The best of the Russian Cup

Anastasia Sidorova, floor

It’s so great to see this girl finally back, competing at the Russian Cup. It has been a rough couple of years for her but it looks like she survived and she’s still capable of some fantastic tumbling passes, like a double layout and a triple full, as well as lovely choreography. Here, her triple must have gotten downgraded to a 2.5 and therefore, her start value was very low. However, she shows lots of potential and she could be winning national medals in a year from now if she manages to stay healthy.

Maria Kharenkova, beam

After shaky routines during the team and the All Around finals, Masha finally reminded us why we all fell in love with her and why she is the European champion on this event. Her routine was not perfect, we still saw some balance checks and missed connection but her layout and her front tuck were fabulously high, her leaps were much better than qualifications and she showed good rhythm and technique. Hopefully, she will be able to polish this routine and fight for a spot in the world beam finals.

Viktoria Komova, bars

One quad and multiple health issues after she won the world title on this event in 2011, Viktoria shows that she stills run the show on uneven bars. Those lines, that toe point, this mesmerizing fluent swing, the amplitude on the flight elements and the beautiful form are as stunning as ever. The bent knees during her taps are still there and she really needs to work on this dismount but it’s absolutely great to see her upgrading and hitting routines that could potentially fight for world medals.

Natalia Kapitonova, bars

An absolutely lovely routine by an absolutely lovely young athlete. Natalia isn’t quit as strong or well known as Melnikova, Skrypnik or Sokova and I’m not sure if she will be ready to fight for a spot in next year’s Olympic team but she definitely has tons of talent and she could leave her mark during the next quad. I love her swing, her lines, her beautiful pirouettes and inbar work.

Daria Spiridonova, bars

What a beauty! This is one of the most difficult routines being done in the world and she performs it like it’s nothing. She is clearly comfortable with the new combinations she added in the beginning of the year and her pak + van leeuwen seems so easy for her. Her inbars are absolutely fabulous, her jaeger is gorgeous and she has such a special style, which is aggressive and elegant at the same time. Heading to worlds, Daria is a top contender for the uneven bars title and I hope she will give a good fight.

Daria Skrypnik, bars

Russia struggles with lots of things right now, but damn, they know how to produce amazing routines on bars. Daria is probably the best junior in the world on this event and by watching the routine you’ll understand why. Her opening combination is poetry in motion. Most athletes who perform uprises with a half turn out of their shaposhnikova variation rarely actually hit their handstand but hers is absolutely flawless. The chow out of the pak salto is so effortless, her lines are gorgeous and all her half turns are right on point. This is a gorgeous routine from a 15-years-old and I can’t wait to watch her grow.

Maria Paseka, bars

Wow, just wow! This routine left me speechless not because it’s absolutely flawless but because I never thought Maria Paseka, out of all people would be capable of performances like that. The first combination (which is her entire routine) is simply spectacular and she actually executes it quite well. I also love how much room there is for upgrades. She could easily upgrade her tkatcev to an E variation of the skill for an extra 0.2 and once she builds more endurance, she could add an other D rated element and improve her start value tremendously. I just hope she doesn’t hurt herself again before she’s able to do any of those things.

Daria Spiridonova, beam

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! I always knew that Daria had massive potential on balance beam but I never thought she would actually learn how to hit routines under pressure but she has proven me wrong. Her leaps are to die for, her onodi + front aerial combination is lovely, her kochetkova is unique and beautifully executed and her double tuck is high and well controlled. Someone needs to tell her that there’s no point in doing a simple turn unless she connects it with her Y turn but this really is the only complaint I have about this fantastic routine.

Maria Paseka, vault

I always find myself rooting for athletes who keep coming back after injuries and proving everyone wrong regardless of whether or not I like the look of their gymnastics and Paseka is one of those athletes. I don’t think there has even been a year during her entire senior career where she hasn’t had some kind of injury but she somehow always comes back with world class difficulty and improved routines. Her amanar and her cheng are far from perfect, but they still are an amanar and a cheng, they are two of the most difficult vaults in the world and she’s one of the very very few athletes who are actually capable of competing them both. She may not have a great block or perfect form but she gets sufficient height and distance, she gets all the rotations around and she manages to land both skills very well. This is enough to make her a top contender for the worlds vault title.

Ksenia Afanasyeva, floor

I’ll be honest, I dislike the new choreography just as much as everyone else. However, there are so many things to love about this routine. The opening ring jump full is simply stunning, the nearly stuck double layout took my breath away, the two difficult turns are absolutely magical, her ending pose is beautiful and the stuck cold 2.5 + layout combination was beyond gorgeous. Afan usually changes a couple of routines each year so I still have hope that she will appear with something different in worlds but even if she doesn’t, this is a strong routine that belongs to the worlds floor finals.

Alla Sosnitskaya uneven bars

This was a weird Russian cup, and one of the strangest things that happened was Alla winning the uneven bars title. It seems like she took advantage of the time she couldn’t train on the leg events due to her ankle injury in order to improve on this event and it certainly paid off for her. Just like Paseka, her entire routine consists of one single combination and it’s absolutely spectacular. However, she still has a long way to go in terms of execution.

Seda Tutkhalyan, balance beam

I haven’t found an individual video of this routine, but it was freaking spectacular. Nobody doubts that Seda is an excellent beam worker. She has one of the highest start values in the world and she is capable of extremely difficult acrobatic and dance elements. After all, she’s the only person performing a round of + layout full in the world right now and during the All Around finals she nailed that skill. She also had no problem with her leaps combination, her high layout and her front aerial + sheep jump. She had a major wobble during her switch ring, but to everyone’s surprise she actually fought for it and managed to stay on the apparatus. Then, she dismounted with one of the highest double pikes being done in the world. Of course, after this great routine she fell on her 2.5 + front layout on floor and lost the All Around title to Daria Spiridonova. Seda also impressed on the uneven bars, where she showed a brand new bhardwaj and dismounted with a gorgeous double front.

Other great routines that I haven’t seen in videos where Daria Elizarova’s bars and floor, Daria Michailova’s beam and Anastasia Dmitrieva’s floor during the All Around finals.

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