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