THE MEMMEL AWARD
It might be hasty to call this category of award the Memmel award considering it is never entirely clear if Chellsie is going to make yet another comeback to her stellar gymnastics career. But there has been no other gymnast quite like her for returning to the field when she is most needed to liven up the competition floor.
BEST COMEBACK KID
This one goes out to Youna Dufournet. Dufournet's was a star that rose quickly in the junior ranks of french gymnastics and the gym world was expectant as this fierce all-around talent entered the senior scene. Unfortunately, her performance at the Euros this year shocked most viewers as she seemed to be performing routines way to difficult for her growing body and her dual falls on floor were nothing less than frightening. The demoralised gymnast mustered nothing higher than a fourth placing on bars in a competition that last year, some may have sworn she could have potential to star in. Yet the resilient Dufournet came to Worlds looking cleaner, sharper and much more able. She was rewarded for this with a stellar fifth place in the all-around competition. And there was little to compare to her smile of utter delight when she found herself with a bronze medal after two fabulous vaults. Let's just hope Youna keeps on coming on.
Though it was a fleeting comeback, the Italian gymnastics fans were overjoyed to see Vanessa Ferrari's brief return to gymnastics at the European Championships and positively (and very, very loudly) overjoyed to witness her floor silver. Good news is that she is back in training on all four events and well on her way to a world military coup.
Rebecca Bross- though it seems this this fiercely talented kid hasn't been around long enough to qualify for a comeback awards, it must be remembered that she didn't just burst onto the scene this year, but came back from a lengthy injury to take US gymnastics by storm this year. While she had some shaky competitions, her lack of preparation time may well have something to do with it. To storm into the elite world, make a worlds team and come out with a silver AA medal after months of not competing- thats a comeback!! AND a testament to this kids toughness.
Elsa Garcia- this infectiously sweet gymnast mde a wonderful comeback to elite gymnastics at Worlds this year, making AA and vault finals despite missing Beijing after a long injury. It was edifying (and somewhat ironic after her vault, er, mishap) that she was awarded the Longines elegance award.
In collegiate, nothing was less satisfying than Courtney McCool's return to competitive form after a lengthy foot injury this year. Her return to the Gym Dogs line up on beam and bars (sadly not floor) played a big part in their steadily rising meet scores and, according to all and sundry, to their effervescent team spirit. McCool was rewarded for her troubles with a 10.0 on beam late in the season.