EYOF 2015: the top contenders for the All Around finals

1. Daria Skrypnik, Russia, 56.900

tumblr_n3mi22PmIR1shlof1o1_1280Daria is one of Russia’s top juniors who are expected to fight for a spot on the Olympic team next year. During her career, she has won plenty of medals on every event, but especially on her specialty, the uneven bars. She started getting lots of international attention at the 2014 junior European championships, where she won two gold medals, one with her team and one on the uneven bars. During qualifications, she led her team to the top of the podium and she qualified into every single final. She is capable of a good double twisting yurchenko on vault and that gives her a significant advantage over her competitors, most of whom perform full twisting yurchenkos. She has the highest start value on the uneven bars, where she performs a typical russian routine with plenty of inbar stalders. She did not do her best on this event at the first day of competition. Her swing was not as fluid as usual and she landed her dismount quite low. If she improves on those areas, she is capable of scoring over 15 on this event. She may not have done her best on bars, but she delivered one of the greatest routines of her career on beam. She only had a tiny wobble on her round of + layout series and she showed difficult and original combinations, like a front aerial right into an illusion turn and a side aerial + double stag jump. On floor she showed grace, elegance, flexibility and high and well executed tumbling passes. Daria is a balanced All Arounder, with good difficulty and execution on every event and if she continues to perform like she did in qualifications she could very well leave Tbilisi with plenty of gold medals.

start value: 5.8+6.3+5.8+5.2=23.1

2. Nina Derwael, Belgium, 56.100

30th European Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team Championships, Juniors and Seniors
photo by ueg.org

At the age of 15, Nina already is the best gymnast of Belgium and she is capable of beating her senior teammates. It really is a shame that she is too young to compete at worlds this year because her presence could determine whether or not Belgium will qualify a full team to the Olympics Test Event. She had an excellent first day of competition, leading her team to a well deserved silver medal and qualifying into three event finals. The event where she really shines are the uneven bars. She has a world class routine that many senior athletes would envy. She’s capable of big skills like a van leeuwen, a chow 1/2 and a ricna + pak combination and she performs them all with clean execution. Her handstands are solid, her releases are high, her form is excellent and when she hits there aren’t many deductions in her routine. She really is the only athlete in the competition who can compete against tha Russians on this event and she qualified into bars finals in second place. She is also a strong and confident beam worker, capable of impressive skills such as an illusion turn, a switch leap + ring leap combination and a side aerial into a scale. She may not be the best tumbler in the competition but her floor is definitely going to be a highlight thanks to her fantastic artistry. She has a unique style and a personality that is missing from most junior gymnasts. Her choreography is both elegant and powerful, graceful and energetic and she knows how to sell a routine. Nina is a super star in the making and an All Around medal at EYOF would only be the beginning of what could be a stunning gymnastics career.

start values: 5.0+6.2+5.6+5.3 = 22.1

3. Axelle Klinckaert, Belgium, 55,650

photo by ueg.org

Axelle is an other rising star from Belgium who could very well beat her country’s senior in an All Around competition. She had a succesful junior European championships, qualifying to two event finals and she won a gold medal on floor at Massilia. Her best event is probably balance beam, where she has one of the most difficult routines we’ll see during the entire competition. She has impressive elements, like a back handspring + layout, a switch ring and a double pike dismount done in combination and she executed them all very well during qualifications. She still has some work to do on the uneven bars, but she shows some potential and her releases are lovely. I believe she’s the only gymnast competing a markelov at EYOF. She has a memorable floor routine, full of unique moves and she’s not afraid to sell it to the crowd. Her sassy choreography really is delightful and her tumbling is high and clean. Her full twisting yurchenko on vault received the highest execution score of qualifications.

start values: 5.0+5.2+6.0+5.5 = 21.7

4. Anastasia Ilyankova, Russia, 55.050

tumblr_njb18ugVIG1rfhun2o4_500Nastya is not eligible for Rio but she is expected to be one of the stars of the next quad. She is coming back from an injury and she doesn’t have all her difficulty back but she was impressive during the first day of competition. She helped her team win a gold medal and she qualified first into bars finals. She really stood out for this event because she has an extremely difficult routine which is not what we usually see from Russia. She doesn’t perform inbar stalders, jaegers and khorkina variations like most of her teammates. She starts of with a great shaposhnikova + clear hip 1/1 + tkatcev combination and then she performs a spectacular hindorff into a pak salto. She has good swing and form and I have high expectations from her on this event. She is also a beautiful beam worker, capable of big flight series, like a round off + layout and a side aerial + loso. She was a bit shaky on beam during qualifications and she took a few steps on her double tuck dismount so there’s definitely room for improvement for her. She showed some attitude on floor, where she uses Yessenia Ferrera’s music. Her tumbling was downgraded but all her double saltos were very high and her turns and leaps were excellent. Her vault is a strong full twisting yurchenko. If she manages to clean up her landings she definitely has a great chance to finish on the podium.

start values: 5.0 + 6.2 + 5.6 + 5.0 = 21.6

5. Tabea Alt, Germany, 53.750

767da17ba0Tabea is the future of German gymnastics. It’s as simple as that. In a time when her country keeps losing their top athletes due to serious injuries, she continues to upgrade and to prove that she is a world class athlete and we all hope she will stay healthy and motivated. She is one of the few juniors who are capable of a double twisting yurchenko on vault, but during qualifications she chose to count her FTY for her All Around total. Then, she tried to perform her double but she unfortunately fell. This means that if she does it successfully at finals, her total score could be one full point higher. Her bars routine is particularly impressive. It includes tricky transitions, like a Komova 2 and a van leeuwen as well as the most difficult dismount we will see during the competition, a full twisting double layout. In the past, she has shown fantastic difficulty on balance beam but she only had a 5.3 start value during qualifications so something must have gone wrong there. She took her double arabian out of her floor routine, but she still performed her double layout as her first tumbling pass and she nearly stuck her double tuck. Tabea didn’t have the best competition of her life during qualifications, but if she does what she’s capable of doing she definitely is one of the best juniors in the world and she has a great chance to win a medal. She is a tough kid, she proved that when she finished her floor routine despite a bleeding nose at a friendly meet earlier this year, so hopefully she will manage to handle the pressure.

start value: 5.8 + 6.2 + 5.3 + 5.3 = 22.6 (she typically has a harder beam routine)

6. Zsofia Kovacs

Zsofia is a relatively unknown young gymnast who is obviously determined to make a name for herself. After a solid competition, she ended up 6th in the All Around and she made it to vault and beam finals. She is a graceful athlete, with good flexibility and lines and she is beautiful to watch on floor. She must have struggled on this event during qualifications, but her tumbling is impressive and she’s capable of a tucked full in, a double tuck, a double pike and 2.5 twists. Her beam is also promising and she shows good lines and clean execution. She also has an impressive 6.0 start value on bars during qualifications and a full twisting yurchenko on vault. Being born in 2000, she is eligible for Rio and it will be interesting to see where she stands against her senior teammates. This competition is certainly a great opportunity for her to prove herself. I don’t think she is a top contender for the podium because her execution scores were quite low, but nobody knows what can happen if she hits while others make mistakes.

start values: 5.0+6.0+5.7+5.3 = 22

Ioanna Crisan, Romania, 53.500

Crisan_ioana_2013_jr_team_natsIoana is born in 2001 and therefore is not eligible for Rio but she is one of Romania’s biggest hopes for the future. She has a good full twisting yurchenko on vault and the event where she really excels is the balance beam. She performs a fabulous layout to two feet and an original back roll to handstand into a back handspring and a layout step out. On floor, she performs two full ins, one in tucked and one in piked position and she shows nice flexibility on her leaps. Not surprisingly, bars is her weakest event. Qualifications weren’t great for her, she was a bit shaky, she didn’t control her landings, she had problems on bars and steps out of bound on floor but she will start with a clean slate during finals. Romania is obviously very disappointed to leave the team finals without a medal and I am sure they would love to make up for that by making the All Around podium.

start values: 5.0+5.1+5.9+5.6 = 21.6

Juliette Bossu, France, 53.350

photo by Benoit Bonatre

Juliette is a Rio eligible junior who should be part of the discussion if France qualifies a team next year. She recently competed at the FIG challenged, where she gained lots of fans with her difficult elements and her artistry. Her best event is definitely floor exercise, and she qualified first into the finals. She starts her routine with an impressive combination: two whips into a triple full and she has fantastic choreography and style. She doesn’t really shine on balance beam. She has nice lines and a decent level of difficulty for a junior but she lacks the confidence and the calmness that would make her one to watch on this event. She was quite shaky during qualifications and she took a big step on her dismount so she could improve her All Around total by performing better here. She is a promising bars worker, capable of a high jaeger and a double front dismount but she had trouble with her routine during qualifications. She hesitated during a half turn and had to stop the exercise, getting a significant deduction. Her vault is a full twisting yurchenko. In Juliette’s defense, she saw her teammate getting injured during qualifications and this is never easy, so one can forgive her for the mistakes she made. Hopefully she will have a better competition during finals.

start value: 20.8

Olivia Cimpian, Romania, 52.850

photo by Nicole Citroen

Olivia has been getting lots of attention from a very young age thanks to her flexibility and elegance and I am sure everyone is delighted to see her upgrading her routines and growing into the gymnast she is today. She had a rough day during qualifications. She was shaky on beam and she wasn’t credited for her full difficulty and then she had a fall on the uneven bars but she hit vault and floor. She really is a gorgeous gymnast, with beautiful choreography and her dance is simply gorgeous. Her style is completely different than the one we usually see from Romania and that sets her apart from her teammates. She was a rhythmic gymnast before switching to artistic gymnastics so this is where her elegance and flexibility come from. She combines artistry and difficulty beautifully, and she’s capable of big skills, like an endo into jager on bars, a back handspring + tucked full on vault, and a tucked full in, a piked full in and a triple full on floor. lf Olivia hits her routines on every event, her All Around total could be up to two points higher than it was during qualifications and that could be enough to challenge for a medal.

start value: 5.0 + 5.4 + 5.6 + 5.8 = 21.4 (She typically has more difficulty on beam)

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