Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Just having a Simoment





Pac Rims Beam

Copyright - Thomas Schreyer

Source - despositphoto

Not to mention Anastasia Grishina and her copious amount of knee injuries. Sigh.
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A note on Team China

Making time for a quick attempt at clarifying!

Recently, news, videos and gifs emerged of fantastic upgrades from some of the girls. Shang Chunsong landed a beautiful and secure 3.5 twist on floor, Wang Yan threw a triple off beam and Chen Siyi either a triple or 3.5, Tan Jiaxin threw an amanar, Deng Yalan a 2.5 (!!) Tsuk and Yao Jinnan a full twisting DLO bars dismount..and other skills were on display also. No double doubles which I know I saw mentioned somewhere.

The key word is display. Many of the above skills were on trampoline or into a pit. The quad twist, if Shang Chunsong actually threw one, definitely was.

This was an internal verification of upgrades, not a competition. Essentially, kickstarting their new internal code previously detailed here - emphasising floor and vault, and harder skills in general. No full routines were shown. Songsong's 3.5 on competition floor does look good indeed, but ALL of the upgrades have to be put into full routines and it's worth bearing in mind also that basically, the girls are not really built to be able to massively up their difficulty and endurance. Not that none of the upgrades will appear or anything, but just to be aware that they were performed singly. The 3.5 in particular was a skill assigned to the girls over winter training to accomplish on trampoline. Other combinations were probably assigned individually.

Tan Jiaxin's amanar looks serviceable. In her case, she has a lot of adjusting to do from her previous status as a one-eventer. Hopefully she can perform well on bars, floor and vault as she is very, very valuable.

Yao Jinnan IS AN ALL-AROUNDER at this point in time. She had one upgrade to show, and showed it. There is nothing to read into what events she will drop in the future. Don't get me wrong - she could indeed drop vault and floor, but she will not be able to do that this year. They are going to have a horrendous time scraping together enough girls and alternates for Nanning and the vault rotation will be an issue - there is just no way a guaranteed DTY will sit on the sidelines during it.

Tan Sixin and Huang Huidan did not appear, which indicates no upgrades to show or none to show yet. No need to fear, they'll be back in action when appropriate.

Wang Wei may retire. If she does, hopefully she'll be very happy in what she chooses to do. She would have been very valuable on floor this year and possibly vault, so it's a blow if she does :/

Upgrades are good news, but should be treated with caution! :) I have noticed a lot of certainty in the reporting of them and also about Yao Jinnan's status so thought I'd try to make it a bit clearer (hopefully).

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Brb!

Source- worstsimpsonspageever.tumblr

Not actual technical difficulties but I love this. Just very busy at the moment but never fear (if anyone's fearing), I'm around and will post again, probably around Easter. I'm watching some videos but unable to follow full competitions and streams unfortunately.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Quick hits' from Jesolo podium training videos

I am confused as to whether Day 2 is open access or not, it was then it wasn't. Day 1 is definitely not. The below is a combination of both.

Kyla Ross' routines are the same. Very clean on bars and beam, although one or two wobbles on the latter and her front tuck-wolf jump was lacking due to energy it seemed. Stuck a lovely DTY. All in all, she looks good but not her best I think. Ankles had some hefty bandaging/support on beam. Lack of upgrades are the constant theme with her but since she is recovering from a back injury, it's not very surprising and definitely understandable.

Edit- Floor is up. Double arabian-stag, double pike, 1.5-front full, double tuck. She's not following the pass direction rules for which the cut-off is approaching fast. I forget if others are :p Very clean and controlled routine.

Mykayla Skinner's amanar is back! And although it's a significant squat on landing - 90 degree knee bend, it looks quite secure and 'on'. Nice form too. The Cheng was great in the air and landing...her block usually needs a screenshot to see if she used both hands and I can't do that on my phone. It looks like she used both hands (she did not at the Level 10 a while back) but barely. Her tucked double double was shown (her d-score is reportedly 6.8 now although dependent on getting full credit from dance elements) and it was nice, seemed very easy for her. Bars have such an ease in the swing but too many form errors bringing them down, it's a shame.

Beam was...wait for it..watchable! The wolf turn from hell is gone and she has calmed down on the ambitious connections to increase consistency. The BHS-arabian was impressive, lots of height on the arabian and a great upright landing Nia Dennis would approve of. Sadly the BHS is reminiscent of Dominique Dawes on beam. Other acro skills like punchfronts and the side aerial were very nice. Her basic leaps seemed to be hit or enough to be declared 180. The switch half HAS improved thankfully. There's an L-turn-single turn combination, her leg dips up and down a bit on the L but it's fine. She did not do the upgraded dismount she's training - Patterson I think? I don't believe she did the Fabrichnova either. I'm curious to see how she will do, she has definitely put the effort in for more than just d-scores.

Edit - Her full floor just went up. Same tumbles - Moors, Silivas, double arabian - stag, 1.5 to 2.5. The middle passes have switched around. Energy to spare on the first 3, bounced a bit out of the Silivas. Her first pass is really quite laid out for nearly all of it, nice. I'm not sure we will ever see it fully perfectly laid out though. On her last pass she was short a bit. The switch half was..good! Double L turn was okay also.

Peyton Ernst did a dance-through on floor. I watched it without music so not very helpful. Some nice poses showing off her back flexibility and her end pose is great - combines Viktoria Komova's 2011 one and Anna Pavlova's in 2008! Rachel Gowey also did a dance-through. Very elegant arm movements and her lines look lovely, but it didn't seem very expressive or outstanding. Will have to judge both in competition when they're in performance mode. Peyton's beam was solid.

Edit- Full floor went up. Solid tumbling including lovely double layout and double arabian, a little low on the former.

Rachel Gowey did a triple full and made it look like a single twist, so effortless. Hopefully she can nudge the 3.5 back into her routine. Gorgeous form on it. Her bars are not quite there yet, issues with handstands and little form things - her Pak for instance was over arched with oddly flexed feet. Fabulous straight double layout, same as Norah Flatley's. No shap full. Beautiful beam! Floaty BHS-LOSO-LOSO with perfect form and her leaps have improved since last year. Really promising.

Edit- full floor is up. She's doing tuck full in, front double full-front tuck, triple full, double tuck. She landed the first two very low, big stumble on the first and almost sitting the second. Dissappointing but hopefully she'll improve for the competition. She looks great movement, I'm not sold on expression or performance/choreography yet but it's just training.

Bailie Key looks like..Bailie Key. Great DTY. Her bars have been reworked a bit - she has the Church in (or Ricna? Sorry I don't know which) but the Jaeger is still there - petition to dump it and replace with Gienger please! Beautiful Pak, perfect shape and form. Stunning lines. Stalder half might be new also.

Edit - Beam is up. Fabulous, just stunning work. The arabian is in, deep landing but very secure. Aerial-wolf-straddle is very nice.

Nia Dennis showed off a huge DTY. Hit the ceiling on her Tkachev, no piked Tkachev and she did a double pike. Not sure if warm-up or downgrades out of season as she fully bounces back from injury. Nice shape in her Pak too but a little far forward on catching.

Jordan Chiles looks good. Yet another good DTY and her bars are taking shape nicely. She is not hitting handstands but at her age, I wouldn't be concerned. She has step-downs like Kyla! Nice ease in her swing.

Edit- Great floor. Double Arabian and front double-layout front to start. Too much energy on the punchfront and stepped OOB but really a lovely routine. She has a lot of presence I think. Beam is up too, a little bit wobbly but has the makings of a great routine.

Alyssa Baumann was wobbly on beam and broke a few connections. Lovely Onodi but her arabian was landed very low. Emily Gaskins was quite hesitant on beam, a little nervy looking. Gorgeous line on bars but little form issues.

Madison Kocian's bars look cleaner I thought. Bent elbows are her enemy still but the routine looked sharper in general.

Norah Flatley had two beam routines uploaded. Stunning. Just, the full package on that apparatus. She did break the really long connection both times but meh, it's so hard to connect it all. Her bars looked good but not great, still getting there. She's so tiny, I think she needs to grow to really fulfil her potential. FTY did not look like an upgrade will be forthcoming any time soon, fairly piked down.

Edit- floor is up. Nice dance, suits her. Some issues with landings, stumbled out of her triple full sideways and she landed the double pike bent in half, bouncing backwards and putting her hands down. Both she and Rachel are doing a turn combination which has me baffled - double L to single L, in opposite directions. Can they be the same type of turn for CV? Hmm. Norah is definitely lacking power anyway.

Maggie Nichols looks solid. Opens her beam with a Barani, nice! Wobbled on it but I'll overlook that, love this skill. Looks to be working a front aerial-split jump-scissone-side somi series, hmm, interesting. Head too close to the beam on her LOSO in BHS-LOSO series. I would put her a little ahead of Peyton without seeing floor, although Peyton's beam was more solid.




Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Zeng Siqi has retired

I've been expecting to hear this news for a while, and although hope dwindled entirely last year that she would truly get it together and shine, it still sucks when someone so young and with such talent retires.

She had a great beam routine at Doha last year but then declined throughout the year, falling on almost all beam routines and struggling elsewhere, culminating in a spectacular meltdown at the Mexican Open.  Zeng suffered an ankle injury in late 2011 and never fully bounced back from it, rapidly losing her DTY and making no progress on floor. I would imagine that it's a big factor in her decision, coupled with general loss of enthusiam for her sport. Edit- another factor I keep forgetting about is the loss of her coach, He Hua was fired last year. It's probable she did not adjust well to the coaching group she was subsequently placed in.

I don't use weibo/baidu myself or as a source for obvious reasons but here's some backup.
Disclaimer - No, not a 100% verifiable bavkup but I think it's the only one saying anything about her return to her province. However, I do not make stuff up or state explicitly when I am unsure. Many people in the know have confirmed this, and they are the source. Not a forum.

Wonderfully expressive dancer. 

Quality beamer too.

Copyright - sports.sohu

 Farewell and hopefully she will be happy in whatever she decides to do.





Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Bits and stuff



Don't buy all of your Nanning tickets at once now. Not that I'm going but I'm extremely disappointed that Glasgow's website for 2015 is fully functional with tickets going on sale soon apparently, but Nanning's for 6-7 months hence is a bit of a mess.

The nominative Jesolo list was released by the Italians, bearing in mind that it is nominative it's still very exciting.

Seniors- Kyla Ross, Peyton Ernst, Madison Kocian, Maddie Desch, Maggie Nichols, Rachel Gowey, Mykayla Skinner, Alyssa Baumann

Juniors- Nia Dennis, Norah Flatley, Bailie Key, Jordan Chiles, Emily Gaskins, Ragan Smith

Some of this lot are not on the National Team - Rachel Gowey for one, although with her super impressive video released recently, it would be utterly unsurprising were she to be added at the March camp. The lack of upswing on the Maloney and shap full is a little odd, but it is just practice after all. Jordan Chiles is a great little gymnast, but I'm thinking her place could have Alexis Vasquez' name on it, since the latter turns senior next year and Jordan is an '01 born who does not as of yet desperately need the experience.

It will be VERY interesting to see Mykayla Skinner's scores. I'm thinking maybe 2 replacements in this team if any but no great upheaval. McKayla Maroney requires knee intervention according to Marta, she suffered an avulsion fracture to the patella at some point late last year and rest has not worked, unfortunately. Lexie Priessman and Amelia Hundley are probably both not quite recovered yet, though Lexie was back at camp. Don't forget Jesolo will be livestreamed this year!

Simone Biles, as we all know, has moved from Bannon's Gymnastix, where she has been since at the age of 6, to an as yet unknown location with her longtime coach, Aimee Boorman. She is dealing with shoulder strain also. Quite frankly, I'm not really concerned. She's got her coach and interviews with Simone, her coach and her family give off only the very best of vibes. I've seen rumours as to the location but nothing concrete and I'm sure we'll know for sure soon enough. Given her status to Marta and on the National Team, I highly doubt there is any risk of her falling through the cracks. Hopefully she will bounce back from the transition and injury and be ready to go maybe for Pac Rims and if not, then Classics.

Elizabet Vasileva, the Bulgarian rythmic turned artistic gymnast, showed up at AOGC Legends recently. Check out her beam immediately. She has really improved her acrobatic skills I think, and really it is such a special routine. She's elegible for Junior Euros so hopefully we'll see her there.

GB continue to push the boundaries on bars. Definitely going to do a round-up of their stuff there at some point but in the meantime, Rebecca Tunney competed a new routine at Welsh Championships (Open Competition as she's English) with a stunning Church-Bhardwaj connection - it's so clean and awesome! It makes her loose form on much easier skills sort of suspect, and it's quite a long routine so hopefully it can be refined for her, although no dismount is no big deal for what is essentially an exhibition. I'd almost forgotten what a non-glide kip mount looks like.





Sunday, 2 March 2014

They want the Brazillian good stuff: American Cup

Thank you, Al Trautwig, for that quote- referencing Ebee. Always reliable for that kind of thing.

I can't deny that the withdrawal of Simone Biles and Larisa Iordache sucked a lot of the excitement out of this competition for me. I was also a little miffed that there were no new seniors. It's a great competition to make a debut, up against the Americans who don't compete much internationally, and in time to make adjustments for competitions like Euros or for national competitions. Last year saw the triumphant unveiling of Simone Biles herself, Katelyn Ohashi and Gabby Jupp. Nevertheless, this year's competition still had a very decent lineup, despite snubbing by three of the big four.

The competition itself was a bit scrappy, but that's to be expected at this time of year, I tell myself.

Highlights

The scoring! Notice that only five e-scores, vault aside, were higher than 8.5. We can of course attribute that to falls and mishaps, but it also points to logical scoring. This also happened last year but still a bit out of kilter then. It's refreshing. Long live the not-so-Scam.

Ebee Wow! Phenomenal routines from her, really her best ever bars and beam I think. An utterly deserving American Cup champion who left no room either for her competition or for any 'if only' about the placing. Untouchable. Not to mention sticking her bars and beam dismounts and her double double - Chellsie Memmel '08 Trials style. Loving how her amplitude on her layout on beam has improved especially. She looks so ready to storm onto the Nanning team and be incredibly useful there.

Bars look to be getting more interesting in general with more people taking advantage of cool connections. You've got Ebee's Church-Bail, Brenna Dowell's Tweddle-Ezhova, Roxana Popa's Maloney-between bars Gienger and Ray-Pak, Victoria Moors' Ricna-Pak and Sophie Scheder's inbar-fest. Also liking the rejuvenation of lesser used releases like the previously mentioned Ricna and Giulia Steingruber's Khorkina.

Brenna Dowell's bars in general. Better handstands than she had been showing recently and she managed the Ezhova very well, not letting it throw her off course. Really strong routine and the composition is tough, leaves her open for deductions but even with that, I think she could have been given a tenth or so higher and it would have been reasonable.

Victoria Moors' floor. Showing everyone not just what great choreography looks like but fluidity. It flows so beautifully and that's so rare to see these days. Very good job on her eponymous skill too but I still wish she'd dump it to score higher with a beautiful tucked version.

Roxana Popa's second pass. YES. I drool over this thing and the crowd went wild, appropriately.

Sophie Scheder's bars. Beautiful, quite different to others in its composition and such a gorgeous line to show off with.

Floor was strong for almost everyone, with some nice tumbling on display. A piked double front here, two tucked and one laidout double double, several flighty double layouts...awesome.

Not-so highlights

Falls. Sophie Scheder sitting her vault and crashing her 2.5 twist. In general, she showed herself as a specialist yesterday, but it's a little early to say that for sure. Roxana Popa having to jump off bars after slamming her feet into the ground on her Pak after such glorious bars work right before - so upsetting. I was really hoping she could edge into the medals. Carlotta Ferlito falling off beam.

The broadcast. I couldn't get my way around the geoblock to watch the Youtube broadcast, so I was stuck with NBC. Minimal gymnastics, far too much faffing around watching gymnasts drink water. Bleughh. Or my favourite, back after an ad break to see someone drink water, then another ad break. STAHHHP.

Good/Mixed/Bad Day For:

Ebee of course. Stellar routines.
Brenna Dowell Some mishaps, a non-steady beam and a big OOB on floor but overall she fought very well and got silver for good reason.
Victoria Moors Stayed on beam, showed off her upgrades and dazzled everyone on floor.
Giulia Steingruber So solid, and a well-earned bronze.

Mixed Day For:
Vanessa Ferrari Vault is not her friend and beam didn't go her way, yet such a great floor. It's amazing that she can still tumble and perform like that at the end of a competition.
Roxana Popa Great routines but huge mistakes on bars dragged her right down, though she recovered so well afterwards. She also missed her Memmel on floor.

Bad Day For:
Carlotta Ferlito had weak and mediocre routines, AND a fall. So thankful that NBC reined themselves in with no mention of previous controversy.
Sophie Scheder: Super disappointing vault and floor from her, despite bars being so great.

Routines

Floor
Actual best score: Vanessa Ferrari
Favourite: Roxana Popa even though her expression was a bit lacking
Second favourite: Victoria Moors

Bars
Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Sophie Scheder
Second favourite: Brenna Dowell

Beam
Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Victoria Moors
Second favourite: Giulia Steingruber

Vault
Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Ebee/Roxana Popa
Second favourite: Giulia Steingruber

Leotards

1st- Roxana. Source- Kindly provided by Carmen Popa :)
It just rocks- deep purple bodice colour, white accents, the neckline, the back, use of mesh. 
2nd- Giulia. Copyright- USAG/John Cheng

Classy, and so suited to her- elegant design, but also a bit badass just like her.

3rd- Ebee. Copyright- USAG/John Cheng
Love the colour of this, and the design is nicely balanced.

I wrote this in a comment in the last post, but I'll stick with a general summation of: It wasn't a very exciting competition, but it was interesting.

Who was your favourite? How awesome are Sophie Scheder's and Giulia Steingruber's beam dismounts? Can you believe there actually wasn't a gross leotard?