Here's my 2013 'winners'. They're deliberately in a sort of scattered order since that's how they occurred to me, and to keep you on your toes.
Luo Huan, 2013 National Games, TF. No question.
Simone Biles, Vault 2, Antwerp quals The block and form...
Yao Jinnan, Antwerp AA. Honourable mention to Ruby Harrold, Antwerp AA.
I need a better view of Victoria Moors' new floor to hand her this. There's one routine I enjoyed more than Ksenia Afanasyeva at Euros EF and that is Simone Biles at Antwerp AA.
Best bars dismount:
Koko Dobashi This is Jamie Dantzcher's dismount, one of my favourites. Eythora Thorsdottir also did a beautiful double twisting flyaway.
Best bars mount:
Just kidding, nothing to see here. If you have seen something other than a glide kip or jump to high this year, please comment!
Best beam mount:
Natsumi Sasada being a total badass. Honourable mentions to the prettiness of Shang Chunsong's and to Danusia Francis for bringing back the Silivas.
Best beam dismount:
Simone Biles, Nationals Day 1. What is this, a Simone love-in? That was amazing though, the form, technique, height on stuck landing. I also love how the pointed toes and technique of Luo Huan's double pike, above under best beam, make it look stunning.
Laurie Hernandez. Just fantastic. I'd like if she refined her movement just a little without losing any intensity or originality, but even if she never does, I'll always be glued to the screen watching her dance.
See above. Engaging, magnetic sort of music, and original. Suits this firecracker perfectly.
|Source- Getty images/AFP|
Noemi Makra. Just beautiful, stunning work. A joy to watch. And let us not forget, the piked full-in in its pure form. Honourable mention goes to Luo Huan, again.
Andreea Munteanu. So refreshing. Fellow Andreea, Iridon, isn't too shabby in the leaps department either, i.e. also glorious.
Best new skill:
i.e. named this year. The sideways side aerial, named for Silvia Colussi-Pelaez but performed by Danusia Francis at NCAA Nationals. The fact that she unleashed it after hiding it for months, and the moment she chose to do it. Amazing.
Best old skill reinvented:
The Zuchold, done by Ruby Harrold. Yao Jinnan and her Mo are stiff competition, but it was just not clearing the bar enough or hitting enough so... Both of these are linked above under best bars.
Simone Biles fo' sho' BUT a much more dramatic and subsequently heartwarming improvement was Mykayla Skinner between Day 1 and Day 2 of Nationals. Amazing turnaround.
Most elegant gymnast:
Eythora Thorsdottir, who I link to all the time. Getting lazy now..
Well Simone Biles, again. Sorry, but she's just the obvious pick for half of this. Honourable mention to Roxana Popa who has had ups and downs this year, but is definitely blazing a new trail both in Spanish gymnastics and on the European circuit.
McKayla Maroney. What with her list of injuries, surgeries and growing a few inches on top of that, few expected her to be so solid and make such a strong case for herself to go to worlds. She has indeed deteriorated on vault, but still got that crazy yurchenko block, has ADDED difficulty to her floor, and placed 6th in the world at Antwerp prelims in the AA. Not to mention retaining her world vault champion title. Not bad for someone doing yurchenko timers into a pit in March.
Most solid senior:
Kyla "no falls" Ross.
Most solid junior:
Bailie "the machine" Key.
|UCLA - Copyright: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo|
|Maroney - Source: coolspotters.com|
|HKX. Copyright: A’Min, Guo Chen/Xinhua News Agency|
|Huang Huidan (on right). Copyright- rkwy1212|
Songsong isn't having a half-hearted handshake!
|Warrior queen Chantysha. Source- rtlnieuws.nl|
Best floor skill combination:
Shang Chunsong's opening pass of 1.5 into triple full-punchfront. Fantastic.
Best beam skill combination:
Norah Flatley. It's insane, in a good way.
Best bars skill combination:
Ruby Harrold. That is, the Van Leeuwen to immediate Zuchold. I had to disregard the Maloney-Bhardwaj, which was hard.
|Source- Wu Jun|
Best WOW moment:
Victoria Moors sticking the DDLO in Antwerp AA. I witnessed this live...the tension! You could have heard a pin drop in her run and then the explosion, just unbelievable.
Best OMG moment:
Mykayla Skinner landing really good Cheng's off ONE HAND. Shouldn't be possible.
Highlight of the year:
|Source- Ling Jie's weibo|
Um, worlds, since I was there :D There were loads of expected faces missing, no denying that, but some competitions were still deep and there was great gymnastics a-plenty.
|Source - Yves Logghe/AP, Christian Thomassen, Zhou Lei/Xinhua|
Who are your winners? I'd love to see other opinions. If you feel like answering each category, go for it!