Best of 2011…so far.

As the year is now half done, we thought it an appropriate time to look back and recap. We like doing that.

Best Vault:

Clara — Izbasa’s lovely Lopez in the European vault final. She’s always had the talent to challenge for vault medals, but never had a second vault that wasn’t a joke until then. Beautiful straight shape, stuck landing, and she did enough to eat up Chusovitina’s big difficulty advantage. With neon eyeshadow too! I live to see what upgrade she will make for worlds. Maybe a Cheng with cat’s eye? That would be unprecedented in the history of our sport.

Honorable mention for Dementyeva’s FTY in the AA. Not because it wasn’t rubbish. It was. But because there was a real opportunity there for her to throw away the title in some ludicrous, tragicomic way, and she managed to avoid that temptation.

Bronwyn — Maroney’s Amanar from Jesolo. I honestly believe that her Amanar is as good as anyone’s has ever been – Cheng Fei & Monica Rosu included. I’d put her on my Worlds team for vault alone.

I’ll second Dementyeva’s FTY from Europeans for the simple fact that our current European All-Around champion managed to top the podium with a vault from 1980-something. And it wasn’t even a very good one. Luckily, she’s adorable.

Best Bars:

Clara — Mustafina at Scam. The only one of her routines that was any good, really. Tweddle was disappointing at Euros, and while I enjoyed Nabieva’s silver medal effort, Aliya pips her to the post.

Bronwyn — Wu Liufang from Chinese Nationals. I love a Chinese bars routine that includes a Shaposhnikova, a piked Jaeger, and no dead hangs. And a lovely double layout.

Best Beam:

Clara — Katelyn Ohashi at WOGA Classic. I don’t care that we won’t get to see this on the senior stage for many moons. She’s still better than anyone else at the moment, bar none. If I can pick a second, Christine Lee in Doha. I don’t give two sucks of a dead donkey’s dick that she fell, twice. She did flairs on a four inch beam!

Ohashi’s beam from Gymnastike.

Bronwyn — Seconded to Ohashi, and an honorable mention to Larissa Iordache’s stacked set from The Gymfest of Trnava in June. Not quite as refined yet as Porgras, but an actual triple twist dismount with minimal ankle crossing? You go girl!

Best Floor:

Clara — Tweddle and Wieber provided some stunning competition for this. But, those goddesses aside, it’s not been a great year, floor wise. Mustafina’s new effort was boring. None of the Americans or Chinese have done anything particularly worth seeing recently, that I can think of anyway. Poor injured Porgras has kept to beam and bars because of her injury. I’m sulking because Izbasa got rid of Hava Nagila too soon, and the less said about Lauren Mitchell’s new Adi Pop routine, the better. I actually miss the old one. There has been some pleasant enough routines- Belokobylskaya was a lot better at Europeans than any of us thought she’d be. But I don’t feel like recognizing anyone, to be honest.

Bronwyn — I don’t dislike Aliya’s new (and now short-lived) routine as much as Clara, but really, when anyone gets a “new” routine these days, how “new” is it? How much can it really change? They’re so focused on packing in the requirements, and the D’s & E’s that who has time for choreography? Pose, tumble, arm waves, turn, tumble, some leaps.

That said, I’ll go with Maria Livchikova’s floor from Europeans. Lovely music, and she’s a pretty dancer. She’s certainly rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected from a Ukrainian.

Livchikova’s floor

Best All-Arounder:

Clara — In a choice between Dementyeva and Wieber, it was never going to be the latter was it? But Anna ain’t all that, really. So I choose Kohei Uchimura. Divine.

Bronwyn –Grishina from Zakarova Cup. Her beam was a bit of a mess, which is unfortunate because it’s the event that made me fall in love with her originally. She has some cleaning up to do before next year, but she’s been consistently adding difficulty across the board – vault and floor included. Which is surprising given that she doesn’t immediately strike me as a “power” gymnast. She may very well be Russia’s 2nd all-arounder at Europeans next year. Her 59.95 at Zakarova Cup was 2 tenths higher than Mustafina’s 59.75 from qualifications at Europeans.

And now, some new categories:

Chinese junior most likely to compete at Worlds:

Clara — Li Yiting. Great young vaulter, even if her rudi and DTT are almost interchangeable. She beat Cheng Fei at a recent national competition, and is fresh from a victory in the Japan Cup.

I have a feeling Cheng Fei might find her way back. But if she doesn’t, there could be a vaulter shaped hole (surely Yang Yilin can’t be dusted off for another year, and Huang Qiushuang did not do herself any favors in Rotterdam). Li Yiting would be the obvious choice, as China’s best vaulter at the moment.

(Note – she might already have been supplied with a 1995 dob, for all I know. When she emerged last year, nobody was saying how old she was. I can understand why).

Best American Amanar:

Clara — So we all know the US are now a powerhouse on vault. There are going to be a multitude to choose from for Tokyo and London, if all goes well. Maroney is my favorite, so I’ll go with her vault from Jesolo.

I’m still not entirely sure that Wieber fully rotated her effort at Scam, so not her. Stoi! very much looks forward to seeing Aly Raisman’s, which apparently went well when she showed it at the recent camp. We have no problem with her at all when she’s tumbling and vaulting.

Bronwyn — Again, Maroney. IG reported that she’s developed a back injury. Shocker.

Least accurately scored Scam routine:

Clara — In an always hotly contested category, there were some particularly strong entrants this year.

My initial thought was that it would have to be the 8.5 E score for Raisman’s bars. But to my shock and horror, I actually had her at 8.2. Aliya’s helicopter legged Amanar was too nasty to justify so high a score, and watching her get it round on the force of sheer willpower alone is even worse now that we know what was coming along in the not too distant future.

However, the clear winner is Miss Wieber on floor. Breaking 9 for that piece of shit? I fucking think not. Not even if they ignored every artistry deduction in the code, which I have no doubt is what happened. You can take twice what the judges did and still let her away with some things. Even though Mustafina got away with her hands touching the floor before her feet, not a great surprise given that it wasn’t visible in real time, this was worse.

Most embarrassing fans:

Elizabeth Seitz. Topless men in the crowd dancing? They’d better have been family. I liked her dad’s shit little dance after she won AA silver though. Put that man in a music video, immediately.

Most disappointing competition:

Clara — Europeans. AA only: the event champions were all very palatable, as is often the case these days. But the AA was supposed to be a Komova/Mustafina/Porgras podium. That was my plan. I have nothing against any of the three eventual medallists, but they’re not quite in the same league as the three we’d all hoped for, being honest. Scam was of course gross, but did anyone really not see that coming?

Bronwyn — Scam. True, it was early in the season, but everyone looked like complete shite. And this is one of the very few meets that they choose to televise? There’s less falls going on at a Level 6 Invitational at Parkette’s.

Stoi! readers, do tell us your favourite stuff from January to June 2011.


5 responses to “Best of 2011…so far.

  • Stoi!

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that it’s because you’ve realised judges can’t take for something that isn’t visible in real time?

  • Marcus

    How did I know Wieber would win biggest overscore at Scam…

  • Stoi!

    No Dementieva on floor in prelims? I suppose they didn’t need her, if Mustafina and Belokobylskaya were going to be the two event finalists.

  • Stoi!

    Maybe she just can’t do anything else. She’s not exactly a powerhouse, and I suppose nobody thought her vault would ever really be necessary. It took quite an unusual combination of circumstances to put her in a position where she’d do AA in a final: Mustafina and Komova both being injured, and the rules being changed so Grishina couldn’t go senior in the pre-Olympic year. Probably nobody foresaw that back when there might have been more time to focus on vault.

    Regarding other vaults, there are two main reasons. The first is that roundoff entry vaults are made easier by the table, while other vaults aren’t. You used to need quite a lot of precision even to land a Yurchenko on the horse, let alone twist onto it. Luccinis were genuinely dangerous when first done. Now, not so much, and Yurchenkos allow gymnasts with no power to generate some. Additionally, Yurchenko vaults are just disproportionately rewarded. A DTT only 0.2 harder than a DTY? Really? We need to consider adding perhaps 0.2 to non-Yurchenko D scores across the board. Most are relatively underrewarded.


    • Stoi!

      I also think that Nabieva was supposed to do all-around in prelims, but scratched beam and floor. I think the original idea was that she and Aliya would be Russia’s 2 AA’ers.

      Dementyeva is a good team player – she’s excellent on beam, good on floor, decent on bars, but completely useless on vault. It’s just kind of how it happened – I don’t think we’re going to see her in another all-around final past this year. And she’ll be lucky to get the last spot for the Olympic team.


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