Meet the new seniors: Great Britain

Georgia – Mae Fenton

georgia-mae-fenton-on-beamnotable skills: ray, toe on full, ricna, bail to handstand and full in dismount on bars, valdez + back handspring + layout step out, double turn, side aerial and front aerial on balance beam, double tuck, double front twist and memmel turn on floor

notable achievements: English Espoir All Around champion, British Espoir uneven bars champion, English uneven bars champion, british All Around bronze medalist and uneven bars champion, 4 times School Games gold medalist and 2 times bronze medalist, All Around bronze medalist, balance beam silver medalist and uneven bars champion at friendly meets, EYOF team member, Junior Japan International finalist, Olympic Hopes champion (team)

Georgia – Mae is a lovely gymnast, with beautiful style and excellent flexibility. In the beginning of her elite career, she was training at Europa Gymnastics, alongside Catherine Lyons, but she has moved gyms since then, and she’s now training at East London Gymnastics, which is Tyesha Mattis’ gym. She started making a name for herself in the world of British gymnastics in 2013, when she was very successful at the Espoir championships, winning gold medals in the All Around and the uneven bars. Later that year, she won the uneven bars title at the British championships, where she also competed in the beam and the floor finals. However, what made fans from all over the world notice her was not her medals, but her incredible artistry. Despite her young agegeorgia's walkover by cantcounttwists, Georgia – Mae performed one of the most beautifully choreographed routines we’ve seen during the entire quad and she captivated the audience with her poise and elegance. She made her international debut at the Junior Japan International, where she qualified into the uneven bars finals and got to finish her year in a high note. She struggled with injuries, and could only compete bars and beam in the beginning of 2014, but she was still successful, winning the national uneven bars title. Thankfully, she had a speedy recovery and a successful comeback, and she did an excellent job at the UK School Games, where she won 4 gold and 2 bronze medals, and the Pas de Calais International, where she won 1 silver and 4 gold medals. She had a rather busy 2015, participating in multiple international competitions, including the FIT challenge, the European Youth Olympic Festival and two friendly meets. Some of the highlights of her year, were her floor exercise silver medal at the English championships,  her All Around bronze and her uneven bars gold medals at the British championships and the friendly meet against Italy, Brazil and Germany and her All Around bronze at the friendly meet against France and Switzerland. Georgia is a gorgeous gymnast, capable of some unique skills and georgia mae by cantcounttwistscombinations, but she doesn’t have tons of power, and this prevents her from performing difficult elements on vault and floor. However, she has beautiful artistry, she shows fluid swing and high releases on bars, and unusual skills and clean execution on beam, so I can see her having team finals worthy routines on those events in the future. In the past, she has trained a memmel on the balance beam, but she has switched gyms since then, so I’m not sure if she’s still working on that exciting turn. She has also trained a hindorff, a stalder full, a gienger, and a maloney on bars and a side aerial + layout step out on beam Her start values are not massive, she will need major upgrades in order to be competitive against the seniors and I’m not sure if she has enough time to increase her difficulty by the time the Olympic team will be selected. However, even if 2016 doesn’t work out for her, I hope to see her sticking around during the next quad, because she certainly has the potential to be a bars and beam specialist for team GB in the future.

(gif credit: icannotcountthosetwists, photo credit: British gymnastics)

Teal Grindle

teal_rotatornotable skills: full twisting yurchenko on vault, ray, bail to handstand, gienger and full twisting double tuck dismount on the uneven bars, double turn, wolf jump + side somi, sheep jump, front aerial, side aerial and double pike dismount on balance beam, 1.5 step out into a double tuck, 2.5 twists and double pike on floor

notable achievements: English Espoir floor champion and British Espoir All Around, vault and floor silver medalist, two times British floor and beam champion, British All Around silver medalist, 2014 Junior European silver medalist (team) and event finalist, AYOF beam champion, two times AYOF silver medalist (team and All Around), Olympic Hopes champion (team)

Teal is a powerful and clean gymnast, who was considered a potential Olympic contender when she was a junior. From a very young age, she showed fun choreography, great personality and beautiful execution and most importantly, she shined on balance beam, which has always been Great Britain’s weakest event. She won her first national gold medal as an espoir on floor, in the 2012 English Espoir championships, and a few weeks later, she once again placed first on that event at the British championships. She started her 2013 with a trip to Sydney, to compete at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, where she helped her team win a silver medal, placed second in the All Around and became the balance beam champion. This gave her tons of confidence and she had a successful year, winning multiple medals at national competitions, including two gold ones at the Britishteal by twists.gif championships, and performing beautifully at the Tournoi International du Pas de Calais, earning 1 bronze, 2 silver and 3 gold medals. 2014 was a very important year for her, since she made her transitions from Espoir to the junior ranks and she had a great performance at the British championships, placing 2nd in the All Around, 1st on beam and 3rd on bars and floor. She also competed at the Munich friendly meet, helping her team win a silver medal and then, she headed to the biggest competition of her career so far, the junior European championships. She contributed to the team’s historic silver medal with routines on bars and beam, and she qualified into the beam finals, where she placed 4th. She didn’t have a perfect competition in Sofia, but she showed great potential and everyone was excited to see what she could do in the future but unfortunately, Teal struggled with a major shoulder injury and those European championships were her last images (1)meet in more than a year. The road to recovery has not been easy, but she kept pushing herself and she actually returned to competition at the Olympic Hopes, at the end of 2015. This is a relatively small competition and Teal did not perform extremely difficult routines, but it was great to see her getting out there again. She is a very talented and charismatic gymnast and a promising All Arounder, who could certainly help the British team and I strongly believe that if she hadn’t gotten injured, she would already be part of the discussion. Her full twisting yurchenko on vault seemed easy for her, her bars were promising, her beam was word class and her tumbling passes were high and clean. However, her injury has unfortunately held her back and it’s hard to make any predictions about her at that point. If she doesn’t manage to get high start values in time for Rio, I certainly hope to see her sticking around but she definitely is a very talented athlete, who has the potential to be successful in the sport.

(photo credit:  Will campaign. Courtesy of SportsAid and x, gif credit: gif credit: icannotcountthosetwists)

You can find an interview of Teal, talking about her injury, her career and her recovery here and you can read her journal of her experience in Sydney here

Catherine Lyons

54notable skills: 1.5 twisting yurchenko on vault, maloney + shang, gienger, bail to handstand and double arabian dismount on bars, front aerial + sheep jump, two back handspring + layout step out, switch leap + ring leap, scale to Y turn, switch ring and 2.5 twists on beam, 1.5 + front full, double pike and 2.5 + front tuck on floor

notable achievements: Espoir champion on every event, AYOF silver medalist (team), UK school Games champion on every event, English and British champion on every event except bars, Junior European floor champion and team silver medalist, four times Welsh Open champion

Even people who did not follow Great Britain’s junior team during the quad are most likely familiar with Catherine’s work. During the past two years, there have been very few juniors who got as much attention and as much love as she did, because there have been very few juniors, who were as beautiful, as artistic or as unique as she is. Her artistry, her flexibility and her precision, was what got the attention of fans from all over the world before she even became an elite gymnast and everyone was delighted to see her having such an incredible junior career a few years later. In 2012, she won three gold medals at the British Espoir championships, she became the balance beam champion of the UK school Games and she competed at Coupe Avenir, where she placed third in the All Around. In 2013, she helped her team win a silver medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, where she captivated the crowd with her beautiful artistry and she became the All Around silver medalist, the uneven bars bronze medalist and the floor exercise champion of the British Espoir Championships. She finished her Espoir career bycatherine's mount by mustafinesse.gif dominating her last two national competitions, the UK school Games and the second Espoir championships of the year, and winning every single gold medal in both of them. Between those two meets, she also participated in the Junior Japan international, where she placed 8th in the All Around and 4th on balance beam while competing against a very deep field. She started her junior career with 7 medals, 3 of which were gold, at the English and the British championships and she was selected to represent her country at the Junior European championships. After a silver team medal at the Munich friendly meet, she headed to Sofia for what would be the biggest competition of her career so far and she had a great competition. She helped her team win a historic silver medal, she placed 4th in the All Around and 5th on beam. Then, she grabbed her last chance for an individual medal and she showed a GORGEOUS floor routine, to become the junior European champion on this event. She did not compete for the rest of the year due to a concussion but as her teammates, Ellie Downie, Amy Tinkler and Tyesha Mattis, transitioned to the senior ranks, Catherine was expected to dominate junior competitions in 2015 and that’s exactly what she did. She started her year at Welsh Open, where she won 1 silver and 4 gold medals, placing in the top 2 on every single event and she won the All Around, the vault, the balance beam and the floor exercise title at both the English and catherine's switch ring by aly126.gifthe British championships. After this incredible success and with all the exciting upgrades she was working on, she was considered one of the best juniors in the world and she was expected to be one of the super stars of the upcoming European Youth Olympic Festival. She would have certainly had a chance to win multiple medals at this competition, but she unfortunately never even got to compete, since she suffered from a stress fracture. She was supposed to make her comeback at the Junior Japan International but apparently, she wasn’t quite ready and she pulled out of the competition, so we haven’t seen her performing since last year. It’s hard to know what to expect from her after a long absence, but she has trained a ray, a whip + triple twist, a triple full beam dismount, a double twisting yurchenko, 2.5 twists into a front full and even a def , so there are definitely stuff to be excited about, but we don’t know in what shape she’s in right now. Catherine is freaking gorgeous. Her jumps and leaps are to die for, her choreography is magical, her releases on bars are sky high, her execution is incredibly clean and her beauty is hard to go unnoticed. She also has sufficient power, she shows elegance and maturity beyond her years and she’s capable of unique work. Shecatherine by huanghuidan.gif never had massive start values, but her routines always looked easy for her and her basics are excellent so upgrading shouldn’t be a problem for her. Back in 2014, I was confident that she’d be a top contender for the Olympic team but at this point, it’s hard to make any predictions. I am certainly not counting her out, but I think we should wait until we see her routines before talking about her chances. I think she has the potential to be an excellent All Arounder, with team finals worthy routines on every event, but she doesn’t have enough time. Her 2014 routines looked easy for her and she was working on major upgrades on every event. If she had stayed healthy, I’m sure we would have already seen those upgrades in competition and that she would have competitive start values. However, her injuries held her back and she doesn’t have tons of time. It will be a race against the clock, but I believe in her and I’m beyond excited to see her bringing some beauty into Great Britain’s senior team.

(photo credit Yoshinori Sakakibara, gif credit: mustafinesse, aly126 and huanghuidan)

Abigail Solari

abigail solari.png
photo source: Abi’s instagram

notable skills: front tuck half out on vault, maloney + clear hip + tkatcev, bail to handstand and double front dismount on the uneven bars, side aerial, front aerial and double turn on balance beam, tucked full in, double pike and double tuck on floor

notable achievements: 2013 English vault silver medalist, 2014 Welsh Open bronze medalist, British championships event finalists, Olympic Hopes All Around silver medalist, France vs Great Britain vs Switzerland friendly meet silver medalist (team), Great Britain vs Germany vs Brazil vs Italy friendly meet champion (team), British team championships uneven bars and vault bronze medalist

Then, we have Abigail Solari, who trains alongside world medalist Ruby Harrold at Academy Gymnastics. After winning a silver medal on vault at the 2013 English championships as an Espoir, Abi started her junior career with an All Around bronze medal at the 2014 Welsh Open and then, she placed 7th All Around at the English championships and 8th All Around, 6th on vault and 7th on beam at the British championships. A few months later, she helped her team win a silver medal at the British team championships, where she also placed 6th in the All Around and 3rd on the uneven bars. She finished her year in a high note, since she had a successful competition at the Olympic Hopes, where she won the All Around silver medal. In 2015, she placed 9th All Around at the Welsh Open, 5th All Around at the English championships and 11th All Around at the British championships, where she also finished 4th on vault and 7th on bars. She also got a couple of international assignments and she helped her team win a silver medal at the friendly meet against France and Switzerland and a gold medal at the friendly meet against Italy, Germany and Brazil. She also competed at the British team championships, earning a silver with her team and a bronze on vault. Abi is a talented and dynamic gymnasts, with lots of power and plenty of potential. Her start values are not as high as some of her teammates’, but she’s working on new skills and combinations, like a back handspring into two layout step outsa gorgeous double arabian, a lovely 2.5 + front layout combination and even a silivas. She is also training one of my favorite vaults: a front tucked full, as well as a full twisting yurchenko. I’m not sure if she has enough times to upgrade her routines and be competitive in 2016, but she’s certainly a worth watching gymnast, with lots of great qualities. She has a very promising uneven bars set, with tons of room for upgrades, so I’m excited to see what she can do on this event.

Phoebe Turner

phoebe tunotable skills: full twisting yurchenko on vault, tkatcev, bail to handstand and double front dismount on bars, side somi, back handspring + layout step out + layout step out, front aerial + sheep jump, switch ring and double tuck dismount in combination on beam, 2.5 twists + front tuck, triple twist, double front twist and double tuck on floor

notable achievements: British Espoir vault silver medalist, 2015 Welsh Open All Around silver medalist, 2015 English All Around silver medalist, France vs Great Britain vs Switzerland friendly meet silver medalist (team), 2013 UK School Games champion (team)

Phoebe is another lovely gymnast, who trains at the Academy, alongside Ruby Harrold. She was a fairly successful Espoir, qualifying in two finals at the 2012 British championships, placing 2nd on vault at the 2013 English championships and becoming the 2013 British vault silver medalist. She also participated in the 2013 British team championships and the UK school Games of the same year and helped her team win gold medals in both competitions. During 2014, Phoebe placed 4th in the All Around at the Welsh Open, despite having major mistakes on balance beam but she wasn’t equally successful at the English and the British championships, where problems on bars and floor prevented her from finishing higher than 10th and 9th in the All Around respectively. She phoebe turnerr.jpgalso qualified into the beam finals at the British championships, where she placed 8th after a rather rough routine. She also got to compete internationally at the Olympic Hopes, where she posted her team’s highest scores on vault, beam and floor, to help them win a gold medal. That gave her confidence going into 2015, which was a much better year for her. She started things off at the Welsh Open, where she earned a silver medal in the All Around, while also posting the second highest score of the day on bars, beam and floor. After that, she grabbed another All Around silver medal at the English championships, where she also placed 2nd on balance beam. She was in contention for an All Around medal at the British championships, but she unfortunately had trouble handling her nerves and made major mistakes. However, she was still able to finish in a very respectable 5th place in the All Around while also placing 4th on vault. After the national competitions, she was selected to compete at the friendly meet against France and Switzerland, where she helped her team win a silver medal and placed 9th in the All Around, and she had participated at the British team championships, placing 4th in the All Around, right behind world team members Amy Tinkler, Kelly Simm and Charlie Fellows, despite having some mistakes. There are so many things to love about Phoebe’s gymnastics. Her full twisting yurchenko is very solid, her tkatcev is high, her beam routine is very promising and her double tuck dismount is high. She’s also a greatphoebe by griffin.gif twister and she shows clean form on floor, where she uses Ellie Downie’s floor music. I also absolutely adore her low to the beam choreography and I always enjoy her dance on floor. However, she has been inconsistent in her junior career and this is certainly something she will have to work on as a senior. She will also need to upgrade her routines in order to be competitive, but I think she’s very promising, especially on beam and floor and I’m excited to see what she can do.

(photo credit: x and CliftonPhotographiccompany for Academy gymnastics, gif credit: griffinssclarke)

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