Thursday 15 August 2019

I recovered my account!

So I'm just going to ignore the fact that the overwhelming amount of blogs, twitters and gymnastics media these days made this blog feel redundant for me and keep going as if it's not a thing. Not being able to be as on top of the news/videos as I was when I wasn't working combined with a huge explosion in the gymternet meant I felt it pretty pointless to post when there were so many others with brilliant and witty writing styles doing it earlier and better but....I feel very different about it now. I still want to get my thoughts out and if anyone enjoys reading them then that's brilliant. I am moving soon...FINALLY...and I think it will really help me get into a regular posting pattern. Not that I'll chain myself to churning out content religiously in gymnastics dead season, but y'know, posting about actual events and opinions and so on. 

The first thing I'm going to post about is....obviously Simone Biles! I was reading back on my first posts about her in 2012 and 2013 (glorious multi-posting years on the dole too poor for London) and it's quite funny to see. Her power and potential was always obvious and thankfully I did note her vaulting and tumbling prowess for posterity but to see her bars and beam as massive weak points and to be afraid for her consistency just seems so bizarre now. Consistency! But this was a gymnast who began her senior career by falling at American Cup, Chemnitz and then having the disaster at Classics where she fell and was pulled from the meet. I remember the reactions well...there was a lot of talk about this powerful gymnast burning out already, not a true all-arounder who should specialise to lessen the pressure, needed someone to get her head in the game....and above all, had failed to prove herself as the top prospect heading into worlds selection. Looking at her now it's very easy to forget that her double layout was a big skill because ughh a double layout with no full twist or added half twist? And that her bars had with great work been brought up to an acceptable standard but were still average at best and relied on short and smart routine construction and her vault and floor d-scores in order to not drag her down. I was hoping for development, increased difficulty in line with her huge power, more control and maybe even a new skill or two on her way to Rio.

What we have actually gotten during her career so far is INSANE to contemplate. An eponymous floor skill which will continue to be extremely rare due to its difficulty, a vault which is unlikely to be attempted by more than herself in the next 10 years and no less than 2 skills competed last weekend which are at the same realm of impossibility. Most skills with the exception of the Moors named in the last few codes have been stylistic choices, beam and bar mounts and a few dance skills such as turns etc. Not that they are all simple - few can do what gymnasts like Sanne Wevers can - but they are not straining the aerodynamic capabilities like all of Simone's are. 4 world AA titles, Olympic AA,multiple world EF medals every time, Olympic EF titles, 6 national titles - she has surpassed so many records and still has another worlds and Tokyo to look forward to. We are so beyond blessed to witness her past performances and what she still has to give. I appreciate that her style and brand of gymnastics is not to everyone's taste and I would never think that a "true" fan must appreciate every thing she does from her choreography up but I do think that her skill goes far beyond her impressive skills and it's the little things that should be shouted about equally. It would be easy to find someone who has prettier leaps, better toepoint, better line on bars, greater ease in dance elements and better rhythm on floor. But find me someone with a better round-off, better BHS, better block on vault. Those are the things that are truly sensational as they are what drive the incredible skills that result, of course. The drive from the BHS that she generates before the triple-double (I've never typed that here before haha because of how outlandish and not a thing it is) is obvious in the slow-motion video and is an absolute joy to watch because that's where her chest-up landing is coming from.

I have a lot of words, and always will, but Simone just renders me speechless with her talent. We will never see somebody with this same combination again and the fact that she is continuing to improve and push the boundaries AFTER the Olympics is astounding. And I got to see her live at Antwerp and Glasgow! Not this year though :( The flights to Stuttgart are dirt cheap as all of Europe basically is for me but the tickets and accommodation are very expensive and it is clashing with the fact we just bought a house's to Liverpool 2022!

Anyway, this isn't a Simone blog I promise and there are several other people that I am excited about and will be talking about as I remain unpatriotically biased. Ireland sadly are still not a thing in WAG. (Gained ground in MAG though - go Rhys McClenaghan!) I am picky about the US girls I love, enjoy several Russian, GB, Dutch, French, Brazilian etc. and would happily die so that Mai Murakami could win more medals but my country favourites were and continue to be Team China. I am so happy to see more english language Chinese gym sources spring up - special mention to Golden China. It's not easy being a source for Chinese news, there is a lot of secrecy and translation is very difficult. Right now, we need to talk about Ou Yushan.

This is the Tokyo beam champion and nobody will persuade me otherwise. Of note, she has the same beam d-score as Kara Eaker with a double twist dismount but unless she breaks a connection every here is worthy of credit. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy Kara on beam but the ring leaps are getting old at this point and need to be switched and unfortunately her series and a few other elements don't have the same lightness as they used to it's a clunkier routine. Ou Yushan has it all here, beautiful leaps, extension throughout every element, amplitude on her stunning front series, that toepoint, fluidity of's a masterpiece.

Ou Yushan took silver in the U15 AA at National Youth Games in her most recent outing, also picking up floor gold, vault bronze, bars silver and....beam gold of course. She will need to be placed in bubble wrap for Tokyo. Her d-scores everywhere except beam are typically low and helped by her exquisite execution but it will be hard to make a dent in the international AA although she is of course very young and still a junior. Bars in particular are quite bare, I'm hoping to see more connected elements there to help her over the 6.0 mark in time. She shows potential on floor and can hopefully ditch the double twist dismount and add a full twist to the double tuck and a leap/punch front to the triple twist. Her twists are so beautiful so whatever helps her keep the execution up. She really sparkles on floor too and has great expression. China have been building up vault difficulty while keeping bars and beam high but are still so weak on floor and having all-arounders with high difficulty. Rome wasn't built in a day and I have faith that Chow has and is affecting change in their training and conditioning which will reap rewards. There are other great gymnasts coming up through the ranks for them but this one has my heart for now.

Do you think another female gymnast can do the triple-double...consistently? Do you want a US Nationals post or more ramblings about a few different gymnasts? Has blogging died in favour of twitter and podcasts? :p


  1. so glad you are back! wanna talk about the leos at the US Champs? some gourgeous but some..
    About the questions: I think that it is insane that Simone is doing a triple-double and don't think that another one could perform in the immediate future, both us nationals posts and different gymnasts posts are ok, mabye in different ones, no blogging is not dead!

    1. Ah thank you! Yeah I can see a ranking post (maybe not ALL..there are so many) of leos coming up. Always so interesting to see them and of course it's before the USAG leo restrictions kick in.

    2. LOL you can tell it's been a while, Google selected a different account to reply under 😂

  2. I love your blog and your writing style, it is unique and very insightful and i think you are very fair in the way you comment. Personally I love reading all the different opinions that are out there on gymnastics, there is room for everyone so keep up the great job and follow your passion!

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