Little Miss SunshineAs a nation, China have historically been strong on the uneven bars and the beam. Not known for their strong tumbling or choreography, floor was always a somewhat weaker piece for this great nation. But in 1994 that all changed with the arrival on the gymnastics scene of little Mo Huilan.
In 1994 this tiny gymnast burst on to the scene, lighting up the gymnastics world and capturing our hearts. Always smiling, here was a gymnast who really enjoyed performing. And boy did she give us some wonderful performances!
At the 1994 World Championships Mo Huilan became the first female gymnast to compete the Gaylord somersault on the uneven bars. Her bars routine took people's breath away as she performed such an extraordinary routine with such exquisite form. Unfortunately she did poorly in qualifications not making the bars final but in the all around competition she scored 9.900 on this apparatus.
I was thoroughly impressed by such a display of skill. Bars were always a strong piece for China though and I'd been disappointed in the past by gymnasts who had impressed on one piece then given a poor performance on floor. But even as Mo Huilan stepped on to the floor area I could sense that this could be different. Her whole demeanour shouted not only confidence but enjoyment. Her lovely smile was very much in evidence as she took her position. As the music started I knew I was right, this was going to be no ordinary Chinese floor routine. With western music and lively choreography Mo Huilan sparkled. Her cheeky personality came shining through in what was a fantastic performance. Although her floor routine did not score as highly as her bars (her floor scored 9.725 in the AA and 9.462 in the final to finish 7th) this is the routine that I remember as being my favourite, not only of hers but of the whole championships.