Saturday, 17 August 2019

Giant US Nationals leotard special

Not sure if I'll get to every junior but I will include seniors from both nights since there are far less of them. It's always so fun to see the latest trends in leotards so many times over with the amount of girls from different gyms competing. This time is extra good though since this is before USAG are imposing restrictions on backless etc. leotards (praise the Lord). Anyway, there's a lot to get through.

All images are copyright John Cheng/Allison Cheng - USA Gymnastics

Senior Nationals Day 1

Sloane Blakely's not bad? The ombre is nice, it's almost but not quite an overwhelming amount of sparkles and the cuff sparkles stand out to great effect. It's main problem is that it's too young/childish for elite. Would suit the 7-10 age group far better. It's not so much the pink that's doing it, it's the 'whimsical' sparkle design. 5.5/10

Sunisa Lee

I do not have words for how much I hate this. The division is jarring, the purpley bit is in that far-too-shiny fabric and the black part is latex looking. The contrasting sparkles don't help this situation and neither does the high neck, there is no saving this. It's almost as if it's holding her hostage with how overwhelmingly bad it is. 0/10

Leanne Wong
It's inoffensive but that doesn't make it nice. I am so bored with this. It doesn't need to be a smorgasbord of diamonds to be interesting but it needs to do more than the bare minimum of existing. Nice colour but even that is let down by the overly shiny fabric. 1/10

Trinity Thomas
The Florida colours are fun and I am here for almost all of their leotards as a result. The sleeve ombre effect is stunning! The issue is the disconnect between the sleeves and the body, more could have been done to join them together a bit instead of the sleeves looking like she can rip them off mid-floor routine. Also the body is a little bit boring and lets it down a little bit. 5/10

Simone Biles
 YES. On the other hand, super shiny is beautiful if it is a metallic effect. Bonus points for being an unusual colour, how many emerald leotards have we ever seen? The eye-catching geometric design is just enough without crossing the line of OTT and very gradual sleeve ombre is really beautiful. I love unusual and it gets a lot of points for suiting both her and Jordan down to the ground. The only criticism is it was slightly high-cut on both of them. 9/10

Mykayla Skinner

It should be too much, and instead it is MY FAVOURITE. It's positively encrusted with sparkles and they don't let up much on the sleeves either. The design is simple but beautifully done. It's mature (do not put a leo with a low front like this on a 12 year old HOPES gymnast...ever) and she looks SO ELEGANT in it. Black can be so glam but this one is different. 10/10

Jade Carey

Come on now...what IS this. It attracts the criticism the GAGE leo got and then some. It is drowning her out, it's a strangely scrappy body instead of a clean cut that a plain leo would really have called for and it's very boring. I have no problem with this leo in the context of 2004 and I've no problem with it at a qualifier but not at nationals. Step it up. 0/10

Riley McCusker

I like the seams? And the pearls are fun. The sickly pale colour does not suit her and is too young for her. The choker is decidedly not fun and the swirls are really childish. I am NOT A FAN of MG Elite's backless leos but this is not the answer and they can do beautiful leos when they try so there is no mercy. 0/10

Shilese Jones

Great colours. I did like the purple part of the bodice sparkles...but the sparkles are really big and the firework pattern is a bit odd. Also would prefer it with longer sleeves but it gets rewarded for cut, neckline and suiting her. 6.5/10

Morgan Hurd

Glam black leos get an automatic baseline of 5/10. I like the high-neck - V neck mesh/illusion style. It's quite a density of sparkles for them to just end so abruptly at the base of the ribs though. Sleeves are perfect and I love the lines following the V neck shape. 8/10

Faith Torrez

An actual horrorshow of a leo. You don't even need to see the whole front to imagine it. It reminds me of being at a metal gig with pyro which isn't the best of inspirations for a leo. The flames are bad, the criss cross is bad and doesn't even seem to be particularly well executed further up her side. 0/10

Grace McCallum
This is another 'hey it's something different?' but that doesn't neccessarily mean any points are gained. There is a lot going on here and none of is is particularly good. The upper bodice is fine and so is below the ridiculousness of the middle (mesh waist diamonds had better not catch on). The sleeves are okay even though they echo the weird diamond mess but they are too short, not a half-sleeve fan. The fact that's it's black may mean it is allowed an 'interesting/different' point.  1/10

Emily Lee
 Very alpine and very 2009! The white/dark blue contrast is great and it's a clean, athletic cut. A little dull even with the sparkles so it avoids the outright boring criticism of being completely neutral. 5/10

/End Day 1. Out of 13 different leos, 6 scored a 0 or 1 which is pretty bad in fairness. Hoping for a better day 2!

Senior Nationals Day 2

Mykayla Skinner
From the highest highs to....I mean, this is brilliant. It's like a troll account on twitter that's so bad it's unexpectedly great. What's interesting is that if it wasn't high-necked it would be a complete write-off whereas the symmetry of the neck and belt give it a certain...something. Something unquantifiable. I am so conflicted. 5/10

Shilese Jones

This gets two photos because of the difference! Lovely v-neck classic leo. It's hard to mess up a white leotard they are just so pretty. Of course, you could always rip out the back of it? That would ruin it. And have the mesh go too far into the sides for good measure. The straps going out so far when she does uh, anything at all, is not a good look. I am annoyed at what this leo could have been 0/10

Grace McCallum

I do like blue and white, but this is some sort of maple leaf on steroids. Interesting how it looks so close in style to Larisa Iordache's infamous Pikachu leotard from 2012, but the yellow-and-black worked a little better with this type of sharp pattern. It's not...bad as such though. Just mad. 4/10

Gabby Perea
This is another dramatic turnaround from Day 1 fire disaster corset. I love the flowers! Not the choker or the black cuffs though, they don't suit it. It might have benefited from the flowers being slightly lower and some white mesh to break up the neckline a bit. Nice ombre. 7/10

Sloane Blakely
There must always be a glorious blue leotard and this is it. I like how the super popular waist sparkles are changed up, the colour changes are so pretty as well. Here for the diamond patterns down the centre and across the collarbone. Stunning. 9/10

Morgan Hurd
A violet cage? Why not! Loving the geometric trend and the deep V is lovely. The sleeves I think should have been a bit darker around the shoulders. 8/10

Simone Biles
Nothing against Jordan but they have so many images of Simone that it's easier to get a great leotard shot. This is SO beautiful against their skin tones. Very unusual black fadeout into pink, I love it. Complemented by the pink/purple sparkles in the middle. I would have thought the jagged silver sparkles going across like that wouldn't have worked, but they do. Really unusual and great. 9/10

Trinity Thomas
From the front it's a classic look, great colours. Could do with something to jazz it up a bit...but the back wasn't the answer. I mean, the straps are secure and thick but it's just...too backless. It's like a swimming costume and it will always look wrong in gymnastics to me. 4/10

Riley McCusker

I like the ideas, but I'm not fully behind the execution. The way the pink is shrouded at the top is really cool. I's prefer if the belt was more scattered and not as obviously belt-like. Not convinced about 'gathered' fabric either it's a bit strange. 5.5/10

Sunisa Lee
There's about three different concepts at war with other here. The sleeves could be awesome in a matte leotard. They sort of clash with the sparkles which are in really thick lines...not the most flattering of designs. And a choker which is an automatic minus. 2/10

Aleah Finnegan
Great colour and the sleeves and cuff are beautiful. The belt, the spirals, the half-a-star leading to a deep V...these are not good. 2/10

Jade Carey
This is classy, lovely V of sparkles and another win for the glam black category. 8/10

There's no clear picture of Emily Lee's leo so I didn't post it. It looks to be teal and inoffensive. MUCH better day 2, some real winners here.

Just going to do a few stand-out juniors.

Lyden Saltness
I need to look her up as she could not look more Irish if she tried. This is our natural colour, don't let the fake tan fool you. Anyway this is beautiful if a little intense on her colouring. The bodice is so heavily designed (hurray for geometric!) that they could have laid off on the sparkles on the sleeves, it's a little OTT on one so young. 7/10

eMjae Frazier

Geometric AND white AND an unusual back? Great combination. 7.5/10

Katelyn Rosen

I'm all for purple but this is WAY too much sparkle and colour change going on. It looks like a portal is going to open from the neckline. 3/10

Ciena Alipio

Such a beautiful gymnast....a nice unusual vaguely Celtic squiggle design..but the WORST colours ughh. This could have been great. 3/10

Levi Jung-Ruivivar

I cannot cope with the glory and beauty of this. So soviet! The mauve matte, the high neck, the black velvet is JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. PLEASE TREND. And it just suits her so well. It comes in decently at the sides but it's just that bit too low and is really far too close at the top to coming off her shoulders. It was going to get a 12 but that brings it down to an 11/10

Jamison Sears
White! And embroidered! The sleeves really work with it. The weird back cutout-cross thing is a bit jarring but otherwise great. 7/10

Lily Lippeatt
I love how the pattern and colour just end like it stopped loading, maybe a darker band between the two would have improved it but it's not a big deal as this is a gorgeous colour and so pretty and junior appropriate. 9.5/10

In conclusion, favourite senior Mykayla Skinner Day 1, favourite junior Levi Jung-Ruivivar Day 1. I know I'm harsh which I think is a reflection on just how many styles, types, fabrics and colours that are freely available these days so standards are higher.

Who were your favourites? Are you looking forward to an end of backless leos?


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