Friday, March 6, 2015

Sabrina Vega: Back at Camp

Sabrina Vega
Photo Credit:: USA Gymnastics

Sabrina Vega was a member of the 2011 gold medal winning World Championship team for the USA. After much success as a junior, she was able to continue that success into her senior debut. At 2011 US Nationals, she finished 5th in the all-around, 5th on balance beam and 4th on floor exercise. Sabrina earned a place on the 2011 World team and went on to finish the qualifying round in 9th in the all-around. In team finals, Sabrina was the lead off on both uneven bars and balance beam, setting the pace for Team USA that would eventually end with Vega and the rest of the team being named World Champions. The 2012 Olympic Trials did not go as hoped and Vega finished in 10th place in the all around and was not named to the team.

Afterwards, Vega made the difficult decision of moving from her home in New York to living with a host family in Missouri to train with Al and Armine Fong at GAGE. We have not seen her in competition due to multiple injuries - shoulder surgery and a knee injury. In November of 2014, Sabrina returned to camp and at the January 2015 camp, we were finally able to see what she's been up to - on beam anyway. Here are a few of the skills she showed. She also showed a double wolf turn on beam.

While some of these skills have been in her routine in the past, it's great to see Vega training after such a long (long long long) time. She was not at the February camp but let's hope it's due to fewer invites this time around and not injury! Jesolo is coming up and it seems unlikely that she will compete as she does not yet have an FIG license for the USA. Hopefully we do get to see Sabrina Vega compete in the lead up to Rio. Her floor stays with me as one of my favorites and I will continue to root for her until her last days in this crazy sport.

You can ready my interview with her from Nov 2013 after the gym change here and part 2 here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

At the Ranch: Senior National Team

Alyssa Baumann
Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics

It's crazy to think that a month has already gone by and the athletes are at camp again! USA Gymnastics uploaded videos of the National Team members at the ranch and I am forever grateful. The team looks great for so early in the season. As always, I'm curious to see what upgrades we'll get to see in competition this year and even towards Rio. You can ready my thoughts on the juniors here. The senior lineup is an exciting one, amplified by the new seniors (featured in this last set) and the returning Olympians - Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, and Gabrielle Douglas.

We'll start with a personal favorite. Maggie Nichols was injured at the 2014 Pan American Championships and underwent knee surgery for what was said to be a dislocated kneecap. She's returned full force and is already back to training three events, not sure about vault. At camp, she showed her new UB connection: toe full - Chow (stalder Shaposhnikova) - Pak - Maloney - bail - toe 1/2 - van Leeuwen (toe on Shaposhnikova 1/2). Quite the combo! On beam, she's showing fabulous flexibility on her front aerial - sissone - split jump. Per her instagram and, she's training a full in on beam and full twisting double layout on floor but won't try to make the Jesolo team in order to allow herself more time to heal.

Most surprising for me was Alyssa Baumann. She showed a new Ricna on uneven bars. On beam, she showed a switch split - switch half - back tuck combination. On floor, she showed a strong double pike (enough for Mihai to nod in approval) and a nice double layout. Although those aren't upgrades, something about her strength and attack on each of the skills is what made me take notice. I was surprised to see so many new things. I was looking forward to her competing at WOGA Classic but she unfortunately scratched the meet after multiple falls on uneven bars.

Honorable mentions obviously go to Ashton Locklear and Felicia Hano. Locklear's combo is literally insane: in bar stalder full - Galante (in bar stalder straddled Tkatchev) - Pak - Chow (stalder Shaposhnikova) - bail - stalder shoot to high. And it looks so easy for her! She's also working skills on beam and floor exercise, most notably a triple full. Hano showed her Biles (double layout half out)! I was told that she was training the Biles on my visit to Gym Max but since I didn't see it, I kept quiet so I'm glad we're already getting to see it. Although Hano isn't known for her uneven bars, I wish that more of her uneven bars was shown since the last time she competed that event was in 2013 when she sustained a concussion. Now, she's back on the uneven bars, swinging well, and working a Ray to Pak in her routine. Hopefully we get to see her compete it this year.

The Olympians... Deep breath. Who to start with?

Kyla Ross, who recently committed to UCLA, kept things relatively the same. She didn't do her Bhardwaj. Don't hurt me. It exists I swear! But she did get the UB combo that was giving her trouble. She had the toe 1/1 - Maloney - Pak and was able to get the Van Leeuwen connected and it looks great. Kyla's beam looks pretty much the same. Her floor was also the same but she's upgrading. Trust me, she's working upgrades!

Aly Raisman. What to say about our Olympic Champion Aly Raisman? I think there are some aspects to Aly's gymnastics that looks better. But there are also some things that I forgot how bad they were. We'll just go in order. First off, Amanar vault! That was most surprising since I really didn't think she'd have it ready so early. Whether it's ready for competition is a different story but she's already showing it which is amazing! On uneven bars, Aly's weakest event, instead of doing Maloney to Pak like everyone else, she does Maloney to immediate Tkatchev. What in the world? That was unexpected as well. Was it pretty? Maybe not but good to see that she's reworking her routine. Beam seems like the same old Aly, just a few changes to fit this code. Some of her leaps seem a little better, a tiny bit better, but there are still some form issues. She "starfishes" her back layout (legs apart), her back leg in her sissone could be higher, and there are just the usual foot flexion issues. I'm curious about this combo: side aerial - switch split - switch half - back pike. I like it and am just curious, when or if we'll see it in competition. She looks great on floor, showing her three passes between the two videos. Again, I was as surprised and excited about the Amanar as I was about seeing the arabian punch front. It might not be consistent just yet with the 1.5 but those videos were from January camp. She has time. Aly's double layout was also a huge surprise. Her knees are bent but it's great to see her working new skills at this stage in the game. It makes for interesting tumbling passes when her routine comes together (and upgrade possibilities).

Returning Olympians video and continues to playlist below or here

What surprised you most about the senior videos?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gymnastics Injuries Jan-Mar 2015

I was hesitant in continuing this injury list because it's depressing to put it simply. However, I've decided to continue (at least through this quadrennium) to see if we get any interesting data and also for the reason shared below. Thankfully, injuries have been slow in the start of 2015. Italian Iosra Abdelaziz has not competed at Serie A due to injury, status unknown. In comebacks, all the 2013 injuries are resolved! Or relatively. Chantysha Netteb competed for the first time since her ACL tear at World Championships in 2013. Sabrina Vega has been back at camp for some time now but has not officially competed. For 2014, Gabriella Douglas is back after multiple surgeries. Giorgia Campana returned on uneven bars after hurting her ankle while showing a new skill on floor exercise.

I was debating about doing this list for some time, which is why I'm only now posting it in February, when I saw this tweet. The injuries are saddening, there's no doubt about it. But there's hope. You have to remember there's always hope.

The list consists of national team members that have had some injury that keeps them out of competition. (c) indicates gymnasts that have returned to national team camp or control competition but not yet to a "public" competition.


Name (Country)InjuryReturn to Competition
Iosra Abdelaziz ITA??? (Jan)
Yao Jinnan CHNShoulder surgery (Feb)
Ana Maria Ocolisan ROUElbow surgery (Feb)
Carlotta Ferlito ITAFoot injury (Feb)


Name (Country)InjuryReturn to Competition
Elisa Cherino GERFractured cervical vertebrae (Mar)FB; site
Miriana Almeida MEX??? (Aug)
Sandra Collantes PER??? (Sep)
Maelys Plessis FRA??? (Sep)
Anne Kuhm FRACollarbone (Jan)Feb 2015 (c)
Kirsten Beckett RSAShoulder surgery (Aug)
Peyton Ernst USADislocated shoulder + surgery (Aug)
Ida Gustafsson SWEShoulder (Aug)
Rebecca Tunney GBRElbow (May)
Bailie Key USA jrElbow (Jul)Oct 2014 (c)
Ayelen Taribini ARGDislocated Elbow (Sep)
Madison Kocian USAWrist surgery (Nov)
Yuna Hiraiwa JPNBroken Finger (Sep)
Elisa Meneghini ITABack (Oct)
McKayla Maroney USAKnee surgery (Feb)
Jade Barbosa BRAKnee surgery (Aug)
Diana Bulimar ROUKnee surgery (Aug)
Cintia Rodriguez ESPKnee surgery (Nov)
Aleeza Yu CANKnee injury (Oct)
Vanasia Bradley USA jrTorn ACL & meniscus, broken patella (Jun)
Nadine Jarosch - GERTorn ACL surgery (2013)
Torn ACL surgery (Jul)
Janine Berger - GERTorn ACL surgery (Aug)
Maria Paula Vargas ESPTorn ACL & partial meniscal tear (Sep)
Laura Longueville FRATorn ACL surgery (Oct)
Kristyna Palesova CZETorn ACL, meniscal tear, ligament tear (Nov)
Roxana Popa ESPTorn ACL & meniscus (Dec)
Anastasia Grishina RUSTorn meniscus & broken patella (Apr)Feb 2015
Laurie Hernandez USA jrFractured wrist (Jan)
Torn patellar tendon & dislocated kneecap (Jun)

Nov 2014 (c)
Maggie NicholsDislocated kneecap (Aug)Jan 2015 (c)
Tyesha Mattis GBR jrAnkle (Mar)Dec 2014 (c)
Wendy de Jong NED jrAnkle (Jul)
Lauren Mitchell AUSAnkle (Oct)
Giulia Steingruber SUIKnee bone bruise (Mar)
Ankle ligament sprain + 2 stress fractures (Nov)
May 2014

Gabriella DouglasAnkle surgery (Aug)Feb 2015
Rachel Gowey USAAnkle break (Aug)Nov 2014 (c)
Lexie Priessman USAAchilles tendon strain ('13)
Torn fibular ligament (Aug)
Mary-Anne Monckton AUSTorn peroneal tendon (Oct)
Evgenia Zhukova RUSTorn Achilles (Apr)
Valentine Sabatou FRATorn Achilles (Sep)
Francesca Deagostini ITAFoot injury/fracture (Jun-Aug)
Elisabeth Seitz GERFoot injury (Aug)
Foot surgery (Nov)
Sep 2014

Giorgia Campana ITAFoot injury (Nov)Feb 2015
Simone Biles USAShoulder (Feb)Jul 2014
Louise Vanhille FRAElbow (Mar)Nov 2014
Alyssa Baumann USAElbow (Aug)Sep 2014
Kyla Ross USABack (Jan)Mar 2014
Mariya Livchikova UKRTorn ACL (Aug)retirement
Loan His FRA jrHyperextended knee (Jun)Nov 2014
Carlotta Ferlito ITACalf strain + medical issue (Mar)Sep 2014
Sophie Scheder GERSprained ankle + 2 torn ligaments (Mar)May 2014
Maria Paseka RUSSprained ankle (Sep)Nov 2014
Ksenia Afanasyeva RUSAnkle surgery (Apr)Nov 2014
Viktoria Komova RUSAnkle surgery (Apr)Aug 2014
Maria Bondareva RUS jrSwollen ligaments in ankle (Apr)May 2014
Rebeca Andrade BRA jrToe injury (Jul)Nov 2014


Name (Country)InjuryReturn to Competition
Sabrina Vega USAShoulder surgeryNov 2014 (c)
Chantysha Netteb NEDACLFeb 2015
Katelyn Ohashi - USAShoulder surgery + BackJan 2015
Julie Croket - BELElbowAug 2014
Sarah Finnegan - USAElbow surgeryJan 2015
Enus Mariani jr - ITABack injury (May)Nov 2014
Eythora Thorsdottir - NED jrBackOct 2014
Gabby Jupp - GBRTorn ACL at Europeans; surgeryAug 2014
Kim Janas GER jrACL; surgeryOct 2014
Lisa Ecker AUTR PCL and meniscusAug 2014
Luo Peiru - CHNAchilles & fractured kneecapretirement
CĂ©line van Gerner - NEDAnkle surgerySep 2014
Adrian Gomes - BRAretirement
Koko Tsurumi - JPNAchillesNov 2014

This is a whittled down list that does not include 2013 resolved injuries from prior to July 2014. You can find the complete list here.