Friday 3 August 2012

Friday Favourites

New Kid on the Block

It has been a phenomenal senior year debut for Great Britain's Rebecca Tunney. In her first year of senior competition, she has competed at the London 2012 Test Event and qualified to the bars final, competed at the European Championships, qualified to the European floor final, posted the highest all around score at all three of the British Olympic Trials, become All Around British Champion, become a member of the 2012 Olympic Team, helped that team to qualify to the finals and finish a historic 6th, qualified individually to the all around final and finished 13th at the all around final of the Olympic Games! Not bad for a 15 year old!

Coming into the Olympics, Team GB's youngest member had had an amazing run of success. She stormed onto the senior squad, starting the year well at the London 2012 Test Event in January. This was a great opportunity for the young gymnast to perform not only in front of a home crowd but also in the very arena the Olympics would be held in. Rebecca performed brilliantly in her first senior competition, not the slightest bit intimidated or daunted by the huge arena and the roars of the crowd. It was a great first step towards her Olympic dream.

By the time the Olympics arrived, Rebecca had proved over and over again that she was ready for her biggest challenge yet. The baby of the team was ready to go out and prove herself once more on the world's biggest stage. In qualifying, Britain started on beam where Rebecca was the last one up for the team. She gave a great, steady performance, seeming completely undaunted by the task ahead of her. She moved confidently on the apparatus through all her moves and finished with a great double pike dismount. Then it was on to floor where she was up second. She performed her floor routine with her trademark smile that we've all come to love. On vault she was up last for the team and gave a great DTY, landing right in the middle and just taking a step out to the side. Bars was the last piece and is one of Rebecca's best pieces of apparatus. She gave a wonderful performance to round out her qualifying competition and stuck her dismount brilliantly. It had been a perfect first day of competition for Rebecca and as she posted the 15th highest all around score she qualified easily for the all around final.

Next was the team competition. With the '3 up 3 count' rule, all the routines in the team final would count towards the final score leaving no room for error. It was a real test of nerve and determination and one which Rebecca rose to superbly. Only performing on two apparatus in the team final, vault and bars, she had to wait until the last two rotations of the competition before she competed. Vault was the first one for her and she competed another fantastic DTY, straight down the middle and just a pace backwards. Then to bars where she posted yet another great score, helping the team to a fantastic 6th place finish. The every score counts rule clearly had no effect on Rebecca!

Then came the all around final. With the European Championships only being a team competition in 2012 this was Rebecca's first major international all around competition as a senior - what a way to start! She had competed so well in qualifying and the team final, did she have enough to do well in the all around competition too? Yes! Rebecca once again was starting on beam, just as GB did in both the qualifying and the team competition. It was a slightly tentative start but she got through the routine cleanly and landed well. Her smile at the end said it all - I started on beam and survived! With what is probably regarded as her weakest apparatus out the way she had made a good start. Floor was next and she gave an amazing performance. Her tumbling was fantastic and all of her landings were practically nailed. It is a youthful and energetic routine and suits her really well. On to vault, and her vaulting just seems to have improved with every competition these Olympics and this was no exception. Her DTY was yet again straight down the middle and this time she virtually nailed the landing. Things were getting better and better and there was still bars to go. It was her last performance of the competition and what a way to end it - she hit an amazing bars routine, worked beautifully throughout and posted a massive 15.000, her highest score of the whole Olympics. Her total score gave her 13th place all around. What a massive achievement in such a momentous competition and all in front of a home crowd.

It really has been a pleasure to watch Rebecca compete, not just at these Olympic Games but throughout the year. She has gone from strength to strength and she really is a star in the making. Unfortunately we will not be seeing any more of her at these Olympics as she did not qualify to any of the finals, though she is 3rd reserve for the bars final. However, I have absolutely no doubt that we will be seeing much more of Rebecca for many years to come.

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