All in a day's work
Glasgow World Cup 2012This weekend saw the last major international competition of an incredible year in gymnastics. The Glasgow World Cup saw eight female gymnasts compete across all four apparatus in attempt to take home the Gold. Kaitlyn Hofland (CAN), Rebecca Tunney (GBR), Niamh Rippin (GBR), Elisabeth Seitz (GER), Vanessa Ferrari (ITA), Wakana Inoue (JPN), Kim Bui (GER) and Elizabeth Price (USA) all hoped that they would be able to do enough to end the year on the top of the podium.
Kaitlyn is a young Canadian gymnast in her first senior year. I had not seen her compete before so I did not know what we could expect from her, other than that she is reported to be one of Canada's big hopes for the future. From what I saw in Glasgow, Kaitlyn seemed to go from strength to strength as she progressed through the competition. A very elegant gymnast, she did not necessarily have the power of some of the other gymnasts competing. Her vault was a full twisting Yurchenko, relatively simple in this level of competition, but beautifully performed. She had an unfortunate fall at the beginning of her bars routine, hitting her leg on the low bar as she was swinging. Again her difficulty was relatively low. but the elements were performed with style and elegance. Beam and floor is where Kaitlyn really seemed to shine and her routines suited her elegance. She did not have the power for the more difficult acrobatic skills but was lovely to watch on both apparatus. Kaitlyn finished 8th with a total score of 52.099
Rebecca has had an amazing year in 2012, her first senior year, becoming All Around British Champion and the youngest member of Team GB at the Olympic Games. She has been a pleasure to watch this year and she was no doubt hoping to end such a fantastic year on a high, back in front of a home crowd. Rebecca made a fantastic start on vault with one of the cleanest DTYs I have seen her perform. She continued on to give a superb bars routine with a perfectly nailed dismount. Having been in second place after both of the first two rotations, things were going well for Rebecca. Beam was next and, unfortunately, this did not go to plan. She made a great start but came to grief on her acrobatic series. The rest of the routine was good, apart from a couple of small wobbles, and her double pike dismount was fantastic. She managed to pick herself up brilliantly and performed as well as ever on floor. Her tumbles were clean and I am still amazed by just how much power she has for a tiny gymnast. At the end of the day Rebecca finished in 5th with a score of 54.431 (a mere 0.001 behind the 4th place gymnast).
Niamh has recently started to get back into competition after struggling with injury. She had a difficult time last weekend at the Stuttgart World Cup and would have been hoping to make amends. She started with a great Yurchenko 1.5 then went on to give a solid bars routine, just landing rather too low on her double front dismount. A solid and well executed beam routine followed, then a great floor routine to finish off her competition. She is a very powerful tumbler and I really love this floor routine. It really was a good competition for Niamh and a great way for her to finish the year. She placed 6th with a score of 53.099.
Elisabeth has had a really good year of competition, finishing 12th All Around in London as well as making the Uneven Bars Final, and just last weekend took Silver at the Stuttgart World Cup. She started fairly well on vault with a DTY, though it somewhat lacked rotation. Bars in Elisabeth's speciality and she showed us yet another great performance on this apparatus. Beam was steady with just a couple of wobbles, but floor caused her a few problems. She landed completely out of bounds on her first tumble and fell out of her triple spin. She did well to recover and perform the rest of the routine cleanly, but I have to admit to not being a fan of this routine at all. She did manage to repeat her result from the Stuttgart World Cup, finishing in 2nd with a score of 54.799.
Confession time - I struggled to take in much of what Vanessa was doing because of her strange leotard! I am not sure who designed the one-armed, no-shouldered leotard she has taken a recent liking to but I am not a fan! Odd clothing choices aside, Vanessa has had a very successful 2012. She placed 8th All Around in London and only missed out on a medal in the Floor Final due to the tie-breaking rule. She also competed in the Stuttgart World Cup last weekend finishing 4th and I am sure she would have been hoping to improve on that in Glasgow. On vault she performed a Yurchenko 1.5, but with quite a large hop forwards. Bars was relatively clean with a very nice double front dismount. She struggled from the start on beam though, with some big wobbles and then a fall on her acrobatic series. After remounting the beam she seemed much calmer and gave a great finish to the routine. Vanessa's floor routine was, of course, fantastic though slightly easier than we have seen her perform. She finished the day in 4th place, scoring 54.432.
Wakana is another gymnast I had not seen in competition before this weekend and I was very pleasantly surprised. She started off with a problem on vault, sitting down her Yurchenko 1.5, but recovered to perform well in the rest of the competition. Her bars routine, while relatively simple, was beautifully performed and she had a lovely double straight dismount. She performed very elegantly on beam with some great work and a wonderful triple twist dismount. On floor she had an unfortunate stumble out of bounds on her first pass but recovered to give a great routine. She is a very stylish and elegant young gymnast and one that I hope we will see much more of in the future. She finished 7th with a score of 52.765.
Kim Bui is another gymnast who competed at the Stuttgart World Cup, finishing just outside the medals in 4th. On vault, Kim was the only one of the eight gymnasts who did not perform a Yurchenko vault, choosing instead a handspring front with half turn. It was a steady start, though she piked somewhat in flight and needed a hop on landing. Her bars routine was good with just a few execution faults and her beam routine was steady throughout, but unfortunately she needed a few steps backwards on her dismount. On floor she gave a lively performance with some good tumbling. She looked happy throughout and you could tell she was pleased with her performance. She managed to go one better than last weekend, taking the Bronze medal with a score of 54.732.
Elizabeth is a first year senior who has achieved a great deal in 2012. As part of a very strong National Team in the USA, Elizabeth finished 5th All Around at the Visa National Championships and 4th All Around at the Olympic Trials. She was then named as an alternate for the London 2012 Olympics. She performed last weekend at the Stuttgart World Cup where she confidently took the Gold, and was the favourite to do so again in Glasgow. Starting on vault gave Elizabeth an incredible lead, being the only gymnast of the eight to compete the Amanar vault. It was also an incredibly well performed Amanar and started her off with a lead of over 1.500. I absolutely love Elizabeth's bars routine. It is very complex and was performed exceptionally well, including a very well performed full twisting double straight dismount. She performed a solid and confident beam routine with very few errors. Floor was the only routine where she made any major errors, twice stepping out of the floor area, but even that was not enough to detract from what was an amazing floor routine. Her double twisting double back at the start was one of the highest and cleanest I have ever seen performed, and she made it look so easy! The rest of the tumbling was also spectacular and I really do love her floor routine. Elizabeth posted the highest scores of the day on all four of the apparatus, so it was no surprise that she took the Gold medal. She really is a very talented gymnast and one that I am sure we will see much more of. Her final score was 59.165 - more than 4.000 higher than anyone else.
It really was a fantastic day of gymnastics and a great way to end a spectacular year. To watch videos of all the routines from the Glasgow World Cup (including Beth Tweddle's Bars demonstration to open the competition) click here.