Saturday, 21 December 2013

Mish mash

First, here are some of the Chinese juniors I was discussing. Google images doesn't have a clue who they are...yet.

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Luo Huan, master beam and bars technician.

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Liu Tingting, the light and floaty all-arounder.

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Lv Jiaqi, old-school fabulousness. How striking is she?!

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Wang Wei, tumbler extraordinaire.

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Wang Yan, the star.

Copyright- ZhouYouShiJie
Yuan Xiaoyang (on right. Lv Jiaqi on left), diver turned powerful all-arounder.

We will hopefully see some of them at Pac Rims.


Moving on to (somewhat) recent competitors before it gets too hazy in my mind..

Ebee

Back to the AA with a bang.  Really great to see her in action after US Nationals where she just wasn't ready. The amanar looked great in the training video, at Stuttgart and...at Glasgow too. She looked to me to have the height to land it there also, but I'm sure it will only improve. Lovely open double double, some awesome bar work especially the Church to bail but I think she most surprised me on beam. Her routine at Glasgow was just awesome, I don't think she even betrayed a flicker. Interesting composition also. The battle between her and Larisa Iordache was very interesting to see, however, I thought they would be closer. Ebee gets hit for her switch half leap I believe, and she was penalised on bars at Stuttgart for not hitting handstand in her bail, but other than that I thought the scoring was a little harsh on her. Or maybe not, but in comparison to some others.

Fantastic comeback performances and I'm very interested to see where she goes from here. Her bars alone are very valuable, though she is committed to Stanford starting next year. She could always defer..but then maybe conservation for college is better than staying in elite and getting injured.

Larisa Iordache

What a heartbreaker this girl is. The last time she hit in the AA was at Euros. At worlds of course she hadn't returned to training long enough to be consistent. But since then she has fallen more than once, with one fall at each of Stuttgart and Glasgow. Bars has majorly improved, when she doesn't rush through the routine. But consistency has dogged her before the injury that nearly kept her from worlds, and the plandular fasciitis that dogged her Olympics. It's strange, she doesn't seem like an inconsistent gymnast but when you look back at her record..

Anyway, I'm very pleased with how her bars are looking, and it looks like the 6.7 beam if not the 6.9 is well within her reach. I thought her vault was noticeably worse at Glasgow but then she went right after a balk so maybe she just got a bit nervous. All in all, she did very well to beat Ebee at Glasgow and looks to be set on course for a good year. Especially if she can gain more consistency.

Roxana Popa

I was absolutely thrilled when she won Mexican Open AA. And not surprised at all. This girl is on fire with three events out of four, and beam, her weakest, is getting stronger I think. Floor is just fabulous, her second pass is fantastic and her Memmel is surprisingly good. Bars have some technical issues letting them down, they really are so strong otherwise. On the back of that win over not one but two Americans (granted..both of them fell), I had high hopes she could hold her own in Glasgow and fight for bronze. But it wasn't to be when on her first event, vault, she balked and threw a layout yurchenko worth 4.4 instead of her usual dynamic DTY. A very smart decision since she obviously felt something was wrong in her block or approach, but still very sad. Her bars score was I felt criminally low, but I'm no COP expert and apparently there are deductions there and quite a few. Maybe the angle isn't the best for me to tell as well.

So quite an up-and-down few weeks for her. Hopefully beam and bars can be further worked on, and the latter upgraded. I feel she has a lot to show and can make an impact on the world stage as well as Euros.

Asuka Teramoto

That Rudi came out of nowhere at Glasgow! She had been having issues with the DTY and a video was shown of her training a DTT..but a Rudi was totally out of left field. No, it was not super clean but it looked serviceable and a good foundation for further improvement. Sadly, she injured herself on it at the Toyoto Chunichi World Cup. Hopefully it's minor and she's back on track with the vault and her other upgrades, like beam, in time for Pac Rims at least.

Asuka in general is not as clean as the typical Japanese gymnast, but so very impressive nonetheless and her form doesn't stand out as bad on the international stage. Hopefully she can sparkle next year, like she did at her international debut (to the mainstream) in London.

Bailie Key

Is reassuredly human. I begin to think she's a robot of consistent clean routines, but she has counted two falls now this year, beam at Japan Junior and now floor at Mexican Open- though both off-season, of course. Not to mention that she seems to have grown a lot. Nonetheless, she managed to win the Junior AA Mexican Open, remaining undefeated in the AA for the entire year. What a gymnast this girl is. It's thrilling to think of what she will be like as a senior. In particular, I'm looking forward to seeing her bars develop, she's well capable of more, though I do admire her pacing so easy bars from her now isn't a bad thing.

Peyton Ernst

Peyton has been dogged by falls this year, and Mexican Open was no different, with one on beam and a fluke fall on floor. It's always hard to know, especially with the injury rate, who can make a major team but I can't see Peyton on one. She does not stand out enough on any event except maybe beam, but her execution lets her down somewhat.

Maggie Nichols

I see more hope with Maggie though. I'm not sure exactly why...she's cleaner and more solid but still doesn't stand out. But sometimes it's the quiet ones.

Zeng Siqi

Why is she getting assignments. She needs serious conditioning and excellent coaching to be of use again. In fairness to her, she is hindered still by an ankle injury she picked up two years ago. But her beam going downhill to the point that she now can't stay on it at all is a separate issue. Her beam at Mexican Open was not exactly surprising, but so sad. She has a beautiful beam and is a lovely dancer, but I can't help but write her off. 

Edit- I may have forgotten Stuttgart's team competition...

A win for Team China is always going to be fabulous news in my book. Unfortunately, it was very much an A team against a lesser calibre from Russia..minus Aliya Mustafina of course, and she only competed one event. A little bit of 'who can fall less' was in evidence. Yao Jinnan and Tan Jiaxin's falls were heartbreaking though the latter was not surprising. Good news lies in the fact that Huang Huidan and Tan Sixin hit some beautiful routines on beam. Speaking of beam, Aliya Mustafina appears to have been fired up by her new worlds title there, producing yet more steady routines. Which have been changed, again..it's like she gets bored having the same routine for more than a few weeks. BUT I'm really loving the new front aerials..they're very precise and well done. An Onodi is classed as a front element so she was credited for a CR in team qualifications that she didn't do. I hate that..it's happening a bit too often in my book. Thankfully she snuck in a BHS in team finals. This little team showdown highlighted the fact that I think Nanning is going to be a very scrappy team finals since depth is non-existent except for the US, and I don't believe even their team will be really stellar.  


Glasgow was the only competition that I was able to watch from start to finish. And what a splatfest it was. I suppose that is not surprising given the time of year, but it was so disappointing. Ruby Harrold and Raer Theaker coming to grief in front of a (pretty much) home crowd, Asuka on beam when it was all going so well and she looked like she could snatch bronze, Roxana and the troublesome vault, Ebee and the amanar, Larisa on beam...

Bring on next year :) Especially March and April which look to be crammed with competitions...

Who stood out in a good or bad way from the recent competitions? Should Ebee and Larisa have been closer like I thought? How annoying were the Glasgow announcers?

4 comments:

  1. Not a lot of news has come out of Chinese winter training, but Shang Chunsong is the team captain and Huang Huidan is vice-captain.

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    1. I don't think the switch has happened yet but really happy for them :) I hope Yao is relieved rather than anything else, it just wasn't a good fit for her.

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  2. You know, it's kind of funny. At the beginning of the year, everyone thought that Worlds was going to be an epic showdown (at least for a post-Olympics one). But after gymnasts started dropping like flies with injuries, it ended up being a 3-person battle for medals.

    I feel really bad for Larisa. She burst onto the scene in early 2012, got injured right before the Olympics, came back strong early 2013, and then got injured again right before Worlds. I really hope she stays injury free next year. The same thing goes for all Romania's new/upcoming seniors. Oh, and I wish full recovery for Bulimar as well. Romania is really struggling. They need all the available seniors they can get for 2014.
    I find U.S.A. gymnastics kind of odd. They have a large pool of available seniors and a lot of talented upcoming seniors, but they don't stick around for long because they go to college. It would be a shame if Ebee quits elite for college because if you think about it, the U.S. team won't be THAT great next year. Besides, Biles, Ross, and Maroney, who else is there? I'm not so sure that Wieber, Douglas, and Raisman will make a successful comeback, Skinner will get killed on her execution, Ohashi is a big question mark, and Ernst and Nichols don't really stand out much. As for the 2014 new U.S. seniors, I don't know much about them. I heard Amelia Hundley is good, but I'm not that familiar with her. What do you think about the U.S. team, Catherine?
    I really hope China will pull off some kind of miracle in front of their home crowd next year. Wouldn't that be something? China hitting every event? It's probably not going to happen, but one can only hope. I don't know much about Russia, though. All I know is they can't be fully dependent on their seniors from last quad...Mustafina is not invincible...
    Hey, speaking of next year, will you be doing another Worlds and Euros predictions? I remember your previous Worlds prediction was done like a year before the actual competition. Also, I remember a while back you were doing a State of...Russia, U.S., Chine series, but you never got to Romania or other non-Big 4 countries (if you were planning on doing them). Will you be continuing them? Thanks and sorry for a long comment...

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    1. Ha yes, like me. I has my tickets booked last December and the lineup looked so good...

      I do too. I really hope she can get it together. In a way, I prefer Munteanu since her leaps and execution are better...but then Larisa is actually better on bars and is just so energetic and loveable. I have just posted on 2014 seniors actually, it's a bit sparse for most, has to be said. Wait until 2015 and 2016 though..obviously for the US but China have fabulous girls waiting in the wings, quite a few more than my China juniors post discussed.

      No, the US won't be great next year but still better than the rest by quite a bit..I think everyone else will be struggling big-time. Biles, Ross, Dowell and Price are currently healthy. Ernst and Nichols are b-team, Hundley, Maroney and Priessman currently injured/recovering, Ohashi a huge question mark..as are Finnegan and Vega. It will be interesting.

      Hundley- AA. Very weak BB. Strong UB, FX
      Hults- UB/BB specialist. The other two events are fine but not really usable.
      Shchennikova- UB/BB specialist but she's quite sloppy and her extension is the only real good point. Inconsistent.

      Predictions are kind of fun. Yeah I might but a little closer to the time this time. The worlds ones are hilariously wrong BUT I knew Komova would not be in the AA so I got that right at least.

      China won't have the depth next year. I really think they will be successful in 2015/16 but 2014 is too early with only one senior of note, really.

      I did do the Netherlands :) Yeah, but not until after some competitions like the ones in March/April to get a better perspective. I like long comments, fire away!

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