Saturday, 11 January 2014

Quick round-up

Happy (late) New Year!

It appears that Aliya Mustafina might take a few months break from gymnastics. NOT confirmed, but a bit more than a baseless rumour at this stage. Very interesting if she does...it could re-energise a fairly lacklustre programme and boot them back into shape. Of course, time to rest and heal could be very beneficial to her. I'd wonder how hard it would be to get back into competitive shape though. I'd like to see her take Euros off at least and focus on worlds. Russia really rely on her quite a lot and being forced not to can only be a good thing in the end, I think.


Mattie Larson has retired. She was injured last season. It's always sad to see a gymnast retire prematurely, especially one who has contributed such beautiful work and never really fulfilled her full potential. But once she's happy, that's the main thing. Mattie will unfortunately always have that disastrous 2010 floor as her legacy, but here's some wonderful routines that come to mind when I think of her.


2008 WOGA Classic Beam

Wonderful lines, great dancer, superb form in her tumbling- especially the textbook triple twist. What a talent.


Speaking of WOGA Classic, the international elite roster has been partially released, here. Joining Yuan Xiaoyang will be Xie Yufen and Lv Jiaqi. Xie Yufen is a largely untested, fairly consistent new senior. The other two are 2015 and 2016 seniors respectively. I have videos of the two juniors in a previous post, and all 3 exist on youtube. I don't know about other names to be announced though...GB should be interesting, maybe Catherine Lyons can join Amy? Notice no Katelyn Ohashi listed although I'd be really surprised if she was.


The roster for the American Cup has been announced. Brilliant lineup, all of the girls placed in the top 12 at Antwerp. Personally I'd like to see Andreea Munteanu tested..Larisa Iordache has competed so much. Substitutions are more than likely however. Really looking forward to seeing what Simone Biles has up her sleeve, should be a good competition. The inclusion of Carlotta Ferlito gives me some cause for alarm, I really hope there is no ugly scenes or nastiness, or NBC manufactured drama...there's been enough fuss.


Routine of the week, watch the first transition closely:



Sarah Finnegan returns from the depths of mystery injured gymnasts! Watch all of her routines here. Brenna Dowell's and Maddie Desch' are also there. Some great work from this trio, and interesting stuff...Sarah for instance is chanelling Ruby Harrold and Brenna is echoing Beth Tweddle. GB are nothing if not innovative and creative. Great to see Sarah looking fit and I have hopes Brenna can clean her shiny new Ezhova, since she cleaned up on bars bigtime last year.

Danusia Francis further cements her legendary status at UCLA. Amazing. I LOVE sideways work so much...


Bridget Sloan is awesome.

47 comments:

  1. I think Lv Jiaqi is senior in 2016

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    1. She is indeed. Thank you...I'll blame that on momentary brain lapse as I have her correct everywhere else :)

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  2. Happy late New Year to you, too!

    If the rumor is true, I agree that Aliya should take some time off. She can't carry the Russian team forever. At Worlds, she definitely looked slower and overworked. Plus, I think it would be great to shift focus from Aliya and see Grishina, Vika (hopefully), Shelgunova, Kharenkova, and maybe Afan in 2014.

    Oh...poor Mattie. It's such a shame that she was never picked for another team after the 2010 disaster because she was one of the most artistic gymnasts from the last quad.

    Sorry for asking, but can you please tell me how SCAM works? I heard gymnasts get "invited" but how do we know who gets invited? The roster only consists of gymnasts from the last World Championships. It would be nice to see other gymnasts prove themselves like Munteanu. Plus, I think the US should give other gymnasts practice instead of just focusing on Biles and Ross. As for Ferlito and Ferrari, I think they're definitely going to decline the offer after what happened at Worlds. Actually, I hope they do because the last thing we need is NBC creating more unnecessary drama...

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    1. It's now a world cup event, and operates in the same way as others its division. First, the top 8 from worlds AA are invited. Then the next 4 if places remain. After that it opens to the top 4 teams from the last team final- London. It's FIG and not USAG personally who control invites.

      This lot are confirmed so as far as we know, these are the 8 that will compete. That doesn't mean substitutions won't happen, they usually do. This year it is a good practice for Pac Rims for elegible and that comp is in a similar timezone so good practice for that reason too. I would like to see some new faces tested but I'm very happy with the lineup all the same.

      Yeah, Mattie's retirement is such a shame. And very curious to see how Russia are shaping up.

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    2. If that's the case then how did Gabby Jupp and Victoria Moors go last year? Neither of them were in top 4 teams in London ... does it open to any TF team?

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    3. I know that's how they do the first '16' anyway, it must open to other teams after that. This year sees less rejections than normal.

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  3. Can you please change the red background I can't read or see anything. Thanks.

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    1. Huh? Are you windows or? The red is only a border, every post and the sidebar are on a white background.

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    2. Although you reminded me I was fed up of it, so I changed it. I hope this is better. I only see it when commenting myself and I use Linux and windows phone so it's hard to know.

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    3. This background seems soft than the previous red : )

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  4. I'm a huge Aliya fan and I would LOVE her to take a break. She really didn't have one post-London, and her lead up to London was probably more stressful than most, with racing against the clock to rehab her knee and get her skills and routines back. In the long run it will do her good, and Russia can go give some of the rest experience so they don't have a mental freakout like Grishina. I'd be happy to see more of Shelgunova, who had a non-existent first year as a senior and who could be useful in a team situation, Sosnitskaya (ditto), Kharenkova of course and the other new seniors too. Rodionova has nice form but is pretty useless on any event other than beam. Hopefully Vika can come back and pull her weight, and Paseka, Grishina and Afan by Worlds. They really don't need to pull out all the stops for Euros and even this Worlds is likely to be a bit patchy.

    Any idea why Mattie retired? From the gymnastike interview with Valorie Kondos-Field before the season started, it sounded like she was planning to go on with the season... she really did have lovely form and really connected with the crowd etc on floor. 2010 Worlds seems to have been the end for her, she was never the same and even her NCAA career wasn't great. What a pity.

    Eh, I'm never very excited about SCAM. Too much overscoring, NBC's super annoying commentators, and the international field is probably gonna change... I'd probably be more interested if it was Munteanu than Larisa.

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    1. Yeah, Sosnitskaya and Shelgunova were barely used, though the latter seems to pick up injuries a lot. Her last beam routine was really quite nice and she seems steady. Euros could be a bit dodgy for everyone so maybe it will even out.

      Nope. She's supposed to have fully physically healthy, I'd imagine a combination of not really being able to enjoy her college gymnastics experience due to mental anxiety- a vicious circle sort of. Picking up injuries wouldn't help either, make her more fearful maybe. Such a shame.

      Yeah but it is a really nice lineup. It will probably change though..

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    2. The Couch Gymnast has a fresh story on the Italian Federation, it seems Ferlito plans to compete at the American Cup. Ferrari also plans to compete at other World Cup events, but they didn't say whether or not that includes the American Cup.

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    3. Ferrari said before about the American Cup, or her coach did. Either way she's down as competing so we'll see but I would be surprised if she doesn't show..she competes a lot!

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  5. Aliya's break is more than deserved and I think she really needs it. But, if it's true, I'm a bit worried that the Russian team will rely heavily on Vika this year. Nabieva and Dementyeva retired (what a shame), Paseka has never been really useful in my opinion (and I suspect she will retire soon), Afan needs to fully recover from her surgery, Grishi is hated by stupid Rodionenkos and Rodionova seems nothing special to me. Add the fact she is the best on the team, together with Aliya, and hasn't competed for a long time, and you'll see it's a real risk. I really hope I'm wrong, and that Aliya's absence will let the others get experience and grow as competitors. I also hope to see Shelgunova and Kharenkova do well, they are very talented, especially Maria, even though not as good as Aliya and Vika ( don't get me wrong, they are really good, but at their age Aliya and Viktoria were better and more complete. They have still time to improve, obviously).

    I think Munteanu should to compete at the American Cup, rather than Iordache. She needs experience and Larisa needs some rest too, she hasn't had a break all the year like Mustafina.

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    1. The news about Vika is that she has grown and has to relearn skills. You can see the video here http://vk.com/video114138887_167042290?og=1

      I think Russia have an uphill battle on their hands with Euros, agreed. Hopefully the new seniors other mostly ignored seniors can step up their game.

      Exactly, it would be great for Munteanu!

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    2. Perhaps GB will be contending for a top spot in Team Final at Europeans this year? Romanians and Russians seem to be their weakest ever, but GB seems to be a very complete team these days.

      Catherine, will you be putting together a predictions page for Euros or Worlds? I know you did so very early for this past worlds because you planned to attend it, but I love reading the crazy fan comments. I would love for you to do more predictions columns very early on.

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    3. I think GB definitely will amongst the juniors but not sure about seniors..maybe, but there's holes in a senior team..especially a Gabby Jupp sized one, since she's aiming for Commonwealth Games a few months later and even then is not going to do AA.

      Ha yes I will, they are a lot of fun to compile. Maybe Wednesday for one at least.

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    4. I had already seen the video on YouTube and I found she said these words in an interview for lifenews.ru: "This my return in great sport is very difficult, during the recovery phase my body has definitely changed, I've grown a lot in height and I have 10 kg more than before. It's very difficult of course, all my gymnastics starts from scratch. Some new little girls have arrived here in Round Lake and I'm training with them; the fact is that I learn a bit quicker than them as I have more experience, but let's say we are at the same level".
      The funny thing is that she has been so tiny and skinny for such a long time, no one could have thought she would have become like that. And now she is almost as tall as her mother, looking like Vera even more than before. She looks strong and healthy and I hope this will be the year for her. I also hope her growth is now complete, because she seems to have grown non-stop since early 2011!

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    5. Yeah, and it's a lot to adjust to. Hopefully she manages it! She was definitely too frail before but I'm concerned about her bars, adjustment could be very difficult there.

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  6. First the Zuchold, Now this. We may see a Ruby Harrold inspired routine from her this season.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJij9balsvY

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    1. The GAGE gymnasts' start values on beam were quite high at the meet today (above link). Desch competed a 6.0 and Dowell competed a 5.6.

      Finnegan was a complete surprise - I didn't expect her to be so prepared after her injury. Along with her progress on bars, she has maintained a high level of difficulty on beam. I think Finnegan will be an AA contender at US Nationals and a potential World Team Member, if not AA competitor at worlds. If she makes it on the US team for worlds, I predict a Kharenkova-Finnegan show down in the beam final.

      On beam she competed a Mitchell Turn (E), Arabian (F), bhs+bhs+layout to two feet (B+B+E) CV 0.2, a switch ring (E), a switch+switch 1/2+back tuck (the new front aerial+bhs+LOSO of this quadrenium, C+D+C) CV 0.2, a crazy leap and D salto series (sissone+side aerial+two A leaps+side somi) A+D+A+A+D CV 0.3, and dismounted bhs+bhs+layout (B+B+A). With her skills and connections as is, counting the A dismount, her D score was 6.1. If she adds a D element dismount, the score increases by 0.3 (A to D), 0.1 CV for series dismount D or greater, and 0.5 in composition for a D dismount or greater. Her D score could be 7.0. Scary stuff.

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    2. Do you have a link for videos of the meet?

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    3. nevermind already found them.
      Btw, I'm I the only one who thinks Brenna's artistry seems to have improved?

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    4. Honestly, I think her artistry is the same. I think all of the gymnasts' artistry improves when viewed from afar - not close up via broadcasts.

      In general, Brenna, Finnegan, and Desch could all be more capable artistic routines (my definition of artistry: interesting choreography with varied gymnastic elements like handstands, splits, rolls etc.), but I doubt intricate choreography/artistry is ever in the game plan because of the focus and energy put into the counted elements: 3-4 difficult tumbles, 3-4 leaps, and spins probably take a lot out of you in 1:30 of 100% constant physical exertion.

      Although I think Finnegan and Desch are way more poised and elegant than Brenna - they even have more musicality in the choreography they do include, I find all of their floor routines quite static.

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    5. Yeah Brenna does seem improved! She looks a lot more relaxed here than in serious meets though so maybe that's a contributing factor? She just seems a lot more comfortable, though that wolf turn was pretty bad lol. I'm liking the look of Brenna's bars too.. the Tweddle is looking good though the connection out of it is still iffy. If she has a killer bars set and maintains her difficulty on everything else, Marta might have no choice but to take her to Worlds next year, I'd love that. Great way to get back at Marta after the Worlds fiasco this year.

      Finnegan is certainly in better shape than I imagined - tbh I sort of wrote her and some of the rest like Vega off as probably just going to fade off, but even then I think she'll have to fight to be competitive in the US team, esp if Aly is back next year. Especially as an AAer. Her big selling point is still beam, especially since we don't know how her tumbling is going yet. Interesting times! If she can put the bars together that will be awesome.. but the Zuchold is a hard one.

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    6. I can't really judge Brenna's dance in a video like that, it's tough. Looking forward to wider videos, although very grateful to see these ones at all. Heh Rachel you're living in the past..she should be a contender for worlds this year indeed.

      If Finnegan can hit bars consistently as well as beam and floor as back-up..that is insanely valuable to the US. She's like Maroney, she has the look on bars and it definitely looks like she'll have the skills but in the past it just hasn't come together.

      GAGE girls on floor are fairly weird. Sarah and Maddie both should be able to do more..they're not the full package with their dance. Gorgeous lines, moments of brilliance, but neither girl's full potential is being reached. As for Brenna, judging by her 2013 routine, they could work with her better.

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    7. I dunno, I want to love the GAGE girls because on paper they seem really good, have the skills, good form and technique on most things, and have generally good presentation (well, Brenna is meh but Maddie and Sarah are great). But somehow it hasn't come together well enough and even their moments of 'wow' aren't quite enough to get rid of the 'meh' moments across all four of their events. I'm not super hopeful about Al Fong's ability to keep them healthy either, particularly Sarah and Maddie who seem more breakable. Brenna seems stronger. Well and I'm not really a Al Fong fan either. And what's going on with Vega?

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    8. That is exactly it, you just expect more from them. I wouldn't be in his fan club either. No idea, perhaps she is better off recovering for college though.

      By the way, if anyone is wondering if I have lost the plot with loads of background changes today...I finally settled, so no more of that..

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    9. I like it! And the new banner for the new year too :)

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    10. :) I've decided it can make reaching a landmark for pageviews too.

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    11. Happy new year Catherine :)

      Sarah always bugged me on bars, always bent her arms on her kips! she could be so great but she's yet to get there! She was always lovely on floor but inconsistent

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  7. I'm a bit amused you said you don't want manufactured drama concerning Ferlito-gate Scandal, but unlike other times when NBC has instigated or exaggerated drama, though they would be out of line to bring it up, they wouldn't be incorrect in their information either, which is what they usually are. In other words, they wouldn't have to manufacture anything; Kyla, Simone, and McKalya all have spoken publicly about how much Carlotta's statements either made no sense or were upsetting to them.

    Other sports I watch, like swimming, tennis, intl' football, commentators bring up the backroom drama all the time. I'm amused that gymnastics fans fear this sort of thing, even when the gossip is dishearteningly true. Care to offer an opinion as to why this is?

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    1. I don't mean 'made up' for manufactured, just that if there is drama again they would be the likely culprits.

      You have a point. Personally, this is an ugly, ugly story that blew up completely, making the New York Times no less. Simone did not publicly comment, her parents did.

      Essentially, it has been discussed and thrashed out enough. Carlotta has been villified a thousand times over. I do not really mind if a mention is made like 'Carlotta got into hot water late last year for some controversial remarks in which she mentioned Simone Biles'. I don't want it to be dragged over the coals again...the issue of race especially in the US is so volatile.

      Any reaction to Carlotta competing in the US, such as booing, is a low for the sport. I don't want to see that happen. It has been reported so much that there's no need for NBC to fan the flames.

      That's just my opinion of course. They do have the right to discuss fact and as I said, a very brief mention is okay. But no drama with NBC is brief.

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    2. I might be a super idealist but I think gymnerds are just better people that other sports fans - still crazy, but better. No one at the American cup will "boo" the the Italians.

      As far as NBC is concerned, I expect them to make a comment. News is news - in the past they have centered on gymnasts' struggles, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was framed as Simone overcoming diversity as a person of color competing in a white dominated sport. I think they will spend less time focusing on the actual words said by Ferlito.

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    3. Ah, now that angle would be totally fine- focusing on Simone's struggles (although as with Gabby, it would be nice if colour could stop being a factor in an idealist future) rather than Ferlito's words. I'm happy with that.

      Another thing is age must be taken into account. Sports like you (or the other anon if that's not you) are full of adults, not teenagers. We shouldn't treat comments made by a 30 year old on the same level as a 16,17 year old. Not that Carlotta is excused by me...although the more I think of, the more she was guilty of stupidity and ignorance and 'foot in mouth', rather than any anything more sinister. Big difference in intention.

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    4. *I'm the original questioner/commenter
      Thank you for replying and not insulting me (lol, that so often happens in replies, ya know?). I didn't really factor age into my opinion before so that is a very interesting perspective concerning what is acceptable to commentate about in sports. I guess when grown men and women do or say stupid/unsportsmanlike things, we are more angry, as opposed to when young people do the same things, we are more disappointed.
      Well, let's hope they all bring some interesting gymnastics to shift the focus, right?

      The funny thing about the timing of the Am.Cup is that the gymternet has been in competition-drought for so long that everyone waits with anticipation for this meet if only because it signals the start of the season.

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    5. Exactly, disappointment. A harsh but hopefully very valuable lesson for her.

      Yes, American Cup truly opens the season, and this year with a better lineup than usual. I'm most interested in Simone's new floor routine and any upgrades, Kyla and any new skills and a proper look at Moors new floor which looks awesome.

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  8. I do hope the rumor about Aliya is true. She hasn't gotten rest since the Olympics or even a little before it. She has a few injuries that couldn't heal properly because she had to compete. She needs it. I've heard she will return for Worlds 2014, so we will see.

    Now the others will have to step up with her being out which could be a good thing because we will see who is willing to take on the pressure and perform and help ease the pressure off her.

    The only person I really want to see at SCAM is Larisa, although she is another one who has been working way too much recently.

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  9. Off topic alert.
    Does anyone know if there's ever been an attempt on a split leap 2/1. It's not in the code and I always thought Izbasa was capable of it.

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  10. Re GB participation in WOGA - there was a tweet from South Durham Gym about this, linking to Amy Tinkler, Claudia Barkes and Jade Armstrong - so maybe that's the team. It would make sense I suppose to send girls from the same gym.

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  11. Love the new FIG videos on the correct position for a layout position on beam. Only the Chinese do it right, it seems :p The floor videos are a travesty though. I don't even understand the '0.1 for adjustment into corners' rule... they are literally expected to step on one foot, swivel around and start a tumbling run? Also, the no 2 tumbling runs on the same diagonal is stupid. Argh it is all so stupid. The stupidest part is that the videos they use to show the 'mistakes' under the new rules *are* routines which are at least reasonably artistic and engaging.. I mean, Aliya, Mai, and Ferrari? Way to go.

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    1. What does "6th position" mean?

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    2. Feet in parallel.

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    3. So then this refers to deductions for standing on two feet instead of stork leg/spinning? Thanks for clarifying - I had originally thought they were being deducted for "too many poses" while "dancing" in the corner (6 poses is one too many...) - but perhaps that is what "adjustment into corners" means.

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  12. New WAG list of competitors for American Cup: Kyla Ross has been replaced by Elizabeth Price - so the Iordache/Price showdown continues. Biles, Price, Iordache, Steingruber, Ferrari, Moors, Popa - it will be a great competition!

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