't post or comment as much, but it's temporary and I'm still using my phone to keep up to date :)


    I just watched this and want to share with you. Maybe this is the most beautiful layout full? :P
    Xiaoxiao is really amazing <3

    I bet both Larisa and Didi will go to Chemnitz!

    Can't wait to see Shelgunova this weekend.

    1. WOW thank you for that! I liked her precision in her 2000 routine but it was fairly cookie-cutter and I wasn't excited enough to dig up her routines. But this is unbelievable, the layout full but everything else too- full-turning wolf and tuck jumps, the Chen...beautiful. It reminds me of a routine by a Chinese gymnast who never made the big time- I believe it's a Nationals routine from 2003-2006 that I saw, I believe her name has Sun and Xiao in it but I can't be sure. No layout full I don't think, but some unique moves and some of the same jumps too. I have a lot of fondness for those jumps, I wish some other gymnasts of the less flexible variety would use them.

      Larisa and Didi are still on the Doha roster, updated yesterday. I suppose that doesn't really mean anything, they can still pull out in a few days.

      Shelgunova's bars sound like a mess and that she was lucky to qualify. It appears her Pak has not improved. Can't wait for videos in general of the meet.

    2. Haha, Catherine- you are getting the knack for breaking down Chinese names in my opinion. "Sun" and "Xiao" are indeed real words. I though you were talking about about Sun Xiaojiao ( but it's not the right year for you.

      By the way, funny you bring up 03-06- it was fucking amazing, my favorite with 1995-96. ie: Fan Ye, Li Ya, Pang Panpan, Wang Lili, Zhang Yufei, Kang Xin. How did China only win one beam title during this period?!? Although, you would probably want something a little more dynamic but damn I love that style. The only girl who came close would be Tan Sixin. And maybe Wu Liufang.

      Huang Huidan was disappointing. I am sorry but she has the potential to be so lovely on bars and would be a huge asset. She is just as inconsistent as... all her predecessors. What a surprise. I should just start pick another team to cheer on, seeing as CHina and Russia are notoriously headcasey (I believe Huang Qiushuang and Viktoria Komova has decreased my life span by half... Grishina is slowly redeeming herself..). Perhaps my own country?? Only if our team consists of Maroney, Finnegan, Li, Vega, ROss. But that will never happen.

      And LOL I am beginning to feel that Romanians on rosters that are not Worlds or Olympics = the boy who cried wolf type deal.

    3. Yes, her routine isn't surprising to me but I noticed that her layout is very high!

      Sun Xiaojiao 孙晓姣 (retired in 2003)
      (2001 World Championships Bronze routine)
      She was in coach Lu and Liu group but Liu said Sun was ordinary and had the thought of making her retire many times... It was so lucky that the leader of Zhejiang team let her go to WC in 2001 while others were all preparing the Nationals.(They just hoped she could shine in WC and caught everyone's eye.)
      How sad she couldn't make the 2004 OG team eventually but at least she won beam title in 2002 WC Final.

      There are so many people criticizing for Dandan's bad performance on bars. They say she will be second Wu Liufang who is a bars/beam specialist but is inconsistent as well.
      Hope she can do well on beam tonight!
      (So as Shelgunova. I was a bit disappointed last night especially her vault:( But I look forward to her FX:) )

      L'International Gymnix page on FX post some PT note from jesolo. I think we will have a very nice weekend!
      (Mai and Asuka :**** and USA A team:P)

      Btw, There is a big news──Coach Lu Shanzhen now is the head(?) coach of trampoline/rhythmic gymnastics. Now AG is leaded by Xiong Jingbin and Wang Qunce. Interesting!

    4. Thanks both of you, it IS Sun Xiaojiao! Ha I was almost there with her name. I don't believe it's the same routine though, I think the one I saw was a national competition, and she was a bit cleaner at the start. I absolutely LOVE that skill she does- the one the commentators call a full-twisting Shushunova which was discussed somewhere with general agreement that it isn't. Beautiful though.

      I have a huge amount of love for Fan Ye, Li Ya and Zhang Nan in particular. In general routines at this time were a little..boring or easy for them with nothing too exciting but still beautiful with such style.

      I know I root for some gymnasts in particular but I don't really go for one country above another. Though I wouldn't be thrilled if USA took every AA and team title for the next few years..boring. It depends who is on the team I suppose but I love each of the top 4's national styles.

      Wow- does he have previous experience with those sports? I know China is successful in trampolining but I'd view that as a bit of a demotion given the strength of AG and the length of time he's been involved. Unless it was his choice of course. Do you think this will have a big impact?

    5. I don't know if he has any experience as the reason he turns to coach AG/trampoline is that someone who coach AG retire this year. NOW the head coach of both MAG/WAG is Huang Yubin and I think it means a lot but maybe we won't see big impact until next quad.
      Btw, coach Xiong is good at producing mentally strong gymnasts. It's very important to Chinese WAG.

      Me, too. I won't root for certain country especially USA, which is many people's favorite just because they are strongest now. I tried to change ip to watch live stream of Jesolo but the speed is too slow to run the live stream:(
      Hope videos will be uploaded soon.

      I was very disappointed last night due to HHD's and Shelgunova's bad performance. Thanks to Gri's hit routine, I can console myself that I'm not wasting my sleeping time. (the comp ended 1:45...) Demy still fell off beam... Do you think she has a chance to Euros if she hits both FX and BB in EF? I know it's a very difficult task for her:P
      Btw, I love Grishina's coach who is building Gri's confidence and does so well. Hope she can continually improve!

    6. I think Demy has blown all her chances really. Afan certainly isn't miss consistent but she's a much better bet. Really gutted for HHD. I hope the other girls perform much better at Doha and Tokyo.

      Yes, I'm really happy Grishina is improving!

  2. So excited about Mustafina's new floor routine!

    1. I really like it, hopefully it will be more fleshed out at Euros, it needs more choreo and passion. And some nice new dancing into the corner to get around the rule ha.

  3. Ooh, I like the look of Sosnitskaya. Is she a senior already? To be honest Russia could do with some new blood, especially with Shelgunova's form being the way it is. Sosnitskaya looks alright actually, the only landing which actually looked a bit unsafe as opposed to just messy was the final double tuck but she was probably just a bit tired by then. And her turns are lovely! Dance is OK, not spectacular (for Russia) but still passable.

    Judging by the D-scores for Chuso it looks like she has downgraded her Rudi to a full twist instead of a 1.5? Her second vault looks the same though (Tsuk 1.5). To be honest her Tsuk 1.5 wasn't too messy even in the past few years, it was mostly the Rudi. Now that she's not competing for Germany anymore I suppose she has more flexibility to not go for the hardest possible vaults. Though Germany probably could use her now that Berger will be out for awhile...

    1. She turned senior last year. She is definitely not on the a-team or anything and I don't know what her other events are like. Could be useful though, and those turns deserve to be seen. It all depends on when Afan retires and how good Kharenkova can get on floor. And if Alla has a worthwhile beam or vault. Demy I think will not be given a chance for a major team...

      The quick hits say she did a handspring 1.5 and tsuk 1.5, so same vaults? I do get confused with those varieties. Are you sure you're factoring in the lower values of vaults in general? It will be sad not to see her at Euros!

    2. Oh and I edited the post because I wasn't clear at all, but I meant that her landings on floor at Russian Championships were out of control. Especially her last pass, but none of them were approaching deduction-free..

  4. I believe Becky Downie will be at Championships but Tunney is definitely out, nursing an injury.

    This is going to be an exciting weekend with all the comps and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the upcoming British girls can do.

    Also, you've probably already seen this article but if not it's an interesting insight into the last selection camp!

    1. Any idea what her injury is? I think Gabby could be the better all-arounder as she's cleaner, but I do really like Rebecca's style and lightness and hope to see her soon.

      Yes, if there's a livestream of Jesolo I hope it doesn't clash with British Championships..the timezones are only out by an hour ha.

      It's moreso interesting as to who didn't feature! Where are Nica and Polina? How did Sarah do? Are Ebee and Maddie trainign at full strength? Why didn't Lexie place higher? Is Mykayla there? As Laurie did so well, why isn't she in Jesolo right now? So many questions arising from that article!

  5. Sorry no idea what the injury is, I think I just read it on the British website.

    Would love for there to be a Jesolo live stream but it seems doubtful, has there been one any other year? Jr comp starts tomorrow 9am GMT and there's about an hour of senior comp before the British so it's not too bad for timing.

    From the photos, it looks like Skinner was not at camp. Polina strikes me as the type of gymnast to have a lot of consisteny issues, so maybe this is what's holding her back? Interesting though that the top physical abilities were juniors, and I'm sure Polina was helped along there with her amazing flexibility as she doesn't seem to have a lot of power. As for Lexie her right foot is still heavily taped so perhaps she's just not at full strenght right now. Do you know if she has shown a second vault at Jesolo also?

    I want to know what has happened to Kennedy Baker! How have Ernst and Nichols both overtaken her aa?

    1. I have discovered that there is one, starting at 15:55 local time, so 14:55 GMT I assume. Unfortunately it's restricted to Italy but hopefully some trickery can get around that. I'll give it a go anyway.

      It's odd that Polina was a late addition to the NT and now isn't worth bringing to Jesolo. Unless she's injured again...there's a lot of that going on right now. I too would like to know what the story is with Kennedy Baker. I don't know if Lexie showed a second vault. When you think that MLT has two fabulous gymnasts and three years in which to break them, it doesn't look good. She's certainly had good elites in the last 5 years or so, but not so much at this level..

    2. and why has alexis beucler gone back to level 10?

      i had totally forgotten about brenna before jesolo, and even kennedy baker and maddie desch had fallen off my radar. then you have the polina mystery (im so cheering for her to get some more recognition!), laurie hernandez not being around, sarah and ebee injured, katelyn sounds like not just injured but perhaps exhausted, no peep from mykayla skinner after her fiesta bowl floor routine.. crazy.

    3. Wow she has? Maybe she realises elite is impossibly deep and that's she's better off saving herself for college.

      There sure is a lot of mystery. I'd love to be a (sentient) fly at the ranch sometimes..

    4. i read somewhere alexis has been showing up at level 10 comps. it's not the worst thing in the world (college is a big enough incentive!), just surprising!

  6. Will we ever see Larisa again? I am getting sick of the last second removals. She better be at Chemnitz with Didi in tow and her USA-defeating arsenal ready for battle.

    Let's hope for some success for her this year. European/World AA titles are not out of the question if she can keep it together health and consistency wise.

    Are you planning on doing Euros predictions? I think it will be Larisa vs Musty for gold and Diana vs Grishy for bronze in the AA, and between these four they will take UB, BB, and FX titles.

    1. Wow imagine if we never saw her again, that would suck.

      I probably will yes.