While trying to put this list together, I realized that the vast majority of my favorite routines of the year were performed by athletes who have gorgeous artistry and level 9 tumbling. However, when we are talking about the best routines of the year, we need to give some recognition to the athletes who are throwing H rated tumbling passes. Because of that, this list includes some of the best tumblers in the world and hopefully, there will be another one that will focus on artistry and choreography.
One of my sentimental favorite routines of the year was Diana Bulimar’s (Romania) performance at the Romanian nationals. Diana was still recovering from a surgery, she hadn’t even performed a full routine at the Romania vs France friendly meet a couple of weeks later and she had been struggling with knee problems for the entire quad. And yet, she somehow managed to perform a double layout, a piked full in, a double tuck and double pike and to have a big smile on her face throughout her routine. I was also stunned by her teammate, Catalina Ponor, who showed a double layout, two whips into a piked full in, a triple twist and a double pike after being in full training for only 6 months. Another sentimental favorite of mine is Lorrane Oliveira’s (Brazil) performance at the world championships. Lorrane is a very powerful tumbler with clean execution but she had never really hit a routine and controlled her landings during competition for the entire year. However, she managed to do that when it counted the most and she delivered a big score for her team. I also loved watching Lu Yufei of China, sticking each and every one of her tumbling passes at the Chinese Youth Games.
Dorina Boczogo, Hungary, Hungarian nationals
What a fabulous routine for Dorina! This really is an excellent combination of powerful tumbling, intricate dance elements and lovely artistry, and it’s incredible to see such a high level of gymnastics from an athlete coming from a small gymnastics country. I believe that this was the first time she was competing her double layout and she absolutely nailed it. Her piked full in was beautifully controlled and I live for her stuck double front. She also shows confidence and elegance during her choreography and lovely flexibility during all her ring leaps and her memmel. I absolutely love her dance before the third tumbling pass and her smile when she finishes with a strong double pike.
Amy Tinkler, Great Britain, European championships qualifications
This routine is so much fun to watch. I absolutely love the music and Amy does an excellent job selling her choreography to the crowd. She had just added this huge full twisting double layout into her routine and she absolutely nailed it during those championships. Her double layout looks easy for her, her twisting form during her 1.5 + 2.5 combination is beautiful and her double pike dismount is clean and well controlled. If Amy manages to put the silivas she showed later that year, the full twisting double layout and the double layout in the same routine, she could have a massive start value by 2016.
A special mention should also go to Maggie Nichols, who has been extremely impressive on this event all year long, showing powerful tumbling and expressive choreography and to American juniors Jazzy Foberg and Christina Desiderio, who are capable of H tumbling passes at the age of 15. Worlds finalist Giulia Steingruber has also been very impressive on this event, while Lisa Top nailed her Dos Santos and her double front at the European Games trials.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best floor routines of 2015
15.MyKayla Skinner, USA, nationals day 2
There are lots of areas where MyKayla could improve, but there’s no denying that she has one of the most difficult routines this world has ever seen. Her tumbling is absolutely breathtaking. She is now the only woman competing the double twisting double layout and this is enough to prove that she is an incredible tumbler. She makes the silivas look easy and the landings on her 1.5 + 2.5 and her full in were absolutely perfect. Her power and her endurance are unbelievable and it’s crazy to think that an athlete with her level of difficulty did not make it into worlds. She already has one of the highest start values out there, and she has been working on connecting her full in with a back tuck and on upgrading her 2.5 into a triple, so she could have a massive number next year.
14. Mao Yi. China, nationals team finals
Mao Yi wins the “where did you come from” award of the year for me. She was completely unknown until last year and then, she suddenly appeared with a combination that had never been done by a woman. This girls’s twisting ability is out of this world. She actually gets her 3.5 twists all the way around and the front tuck she performs out of it has excellent amplitude. Her 2.5 + rudi is incredibly difficult and unique and beautifully executed while she probably has the best triple twist I’ve seen during the year. Her choreography is lovely, her ability to connect with the crowd is excellent and she has a beautiful smile that captivates the audience. Yi had some falls and mistakes during the year, but this is not surprising, considering that she didn’t have any international experience. Hopefully, she has now gained some confidence that will help her be even more impressive in the future.
13. Erika Fasana, Italy, Europeans All Around finals
This was such an incredible performance under pressure. Erika was having an excellent competition at those finals, this was her last routine of the day and she put everything she got into it. She chose an “all or nothing” approach, she attempted a full twisting double layout for the first time ever and she landed it beautifully. Her silivas is fabulous, she nailed that double pike at the end and she performed her routine as well as she could. I absolutely adore her music and she has plenty of choreography during her performance. I just love for the fire and the determination of this performance. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the bronze medal, but it’s still one of my favorite moments of the year.
12. Ellie Black, Canada, worlds qualifications
Ellie’s floor is so unique. Most of the world’s top gymnasts seem to perform double doubles and full twisting double layouts and the vast majority of the athletes currently competing seem to dismount with a double pike. And then, you have Ellie, performing three unique tumbling passes we rarely see. Her opening combination gives me life. I still can’t believe she connects 2.5 twists into a double tuck, I’m pretty sure she’s the only person in the world who is competing this connection and she landed it perfectly during qualifications. Her double front twist + front tuck looks so effortless and her unusual front full + double pike is absolutely fabulous. Her artistry and choreography have also improved a lot and I absolutely love this music and the ending of this routine. Ellie has come such a long way during the quad and she really had an amazing year in 2015 so I can’t wait to see what she can do in the future.
11. Ellie Downie, Great Britain, worlds event finals
What an amazing performance from Ellie! After trying out different tumbling passes through the years, she found what works for her and showed this fantastic routine. She is such a powerful and explosive gymnast and her tumbling is absolutely breathtaking. The opening 1.5 + double arabian + stag looks so easy for her and this Dos Santos… oh my god, it’s so high and clean and her landing was pretty much perfect. It makes screams every time I watch it. She also showed impressive amplitude and clean twisting form during her 2.5 + font tuck and she nailed that double pike dismount. This routine seems easy for Ellie so hopefully, she will have even more difficult tumbling next year.
10. Wang Yan, China, Asian championships event finals.
It is so refreshing to see such powerful tumbling from team China. It’s been a while since the last time a Chinese gymnast performed a silivas on floor, so it was great to see Yan adding it to her routine and performing it as well as she did. Her second tumbling pass is one of my favorite combinations of all time. There are only a few people in the world who are capable of it and in my opinion, Wang is the one who executes it the best. She has beautiful twisting form and her landing was fabulous. Her third pass is lovely, the front layout just floats and I much prefer it to the barani she performed at the world championships. In the past, she also competed a spectacular 2.5 + rudi combination, and she had a beautiful full in in 2015, so I’m hoping to see her upgrading this routine.
9. Mai Murakami, Japan, Japanese Event nationals
After having to downgrade her routine last year, Mai came back to show us why she was one of the best floor workers in the world back in 2013. This routine is absolutely outstanding. She starts with an incredibly clean silivas and she only lands it with a tiny hop, she continues with a beautiful double layout, she shows perfect form on her 1.5 + front full combination and her stuck triple twist at the end is freaking fabulous. Her form is lovely, were landings were all perfectly controlled and I absolutely love her music. Her reaction after the routine was over says it all. Hopefully, she will be able to perform like that and fight for major medals next year.
8. Claudia Fragapane, Great Britain, worlds team finals
Who could have guessed that Claudia would produce a performance like that back when she fell on multiple times at the American cup? There’s still plenty of room for improvement in her execution and I have to say I miss her 2014 choreography, but I just love this routine because it’s freaking insane. Her full twisting double layout has improved so much since we first saw it, her double arabian is ridiculously high, her triple twist was beautifully controlled and the fact that she dismounts with a double layout + wolf jump is unbelievable. The crowd exploded after she landed that last tumbling pass and Claudia deserved every bit of their applause for this routine. I just love the power in her tumbling and I live for this back spin into her ending pose and the big smile at the end. She already has a massive start value without performing many combinations in this routine, so she could have a huge number if she performed a whip or an 1.5 step out before her double arabian or her triple full.
7. Sae Miyakawa, Japan, worlds qualifications
Sae’s tumbling is what dreams are made of. Lots of athletes are currently competing full twisting double layouts, but very few of them can perform this skill as beautifully as she does. And that front layout to double front… it’s poetry in motion. And then, she performs a freaking silivas as her third pass. This is so ridiculously difficult to do and yet, she makes it look easy. But of course, the insanity is not over yet, and Sae finishes her routine with a huge double layout. All her tumbling passes are both extremely hard and cleanly executed and all her landings are excellent. I do wish she could focus more on her dance elements and her choreography, but I absolutely adore this routine and I’m so proud of her for hitting it every single time in Glasgow. After falling over and over again, Sae managed to control her nerves and show us what she can do when it mattered the most. She recently hit a front full + double front combination and a double wolf turn at the Toyota international, so this is not even the best she can do.
6. Shang Chunsong, China, worlds event finals
Finally! After three years of low landings, mistakes and poor execution scores, Chunsong, finally managed to live up to her potential on this event. Some of her under-rotated twists still scare me but it’s hard to deny how much she has improved through the years. She is the only athlete in the world currently competing 3.5 twists into a front pike and it’s absolutely spectacular. It’s such an incredibly difficult combination and she absolutely nailed it here. And of course, her signature 1.5 + triple + front tuck is as exciting as ever. It’s one of my favorite tumbling passes of all time and I’m so excited to see more athletes working on it. Her last two tumbling passes are not as unique or difficult, but they were both beautifully landed. Shang did not manage to win a medal for this routine, but she finally scored in the high 14s and she showed that she is in fact, one of the best floor workers in the world.
5. Ksenia Afanasyeva, Russia, European event finals
What a beauty. It’s incredible to think that despite her age and her injuries, Ksenia has an even more difficult routine than the one that won her a floor title back in 2011. This was her first major competition after her injuries and she exceeded everyone’s expectations with her performance. I absolutely love her ring jump full and from the moment she stuck this gorgeous double layout, I knew that this was going to be a great routine. Her two whips + triple twist is always so exciting to watch, her 2.5 + front layout was beautifully landed and damn, that was a fantastic double pike at the end. This is how you stick a landing! Her turns were lovely, her leaps were excellent and even though choreography is obviously not as great as it once was she’s still beautiful to watch. I adore the ending of her routine and I was so happy to see her becoming the European champion and the worlds silver medalist on this event.
4. Larisa Iordache, Romania, Romanian nationals event finals
Larisa hadn’t competed for the entire year due to ankle problems and most people were worried about what she’d be capable of, especially on this event. And then, she came and she showed routines like this one. Floor has always been the event where I enjoy her the most. I think she has a great balance between difficulty and artistry and she is a great performer, who is not afraid to sell her routine to the crowd. I preferred her previous choreography, but I still love her energy and her smile and course, her tumbling is always fantastic. Her opening double double is extremely difficult, she stuck this tucked full in cold, she showed great height and control during her triple twist and she finished with a fantastic double pike. Her dance elements are also extremely difficult. I love the memmel + illusion combination and I think she has one of the best and most consistent gogeans in the world. She is definitely one of my favorite floor workers out there and I was devastated to see her missing out on a spot in the floor finals. Hopefully, she will stay healthy and be more successful on this event next year.
3. Aly Raisman, USA, nationals day 2
Aly will never be my favorite gymnast, but it’s hard not to admit that her tumbling is freaking amazing. She had the highest start value back in 2012 but she realized that the sport has evolved since then and she didn’t just regain her old difficulty during the comeback, but she also upgraded her routine. Her first 1.5 + double arabian + front layout tumbling pass still blows my mind every time I watch it. She was the first athlete to compete this incredible combination and I don’t think anyone else has attempted it since then. Her Dos Santos is sky high and she easily connects it with a stag jump and her new double layout seems so easy for her, even if she does it as her third tumbling pass. I absolutely loved her double pike + split jump half but I understood why she eventually took it out of her routine. I am also ver impresed with her double L turn, that has been very consistent through the year. Aly was also working on a Dos Santos + front tuck and a triple twist so we can expect even more upgrades from her next year.
2. Rebeca Andrade, Brazil, FIT challenge
This routine makes me want to cry every single time I watch it. It’s so freaking brilliant and so unique. Her original first tumbling pass is one of the most exciting pieces of gymnastics we saw during the entire year. It’s innovative, it’s difficult and it’s so beautifully executed. She also has one of the cleanest and prettiest 2.5 + front full combinations out there. It just looks effortless. And her two last tumbling passes may be relatively easy but they are so close to perfect. She gets incredible height, she keeps her form clean and she controls her landings without any trouble. This really is one of the most impressive double tucks I’ve ever seen. I understand that not everyone will like her choreography, but it’s so different to anything else we’ve seen. This music really works for her and she doesn’t just pose and wave her arms like many gymnasts do, she actually dances, she performs and she smiles and I think this would be so fabulous once she got a bit more comfortable to it. Rebeca is an amazing gymnast and her injury was probably the most devastating thing that happened during the year. I just hope that she will manage to be ready for Rio because the world deserves to see this routine.
1. Simone Biles, USA, worlds team finals
No words will ever be enough to describe Simone’s floor. She’s just so much better than anyone else currently competing that it seems like her routine comes from the future. She has the highest start value in the world, her tumbling is absolutely insane, her execution couldn’t possibly be better and her performance quality is fantastic. She has one of the best full twisting double layouts the world has ever seen, she has her own original tumbling pass that takes my breath away every single time, she performs a sky high silivas as her third tumbling pass and she sticks that full in at the end of her routine like it’s nothing. The height she gets on every single tumble is fantastic, her form is close to perfect and she barely gives anything away on her landings. But of course, her routine is not just about the tumbling. She actually gets her double wolf all the way around, she hits her splits in her leaps, she has nice choreography, she smiles, she makes eye contact with the crowd and she’s just a joy to watch. Fifty years from now, people will go back to watch this routine and talk about how Simone is way ahead of the time and we are all extremely fortunate to watch her perform live.
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