Friday, January 8, 2010




I have to go with Cassie Whitcomb for this category.  Though she hasn't exactly been totally under the radar with her great results last year, winning bars at the US Classic, and coming second on them at the US Nationals as well as placing eighth in the all-around, I fear she has existed under Marta Karolyi's radar.  Cassie Whitcomb is a refreshingly elegant US gymnast with the kind of lines that make gymnastics look pretty without even trying.  Needless to say, her bars is wonderful.  Though it looks like she is emerging as a successful senior elite with her newly gained international experience, if it doesn't happen, hopefully when she gets to UCLA she will get the attention her gymnastics deserves.


I really like Brazilian gymnast Bruna Leal.  I first saw her at the Stuttgart World Cup contest late last year and was delighted by her floor routine which is very, very pretty and performed to a piece of whimsical string music.  I was sad to see her place only fourth.  She did, however, come third on bars at this meet.
Bruna has clearly improved over the year, as she started her World Cup year in Cottbus in March where she only qualified to one final, floor, but placed only 8th.  By the time she competed at the Jesolo Trophy event, she came 3rd all-around in a fairly strong field.  Her floor routine was, once again, gorgeous, and her first two landings perfect.  Though she doesn't have quite the difficulty of her confreres, her execution and artistry is gorgeous.

I have to put Croatia's Tina Erceg in this category.  She has been around for quite some time, tirelessly performing World Cup events while remaining fairly under the radar (though her leotard at the World Championships ensured she was remembered for something!)  I have always been a fan of her trim and graceful floor work and her talent for turns.  It was really fun to see her taking two bronze, one on floor and one in the rather unsteady beam final, to in front of a wildly happy home crowd at Osijek this year.

I like Ida Jonnson because she's tough.  I saw her in the vault finals of the Doha World Cup last year and was really impressed how she pulled out two clean, high and though not difficult, impressive vaults.  I also really appreciate the way she exudes an air of calm and composure.  She has an elegant floor routine too and her tumbling is improving. It was also lovely to see a gymnast from one of the country's responsible for bringing modern gymnastics to the world, for which we are very grateful!


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