Monday, 26 August 2013

Bits and pieces

Anna Dementyeva has retired. It's been known for a while that she was taking a break from the gym and considering retirement and now the worst has been confirmed. She's at her home gym training youngsters. This has followed on quickly from the retirement of fellow gymnast of glorious lines and dance- Yulia Belokobylskaya. Interestingly, with the utter disaster Russia are having forming an Antwerp team at the moment, she may have gotten another shot at glory, which looked so unlikely just a few weeks ago. At least she went out on a relative high of a great team performance at Universiade, with some spectacular individual routines of her own.

Catherine Lyons and Georgia Mae Fenton will be joining Laurie Hernandez and Bailie Key at the Japan Junior. These two young Brits have a LOT of elegance, fabulous lines and are masters of corner dance so it should be very interesting. I know one from China but that hasn't been fully confirmed yet, and Russia and Romania are yet to announce. There doesn't seem to be an age restriction, so girls from 1998-2000 are elegible. This means we could be seeing two of Andreea Munteanu, Andreea Iridon, Silvia Zarzu and Asiana Peng and two of Maria Bondareva, Seda Tutkhalyan, Ekaterina Sokova, Viktoria Kuzmina, Anastasia Dmitrieva and Maria Kharenkova. Madalina Blendea would be unlikely due to her recent injury. Japan, (possibility- Yuki Uchiyama) Australia, (possibilities- Alexandra Eade, Darcy Norman) Canada, (possibilities- Heaven Latimer if healthy, Shallon Olsen) France (possibilities- Louise Vanhille, Claire Martin) and Germany (possibilities- Kim Janas, Tabea Alt) amongst others, plan to send gymnasts to this. That is a LOT of talent and we could see a potentially much deeper fight for the AA title than at Antwerp with how things are panning out! This meet takes place September 22-25th and is already very promising with just two delegations announced.

There's a lot of noise coming out of Russia regarding Anastasia Grishina and Viktoria Komova. I don't think we have enough information to accurately say what's going on, and the person spouting it is unreliable at best. Let's just say I'll hold off predicting the fourth member (and third, because that may not be that secure) until she walks into the arena at prelims. The good news is that Viktoria Komova has recommenced training! The bad news is that her illness will almost certainly have affected her weight and therefore strength. Too early to fully write her in or out, she may be cleared to just do bars in the end even. As for Grishina, her refusal to do beam in team finals last year has damned her as far as the news that she is faking a back injury (in Valentina Rodionenko's views, not her own coaches) is concerned. Maybe she is being spurred on to fight for her place. Maybe they are done giving her chances. Impossible to know.

Here let junior Lauren Navarro demonstrate the difference the crackdown on messy hair in USAG has made!

Classics

Screenshot- source- USAG youtube video
 Nationals
Screenshot- source- USAG youtube video

It doesn't get more dramatic than that! Her loose bun at Classics was bigger than her head and moved a serious amount. Impressive work on the Nationals bun. Hair isn't something I despaired over, but I am liking the difference. That said, McKayla Maroney's hair looks like a giant snail and really unsecure- probably best off going the old route with hers.

And more screenshots, these are NastiaFan's this time and they help to explain why Peyton Ernst has issues with her beam dismount (fell at Tokyo, large steps the rest of the time). From what I gathered from the discussion, she's not setting the skill correctly, she's whipping into it and killing the momentum, so it's much harder for her to get it around. The second screenshot is Abigail Milliet who is setting up for the exact same skill, double pike, the right way..and lands totally upright with just a very small step.

Peyton. NastiaFan- sourced from NBC footage
Abigail. NastiaFan- sourced from NBC footage
That's a huge difference in angle. Here's more technical information, this time on why men tend to be a lot cleaner than women at twisting which made a refreshing amount of sense.

I'm not sure if I said this already, but spin queen Gabriella Douglas of Canada is out of worlds contention with an injury. It appears that Jade Barbosa has not been as firmly ruled out as previously thought and is still in the running. Larisa Iordache seems to be in treatment and won't appear at Interland but there's a good bit of time left.

Noel Van Klaveren won the first Dutch trials for the worlds team. She managed this despite falling on beam on a layout and on her bars dismount. She also crashed a new upgrade, a 1.5 tsuk on vault but it was her solid DTY that counted for her AA score. Chantysha Netteb unfortunately crashed her double pike beam dismount to her head..again! There's no way she should keep training that. She's fine, but still..that dismount is just not for her, at least not yet. She downgraded her DTY to a 1.5 yurchenko and placed second in the AA. Celine van Gerner will not compete at worlds so wasn't there. Vera van Pol was third. The girls will compete again at Interland which is their second trial, this meet starts on the 31st and the nominative registration list is here.

16 comments:

  1. Very nice article Catherine!It's very unfortunate that Demy has retired. Her gymnastics was lovely. She would have been a great beam specialist. I still feel very bad for Grishina getting this much hate from Valentina and co. I am very happy that Vika has resumed training.

    I am very excited for Laurie and Bailie at the Japan Cup. Also, excited to see Sandra and Diana at Interland! Diana told me yesterday that she had left for Interland! So exciting!

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    1. Grishina is at the selection camp, and so is Shelgunova who was supposed to be ruled out with elbow injury. Vika is not there I believe, but if she's healthy she'll get a free pass onto the team anyway. This team should be interesting to say the least!

      YES sooo excited. What will they score Laurie's floor?? Yes, I hope she has upgrades too. Diana has good english, Larisa I think does not really..judging by their super-cute Doha interview where Diana translated for Larisa..aww.

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    2. Yes, I heard about selection camp! Afan's injury is unfortunate. Vika and Afan shouldn't be able to make the team since they weren't at camp according to rules, right? If they are ready, they will probably be given free passes like you said though.

      Yes, it will be very interesting. Her choreo is a bit out there, but she can dance. It should score well, since Gabby and Aly's terrible choreo was rewarded. Diana's English is very good because she has family in the US. Larisa knows very simple English.

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    3. There's more speculation now judging by the photo of her bandage and Semenova's own comments that they were just cleaning it out, from old issues with ankle spurs. Positivity! I don't know if they do have set rules.

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  2. Noooo...poor Dementyeva:( So elegant but so inconsistent! Besides the Ukrainians, I have never seen a gymnast who had basically everything (lines, difficulty, elegance) but could never perform under pressure.

    I think Russia is seriously lacking depth this year. Their new seniors aren't prepared yet, and they can't afford to lose any gymnast to an injury. Besides Mustafina, Afanasyeva, Nabieva, Grishina, Paseka, and Komova, they don't have anyone. Grishina is injured, Komova is iffy, and they can't take Paseka because not every gymnast can perform vault at this Worlds.

    Don't you think Rodionenko was a little too harsh towards Grishina? I mean if she's injured, why push? As for the Olympics, she didn't perform beam because she knew she wasn't mentally ready. Plus, 2012 was her first year as senior. Why so much hate?

    Do you know anything about Iordache's injury? Major? Minor?

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    1. They do have Shelgunova and Sosnitskaya. I don't think they're ready yet but I do believe both are valuable for the future.

      Yes. Sure, there are cultural differences but it doesn't change the fact that Valentina is a walking weapon, and nobody deserves to be blasted in the press like that..and a teenage girl at that. I can see why she would be infuriating IF she is faking, that coupled with refusing to do beam last year. But we don't need to know about it. And all the more reason why these girls need proper pacing and sports therapists. For every super strong and solid Mustafina there are Komovas and Grishinas!

      No, nothing more has been said.

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  3. The writing has been on the wall for Demy's retirement, unfortunately. It's such a pity that she never really got it together for competition. Great news that Komova is back training, still crossing fingers she will be able to make Worlds as that will really solve the problems, and I'd love to see how she is doing after being away from competition for so long. I love Nabs but she is a bit of a waste of space at an event-only Worlds. If it was a team Worlds I think she is fine as she's less likely to headcase than Grishina but even if she hits she can't make EFs anyway. V Rodionenko really needs to just shut up.

    The juniors turning senior over the next few years are really exciting. I love the amount of talent we're seeing from non Big 4 countries and how gloriously classical and clean a number of them are. Sadly China does seem in a bit of a decline, hopefully they can find a couple of Cheng Fei-esque juniors quickly. It's interesting how some of their good gymnasts recently were actually late starters within the Chinese team, e.g. Yao Jinnan had quit as a child and had to be taught everything from scratch in the national team, Deng Linlin was never an outstanding junior and was barely scraping into the national team, and Cheng Fei herself didn't join the national team very early either and was on the fringes of things. Makes you wonder whether China's system for sorting children when they are young is not working out well with the nature of gymnastics these days.

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    1. Unfortunately, in a recent news segment, Yao revealed that she worries over her abilities as a team leader because of her late addition to the national team :( She's not thrilled with all of the old guard retiring, but maybe one or two will stay on for a little bit.

      I do think China have powerful girls in the mix all the same. Tan Jiaxin, now she seems a candidate for an amanar. Shang Chunsong looks like she could belt out stronger vaults and tumbles when she grows a bit, she's already very powerful and both girls have very good endurance. Yuan Xiaoyang shows promise, Wang Yan shows a LOT of promise and already has very strong vaults (Rudi, DTT) and Liu Tingting seems powerful also.

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    2. I did notice that in videos I watched of Nationals, a lot of the girls were doing handspring/Tsuk entry vaults rather than Yurchenko. Maybe this is the strategy, since they haven't had many who've been able to crank out Amanars consistently and the 5.8 DTY D-score is a bit low. With Tsuk entry they *might* be able to get up to the low 6s in D scores.

      Yeah, I also think it might be a personaity thing, as she seems quite shy and reserved. Shang is definitely impressive especially given how tiny she is right now! I'll have to go look some of these girls up, it's a bit hard to find videos from the Chinese camp sometimes.

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    3. Piibunina on youtube is the major resource for videos. Wang Yan is 1999 born and Liu Tingting is 2000. Lv Jiaqi, Mei Jie, Luo Huan and Fan Yilin are most of the rest of the super promising juniors but are not particularly powerful. Wang Yan can swing bars too, has 6.7 d-score on beam..all hail Potato! (That is her nickname).

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  4. wow I didn't know so many great countries send gymnasts to junior japan! is there a list somewhere of countries/participants.. I'm very excited to see how Bailie and Laurie stack up against what could be some of the main competition at 2015 worlds! Especially hoping to see Kim Janas, Maria Kharenkova, and both Andreeas!

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    1. That's all I have heard so far regarding gymnasts going. Hopefully it will be released soon. Other countries participating are Hong Kong and Uzbekistan. I think I'm missing one or two but that's the vast majority.

      Yes, it really could be better than YOG since there's a much broader range of birth years allowed, and twice the number of participants. I'm not very sure about Andreea Munteanu, she had hand surgery recently. I think she'd be more of a prospect than Madalina Blendea though, who is also injured.

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  5. Nice seeing the upcoming juniors.

    Eh, I am tired of Russia despite me cheering for them. There is too much drama going on. I don't think Grishina was faking her injury, she is sure getting torn apart by Valentina to the press, the same Valentina who was praising her about "the gymnast to watch out for" and trashing Aliya before Olympics. I just think we should ignore her, she just seems to want to put down the gymnasts, I couldn't work like that. Russia can't afford more retirements especially since they lost 2 this year.

    Russia lacks depth in seniors and not sure how many juniors will survive and do well in seniors. With how Valentina behaves at times, parents probably avoid sending their kids to do gymnastics and choose some other sport.

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    1. It is a bit draining! Seniors wise I see promise in Sosnitskaya and Shelgunova. Maybe not as all-arounders, but valuable. Next year they get Kuzmina and Kharenkova who need work to be real all-around threats. Meh, it doesn't look very rosy until 2015 really.

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  6. Another interesting tidbit that's just surfaced
    A gif of Yao doing a Mo without any support! (though apparently she has twisted her ankle D:)
    http://ww4.sinaimg.cn/bmiddle/9d9bf83djw1e81ga22jrjg20c30924qs.gif
    Also, Shang has a new bars routine (7.0 difficulty!)
    Shang + pak
    Shapo + hip circle 1/2
    Lin + Ling + Jaeger
    Tkatchev + Gienger
    tsukahara dismount
    Difficulty up to 7.0

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    1. I saw the gif, but I've been away and haven't seen the video- it's from a news segment. So excited about the Mo salto! Also Shang having more upgrades, and apparently her shap looks better. 7.0 makes her a threat in the AA even though she only has an FTY. That required hitting 4/4 of course, but still..super exciting. 7.0, 6.6, 6.1, 5.0...that's big.

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