Sunday 24 March 2013

Weekend Highlights

I love when there's so much gymnastics going on that it's tough to keep up with everything. Jesolo EF videos are not up yet (Edit- They are now) and I'm missing some routines like Mariya Livchikova's beam which would surely be a highlight but I think I have enough to go on. Here's my thoughts on the highlights of this weekend's gymnastics feast.
Simone Biles' performance

Copyright- Gymnastike
Simone definitely made her mark as a junior last year when she won the Secret Classic and placed third as US Nationals and her explosive amanar and sky-high double layout attracted widespread attention. But I don't think anyone could have predicted the vast improvement she has made, not just on her pet events- but as an all-arounder, and America's most valuable one right now at that. Her new double-double on floor is done with such ease that a triple twisting version looks like a matter of when, not if. As it is she always has power left over landing that pass and it's SO high. Not content with the very dynamic 1.5 twist into double pike she debuted at American Cup, Simone busted out a full-in tuck in place of the double pike this weekend. Her last pass also looks like it could be upgraded to a triple and her routine is not making the most of the code, she needs more CV from leaps and/or punchfronts as she only amasses 6.2 from her incredible floorwork. The amanar is even better than last year, and she has stuck two so far that we know- one in warm-up at American Cup and the other yesterday. Again, the TTY is only a matter of time as we know for a fact she is training it.

After a dissapointing beam at American Cup where she fell on the new layout pass she had nailed in training, Simone was much more confident at Jesolo with it. Thankfully she has ditched the terrible tour-jete leap too. Extremely powerful in her full in tuck dismount, yet another upgrade...and that could quite easily become a pike. Of anyone who has done a wolf turn with more than one rotation- hers is the best. She still flails her arms a bit like all the rest but she gets it around so fast that it manages to look great instead of a giant wobblefest. Bars really is the most surprising of all, with new releases including a great piked Tkachev straight into Pak. Her dismount is so high above the bar that it needs to become a Fabrichnova. All in all Simone is the most valuable all-arounder USA has, most valuable vaulter and probably most valuable floor worker- Lexie's potential routine has 0.5 more difficulty but it will lose some of the difference in execution and it's not likely that Simone's d-score is final for this year. It's really hard not to say we have found the 2013 World AA, FX and VT champion. And it IS ridiculous to say that, because it's still more than six months away and you never know what will happen in this unpredictable and injury-prone sport. Enthralled as I am with Simone's enormous improvement and potential, I am not blind to her faults. Her backhandsprings on beam could do with being a lot tighter in form, she flexes her feet on bars transitions and some releases, her foot form on vault could do with being tighter too and she's not going to win any rewards for her dance on floor..particularly the parts where she practically stops dead. But it doesn't change the fact that she is exceptional. The new Jesolo AA, FX, VT and BB champion is on a roll.

Anastasia Grishina's redemption

Copyright- RGF, Russian Gymnastics Federation
Anastasia hit a beam routine with absolutely NO wobbles. Not on the layout, not on her beautiful but incredibly troublesome Onodi-illusion. She gives us all hope that with her coaching change, more relaxed and confident demeanour and shiny new beam and bars titles at Cottbus that she will finally fulfil her massive potential. Check out the close-up of her feet on the perfect Onodi-illusion. Glorious. Her floor still needs attention and I'm not sure she will ever hit a perfect floor routine as long as the double double remains to exhaust her..but, baby steps. She has not fallen off beam yet so far this year, and that alone is incredible.

Bailie Key's domination

Copyright- USAG USA Gymnastics
Bailie, a 2015 senior, not only won the junior AA at Jesolo by three points, she also the VT, FX and BB titles already having qualified first into each. Something happened on bars where she 'only' got third, but the winner- Enus Mariani- is incredibly similar to Bailie on this event. This from a girl who is capable of far more than what she showed and who wasn't even the top ranked Junior in USA when she landed in Italy. Coach Kim Zmeskal has practically wrapped her in cotton wool in her preservation attempts. Long may it continue, with almost two full years until she (hopefully) explodes onto the senior stage. A great boost for this tiny young one.

Gabby Jupp's continued steadiness

Copyright- Alan Edwards

Gabby was not sorely tested as big rival Rebecca Tunney is out with an unspecified injury. However, she still had to beat veteran Hannah Whelan who has years of experience compared to her and has high difficulty. But it was a breeze for Gabby, as Hannah counted numerous falls throughout the weekend while trying out new bars skills. Say hello to the new British AA, beam and floor champion and bars silver medallist. If she can possibly get a DTY in time for Euros she would be a legitimate threat, but that's optimistic to the point of foolishness. As it is, hopefully she can break out into podiums this quad. This is a great start to her senior debut, she impressed everyone with her steadiness and confidence at American Cup and has continued the trend on home soil.


Floor. 1. Simone Biles, Jesolo TF/AA 2. Enus Mariani, Jesolo TF/AA 3. Mariya Livchikova, French Nationals (??)

Beam. 1. Anastasia Grishina, Cottbus EF 2. Gabby Jupp, British Championships EF 3. Elisabetta Preziosa, Cottbus quals

Vault. 1. Simone Biles, VT 1 Jesolo AA/TF 2. Oksana Chusovitina, VT 2 Cottbus quals 3. Maegan Chant, VT 2 Cottbus quals

Bars. 1. Becky Downie, British Championships quals 2. Enus Mariani, Jesolo TF/AA 3. Brenna Dowell, Jesolo TF/AA (most improved!)

Skill/composition highlights-

Kyla Ross' backhandsprings on beam look even better now she's grown. Enus Mariani's floor choreography is beyond wonderful. Peyton Ernst's sheep jump was stunning, and surprising given the weakness of the rest of her leaps. Mariya Livchikova's Memmel was out of this world (and her double front and tuck), as was Anastasia Grishina's Onodi. The height of Brenna Dowell's front double pike was crazy, and the ease of it. I am still in love with Simone Biles toe-rises and Gabby Jupp's BHS-LOSO-LOSO. Spectacular to see such clean vaulting from Oksana Chusovitina and I'm really impressed with Maegan Chant's form on hers too, and she can obviously upgrade.

Great week for- Simone Biles- AA, TF, FX, BB and VT champion. Bailie Key- AA, FX, VT and BB champion, and bronze medallist on bars. Anastasia Grishina, flake extraordinaire- UB and BB champion. Gabby Jupp, AA, FX and BB champion, and silver medallist on UB.

Good week for- Maggie Nichols and Peyton Ernst. International competitive debut and although they both fell off beam they both showed some really nice work and coped well. Onwards and upwards. Brenna Dowell who snatched a medal on bars with a surprisingly strong and much improved routine. She's known as an extremely hard worker and it's good to see someone achieve a medal on a weak event through hard graft. Enus Mariani would not have won the AA even if she hadn't fallen, but she did well to take AA silver, bars gold and floor silver.

Bad week for- Vanessa Ferrari who was doing very well until her new upgrade on beam, the tuck full. Vanessa's injury is not thought to be much more than a sprain but it's not known yet if it will impact her inclusion in Euros and other competitions. Such bad luck for this tough veteran. Mai Murakami who had a disaster on 3/4 events. So gutted. She did show some lovely beam work and her quad spin on floor was great. But she lost it everywhere else and although Japan are not deep, they don't have to put her on major teams.. Lexie Priessman and Amelia Hundley who both performed similarly. Not just messy but sluggish too. Lexie came to grief on beam, with errors elsewhere and Amelia had some seriously dodgy landings on floor today. Hopefully they are not going to be resigned to the broken pile just yet. Lexie at least is recovering from an injury, but I don't know what the story is with Amelia- more growth maybe. Also Kyla Ross who has just had her irrelevancy if she doesn't upgrade thrown in her face. I get that she has lost training time and given her growth spurt, significant upgrades in that timeframe would have been tough but they'll have to do something with her routines if she wants to make a major team, especially if she expects to do AA. Huang Huidan's disaster at Cottbus took her out of contention so early that I forgot all about it in the wake of so much gymnastics. Thanks Annie for reminding me, though it's sad to remember. It is the first competition of the season but she doesn't have any kind of track record for consistency. This won't convince anyone that she's any more reliable than Wu Liufang and she could well be left high and dry when major international teams are being chosen. Such a shame she lost it completely as her routines are so beautiful.

Best leotard- Can't choose between Japan's two podium training leos and Italy A's team leo. I also liked Becky Downie EF.

Worst leotard- USA TF. I'm sick of this nauseating colour and not even the pattern redeems it, one of the worst hot pink ones which is very low to sink.

I can't seem to embed anything Jesolo, Cottbus or British Championships..yet anyway, it's either a delay on recent videos or an embed block. So I will link uploaders instead. The excellent Gympower has a ton of yesterday's Jesolo videos and will be uploading event finals there too. Gifwatermark has some of the missed ones, and a different angle on repeated routines. Ninalfee has routines from French Nationals, including Mariya Livchikova's floor. Javier Collados has everything Cottbus, Xoxociara has some Jesolo EF routines and BGTV have all of the British Championships routines. I'm sure people have seen videos around the place, but it's handy to collect uploaders in one place here for convenience.

Who and what did you enjoy most?


  1. Does Grishina look different to you? Besides the new hair color she looks taller and quite possibly the puberty fairy has hit? But she looks more confident than I've ever seen her.

    1. She still looked extremely short at Russian Championships I thought. But a little more grown up looking, yep.

  2. I think Bailie only won FX and VT, not UB?

    Now that Kyla has grown, her lines are even lovelier than they used to be. But yes Kyla please upgrade. I can see her sticking around till it's just right for her to college, but I can't see her putting off college or even doing an ASac style comeback.. she just seems like the sort who would be really grounded and focused on college when it comes around.

    Grishina was LOVELY. Her beam was much cleaner than her bars, never thought the day would come where I would say that. Huge change from London, she looked confident and comfortable, like a whole new gymnast really. She seems much more mature. Long may this continue, she's great to watch when she gets it right.

    Also hooray for Simone, who's really exploded onto the scene and waaaaay outshone Lexie who didn't have it together.

    Gabby Jupp's bars are so lovely and delightfully swingy. They look much better than Becky Downie's, although Downie got the higher score - she really looks like she was muscling it through.

    1. She won beam as well, but yeah not bars- made a mistake there. I can only see Kyla at UCLA or Stanford. Academia is obviously her first concern..but can you picture her at Alabama or somewhere like that? I think she will be very focused when the time comes too.

      Yes, such a refreshing change to see her hit! I think her bars will be fine once they're tweaked. She needs upgrades but no need to push just yet. Hopefully one or two at euros though.

      Yeah..I really hope Lexie can get it together though. I think Ebee is more valuable than Lexie too, since she has decent bars and a better vault. But even so, Lexie should be better than this at Classics and Nationals hopefully.

      Downie has higher difficulty. To me her bars style is definitely aggressive, but I don't think it was overly muscled..not like Jordyn or anything. She was quite fluid in her own way, but yes she had an error in EF, but the quals routine was clean.

  3. Grishina!!! I hope she still uses water downed floor routine in Euros as she needs to pick up her DTY first. If she fails her DTY, she can't take even bronze medal in AA. Uhh, I think we can predict Euros' podium after this weekend? :P That will be very interesting!(after ROU competes in GER)
    I just think Gri doesn't need to challenge any GOLD medal in Euros as she now just has three weeks to get all four events ready. Hope her coach(or HEAD coach? I don't know...) is wise enough to not to force her too much just because EC is held in Russia this year.
    But that means Aliya NEEDs to force her body.. :( I'm worrying about her knees so much.

    That was a bad weekend for Shelgunova as well. She got so many criticisms due to her bad form. Her consistency doesn't make sense to her:( but I still hope she can go to Euros if Paseka has injury and needs to rest her feet as she definitely can NOT make WC team if her coach still insists she should train as a AAer. If she can just train BB, I can see her make it due to her consistency and judges often tolerate bad form in this event I think.

    Aftering watching jesolo comp, I just want to appreciate those who have beautiful form LOL (I slightly thought nothing of Chinese AG last quad when they were less competitive to other three countries.)
    Oh, and I just notice Murakami has bad form on beam as well:(
    Asuka seems contineally struggling with her all four events? But it looks okay to me. I'm glad Japan shows some promising junior on floor and vault:)
    Key's and Biles's dominance in jesolo is so great for them. Ohashi will have more stress but it's good as she needs some incentive to improve her bars :)
    Hope Amelia and Lexie will have a good comp this weekend!
    Btw, I don't like Enus's new floor choreo. Uh... it's just too dramatic and mature, she did very well though. Maybe I just don't like this style.

    Livchikova looks good from that video. Hope that means her knees are much better now. I can't wait to see her in Euros but I don't expect her upgrades on beam not because she doesn't have ability but as she just need to stay on beam, and then she can get medal.
    If she wants to challenge an AA medal, she needs DTY but I don't know when she can do DTY again or it won't happen forever. I think Euros is her best chance to knock on the AA podium as she won't have chance in WC even if she does a DTY. But DTY is risky to her. It's not worth gambling her AG career.
    I have conflict between these thoughts :P

    I think Vanessa just wanted to protect herself very well in order that she can compete in Tokyo Cup and her coach also said she's okay so we don't worry about her. Btw, she has BHS-tuck full in 2006, so it's not a new skill for her but it's still amazing to see it this year. (I don't care about her gymnastics until recently I realize that she had so many hard skills in 2006 and she isn't form big 4!).

    Jupp is so good!(gymnasts with consistency and beautiful form is my cup of tea. Uhh, I can tolerate some form errors.) But I want to see Tunney as well. Is it means that she will miss Euros? So bad to her.

    As for the rest of Cottbus, Chant is so promising, now she can EVENTUALLY just train in the gym? LOL I think she and Biles can do their leaps better in the future as I trust thier coaches. (I won't hold much hope of Lexie's even though she is a GAGE girl.) Lopez still looks good on those events. A shame she had bad landings in EF, or she can get a medal I think. (D score 5.6 which is higher than most of Chinese girl LOL) But her E score on bars is too high compared to others... Never mind.
    Netteb has bad weekend as well but she still has chance this weekend! Congrats to Noel!

    I love the leo Japanese junior wore in PT. Eastern style <3

    1. Oh, I'm worrying about Vika, who is said to becomea woman now. That will bring lots of trouble to her....

    2. You don't like Enus' choreo? Get out! Only joking :) I really love it, it would definitely be too much for a huge amount of gymnasts but she really owns it- and as a junior, that's amazing.

      I don't really expect Mariya to compete AA, or at least competitively enough to have a DTY. She's better off concentrating on beam and floor, it would make more sense for her. Do you like her new routine? I think I do, though it definitely does not make the most of her abilities. I really want to see her beam!

      I really want Shelgunova to improve her form. I can't actively root for her until she does. It might be hard though if she has a nagging back injury. I think of her as the Raisman-esque steady as a rock team player, but she will be overshadowed completely if she can't improve. She doesn't have a crazy level of difficulty, but it's too high for her with that form. She needs to dump the Pak at least until it resembles one.

      I eventually saw that her coach thinks it will be fine for Tokyo, great news! Yes but it's kind of mad that she's bringing it back now! Though I think it'll be gone again after this. There's a lot of hate for her 2006 win with the fall but hey, she was still the best there.

      I don't know what's happening with Rebecca. She hasn't competed at any qualifier so I doubt they would sub her in anyway though.

      I'm so happy for Chant and Van Klaveren winning medals! Netteb lost some training time, I'm sure she'll be much improved by Euros. Chant has beautiful vaulting form which I hope doesn't deteriorate when she upgrades.

      Lexie is CGA under MLT, along with Amelia. There's a lot of worry they will both be too injured to continue to Rio, given the past track record of that gym. They do a LOT of conditioning training and the equipment is old and worn out. You can see wrecked mats, tape holding them together and a DOG on the floor in the 'Beyond the routine' documentary on gymnastike. Brenna Dowell is GAGE. Certainly not the usual style from that gym- but she is such a hard worker, love that about her. That bars routine won't win any major medals with the major form break on the piked Tkachev and her leg seperations..but it would probably outscore Ohashi's execution wise at the moment, which is crazy. She improved it so much, and she's an incredible front tumbler.

      Yes, it doesn't sound great. I wonder when we'll see her next? If she has grown taller then I think she should ditch those ugly Russian taps, and do straddle instead.

    3. I dont understand MLT and the rinky dink gym. It doesn't have to be state of the art like the USOTC but at least fix it up.

      Lexie and her bent legs on her loso irk me. MLT has to fix that or she will be killed in execution internationally.

    4. Yes, and I highly doubt it's financially's bursting at the seams with gymnasts, especially Level 10's. It's just pure stubbornness. Much like Mihai and his la-la-la-don't need a bars coach.

      I'm trying to reserve lamenting her form as she was better than this last year. There's speculation she has a hamstring/quad injury which is affecting her leaps and reach on backhandsprings etc. She really can do better. Bent LOSO's annoy me though. Chelle Stack takes the crown for worst ever, but Maroney does it too and so did the queen Daniela Silivas.

  4. Grishina's beam was stunning. That illusion turn is just so cool. Those are the kind of unique skills that Kyla needs to make her gymnastics more exciting, in my opinion. I'm so glad Grishina's getting the coaching, and seems to have put her Olympics behind her.

    Also, what are your thoughts on Huang Huidan's meltdown at Cottbus?

    1. Damnit I knew I forgot someone! She just completely fell off the radar with her not qualifying amidst the huge amount of gymnastics going on. Anyway- crushing. I really, really like her gymnastics. It's sad she's still inconsistent. I really hope she can get it together. I think China will send Tan Jiaxin, Shang Chunsong and Zeng Siqi to worlds. It's up to HHD to snag the second all-arounder spot, she could be great! Otherwise with the flakiness of her and Wu Liufang they might chance sending Li Yiting for vault. She's inconsistent too though. Sigh.

    2. I feel like HHD is running out of chances. Even Wu Liufang had success on the world cup circuit, even if she never actually made it to a worlds team

  5. There's been a leadership shakeup in the China camp:

    Not sure what this means for the composition of Worlds.. and wonder what happened to the London China girls? Are they still training? They usually keep going till National Champs then retire, right? Hope Yao Jinnan will continue, she still has a lot left in her. Deng Linlin, He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan I think are probably on the way out, it's pretty amazing they lasted another Olympic cycle. I wonder about Sui Lu as well? She's also lasted long, but didn't seem to be having problems with strength, endurance etc.. so I wonder if she will continue.

    1. Peggy spotted that a while ago, but I've just got no idea what it will do so I'm staying quiet ha. It appears to be common knowledge now that DLL and HKX are retiring after National Games. I agree about Sui Lu..she seems remarkably at ease in her gymnastics still. I'd love if she continued...reminds me of Rie Tanaka who's also very light in her gymnastics and she's older..25..but less difficult skills of course.

      The fact that Yao Jinnan has not been scheduled for Cottbus or Doha makes me a little nervous. I'm going to keep her off worlds predictions until I see her down for competition somewhere at least.

    2. Or Tokyo World Cup either. They are all still training. Huang Qiushuang is down to compete at Tokyo. I almost say 'sadly' which sounds so mean but I want more opportunities for the newer seniors who have had barely any.

  6. Oops, sorry for being behind on the times :P Sometimes it's a bit hard to find out what's going on in the Chinese camp! Sui Lu was also from the DLL/HKX era wasn't she? I remember her being inconsistent and thus being passed over for Beijing but she does seem to have improved on that front, plus I do enjoy her classical style. Sui Lu looks more comfortable performing all her skills than Ohashi for that matter, who generally looks like she's about to collapse.

    YJN has a lot left in her really.. she was quite a late addition to the national team. I watched some feature video about her on youtube and she had trained as a child but stopped and later somehow got noticed by Lu Shanzhen and he had to teach her skills from scratch. She really was a decent AAer and China rather needs one now.. or at least her DTY and floor, they don't seem to have a terrible amount of talent there as usual (apart from Li Yiting, but inconsistent..).

    1. It is said that Sui Lu's foot has serious injury(so she could only focus on beam last year) so I don't think she will continue. She seems to study in Shanghai Jiao Tong University this year. (She can study there as she is an Olympic silver medalist and World Gold medalist).
      Btw, the only news about SL and YJN is that they are preparing for Nationals.(last week from Coach Wang's Weibo)

      Here is HHD's beam routine in Cottbus
      What a shame she fell... But what made me disappointed is that she still swing her arms when connecting skills.(so D score is only credited 5.7) That means the whole NT didn't adjust the new rule in winter camp:(
      And someone went to watch the prelims met Coach Xu. She said Dandan did both her beam and bars routine well in PT and both D score are 6.5...and she explained Dandan was too nervous to did well.
      He also asked Coach Wu some news about gymnasts from Hunan(ex. TJX) and she said TJX now has Tkachev+Pak and she is training some transition. She said TJX is good at skills with clear hip.(uh... forgive my poor English :/)

      We can just wait for Nationals to watch Dan's 6.5 routine as her D score on beam was only credited 5.7.

      I know little about Chinese gymnasts as well although I can read Chinese. Most news about them is from some people who are familiar with the gymnasts and they post the news in Baidu. Those news can only seen as rumor but usually it will be confirmed in competition.

    2. Sorry, Coach "X"u

    3. Oh wow, I never heard that! She seemed very strong and healthy.

      Oh that sucks. Maybe it's just her..hopefully. Li Ya was an exert at it when it wasn't needed, so hopefully they can do it. If TJX still has the geinger-Hindorff as well (or is it Jaeger-Hindorff?) then that's awesome. Lol I understand perfectly, nothing wrong with your English.

      I'd love to see vast improvements from Dandan at Nationals alright..

    4. Ah now R., I appreciate all news. I do pick up stuff I missed from you lot! :P Yes it would be great if they were as open as USAG are sometimes. Yes, SL is one of the good stories, from headcase to world champion! Hopefully we'll see more emerge. I really hope YJN can get back to her old self.