Monday, 22 February 2016

2016: It begins

Not the start of the season (c'mon c'mon!!), but the injuries and retirements. It's a double whammy for the US this week, with the news first of all that Nia Dennis has torn her Achilles and just today that Kyla Ross has retired.

Kyla faced into this year off the back of a difficult 2015, with numerous uncharacteristic falls and errors marring her domestic competitive season. The news that she was not at the selection camp for worlds didn't come as much of a surprise as a result. Despite this, and her known injuries, it still comes as a shock that she's out of the running for Rio now at this point. I really thought she would attend at least Classics and Nationals to see where she was at. I've thought that she wasn't going to reappear strongly in elite before, only for her to showcase her usual crisp routines once more, so I gave up on giving up on her. I haven't hidden the fact that I'm not a big fan of her gymnastics - but I am a big fan of her and will miss seeing her this summer. It's a pity that her height has held her back in terms of upgrades and probably wasn't helpful in terms of her previous back injury. Still, a very illustrious career- Olympic champion and with numerous world medals up her sleeves. I'm looking forward to seeing her in UCLA.

Nia is only in her second year as a senior, but has had a most turbulent career so far with several injuries. Last year she was freshly back from injury. I was really looking forward to some upgrades and cleaned-up execution from her, and instead she has a devastating injury at the worst time. She'll miss the whole domestic season, and Rio as a result. Injury, injury, gym change, injury - I've been rooting for her for years and it's been depressing, as her physical status has definitely held her back from achieving her potential - her potential is and has always been HUGE. A sparkly gymnast with big height and big skills, super dynamic and exciting. Will miss her greatly this year and hope she can come back strong from this.

Another career that came to an end (albeit 2 months ago) is Lisa Verschueren of Belgium. She is not someone who I actively followed, although I did notice her in Glasgow, but how her career ended is more devastating than an injury because she doesn't have the option of coming back, and it wasn't her decision. To be that young and forced from competitive sport due to a heart condition really sucks. I know too much about cardiology for my own good from large amounts of time spent typing and googling terms, and I really hope her defibrillator is all she needs to be healthy and safe and it isn't anything very sinister. Thankfully she did have a longish career spanning several world championships, so there is that.

Speaking of Belgium, and on a more positive note, they have exciting talent coming through the ranks this year - particularly Nina Derwael. I LOVE this.

Not all skill videos (few I suppose) come to fruition but I really, really hope this does. Any release with a half turn is a complete winner in my book, and the Ezhova is one my favourite transitions. Fabulous.

Also on the positive balancing front, the McKayla Maroney video interview is coming out this week (Wednesday I believe although really Thursday for me as it's on west coast time) and I'm really looking forward to it. McKayla has always been great at speaking and she has a lot of gaps and information that we are largely in the dark about. Not to mention that it doesn't look like the kind of interview where she'll gloss over or bypass important stuff. Of course, she may well declare her retirement or imminent retirement in the video but by all accounts she's been out of the gym a good amount of time now so that wouldn't be shocking. Sad to put an end to a great career though.

The Olympic year really has its downsides with the impending sense of doom that there are many more names to come in the injury/retirement category. I'm just holding on for the season to start to ease the doom and gloom of it all.

What are your favourite routines of the two? I really love that beam of Kyla's, it had more than her usual as it was fuelled by fierce determination, taking place as it did after a bars meltdown. It's also her last elite competitive routine. Nia's floor showcases her strengths beautifully, love that unique third pass. How will this shake up Team USA and the coveted specialist spots?


  1. Yeah, I figured as much Mckayla will announce her retirement too. It is sad to see how the fierce five is now down to 2. But it was an amazing 2012 team. I am sure the 2016 US team will be even better but I think the 2012 team's charisma will be hard to match for a while (this despite the fact that they were a huge favorite to win then).

    Lauren showed a handwritten list of US gymnasts on her blog and compared it to the hunger game list. It's esp so true this year :(

  2. I love Kyla's beam as well and perhaps I'm in the minority but I loved her floor routines. I got to see her live at Classics the past two years and her dramatic opera-style music and clean tumbling was so enjoyable to watch.
    I did a tribute post to her on my blog too:

    And I love watching Nia's bars (who doesn't :). I feel so bad for her that she won't get to even try for Rio, that's so tough. I hope she sticks it out for next year and can go to Word's.

  3. Just saw the Mac video myself. It's definitely a lot of pressure she had to deal with. While we all guess that she has pretty much retired last year, it's still kinda bittersweet. I don't think we have seen any gymnasts retiring and not feel emotional about it to some degree.

    It's almost like fate that Mac and Kyla went to the same gym for a while. Then they went to the Olympics together to win the team gold together. And then coincidentally announce their retirement just days from each other. /now we are down to 2 of the fierce five. I can't say I know everything about the other teams or discounting them, but I must say that fierce five has given us quite a ride so far!

  4. Will miss Kyla in the elite scene, best of luck to her at UCLA

  5. My favorite routines of kyla are her team final ones in london she really delivered big. I also love bars and beam final 2013.Nia Dennis i love her 2014 day 2 nationals floor routines she really went for perfection to win.

    1. And whos excited for american cup!! Gabby vs Maggie will be the showdown of the quad.

  6. Links to Glasgow world cup and Jesolo 2016 for those who missed the action. Use a pop up blocker...

  7. New links for jesolo and Glasgow videos .. get them fast before they are gone


  9. What happened to you Catherine! I am thinking you have a lot to say about recent events but must be swamped at your new job. Hang in there-

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