Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Break Dance & Gymnastics Mix Montage

This montage features Kohei Uchimura & Viktoria Komova with some break dancers. I thought this was a unique and different kind of montage that featured two current famous gymnasts.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Viktoria Komova

Komova turns 17 today. She is currently one of the best all-around gymnasts in the world. I wish her all the best and hope the all-around gold medal goes to her in London.

Viktoria Komova For AA Gold

Viktoria Komova must win the Olympic all-around gold medal. In my eyes her gymnastics is what I prefer to see win this title. When she's hitting her routines she has a calm and light approach to her skills that I love to watch. She is generally a clean gymnast in terms of execution. Her main rivals will be American Jordyn Wieber, Chinese gymnast Yao Jinnan and even her own teammate Aliya Mustafina. I think she has the edge to win AA if she hits and goes clean. It's been a long time since a Russian from Russia have won Olympic AA gold and Komova has the best chance to do this.

There really isn't a weak event for Komova if she hits. She has the potential to advance to every single event finals at the Olympics with the exception of vault, unless she has a more difficult second vault. She has the potential to take top 3 in 3 of the event finals.

Her best event is UB and she has two skills named after herself. The judges seems to love her a lot on bars and I don't mind this. She is light and floats with fluency, nothing looks terribly laboured. She flies man. She will battle for gold on this event with Tweddle (GBR), a Chinese gymnast or two and probably Aliya Mustafina (RUS). Komova could win and I don't mind if she does but if I'm already wanting her to win AA I can't be too greedy so I'm rooting for Beth on this event.

I would say her second best event is floor. She is more consistent on floor than on beam. I think we should ignore her FX performances in Tokyo. She wasn't 100% healthy and the floor was extra bouncy. What I love about her skills on floor is that she is so exact and precise in her tuck positions. Her double Arabian is one of the best I have ever seen, probably the best this quad. It's beautiful how she is tightly tucked. The code of points deducts for lack of tuck position and Komova does not lack this while many gymnasts do and should get deducted. Her landing positions are rarely deductible as she lands fairly straight up. Sometimes the WAG code of points is crazy for wanting gymnasts to land straight up when it's just asking for more injuries. Something like the MAG landing deductions would be a better approach. They are less strict on deep squatting deductions. I still say the women should still stick their landings though. Komova has potential to take a bronze medal on this event and even win gold if major mistakes happens from her other competitors. Her downfall is getting those spins around. She must get those spins around.

BB in my opinion is her third best event. I don't see her winning gold on this event. She can potentially win a bronze at best. She's been having the most struggles on this event in terms of upgrades. What makes her BB special is that she goes old school and does flic-flac + loso + loso combination which always gets the crowd to be in awe somehow. Her standing arabian is technically precise and beautifully done with nice landing position. She also once did a Patterson as her dismount and maybe she will bring it back but it's quite hard for me to imagine her compete it again.

Even with an Amanar vault, this is still her weaker event but this is the one event that will give her a big advantage if she lands it to her feet. This vault has a massive D-Score of 6.5. She is generally clean here. Most notable deductions may come from crossed legs and some block issues but not much to critique. Hopefully she will have an Amanar consistently for team Russia and AA. If she doesn't get her Amanar back her DTY (Yurchenko 2/1) will still be competitive enough for her AA competition. She was still able to qualify first to the all-around finals in Tokyo with a DTY.

All I got to say is this girl needs more confidence and mental toughness to keep on pushing and to continue when things aren't going her way. I feel like she is a perfectionists. When she messes up just a little bit she gets frustrated and gives up or continues with no fight and desire. She needs whatever Mustafina is on. I have confidence that if Komova hits she'll be the Olympic All-around champion.

Viktoria Komova D-Scores 2012

Amanar / Yurchenko 2/1 = 6.5 / 5.8 D-Scores


Komova II + Pak (E+D) 0.2CV
Komova (E)
Inbar 1/2 + Stretched Jaeger (D+E) 0.2CV
Inbar 1/1 + Tkatchev (E+D) 0.2CV
Tsuk Dismount (D)

3.6 + 0.6CV = 4.2 + 2.5CR = 6.7 D-Score

Front Tuck (D)
FF + LOSO + LOSO (B+C+C) 0.1 CV
Arabian (F)
L-Turn + Front Aerial + Sheep Jump (C+D+D) 0.2CV
Side-Somi (D)
Double Spin (D)
FF + BHS + Dbl Tuck (B+B+D) 0.1CV

3.3 + 0.4CV = 3.7 + 2.5CR = 6.2 D-Score

Bwd 3/2 + Dbl Arabian (C+E) 0.2CV
Dbl Tuck (D)
Dbl L-Turn (D)
Switch Leap + Split Leap (B+A) - She usually does Split Leap 1/1 (C) I will count this into D-Score.
Triple Twists (E)
Memmel (D)
Dbl Pike (D)

3.2 + 0.2CV = 3.4 + 3.5CR = 5.9 D-Score

*The videos I chose are what she is capable of and able to do. I tried to choose the best and most recent videos. She has recently taken out the double spin in her beam routine and replaced it back with a switch leap but I chose to count the double spin which only gives her AA total start value a tenth higher. I will make another updated D-Score for Komova because she may upgrade or change her compositions. Also her Amanar is questionable as we don't know if she'll ever compete it again.

VT: 6.5/ 5.8
UB: 6.7
BB: 6.2
FX: 5.9

AA Total SV = 25.3 / 24.6

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beth Tweddle For UB GOLD

How cool would it be if Beth Tweddle won gold on uneven bars in London? I think it would be cool if she won in her own country. I think Tweddle will be the favourite to win.

It's hard to say who will make it to London but her main rivals will come from Russia and China. Her current bar routine is 7.1 in difficulty. If she hits she can be golden. There are rumours that she can still upgrade her routine. She can do a double double tuck dismount but can she be consistent with more difficulty? I think a 7.1 D-score is safe enough to be golden. She will have home advantage.

Here's a video of Tweddle's UB routine from team finals in Tokyo 2011. She scores 7.1 D-score + 8.566 E-score = 15.666 total.


Toe-on 1/1 + Tweddle + Ezhova + *VLW (D + F + D + E) 0.6CV
Ono + Markelov + Gienger (E + D + D) 0.4CV
Tsuk dismount (D)

3.6 + 1.0CV = 4.6 + 2.5CR = 7.1 D-Score

*VLW is my own acronym for Van Leeuwen. I'm going to make that acronym work :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Uchimura Overload

Here are some Uchimura videos. The first video is Uchimura training the Shaham. The second video is an award and press ceremony/interview. Uchimura's cellphone rings during the interview. The last video are interviews from some of Japan's best athletes.

Huang Huidan Appreciation

One of my current favourite Chinese gymnast is Huang Huidan. I love her UB & BB work. My favourite part of her BB is the switch leap + onodi + sheep jump combo. On bars her Healy looks kind of awkward or is it just a really ugly Ono? I'm pretty sure it's a healy though. Anyways her bars is still nice and her toe-point is beautiful.

Huang Huidan's UB 


Huang Huidan's BB (ignore the repeated flic flac in her routine, she usually does a back pike after the first flic flac)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Olympic Hopefuls

I don't really have much to say right now. It's COLD and there have been several snowstorms lately, brrr. I can't wait for the summer Olympic games to start. I am excited! Basically two things must happen at the Olympic games;

1) Kohei Uchimura dominates MAG but most importantly wins AA
2) Ksenia Afanasyeva must make the Russian team and win FX gold.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's NOT Too Late To Fight

Many people always write off Afanasyeva but she just keeps on coming back. In fact she is the reigning world champion on FX. She just keeps on surviving injuries after injuries. I love this montage about her made 2 yrs ago, It's Too Late To Fight done by nastia2012.

I guess it wasn't too late to fight after all. She had knee surgery early last year and helped Russia clinched the silver medal in Tokyo last year. If I knew how to make high quality beautiful montages I would make one for Afanasyeva. She deserves to have more montages on YouTube.

The Russian Federation really needs to bring Afanasyeva to the Olympic Games. No one on that team has her style. There are a lot of fans who loves Afanasyeva and wants her to succeed (I am one of them). It's not too late to fight for gold at the Olympics.

2011 WAG World Championships → All-Around Finals → KSENIA AFANASYEVA {Russia}
(Source: cinnamellark)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ana Porgras Retires!

By now almost all gymnastics fans have already heard that Ana Porgras has retired. This is very sad news. She is one of the most artistic gymnast this quad. Gymnastics is a tough sport and only the strong survives. I hope the best for Ana Porgras's future. Here is the article about Ana's retirement click here.

The first time I saw her on FX. Really classy gymnast.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shaposhnikova Variations

There are many different terms for the Shaposhnikova skill on the Uneven Bars. The Shaposhnikova variations are some of my favourite bar skills. Natalia Shaposhnikova was the first to do this element way back in the 80's. For short, I will refer the Shaposhnikova as "Shaposh." Let's take a look at some of the variations and the terms I prefer to call them.

Shaposhnikova - All Shaposh starts on the low bar facing away from the HB. The Shaposh is from a clear hip circle with flight backwards to hang on high bar. This skill is rated at D (0.4).

Khorkina - Clear hip circle with flight backwards, 1/2 turn to hang on HB. Skill rated at E.

Here is a video of Ekaterina Kurbatova competing these two skills.


Chow - Is from a straddle stalder. The skill is rated at D. I believe Amy Chow was the first to do this variation.

Chow 1/2 - Is from a straddle stalder with 1/2 turn. This skill is rated at E. Currently no one is technically credit with this skill name.

Huang Huidan competes these two skills in her routine.


Maloney - Is from a toe-on bar. This skill is rated at D.

Van Leeuwen - This skill is from toe-on with 1/2 turn. It is rated at E. It must be respected that Van Leeuwen was the first to do this with the 1/2 turn. It sometimes annoys me when I hear it as a Maloney II or Khorkina II.

Here Laura van Leeuwen performs these two skills in her routine


Komova II - This time it gets trickier. This skill starts from inbar stalder. It is worth E.
Komova - Inbar stalder with 1/2 turn, worth E.

Here is Komova competing her own skills.

Seitz - Is a truly amazing skill. It is a toe-on with full turn to HB. It's a shame it's only worth E.

The daring Elisabeth Seitz performing her own skill

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yippee Ki Yay CANADA

Yippee Ki Yay the Canadian WAG team has qualified a full team to this year's Olympic games. I'm still disappointed by the men's team though. The women qualified in 2nd place at the test event. This is exciting news for me and probably most Canadians. Well done girls.

Meanwhile Anastasia Grishina and Yulia Inshina didn't do so hot in the qualification/AA.

Grishina's bars is truly beautiful to watch though. She has been working really hard on bars and her kips are improving. The only area that really bothers me is the leg separation in the pak. There is also a tap swing in her routine but it does not bother me much. I still have faith in Grishina. She still has 7-6 months left. I hope she dances more on FX too. It's kind of depressing to watch her floor routine, even sometimes when Afanasyeva does less choreo she still has something special, like a spark, Grishina not so much.

Here is Grishina's Qualification/AA UB routine.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Good Luck Canada!

The Canadian gymnastics team is currently in London and trying to qualify a full MAG & WAG team to the Olympics. I wish them all the best. Go Canada!

MAG                                     WAG

Nathan Gafuik                  Peng Peng Lee
Kenneth Ikeda                  Kristina Vaculik
Brandon O'Neill                 Talia Chiarelli
Jackson Payne                 Madeline Gardiner
Casey Sandy                    Victoria Moors 
Kevin Lytwyn                     Brittany Rogers
Jayd Lukenchuk                Mikaela Gerber

 (Source: mariacasa)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thoughts On Yulia Inshina

The first time I saw Inshina was on YouTube HERE. I thought her balance beam was well done. She had some nice line and toe point. She was steady but not perfect and had a lot of potential. I knew she was going to be a potential candidate for the 2011 team if gymnasts on the Russian team were to retire or be injured. She is a close friend of Viktoria Komova and they both train in the same gym. She doesn't stand out much and her gymnastics is standard but she is a very solid lead off gymnast who can be used on all three apparatuses (UB, BB, FX).

At the 2011 Russian Cup she was vying for a spot on the Russian world team. Inshina placed 5th AA and in EF (event finals) she placed 2nd FX, 5th UB & BB. What I liked about Inshina was her bar routine. She could decently do bars and looked far more cleaner on bars compared to Yulia Belokobylskaya and Ksenia Afanasyeva. A lot of gym fans on the internet were not impressed by Inshina and doubted her chances of making the team. Inshina eventually made it to the training squad as an alternate and had to prove herself worthy of team final material. In the end she made the final cut and was used as the perfect lead off gymnast for Russia. She eventually qualified to BB finals and finished 6th place.

She is currently in London at the test event with another talented Russian, Anastasia Grishina. Sidorova was suppose to be at the test event but is not completely free from injuries. I will admit that Inshina is not my cup of tea but she has proven to be a reliable gymnast (not a headcase).

It is going to be an interesting year. If anything I can see her as an alternate for the Russian Olympic team. The Russian coaches know what they are doing and they have a plan. Let's all wait and see how Inshina's gymnastics career will unfold in 2012 and beyond.

Yulia Inshina's Current D-Scores (break down, I omitted some skills that do not contribute to the top 8 skills) (Click the orange colour to see her youtube routine)

VAULT FTY = 5.0 D-Score

BARS Inbar 1/2 + P. Jaeger (D+D) 0.1
          Inbar + Inbar 1/1 + Pak (D+E+D) 0.2
          Toe-on 1/2 + Inbar Shoot to HB (C+C)
          Double Front dismount (D)
          3.1 + 0.3CV = 3.4 + 2.5CR = 5.9 D-Score

BEAM Switch Leap + Back Tuck (C+C) 0.1
           Sheep Jump (D)
           Front Aerial + FF + LOSO (D+B+C) 0.2
           Side-Somi (D)
           L-Turn (C)
           Aerial Cartwheel (D)
           Switch Ring (E)
           Double Pike (E)
           3.2 + 0.3CV = 3.5 + 2.5CR = 6.0 D-Score if everything gets connected & credit
FLOOR Whip + Double Arabian (A+E) 0.2
             Bwd 3/2 Twists + Dbl Tuck (C+D) 0.1
             Double L - Turn (D)              
             Switch Leap + Switch Leap 1/2 (B+C)
             Bwd 5/2 Twists (D)  
             Switch Ring (C)
             Double Pike (D)
             3.0 + 0.3 CV = 3.3 + 2.5CR = 5.8 D-Score if everything gets credit.

Li Xiaopeng

Li Xiaopeng is one of the greatest Chinese male gymnasts. His best events were PB (parallel bars) & VT (vault). He first won his individual Olympic gold medal on PB in Sydney 2000. He has two skills named after him on VT and PB. He has surpassed Li Ning as the most decorated Chinese gymnast by winning 16 world/Olympic medals.

His vault is crazy hard and rated at 7.2 D-Score, Round off, 1/2 turn to front handspring, Stretched 5/2 Twists.

VT Beijing 2008 TF


PB Gold Routine Beijing 2008 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Some Ksenia Afanasyeva Love

The readers of The Couch Gymnast have spoken. Ksenia Afanasyeva was voted #1 "Floor Routine of The Year (2011)." Hell yeah! Watch her winning gold medal performance from Tokyo here 

 (Source: cinnamellark)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Ugly Duckling

One of my childhood and still favourite fairy tale is The Ugly Duckling. In a way I think Afanasyeva is considered an Ugly Duckling story. I must admit when I first saw her in Beijing I didn’t really notice her or paid attention to her. I remembered watching Deng Linlin’s beam routine in TF and kept on thinking who is using that kind of floor music? I thought it was unique and was curious to see how a gymnast would perform to that kind of music Afanasyeva's FX music. Then it was BB EF and all I could remember from Afanasyeva was a lot of missed connections but I thought her hand waves were beautifully done. Then when YouTube videos surfaced of Afanasyeva’s prelim routines I finally got to see her routines and liked them. What made my ultimate decision of being a fan of Afanasyeva was that I wasn’t expecting her to move elegantly, gracefully and with good posture/carriage. She looked quite masculine in my opinion but when she performed her floor routine I was hooked on/ drawn in.

She has long been known as a “headcase" but finally last year in Tokyo she got herself together and finally won a gold medal for herself. She has now proven herself to be a team leader/veteran for Russia's 2012 Olympic team. She may not be a "lock" for the team but I wish her all the best in the new year. She has a chance and with her new found confidence her goal of London 2012 is looking realistic/positive. She is a one of a kind gymnast. There is no denying that she is one of the most artistic gymnast of this generation. She is an Ugly Duckling story.

Plot Summary of The Ugly Duckling Via Wikipedia "The story is beloved around the world as a tale about personal transformation for the better"

When the tale begins, a mother duck's eggs hatch. One of the little birds is perceived by the duck’s surroundings as a homely little creature and suffers much verbal and physical abuse from the other birds and animals on the farm. He wanders sadly from the barnyard and lives with wild ducks and geese until hunters slaughter the flocks. He then finds a home with an old woman but her cat and hen tease him mercilessly and again he sets off on his own. He sees a flock of migrating wild swans; he is delighted and excited but he cannot join them for he is too young and cannot fly. Winter arrives. A farmer finds and carries the freezing little bird home, but the foundling is frightened by the farmer’s noisy children and flees the house. He spends a miserable winter alone in the outdoors mostly hiding in a cave on the lake that partly freezes over. When spring arrives a flock of swans descends on the now thawing lake. The ugly duckling, now having fully grown and matured cannot endure a life of solitude and hardship any more and decides to throw himself at the flock of swans deciding that it is better to be killed by such beautiful birds than to live a life of ugliness and misery. He is shocked when the swans welcome and accept him, only to realize by looking at his reflection in the water that he has grown into one of them. The flock takes to the air and the ugly duckling spreads his beautiful large wings and takes flight with the rest of his new family.

The Ugly Duckling in Russian Part 1

Part 2

Happy Belated Birthday Kohei Uchimura

This is a new montage of King Kohei Uchimura by YouTube user 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome :)

Hello to the internet world. This is the first blog I have ever created in my life. Please forgive me if I have bad grammar. I will try to improve my English grammar. I am not trying to be a professional or anything. I will always accept constructive criticism. I decided to make a blog to pass time and since it's a new year it wouldn't hurt to try new things.

This is mainly a gymnastic blog with my perspective on it. I am a huge fan of both men and women's gymnastics. I will post many other things that I find interesting that are not related to gymnastics.

I am a new gymnastics fan. I have always knew gymnastics existed though :). The first time I remember watching gymnastics was in 1992. I wasn't a gymnastics fanatic in those days though (90's-2007). I was born in the 80's so I know very little about gymnastics from the 80's.

I really got into gymnastics in 2008 Beijing. Also my older brother was a gymnast which is kind of a nostalgia thing for me. My gymnastics journey starts with Ksenia Afanasyeva. This is why my blog is named Gymnasts #391 because Afanasyeva's identifying number was #391 in Beijing. There was just something about her that I liked. She is the first female gymnast that I became a fan of. Some MAG gymnasts I use to follow are Nemov and Tomita. Kohei Uchimura is another new favourite of mine.

I mostly follow the Russian WAG (women's artistic gymnastics), but can appreciate great gymnastics from all around the world. I'll try to not be bias but who isn't?

Welcome to my head.