Sunday 22 December 2013

The New Girls

I just updated this again. Time for a more indepth look at the new girls turning senior in a little over a week.

Polina Schennikova USA
Amelia Hundley USA
Veronica Hults USA
Heaven Latimer CANADA
Brianna Clark CANADA
Aleeza Yu CANADA
Maria Kharenkova RUSSIA
Daria Spiridonova RUSSIA
Viktoria Kuzmina  RUSSIA
Yevgeniya Zhukova RUSSIA
Kristina Levshina RUSSIA
Alexandra Yazydzhyan RUSSIA
Darya Kloptsova UKRAINE
Tea Ugrin ITALY
Enus Mariani ITALY
Lara Mori ITALY
Martina Rizzelli ITALY
Emma Larsson SWEDEN
Louise Vanhille FRANCE 
Claire Martin FRANCE
Dayana Hryhoryeva BELARUS
Silvia Zarzu ROMANIA
Diana Teodoru ROMANIA 
Paula Tudorache ROMANIA
Miriam Arabisoiu ROMANIA
Andreea Munteanu ROMANIA
Ioana Nicoara ROMANIA
Eythora Thorsdottir NETHERLANDS
Mariana Oliveira BRAZIL
Julie Kim BRAZIL
Alexandra Eade AUSTRALIA
Yuki Uchiyama JAPAN
Wang Wei CHINA
Chen Siyi CHINA
Zhu Siyan CHINA
Xie Yufen CHINA

First of all, it's not near as exciting a bunch as the 2015 and 2016 girls. But there's some real gems nonetheless. I have to mention that Enus Mariani, the 2012 Euros junior AA champion whose debut has been dealing with injury and her future in the sport is unclear as of yet.

My favourite of the bunch (big surprise here) is Eythora Thorsdottir, the Dutch Icelandic-born Soviet-reborn.

The best floor worker is either Wang Wei or Andreea Munteanu. Special mentions go to Silvia Zarzu, Yuki Uchiyama,Mariana Oliveira, Maria Kharenkova and Amelia Hundley. And Emma Larsson.

This lot have a few interesting bars routines. Louise Vanhille shows potential, as do Martina Rizzelli, Nica Hults and Amelia Hundley. Nobody to make you go wow. It's a weak year for China with no bars queens amongst them and Viktoria Kuzmina does not look up to much anymore.

Beam is a runaway victory for Andreea Munteanu. Eythora wins the pretty award with her originality, Nica Hults has some lovely work also and Maria Kharenkova is solid.

Vault belongs to Mariana Oliveira so far anyway. There's a few other DTY's, but this is the best and the most upgrade-able looking.

Dance elements wise - Andreea Munteanu and Julie Kim have stunning leaps. Heaven Latimer is the current turn queen.

Russia and China are getting one new standout senior each. Romania should be able to eke more out of Silvia Zarzu and the others and net themselves much-needed promising new seniors. An off year for the USA surprisingly- Polina Shchennikova doesn't appear to have much to offer, Amelia Hundley is likely to be injured (she is at the moment) and Nica Hults is not really an all-arounder or a stand-out, though her bars and beam could be very useful. I'm hoping Eythora Thorsdottir will work well with Chantysha Netteb when the latter recovers, that Italy's new kids will rejuvenate their programme (and that Enus will be fine) and that Yuki Uchiyama continues to hold her own amongst her older compatriots.

Who do you like the look of? Who's your favourite?


  1. Hmm...2014 doesn't look that amazing TBH.

    I hope Enus gets well. She was great 2012 and Italy really needs a great UB worker and AAer. Wang Wei will be important to the Chinese since they desperately need a good VT and FX worker and Munteanu can be a superb AAer if she improves her D-score on UB and upgrades VT. I feel like everyone was talking about Maria Kharenkova after 2012 Junior Euros but hasn't proved herself to be more than a BB/FX specialist. Who are the other Russian juniors??? Daria Spiridonova and Yevgeniya Zhukova I mean. Also for Romania, Bianca retired, and there is also Diana Teodoru, Paula Tudorache, and Miriam Aribasoiu (I think). I hope Polina resolves her consistency/form issues b/c it's a shame to let all that grace go to waste...

    1. D'oh, I added in Romanian 2016 babies and forgot those 3..thanks!

      Enus is brilliant. Hoping for a fantastic recovery. Munteanu has improved on UB for sure compared to last year...but inconsistent still. Kharenkova has stagnated as an all-arounder, much like Maria Bondareva has. Kharenkova's bars have gotten weaker.

      Spiridonova is B or C team, haven't heard much about her at all in a good while. Likewise Zhukova..I think she's better, but still. Very few videos of her on youtube, but I believe she is BB/FX sorta. I confuse her with Ekaterina Sokova still, who is promising AA I think.

      Shchennikova's baby sister Alyona looks more promising at this stage, which is sad. Extension is just not enough.

  2. I totally forgot that Kuzmina was 2014. I kept thinking she was 2015, like Bondereva. Kharenkova will not be an AAer unless she massively improves vault and bars, but if she can find some consistency on beam she'll already be ahead of Rodionova. Not a good sign that Kharenkova's bars routines from 2013 are cleaner and less laboured than Kuzmina's, though they are less difficult. Still, not bad.. floor and beam are def useful events for the Russian team still.

    Nanning looks like it might be a rather scrappy Worlds. Only the US has depth, and even then of their new seniors, Schennikova is not great, Hundley is likely to be broken and Hults has consistency issues. Plus we won't know what injuries may come up, who decides to go to college instead etc. One thing I definitely learnt is how hard it is to predict how Worlds will turn out at the start of the new year!

    I'm most excited about Munteanu. Romania really needs some more depth and she's come along nicely and has been reasonably consistent.. something Iordache is still learning, sigh. Also really excited about Wang Wei, and Louise Vanhille has nice swing on bars though pretty scrappy form otherwise, still it would be nice to see France regain some of the ground they've lost in the last two quads.

    1. That's also because Kuzmina is super tiny. I think it would be almost funny if age suspicion fell on her next year as a break from the usual suspects. Russians love their Pak shapes..hers is like a circle, though it looks cool. I expected she would be hitting bars and beam at least. Maybe she can improve.

      Nanning, yup. I think the team final will be a repeat of Rotterdam in 'who can fall the least' since nobody has the depth, even the US won't have 6 amazing girls.

      I LOVE Munteanu. Such a beautiful gymnast...those leaps...My worry about her is that she looks frail, and she has proved that by racking up quite a few injuries/issues already.

      Yeah, Louise' form isn't brilliant. When there was a fuss about her bars earlier this year I was a bit confused, but the basics and swing are good and the French have a rep on bars for a good reason, so hopefully she can tighten her form.

    2. Another reason why I think this whole fuss over China is ridiculous. The Russian juniors turning senior this year and next are mostly tiny. Even Rodionova, and Demy before her were also very slight. Ditto some of the Romanian juniors too, though Munteanu's really shot up and looks so Porgras-ish from a distance.. Yeah I definitely think injury might be her issue. She has that same body type as Komova and Porgras that isn't the most sturdy, and it doesn't help that Romania is low on depth and might not be able to afford to rest her enough.

      Sometimes I wish someone else had Shelgunova's head game. She actually seems reasonably consistent and reliable, though her form is really quite bad. Still she's a nice backup and she actually has a greater chance of staying on the beam, arguably slightly more important than being a pretty beam worker. Hoping Vika can come back.. and Afan too, after surgery. I wonder what the deal is with Nabs. 19/20 is not really all that old to retire and certainly she is getting more opportunities now...

    3. Only China, NK, and um Cuba (presumably?) are able, if they so wish, to doctor ages..I think. Although Russia seem to be regressing in a way and getting increasingly shady/Soviet, so who knows.

      Shelgunova seems to be come in for a lot of dislike, which makes me root for her more! A recent beam from her was really great actually. Yeah I'm a bit confused? I was thinking maybe she means she's going to retire next year, as in, at the end? It's an odd time to pick.

  3. I agree 2014 girls aren't as impressive as their younger up and coming competitors but Nanning could still be amazing I think.

    If the Russians get over their politics and do a little more conditioning with the girls they have and add Maria Karenkova or Shelgunova even (She can improve a little.) They will be a good team with the right girls.If they are healthy Aliya and Vika are their foundation.

    The US will be the same they will need just the right girls to compliment each other and alot of the girls that took some time off will hopefully be back i.e. Sarah Finnegan, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Weiber. They will have the advantage of a larger talent pool but I'm unsure if their new seniors will be up to par with the current ones. Nica Hults isn't impressive enough all around. She should have had upgrades preparing her for next year this season. Amelia has potential and could possibly make a team if healthy. Polina I do not believe will have any impact without some SERIOUS improvements. I think her best option would be to try to be a bars/beam specialist next year and focus on those events then build to floor.

    I do not see the Chinese having a major impact in Nanning which is unfortunate since they will be home.Their current seniors look so tired and often make you wonder if they can even get through certain routines. If they remain consistent then I can see Huang Huidan and Tan Sixin making the Nanning team plus Wang Wei who will have an impact but I'm unsure who else would be included and if they can make a cohesive team.

    Now I think Romania is looking good for 2014, they will be the wildcard.I am most excited about them! They will have Diana, Larissa, Andreaa, and Silvia Zarzu which is a pretty good set of gymnasts. Now you might think that isn't enough for a team but remember its 3 up 3 count. If they can bring two girls like Paula Tudorache and Steffie Stanila then they can still have an impact if they are consistent because they can always use the same girls and the others will still get experience in qualification.

    Just some thoughts, looking forward to 2014!!

    1. I don't think anyone has the depth for Nanning's team final to be amazing really. Standout gymnasts there will be a-plenty but definite gaps and lack of depth will be apparent.

      Ah Russia! I'm curious about the return of Komova, Afan (recently underwent a second surgery as the first didn't work), Grishina and Paseka. For sure they are desperately needed. I'd expect a team of those 4 if healthy plus Mustafina and Kharenkova. It would be nice if Rodionenkos retired...the money and the facilities are fine, the coaching system seems okay- to my knowledge. Just the two cretins at the top, or at least, they are the major issue as well as lack of depth.

      Shelgunova has a very valuable beam I think, and could maybe come in useful elsewhere. She has recurring back issues, and that could well be a factor in her form. She seems solid and deserving of an opportunity at least at Euros.

      Nope, China are reliant on their 2015,2016 girls. I'd imagine the team will be SCS, YJN, HHD, TSX, WW and TJX

      VT- TJX, YJN, WW
      FX- YJN, SCS, WW
      BB- 3 of HHD, TSX, YJN, SCS

      Romania are looking better than anticipated. Especially if Sandra does actually stick around. A team of Izbasa, Iordache, Bulimar, Munteanu, Stanila and the other team member/alternates being chosen from Teodoru/Tudorache/Ocalisan/Arabisoiu isn't terrible. It's just that that's ALL they have and injuries and retirements seem to plague them.

    2. Agree about Rodionenkos needing to go, but it feels like lack of depth is a bigger issue at this point.

      For all teams, it's probably very premature to make any predictions about Nanning. Whether Komova, Afan, Grishina, and Paseka can return, and in what state they'll be in. Whether SCS and the rest of the Chinese team can recuperate and make the necessary upgrades. Whether Sandra will keep competing, and whether Romania can get 3 14+ UB scores.

      In China, it's currently winter training with a new coach and new training methods, Round Lake and Deva are probably undergoing some pretty big changes too.

    3. Both big issues, yup. I'd imagine most of those 4 will be back, in some form. Even if they only concentrated on pet events.

      China won't have the huge pressure and bad timing (as far as worlds are concerned) of the NG. I think the current crop will be okay. Not magnificent maybe but even Stuttgart off-season, there was a good bit of promise.

      HYB hopefully has proper pacing and appropriate resting to avoid injuries at the top of his priorities list, as well as adding difficulty.

    4. Unfortunately for Team China, the Asian Games are a few weeks before Worlds.

    5. Very true, I don't like the timing of it but the pressure is a lot less and the competition won't be that stiff.

    6. Given that Asian Games are in Korea this year and Worlds are in China, I think China might send a B-Team to Asian Games - they seem to work very hard at impressing home crowds. I'm not sure though!

    7. China may not have enough seniors for an A-team and a B-team in 2014. There's bound to be some overlap between the World and Asian Games teams.

  4. Catherine! Have you seen Rowena Needham's bars? She's GB, really cool transition in the first couple of seconds though whatever mount she used wasn't shown.

    I'm loving the British innovation on bars and am so excited about their upcoming seniors in 2015/2016.. Gabby Jupp back hopefully, Catherine Lyons, Ellie Downie, Amy Tinkler, Tyesha Mattis, Georgia Mae-Fenton, Teal Grindle.. and a good number of them look like they have AA potential.

    1. I know I saw a link before but just watched there. Same gym as Rhian Pugh who had German giants too, and a Zuchold. They look a little different than how I picture them but they're so rare. Awesome though! She seems quite springy also, I'd love to see those bars cleaned up and polished. GB are exciting. How old is she? I can't find a year for her.

      I think GB juniors have a great shot of winning or at least beating one of Russia and Romania at Euros TF next year. Interesting mix. Looking forward to Jupp's return too, she's aiming for bars and beam at Commonwealth.

    2. I can't tell for sure but she seems like she's born 2001. Same gym as Claudia Fragapane too, who could be useful for team situations on FX/VT though probably not a mainstay of the team. GB's got lots of powerful girls coming up with some lovely elegant ones with great flexibility in the mix too, a nice combination. I love that Beth's legacy of awesome innovation on bars is continuing!!

    3. Claudia's leaps are bad too, would love if Rowena's improved. Claudia's floor though is great, love it.

      Yes, it's a great mix.

  5. my favourite?I have three:andreea Munteanu,Maria Kharenkova and Amelia Hundley.i also like Enus Mariani because i love her style.Where is Ioana Nicoara?she is also a new senior for 2014.

    1. Romanians are popping up out of the woodwork! It's not an exhaustive list, but I stuck her in.

    2. oki.i like your blog and thanks for this is very useful :)

    3. Thanks and no problem. The main list linked at the top has had about 60 edits. I threw in two more Russians as well.

    4. can I help you? I have a list with all new seniors in 2014

    5. Who's missing? It depends, I don't want it to be fully fully absolutely everyone because I think it takes away from it. As in, adding 50 more or something.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this! I would love to get my little one enrolled in tumbling classes in Las Vegas, NV... Are you familiar with these classes at all:

  7. Catherine, have you ever seen this girl performing on floor:

    1. AMAZING !!! She's Lorrane dos Santos from Brazil (turn senior this year) incredible floor worker.