Most Read Posts of 2013

10:43 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Madeline Gardiner
Credit: Grace Chiu

1. Gymnastics Injuries Nov 2013 - if you have any ideas on how I should maintain this list or what I should add to it (for example, keep it by year, add date returned to competition, etc.), please let me know.

2. Gymnastics Calendar to Worlds

3. Osijek Grand Prix Day 2 - a live blog

4. On The Rise: Team Canada Part 2

5. Operation Fall in Love with Canada

6. The Scary State of Vaulting

7. Abierto Mexicano de Gimnasia 2013: Results

8. Elisabetta Preziosa: Talented Beauty

9. As We Wait for Worlds - Vault

10. Dutch World Championships Qualifications


Most Read Interviews of 2013

10:42 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

2013 was a great year for Arabian Punch Front. "Did you ever think you'd get to interview the athlete that was your icon?" No. Not in a million years. I've come a long way :)

*For those with 2 parts, I used the pageviews of part 1.

1. May 14, 2013 - Sabrina Vega: Don't Settle for Less Part 1 ; Part 2
We learned about her gym change to train with Al Fong at GAGE and her plans for the future

2. May 26, 2013 - Brittany Rogers: Keep the Dream Alive Part 1 ; Part 2
Brittany Rogers told us about her experience at the Olympics and how she adjusted to the world of college gymnastics.

3. March 5, 2013 - Interview with Talia Chiarelli (CAN)
With the interview, we learned what it was that caused Talia to abruptly withdraw from the 2012 Olympic Trials for Team Canada.

4. November 19, 2013 - Mykayla Skinner: Sights Set on Rio here
Skinner tells us which upgrades she's hoping to compete in 2013.

5. Sep 27, 2013 - Dominic Zito: Something Different Part 1 ; Part 2
Dominic Zito gave this great interview that gives insight into the world of choreography from the man who choreographed Kyla Ross' routine and helped her on her way to the Prize for Elegance.

Hope to bring more interviews in the future!


Montages of 2013: Youtube and the Gymternet

11:18 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

The "Why Was Youtube Hiding You From Me?" Award goes to elite gymnastics montages.
EGM/@lauren_stevens2 has had her account for over a year but I only found it 3 or 4 months ago. She has some great montages, a few that have over 20,000 views. I think my favorite is this Katelyn Ohashi montage. It has mostly American Cup footage and does a great job reminding us how she had an excellent senior debut. Now, we'll wait to see what her next step is as she returns from injury.

Video That Took the Gymternet By Storm
Last year, we had a few fun montages that took the gymternet by storm. This year, we've only had one, but so many gymnasts shared it which made it pretty remarkable. Gymnasts from Alison Taylor to Parkettes to Talia Chiarelli to both Jordyn Wieber and her mother have shared Anna Burnsy/@AnnaBurns's montage. My favorite moments, "He who says he can and he who says he cannot are both usually right" cue Anastasia Grishina at the Olympics. My favorite part is at 2:15 and includes my favorite quote, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." I also liked this quote: "Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours of beating on your craft." The last minute is amazing. This montage definitely deserves it's almost 200,000 views!
Elite Gymnastics- Why do we fall?

Montages of 2013
Meet Recap
Requests and Most Improved


Montages of 2013: Requests and Most Improved

12:33 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Made By Me

I made 2 requests for montages throughout the whole year and the montages that were made were perfect, so thank you!!

Aliya and Nabs || Let me be your Ruler
I'm pretty sure I tagged SG in this request because Royals by Lorde seemed like the kind of song she would like - sultry but something about that song makes you feel invincible. It was in the lead up to Worlds when I first fell in love with the song and thought that Aliya Mustafina and Tatiana Nabieva would be the perfect two athletes to be featured. They're a dynamic duo that really couldn't care less what you're up to or what you think of them. Unfortunately, Nabs was injured so we didn't get as much footage to make a post Worlds montage.

The Fierce Five - MADE IN AMERICA
The song is by a group called Cimorelli. They're 6 sisters that started singing covers on youtube and recording videos against a wall in their house. They've moved on now to a full record contract, VEVO and all, and original songs. This is one of their songs and I thought it would be perfect for some sort of Team USA montage. EmmsDream was able to make it into a video for the Fierce Five and it's perfect. All of this was made using iMovie which I find really impressive (had no idea you could do the letter overlay in iMovie).


Montages of 2013: Meet Recap

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Looking back on 2013 and the montages, I think it's appropriate that we do a recap of the meets. We started off with the American Cup with Katelyn Ohashi, Simone Biles, Victoria Moors finishing 1-2-3 respectively. Then, we went on to the Individual European Championships where the Mustafina vs Iordache rivalry escalated and Roxana Popa and Giulia Steingruber began to steal our hearts. Florida won the NCAA championships in April and we were lucky to have great live footage of the EYOF and Universiade. Then, the US elite season started to pick up and selections were made for World Championships. Quite a year! SuperGymmie made a recap of the entire year including other meets like Massilia and British Espoir Championships.

American Cup Gymnastics 2013-Alive

2013 Euros AA Montage - I Still Have a Soul
For those of you that loved the Beauty of Gymnastics montage, this is a montage for you. Lots of the slow motion clips from the European Championships are used here and as the music picks up, so does the intensity of the gymnastics that we watch.

Florida Gators Gymnastics - War of Inches
Chris Saccullo made a great edit to Al Pacino's Inch by Inch speech from the movie Any Given Sunday. Full quote can be found here. Coach Rhonda Faehn and the Gator gymnasts loved the montage so much, they played it at their banquet.

"You find out that life is just a game of inches. Because in the game of life, the margin for error is so small.

European Youth Olympic Festival | Apparatus Finals Men & Women
We saw the showdown of the future stars of Romania vs. Russia but we also got a preview of what Great Britain will bring to the table, not only in WAG but also in MAG. Sports2Visuals, the same group that produces The Hard Way to Success documentaries, was there with some high definition footage and some great montages too.


Montages of 2013: Effects

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To kick off this year's montage review, I wanted to look at a few of my favorite effects that we saw in montages.

Team Italia. Cherry Waves by CSaccullo
Effect: Apparatus Overlay
Think this is one of the first videos where Chris started to overlay gymnasts on the same apparatus. How appropriate that it was beam for Team Italy. Many of us have waited for Carlotta Ferlito to make a major beam event finals since she turned senior, especially after medaling at European Championships. That finally became a reality where she was joined by teammate Vanessa Ferrari at the past World Championship beam finals. Italy isn't a team that typically gets much montage attention so it was nice to see an Olympic montage of these athletes.

We Got the Fire
by AshleyakaFlipper/@ashley_flipper
Effect: Slow Motion
I'm a little biased towards this montage because it includes a song by Ellie Goulding. The video features television footage of US Nationals and slow motion was used to highlight the different skills that the gymnasts were performing. There were contrasts of regular speed with portions of the same clip that were slowed down or sped up. It reminded me of the Doha footage which is some of my favorite footage for that exact reason. There were also some epic faces that were highlighted - one being Mykayla Skinner after she successfully landed her Cheng and Maggie Nichols at the start of her routine.

Katelyn Ohashi - Shine
Effects: Slow Motion in Perspective
I feel like we got stuck for a while in seeing skills highlighted as black and white. I like what DakotaLaand did here by highlighting the skill by finding video from a different angle and slowing it down. It made it pop that much more. You see it with her beam skills - the arabian and leap, along with the layout full later on in the montage.

McKayla Maroney || Night
Effect: Unknown
SG tried some new editing skills at the beginning of the montage and it turned out great! I'm not sure what to call it - there's some split screen but also a gradual fade to black and white...

Any great montage effects that you enjoyed? Which was your favorite of the one's above?


This Week in Training

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Social media can actually be quite lovely. This week we got an update from two gymnasts who are working on new skills.

Mykayla Skinner is working on her triple double - three twists two flips! In the interview I did with her last month, she informed me that this isn't a skill she's just playing around with (Sights Set on 2016). She hopes to add this to her routine.

India McPeak is an NCAA hopeful from Ireland. She's consistently been at the top for Ireland gymnastics and was selected to attend the World Championships. Here she is working a full twisting back tuck on beam.

On a funny note, I found this post on vine. I've never had a tweet shared so many times so many gymnasts must share this frustration. (The audio is off so check that your phone audio is on or click the volume button in the upper left corner of the video on your computer. Link)

I still laugh when I watch it.


Abierto Mexicano de Gimnasia 2013: Results

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Today is the first half of the competition for the men and women. A live stream is available here but is geo-blocked. I'll be keeping track of scores and things here! Bear with me as I try to fill this in.

Total scores have been confirmed. Awaiting proper BB/FX results.

Roxana Popa (ESP)15.10013.70013.95014.60057.3501
Maggie Nichols (USA)15.25014.25014.60057.3002
Peyton Ernst (USA)15.10014.45057.1503
Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)15.00013.85014.00012.95055.8004
Evgenia Shelgunova (RUS)13.75013.45013.85013.70054.7505
Angelina Kysla (UKR)13.70013.75053.7006
Francesca DeAgostini (ITA)13.55012.25013.45013.45052.7007
Amaranta Torres (MEX)13.95012.80012.35051.4008
Zeng Siqi (CHN)12.95013.25050.7509
Mariana Valentin (BRA)13.65012.50012.00050.70010
Sabrina Gill (CAN)13.90012.05012.05050.20011

- Oksana Chusovitna vaulted a Rudi. Evgenia Shelgunova and Amaranta Torres vaulted a FTY. Popa vaulted a DTY
- Popa did a full twisting double layout dismount off bars. It seems like it's saying Chuso did a double double but...

via @sbregman87:
- Chusovitna BB: pike front mount; front tuck; switch, split; ff, layout (?); RO, double tuck
- Maggie Nichols FX: double layout (a little piked in the air); pike full-in; Gogean; 1.5 to 2.5; switch ring + switch half; double tuck.
- Zeng Siqi BB: She did a FF and then stopped. Walked back up and went for it again.  She slid down the beam, though.
- Peyton Ernst BB: Switch ring; ff, ff, layout (fall); front aerial, sheep; switch, back pike; front tuck, wolf; ff, ff, double pike (stuck).

Rotation 4:
- Nichols BB: front tuck; switch, switch half; ff, ff, layout (big wobble and some form issues); switch ring (small wobble); Aerial walkover
- Ernst FX: double layout (small hop); 1.5 to 2.5 (fell? it was close...); double tuck; switch full; double pike... [editor: Was it a fall or was it not a fall? Will she medal?!]
- editor: Apparently, Roxana Popa hit beam.


Gymnastics Injuries Nov 2013

5:49 PM Arabian Punch Front 35 Comments

Chantysha Netteb (NED) tore her ACL at the 2013 World Championships

There seemed to be a lot of injuries in the lead up to Worlds. I figure I'd start to keep track of athletes that are injured and when they've returned to competition. I'll update this again at the end of December/early January, so feel free to give input on who has what injuries and whether or not they had surgery for it. This list will only include injuries that the gymnasts or their federation have reported.

Name (Country)Injury
Kim Janas GER jrACL; surgery
Chantysha Netteb NEDACL
Lisa Ecker AUTR PCL and meniscus
Jessica Lopez VENankle
Cintia Rodriguez ESPankle; surgery
Simone Biles USAbone spurs; surgery
Maria Paseka - RUSBack pain
pre-Worlds Injuries
Gabriella Douglas - CANshoulder surgery
Katelyn Ohashi - USAShoulder surgery
Sabrina Vega USAShoulder surgery
Giorgia Campana - ITAElbow
Julie Croket - BELElbow
Sarah Finnegan - USAElbow surgery
Lou Nina - CHNElbow
Diana Bulimar - ROMKnee injury
Youna Dufournet - FRAknee surgery
Elisabetta Preziosa - ITAKnee
Adriana Crisci - ITATorn ACL after DTY
Nadine Jarosch - GERTorn ACL at German Champs; surgery
Gabby Jupp - GBRTorn ACL at Europeans; surgery
Ana Lago - MEXTorn ACL; surgery
Erika Fasana - ITATibia
Marine Brevet - FRATorn Achilles tendon; surgery
Wyomi Masela - NEDTorn achilles tendon; surgery
Luo Peiru - CHNAchilles & fractured kneecap
Lexie Priessman - USAAchilles tendon strain at P&Gs
Ksenia Afanasyeva - RUSAnkle surgery
Madison Kocian - USAAnkle sprain at P&Gs
Céline van Gerner - NEDAnkle surgery
Anastasia Grishina - RUSBack pain/pinched nerve
Adrian Gomes - BRA
Koko Tsurumi - JPN
Jade Barbosa - BRALigament rupture
Returned to Competition
Tatiana Nabieva - RUSconcussion
Maria Livchikova - UKRACL (both her ACLs have been torn. Now we pray!)
Lisa Top - NEDdislocated elbow
Elizabeth Price - USAHip injuries (both sides)
Janine Berger - GERnot enough prep time after her knee injury at World Cup
Lisa Hill - GERinjured at German team training visit to Brestyan's
Evgeniya Shelgunova - RUS
Anne Kuhm - FRAElbow - cracked radial head and cartilage

Name (Country)Injury
Jake Dalton USAthumb; surgery
Alex Naddour USAhand; surgery
Jonathan Horton - USAShoulder surgery
Danell Leyva - USAShoulder issues
Chris Brooks - USAtorn ligament in thumb; surgery
Oleg Stepko - UKRHand injury; surgery
Luke Carson - IRLshattered tibia; surgery
Marcel Nguyen - GER

Name (Country)Condition
Jonna Adlerteg - SWEInflammation
Viktoria Komova RUSViral Meningitis

This list was compiled with the help of @CordeliaGymFan on twitter. If you have any additions or corrections, please add them in the comments.


Abierto Mexicano de Gimnasia 2013

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The Abierto Mexicano de Gimnasia/Mexican Open will be held this weekend! It features a star studded lineup. There will be both a junior and senior competition. Times in Acapulco, Mexico are CST (add 1 hr for EST).

Thursday, Nov 28
18:00-21:00 (7-10PM ET)II Pegaso International Junior Mexican Cup (AA & Team)
Friday, Nov 29
19:15-21:00 (8:15-10PM ET)AA Competition 1st half (WAG: VT, UB; MAG: FX, PH, SR)
Saturday, Nov 30
18:00-20:00 (7-9PM ET)AA Competition 2nd half (WAG: BB, FX; MAG: VT, PB, HB)
20:15-21:00 (9:15-10PM ET)Gymnastics Gala/Closing Competition
21:00-21:30 (10-10:30PM ET)Awards Ceremony

Sabrina Gill (CAN)
Zeng Siqi (CHN)
Roxana Popa (ESP)
Francesca DeAgostini (ITA)
Amaranta Torres (MEX)
Evgenia Shelgunova (RUS)
Angelina Kysla (UKR)
Peyton Ernst (USA)
Maggie Nichols (USA)
Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)

Francisco Barretto (BRA)
Joshua Stuart (CAN)
Zhang Yang (CHN)
Jossimar Calvo (COL)
Rubén López (ESP)
Ludovico Edalli (ITA)
Koji Uematsu (JPN)
Kevin Cerda (MEX)
Vlad Cotuna (ROM)
Nikita Ignatyev (RUS)
Yevgen Yudenkov (UKR)
Josh Dixon (USA)

Official schedule can be found here
Photos from Abierto de Gimnasia Facebook
More info:
Last year, a live stream was available through that webpage but it may require a Mexican IP and we're unsure of which days of competition it will show. Check back here for updates!


Book Review: Letters to Nowhere

6:19 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

I'm excited to do my first book review to an excellent novel entitled Letters to Nowhere by Julia Cross. It's about the life of an elite gymnast, Karen, who recently lost both her parents at only 17-years old. Her coach invites her to live with him and his son as she learns to deal with grief and coming of age in elite gymnastics.

The book is amazing and is perfect for gymnastics fan. It has a heart-wrenching plot dealing with the struggle that comes with losing a loved one at such a young age but also has a strong gymnastics back story to keep us gym fans engaged and involved. Julie Cross was a gymnast herself and coached gymnastics as well. This is reflected in the way that a Yurchenko vault is so perfectly explained and how you can feel the air leave your own lungs as you read how Karen falls on her Jaeger.

Even though the plot is a heavy topic, the book is an enjoyable read and reminds you of the excitement and terror that comes with young love. Parts of the book are so intimate and personal that you can't help but get a little invested in Karen's life, especially when some of the pages seem to reflect the pages of your own diary. Cross's writing has you going from laughing to crying in just a matter of pages because of the relationship you build with the characters.

I strongly recommend this book, especially for gymnastics fans that have been looking for a book that fits into "our" realm. There's a Martha Karolyi equivalent in the book. There's the older gymnast that reminds you of Alicia Sacramone (who Cross imagines would be played by Mattie Larson should there be a movie, I fully support this), the best friend dealing with a growth spurt, and the junior wonder child. There's also talk of college gymnastics versus competing through the next elite season. It makes you wonder if these are the conversations that athletes like Amanda Jetter or Jordyn Wieber had with their parents.

In the acknowledgements, Cross says, "Thanks to the gymnastics community for being some of the most passionate and dedicated people in the entire world." Get the book! You won't regret it.

There is already a sequel, Return to Sender, and a third book is being written, Letters to You.

Buy Letters to Nowhere on Amazon - there is both an ebook version and paperback version. There is currently a giveaway on Check if it's available in your country.
Follow Julie Cross on twitter: @juliecross1980


Mykayla Skinner: Sights Set on 2016

11:29 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Mykayla Skinner at Podium Training for 2013 US Classic
Credit: USA Gymnastics

Mykayla Skinner is an American gymnast known for having one of the most difficult floor routines in the world. She finished third on vault and floor at 2013 US Nationals and 6th in the all-around earning herself a spot on the 2013 US National Team. This marks Skinner's 2nd year on the National Team - her first was in 2011 as a junior. She did not have the chance to qualify for the team in 2012 since she was dealing with inflammation in her back. Despite this, Skinner says that starting elite and making the National Team have been highlights of her gymnastics career thus far.

Skinner is most well known for the double twisting double layout, a skill she debuted at a Level 10 meet earlier this year. She is one of only two women to compete this skill. Although she did not make the World Championship team, this skill was given an I-rating - the highest possible in women's artistic gymnastics.

"When I first learned it, I wasn't too scared but when I moved it to the floor it was scary so I just had to stay calm and not freak out in the middle. When I competed it for the first time, that was challenging. I was really nervous but I just kept myself focused and remembered what it felt like to practice it in the gym."

The elite season was off to a rough start for Mykayla as multiple falls kept her out of the top group at both the 2013 Secret Classic and Day 1 of 2013 US Nationals.

"I knew I had to work a lot harder so during the training practices before Day 2, I just tried to stay focused and get done what I needed to in order to get better. Every night, I would visualize all of my routines until they were perfect. It helped a lot to stay focused, repeat every skill, repeat the tightness, repeat everything."

She rebounded well on Day 2 of Nationals to finish 3rd on vault and floor and 6th in the all around. Skinner managed to stick the double twisting double layout earning a gasp from the crowd and a jaw dropping reaction from US Olympian Sam Mikulak.


Montage Monday: Greatness

6:47 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

edited by me. :)

Sadly, this might be the last Montage Monday until Christmastime until exams are out of the way.

Greatness is for all of us...
This montage should have been featured last week but it's here now. In the opening section, Ashley used the audio from a Nike commercial that aired during the Olympics. It's quite powerful. I love that the editing was simple and all you really had was the overlay of the athlete - then and now. It features many of the big names in USA gymnastics through the years and is really touching.
It’s just something we made up.
Somehow we’ve come to believe greatness is a gift, reserved for a chosen few.
For prodigies. For superstars,
And the rest of us can only standby watching.
You can forget that.
Greatness is not some rare DNA strand.
Its not some precious thing.
Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing.
We’re all capable of it.
All of us.”


RESULTS: Elite Gym Massilia

6:11 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

The Elite Massilia competition held in France was off to an excellent start yesterday with the Open Division and continued today with the Master Division. Results and links to videos are posted below. The competition continues tomorrow at 3pm local time (9am ET) with apparatus finals. Of note, the juniors and under were given some bonus.

Team Results

AA 1-17


Exciting Gymnastics Weekend

5:37 PM Arabian Punch Front 3 Comments

Team GBR at Massilia

We have three exciting events going on in the world of gymnastics this weekend!

Gala Gimnastica Internacional
November 15 7pm and 16th 6pm
Athletes: Catalina Ponor will be present along with boyfriend Tommy Ramos of Puerto Rico. Arabian Punch Front personal favorites Giulia Steingruber will be present along with Elsa Garcia, who missed the World Championships due to coaching drama. Daniel Corral, the first Mexican gymnast to earn a World Championship medal will also be there.
More info: This is a gala so it's a bit unclear what level of performance we'll see. The USA is sending Josh Dixon and I imagine he's "competition ready." Please note that this is different than the Abierto meet in Mexico Nov 28-30.
(Thank you, Carolina, for the link)

Elite Gym Massilia
Athletes: Most exciting is probably that British Olympian Rebecca Downie is joined by little sister Ellie Downie who is really starting to make a name for herself on the junior team and in British gymnastics. This is the first time the 2 sisters will compete together internationally! Basically, all of Canada will be competing - the Woo sisters will be there, along with star Shallon Olsen. Of note, Heaven Latimer is missing. France is sending a strong team with Anne Kuhm returning to competition after a post Olympic break. Region 7 in the USA will be attending, including standouts Alex McMurty and Alicia Boren. WOGA has also sent Samantha Ogden and Lauren Farley. Pictures show that Irina Alexeeava will also be there.
More info: November 16th at 16h (10am ET) and November 17th at 15h (9am ET).
@GymMassilia twitter

17th Bolivarian Games
Website (Concourse 1 and 2 are just subdivisions. No juniors will be present)
Athletes: Ana Sofia Gomez Porras should be present. She was not at Worlds for what I believe was a technicality (the federation didn't sign appropriate papers or something along those lines). Gomez has been training at WOGA and learned a new UB routine, Shaposhnikova's and everything. Hoppefully, she competes that new routine. Jessica Lopez will also be present but will only compete on bars and beam. Her ankle is still not healed from her injury sustained during the World Championship and she will need surgery afterwards. source
More info: For WAG:
AA & TF Nov 20th, 2:50pm (Peruvian Time = ET)
VT and UB on Nov 21st at 4:50pm
BB and FX on Nov 22nd at 4:50pm.
(Thank you, @cristygen, for the help)


Looking Back: Team Belgium at Worlds 2013

5:37 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

Gaelle Mys
via FIG

The 2013 World Championships in Belgium proved to be a success for the home country: this was the first time that 2 Belgian women were in the all around finals. Belgian phenom Julie Croket had to miss the home World Championships due to an elbow injury. This came just a short time after she returned to the sport from an ACL injury that kept her out of the Olympics. The team that attended the World Championships consisted of Lisa Verschueren, Laura Waem, and Gaelle Mys who went to the Olympics in place of Croket. Waem and Mys were the two that made the all around final.

Lisa Verschueren finished the all around in 36th place. What do you think of this floor routine? She got a 6.533 execution with a fall. I thought it was a bit low - judging a la non big 4 country. What do you think? "Turn is horribly imprecise (but only 0.1 deduction allowed), turning leap looked short. Plus, dance and music just don't seem to work together- artistry deductions." -@bririchardson. I agree with the artistry issue but it looked like a low 8s, high 7s (since she's a non big 4 athlete) on my first viewing of the routine.


Montage Monday: The Montage That Mattered

5:08 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Keystone for

I've been sharing montages since the start of this blog and can never get a feel of whether or not people actually enjoy it as much as I do. I love how a 3 minute video can capture the emotion of an athlete, the triumphs and downfalls of a meet, and the beauty that is gymnastics. Maybe I'm alone in this passion. Maybe not. But something exciting happened for one video editor.

Mustafinauniverse made a montage called "Giulia Steingruber - Champion." I was just searching through youtube for montages and started with Steingruber. I decided to click on this montage even though I already shared it after European Championships because all I saw was "Edit: I'm kind of freaking out..."

Edit: I'm kind of freaking out right now...

Giulia has seen this montage! I kik'd it to her and she saw it :)

Edit: Giulia kik'd me again asking for the name of the music
and now this song is her floor music...

Song: Love and Loss - Two Steps From Hell

Wow! What are the chances?! It's one thing for an athlete to share the montage, it's another for them to decide to use the audio for their floor music. Great work, mustafinauniverse!

Here it is again in case you missed it in an earlier Montage Monday.


That Wonky Second Vault

6:33 PM Arabian Punch Front 5 Comments

McKayla Maroney will undoubtedly be on the list of greatest vaulters of all time which includes athletes like Oksana Chusovitna, Cheng Fei, and fellow American Alicia Sacramone. However, as time goes on, it is likely that her position as the greatest vaulter at the moment will be threatened. The more we see slow motions of her Amanar vault, the more we notice the slight break in form and the harder she pushes for the stick, the worse the potential landing errors seem to be.

My biggest issue with calling Maroney the greatest vaulter of all time has very little to do with her Amanar, the vault that made her irreplaceable to the 2012 Olympic team and made her famous around the world for sticking it in team final. It has a lot to do with her 2nd vault, the round off half on, full twist off. This vault is sometimes called a Mustafina although it is not officially named for Aliya Mustafina in the Code of Points nor was she the first one to compete it. Something about that vault always rubbed me the wrong way and the best I could do was describe it as wonky. It wasn't until PQST made some screen caps comparing Maroney's block to Simone's that helped me realize what it was. Simone competes a round off half on, half twist off which is sometimes called a laid out Podkopayeva (who did it piked) or a Lopez.


credit: PQST

"Simone has a FAR superior block & technique on the roundoff 1/2 on entry than McKayla. If you look at them head on from behind the table, McKayla’s hands make contact with the table before she completes the 1/2 turn and therefore she blocks with her shoulders at different angles, one hand in front of the other and doesn’t get the height or rotation that she should. Simone, on the other hand, completes the 1/2 turn fully before her hands make contact and push off the table and gets a much cleaner, higher block. Out of the two, I’d say Simone is much more likely to master a good Cheng. The difference in their shoulder angles is pretty remarkable, IMO." - The Pushy Queen of Slut Town (PQST) on tumblr for quotes and screen caps


Looking Back: Team Spain at Worlds 2013

6:02 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Cintia Rodriguez
Photo by Cordelia Price (@CordeliaGymFan)

Spain ended up sending 3 athletes to the 2013 World Championships after teammate Maria Paula Vargas was injured. The 3 remaining athletes were Roxana Popa, Silvia Colussi-Pelaez, and Cintia Rodriguez. It's been some time since Spain has been in the spotlight as a team but they're current set of athletes show that they are a force to be reckoned with and will be able to make waves this quadrennium.

Roxana Popa is Romanian born but has grown up in Spain for the majority of her life. She's a strong gymnast who excels on floor exercise, where she qualified to the event final at the 2013 European Championships. Popa also has a strong double twisting Yurchenko and I would not be surprised if we start to hear rumors of an Amanar later in 2014. The first year senior is also very strong on uneven bars with a unique Shaposhnikova to immediate in bar Gienger - she has difficult skills and will be able to get maximum D-score when she irons out a few more connections. She finished the all around finals in 12th place.
VT 5.8/14.8; UB (below) 6.1/13.533; FX 5.9/14.1

Silvia Colussi-Pelaez has quite the international story. She's a dual Canadian-Spanish citizen and has started her freshman year at the University of Florida in the USA and will compete for their gymnastics team this coming season. There has been talk of Colussi-Pelaez for quite some time since she competes the sideways side aerial on beam. Danusia Francis has competed this in NCAA while Colussi-Pelaez has competed it for a few years. She finally had the chance to get it named at Worlds and successfully competed it. Unfortunately, she fell later on beam - a point that would cost her a place in the all around final. She finished qualifications in 31st place.
BB 5.9/12.9

Cintia Rodriguez was featured in an earlier post recapping Worlds. Rick from Gymnastics Coaching mentioned her often in his live tweets because of her beautiful toe point. After Worlds, she is now taking some time to rehab an ongoing foot injury. If you're someone who enjoys good dance training, I think you'll enjoy everything about her floor exercise.
UB 5.4/12.566; FX (below) 4.9/13.1

I remember reading that this was the first time Spain had 2 men in the all around final as well (via Gym Fever?).

Fabian Gonzalez finished the AA in 11th place. FX 6.2/14.8 ; PH (below) 5.9/14.5

Nestor Abad finished the AA in 20th place. Abad attended the 2010 Youth Olympics for Spain. PH 4.9/12.825 ; PB (below) 5.6/13.4


Montage Monday: The Underdogs

8:11 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

I'm excited for this week's Montage Monday! It doesn't feature any of the US gymnasts nor does it feature gymnast of the moment Aliya Mustafina. Shocked? I was at first too but these gymnasts deserve the spotlight too.

Giulia Steingruber || How Am I Supposed to Die?

Victoria Moors || Shattered
Moors saw this and shared it. The video shows her journey from her senior debut to the naming of the laid out double double.


Montage Monday: Fate is Coming

8:55 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Hugs on hugs

2013 World Championships Antwerp - Do Or Die
by dominiquemoceanufan
This is a lovely recap of Worlds and a feel good montage. My favorite part is the segment at 3:10 to the end with lots of smiles and hugs. Nothing like watching a coach and gymnast breathe that sigh of relief together. The music is by 30 Seconds to Mars - the same group that featured Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney in a music video for a different song.
"Fate is coming, that I know... I will never forget the moment."

Elite Gymnastics- Why do we fall?
by @annaburnsy/Anna Burns
This is a spoken word montage with quotes from a bunch of different places. My favorite quote is included as a clip from the movie Coach Carter: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." If you're someone who likes motivational quotes, you'll like this montage.

There are a few more montages - 3 Aliya Mustafina and 1 Kyla Ross. You can find them in the playlist, October Montage Monday. These are not in any particular order though these 2 are my favorite for this week.

I won't be posting for the next 1.5 weeks so no Montage Monday next week! I'll add any additional videos to that playlist. Feel free to tumblr, email, or tweet me any recommendations!


Montage Monday: Maroney & Mustafina

9:28 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

We're a little bit further from Worlds and now the montages are coming out. Hope you enjoy this week's Montage Monday!

WAG ANTWERP 2013- Combat
Anna Burns/@AnnaBurnsy
Stunning montage with high quality footage of all the women's event finals. It's a nice montage to appreciate the beauty that is gymnastics and the routines we got to enjoy at Antwerp 2013.

Aliya Mustafina || Radium
SG made 2 lovely montages since Worlds. This Aliya montage is a commentary montage and is beautiful. Everything was combined so perfectly; it's like poetry.


World Championships 2013: Sit Back and Relax Edition

2:22 AM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

saratre3 edit on tumblr

Here are some of my favorite videos from the World Championships 2013 help in Antwerp, Belgium this past week.

Cintia Rodriguez - she came highly recommended by Rick at If you're one who gets angry at every floor finalist who isn't trained in ballet, this is for you. If you want to be amazed by good toe point and body position and carriage, this is for you. I love routines that make me forget about the tumbling and this is one of them.

Karla Amaranta Torres - after injury kept Alexa Moreno out of Worlds and coaching drama kept ladies like Elsa Garcia out, Karla Torres came to save the day. Blythe said that she is what we've come to expect from Mexico - it may not be the most difficult but it is beautiful and enjoyable to watch. Here she is on beam. Her construction isn't difficult but you can start to appreciate her lines.


I'm Sad

9:40 PM Arabian Punch Front 5 Comments

And I wish I had something eloquent to say that would encourage conversation or make anyone who's sad feel a little less sad. Unfortunately, I don't have those words.

A lot of crap has gone down on the gymternet because of Carlotta Ferlito's comments and the Italian Gymnastics federation as well. A recap can be found here. Ferlito made some inappropriate comments and later apologized. IGF tried to make a statement too but basically failed miserably and made matters worse.

I'm sorry but what did you mean by saying that some people "may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager or a general manager." Is this a baseball position or are we talking about jobs? No way are we still having this conversation in TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN!

So, I'm sad. As a gym fan, I'm sad. As a swimmer, I'm sad. As a black female, I'm sad. As a human being, I'm sad.

I wish I had some great retort for this, but I don't. What I do have is a video for you all to watch if you haven't seen it already. I've debated posting this on here or tumblr and figured it's "just" a gymnastics blog but then the Trayvon Martin verdict came out, the 50 year anniversary of the I Have a Dream Speech passed, and now this.

I hope this helps if anyone else is feeling a little down.

Watch here or below (seriously, watch the whole thing):

Thoughts? Hugs through the internet?


Montage Monday: Worlds and... Aly Raisman

10:00 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

A quick Montage Monday. I'm sure more montages will come with time and I can't wait to watch them.

Aliya Mustafina - The Queen
Lovely montage of Aliya Mustafina with a techno beat. What surprised me the most with this montage is the realization of just how much Aliya Mustafina upgraded since the Olympics despite injury, illness, and Valentina Rodionenko.

The American Dream - 2013 Artistic Worlds
The FIG has put together a number of amazing montages to get us excited for event finals but also as recaps of the events that took place. This montage covers the top 8 in the Women's All Around Final with clips of everyone's performance. The shot of Simone's family at the end gave me chills. There are tons of videos on the FIGchannel so make sure to go check it out - both montages and footage from World Championships.

Aly Raisman//Fire and Rain
BravoExpressions made this montage of Aly Raisman. The timing is off but it's a nice montage of Aly through the years. Considering it was Worlds where Aly continued to earn her title as the Rock Raisman (mainly in team competition), maybe the timing is appropriate. Fun fact: If you listen to the event final footage, it is likely Aly Raisman that you hear cheering on the American men and women all the way across the arena.

Which was your favorite montage?


The Scary State of Vaulting

1:07 PM Arabian Punch Front 5 Comments

I just don't know what to think anymore.

As most of you know, I love some good vaulting. I was most excited for the vault finals this year. Quite a few things didn't pan out - Alexa Moreno missed Worlds due to injury, Ellie Black just missed qualifications landing in 9th, and Noel van Klaveren had landing errors that caused her a spot in the finals despite upgrades. The pleasant surprise was Chantysha Netteb qualifying to VT finals after upgrading to a double twisting Yurchenko, something she attempted unsuccessfully at the European Championships.

The finals itself had some expected components. Yamilet Pena fell on her Produnova. Phan Thi Ha Thanh's Rudi was questionable. McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles hit both of their vaults.

There were lots of downsides too. After qualifying with her DTY, Netteb attempted the same vault but quickly fell to the grown grabbing her knee. The slow motion replay looked horribly reminiscent of Aliya Mustafina's ACL tear at Euros 2013. Yamilet Pena attempted her Produnova and did a "better" job by not rolling out of it but still landed on her backside, albeit feet first so she was awarded more than a 0. What disturbed me the most was seeing the 6.3 next to Phan Thi Ha Thanh as she ran to do what is usually a DTY. The problem was that it was a DTY with an attempt to continue twisting when she had already landed. She fell to the ground without any visible injury.

We were lucky that Hong Un Jong did not attempt the triple twisting Yurchenko. Her Amanar can be all over the place but I will say that when it's clean, it's actually pretty nice. Her Cheng is another story. She was deducted enough that this placed her behind Biles who had an easier 2nd vault. Appropriate, I'd say.

What about Giulia Steingruber who probably executed 2 of the nicest vaults of the entire final?

Steingruber's E scores were 9.3 and 9.166. Hong's were 9.266 and 9.0. Steingruber was up first which is always a tough position to be in since scores typically escalate throughout the competition. Her Rudi was beautiful. The deductions I see are the pike coming off the horse and lack of distance. On the DTY, again there was a pike for the landing and perhaps a low chest deduction too. Hong's Amanar, from what I could see, had the landing deductions. Her second vault, however, was a hot mess in the air. Pike throughout the vault (with some tucking at the knees too), crossed legs, low chest on landing, and step back.

I think it's near impossible for the judges not to reward difficulty of the vault in the execution score. I feel like things are missed or benefit of the doubt is given when it shouldn't be. I do think Steingruber was unlucky by going first, however, I can't explain the above 9 execution on Hong's Cheng.

Scarier than this was Phan Thi Ha Thanh attempting the Amanar. What in the world?! Phan and Steingruber have the same vaults. (Honestly, I think Phan typically does a piked Rudi but just puts up a laid out Rudi and gets credit for it but that's a story for another time.) Her only way of surpassing Giulia who has cleaner execution on the Rudi but typically comparable on the DTY is to do the Amanar. Phan has not been one of those girls that you wonder when she will upgrade because of the height she gets or room she has for landing. Instead, the Amanar she did was a DTY where she continued turning and hoped she didn't fall. It was a dangerous hot mess.

With the triple twisting Yurchenko on it's way, I worry for the state of vaulting. We have gymnasts landing Produnovas to their heads (or to forward roll would be the nice way of saying it). We have gymnasts competing underrotated Amanars (think Shawn Johnson to Maria Paseka). We have gymnasts getting credit for laid out Podkopayeva's (Yurchenko 1/2 on pike half off) when they are indeed piked. And now, joining the group of not-yet-ready-to-land Produnovas, we have gymnasts creating a new group of not-yet-ready-to-land Amanars. The same way Pena seems safer than Mahmoud, we're entering a world where Paseka seems safer than Phan. Yay?

I'm not a fan of banning things. My proposal is that these difficult vaults, like triple twisting Yurchenkos and Produnovas need to be submitted before competition to the FIG showing readiness. What would that mean? Take a video of you doing this vault successfully on competition mats to the FIG and then you can perform it at an actual meet. These vaults are so dangerous that we shouldn't hope that the podium helps you finally land it. We shouldn't count butt-slamming rebounds as a proper landing (Pena at Zibo). I don't know what the best solution is but something needs to be done.

We can start by taking proper execution scores and properly downgrading vaults. The latter has already been done at this World Championships - both Tatiana Nabieva and Maegan Chant had vaults downgraded due to body position and under-rotation, respectively.

I guess Pena has already "passed" but neither Hong nor Maroney nor Biles should be allowed to compete the TTY without showing that they can walk afterwards too.

The entire vault final can be watched here (TVR). Results can be found here.

What do you think of Steingruber vs. Hong? What do you think of the state of vaulting?


World Championships 2013 Antwerp Coverage

5:03 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

USA Gymnastics
click to enlarge

The 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium begin on Monday, September 30th and go through Sunday, October 6th. Coverage is available for the event finals - both all around and event finals.

BBC via Rewriting Russian Gymnastics
Universal Sports & USA Gym Worlds
RaiSport (Italy specific schedule breakdown here)

For prelims, viewers in the US only will have access to the rotations as they pertain to the US athletes.

The Start List for the Men can be found here
The Start List for the Women can be found here

All of these videos can be accessed via and will be archived afterwards.

Monday September 30, 2013 - Qualifications MAG
Subdivision 1: 4-6:30 a.m. ET
Sam Mikulak starting on PB

Subdivision 3: 12-2:30 p.m. ET
John Orozco starting on PB - rotating with Kohei Uchimura and Jossimar Calvo Moreno
Rot 1: Orozco PB
Rot 2: empty HB
Rot 3: Jake Dalton FX
Rot 4: Alex Naddour PH
Rot 5: Brandon Wynn SR
Rot 6: Jake Dalton VT

Tuesday October 1, 2013 - Qualifications MAG 4, WAG 1
Subdivision 4: 4-6:30 a.m. ET
Steve Legendre starting on FX - rotating with Ryohei Kato JPN
Rot 1: Legendre FX
Rot 2: Orozco PH
Rot 3: Naddour SR
Rot 4: Legendre VT
Rot 5: Wynn PB
Rot 6: Orozco HB

Subdivision 1: 8-10 a.m. ET - Watch Live Here
Kyla Ross starting on VT

Wednesday October 2, 2013 - Qualifications WAG
Subdivision 3: 7:30-9:30 a.m. ET
Simone Biles starting on UB - rotating with Tatiana Nabieva

Subdivision 4: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET
McKayla Maroney starting on FX - rotating with Ruby Harrold, same subdivision as Aliya Mustafina

Thursday, Oct 3 Men's All Around Final 2pm-4:30pm ET
Friday, Oct 4 Women's All Around Final 2pm-3:45pm ET

Saturday, Oct 5 Event Finals 8:30am-11am ET (MAG FX, PH, SR alternating with WAG VT, UB)

Sunday, Oct 6 Event Finals 8:30am-11:05am ET (MAG VT, PB, HB alternating with WAG BB, FX)

The schedule for AA final and event finals can be accessed via the 3 links above for USAG, BBC, or RaiSport. If another feed becomes available for qualifications, I'll update here or on twitter @ArabianPF_blog.


Dominic Zito: Something Different Part 2

11:48 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Bridgett Anderson/Gymnastike

Part 2 of the Dominic Zito interview continues here.

Tell us more about working with Kyla Ross.
Well, for the entire routine, we definitely tried to show the difference between the supple arms to the stronger arms. The theme behind it was beauty and strength and so I tried to display both of that in the routine. It's not easy with an athlete that doesn't have a large dance background. Throughout the routine, you'll notice the chassés into her leaps with the supple arms and turning her head to the side and all that detail, we worked on, not during the initial choreography process but it was the 3 or 4 visits that I did with her after the completion of the choreography.

With all my choreography, I try to use all three of the levels - high, medium, and low. I think it's important to the performance and... well, her ending is different because we ran out of time. I always end up putting in more choreography but her ending is actually down on one knee and she lays back which is really pretty but we don't have time to get her down to the knee! In the middle of the routine, after her leaps, she does a high jump and then she slides down to the floor so she shows the level change from the high to low and then the chin spin.

With all my choreography, I try to use those levels as much as possible without fatiguing the athlete. You know, their legs going up and down can burn sometimes between those passes.

Do you find that Kyla has a better understanding now of artistry?
The artistry has been there since the first routine was completed. I have the videos of it and it looks pretty much the same. We're using her head a little bit more now and a little bit more with her arms but the same... Every place I have her head, was the initial choreography, and the arm placement. Now, she's getting more comfortable with it and we're making it bigger and bigger each time I work with her. So, people are noticing that she's turning into a performer because she's getting more comfortable with the routine and performing it in front of crowds. She's performed it 3 times so far - at the US Classic and the USA Championships. Each time we see it, I think it's going to get better and better and I'm excited to see her on the international stage with the routine.


Dominic Zito: Something Different Part 1

11:45 PM Arabian Punch Front 4 Comments

Maggie Nichols
Credit: USA Gymnastics on Facebook

Dominic Zito has gained a lot of fame as a choreographer on the elite scene after choreographing Jordyn Wieber's floor routine to Wild Dances. This was the routine that she used when she became the 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic Team Champion. Now, Zito is working with Kyla Ross, another member of the Fierce Five, who hopes to follow Wieber's footsteps and win the 2013 World Championships All Around crown. He has given her beautiful beam choreography along with an elegant floor routine. However, Zito hasn't just worked with Kyla Ross this past year. He had a total of 12 routines on display at Nationals, helped choreograph Jordyn Wieber's new routine (that we will hopefully get to see in the future), and Katelyn Ohashi's routine that she performed at the American Cup. I had the chance to chat with Dominic about his thoughts on choreography, artistry, and what it was like working with many of the elite gymnasts in the USA.

Arabian Punch Front: Tell us about yourself.
Dominic Zito: I started gymnastics at the age of 7. My baby sitter taught me back handsprings in the living room in 1 day so my mom came home and signed me up for gymnastics. I did that through 1999, Class 1 - now it's Level 10. I competed all over the US, did different regional meets, National Championships, AAU, UAA, all the different leagues. At the time, in the 90s, there were all these different leagues. I started dance at 5 or 6. I started with jazz, took tap, ballet, modern. I did that through 1997 when I was getting more serious with gymnastics. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do college gymnastics or not. At that point, I took a break taking classes with dance and I did some musicals in high school and different things like that to continue working on that craft.

In 1995, I started doing choreography for a local club and high school that the girls couldn't afford to work with the choreographer that was coming in. I said to the head coach that I can make up routines and they kind of laughed at me! I knew about gymnastics and the women's side. I don't think the other coaches knew that at the time so they said, "Show us a routine." So I just went in, they shut the doors and I showed them a floor routine and they couldn't believe that I could do what I was doing. So they gave me the opportunity to work with several of the girls whose families couldn't afford to work with the choreographer and the routines turned out really great.

The following year another gym contacted me. I think at that point, I was charging $50 or $75 a routine which is really nothing. Choreographers now charge a lot more than that. From there, I went to school. Dance started as my major. It was just too easy - what they wanted us to do and what we were doing. I just felt like I knew more about what I wanted and what I was doing and these people were just doing it for the fun. So I decided to minor in dance instead and got my major in Marketing. I danced in college for the Cleveland Opera. I studied everything. I graduated with a Modern base and I studied a lot of Martha Graham style and Twyla Tharp.

I've done every style of dance you can think of. I've taken classes. I love everything. I really enjoy tap. I didn't have a lot of opportunities to work on tap since I was doing so much gymnastics and once the choreography got started, that was my 2nd job while I was in high school and I worked at a pizza shop.

That's how I got into gymnastics. That's how I got into dance and now I'm working with Olympic gold medalists which is crazy!

Arabian Punch Front: How would you describe your style?
A lot of people ask me that question and I honestly don't feel like I have a specific style. I feel that I bring out an entertaining value in each athlete I work with and people will always say, "I saw your routine on TV" or "I saw your routine at Nationals last week." There's a musicality with it - the movements matching the music, I talk about a lot - and eye contact; I think people can pick out my work. And I use a lot of 'on the ground.' I like to do something different and interesting on the ground. That's where the modern base [comes out]. I use down on the ground, around on the floor, rolling into a pose. I try to do something interesting.

So, my style varies. You can look at Emily Gaskin's routine and then look at Lexie Preissman's. To me, they're completely different. I feel like the athletes I work with, I feel like all their routines I try to pull out their own character and utilize the music in a way their comfortable. I mean Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber - not everyone's comfortable moving the same as me or with one another. The artistry and the movement, I feel like I do so much differently with each girl and I don't feel like I have a specific style. People pick out my work because of things like the eye contact, the sharpness, and then it goes to supple, the level changes. I think I'm all over the board depending on what the athlete requires.

Arabian Punch Front: What does artistry mean to you and how do you relate that to the gymnast?
Well, I work with every level - level 6 to elite. I do choreography with the little babies that are 7 or 8 years old and just starting so artistry is different for me with each level. Overall, artistry is a component of the musicality - matching the music, the overall performance - engaging the movements and displaying that to the audience, the movement quality - making smooth transitions, going from high to low such as a jump to the floor. All of these are components of artistry. And then above it all is the technical aspects. Their stepping, their turnouts, their turns. All the technique needs to be within the routine as well as the entertainment of the movement and the performance. All the movements from the eyes to the fingertips. All of this has to be artistry and be brought together. So artistry is one word but there are so many components of it that people don't even understand.

How do I get the girls to be artistic? Obviously the technique is there. Their turns are usually perfect at the elite level or hopefully they are. The musicality - I help them match the music. Every pose they do, every step, I try to have it right on. Even if there's a subtle beat in the background, I do something big on that and it brings out that beat in the music. So it goes hand in hand - the movement and the music. The musicality is something that makes a routine unique and interesting. Like Jordyn Wieber, how she hit all those different beats. I don't know if another choreographer would have choreographed it the same, using those same beats. But I think that made her routine very artistic. The movement quality, the transitions going from smooth and supple to sharp. You'll see that a lot in Kyla's routine. That's artistry. Feeling the music, making it her own with the sharpness, the strong movements but still exhibiting the control within the routine to get in those good tumbling passes.

Creativity, obviously, is huge. You can't have the same pose over and over which we've seen from other choreographers, not just in the USA but internationally. It's important to not just use your arms and your legs... but your head! A lot of gymnasts don't turn their heads! They don't turn look out into the audience and make that eye contact. I really try to do that with a lot of the elite girls and bring in the crowd. Everybody wants to see that and it makes the routine, overall, artistic. So all these components create one word - artistry.


G Force Gymnastics - Caribbean Fest Invitational

11:32 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

The Caribbean Fest is January 25 & 26, 2014 and is a men's & women's USAG invitational that will be held at G Force Gymnastics in Ashburn, Virginia. The meet directors are 2x Silver Medalist Annia Hatch and nationally recognized men's coach Macey Watson. Competitors are Women's levels 3-10 & Xcel, and Men's 4-10.  The meet will serve as a qualifying event and all competitors from Virginia can earn qualifying scores which will allow them to compete at Sectional or State Meets.

One highlight of this meet is the importance it is placing on service and how that ties in with the long term goals. They have partnered with Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, as a way to give back to the community. In 2015 the Caribbean Fest will foster relationships and provide opportunities for athletes from the Island countries of the Caribbean where opportunities in gymnastics are not readily available.

Along with helping the international gymnastics community, the meet directors will aim to help the competitors at this meet. Annia Hatch will deliver a seminar on how to overcome obstacles and remain committed to one's dreams. Macey Watson will help the gymnasts that are starting to think about college by informing them of the steps that need to be taken to obtain a gymnastics scholarship.


Montage Monday: We Got the Fire

9:00 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

We Got the Fire
by AshleyakaFlipper/@ashley_flipper
This one is probably my favorite for the past 2 weeks - it does help that I love Ellie Goulding. Ashley made this montage using the television footage of US Nationals and highlighted the many skills by adjusting the speed. There were contrasts of regular speed with portions of the same clip that were slowed down or sped up. It reminded me of the Doha footage which is some of my favorite footage for that exact reason. There were also some epic faces that were highlighted - one being Mykayla Skinner after she successfully landed her Cheng.

Aliya and Nabs || Let me be your Ruler
by SuperGymmie/@SuperGymmie
This montage was actually a request since I love the song Royal by Lourdes and it's nonchalant but confident tone fits these 2 gymnasts perfectly. SG whipped this together and may make another version with Worlds footage. After Universiade, I was very excited for Tatiana Nabieva and Anna Dementyeva. Now that Nabieva has made the Worlds team and will attend the Championships with her best friend, Aliya Mustafina, for the first time since 2010 we all have a little more to look forward to. The bond between these two (and the faces they'll probably make) are sure to keep us entertained!


A Look at Worlds Nominative Registration - Sep 20

1:00 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Silvia Colussi Pelaez
Paul Gilham/Getty Images Europe

The Nominative list always causes speculation but with the recent slew of illnesses and injuries, the list has changed and will likely continue to change until the final deadline. Here's a look, country-by-country, of the some of the recent updates. I find that I miss a few things each time I look at it so hopefully this helps us all to notice some interesting things!

Nominative List can be found here as of 9/20

Canada is sending Ellie Black, Maegan Chant, Kaitlyn Hofland, and Victoria Moors. Black is doing all around and Chant is doing vault and floor exercise, as expected. Interestingly, Kaitlyn Hofland is doing VT, UB, BB while Moors is doing UB, BB, FX. Again, these are subject to change but it will be interesting to see what Moors does about that pesky double double.

China's team has not changed - Yao Jinnan and Shang Chunsong will both be doing all around. Huang Huidan will be doing UB and Zeng Siqi will compete on the beam.

Spain's (ESP) Maria Paula Vargas had to withdraw due to injury. Of note, Silvia Colussi-Pelaez has competed the sideways side so if she successfully competes it, she can have it named. However, she's started the school year at the University of Florida so I'm still confused...

This video shows the sideways side aerial but you can watch a video of her from PT for the Test Event here


As We Wait for Worlds - Vault Part 2

8:24 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Giulia Steingruber (SUI), Unknown Source

We're a little under 2 weeks until the official start of the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. Most of the teams have been officially announced although it's subject to change as the injury list is getting longer and longer. Vault finals was shaping to be a very exciting final but we've lost a number of gymnasts to injury. Things are still exciting as athletes like Noel van Klaveren shows an upgrade and Giulia Steingruber shows an entirely different family of vault. There's still reason to be excited for the vault event final.

Noel van Klaveren - DTY and Tsuk 1.5

These are the athletes that should be present at Worlds as of September 18th.

Athlete SV 1 Name VT1 SV 2 Name VT2 Average
1. Hong Un Jong 6.3 Amanar 6.4 Cheng 6.35
2. McKayla Maroney 6.3 Amanar 6.0 Y1/2 on, 1/1 off 6.15
3. Fadwa Mahmoud 7.0 Produnova 5.2 ? Tsuk 1/1 6.1
3. Ellie Black 6.2 Rudi 6.0 Tsuk 2/1 6.1
5. Phan Thi Ha Thanh 5.8 DTY 6.2 Rudi 6.0
6. Simone Biles 6.3 Amanar 5.6 Lopez 5.95
6. Maria Paseka 6.3 Amanar 5.6 Lopez 5.95
8. Giulia Steingruber* 6.2 Rudi 5.2 Tsuk 1/1 5.7
9. Noel van Klaveren 5.8 DTY 5.5 Tsuk 1.5 5.65
9. Oksana Chusovitna* 5.8 FHS 1/1 5.5 Tsuk 1.5 5.65
11. Giulia Steingruber* 6.2 Rudi 5.0 FTY 5.6
12. Larisa Iordache 5.8 DTY 5.2 Tsuk 1/1 5.5
13. Yamilet Pena* 5.8 DTY 5.0 FHS front 5.4
14. Maegan Chant 5.2 Tsuk 1/1 5.4 FHS 1/2 5.3
Athlete SV 1 Name VT1 SV 2 Name VT2 Total SV
Yamilet Pena* 7.0 Produnova 5.8 DTY 6.6
Giulia Steingruber* 6.2 Rudi 6.0 Tsuk 2/1 6.1
Giulia Steingruber* 6.2 Rudi 5.8 DTY 6.0
Sandra Izbasa* 6.0 "Mustafina" 5.8 DTY 6.0
Oksana Chusovitna* 6.2 Rudi 5.5 Tsuk 1.5 5.85

We've lost a few vaulters along the way. Ksenia Afansyeva (5.95D) recently had surgery on her ankle and Jade Barbosa is recovering from an injury (5.7D). Janine Berger was not selected to go to Worlds since she has not been able to get back her Olympic level vaults (6.1D) due to a knee injury. Alexa Moreno was not selected to be on the team although the reason is not entirely known - perhaps political, perhaps injury. North Korea is only sending one gymnast and Ri Un Ha (6.1D) was not chosen.

I started to include athletes with D-scores below 5.3 but then I'd have to include everyone. There are rumors of Maegan Chant upgrading which is entirely possible since her current vaults are clean and seem too easy for her. Athletes like Ofir Nezir (ISR), Chantysha Netteb (NED), and Makarena Pinto and Martina Castro (CHI) are just a few of the athletes around the 5.2 range and could all sneak into the finals.

Has anyone else noticed that Phan Thi Ha Thanh tends to do an easier vault in qualifications than in finals? At Worlds 2011, she qualified with 5.9 (FHS pike 1.5) and 5.3 in vault difficulty, the second of which was upgraded to a 5.8. At the 2012 Olympics in London, she went qualified with a 5.3 and 6.3 in difficulty - the first we saw of her Rudi. Recently, at Osijek, she qualified with a 5.8 and 5.0 D-score. This second vault looks like it was a balked attempt since she had 1.1 in neutral deductions and probably decided to do a front handspring layout front. Her DTY was devalued by the judges to a 1.5TY in finals and she competed her Rudi.

Why is Steingruber on this list 4 times?! Steingruber competed the Rudi and Tsuk 2/1 vaults at the Olympics but fell on the Tsukahara and has not competed the double twist since. She competed a clean Tsuk 1/1 at European Championships where she earned gold and talked about upgrading again in an interview with GymNewstics. At Swiss Nationals, she showed a new FTY and is rumoured to be working a DTY for Worlds. Her Rudi is set but it remains to be seen what her second vault will be. Steingruber FTY here

Steingruber Rudi here or below
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* Explained:
- Pena has not competed the Produnova vault since the Olympics.
- Izbasa has not competed 2 vaults since the Olympics. According to Alex Mladinescu, it's unlikely that we'll see her perform 2 vaults here.
- Chusovitna has competed a front handspring full twist with a 5.8 D-score as her 1st vault but has not competed her Rudi this year.

The list was compiled with help of Uncle Tim's UTRS (9/9) as well as my Explaining VT EF from the Olympics.

Who are you thinking will make the VT podium?