Tuesday, 17 August 2010

US Nats Style


I'm a little behind huh? Ohhh well. So nats, a bit rubbishy. There was some nice gymnastics hidden in there but overall, not great. Once again myself and Mostepanovafan stayed up til 2 and 3 in the morning to watch so here we go.

Overall: Like I said not fantastic. When Kytra Hunter and Alexandra Raisman are battling for the bronze medal you know there's some issues. They're both good gymnasts but they aren't exactly all arounders now are they? Bars are poor in both cases. Al was back. This made me cry.

Bross: Yay. Bross. Fantastic. I'm amazed she managed to put together 8 routines with no major errors, consistancy isn't exactly her strong point. I still want to murder her whenever I see her on bars and the desire to kill rises on floor too. I liked the way on day 2 Tim was all 'what's with that score?' on bars. Evidentally the bars judges decided to be realistic unlike EVERY OTHER JUDGE. What is with her using Dark Eyes? Seriously? Does WOGA only have limited music knowledge so they can only use different versions of the same piece? She will never ever be a dancer. Ever. Her vaults were solid though her knees were fugly. Beam was also solid and her knees were also fugly.

Larson: So who had an awesome nationals? Mattie did! She is (obviously) my fav American right about now, though if I were AOGC I'd lay off the yellow leos, don't really suit her. Her vaults were strong, her bars were good enough her beam was alright, although for no clear reason she underrotated her 2.5 twist on day 2. Floor was good. I quite liked it on day 1 choreographically, but day 2 she became the spazmonkey captain again (Bross is the spazmonkey general). I still can't believe she can do a double layout. Her triple twist is still very nice. GO MATTIE.

Mini A-Sac: Even A-Sac calls Raisman her mini-me. That's how bad it is. No ridiculous attempts at Amanar's this time, her ankles presumably placed a written complaint. She doesn't even need one with how good her DTY can be. Her bars. Welllllll. Her normal bars really. Does Brestyan's have a bars coach? If so get a new one? She's the best that they've produced, and she's consistant but it's not fab. She managed to place third on beam, her dismount still isn't as good as it was at SCAM, I still want to kill her switch split jumps. She'd lost the double piked arabian on floor (thank goodness, international judges would have said hello downgrade). Her triple twist is also looking good. Her dance isn't. Her music is incredibly underwhelming.

Hunter: *gator chomp* Go future Gator! Her bars was better than at Classic, she didn't fall. What was with her day 2 leotard? Burgundy and bright orange is NOT a good colour combination. Thank goodness she isn't pasty, that's the only way she'd have looked worse in it. Her vaults were powerful and well performed as always, her beam was tentative but solid. Her floor still had ridiculous choreo (please Rhonda, DO SOMETHING WITH HER) but her tumbling was still first class.

MQuats: We didn't even see BQuats. She didn't make the national team either. But MQuats didn't do too badly. Another future gator I ought to be supporting. Who chooses the leotards they wear? And can I stop them? Her day two one was very ill-advised. Her bars could have been better, her Church - Pak combo was better at Classic, it looked kind of floppy here. Also she fell on a hop grip change the moment she got on the bars on day 2 which caused MFan some consternation. She needs to get more consistent if she wants to go to worlds, cos frankly they need her on bars. She did the best beam set I've ever seen her do as well, but it was still kind of average.

VaZam: First elite nats, didn't disgrace herself. Her beam is still awful, she keeps falling where they've had to add extra difficulty. We didn't see her bars either day but I am reliably informed she has a nice Deltchev. I still don't like her floor routine, it just doesn't flow at all. Vaults though, nicely done Miss Zam. I confess I doubted the existence of a Cheng. I said, she may well be training one but I doubt she has it. I was proved very wrong, her day 1 Cheng was pretty awesome. Her day 2 one, not so much. Landed on her knees. But congrats on making the national team.

Casanova: Why did we insist on watching her? Don't get me wrong I don't particularly dislike her but it just seems odd. Her floor was fairly average WOGA stuff, though she dances much better than Bross. What I remember about her beam was that it was wobbly. I did not like the day 1 WOGA tard, it did not suit her or Bross.

Lee: Ok, I love Sophia Lee. Just so you know. OMG WE SAW HER ON FLOOR. I'm unhappy we didn't see her more than the once though, especially as she screwed up on a tumble. Pretty nice double layout from Miss Lee though. I wanted to see her piked Tkatchev on bars properly.

A-Sac: Continued her upward spiral from Classic. Her beam was cleaner and less wobbly than Classic, and her vaults were better anchored. I was hoping that she would punch Andrea Joyce, but alas, she did not. I still congratulate her for being the only person with a real personality.

Sloan: OMG WHAT WAS WITH HER TARD? WHY WAS IT RADIO ACTIVE? That over with, her beam was underwhelming but considering the nature of her injury that is unsurprising. I'm thinking we've seen the last of Miss Sloan, certainly as far as individual competitions go, she keeps getting injured. Also I get the feeling that when she talks whilst she's on camera she know's exactly where the camera is and is acting up. But hey.

Nastia: Yeah, the purple curtain from night 1, not so flattering. Her shoes, will do nothing for her ankles. Her comeback? *snorts*

OMG where did they dig up Patterson from and please rebury her straight away. Thankyou.


Juniors: Just a little bit, OMG Jordan Wieber imploded! I'm not overly surprised but she certainly did it dramatically didn't she? So Ross repeated, Ohashi of the miniature WOGese, no I can't compete as a senior til next quad and I have a full twisting straight on beam why do you ask? got the silver. Makayla Maroney got the bronze much to my surprise, I haven't seen anything of her but remembering last years nats....I'm surprised. Gabby Douglas managed not to kill herself this time though Excalibur still dressed her badly. She just missed the medals :(. If she hadn't dragged her feet on the ground after her Pak on both days she could have medalled.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Comeback Kids

It's fab to see Sandra Izbasa looking awesomely back in form on floor at least, (head over to Couch Gymnast for the video), she's gained a nice one and a half to triple twist and is back to blonde again, thankfully.

Meanwhile Jade Barbosa came in third at Brazilian nationals in the all around and won vault with a 14.650 for a nice DTY, looking good for worlds. According to IG she's off to Ghent this year for the world cup which I assume will be her first international for quite some time.

25 year old Daniel Hypolito won the all around at nationals. I liked Daniele quite a lot in her younger days but as she got older she got a little dull. Still it's great to see her going despite already having attended three olympics, maybe she's got a fourth in her. People like her are doing a lot to help change the trend of retirment at the age of 17 or 18.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

There's A Light At The End Of The Tunnel...

(Picture from gymbox)

Adi Pop has choreographed Beth's new floor routine. There may actually be some half way decent choreo in it!! I don't have huge hopes, much as I love her the Twedds is not a natural dancer, but I'm hoping for an improvement. I believe she has also choreographed Becky Downie and Niamh Rippin's new routines.

Result! Presumably British gymnastics federation felt rich.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Williams Retires

Photo: Grace Chiu

Kayla Williams has retired from elite gymnastics (via gymnastics coaching). I am not particularly surprised. She had so much trouble trying to find a new gym after she left Gymnest, and as she's now signed to Alabama there's not a huge amount of point in continuing. She was a great vaulter but her bars and beam were very weak and her floor messy, her flexibility frankly terrible. I wish her the best of luck as a collegiate gymnast, she ought to do quite well there. And NCAA has a habit of cleaning up people's dance and often creates a better gymnast, just look at VaZam and Casey Jo Magee.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

US Classic Style

So this is the most sporadically posted blog ever. Sorry about that ><. Anyways me and Mostepanovafan stayed up till quarter past three this morning watching classic so here we go.

General: What the hell was with Tim's voice at the start of that broadcast? Seriously? I mean I know he's a spazmonkey but that was just realllllly weird. As a whole the meet was a little messy and a splat fest, maybe people will have cleaned up by nats, maybes not. A-Sac was easily the best person there. Also the whole scoring thing? what was with that? Why must American gymnastics competitions have such ridicoulous scoring?

A-Sac: Her beam was a little wobbly and her form not quite as good as it was but she's definitely back, and looking happier about it all too. Her vaults were as huge as ever, and whilst the landing of her rudi was not so fab the vault as a whole is possibly better than before, scoring 15.800. Bye bye Kayla. I would like to congratulate her on being the only person with a personality. I also found it amusing to watch her order people around in the presentation at the start.

VaZam: Fresh from UCLA. Her layout Podkopayeva was HUGE though the landing was far from great, but the form was great too. Beam = disaster. It was a little empty and she fell (rather painfully) from her whip back. Her floor (I say her, turns out it was Kristina Comforte's, seriously? It's not even her own routine?) was alright, very nice double layout but the other tumbles were a bit meh. Sorry to Zamarippa lovers but I still don't particularly like her.

MCaquats: I seem to abbreviate everyone. Weird. Her bars was looking a lot better than before and we now have a new member of the Church club, connected to Pak in a way that should annoy Sloan as Mackenzie didn't need spotting and it was better. Her beam, well, it's never been her best event has it. Fell on a switch split half. The rest was tentative and wobbly, she seems to have a WOGA side somi. Also someone needs to tell her she looks like a puffy cloud in that leotard, it really is not flattering.

Hunter: She looked her normal awesomely powerful self on floor and vault, tumbling a slightly messy full twisting double layout, two different arabians and a 1.5 - full twist. Somebody kill the choreographer plzkthx. Large and tidy DTY. Bars was normal Hunter bars, fell on her Hindorff. Looking forward to supporting her as a Gator. *chomp* Mostepanovafan: she needs to smile more during her floor routine otherwise she looks like she thinks she looks stupid.

Raisman: Mini A-Sac was her normal mini A-Sac self only better at bars. Beam was solid and good, her double arabian not as a good as at the SCAM but still much better than Bross'. She needs to work on her flexibility, her switch jumps were painful to watch. Her double pike arabian is a bit like early Tweddle's in the tucking the second somersault, only it was messier. Still doing her 1.5 through to double tuck arabian well, underrotated triple twist (ironic, she always used to over do it). The music was a weird choice but they really are trying to make her Alicia. Vault ZOMG what were they thinking? She was nowhere near round the attempted Amanar and it was ugly and looked painful. Bars was better but by no means fabulous. New Tkatchev with foot flex.

Cassie Whitcomb: Her floor routine was uninspired and she has still stolen Nistor's Vanessa Mae music. tumbles weren't bad but the choreo was appalling as per the usual Cincinnati routines. Her piked Ricna on bars was impressive but her Gienger was ugly. Her beam was tentative and unsurprisingly she fell on an aerial cartwheel. She also seemed to struggle with her splits. Mostepanovafan: OMG why is she so freaky and sinister. By the end of the meet MFan had also decided that Whitcomb is a basilisk.

Larson: I am happy to see her actually return to gymnastics after many injury problems. Her beam was a bit raggedy but it was solid enough until her dismount when she fell. Also her split switch ring leap should be exiled. Her floor exercise was...interesting. I preferred her old one choreographically. She's a little bit spazzy. I never expected a double layout from her but it was pretty good and her triple twist is pretty though she bounced out of it. Out of bounds on the last past. Her DTY is pretty big and neat though the landing was messy. Her bars is pretty average but nice Ricna and nice dismount. Congrats on winning the Classic Mattie. MFan thinks: she Joura's her choreo on floor.

Shapiro: Oh dear. Just generally. Beam was her normal beam routine, so dull with an offensive switch split ring. Someone ban All Olympia from trying this please none of them can do it. Tim and Tasha described her as the best dancer in the competition. -_-. I was unfortunately watching Evgeni Plushenko during her routine not her. Double arabian, double tuck and double pike. MFan: Oh yes best dancer, I love how she stands around and waves her arms. Then vault. Thankfully we didn't see it but she has hyperextended both knees so go figure. She looked in a lot of pain and I doubt we'll see her at nationals.

JetJet: Or Amanda Jeeter as Tim seemed to think she was called. So Tim was a bitch at her? Not outstanding on any event. Cat fight please. She had a messy DTY but it wasn't horrific. Her beam was good right up till her twisting straddle jump where she had to hold onto the beam. Nice standing fulls and arabians and a double arabian dismount, once again shaming Bross. I like the way Mary Lee was all 'we have to remove the garbage' about this routine ><, but she seemed happy with her girls. MFan: What is with the Cincinnati bows?

Brossy: Yay. Bross. I love Bross. OMG I HATE HER BAR WORK. SERIOUSLY. It's clean and it's high and it's in handstand and yet she manages to make it look so ugly. Her beam was...interesting. She overbalanced on her full turn (she's got to stop doing that) and fell on her dismount. Unsurprisingly. I think she performs the worst version of that dismount I have ever seen. I mean I only saw Fritzinger land it once but when she fell she wasn't anywhere near as spazzy about it and she was the first person to do it so she gets some forgiveness.

Sloan: Still has her beard leotard. And is shamed by Wieber who can do her front toe on half thing that Sloan reallllllly cannot do. Just go back to the endo one, you could do that and it's worth the same. Her dismount was low but her releases were good. Didn't see her beam.

Kaitlyn Clarke: Saw her floor exercise for no clear reason. Alright tumbling, average choreography. She'll fit in at Bama quite well so enjoy your college career.

Wieber: We watched highlights of Wieber, her bars has improved though she's piking her full twisting double layout a bit and as we all know from PacRim her floor is a lot better too though it might've made more sense if we'd watched it with her floor music.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Return of the Shawnator


Yeah so apparantly Shawn Johnson has returned to training. It's not the returning to training that I doubt it's everything else. She hasn't been training since the 2008 Olympics so that's nearly two years out of the gym. And now she's seen she can do a lot besides gymnastics how will she take to regular hard training again? I have my doubts.

Do I think she'll get very far? I don't know honestly, but I doubt she will ever reach the standard she was again. Amanar's, double doubles and standing fulls may not be on the agenda. And frankly the team doesn't need her that much unless she can get back to where she was. They have Brossy and when she comes up Wieber for their all arounders, in the meantime Sloan will do it, (and apparantly Raisman, Marta seems keen to work her all around despite her bars). They need bars workers and Shawn never was one. What she did she did cleanly but she got everything from her dismount.

So. If she gets to nationals, and I mean gets there not gets let in cos she's Shawn Johnson, I might reconsider, but in the meantime I think Sacramone's come back is much more serious.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Beth Defends, Russia, Romania Triumphant

Event Finals today. I missed the first couple of vaulters thanks to the BBC but I got everything else.

Vault

Unfortunately missed Renata Toth and Ariella Kaeslin, Kaeslin ended up fifth and was in yet another interesting butterfly leo. Tuned in in time to see Diana Chelaru's second vault - full twisting tucked handspring. It was good and she's upgraded since last years tuck front.

Ekaterina Kurbatova - Managed to get round her DTY today and did a sort of lay out Podkopayeva (she was credited with the layout) with good landings for a 15.287 average.

Youna Dufournet - Had her normal stylish form going on. Stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 14.200 and did a definately layed out Pod for a 15.275 average. If she can get a DTY with the same form as her current vaults she'll be competetive for gold.

Amelia Racea - Messy DTY, landed better than in the team final yesterday and a tucked Pod, well landed but tucked whilst still on the table for a 13.662 average.

Tatiana Nabieva - was wearing a gross leotard. Huge DTY, but her legs don't seem to ever be entirely straight, followed by a Pod with pointed toes for a 14.150 average.

Nicole Hibbert - 1.5 Yurchenko, huge leap forward. She looks like she could easily manage the DTY, so I suggest they get working on it. Lay out Omelianchik to bum for her second. It's only the second time she's done it in competition, the other time being qualifications. 13.300 average, and last.

Gold - Kurbatova, Silver - Dufournet and Bronze - Nabieva.

Uneven Bars

Natalia Kononenko - Managed to make up for the rest of the pants that Ukraine did during this competition with a fab bars routine. Ricna - Pak combo, plus her trade mark Tkatchev half - straddle Jaeger and a stuck double front. She has great form and managed a 14.750.

Vanessa Ferrari - orginally the reserve but put in when Ana Porgras was withdrawn from all finals because of her foot. Ono - straddle Jager, a rather ugly Tkatchev and a full in gave her a 14.150.

Aliya Mustafina - stalder full - toe on Khorkina, a piked Jaeger, her normal skills all done with great form. She has good handstands too which is nice for the judges, I can't say handstands bother me that much. Dismounted with a full pirouette - 1.5 twisting double back, stepped back and to the side but much better than last time.

Becky Downie - performed her Church today but didn't manage to connect it to the stalder full. Nice Ricna, low full in dismount. Her team finals performance was much better, 14.625.

Tweth - Her Church has really got better from last years Worlds, all her usual connections and madness cos no one told her she shouldn't be able to do it. Stuck full in from a cast, no giants. Her execution was a 9.075 for a 15.875.

Elizabeth Seitz - Her Church is huge, though not the tidiest in the world. It'll be great when she tidies it up. Maloney - stalder uprise to start the routine, always good to see people work out of Shaposh type skills, full in dismount. 14.000. She has promise.

Tatiana Nabieva - Traiditonal Russian huge connections spanning the two bars. Her straddle Jaeger is laaarge. Full in dismount, but she has bad bent legs before her dismount. 14.675

Dufournet - pulled out her stalder full - Def today, but incurred a .5 penalty because the coach touched her >:(. Had a landing issues on her double layout but girlfriend sure knows how to keep a straight shape.

Gold - Tweth, Silver - Mustafina, Bronze - Kononenko. Well done Uke.

Balance Beam
Amelia Racea - put in to replace injured Porgras and did herself proud. She was a little wobbly on her initial skills of front tuck and aerial cartwheel - tuck back but did an awesome aerial walkover - flic - pike back. Her dismount was a bit low but she managed a 14.400.

Valentina Holenkova - Oh Ukes. It was going so well with her handspring - front tuck, though she was a little wobbly, but she fell on her side somi as in team finals. Lovely double pike dismount though. 12.525.

Anna Myzdrikova - considering she used to be a disaster zone on beam she's doing well for herself. It was a solid routine, though unspectacular, until she had to hold on after a side somi where her foot was almost entirely off the beam. 13.150.

Aliya Mustafina - great standing arabian and double spin. Whether her triple twist dismount was round was questionable but she got a 14.375. I personally prefer her to Nabieva, and think she has more promise, and definately better form.

Celine van Gerner - she has great movement on the beam, natural balance a great speed. Me like. A little off on her front tuck, but saved it. Average skills but well performed got her a 13.850.

Yana Demyanchuk - Oh Ukes. Defended champion didn't defend. Fell on her first move of round
off - straight back. The rest of the routine was solid but unspectacular. 12.900.

Raluca Haidu - Stag Silivas to start, a bit different. Managed her flic - full twisting tuck today, but still had a wobble on her switch split half, though stayed on this time. Nice sheep jump, I am verily impressed by the young Romanians flexy. 13.950.

Elisabeta Preziosa - still has Italian leotards. Sigh. Still has uber flex which is good. Stayed on during her aerial walkover - flic - layout but fell on her aerial cartwheel instead. She could've won bronze if she'd stayed on. 13.075.

Gold - Racea, Silver - Mustafina, Bronze - Haidu.

Floor Exercise
Anna Myzdrikova - Stuck her whip - double arabian again. She enjoys that obviously. Stayed in on her triple - punch back, managed her 2.5 - barani - stag, though it looked like she might not. Her presentation isn't as good as it used to be though. 14.325.

Nimah Rippin - Had landing issues everywhere. Double arabian, did well not to sit it down, 1.5 through to triple twist - out of bounds, hopped back on her 2.5 - straight. Britain seriosuly need to work on their dance. 13.400.

Vanessa Ferrari - Her difficuly is nowhere near what it used to be but she's cleaner than before. Full in, 1.5 - full, double tuck and double pike. She can land those tumbles. No back extension roll any more :(. 13.850.

Aliya Mustafina - Girlfriend couldn't manage all clean routines. Huge double arabian, stuck her triple at the end but fell on a 1.5 - rudi. 13.225.

Tweth - Her normal tumbling. Nearly went out of bounds on her 1.5 - double arabian, but her split jump on the end of the double piked arabian. I'm still happy she can reach splits. 14.825.

Racea - Managed three finals. Go her. Had landing issues, snatched at her 2.5 - tuck front a bit but a good routine. Pretending she's a pirate from the Carribean.

Marine Brevet - Simple tumbling but cleanly done. 1.5 - 2.5, double twist, double pike out of bounds and a short double tuck. Underwhelming choreo. 13.400. Line judge tried to claim she went out of bounds on her 1.5 - 2.5 but she didn't and it wasn't deducted for.

Diana Chelaru - My favourite routine of the finals. Unexpected double layout to open, whip - triple with minor landing issues, 2.5 - supposedly straight front which leapt out of bounds, closed with a full in. Yeah Shawn, she can do it to. And she's got better dance and is generally better. She never stopped moving, twas awesome. 14.125.

Gold - Tweth, Silver - Myzdrikova, Bronze - Chelaru. Musty would have managed bronze had she not fallen. If Chelaru hadn't gone out of bounds she'd probably have got silver.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Thrills and Many Spills at Euros

WHAT THE HELL????? Weirdest team final ever? I think so.

Rotation 1

Romania started badly on beam, Raluca Haidu was first up and fell on her full twisting back and a switch split half, scoring a painful 12.100. Amelia Racea was second up, and other than failing to reach splits at all on a switch split leap had a wobbly but otherwise good routine. Ana Porgras was last up, didn't fall and mangaged a 14.800. Was a little worried when she had to be carried off the podium but she was alright.

France started quite well on vault but it was probably the best piece of the night. Dufournet was the top vaulter with a great layout Podkopayeva, and Maulassena vaulted a nice handspring straight front half. They were in second after the first rotation, but it wouldn't last.

The Netherlands were stable though unspectacular on floor. Masela started well and looked like she was truly enjoying herself with a 13.125, but with no great tumbling. Kroonen went out of bounds on a 1.5 through to double tuck, but mananged a higher score with 13.150.

Kaeslin performed a good routine for Switzerland on bars in their first ever team final, with a nice high Gienger and Markelov, but a very strange technique on her full in dismount. For some reason they were wearing a read purple and yellow sleeveless leotard that looked like it had been made with two leos sewn together.

Italy started reasonably on beam, Preziosa was their anchor, but fell on a flic - layout, and was short on her double tuck dismount. She still had great flexibility and managed a 12.900. Ferrari looks in much better shape than previously, and has her flexibility back. Her planche is still one of the best ever, and she was determined not to even wobble for a 14.100. Galante lead them off with a 13.900, doing two spins with her leg in splits, one a full the other her trademark 1.5.
Russia began very well on floor, Semenova starting off still only opened with a double tuck, not the double layout she'd been doing in podium training. She had a problem on her 1.5 - full twist but managed a 13.725. Mustafina did a lovely double arabian followed by gorgeous triple spin. She stuck her 2.5 to full twist and did a great Memmel turn later in the routine for a 14.400. Myzdrikova anchored the team, mangaging to stay in bounds on her triple - tuck this time, and sticking her whip - double arabian cos she's badass.

Britain did well on vault, vaulting one full twisting yurchenko from Jocelyn Hunt and two one and a halves from Becky Downie (stuck cold and awesome) and Nicole Hibbert (leapt forward), scoring 13.700, 14.350 and 13.900.

Ukraine's Fomenko had an awful start on the bars scoring an 8.225. She fell on her straddle Jaeger, had issues on a half pirouette, and hit the high bar during her dismount, failing to complete it. She looked hurt at first but was fine as she later competed floor.

Rotation 2

Netherlands continued well on vault. Masela scored a 13.125 on a FTY, and Kroonen scored a 13.525 for a lovely pike front half.


Romania did better on floor than beam. Once again Haidu went first with a cute routine to Zorba the Greek, tumbling a full in tucked, 2.5 - tuck front, double tuck and double pike for a 13.325. Racea followed with similar tumbling, swap the double tuck for a badly landed triple twist for a 13.650. Chelaru anchored and had problems on her triple spin, but good tumbling scored her a 14.200.

France had a messy bars set. Maulassena was up first with a simple routine that scored 13.325. Morel had a really ugly routine full of leg splits. She looks worryingly thin these days considering what she was like in Beijing. Dufournet was not her normal fabby self, the entire set looked a struggle and she missed several handstands for a 13.725.

Kaeslin was solid on beam with a great round off straight back for a 14.000.

Russia continued well, though not great, on vault. Kurbatova was first up and scored a 14.000 for a underrotated double twisting yurchenko. Mustafina and Nabieva followed with better versions of the same vault (Mustafina's reminded me of Pavs') for 14.700 and 14.575.

Britain had an AWESOME bars set. Hibbert went up first with the slowest Tkatchev - Pak I have ever witnessed and a stuck double front for a 13.575. What is with the way she does her hair???? Downie followed with a stalder full - Ray and 1.5 pirouette - Ricna and a stuck full in for a 14.350. Tweth was her usual mad self. Who has the bars that bouncy? Hit all her combos and almost stuck her dismount for a 15.850. Mitch Fenner described it as 'world class, universal class'. Yes Mitch, she beat all those bitches from Mars.

Ferrari really really really really needs a new piece of floor music, but good tumbling led to a 13.950. She did a nice switch split ring on beam but couldn't on floor. Odd. Nice to see her flexy back.

Holenkova on beam for Ukraine fell twice, once on an aerial cartwheel, once on a side somi. She did a great front handspring - front tuck combo before that though. Poor Ukes.

Rotation 3

Romania vaulted a piked down full twisting yurchenko (Haidu) and two doubles (Racea and Chelaru) for 13.625, 14.100 and 14.250. Racea's was very offline and Chelaru's a bit messy. She's very Bontas on the leg splits onto the vault.

Netherlands had a DISASTROUS bars set from Yvette Moshage. She missed her hand on her overshoot and fell onto the bit that lets you raise the bars and broke it. There was a large wait whilst it was fixed. She ended up with an 11.225. Masela had a high straddle Jaeger and good double front for a 12.550 and Celine van Gerner did a straddle Jaeger, pike stalder full - pak and full in for a 13.475.

Jessica Diacci had a nice flexible floor set to Moulin Rouge's Bolero with a very tidy double arabian for a 13.250. Jennifer Senn looked tiny and had a slightly messy, not very difficult routine for 11.850, going out of bounds on a double pike.

Morel fell on a flic - whip on beam, but had a nice Rufolva for a 12.800. She also did a switch leap onto the beam, a la Tabitha Yim. Dufournet had a more solid routine with a good double spin, aerial cartwheel - switch split - gainer layout, and attempted an onodi - aerial walkover - flic - layout, but missed the connection between onodi and walkover, for a 14.625.

Russia had a bit of a messy bars performance. Kurbatova, despite her disastrous qualifiers, was still used on bars. Poor Semenova, former bars world champion and not used at all. She missed her connection between full pirouette and Tkatchev, managed her Pak and double front half for a 13.800. Mustafina did well, though was a little messy. Nice piked Jaeger, low Tkatchev - Pak and a full pirouette - full in dismount for 14.900. Tatiana Nabieva had bigger problems. Started great Maloney - uprise - full pirouette - Pak but later fell on a second attempt at a pirouette she'd failed on. Depressingly all the Russians seem to have bent leg giants.


OMG Britain hit a beam set. 3 for 3!!!!!!!!!!! Hibbert wobbled on a back tuck but stayed on for a 12.925. Niamh Rippin was next. This is the first time I've ever seen her not fall on beam, so good time to do it. solid flic - layout and nice 2.5 dismount for 13.100. Downie was up last, cos she usually does so well under pressure, but stayed on and manages her aerial cartwheel - flic much better than her aerial walkover - flic. Full spin with leg in splits connected to ordinary full. Stuck double pike, but I missed her score. Sigh.

Fomenko had a much better routine on floor than bars, scoring a 13.225 despite stepping out of bounds on her double arabian. Choreo needs work though. Seriously.

Rotation 4

Romania finished on bars more respectably than one may have thought. Haidu was once again up first. She had an ugly Gienger and lacked handstands mostly but managed a 13.150. She was so small she struggled a bit transitioning. Racea had much cleaner handstands and a 1.5 to straddle Jaeger for a 13.975. Porgras finished up scoring a 13.700. She was late on her 1.5 - Jaeger but stuck her double layout (was clearly in a lot of pain).

France were underwhelming on floor. Morel (nope she still looks scarily thin) did a messy triple twist and a low 1.5 through to double tuck with average choreo for 13.225. Brevet faired better, though choreo was still not so great. 1.5 to 2.5 twists, out of bounds double pike and a double tuck gave her 13.825. Dufournet anchored with a good piked full in and an attempteddouble arabian - stag jup (she fooled no one, there was a hop inbetween). Her jump landings need working on - scored 13.775.

Kaeslin vaulted a low straight/piked (your call) Rudi for a 14.350, helping Switzerland finish sixth.

Russia finished up wobbly but well on beam. Myzdrikova, beam finalist, was first up. Traditional aerial walkover - flic - layout, (it gets boring even when its done well), a nice full split jump and good pike double back gave her 13.550. Mustafina had a small wobble on her standing arabian and issues on her triple twisting dismount but got a 14.175. Semenova was last up, and rather like Racea failed the split in the switch split leap. Solid on her aerial walkover - flic - straight back and onodi - flic - layout and double pike for a 14.150, securing gold.

Kysla had a large hop on her full twisting yurchenko for a 13.575, keeping Ukraine in eighth but by less than a point despite Fomenko's 8.225.

Britain started floor with Jocelyn Hunt. As stuck as stuck can be on the full in, great triple and ended with a double pike. However she needs to work on connecting front tumbling. A straight front - pike front combo is not bon. 13.425. Niamh Rippin had a nice floor routine with a great double arabian and a nailed second pass of 1.5 to triple twist. She was feeling the 1980s with her Shushunova into Silivas rolls at the end for a 14.350. Tweth anchored (who'd've thunk). As always nice 1.5 to double arabian tucked. Reasonable double pike arabian and great 2.5 - full twisting front at the end. ZOMG she can now reach splits. Being a specialist is totally working for her. 14.925. All I can say is PLEASE BRITAIN PLEASE! WORK ON YOUR CHOREO AND PRESENTATION.

So gold to Russia, silver to Britain (omg they hit 12 for 12, no one saw that coming) and bronze for Romania. Britain beat Romania by over three points. What's weirder is that they deserved it. And I hope you don't take that as me being patriotic for Britain cos I really am not.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Final Day of NCAAs

Vanessa Zamarripa and Brittany MCCullough of UCLA took titles on vault and floor respectively yesterday. The vault final was way too long, Zamarippa won with a layout Podkopayeva and a full twisting Yurchenko. Other notable things on vault: Mary Atkinson was first up and had a landing issue on vault one and smashed backwards into the vault on her second. She got a third vault at the very end of the entire competition so presumably she was alright but it was terrifying to watch. Susan Jackson didn't bring out the DTY, but did a great full and a good 1.5 for second, and Mandi Rodriguez of Oregon State came third. Kingy managed 4th. SIGH, she stuck her tsukh 1.5 in warm ups.

Seeing as her picture's there: floor time. Brittany McCullough won with her normal slightly interesting routine. I am neutral to this win. There was a tie for second. Hollie Vise of Oklahoma was one of them, she had a clean routine with mad choreography. I stick with what i said about the Oklahoma choreographer being on drugs. Brandi Personett managed silver in her final meet, no full in layout, there were rumours she'd injured herself in warm ups which might be why. The other was Sarah Shire of Missouri (well done Utah for chasing her away). She was fairly normal. Marissa King came fifth, again the highest non medallist, but she made up for the team final. Nice double layout. Casey Jo Magee did the awesome Austin Powers routine but she had small issues on her final tumble which sucks cos it would have been great if she had won.

Stanford's Carly Janiga unexpectedly took the gold on bars in her final meet, so congrats, bronze AA and gold UB for her. She had a great routine with a well and truly STUCK landing. There was two way tie for silver, Summer Hubbard of LSU also had a nice clean routine and Hollie Vise managed to medal in her two events in her final nationals, so well done her.

Susan Jackson took the beam title in her final meet after a remarkably shakey beam final. No really large errors but everyone except her and Janiga had issues, so McCool should consider her second place tied with Janiga as exceptionally lucky and a Georgia pity mark.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

UCLA Takes NCAA Gymnastics Crown


UCLA took the trophy from Georgia in an interesting final yesterday, not that Georgia were able to attempt defense. It was a close run battle between UCLA and Oklahoma, but the Bruins came out on top thanks to stronger vaults and better consistency.

Utah started well and were doing alright until beam when a fall from Daria Bijak caused a few problems, they finished last of the Super Six. Bad end to a career for the German.

Florida totally screwed everything up and finished 5th, unfortunately thanks to Marissa King (well she is British, she was going to screw everything up at some point). She scored in the 8s on bars, fell off beam and stepped out of bounds on floor, so Florida lost scores it would have wanted to count.

Stanford came 4th, good placing and unexpected for them, predominantly because unlike prelims Alysse Ishino didn't feel like going wrong everywhere. They have some crazy floor routines going on, and a great showing on vault put them this close to the top 3, but they couldn't quite hold on.

Alabama started of weak on floor, everyone stumbling backward and out of bounds, but they picked up with strong vault and bars to place 3rd overall, despite a fall from Geralen Stack-Eaton on beam.

Oklahoma put up a good fight, but in the final rotation UCLA needed an average of just over 9.8 to take the title, Oklahoma were on a bye. OMG their floor routines are CRAZY. Seriously whoever choreographed those routines must've been smoking something. Vault is probably their weak area, if they get stronger on that they could dominate. Also Natasha Kelley, there comes a point when one should stop competing. This happened when your ACL tore. THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN CONTINUE WHEN IT'S COMPLETELY SEPARATED FROM YOUR LEG GIRL. Go get some surgery and REST. She was so strapped up.

UCLA did very well, there's no doubting that. They weren't sticking vaults very much but they were still scored well, their bars were typical strong bars, their beam was wobbleless and their floor was enough to clinch it. I confess I wanted to see Oklahoma do it, (well OBVIOUSLY I wanted Florida but after bars and beam it became apparent this would not be happening), and when UCLA got to floor I was kind of annoyed because there isn't really anything for them to go wrong on, save a double layout from one gymnast. Their choreography, much like Oklahoma's, is pretty mad, and Hoppy-Hibbs routine is ass-kicking in the crazyness and awesomeness departments, but I was a bit disappointed. Go figure.

EF tonight. Please acquit yourself better tonight Kingy. I know you're inherently British, but you've managed the rest of the season.

Friday, 23 April 2010

NCAA Prelims

Sorry for my long silence, I was busy with coursework and I just haven't had anything to write since then.

So, I know I haven't mentioned it but I am an avid Gators fan, (though I expect UCLA to win this year), and have been properly keeping up with the NCAAs this year for the first time, and it is AWESOME. So it was prelims last night, I didn't get to see the first group but UCLA, Oklahoma and Utah made it through which is pretty much what I expected. The only difference I thought might have happened was LSU instead of Utah who haven't been very strong this year, but LSU had to count a fall on beam and so ended last of the 6 teams.

There was a bright spot for LSU as Susan Jackson took the AA title ahead of Casey Jo Magee of Arkansas and Carly Janiga of Stanford. Nice one by Carly there. Favourite Sarah Shire of Missouri fell from beam in the final rotation to stop her placing in the top 3. Geralen Stack-Eaton of Bama and former US team member came fourth ahead of senior Brandi Personett of Penn State.
Second session I did get to see and it featured home team Florida, Stanford, Missouri, Bama, Arkansas and Michigan. I was pretty certain Florida and Bama would reach the super 6, and Stanford joined them coming in third. I though Michigan might have been able to reach it but they started badly on beam, and though Stanford had an iffy bars rotation they could quite close the gap. Bama won this session and were solid and clean (though really dull) right until floor when they had to count some lower scores. They still beat Florida who had a couple of issues on bars, and suffered a fall on beam and floor. Randy Stageburg won't be competing in the Super 6 as she messed up floor so we'll get to see Castillo in her final meet on floor.

Final wise TWENTY PEOPLE HAVE QUALIFIED TO VAULT. This is ridiculous. These includeMunchie's Kingy. OH YES MARISSA KING IS AN ALL AMERICAN ON VAULT (British gymnastics pride, it happens rarely). Brandi Personett, Morgan Dennis, Susan Jackson, Hoppy-Hibbs, Zamarippa, Anna Li, Stack-Eaton and Sarah Shire are a selection of those who made it. Ashanee Dickerson qualified top just ahead of Stanford's Blair Ryland.

Bars has a more reasonable 11 people in the final. Maranda Smith, Amanda Castillo, Casey Jo Magee, Kayla Hoffman, Kassi Price and Carly Janiga have all tied for first -_- which is mildly ridiculous as well. I'm also looking in forward to seeing Anna Li, Daria Bijak and Hollie Vise.

Beam also has 11 people, top qualifiers being Ashley Priess and Casey Jo Magee. Stack-Eaton, Jackson, Courtney McCool, Personett, Janiga and Jamie Deetscreek have all qualified to name but a few. No Gators made the beam final unfortunately but I will cope.

Floor time, and Marissa King and Jaime Pisani of Arkansas have tied for the top place. Morgan Dennis will also be in the final as well as Hollie Vise, Annie DiLuzio, Makayla Stambaugh, VaZam, Brittany McCullough and Ashanee Dickerson have all qualified.


Well done to Susan Jackson for her AA win and qualifying to all finals.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Doha Results


Yes I'm slow, I was waiting for day 2 to happen. So South Africa's Jennifer Khwela took gold on vault, in what wasn't exactly a strong vaulting field, but well done to South Africa's first world cup champ. I don't know what vaults she did but at nationals last year she did a handspring pike front half and a layout Yurchenko. I would assume she's upgraded that.

Tijana Tkalcec of Croatia got the silver and World Cup Finalist in 2008 Hiu Ying Angel Wong took the bronze.
As expected Huang Qiushuang took the bars gold, ahead of team mate Wu Liufang. She only performed her double layout dismount, not the full in version but she's looking good. Love her Pak. Wu did a gorgeous Shaposhnikova-uprise-Pak combo, but had issues on one of her pirouettes, causing bent legs, a peculiar swing and hitting her coach. Canadian Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto took bronze.


Wu Liufang took golds on beam and floor. I haven't seen any of it, but it looks like Huang Qiushuang fell off beam, and she came second in floor. World cup favourite Tina Erceg took silver on beam ahead of Jennifer Khwela (well done on two medals here). The bronze on floor went to Turkey's Goksu Uctas.

Update on Jesolo: According to Couch Gymnast, Viktoria Komova won't be attending. :(

Monday, 22 March 2010

JESOLO!!!!!


So the line-up for Jesolo is AWESOME this year. Juniors going include the all fabulous Viktoria Komova, Mai Marakumi, Natsumi Sasada, Anastasia Grishina and Violetta Malikova (and that's just a few).

The seniors doesn't look to shabby either. We have the return of Vanessa Ferrari, plus Ksenia Semenova, Anna Myzdrikova, Ekaterina Kurbatova, Tatiana Nabieva, Rebecca Wing, Emily Armi, Paola Galante, Elizabeta Preziosa, Mini A-Sac, Cassie Whitcomb, Kytra Hunter, MCaquats and JetJet.

So everyone's turning up this year!

Friday, 19 March 2010

DOHA!!!

Doha time! Almost. 22nd-24th March, the Doha world cup will be taking place. It's one of my favourites, especially the 2008 world cup which attracted some awesome people in preparation for the Olympics.

This year will see some common world cup circuit names attending. The full list can be found on the FIG website. Marta Pihan-Kulesza will be going for Poland, probably hoping for more floor medals. Sweden's great beam worker Ida Jonsson will attend, along with Ida Gustafson. Patrons of awful leotard choices Adela Sajn of Slovenia and Tina Erceg of Croatia will go. Goodness alone knows what they will wear this time.

Daniele Hypolito seems to be attempting to be Brazil's Chuso. She's returning to competition after a break in 2009. I must confess she's boring me a little. And that's an understatement. She was boring all last quad too. I didn't mind her around 2004 and earlier but seriously, just retire. Please.


Most exciting is the new Chinese wonder kid Huang Qiushuang, (seriously this is the only decent picture of her I can find alone). Said to be training an Amanar, but having an awesome DTY anyway, great bars set, solid beam and great floor presentation, she is capable of winning at least three golds, I don't think she has a second vault of any great difficulty, but she may not have much competition. Wu Liufang is going with her, they're both from the same province as Yang Yilin and Li Shanshan. Guangdong sure knows how to produce uber gymnastics!

Great Youtuber

Everybody needs to watch stuff from Grishinagan's channel on youtube, (here). Posts lots of Russian junior competitions and some senior too. It's great to be able to watch mini Russians in action and work out how many of them are doing Memmels on floor.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Russian Cup Qualifications


I'm just post happy today. Been watching some videos from RussianCup2009's channel of this years Russian Cup. People looking awesome. Here's some impressions and news:

Ksenia Semenova - Looks like she's grown again. Much better vault than previously, less knee bend. Her Deltchev seems to have gotten bigger too. She only opened floor with a double tuck, perhaps she's still working on the rumoured double layout. The rest of the tumbling was normal. Beam was solid but a little wobbly.

Ekaterina Kurbatova - Lovely layout Podkopayeva. Her floor was better than last years worlds. She opened with a one and a half twist - Tarasevich combo. Did a very nice triple spin. Beam was kind of bad. She fell on her full spin with leg in split and was wobbling on everything else, and struggling to connect.

Anna Pavlova - SHE'S BAAACK. She fell on her layout Podkopayeva. Her bars were her normal bars, still doesn't connect that Jaeger, though it's a beautifully performed skill. Only dismounted with a single layout. Beam wasn't bad. She has a Yang Bo now, and has resurrected her Kochetkova - flic - layout. Fell on her two and a half twist dismount. Floor was still Exodus goodness. Finished way to early, opened with a double pike but bounced out of bounds. She did a nice triple twist, a front layout front layout stepout and a layout front full stag jump.

Viktoria Komova - Did DTY and piked Omelianchik vaults. Nice bars, piked stalder Khorkina transition still gorgeous. Beam was great. Only a double tuck dismount, but she performed her arabian and a flic - layout - layout. Floor had great choreography and a BEAUTIFUL triple twist.

Aliya Mustafina injured her foot and Kristina Pravdina has torn her achilles. : (

Bringing it to the Beam China Style

China have a new beam coach.

Boo yah! Zhang Nan is the new beam coach. Awesome beam routines coming this way from China? Me thinks yes, (not that they're not already awesome on beam).

Head cases coming through for China? Alas quite probably true. Zhangy was a great beam worker, but an absolute headcase, though not Ukrainian style. She's probably my favourite beam worker (Chinese and generally) when it went right.


video
So who are my favourite Chinese beam workers other than Zhangy, I wondered. Here's a few:

1. Yang Bo

Like I was going to miss her out. Never won a world title. Ever. That's depressing. Dismounts were her nemesis right up until Barcelona 92, when she fell off the beam, but the dismount was fine. Gorgeous leap named after her, and everyone remembers the awesomeness that was her flic - layout - Rulfova combination.

2. Kui Yuanyuan

Ah the controversey surrounding the 1997 worlds beam title she blatantly should have won. Only got the bronze. Who can forget her three split leaps to three layouts and her full twisting layout to two feet? Not me.

3. Xiao Sha

Her flic - flic - layout all to two feet at the 2007 worlds still makes me happy. Her sheep jump and switch split ring leap were beautiful. She has such wonderful extension. Oh I loves her. She only ever attended the one worlds and totally screwed up prelims, so her world champion potential was never realised.

4. Liu Xuan

My list isn't overly unpredictable, but it wouldn't be complete without the 2000 Olympic champion. She had such poise and elegance on the beam, but her layout to two feeet showed her power as well. Leaps and jumps are known to be awesome for the Chinese, her switch split ring and her ring jump were no exception to that rule.

Of course they have had so many great beam workers, Mo Huilan, Wu Jiani, Lu Li, Li Li and Qiao Ya to name but five more.

Goryunova Suspended


Russian gymnast (and one of my favourites) Kristina Goryunova has been banned for a year following the discovery she tested positive for furosemide, the same drug that Daiane dos Santos and Do Thi Ngan Thuong tested positive for, Do at Beijing.

Apparantly she didn't know what she took contained the banned substance, she was just trying to lose weight. These drugs seem to be coming up more often than they used to.

Because she has been banned more than six months Kristina is now unable to compete at the London olympics in 2012. If we're honest it was unlikely that she would make the team anyway, but even so.

Let's hope her little sister has more success.

Oh Kristina.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

SCAM


So Rebecca Bross won the SCAM, no surprises there. Her vault and bars were solid, though I will forever hate her legs. She was incredibly lucky she was American on beam, any other country and she would have been deducted properly. She didn't get round her full pirouette in crouch, her foot hit the beam, though she didn't fall off. She seemed a bit off balance after that but stayed on. She has a new floor routine. Initially I was excited by this prospect. Then she performed it. It's actually worse than her old one. The choreography doesn't suit her or the music. Anyone else notice that it's just a weird version of Dark Eyes? WOGA has no imagination. Smooth for swearing on live television Bross.

Alexandra Raisman placed second. Her vault was a lot cleaner than Bross', but her bars still suck Brestyan style, though she's better than A-Sac. Her beam was powerful, and her flexibility isn't that bad. Her double arabian dismount is so much better than Bross'. So was her floor routine, though it was so obviously A-Sac it's ridiculous. Nice 1.5 twist through to double arabian.

The lucky draw for third place ended with Jessica Lopez of Venezuela grabbing it. We only saw her beam and floor, but they were nice. Her beam was solid enough, great form on her dismount. Floor was better, she had choreography that actually went with the music, and her tumbling, whilst not uber difficult, was good.

Yuko Shintake of Japan looked awesome. Her bars was great, perfect handstands and form throughout. I love Japanese double fronts of bars, they just scrunch up so tiny. I loved her floor routine. It wasn't hard, (mildly confusing too, if she can end with a double pike I'm sure she can do a double tuck instead of a double twist, and get an extra tenth there), but the music was prettyful and the choreography was good.

Tiny mens observations. I don't really follow mens gymnastics, but even I know Horton was overscored hugely. Seriously? 13.600 for that parallel bars routine? and in the 16s for his vault, landed under rotated and stiff legged? And what on earth was up with Flavius Koczi? Why the hell did he decide to dismount high bar with a TUCK BACK?

Supergirl Cup

So it was the Supergirl Cup yesterday, a chance for level tens to get some experience with that sort of meet. And apparantly elites as well. I don't get that but whatever. I didn't watch all of it, I was tired and staying up til 2 in the morning to finish it just wasn't happening, but I did watch the first 2 rotations.

Why oh why were they all forced into the same leotard? I mean I understand why, but WHY? Still at least they got some leotards and a tracksuit out of it.


So Lexie Priessman won. In my humble opinion she had the advantage, having attended elite Jnr nationals last year, so it seemed a bit unfair to stick her (and others such as Gabi Douglas) in a competition against level tens. She did a double twisting yurchenko on vault, so did another girl that I saw though I can't remember her name. Both gave me the impression it was a vault they were only just managing. I wouldn't have let them compete it yet. Her floor was Cincinnati to the bone.

Kassandra Lopez from Arizona finished second, and Diandra Milliner came third.

It was weird to see Kimberley Jacob hanging around after seeing her at nationals. I think she's committed to Bama though so she probably won't be around long. I was kind of rooting for Gabi Douglas but she screwed up floor on her 2.5 twist.

I also think it's strange that people who are used to the elite system were competing under the JO Nationals rules. Obviously they'd have an advantage. Just a bit of a weird competition.

Still, SCAM later today.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

New Web Magazine

Sorry I have posted for a while, and this is just a quick one. Check out (if yo uhaven't already) Couch Gymnast's new web mag, put together by many fans of gym, including an article from yours truly.

http://thecouchgymnast.squarespace.com/

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year =D

Happy new year to anyone reading this. We've been through yet another year of changes in gymnastics, but what are you looking forward to in 2010?

1. Aliya Mustafina and Tatiana Nabieva

Two of Russia's big hopes for their gymnastics future become senior this year, and hopefully we'll get to see them in action at the team and event final Euros in the early part of this year. Tatiana Nabieva is the current European Junior AA champion, and is capable of skills like an Amanar, (it wasn't a triple twist attempt, she herself called it her Amanar), triple twist on floor and a Grigoras on beam (with tonnes of height, HERE). Mustafina came second AA at the Japan Cup and does an ENORMOUS Markelov on the bars (HERE).

2. The rise and rise of artistry

2009 saw a return of artistry (though not completely, the 1980s and before may never be reached again), and I was pleasantly surprised at just how great an improvement there was. Here's Munch looking forward to even more in 2010.

3.The return of Oksana Chusovitina


She has announced (yet another) come back after injury. The scary thing is she probably can do it. I can only imagine she enjoys it so much she just can't find anything to do at home. Without being disrespectful to the Grandmother of the sport, let's hope she either gives up floor or finds fountains of artistry unknown until now. Perhaps a vault specialism is in order?

4. The return of Anna Pavlova


Now this one makes me really happy, she's coming back again, and as she was scheduled for a competition only a short while ago, it looks like she's in good form already. I'm not sure about Euros, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for worlds.

5. Japan

What with worlds in Japan in 2011, and what is effectively a temporary training centre set up for a couple of years, Japan look to be on the rise. Koko Tsurumi began this last year with her bronze and silver at worlds, and with crazy juniors like Mai Murakami in the ranks, this quad should hold success for Japan. They're artistic, technically awesome and are ready to contend.

6. Huang Qiushuang


She was senior last year but was overlooked for worlds, this year I want to see her in Rotterdam. She has a beautiful DTY, and gorgeous full twisting double layout bars dismount and great floor presentation. Challenge for the all around? Totally. Great team player? Definately. I can see no reason for her to be left off the team this year.