Sunday, 16 February 2014


WOGA Classic was fairly interesting. Rebeca Andrade stole the show for me, utterly dominating the junior competition. She did not, however, win bars as the official results dictate - Lv Jiaqi did with 14.55, not 14.05. Her d-score was miscalculated by 5 tenths, but she was still given the gold. Rebeca showed a steady floor, with her DLO looking less piked, lovely dynamic DTY instead of the amanar she did not need, and solid improvement on beam and bars. The latter two badly need difficulty but it looks like she's on the right track.

Lv Jiaqi is recovering from a slight injury, so only did bars and floor. Glorious dance on a watered-down floor and her bars were great, so a good meet for her despite not being able to show off her beam - her best event. Tiny munchkin Flavia Saraiva was impressive too, despite a fall on her bars..though it'd be a fairly new routine for her so no worries there. Her line is great on bars and she has nice skills elsewhere..Andrade will more than likely get the YOG nod but I hope Saraiva gets the chance to fight for it. Amy Tinkler's floor was fantastic, great strong tumbling and not even her best- she has a double double in the works. GB has a surfeit of great 1999 girls to form the core of what's sure to be a super-strong Junior Euros team, and a difficult choice over who to send to YOG- Amy Tinkler, Ellie Downie or Tyesha Matthis.

Xie Yufen had a strong, steady meet. She's b-team I think but she could still surprise if she continues strong, at least this year when they're definitely not going to be able to field a stellar worlds team. Yuan Xiaoyang counted two falls which was disappointing, hopefully we will see improvements from her at later meets- after all, they're still in winter training. As for WOGA themselves, seniors Madison Kocian and Alyssa Baumann looked good on their pet events, so that will be interesting. I want a hybrid of those two for the ultimate UB/BB girl..Kocian is better on bars and Baumann on beam but neither are truly outstanding by themselves. There remains a Katelyn Ohashi shaped hole in the USA National Team. Her interview was sad and it sounds like getting back to NCAA level, nevermind elite, will be a very tough ask. The back injury must be very serious and it could mean she won't even be cleared for the full 4 years of college. With luck we will see her again at some level.

Newly Level-10 Kennedy Baker stole the show in that level, effectively crowning herself the Nastia Liukin Cup Champion in the process. I've always thought her gymnastics scream 'college', I think she will shine there. Irina Alexeeva sadly fell on her arabian but I like the composition of her new beam, utilising aerials etc. Last year's routine was too much for her. Still curious over whether she is settled on the US elite track or if she'll plump for Russia as initially intended.

If you're wondering about the obvious disregard for the new floor rules, they won't come into effect until April. Videos of the meet are here.

I haven't had a chance to see much of Elite Canada but I'm impressed by Aleeza Yu, and the sound of Ellie Black's upgrades - including a Shang and BHS-tucked full. I'm not too sure about Victoria Moors' new beam dismount. She's not too consistent on that apparatus and her routine doesn't have a huge amount in it, hopefully the rest of it improves to keep pace with the ending.

Romania have released some rosters of junior competitions, and confirmed Larisa Iordache will be on her way to the US soon. Linky link. I'm most excited to see Olivia Cimpian who is tragically too young for Rio. She is a star in the making, but I'll have my eye on the other girls too.

Speaking of which, Junior Euros could possibly be more exciting than Senior, in the team competition. 1999 and 2000 born are seriously strong years internationally, hence excitement. GB would quite easily be the ones to beat- a team of Tyesha Matthis, Ellie Downie, Amy Tinkler, Catherine Lyons and Georgia Mae Fenton/Teal Grindle is formiddable. Romania should be strong- maybe Laura Jurca, Madalina Blendea, Anda Butuc, Andra Stoica and Andreea Ciurusniuc? The Russian team will preferably have Maria Bondareva, Anastasia Dmitrieva, Seda Tutkhalyan, Ekaterina Sokova and I'm not sure of the fifth.

Seniors are murkier, hard to tell where half of the potential Russian team is at. Hopefully that will become clearer soon.

I cannot wait for American Cup! I'm thinking gold is Simone Biles' already, unless she falls..and she could, but having an incredible worlds will probably help her out in the nerves department. Really looking forward to the debut of her impressive upgrades although the Cheng will have to wait- no event finals of course. Ebee and Larisa Iordache should have a good battle for colour of medals I think, with Roxana Popa, Giulia Steingruber and Vanessa Ferrari right behind them. Bars rotation should be exciting - Roxana and Sophie have some of my favourite routines, Ebee is always good to watch, a hit routine from Larisa like she did late last year would be awesome, Vanessa might throw her newly-regained Comaneci, and Simone has at least one upgrade too. Vault also- 2 amanars, a Rudi and strong DTY's.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at American Cup/Euros?