Seda Tutkhalyan floor: I’ve always been a fun of Seda on floor. She doesn’t have what most people consider the classical Russian style but her choreography is usually nice and she has some attitude to show off. And this first tumbling pass! God, wasn’t that a great surprise? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone doing whips into a piked full in since the beginning of the new scoring system and Seda performs it so much better than I thought she could. Something obviously went wrong with her second pass but this routine has massive potential. Her difficulty is 4 tenths higher than the 5.5 she showed at Russian nationals and that is without the double layout and the 2.5 + front layout she’s capable of. I don’t know if she’s actually planning to bring the DLO back but this is a very strong routine regardless. It’s safe to assume that Seda exceeded everyone’s by hitting four out of four and performing as well as she did. Unless something changes, she will be competing at the European games where she’ll desperately need to prove herself so I hope that her AA gold from this weekend will be a big confidence boost. You should also check out her beam routine, which includes a layout and a layout full.
Ekaterina Sokova, beam: I still can’t believe that this routine actually happened, it just seems too good to be true. The high layout, the spectacular front handspring + front tuck combination… it’s amazing. The level of difficulty she shows is incredible and damn, she really did a great job hitting this routine. I’ve always loved Katya because she really is the cutest thing but I never really thought she could be a strong contender for the Olympic Team until now. But she really has improved so much, she has added plenty of difficulty in her routines and if she continues to perform like that she will definitely be in the mix. To me, this was one of the best beam routines we saw not just this weekend, but this entire year so far.
Elisa Meneghini floor: My favorite Italian seems to be in her way of a successful comeback. After having to miss worlds due to injury, Elisa has most of her difficulty back. She opens with a high DLO, she has a nice piked full in and delightful new choreography. I’m sure that in the next few months she will be able to polish up her landings and be able to score in the 14s again. I’m actually hoping she could prove herself to make the European games team, I don’t know if that’s possible at this point, considering she’s not in the nominative list and she wasn’t flawless in Torino but a floor routine like that could definitely improve her chances.
Flavia Saraiva floor: There is no other routine in the world right now that can put a smile on my face as fast as this one. Everyone has different opinions on different gymnasts but it seems like Flavia is one of those athletes that everyone absolutely adores, and how could they not? Look at that beautiful smile, the lovely toe point, the delightful choreography, the fabulous leaps, the great twisting form and the difficult and well executed tumbling. She really is a star in the making and I only want good things for her.
Laura Jurca, floor: Talking about gymnasts who always put a smile on my face, here’s the lovely Laura Jurca. With Diana and Larisa not competing, she was the best tumbler in the Romanian team. She actually upgraded her first tumbling pass to a piked full in. It was quite low but hopefully she’ll be able to work on that. She desperately needs more difficulty so I hope that this is the first of many upgrades. She also performs a tucked full in and a triple full. She uses one of my favorite floor music pieces, which has also been used by Tatiana Lysenko and Dominique Dawes. I’ve seen negative comments about her choreography but I really do enjoy it.
Daniele Hypolito beam: Brazil’s first world medalist in women’s gymnastics is still going strong at the age of 30 and hopes to compete at her 5th Olympic Games in her home country. Making this Olympic team will be harder than ever, since Brazil has never had so much talent before but routines like that are certainly going to help Daniele’s case. Her opening combination is fantastic. I don’t even think I’ve ever seen anyone connecting a switch ring to ring leap before. Her layout could be a big higher, her connection could be a tiny bit more fluid but the difficulty of this routine is very impressive and Brazil really does need solid beam sets like this one.
Lieke Wevers, beam: The more I watch of Lieke the more I love her and she really is a lovely beam worker. Her lines are beautiful, her aerials are all well executed, her leaps are nice and she nearly always sticks her dismount. But of course, the highlight of this routine is her awesome turns. Her control and her precision throughout those skills is amazing. There has to be some magic in the way the Wevers sisters are coached, because really nobody’s turns can compare to hers and Sanne’s. Lieke is going to represent Netherlands at the European games and I would absolutely love to see her making beam finals there. You should also check out her beautiful floor routine.
Lisa Top, floor: Nobody else in her entire country can tumble as well as she does and if you’re a fan of forward tumbling you’re gonna love this routine. She is one of the very few people in the world who are capable of doing a Dos Santos on floor and god damn, that double front will never fail to amaze me. It will be interesting to see what she can achieve with this routine during the european games.
Rebeca Andrade, floor: HOLY SHIT, talk about a great surprise. This was the first time Rebeca competed floor this year and the first floor routine of her senior career so one would expect that she’d take things a bit easier. But nope, she absolutely killed it and showed a spectacular new opening pass: a 1.5 twisting double back that could get named after her. And not only this skill is very unique and difficult but it’s also extremely well executed and so are all of her tumbling passes. The height she gets is amazing, her double tuck couldn’t possibly be any better than that and the 2.5 + front full combination seems so easy for her, I swear she could do a double full out of her 2.5 if she tried. I also love the stag jump out of her memmel. The Beyonce floor music is an interesting choice and I’m sure there will be different opinions about it but I have to admit I love it and I really enjoyed her smile and presentation during this exercise. To me, this was the most amazing routine of this entire weekend.
Leticia Costa, floor: I’m already dreaming of a Brazilian floor line up with Leticia, Flavia, Rebeca and Lorraine Oliveira, they really would bring the house down. Leticia is a great tumbler who starts her routine with a double lay out and dismounts with a double arabian. She also has a high full in and a double pike. This exercise along with her DTY and her upgraded beam routine which includes a standing Arabian and a Patterson could very well get her a ticket to Glasgow.
Melanie Dos Santos, floor and bars: This girl is my new obsession. She’s born in 2000 which makes her eligible for the Rio Olympics and she could definitely help France. She’s got a lovely, fluid swing and some big skills on bars, like a beautiful ray, a van leeuwen and inbar stalders. And that was a fabulous landing on her DLO. She’s a little powerhouse with great presentation and super high tumbling. I’m in love with her sky high full out and her triple turn. She also has good difficulty on beam and a powerful FTY
Tea Ugrin, bars: Back in 2012 I thought Italy was going to take over the world with Enus and Tea covering their weakness on bars. However things didn’t exactly go their way since they both ended up being injured for the whole 2014. Enus is unfortunately still struggling but after a long absence, Tea is one of Italy’s top gymnast once again. She performs a maloney into bail and an inbar + inbar full + gienger combination. Her routine may not be one of the best ones in the world but it’s extremely valuable for a team like Italy, who struggles at bars.
Ruiz Lizeth, floor: This is how you’re supposed to perform a floor routine! Ruiz doesn’t have the most difficult routine, even though she does open with a tucked full it, but tumbling isn’t the only thing that makes an exercise worth watching and I have to say that this performance really won me over. She has some sassy choreography that fits her music well, she’s got great rhythm and fluidity in her movements and she sells this routine as well as she possibly could. She makes eye contact with the audience, she’s expressive and her smile lights up the entire arena. I’m very happy we got to see it in the live stream and I’m very excited to see more of this girl at Pan-American games.
Andreea Iridon, floor: I’d be lying if I said that I’m not disappointed with Andreea’s lack of upgrades and consistency. I had so many high hopes for her, especially for bars (oh, will I never learn?) and beam but so far she hasn’t shown any new skills or much confidence. But this floor routine really reminded me why I loved her in the first place. It definitely had nothing to do with her tumbling since she still mounts with a double pike and does a double full in her routine. What I adored about her was her lines, her flexibility, her toe point and her grace and this new floor routine really highlights all those great qualities. If only being pretty won you medals…
Rebeca Andrade, vault: Rebeca gave us all a heart attack during qualifications, when she crashed a scary and under rotated amanar. Thankfully, she did not hurt herself and she came back at team finals to prove that she really can perform that vault better than most people in the world right now. She really gets fantastic height, she manages to keep her form clean and to land well. I believe that this was the first time she competed the 2.5 this year and I hope she can do it even better than that.
Anastasia Dmitrieva floor: I have so much love for this girl, she’s a superstar. She always has a big smile on her face, she looks like she’s enjoying being out there and she gets into her choreography which is also very nice. And of course, her tumbling is fantastic. Look at the well executed DLO, the powerful full in, the high double back after the two whips! I still miss her gorgeous double arabian but it seems like she has found a floor routine that is working for her. I wonder if she could do a two whips + full in combination. She does seem to have enough height and power to do that.
Angelina Melnikova, bars: I thank the gymnastics gods every day for Angelina Melnikova because you don’t often find solid, reliable athletes like her in the chaos of Russian gymnastics. She’s coming back from an injury so she wasn’t really 100% back at this meet (trust me, her leaps usually are much better) but she did deliver a big UB score. Her routine is everything we’ve come to expect from Russian uneven bar routines through this quad. She does a komova 2 + pak combination, van leeuwen, an inbar half to jaeger and a high full in dismount. Some of her handstands were a bit off here but this routine has massive potential and is already team finals worthy.
Rebeca Andrade: Rebeca has come such a long way on this event. A couple of years ago everyone thought she would be a vault and floor specialist and now she consistently posts mid 14s on bars. Her opening combination is beyond impressive, her piked jaeger is so high and damn, that was a great dismount. Brazil desperately needs good bars routines right now and Rebeca can help them with that.
Evgenia Shelgunova, beam: Yes, she’s not a clean gymnast, yes that layout wasn’t even a layout, yes her loso needs some more extension and that’s a big legs separation in her relatively low double pike. But she still had one of the most difficult routines we saw yesterday, it includes some tricky combinations (round of + layout, switch leap + switch half, side aerial to loso) and she hit it as well as she could. I can’t say I’m excited to see Shelgunova making any big teams but I am excited to see her performing more routines like this one.
Tabea Alt, bars: Tabea has massive potential on bars. Some of her skills could be a tiny bit more polished and fluid but her difficulty level is excellent for her age. She competes a komova 2 + pak combination, a van leeuwen, a inbar half to jaeger and a beautiful full twisting double layout. I think that it was the most difficult bars dismount we saw in the entire competition and she really does a great job at keeping a straight body position throughout the skill.
Tabela Alt, floor: Germany is a bit weak on floor but Tabea is not. She’s a little powerhouse and she can already throw more difficult tumbling passes than most of her senior teammates. She added a high double layout as a first pass and she absolutely nailed her powerful double arabian. Her music and choreography may not be my personal favorite but it is fun and upbeat and she does a good job at performing it. This girl is going to be a very valuable asset to team Germany once she turns senior next year.
Sophie Scheder, bars: Everyone who has been following gymnastics for over a year already knows that Sophie is a beautiful bars worker. She has a lovely swing, great lines and big skills. Her inbars are as good as anyone’s and all her flight elements have plenty of amplitude. She did struggle a bit on the low bar but she somehow managed to save it and continue her routine. I hope she can add the church she showed earlier this year and fight for medals at the European games.
Elisabeth Seitz, bars: This list couldn’t possibly be complete without Olympic UB finalist, Eli Seitz who has come back with a brand new set after struggling with injuries. She seems to have followed Becky Downie’s example since she now performs a very impressive maloney + ricna combination and a beautiful downie to pak. There was no gienger in this routine which makes me wonder whether or not the def is gone for good but she should be able to challenge for major finals regardless.
Maike Enderle, beam: This routine is so interesting and unique that I had to include it despite the wobbles. And really, from start to finish she throws the one difficult skill after the other. She starts with a great front tuck mount, she performs a solid standing arabian and she dismounts with a Steingruber. But to me, the highlight of the routine is this lovely switch leap + illusion combination. There are lots of things she has to clean up but one has to admire the originality of her work.
Polina Shchennikova, bars: One of my favorite Americans is finally back working her magic. She has a ridiculously difficult combination. It’s a maloney + stalder full + piked tkatcev (new skill for her) + pak + toe on + van leeuwen. I’m sure she’s planning to connect the van leeuwen with the pak in the future, which would make the routine even more exciting. Polina was never a front runner in team USA, she was never good at hitting under pressure and it’s going to be even harder for her to catch up after being injured for so long. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have some great moments as an elite gymnast before going to college.
Juliette Bossu, floor: Here’s another 2000 French baby that you need to watch. Juliette uses Roxana Popa’s 2013 music and she opens with a very ambitious whip + whip + triple full combination. The triple is quite low and she went out of bounds but it’s really promising to see a young gymnast from a country that doesn’t have many great tumblers right now doing such a difficult tumbling pass. Everything about her choreography is just so French, it’s innovative, it’s fierce, it’s great to watch. She works very well with her music, she hits all the notes and she’s an absolute joy to watch. The back spin into her ending pose is absolutely fabulous.
Marine Boyer, beam: Talking about promising French gymnasts, Marine got some attention when she posted a massive beam score at French nationals earlier this year. Her opening combination is definitely the highlight of this routine. She performs a high and floaty layout out of a round off, plenty of aerials, a beautiful controlled L turn and a nice double pike dismount. It really is such a shame that all those talented gymnasts can’t compete at worlds to help France qualify a full team to the Olympics. I hope that they’re older teammates will manage to make it to the test event, where the 2000 girls will be eligible to compete.
Nina Derwael, floor: Nina is one of the brightest rising stars of Belgian gymnastics and she really does shine on floor. The swan lake floor routine, that caught the eye of many fans last year is now gone, but her new choreography is even better. She’s just so expressive with her body and her face and she shows fantastic lines and flexibility. The low to the floor part is absolutely stunning and she works equally well with the slow and the upbeat music. Her tumbling is not spectacular but it is quite clean and her dance elements are absolutely fantastic. She does a beautiful memmel turn and all her leaps are high and well executed.
Nina Derwael, bars: If you were impressed by Nina’s floor you have to check out her bars. Her bars set is world class already and it’s probably the most difficult routine by any Belgian gymnast (senior or junior) right now. She opens with a stalder full + chow 1/2, she has a high jaeger, a van leeuwen and a gorgeous, clean ricna + pak combination. She’s definitely one to watch for bars finals at EYOF
Kelly Simm, floor: Kelly is one of those gymnasts that are usually overshadowed bt their teammates. Everyone knows she has some skills and she can step in and help GB if needed but she never was the super star of the team. And then she appears with tumbling like this and it’s just impossible not to notice her. The nearly stuck DLO in the beginning is impressive but the second pass is simply mind-blowing! A whip into immediate full in? Are you kidding me? How on earth is that even possible? The power and the precision this combination takes is ridiculous and Kelly deserves so much recognition for performing it as well as she does. Her 1.5 + double tuck and her double pike are very strong as well. I almost don’t care about the form deductions, the leg separations, the and the mediocre leaps and choreography, this second pass is all I’m thinking about.
Florine Harder, vault: We didn’t see many difficult vaults at Ghent so Florine’s stuck DTY definitely stood out. Her block could be better, she starts rotating too early, her vault could be cleaner and higher. But it still is a solid double twisting yurchenko and Germany could definitely use that in their line up next year. Her bars are very promising as well. On that even she performs an inbar + inbar half + jaeger combination, a ray and a double front dismount.