Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Because...Ksenia Semenova FX

In the first video I think it was the first time Semenova debuted her new DLO. I really liked her style and presentation on floor. I think she always had some of the best low floor choreography. In the second video her 2010 Rotterdam floor music could have been cut better but the clubbed to death music part was really elegant and the choreo between 1:03-1:25 was gorgeous.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kenzo Shirai 3/1 Yurchenko!

Wow is all I got to say

Thoughts on 2013 U.S. Classics

The thing that I was most impressed from the Americans was their difficulty. I think they didn't try to peak or tried to hit all of their routines. I could be wrong though. A lot of them had some problems with their routines but it's not a major issue because this is not an event for them to be at their all time best.

Simone Biles did a cool DLO with a 1/2 twist out. I wonder what the FIG would rate it. Simone should just do DLO 1/1 because she can probably do that skill easily and it's a H. I think she's doing the DLO with 1/2 twist out just to get it named after her if she makes the USA team and successfully competes it in Antwerp. IMO the DLO 1/2 twist out should stay an F. IMO it's easier than the Dos Santos II (Arabian DLO), which is a G. Since FIG has "H" skills IMHO the Dos Santos II should have been rated H too, especially if the DLO 1/2 becomes G. Speaking of the Dos Santos II, Kennedy Baker does it. Edit: Kennedy pikes the Arabian skill. At first it looked laid out.

Kyla Ross won this meet and I was most impressed by her bar routine and her stuck DTY in podium training. I can tell she is working really hard to up her difficulty. I liked that she worked hard on her Van Leeuwen (toe-shap 1/2). She used to have leg sep but now she doesn't and it looks nice.

Maroney is still great on vault. That's not a surprise. I think her new floor routine is okay. I like the DLO but it went out of bounds. I think the middle section of her floor routine music (around 0:41 sec) is funny because it's something my parents would listen to. You know that weird old music tune, it's like an old folk love song. Actually a lot of her other previous floor music has that old feeling music. It's funny in a good way.

Other things that stood out were the difficulty the Americans were doing on floor. Some of the gymnasts were doing two H skills in their routines. I thought Lexie Priessman had interesting music compared to her old music choices. Mykayla Skinner does the DLO 2/1 twists and what's crazy is that she does the dbl dbl tucked as her third pass. One thing that the Americans did a lot was the tucked stand spins on floor and beam, yuck. Also they love to do leaps + tuck/pike backs connections on beam. It gets too boring and Simone Biles rarely gets those skills connected. IMO she should take those out of her routine. She does it once at this competition but earlier in the competition season she was doing more of them and not getting them connected. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I Think About Russian "Choreography"

As some of you guys may know I'm not trying to be a professional writer or gymnastics blog. I'm not a good writer so my thoughts and ideas aren't written out well. This post/rambling is regarding the current "Russian choreography".

I feel lately that the Russians are being heavily criticized for their artistry and people are having a field day with it. I'm at least pleased that people do acknowledge that great upper body carriage and arm waves do equal pretty and makes a difference when performing. It makes the Russians overall performances look polish and even accomplished. But my main problem is when people seems to think it's not a form of artistry or choreography. I admit that I was one of those fans who heavily criticized Afanasyeva's new routine and I added to the negative criticisms. It's not bad to criticize or point things out but sometimes it becomes too much and negative. I'll just say I've watched some of Afan's main competitors and most of their routines just don't do it for me. Yes artistry is subjective but when you see a polish performance in a gymnast's movements it makes a big difference. I feel people just want more and sometimes that more is too much and adds nothing to a routine. For example when some people talk about so called actual choreography they mean what the actual gymnasts are doing. Like Afan's cool 2012 synchronizing leg choreo. Some say waving your arms is nothing. It may seem like a relevant point but in my opinion it means nothing. I feel some people just say that to downplay the Russians for their lack of "choreography".

These video links might bore you but it proves that it takes dedication and hard work to make arm waves and hand movements look artistic. It might not be for everyone but some people enjoy these styles.
The Dying Swan  
The Dying Swan Brazil 
Khmer Dance 

I can see where some of the genuine fans are coming from. I did criticize Afan's new routine by saying there was nothing really in her routine but arm waves. I feel some people and I included want something more. I guess the good part is that genuine fans really do want something cool in the Russians routines but that truly only comes once in a while. I'd rather be subjected to the Russian arm waves than awkward shimmy shaking routines that has a lot going on but actually leads to nothing.

Maybe we should blame the CoP? It's no secret that it's all about who can do the most difficulty. Juniors always seem to have great choreography but it always seems to fade off when they become seniors. I can appreciate a very difficult routine for the tumbles but the gymnasts also has to know how to move their body in a way that it looks like they spent hours in dance training but yet it looks effortless. The hours at the ballet barre should be rewarded too. I guess at the end of the day artistry really is subjective and you will like what you like. I don't talk much outside of the big four because they don't really win much but there are a few gymnasts that can rival the Russians. I feel I add to the never ending fight between USA VS Russia artistry. I admit I am bias. I'm not American or Russian but I prefer the Russians. I can appreciate the American style of gymnastics for their difficulty but they rarely put out their artistic gymnasts on the world stage. And I know it's negative to nag about American artistry but I just have to say it. After all gymnastics is a competitive sport and the fans are competitive too. I don't mind the USA wining but when I watch the Russian perform I feel their performances but when I see the Americans I don't get that feeling. But also at the end of the day who ever hits and executes the best will win. It's rare for artistry to prevail in this new code.

What style do you guys prefer? VS This time juniors

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maria Kharenkova's 7.0 Beam D- Score (Training 2013 EYOF)

I was reading the Couch Gymnast's EYOF podium training notes and videos post and saw a video of Kharenkova's podium beam routine. What caught my attention was the aerial cartwheel connected to switch ring leap. I also noticed that she upgraded her beam so I calculated her difficulty and was surprised to see that she is going for a 7.0 routine. I gave her all the benefit of doubt but the leap series she does after her layout. She could go to 7.1 if she connects it from the layout and it seems she might be trying to do that.

Here is how a potential 7.0 beam routine can look like.Video by gymnoceiling. FF + BHS + Layout (E) 0.1SB 0.1CV
Leap series
Switch leap + Back pike - 0.1CV
L-turn + full turn - 0.1CV
Aerial cartwheel + Switch ring (D+E) 0.2CV
Front Aerial + Sheep jump (D+D) 0.2CV
Front tuck + Wolf jump (D) 0.1CV
Switch leap 1/2 (D)
FF + BHS + Dbl pike (E) 0.1SB

3.5 + 0.8CV + 0.2SB = 4.5 + 2.5CR = 7.0 D-score potential.

She does more skills than she needs to and could get deducted for more in execution. I hope she can improve on this set. Russia needs this kind of difficulty.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ksenia Afanasyeva's Amanar Universiade VT EF 2013

Here is her tied for gold place finish vaults. She finally debuts the rumoured Amanar vault and a nice new surprise vault of ro 1/2 on fwd 1/2 twist straight. It's amazing that she can do the Amanar at her stage in her career. She just keeps surprising. It still needs work and it looks kind of scary to be honest but the fact that she went for it is still exciting. Keeping us entertain.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nikolai Kuksenkov Defends AA Universiade 2013

I'm still not use to his name Nikolai. His named under the Ukrainian team was Mykola. I will have to get used to Nikolai. He defends his title from 2011 and keeps his 2013 title for his new nation Russia. The MAG finals was somewhat intense and it was a close battle between a lot of the guys. Results

Thoughts on WAG AA Universiade 2013

Unofficial results. Check the gymnastics results website for official results.

This competition was intense and filled with lots of nervy moments but in the end the two top Russians pulled it together! I watched this on Russian live feed with Russian commentators. I will focus mainly on Aliya Mustafina and Ksenia Afanasyeva.

VT- Afan gets a nice 14.950 for her relatively clean DTY. Nice form on the legs but hop or step back on landing. Good start.

Mustafina has some leg form and I hope she can improve on that. Not really pleasing to see the legs but still a good vault for 14.750.

UB - Afan debuts a new composition on bars. Starts with shap + pak this time. Bars is not her forte. She gets through it for 13.750.

Mustafina proves why she is a bamf on bars. She is so good here. There were no major errors. She still did her 6.3 routine. Well executed for 15.200. That score will help her a lot.

On beam this was the nerve wreaking event for both Musty and Afan. 

Musty starts off okay but then does not connect her onodi to 2/1 turn and falls off beam. Everything goes well after that. I think she just took out her Arabian for this competition which was a good idea. But this new composition beam is not good IMO. Beam is not her forte but she is capable of hitting her routines. Even with the fall she still manages to get a decent score of 14.050. Nothing to be worried about.

Afan- debuted a new composition as well. She does a new split ring, needs work. She was super wobbly on this event it was so hard to watch. Like Musty she is hit or miss. She seemed super nervous but the crowd helped her to stay on. I much prefer this composition. I hope she can improve on this event because it has potential. She stayed on but all the missed connections and wobbles caused her a lot of deductions for a score of 13. 150 ouch.

The last rotation was much better for the two Russian girls, thank god. Afan showed why she is a world champion on floor. Stuck DLO and double pike. No major errors on her other acrobatics. Her spins were a bit iffy but still nicely done. I am amazed at her ability to keep on tumbling for so many years. She just keeps on getting better. She scores a monstrous 15.000.

Up last was Aliya Mustafina. She did a minor downgraded routine. I thought this was a nice routine and her low 13.900 was surprising to see IMHO.

In the end Aliya honestly easily won this competition. I think AA titles really suits Musty more than for Afan. I know that Afan has been doing AA forever but it feels right for Mustafina to take this title. I'm very happy and pleased that Aliya took this title. She still needs work for worlds but this is mid season and I can see that she is not in top shape and should be in better shape for Antwerp worlds. Aliya 1) 57.900 and 2) Afanasyeva 56.850.

I honestly didn't keep track of who won 3rd because I was really focused on the Russians and I was chatting with a friend. But some things worth noting. I liked Kim Bui's Loso mount + loso. Yu Minobe of Japan had a solid and nice beam routine. Elsa Garcia of Mexico dismounted with an Arabian tucked, it's very ambitious but she fell. She qualified 2nd for floor so hopefully she will be better in event finals. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quick Thoughts on MAG TF/QF Universiade 2013

Alright so here is my very quick recap and impressions of this event. These are unofficial scores. The broadcast only showed the last subdivision.

1) Russia 273.150 2) Ukraine 3) Japan 269.700. Yesterday I promised that I would put the results in but I'm sure my small amount of followers know where to find results. In case you don't. I like to check this site gymnastics results.

I think Russia did pretty well they were under pressure and they delivered. They had some mistakes but nothing too serious and costly. They showed some routines of the Ukrainians and Japanese but not enough. Japan pretty much had a B team compared to Russia's A team. Even though Yusuke Tanaka didn't make Japan's world team he did okay here. The broadcast showed a lot of him and he made it to some finals, yay.

I heard the results of Yang Hak Seon was great on VT, he wasn't in this subdivision. I'm hoping all the best for him in VT finals.

One of his competition will be Denis Ablyazin. He did a nice Tsuk dbl pike with a 0.3 step back IMO. His second vault FHS 5/2 with a 0.1 step back. VT1 15.350 VT2 15.400 AVG 15.375. I wonder if he will do his Li Xiaopeng vault in finals.

His floor routine was good too for 15.650. He did, fwd 5/2, 2/1 twist DLO, fwd 2/1 twist + 2/1 front tuck, Thomas Stretched, Japanese hstd, dbl pike Arabian, bwd 3/2 + fwd 1/1, 3/1 twist dismount.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thoughts on WAG Russian TF Universiade 2013

I've only watched the Russian team because only subdivision 4 had live feed and there wasn't really much to comment about the other teams. The Russian gymnasts won with a comfortable lead of 175.5. Japan 2nd and Germany 3rd. The live feed wasn't great but at least I got to see some gymnastics. The audio for the commentators was hard to hear as the background crowd noise drowned the commentary. I did my best to hear what they said.

Please note these are unofficial results and I will post the official results soon. I also didn't edit this post so some things might not make sense.

The floor rotation started out good enough. There were some mistakes but some beautiful stuff.

-Tatiana Nabieva started on floor. It's been a while since she has competed and it's nice to see her. She had lovely new floor rouitne and I like her music choice. She opened up with 3/1 twists, second pass 5/2 twists + 1/2 twist. All her spins were single L-turn and Y-turn. The only major error was her huge out of bounds on the double pike dismount. Good start for her.

-Aliya Mustafina did the the same tumblings as usual but no stag on the double arabian and only a layout front on the 5/2 twists. She changed her third pass to 3/1 twists and her dismount to double tuck. I like it that way. She did a new spin combo single L-turn + Memmel, very nice. I saw on the screen she got a score of 13.75.

-Ksenia Afanasyeva debuted her new floor rouitne. I'll be honest maybe she wasn't fully committed to the routine and the music was soft which I didn't really like the new routine but the bias in me will wait to see it more to see if I like it. I have to say that her composition steps on the floor is always the same. What I mean is she always uses the same areas of the floor to move from place to place (I hope that made sense). I didn't really see any great moment of choreography. I think it is true that artistry is being sacrifice for difficulty, sad. But she still has an elegant way of moving around and  I do like the dramatic low floor choreography after her stuck double pike. In terms of the skills and tumbles she did the same things, nothing new and she had some errors a hop on DLO and a very nerve wreaking front layout, she almost fell. I saw she got 14.750 at first it seems high but she has high difficulty and I will have to see the routine again to understand the 14.750.

The broadcast did not show Anna Dementyeva

On vault there was limited showing of the Russians. Mustafina had a stuck DTY for 14.950. They only showed Nabieva's 2nd vault RO 1/2 on front pike 1/2. Afanasyeva did 2 vaults but they only showed her 15.000 DTY with a step back. The broadcast completely skipped Maria Paseka's vaults.


-They skipped Dementyeva's routine

- Nabieva did a lovely routine. She is considered a bars specialists. I love her work and she seems so happy to be competing again. She did toe 1/1 + shap + pak, stalder 1/1 + VLW, toe 1/2 + jaeger, and Tsuk dismount. Good score for 14.400.

-Mustafina did her same 6.3 routine. She looked good enough. She does seems a little tired on this event now and I hope she can upgrade her routine but I think she will because 6.3 might not be good enough for world championships. She scores 15.000 so that's means she got 8.7 execution.

- No Afanasyeva broadcast view but heard the commentators saying she fell, ouch. I heard she got a low score of 12.55 eek.

Then when it came to beam they completely missed everyone but Dementyeva and half of Tatiana's routine. Tatiana did okay for a low difficult beam routine. She waited a bit long going into her dismount but she landed it to her feet.

Aliya got a nice score of 15.200 but no live coverage of her routine :( boo.

The highlight for me was Dementyeva's beam. She looked fierce up there. She debuted a nice double pike worth E and even though it's lower in difficulty to her 3/1 twists dismount the pike works better. She got a score of 15.300. Her beam set was, roll on mount, switch ring, onodi + front aerial + sheep jump (very beautiful connection), Aerial cartwheel + leap series, RO + layout, full turn, split ring, dbl pike dismount. Nice work from Dementyeva.

- Afanasyeva's routine was not showed but I heard she had a solid routine for a 14.200.

Overall I think the Russians did good and it was nice to see Nabieva back with her expressive attitude :D. It wasn't tough competition for the Russians but I'm happy they won on home soil.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Just Because

Koji Uematsu's three release moves in connection. Kolman + Kovacs + Tucked Gaylord II

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The United States of Amanar

: D I have to admit the Americans were amazing at London's team finals! When they came out and nailed all their Amanar vaults I just knew it would be their gold medal. They were aggressive and confident. They rocked it that night.

Monday, July 1, 2013

All Canadian London Olympic Team Final Routines

Today is Canada Day so I thought I'll post these routines up. This Canadian team made history when they were the first Canadian team to finish in an impressive 5th place. I was so happy to see our team do so good. They had no major errors. They began their rotation on floor and ended on beam. Their combined total was 170.804.

Videos are from gabrielmcdonough