Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Yes, that is right.  It is that time of the year again.  Time to take stock, look at the good and bad stuff in this year's world of gymnastics.  You know, I was looking at last year's (I can't believe it has been a year!) Year in Review and it reminded me how little I was expecting from this year after all the excitement and anticipation of an Olympic year.  But it was an exciting year.  One of the glass-half-full things I forget to look forward to in the year after an Olympics is the unexpectedness of events.  We see unexpected people on medal podiums.  We see new tricks. We see the rise of new juniors.  We see the comeback of old seniors.  And one of the most interesting things to me is the way we see how arbitrary the quad timing of gymnastics is when gymnasts who were in the mix during an Olympic year ripen and peak in that time after the Olympic because that is when they were ready.
I enjoyed this year in gymnastics.  I feel like there was less controversy, less negative stuff than there was last year in the lead-up to the Olympics.  And to me, there is nothing like seeing new gymnasts and new gymnastics to keep me excited about it. 

Anyway, this year I will be posting my review of 2009, part by part; in the form of;


Today's category is BEST NEW TALENT in three subsections.

Here goes!!


Yawn if you like, but for me, this one goes out to Ana Porgras.  There has been few people around the gymnastics traps who have not delighted in this breath of fresh air from Romania.  Breaking all kinds of Deva tradition with her delicate dance and fragile grace, gymfans watched her emergence onto the world elite scene with pleasure and anticipation this year.  Her balletic style and innate elegance was perhaps as surprising a treat from a Romanian as Cheng Fei's emergence as a vaulting power from China was so many years ago. Hopefully, she will break away from a more recent tradition of badly-timed injuries for Romanians and be a gym star we can savour for some time.       

Honourable Mentions
Sui Lu- for her gorgeous floor work and worlds bronze.
Larissa Miller- a bars finals at her first major outing.
Yana Demyanchuk- though she couldn't sustain it, Yana prvoed Ukraine could still 'bring it'.     


Well there have been some incredible new talents emerge over the last year, but my personal choice has got to go to the gloriously difficult and beautiful gymnastics of the seemingly unshakeable Viktoriya Komova.  Not only does she have the tricks to win senior international elite competitions right now, she executes  them with and elegance and poise rarely found in older gymnasts let alone a junior on the rise. Here's hoping that she can see this talent through to her senior career- a prospect so exciting and anticipated it feels like it is never going to arrive!!

Honourable Mentions

The entire Rusian junior squad. There are so many up-and-comers in that batch that it would be too hard to pick!  Fingers crossed against any injury-apalooza and we have some good gymnastics coming our way!

Murukami Mai- this little imp is proving that the Japanese rise is no flash in the pan.

Kyla Ross cemented her spot at the top of the US junior pile by taking the US Classis and the junior nationals this year.  Though she was not up against wunderkind Scam Cup winner, Jordyn Wieber, she impressed with her surprisingly lovely lines and calm demeanour at both competitions.


This year made this a surprisingly hard category, but this year's winner for me is most definitely Koko Tsurumi because not only has she delighted fans by ripening into the lovely and talented all-around gymnast she looked to become at Beijing last year, her rise this year has been synonymous with the overall rise in her nation's staus in woemn's elite gymnastics.  She has a gorgeous beam set, some mean bars work and proved, when pressed, she can pull of a medal-securing vault.  Hopefully the London Worlds is not the peak of her talent either.

Honourable Mentions

Lauren Mitchell- She proved her mettle so long ago at the 2007 Worlds by making it to beam finals.  Since then she has become known for her talent for beam and she was a sad loss from the Beijing beam final luijing final line-up this year.  She began this year with an extremely shaky, yet extremely competitive beam set that matured to become a silver medal-winning set at world, while at the same time proving her talent for floor and all-around too.

Bridget Sloan- It never ceases to surprise me how quickly things change in gymnastics.  But there was something kind of lovely about watching Bridget Sloan come from being the baby of the Beijing-bound pack to being the stoic senior who had the nouse and experience to hold out for the world crown in the London AA finals. proving once again, maturity, no matter how quickly it is gained, has a great deal of worth in a sport like this.  Though never having been a fan of her gymnastics style, I intensely admire Bridget's strength and talent and have enjoyed watching her grow into the old lady of the US team.

Ariella Kaeslin- but more will be said about her sudden gains later.



  1. Excellent choices, all! I can't wait to read the rest of your list. ;-)

  2. Becca Bross doesn't get a nod for best new elite senior? Disappointing. She deserves it even more than Porgras as Bross came off a year of devastating injury to medal as a first-year senior in the world all-around AND pick up an individual event world medal. Not even mentioning her solid performance @ US nationals despite not competing in over a year.
    Porgras is gorgeous, but Bross should've at least been mentioned.

  3. Funnily, MS, I think you will find your sentiments echoed in part 3 of the TCG awards. I had already written that part. Do not fret. Becca gets her due! I couldn't ignore talent like that, I was merely considering it in the way that you argued your point. It was a hell of an injury comeback! Read ahead.