Canadian Nationals 2014: A Preview

2:27 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Ellie Black (L) original by Grace Click Chiu, edit by lovegymnastics04
Victoria Moors (R), original by Christy Linder(?), edit by i-dont-understand-gymnastics

After placing 5th at the Olympics, a lot of attention has been earned by Canada's National Team. Known mostly for their style on floor, the Canadian women have made a name for themselves as gymnasts to watch on the World Championship and Olympic stage. As the difficulty increases, the competitiveness amongst the team grows across all events. It will be interesting to see who takes the top spot in the all-around as well as the event finals.

Where there is great sport, there is also great rivalry.

Not many talk about a Victoria Moors and Ellie Black rivalry but I imagine that one has to exist. With the other 3 members of the Olympic team competing in NCAA and recovering from injury, these 2 are the veterans of the Canadian team. At the 2013 World Championships, the first meet since the Olympics where both were healthy (in relative gymnastics terms), Black qualified in 10th with Moors in 15th. In the final, Moors finished in 10th with Black in 13th place. At Elite Canada early in 2014, Black placed 3rd while Moors won the meet. According to The All Around, Black has the highest AA score of the 2 with a 57.100 while Moors follows closely with a 56.898. These two are constantly battling for the highest honor.

Not only does the rivalry exist in the all around, it also exists amongst the individual events. Moors has an original toe-on front layout half dismount named after her on uneven bars. There is footage of Black training this dismount with an extra half twist. Both are excellent floor workers with extraordinary presentation while Black was the only one to make the floor event finals at the 2013 World Championships. These two are constantly neck and neck and I only think this rivalry helps the sport to grow and keeps a level of intensity amongst the Canadian women's team that will only help to produce more success.

Of note, it was a year ago at this meet that Victoria Moors debuted the double twisting double layout. There is video of her working a double front dismount off uneven bars and an arabian 1/4 on floor (presumably for beam). It will be interesting to see what upgrades she shows this year.

The next few athletes to watch are based on who has competed recently and who could possibly make up a World Championship team. The next most important is most likely Aleeza Yu. She is a first year senior who placed 2nd at 2014 Elite Canada between Moors and Black. If Canada wanted to be nit-picky, they could probably get away with sending a team of Moors, Black, and Yu. Yu is most known for her uneven bar and floor exercise. She has excellent flexibility which lends itself to a beautiful bars routine. Like the aforementioned Canadians, she also has lovely presentation on floor exercise. Her music is atypical and eerie but she uses it so well that you can't help but watch the whole way through.

The athlete that would most optimize medal chances is Maegan Chant. She made her senior international debut at the American Cup in 2013. She went on to make the 2013 Worlds team but had a fall on vault that cost her a place in the final. Chant did well at Elite Canada. It would be most important to watch how she performs on vault and floor exercise as these are her 2 strongest events. How she does on bars and beam would just help make her a more useful asset to a Worlds team.

If there's a weakness of the 4 athletes mentioned above, it would be on uneven bars. The two ladies that stand the strongest chance of earning a spot for their bar work would be Isabela Onyshko and Victoria-Kayen Woo. Onyshko is a lovely bar worker and has the added benefit of being a lovely floor worker. Woo is capable of having a lovely bar routine but has had some issues with consistency and doesn't quite have the ability to fill in on other events like Onyshko. Hitting uneven bars will be crucial for her. Onyshko is a very beautiful floor worker. She currently has the same floor music as Victoria Moors but interprets it differently and excellently in her own right.

Some mystery gymnasts include Gabriella Douglas and Kaitlyn Hofland. In my opinion, these 2 were fighting for the last spot on the 2014 Worlds team when Douglas got injured. Hofland is a strong uneven bar worker but has been missing from competition all year. Douglas is recovering from her shoulder injury and it's unclear in what capacity she'll be back ready to compete. There are many videos of her training on beam so if she can bring her beam to near what it was in 2013, she has a good chance of raising the eyebrows of the selection committee in her direction. Another mystery is Heaven Latimer who is a first year senior this year but who we have not seen compete for quite sometime. She has (had?) a bhs-bhs-layout full on beam. Other athletes to watch would be Natalie Vaculik on uneven bars and Stefanie Merkle on floor exercise.

The junior competition is also heating up. Shallon Olsen was the reigning junior champion thanks to her fabulous double twisting Yurchenko. Rose-Kaying Woo is quickly catching up increasing difficulty on all events. Canada often implements a junior D-score bonus so it's difficult to tell who is actually on top. However, at recent meets without junior bonus, like Pacific Rims and Junior Pan American Games, Woo has come out on top. These two become seniors in 2016 so they will be ones to watch until Rio. The other member of Canada's teams who have travelled are Sydney Townsend and Megan Roberts. Townsend has a high D-score on BB and FX. Roberts is strong on UB. Look for these 4 to place in all the event finals.

*Fun fact: There was video of Rose Woo training a front double pike dismount off uneven bars on facebook but I can't find it anymore.

Canadian Gymnastics Championships will run May 27-31 with multiple disciplines - artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline.

Tuesday, May 27
3:30pm ET WAG Sr Qualifications
7:00pm ET WAG Jr Qualifications

Thursday, May 29
6:30pm ET WAG Jr/Sr AA Final

Saturday, May 31
2:00pm ET WAG Jr/Sr EF
More info


Great Britain - Truly Great

12:45 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

The Great Britain junior team for the 2014 European Championships made history when they won the silver medal in the team competition. The team medals were complimented by individual medals on 2 of the events. Ellie Downie won gold on vault while Catherine Lyons and Amy Tinkler earned gold and silver on floor, respectively. This was a historic championship for both the junior and senior team and only raises excitement for the coming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and the 2014 World Championships in China.

Watch here


TBT: Gymnastics Royalty - Vera Caslavska

11:55 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Vera Caslavska
Credit: Zona Gimnasia

This is a new series that I wanted to use to help new gym fans learn about the sport. This month's feature is Gymnastics Royalty - these are the female athletes that helped make the sport what it is. Hope you enjoy. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Vera Caslavska is the only gymnast, male or female, to win an Olympic gold on every individual event - all around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise. She is the only gymnast to repeat as all around Olympic Champion in consecutive Olympics and also the only gymnast to win every European Championship, World Championship, and Olympic All Around title for every year in a quadrennium. She did this from 1964 - 1968. At the 1967 European Championships, she was the first to show the world a perfect 10 twice.

Vera Caslavska was born May 3, 1942 and represented Czechoslovakia. She was originally a figure skater but made the switch to gymnastics. Her international debut was at the 1958 World Championships. Her first Olympic medal was at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Afterwards, she lost her training facility due to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia so she improvised. During this time, she trained in the forest using potato sacks as weights and logs as beams. Caslavska was vocal about her opposition to Soviet involvement in her country and was in hiding because of this before the 1968 Olympics. She only got permission to travel to Mexico just before the competition. Caslavska, strong in her convictions, protested the Soviet invasion of her country by looking down and away when the Soviet anthem was played for the beam and floor medal ceremonies.

Caslavska was essentially forced into retirement after this as she was not allowed to travel for international competition. She eventually left Czechoslovakia for Mexico where she coached and started a family. It was not until the 1980s that she was able to return to her home country. Caslavska was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1998.

If you love Vera, you should be friends with wats-good-gabby.
Watch her induction into the IGHOF video here


Montage Monday Returns

10:35 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Sanne Wevers (NED)
Credit: Heather Maynez for GymExaminer

Can you believe it's been 4 months since a legitimate Montage Monday post?

I'm only going to feature two montages this week but may come back and do more. I also haven't decided if I should continue the playlists anyway just in case there are some I don't have the time to write about but still enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Gymnastics is Insane
by SuperGymmie
I really enjoyed this montage that reminds you why we love this crazy sport. There were also some golden moments that just reminded me of some of my favorites - like Victoria Moors stuck double double and how much I miss Peng Peng Lee and hope she returns! There were also some funny moments like how the music changed for the crazy combinations on balance beam of Aliya Mustafina and Sanne Wevers. In fact, I think 90% of their routine was included in the montage because they're just that insane (and I mean that in the best way possible!).

Gymnastics. Inspire a Generation.
by Gymnastics Montages
This is another one of those great, slow motion beauty of gymnastics montages and was so well done. There are also moments that highlight the individual event final winners and their reactions, which is among my favorite things!


Routines to Watch: Commonwealth Invitational 2014

2:53 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Ladies L to R: Emma White (SCO), Dipa Karmakar (IND), Marisa Dick (TTO) VT medalists 
with MAG PH Medalists at 2014 Commonwealth Invitational
Credit: PSBPhoto

Last weekend, the Commonwealth Invitational was held in Scotland. This served as a trials for some athletes for the Commonwealth Games and helped to give us a preview of some of the gymnasts we might hope to see at the coming Commonwealth Games.

On vault, the winner was India's Dipa Karmakar. She had a very clean front handspring front pike 1/2 and a full twisting Tsukahara with impressive height. Her scores were a 14.2 (5.0D) and 13.8 (5.2D) for a 14.0 average.
Watch here or below:

The asymmetric bar title was shared with one share of the prize going to Trinidad and Tobago's Marisa Dick. Dick trains in Canada but competed for TTO at last year's World Championships. She shows great promise as a bar worker. Emma White also tied for the uneven bar title (here) with a 13.200.
Watch here or below:

Floor proved to have some really exciting gymnastics. Emma White, who returned to Scottish gymnastics after injury and retirement at age 24, took the crown on floor exercise (as well as in the all around competition). She opens with a lovely double arabian and has strong choreography to Cell Block Tango.
Watch here or below:

Another pleasant surprise on floor exercise was Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi. She opened with a simple double tuck but the height she gets on it gives you hope for upgrades in the future. It's an enjoyable routine and it's nice to see how excited and supportive all the other competitors were!
Watch here or below:

Full results can be found on Scottish Gymdata or on Full Twist (AA, EF)