Tuesday 31 December 2013


My Favourite Floor Routines of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close I want to take a look at some of the routines that have stood out for me throughout the year. They may not necessarily be the highest scoring or the the most difficult, but simply ones that I have enjoyed watching. You can find my top 5 Vaults here, my top 5 Bars routines here and my top 5 Beam routines here. And here are my top (5) Floor routines of 2013:

Ok, so I know this post is called 'Top 5: Floor', but there were so many fantastic floor routines to choose from, I have had to include a few others that I feel really deserve a mention:

Catherine Lyons - graceful and elegant
Simone Biles - dynamic and powerful with phenomenal tumbling
Kseniia Afanaseva - powerful yet beautifully elegant
Victoria Moors - incredible tumbling and very artistic

And now to my top 5:

5 - Louise McColgan
Still only 12 years old, Louise McColgan has really impressed me in her first year as a British Espoir, especially with this beautifully artistic floor routine. The routine suits her perfectly and you can really see her personality shine through as she performs. I simply cannot wait to see more from this budding young gymnast, especially her fabulously expressive floor routines.

Louise McColgan, Floor, 2013 British Espoir Championships

4 - Roxana Popa Nedelcu
Normally I tend to favour the less dynamic type of floor routine so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover just how much I loved Roxana's floor exercise. Her energy suits this routine which is brilliantly choreographed and brilliantly performed. She really makes a mark on floor and is definitely one to watch out for in the future.

Roxana Popa Nedelcu, Floor, 2013 World Championships

3 - Larisa Iordache
Larisa approaches floor with the confidence we see on every apparatus, but here she gives us that little bit extra - she interacts so well with her audience, using her expression and her eyes to draw you into her performance. Add to this some fabulous tumbling and you get an absolutely superb routine.

Larisa Iordache, Floor, 2013 World Championships

2 - McKayla Maroney
I absolutely adore this routine from McKayla Maroney. I love the way it combines her elegance and grace with the more dynamic side of her personality. The routine itself is structured brilliantly, allowing McKayla to show off her elegance and her energy side by side as the music switches. With McKayla's natural ability to perform and the height in her tumbles, this routine is one that I simply love to watch.

McKayla Maroney, Floor, 2013 P&G National Championships

1 - Vanessa Ferrari
Seven years after bursting onto the scene and winning the 2006 World Championships, Vanessa is still a force to be reckoned with. Still performing the amazing tumbling she became known for at the age of 16, she now brings experience and maturity to her floor routine. As well as being dynamic in her tumbles, Vanessa gives a performance that is sophisticated and inviting. She knows how to sell her performance and she does so with style.

Vanessa Ferrari, Floor, 2013 World Championships

Monday 30 December 2013


My Favourite Beam Routines of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close I want to take a look at some of the routines that have stood out for me throughout the year. They may not necessarily be the highest scoring or the the most difficult, but simply ones that I have enjoyed watching. You can find my top 5 Vaults here and my top 5 Bars routines here. And here are my top 5 Beam routines of 2013:

5 - Shang Chunsong
It has been really, really hard to pick just 5 beam routines, but Shang Chunsong has edged out the rest to take my number 5 spot. I think that one of the things that I like the most about this routine is her mount. While most of the girls are choosing to mount the beam simply and safely, Shang Chunsong chooses a forward walkover. It looks different and impressive and sets the tone for the routine right from the start. Add to that some great tumbling and the difficult leaps that the Chinese have become known for and you have a great routine.

Shang Chunsong, Beam, 2013 World Championships

4 - Kyla Ross
Kyla has made my top 5 with the sheer beauty of her movements. Her long lines make her look elegant and graceful throughout, even in her most difficult moves. She links moves together well and her routine as a whole has a fluidity and rhythm to it which many others lack. She is simply a delight to watch on this apparatus.

Kyla Ross, Beam, 2013 Secret US Classic

3 - Aliya Mustafina
What a routine! The connections alone are incredible, but when they are performed with Aliya's trademark style and artistry they are simply superb. Her switch half to Onodi is one of the most beautiful links I think I have ever seen on beam. Aliya really does know how to perform a routine, and when she performs this routine it is easy to see how she became the 2013 Beam World Champion.

Aliya Mustafina, beam, 2013 World Championships

2 - Gabby Jupp
It has to be said that this girl is at home on a beam! As a first year senior Gabby came out with confidence and presence, something that can really be seen when she performs on beam. She shows a great combination of difficulty and artistry in a very fluent routine. In fact her routine is so good that she managed to qualify for the Beam Final at the European Championships, despite suffering a fall which regretfully has taken her out of competition for the rest of the year. I for one cannot wait to see Gabby back competing again. This is a great beam routine from a great gymnast.

Gabby Jupp, Beam, 2013 British Championships

1 - Larisa Iordache
What can I say other than that this is an INCREDIBLE beam routine! It is packed with difficulty from start to finish and is simply mesmerising to watch. Larisa is able to tumble so securely on beam, and I really do mean tumble. Her skills on this apparatus are amazing but not only that, she makes them look effortless. She works through these difficult skills with a rhythm and pace that really does seem to defy the fact that she is performing on an apparatus that is a mere 10cm wide.

Larisa Iordache, Beam, 2013 World Championships

Sunday 29 December 2013


My Favourite Bars Routines of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close I want to take a look at some of the routines that have stood out for me throughout the year. They may not necessarily be the highest scoring or the the most difficult, but simply ones that I have enjoyed watching. You can find my top 5 vaults here and here are my top 5 Bars routines of 2013:

5 - Becky Downie
This girl has got some AMAZING combinations in her routine! It is packed full of difficulty and is definitely a routine to watch out for. Her combinations will make you gasp in delight as she swings through her routine. Becky has made plenty of finals this year with this routine and hopefully, with more consistency, there will be plenty more finals and medals to come.

Becky Downie, Bars, 2013 British Championships

4 - Kyla Ross
Kyla's work on bars is simply beautiful to watch. She is clean and elegant throughout, making even her most difficult skills look easy. She flows through her routine from start to finish with breathtaking fluidity and grace. A delightful routine performed by a delightful gymnast.

Kyla Ross, Bars, 2013 P&G National Championships

3 - Aliya Mustafina
Aliya's work on this apparatus is simply stunning. She sails through her routine in such an effortless way, as if failure is simply not an option. She has plenty of difficult skills and combinations, all made to look so beautiful and elegant. It can be said that it is difficult to actually 'perform' on bars, but Aliya certainly manages it and with some style too!

Aliya Mustafina, Bars, 2013 European Championships

2 - Yao Jinnan
This has to be one of the more spectacular Bars routines of the year. Yao Jinnan deserves so much credit for bringing the Mo Salto back into competition in her routine. I loved watching this skill when Mo Huilan first introduced it to the Uneven Bars all those years ago and I love it just as much now. An immensely difficult move and a definite crowd pleaser, it takes a great deal of courage to attempt such a skill in the middle of a routine. But in the World Championships AA Final Jao Yinnan not only performed the skill successfully, but performed the whole routine with the style and ease we have come to expect from the Chinese gymnasts.

Yao Jinnan, Bars, 2013 World Championships

1 - Ruby Harrold
This routine has stood out for me from the first time I saw it. It is a routine with a 'wow factor' and draws gasps from all who see it. I was lucky enough to see Ruby perform this routine at the British Championships this year and it was quite amazing to see the routine in front of me and hear the reaction from the crowd. A fantastic routine and one that I am sure will be watched and remembered for many years to come.

Ruby Harrold, Bars, 2013 Doha World Challenge Cup

Saturday 28 December 2013


My Favourite Vaults of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close I want to take a look at some of the routines that have stood out for me throughout the year. They may not necessarily be the highest scoring or the the most difficult, but simply ones that I have enjoyed watching. So here are my top 5 Vaults of 2013:

5 - Rebecca Tunney
Not the most difficult vault but, coming from a country where the 1 1/2 twisting Yurchenko has been the most difficult vault performed by many, Rebecca's beautiful DTY really stands out. We haven't seen much of Rebecca this year (certainly not as much as I would have liked to see) but her vaulting form is still beautiful to watch.

 Rebecca Tunney, Vault, 2013 World Championships

4 - Giulia Steingruber
Having been thought of as a vault specialist for many years, Giulia has spent much of 2013 reminding people that she is in fact a very good all around gymnast. This, however, has not altered her fantastic vaulting in any way. With some of the more difficult vaults around, it is also refreshing to see a gymnast who still chooses a forward approach to the table rather than the more common round off approach.

Giulia Steingruber, Vault, 2013 Stuttgart World Cup

3 - Simone Biles
Controversial perhaps, but yes I am putting Simone Biles in at number 3! Her Amanar is performed beautifully and almost always has a near perfect landing. Her second vault is also good, but for me lacks the difficulty and excitement of others. Saying that, I still absolutely love to watch Simone on vault.

Simone Biles, Vault, 2013 World Championships

2 - Lisa Mason
Again not the most difficult of vaults, but this girl really needs a mention - to come back after 12 years of retirement, win Vault at the English Championships and make the final at the British Championships, at the age of 31, is quite a feat! She proved to everyone that she has not lost her fighting spirit or her gymnastics skills with this near perfect vault:

Lisa Mason, Vault, 2013 British Championships

1 - McKayla Maroney
Yes, I have chosen that Amanar as my favourite vault! It may not have been executed or landed quite as perfectly as we saw in 2012, but for me, the height and flight McKayla gets in this most difficult of vaults makes it simply stunning to watch. Add to that a complex and well executed second vault and you have, in my opinion, a worthy winner of the Vault title at the 2013 World Championships.

McKayla Maroney, Vault, 2013 P&G National Championships

Wednesday 27 November 2013


New British Seniors for 2014

As 2013 starts to draw to a close, it is time to look forward to the coming year and meet the new kids on the block. 2014 will see the likes of Jade Armstrong, Chantelle Halford and Ellis O'Reilly begin their Senior gymnastics careers.

Chantelle Halford
Chantelle, who trains at East London Gym Club, has had a successful 2013. At the beginning of the year she competed in the 2013 Junior English Championships where she finished 4th All Around as well as taking Bronze medals on Vault and Beam, and the Silver medal on Bars. This was followed by another 4th place All Around finish at the Junior British Championships and another Silver medal on Bars, as well as a 4th place finish on Vault. She has a difficult bars routine and strong work on all apparatus, including a lovely floor routine with a fabulous double illusion turn. I cannot wait to see more of Chantelle as she starts her Senior gymnastics career.

2013 British Championships All Around Final (Bars)

Jade Armstrong
A member of the 'Pink Gym', South Durham Gymnastics Club, Jade has had a good deal of success in her gymnastics career so far. 2013 saw her finish in 5th place All Around at the Junior British Championships. She also finished in 5th place in the Vault and Beam Finals and took a Bronze medal on Floor. Jade was also a part of the team that helped South Durham to a 5th place finish in the 2013 British Teams Championships. Individually, she finished in 11th place, competing alongside Senior gymnasts as well as other Juniors. Most recently, she was selected to compete in the Olympic Hopes Cup, where the team comfortably took the Gold medal and Jade took second place All Around. With her dynamic floor work and steady all around performances, I am sure Jade will be one to watch in the coming years.

2013 British Championships All Around Final (Floor)

Ellis O'Reilly
Ellis trains at Europa Gymnastics Club and has already started to make a name for herself as a Junior. She finished 10th All Around at the 2013 Junior English Championships then went on to have a successful 2013 Junior British Championships, finishing 6th All Around, 5th on Vault, 6th on Bars and 6th on Floor. With her steady work on all four apparatus, I am sure we will see much more of Ellis throughout her Senior career.

2013 British Championships All Around Final (Floor)

Thursday 11 July 2013


2013 Universiade Apparatus Finals

Yesterday saw the final day of competition for the gymnasts in the 2013 Summer Universiade. After three days of competition, a full day of Apparatus Finals was scheduled to round off the competition. This was always going to be a tough day as most of the gymnasts had been competing all week and many had multiple finals throughout the day. 

Vault Final
Things were looking pretty good for Russia here as Maria Paseka (Olympic Bronze medallist on Vault) had qualified to the final in first place. She did not disappoint, opening with perhaps the cleanest Amanar we have ever seen her perform. Another good vault set a benchmark for the rest of the field that would be difficult to pass - or so we thought. Who would have believed that team mate Kseniia Afanaseva would suddenly produce not just an Amanar but a beautiful one, combined with an equally impressive second vault? The Russian crowd were thrilled and so was she - taking the lead and putting Russia in 1st and 2nd. The party was almost spoiled by DPR Korea's Hong Un Jong who performed two spectacurlarly difficult vaults very nicely. Her difficulty was the key and she managed to take joint first with Kseniia Afanaseva, with Maria Paseka taking the Silver.

Uneven Bars Final
Russian expectation of Gold were supremely high on this apparatus and justifiably so. Aliya Mustafina's score had been creeping increasingly higher all week and it seemed that the top spot could only be hers to lose. The first gymnast up, she once again performed a beautiful routine to score a massive 15.200. From there it was merely a case of who could come close enough to take Silver and Bronze. In the end it was yet another 1-2 for Russia with Tatiana Nabieva showing a lovely routine to clinch the Silver. Germany's Lisa Hill completed the podium with her well executed routine.

Beam Final
With Anna Dementyeva and Aliya Mustafina posting the top two beam scores in qualification, Russia were hoping to continue the Gold rush, having claimed every Gold medal in the women's competition so far. I must say I was rooting for Anna Dementyeva. It has been a while since we have seen her compete and I really love her style. She was the first one to perform, but unfortunately came to grief on her round off-layout. The rest of her routine was lovely, but the fall saw her end up down in 5th. Aliya Mustafina improved on her performance in the All Around, managing to stay on the beam, but there were wobbles. She took the lead, but her score was definitely beatable. Elsabeth Black of Canada performed a great routine and slotted in just behind Aliya. With only a couple of gymnasts left to go, another Russian Gold was looking possible. Yelinzi Zhang of China had other ideas though. She performed a spectacularly difficult routine to snatch the Gold away from Russia with a massive score of 15.150. Aliya Mustafina had to settle for the Silver and Ellie Black took the Bronze.

Floor Final
With Kseniia Afanaseva's beautiful floor work, surely this could only be another Gold medal for Russia? She was first up, but could not match the precise tumbling of earlier in the week, landing her first pass completely out of the area and taking another step out of bounds later in the routine. Her exquisite dance work and supreme difficulty still saw her post a good 14.350 though. Aliya Mustafina was trying for another medal on floor, but this proved to be a step too far for her. She looked unsteady throughout and then put her hands down on her final tumbling pass. Elsabeth Black continued her medal streak, performing a lovely routine to take the Silver medal. Elsa Garcia of Mexico, who had impressed so much in qualifying, had withdrawn from two of her three event finals to focus solely on the floor. This proved to be a good move as she gave a brilliant performance to take the final place on the podium, meaning that Kseniia Afanaseva had indeed done enough to take the Gold. GB's Danusia Francis also gave a great performance with her usual delightful mix of good tumbling and stylish dance work. She finished in 6th place.

For me, the star of the day was undoubtedly Russia's Kseniia Afanaseva. Not only did she continue to impress me with her gorgeous floor work, her vaults had me taken aback. She looked and performed like a champion today. I was also delighted to see Elsabeth Black do well, she has a lovely style and is delightful to watch. It was also nice to see Elsa Garcia back on form and taking a much deserved medal. And of course Danusia Francis, who I always love to watch on floor, and she certainly did not disappoint with her stunning floor routine.

Tuesday 9 July 2013


2013 Universiade All Around Final

Today saw the All Around Final of the Universiade, with the Russians hoping to repeat qualifying and end the day in 1st and 2nd. Aliya Mustafina posted the highest qualifying score, followed by Kseniia Afanaseva and both were looking for the top of the podium. Also fighting for the medals were Elsa Garcia (Mexico), Elsabeth Black (Canada), Yu Minobe (Japan) and Kim Bui (Germany) who qualified 3rd-6th respectively.

In the end it was, as expected, the two Russians who took the top two spots. Aliya Mustafina took the title from Kseniia Afanaseva by over a point, despite a fall on beam. Her excellent work, other than this uncharacteristic fall, and her fantastic bars routine (which scored 15.200), was enough to keep her in the lead with an overall total of 57.900. Kseniia also produced some beautiful work to take the Silver, including a stunning floor routine which scored a massive 15.000.

It was Germany's Kim Bui who managed to keep herself together and take the final podium position with steady routines and good scores throughout. Her team mate, Lisa Hill, improved greatly on her qualifying score to finish the day in 5th place.

Things did not go so well for everyone though. Yu Minobe had problems on her vault, putting her hand down on landing and ended the competition down in 9th. For Elsa Garcia there were problems on bars and on floor. She fell on bars on her jaeger and after two almost perfect tumbles on floor, she almost sat down on her third pass and fell out of her double Arabian, her final tumble. This meant a 7th place finish, so disappointing after qualifying up in third. Elsabeth Black managed to take 4th place, just missing the final podium spot, despite putting her hands down on her second tumbling pass on floor. It was such a shame as she had had a brilliant competition right up to her final piece and the rest of her floor work was beautiful.

Making a great improvement on her qualifying score was GB's Hannah Whelan, who upped her position from 9th highest qualifier to a 6th place finish today. She posted steady scores on bars and floor, despite a couple of errors, including two out of bounds on her floor exercise. Her vault, just a full twisting Yurchenko, was beautifully executed and her beam (which I am so upset we didn't get to see) scored a massive 14.100. Overall it was a good day for Hannah and shows that we can expect much from her in the coming months.

For me, the highlights of the day were Kseniia Afanaseva's floor routine and Aliya Mustafina's bars. These two girls really were worthy of the top spots and showed exactly why they are at the forefront of Russian gymnastics.

Sunday 7 July 2013


2013 Summer Universiade

Today saw the start of the women's gymnastics competition in Kazan, Russia, as part of the 2013 Universiade. Often known as the World University Games or the World Student Games, the Universiade is a competition for all athletes studying at university.

65 gymnasts, representing 25 countries, started their bid for student glory today with the Team Final and qualification for the All Around and Apparatus Finals. There were many big names in the Kazan Arena, including several Olympians: Aliya Mustafina, Kseniia Afanaseva, Maria Paseka, Hannah Whelan, Elsabeth Black, Kim Bui, Yu Minobe and Elsa Garcia were among the familiar names from London 2012.

The Russians always looked set to dominate in front of their home crowd with their whole team of five gymnasts all having at least one European, World or Olympic medal each. They did not disappoint, winning the Team Final in some style with a lead of over 10 points. Aliya Mustafina topped the qualification for the All Around as well as qualifying to the Bars, Beam and Floor Finals. Each of the Russian team qualified to at least one final and between them they top all of the qualification results. I particularly enjoyed seeing Anna Dementyeva competing again, a gymnast I thoroughly enjoyed watching at the 2010 Europeans and who performed beautifully today, especially on beam where she tops the qualifications.

The Japanese team took Silver in the Team competition with clean and elegant routines, and the German team powered their way into third place. Yu Minobe was particularly impressive for Japan: with the 6th highest All Around score of the day she easily qualified for the All Around as well as the Bars, Beam and Floor finals. For Germany, Kim Bui, Lisa Katharina Hill and Pia Tolle all worked exceptionally well and all qualified to at least one Final.

The British team finished the day in 6th place with some solid performances from all four members of the team. Rebecca Hall followed up a good British Championships with three steady routines today on vault, beam and floor, having recovered from shoulder injury. Charlotte Lindsley gave four solid performances to earn her a place in the All Around Final where she will join team mate Hannah Whelan, who qualified in 9th place. UCLA student Danusia Francis proved that her year of NCAA gymnastics in America has served her well by qualifying in 3rd place for the floor final.

Other notable gymnasts today were Elsabeth Black of Canada and Elsa Garcia of Mexico. Both of these Olympians gave some great performances today to qualify for various finals. Elsabeth Black qualified in 4th place for the All Around Final as well as making the Vault, Beam and Floor Finals. Elsa Garcia qualified to the All Around in third and qualified to the Vault, Bars and Floor Final.

With so many big names to look out for, the next few days of competition look set to be very exciting. The All Around Final will take place on Tuesday 9th July (3pm Russian time, 12pm BST) and the Apparatus Finals on Wednesday 10th July (3.30pm Russian time, 12.30 pm BST). A live stream was available for some of the qualifying competition today and hopefully some of the finals will also be shown live on Live FSU.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

European Dreams

The GB Girls

Tomorrow sees the start of competition for the women at the European Championships 2013. Throughout the day tomorrow (18th April) the women will take part in the qualifying competition in the hopes of scoring high enough to qualify to the finals: All Around, Vault, Bars, Beam and Floor. With a great deal of success already under their belts in 2013, the GB girls will be hoping to impress.

Gabby Jupp
Gabby has already made a huge impression in the few months that she has been a Senior. She started the year with a very solid performance at the American Cup, showing no sign of nerves despite it being her first Senior international competition and in such a huge arena. She continued to shine at the British Championships taking the All Around title, as well as Gold on Beam and Floor and Silver on Bars. More recently, Gabby competed at the Doha World Cup where she achieved 2 Bronze medals on Bars and Beam.

Gabby is a clean and consistent worker across all four apparatus. She will undoubtedly be hoping to make the All Around final as well as some apparatus finals. Beam is perhaps the most likely, with her strong and consistent performances but she definitely has a chance on Floor and Bars too. Although she does not have the same difficulty as some on Bars, her work is clean and her full twisting double layout dismount is effortless. If others make mistakes, Gabby will be there waiting.

Charlie Fellows
Another first year Senior, Charlie seems to have moved more quietly than some through the Junior ranks meaning that her name is still unknown to many. She has, however, burst on to the Senior scene with some style and seems intent on making a name for herself. Her clean work across all four apparatus brought her the Silver medal All Around at the British Championships earlier this year, as well as making three apparatus finals. She also competed well at the Tokyo World Cup recently, finishing in 6th place in her first Senior international competition.

For Charlie, the European Championships will be a great opportunity to gain experience in major international competition. If she works cleanly tomorrow she stands a great chance of making the All Around Final, and her clean and elegant work will give her a good chance at some of the apparatus finals.

Ruby Harrold
Ruby has recently gained the attention of many gymnastics fans around the world for her fantastic new Bars routine. Always an amazing Bars worker, Ruby has unveiled a brand new routine this year which has got everyone talking. It is great to see this young gymnast getting the recognition she deserves for her fabulous work. She proved her strength on this apparatus at the Doha World Cup recently where she took the Silver medal. She is not simply a Bars worker though - Ruby showed us earlier this year that she can work well on all the apparatus, taking 4th place All Around at the British Championships.

Ruby will definitely be hoping to make the bars final and perhaps even a medal if she performs her routine as well as we know she can on the day. She will also be in with a chance of making the All Around final, but with the two-per-country rule, she and Charlie Fellows will be battling each other as well as the rest of the field.

Becky Downie
Becky's focus recently has just been on Bars, but this has been with great success. Her upgraded routine has brought her nothing but Gold so far this year. She has taken the Bars title at both the English and British Championships, as well as winning Gold at the Austrian Team Open competition recently. This is certainly no surprise to those who have seen her fantastically difficult and well performed routine.

Becky will of course be hoping to make the Bars final this weekend and will also be hoping to take a medal. With her focus on Bars rather than the All Around, could we be looking at Britain's next Beth Tweddle?

The European Championships start on Thursday 18th April for the women, with the qualifying competition. The All Around Final will take place on Friday 19th April with the apparatus finals on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st. For those in the UK, BBC coverage of the Championships is available for the finals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday 29 March 2013

Back in Business

Interview with Lisa Mason

(Photo credit: BBC)

Lisa Mason has been setting records throughout her gymnastics career, with many British 'firsts'. She was the first British gymnast to qualify to European and World Championship finals and the first to take a Gold medal on the World Cup circuit. But this year Lisa has done something many people believed to be impossible - she has made a comeback after 13 years of retirement and is competing once again. Here, she looks back on her GB career 13 years ago as well as looking at the present and her future in gymnastics.

What prompted your decision to retire after the Sydney Olympics?
My generation were the first team to ever send a full team to the Olympic Games for GB so the pressure we had leading up to the Olympics was so intense that when it was all over I just wanted to be a normal teenager.
When the opportunity of me coming back arose in 2004 I fell pregnant so was unable to fulfil the plan of coming back into gymnastics.

What were your highlights of competing for Team GB before your retirement?
Wow, there are sooo many . . . I would say the main ones are:

  • Winning the British title 3x in a row, no one had ever done that.
  • Being part of the team that qualified the 1st full GB team to compete at the Olympic Games.
  • Winning Gold and Silver for England at Commonwealth games.
  • Breaking the barrier for British gymnasts to be accepted and taken seriously on the International circuit, being the 1st GB gymnast to ever final and win medals in the Grand Prix / World Cup circuit.

What has life held for you since you retired from gymnastics?
Well first and foremost I am a mum to a beautiful little girl named Yalarna she is about to turn 8 on 15th May, she is a little gymnast herself but I don’t push for her to do it seriously as I want her to find her own path.
I have also trained up as a Senior Women’s artistic coach and have my own Choreography business where I travel to different clubs up and down the country to do Beam and Floor workshops / sessions and I also choreograph floor routines, which is a real passion of mine.

What changes have you seen in British Gymnastics since you last competed?
It’s more professional, technically more advanced and the support that the gymnasts receive now is great . . . from physiotherapy, nutritionists, to skill break down.
And we are “as a country” a force to be reckoned with. Louis and Beth have both paved the way for this next generation and set the standard in both women’s and men’s gymnastics.

How does it feel to be back in competition?
It feels awesome!! Nerve racking lol but good . . . gymnastics has always been part of my life and always will be, I love to perform and I am hoping to introduce floor back into my training schedule so fingers crossed it all goes well and I can get out and strut myself on the floor again lol.

Has the sport changed much since you last competed?
Not really . . . I think it lost a lot of its artistry in previous codes but with this new one it’s taking things back slightly to the old school which I love, with the deductions and awards for artistry etc.
Bars has come along the most I think the difficulty of some of these girls' routines are really impressive.

How did it feel to be crowned English vault Champion in your first competition?
Amazing!! Didn’t expect it at all . . .

What was your experience like at the British Championships and competing on podium again?
A lot more nerve racking than I remember lol . . . I think a lot of people expected me to just come back and be on top after 13 years lol and they forget I have to re-learn everything including how to cope with competition nerves.
Vault for instance, I’ve only been working Vault since Christmas so 3 months isn’t long at all so I am proud that I made finals at the British.
Also I’m used to working on the old style Vault so changing my technique for this new Vault has been quite challenging.

What are your next steps in your gymnastics career and what aims do you have?
To get back into the gym and work new skills for my routines!
I’m starting to introduce floor when I get back in the gym . . . my coach has given me a few days off lol.
I’m due to compete at the Pro Gymnastics Challenge in the United States this May which I am SOOO excited about!!
Then the British Teams also in May which hoping all goes well I’m going to put out floor, after then, mmmm not too sure . . . I take each day as it comes and hope for good health and happiness for my daughter and myself.

What plans do you have for the future outside of competitive gymnastics?
It’s always been my ambition to move out to the USA or Canada and coach out there, maybe some t.v work . . . anything is possible, only God knows what’s in store for me.
I count my blessings everyday and I am so grateful for a second chance at this and I just want to try my best and be successful at whatever I do for my daughter and my future.

Lisa's winning vaults at the 2013 English Championships

Monday 25 March 2013

British Championships 2013

Apparatus Finals

Sunday saw the last day of competition of the 2013 British Championships. The Apparatus Finals were hotly contested and the 2013 Champions were crowned on all four apparatus for the Seniors, Juniors and Espoirs.


For the Espoirs, Maisie Methuen took the Gold medal (13.450) with two very clean handspring vaults, the first tucked and the second one piked. Phoebe Turner, who took Silver (13.075) performed a FTY for her first vault and a straight Yurchenko for her second. Lucy Stanhope who took the Bronze medal (12.950) preferred the handspring half turn approach with a pike back somersault for her first vault and a tuck back for her second.

In the Junior Vault Final it was Ellie Downie who successfully took the title (13.775). She vaulted brilliantly, with a FTY for her first vault and a round off half turn tuck front for her second vault. Taking the Silver medal was Amy Tinkler (13,750) with a FTY and a straight Yurchenko. Tyesha Mattis took the Bronze medal (13.300) with a straight Yurchenko and a FTY. I was however, quite disappointed that we were not treated to her fantastic DTY for the finals.

In the Senior competition, Niamh Rippin successfully defended her vault title from last year's British Championships (13.800) with a one and a half twisting Yuirchenko for her first vault and a round off half on pike front second vault. Kelly Simm took the Silver medal (13.625) with two very cleanly performed vaults, a FTY and a handspring tucked front. Amy Regan and Eleanor Thompson tied for third place (13.525). Amy also performed a FTY and a hadspring tucked front while Eleanor showed us a straight Tsukahara and a handspring tucked front.

The winning routines: 
Maisie Methuen 
Ellie Downie
Niamh Rippin


All three of the bars finals were great to watch and there were some spectacular routines throughout the morning.

In the Espoir competition Georgia-Mae Fenton took the Gold medal (13.200) with a beautiful routine. Her work was very clean and included a nicely flighted tkatchev and an almost nailed double tuck dismount. Teal Grindle took the Silver (12.850) with another very clean routine which included a gienger and a fantastic full twisting double tuck dismount. Catherine Lyons took the Bronze medal (11.800) despite a fall in her routine. She swings very gracefully on the bars and also had the difficulty, with a well flighted gienger and a double Arabian dismount.

Amy Tinkler took the Gold in the Junior competition (12.900) with a solid routine which included a beautifully high tkatchev and an almost nailed full twisting double tuck dismount. Ellie Downie and Chantelle Halford tied for second place (12.450). Ellie showed that she is following in big sister Becky's footsteps when it comes to great bars work, with a sky high tkatchev and a great double straight dismount. Chantelle impressed with two fantastic release moves, a tkatchev and a jaeger, and a beautifully performed double straight dismount.

For the seniors, the battle was on to see who could take the bars crown in the absence of Beth Tweddle. The girls showed us that British bars is set to be a force to be reckoned with still, with two amazingly difficult routines from Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold. On the day it was Becky Downie who took the title (14.050) with a fantastic routine, despite a slight error in the middle. Her combinations and flight moves are stunning and she has the ability to make it look easy. Gabby Jupp managed to sneak in and take the Silver (13.700) with a very cleanly performed routine. Her jaeger was lovely and her full twisting double straight dismount was practically perfect. Ruby Harrold managed to take the Bronze medal (13.250) despite a fall, which shows the difficulty of her routine. She has a stunning bars routine which elicited many gasps from the crowd, especially her transitions from high to low bar.

The winning routines:
Georgia-Mae Fenton 
Amy Tinkler 
Becky Downie 


Beam is always a testing piece of apparatus and that was no exception in these finals, but there were many exceptional performances across all three beam finals.

In the Espoirs, Teal Grindle took the title (13.900) with a clean and confident routine. She looked calm and self assured throughout, moving fluidly and showing some great acrobatic elements, including a fantastic side somersault. In Silver was Maisie Methuen (13.350) with a clean and fluid routine with some nice acrobatic skills and a great double spin. Louise McColgan took the Bronze (13.250) with a confident performance which included some great leaps and jumps as well as the acrobatic skills.

Tyesha Mattis took the Gold medal in the Junior competition (13.800) with a strong and confident performance. Her acrobatic skills included a side somersault and a back flick with two layouts. Ellie Downie earned herself another medal by placing second on beam (13.550). She looked confident throughout with some solid acrobatic moves, including a great front somi. Amy Tinkler took the Bronze medal (13.400), gaining confidence after a few nerves at the start. She has some very difficult work including a full twisting back tuck and a great double tuck dismount.

For the Seniors it was Gabby Jupp who took the Gold (14.750). This massive score was the result of a fantastic routine where Gabby showed her poise and confidence throughout. Highlights included a back flick to two layouts, a front somi and a double spin. Hannah Whelan took the Silver medal (14.350), showing her usual poise and control on this apparatus. She looked calm and self assured throughout and showed off some difficult skills including an aerial cartwheel to back layout and a great two and a half twisting dismount. In third place was Georgina Hockenhull (13.350) with a very elegant routine. She had some lovely leaps and jumps alongside her acrobatic elements, which included a great side somi.

The winning routines:
Teal Grindle 
Tyesha Mattis 
Gabby Jupp 


I always find floor finals really enjoyable to watch and these were certainly no exception. There was a great deal of artistry and musicality alongside some very impressive tumbling.

In the Espoirs there was a tie for first place with Catherine Lyons and Teal Grindle sharing the Gold (13.900). Catherine gave a graceful and elegant performance, as always, moving beautifully with the music which really suited her style. She also had great tumbling to match her gorgeous dance work and choreography. Teal's style was very different but no less enjoyable. She had lively music and good choreography as well as some impressive tumbles. Louise McColgan picked up the Bronze medal on floor (13.700) with a lovely routine which I had been really looking forward to watching. She is a tiny gymnast, yet oozes confidence and personality on the floor. She gave a great performance, with some great tumbling too, and captured many gymnastics fans' hearts with this lovely routine.

In the Junior competition it was Amy Tinkler who took the Gold medal (14.200). She performed a fantastic routine, fast paced and lively and she looked like she was enjoying it throughout. She also had some incredible tumbling, with a great double straight and a full twisting double pike as her first two passes. Tyesha Mattis took the Silver medal (13.900) with dramatic music and an expressive routine. She moved well and performed confidently and had some very strong tumbling. In third was Jade Armstrong (13.350). She gave a clean and elegant performance with good choreography and good tumbling.

For the Seniors, it was another title for Gabby Jupp (14.350). She combined clean and sharp dance moves with some impressive tumbling, including a double Arabian as her opening pass. Raer Theaker took the Silver medal (14.200) with some very clean tumbling. I really like Raer's floor routine, she moves with grace and elegance and looks very stylish on the floor. Niamh Rippin finished in third place (14.000) with her usual display of strong tumbling and dynamic floor work.

The winning routines:
Catherine Lyons
Teal Grindle
Amy Tinkler
Gabby Jupp