Monday, 8 September 2014

Things

First, since it's freshest...

Gymnastike.

Like most people, I'm not impressed by the days-late apology. It definitely reads like a necessary and false apology generated by the backlash, rather than true remorse or even understanding of what they have done. This is compounded by the fact that the apology is directed by their action in covering the story at all, with zero mention of how they linked and exposed their very young target market to porn. No more, no less. 4chan has absolutely no place at all on a gymnastics news site and the utter failure to even acknowledge that is despicable.

It's worth noting that Gymnastike has several dedicated, well-meaning and knowledgeable writers and contributors. They are not to blame for this. (Although some gymnastics writers on the site are to blame for the lazy, copy-pasted click-me articles). Unfortunately they suffer for representing the site as a whole.

I'd hope that they have apologised directly to McKayla Maroney. We of course don't need to see it and she's under no obligation to disclose anything at all for 'closure' for her fans or anything. But I'd like to think they did personally apologise! 

Has the apology changed your view at all? Do you think USAG and/or FIG should still sanction them?

Junior Nationals

Which did in fact take place weeks ago, yup. I didn't catch all of it but enough. A very different competition without Bailie Key stomping over everyone! And with infinitely less sass with Laurie Hernandez out also.

Nia Dennis was strong, but nothing like her full potential. Odd mistakes on THE most secure skill ever...her fully upright arabian. Floor errors, etc, much less dynamic DTY than last year, bars downgrades. It's not fully surprising given that she's not long back from injury, but if she's not more consistent and looking more at her ease in her routines next spring for her senior debut I will be a little concerned. She could be amazing. Training with Gabby Douglas too is very good for her I feel, it's a strong motivator and both girls have similar strengths.

I don't need to see an amanar next year or anything. I'd settle for the super strong DTY back in action, more spring and ease in her floor and an upgrade or two on bars.

I remain unconvinced about Norah Flatley in the AA. She too was dogged by silly mistakes...the two on beam was utterly shocking. But it's not that...it's how her other events compared to beam are progressing, and they haven't in my opinion. I'm also puzzled as to where her bars are going...she's not making the most of the code there really.

In fact, both Alexis Vasquez and tiny Victoria Nyugen are more impressive on beam to me. Super clean, still with that killer variation and flexibility. Just that bit cleaner than Norah. Not that I'm hating on Norah or anything. I'm just not getting the love. Yet.

Likewise Jazmyn Foberg. It is phenomenal that somebody who failed to qualify for Nationals her first year as an elite should win it the next. And even when we take into account the absences and injury list, this is still an enormous achievement and one which she fully deserved. 8 for 8, solid. But...there's usually a but...she's not standing out particularly on any one event just yet. She sure could in the future, but not right now. I'm interested to see how she progresses. Although, I fervently hope her difficulty stagnates. The huge leaps forward on floor and bars in particular are a little concerning, possibly too fast. Bars in particular, her releases are completely and utterly flat and on both events she's not at her ease.

Morgan Hurd is more than just a great dancer with adorable glasses. She is SO CLEAN! Look at her lines on bars. I love little technique queens and have my eye firmly on her. She didn't hit 8 for 8 but so what, she's very young.

Similarly, Deanne Soza is amazing to watch. Especially on bars but she has massive potential on every event. Her mistakes were crushing for me as a new big fan but again, lots of time to improve.

Jordan Chiles had a truly mixed season. From winning Classics, to disaster, to climbing back up the ranks admirably on night 2. I'd like to see her keep her current difficulty and just focus on the consistency. No need for more upgrades yet. Although..that front triple full looks amazing. I couldn't say no to that..

YOG

Clashed abominably with work, so much so that I only got to watch event finals. All in all, it wasn't really overly impressive. While some girls did stand out, there was nobody that really proved they have what it takes to make major inroads into worlds AA next year. But, perversely, I'm also a little glad about that. I do not want anybody peaking for a competition as a junior.

You may have noticed I focused on one gymnast in the run-up to this competition as my 'one to watch' and who I was most excited about. A few weeks prior, I wrote this article. Wang Yan definitely performed as expected. In fact, she surpassed expectations in some regards..with some upgrades on bars and beam (that barani though!) and she nailed event finals. Well deserved medals there. She also lived up to the headcase side unfortunately, throwing herself out of floor finals in quals and messing up in the AA too. She definitely proved herself as a 'someone'. Very valuable for next year for her team, and hopefully incredible experience for her. She's capable of more and I'm really hoping we get to see that.

Flavia Saraiva is quite frankly, a delight. She moves very well and is so wonderfully clean. I'm happy she got this chance to compete as individually she will always be outshone by Rebeca Andrade although of course, Brazil have more than enough room for two stars. They can complement each other quite well. As expected, Flavia did not have the difficulty to get right up and compete for the top spot, nevertheless, she's showing great potential. Bars, long a weak piece for her country, have shown some progress. Hopefully some nice steady addition of difficulty towards Rio will propel her up the rankings.

Laura Jurca was well, crushing. No medals is so disappointing. I have been out of the loop, but perhaps she is recovering from injury? Let's hope she can bounce back from this competition and add some difficulty while still maintaining consistency.

Speaking of consistency, Seda Tutkhalyan managed to prevail despite spectacularly lacking in that department in general. She is above all, interesting. Brimming with potential. I'm delighted with her beam routine in particular and she has certainly shown fantastic progress on bars. She definitely has it in her to be even stronger all-around and I'm looking forward to seeing her senior debut..hopefully with vaults that land where they are supposed to!

Ellie Downie did extremely well, although she was another showing inconsistency. Such power! Although I remain disappointed she isn't emulating her big sister on bars, her floor and vault are pretty awesome. HUGE DTY, I definitely think we'll see an amanar next year, which would be a first for GB. GB really have a strong crew next year with Tyesha Mattis and Amy Tinkler firmly in the mix too.

Sae Miyakawa broke my heart with her floor routine. And then made it soar on vault. She deserved to beat Ellie Downie on form and not because the latter had her second vault downgraded. We need stills of Sae's form mid-flight blown up and pasted in gyms across the world. Stunning work.

Who was your favourite? Most likely to make it big as a senior? Who will be the Komova?

11 comments:

  1. With regards to gymnastike, I honestly think they should just shut down their website. Not to sound harsh but like you mentioned, they were not taking it seriously before (the copy/pasted articles) and this whole mess with the nude photos didn't exactly improve their image. There are many other sites fans could check out like the couch gymnast, the gymternet, and the all around (which are WAY better and more detailed anyway).

    The American juniors weren't really that impressive. I honestly don't understand all the hype over Norah Flatley. I know she's going to improve in the future but right now, she's looking like a beam specialist only. The only two gymnasts I'm looking forward to turning senior in the US are Key and Hernandez. Hopefully they can bounce back from their injuries.

    I think YOG was a little disappointing. I especially felt bad for Laura Jurca who could have done SO much more. The 2010 YOG with Komova, Sixin, Bulimar, and Ferlito was much more interesting...

    By the way, will you be doing Worlds Predictions??

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    1. They were definitely impressive due to the fact that there were so many! I'd have to agree though that I wasn't blown away by the Rio-elegible girls, hampered as they were by absences, injuries, recoveries. The younger girls were more impressive all things considering.

      Yes, although it would have been more exciting had there been less falls. Notable absences in event finals as a result, Ah well, onwards and upwards. I'm much happier for them to do okay now and shine when it counts rather than burn out.

      Sure! Soon I suppose :)

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  2. I don't get the Flatley love either. Like- she's just not that incredible outside of beam? I'll never understand why some people seem to think she'll be the US's next great all arounder. She's basically a beam specialist with decent bars and floor. But her ponytail is mesmerizing! I totally agree about preferring Vasquez and Nguyen.
    Flava Flav was absolutely my favorite from YOG! Love her!

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    1. Yeah. Maybe it will make sense in the future but for now I am willing Vasquez and Gowey back to full strength. Vasquez was very impressive considering she's had a very hard year recovering. And she's older, she can compete in Glasgow.

      Hehe what a name. She is too cute.

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  3. I am also not a Flatley lover for now, but Chow knows how to paced them properly to have them peak at the right time, but i do agree that her vault and bars leave a lot to be desired. but Shawn had bars as her weakest event, Gowey is not any better. Gabby just has such amazing bars swings that i think he was able to teach her much more in terms of pirouettes and connections without taking extra swings. and to me Flatley has a good swing.
    The Junior competition was exciting for me, because most of the young ladies showed great artistry, power, and poise in the routines they were performing. there is such great potential in many who will be there in 2020 basically. i am not really looking at many for 2016 other than Keys and Dennis. the other will have to surprise me, even Hernandez because she is too injury prone and inconsistent.
    The YOG was a bore and quite underwhelming. they 2010 pool was soooo far ahead of this one. But Wang Yan is a star in the making. those Vaults, that beam set, her bars are amazing. and knowing that she can deliver a big floor routine gives me hope for the future. she is definitely in the mold of Cheng Fei

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    1. You're right, Gowey is not much better on bars, worse actually as she doesn't have the technique and form Norah shows there. Shawn's bars were a tragedy for what could have been...such a solid foundation aghhhh.

      The 2020 crew were definitely more exciting. Deanne stands out the most to me actually, and there are so many to choose from.

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  4. Without a doubt, Flavia Saraiva was my favorite. She hit four for four on the night of the AA but her lower difficulty on bars and vault kept her from taking the title even while Seda messed up on floor. Both those events look like they can be upgraded in the future. Beam was beautiful and her floor has everything you could possibly want. Saraiva really reminds me of Oksana Omelianchik, the same sort of sprightly and refreshing charm. It's really interesting to see the wide dichotomy between the top contenders from the countries with well-funded, strong, established programs and resources and those that do not. Quite depressing actually. No wonder the Big Four have such a monoply on medals and recognition. Overall, it was not a very exciting competition, with even the best girls making big mistakes. Even so, I predict Saraiva, Downie, Wang, Tutkhalyan and Miyakawa have bright futures ahead of them.

    I'm still sickened about the situation with Mckayla and gymnastike (if ever there was a forced apology...) and just the way many people are responding to this hacking scandal in general. I've already gotten into it with several people on YT about it, but finally just stopped responding. While there is good stuff and of course good people on gymnastike, I've lost most of my faith in the site. It's become increasingly lazy with its coverage, it barely talks about international events anymore, they copy and paste articles instead of doing it themselves - I'm just not interested in visiting their website anymore. Maybe to watch some of the interviews with gymnasts that they have, but that's it.

    There was a lot of mistakes in the Juniors and Seniors competitions. This is a "weak" period for the US, but not as weak as some (Russian fans) might try to make it out to be. A weak US is still the favorite for gold.

    I would like to hear your thoughts on the recent Russian Cup if you get the chance.

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    1. Ah youtube. When I wasn't working I wasted time arguing, but it just got annoying after a while. There's no reasoning with utter trolls.

      I did think that it was hilarious that right after gymnastike were criticised for having that on their front page and no mention of the named big 4 teams...they named them all in quick succession. LOL.

      Flavia is such a darling. I can't wait to see her as a senior.

      Yes, they sure are. The funny thing is that China will have a d-score advantage of 0.6 on the US' most likely team should everybody hit everything etc. But it changes nothing to the US' current standing really.

      I saw very little. It was great to see Aliya looking stronger than she has in a long time although I was disappointed to see her still having a lower difficulty bars set. It's not going to challenge the top Chinese routines without errors from the latter. They have four d-scores on their team of 6.8 and above..

      Seeing Komova's initial bars score was so strange, I was very happy to see her bounce back and look much stronger in finals. Very interested to see wil she bump Kramarenko off the team. Who would believe that Krama is still in the mix 7 years after that calamity..

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  5. Still a Russian fan but i don't think anyone was more surprised than me to see Seda (sort of) hit. For her performance in jr Euros, that was a great improvement.

    Love Flavia, that smile is just out of this world and she's got such a great floor and good basics everywhere. I wish she would fix that triple on floor, it's worrying me a bit cos she never quite gets it 100% round. Ellie I think will be back and stronger, she seems mentally more solid than Becky anyway and GB will be a team to watch next year barring injuries when those three go senior. This year I think they're still not in the medal fight.

    Was so pleased for Wang Yan, and rather sorry for Sae - apparently she got booed by the Chinese crowd when she fell on floor. Sae's got such amazing lines and beautiful technique everywhere, great body carriage, good variety of skills and clean. Also a bit sorry for Laura Jurca, I love her beam cheoro but I wish they would clean her up. She has loads of form errors that are just ripe for deductions when they really don't need to be. Reminds me of Larisa in that way, when I'd much rather see a Didi.

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  6. I know this is a bit of a tangent, but do you have any idea of Mai's floor composition and medal chances this year?

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    1. Never mind - Just read your latest post :P

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