Ragan Smith won gold on both bars and beam at the 2017 U.S. Classic last month. Photograph: Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Day 1 of the 2017 senior P&G championships was held in Anaheim, California on 18 August.

2016 Olympic alternate and 2017 American Cup champion Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams leads the senior competition with a 57.400. Smith posted the highest scores on both balance beam (14.500/5.9) and floor exercise (14.200/5.6). She also scored a 14.300/6.0 on bars and a 14.400/5.4 on vault. Smith showed off her new sassy choreography on floor, as well as some spectacular tumbling, including a double layout, a double Arabian and a one-and-a-half twist into triple twist.


Riley McCusker of MG Elite had a great competition for second place (56.100), despite still coming back from injury and competing watered down routines on vault and balance beam. She posted the highest score of the competition on bars with a 14.550/6.1, as well as the second best score on beam with a 14.400/5.6. McCusker also scored a 13.900/5.2 for her ‘sassy ballerina’ floor routine and a 13.250/4.4 on vault for a FTY. Considering that she is not back to full strength, McCusker had a great Day 1 of competition, which draws her one step nearer the World Championships team.


Third was Jordan Chiles of Naydenov with a 55.850. Chiles’ best score came on vault, where she performed the difficult Amanar vault for a 15.150/5.8. It is very hard to score over 15.0 these days, which says a lot about her execution and overall potential. Chiles then scored a 13.950/5.4 on bars, a 13.550/5.3 on beam and a 13.200/5.3 on floor.


Margzetta Frazier of Parkettes was fourth with a 55.400. Frazier scored a 14.300/5.4 on vault, a 14.100/5.9 on bars for a routine packed with difficulty and release moves, a 13.650/5.5 on beam and a 13.350/5.2 on floor.


Fifth was Trinity Thomas of Prestige with a 55.300. Despite getting very little media attention, Thomas is an outstanding gymnast with a huge potential, and she had a great first day of competition. She was third on beam with a 14.200/5.5 for a very solid routine, and tied for second on floor with a 14.100/5.7. She then scored a 13.300/4.4 on vault for a clean FTY and a 13.700/5.7 on the uneven bars.

Sixth was Morgan Hurd of First State with a 54.100. Hurd is another gymnast who has just come back from an elbow injury, but nevertheless she had a good competition. Her best score came on balance beam (14.000/5.5), and she then scored a 13.900/5.4 on vault, a 13.900/5.6 on bars and a 12.300/5.4 on floor. Despite some trouble on floor, Hurd was one of the few gymnasts to compete the very difficult double-double (Silivas) tumbling pass.

Shania Adams of Buckeye was seventh with a 53.950. Adams had a regular competition, scoring a 13.400/4.4 on vault, a 13.200/5.1 on bars, a 13.900/5.8 on beam and a 13.450/5.3 on floor.

2017 U.S. Classic all around champion Alyona Shchennikova of 5280 Gym was only eighth after some trouble on balance beam (11.950/5.4) with a 53.750. She however posted the second best score of the night on bars with a 14.500/6.3, as well as a good 14.350/5.4 on vault.


Ninth was Emily Gaskins on Cincinnati Gym with a 53.700. Gaskins’ best score was a 14.500/5.4 on vault for a beautiful DTY. She also scored a 13.250/5.1 on floor for a somewhat underappreciated routine.

Tenth was Deanne Soza of Texas Dreams with a 53.300. Soza’s best score was a 14.100/5.4 on vault.

2017 U.S. Classic champion on vault and floor, Jade Carey of Oasis tied for second place on floor with a 14.100/5.8. She showed off some very difficult tumbling passes, including a full-twisting double layout. On vault, she competed two very difficult vaults, a Rudi and an Amanar, but unfortunately she sat the latter down.

Olympic alternate Ashton Locklear is making her way back to full shape, taking third place on bars with a 14.350/5.5. I am not sure she will be considered World championships-ready, but her lines are as beautiful as always, and she deserves a World medal so much!


Unfortunately it was a bad night for Victoria Nguyen of Chow’s, who fell on all apparatuses. However, she is coming back from a long series of injuries, and hopefully she will not be discouraged by a disappointing night.

Day 2 of competition is taking place on Sunday, 20 August 2017. A live stream will be available on YouTube on the USA Gymnastics channel.


By Talitha Ilacqua
Maile O'Keefe is the defending champion. Photograph: Maile O'Keefe/Instagram

Day 1 of the 2017 junior P&G championships was held in Anaheim, California on 18 August.

Defending junior U.S. all around champion Maile O’Keefe of Salcianu Elite and Emma Malabuyo of Texas Dreams went head-to-head all the way through the competition, and proved to be ready to compete with senior atheletes. Both gymnasts are turning senior next year.

Maile O’Keefe topped Day 1 with an impressive 57.200. O’Keefe, who is committed to the University of Utah, posted the highest score of the competition on bars, a 14.200/5.8, as well as the second highest scores on all other apparatuses. She scored a 14.600/5.5 on vault (tied), a 14.500/5.9 on beam and a 13.900/5.2 on floor. O’Keefe showed off beautiful long lines on floor, consistent vaulting and high difficulty on both bars and beam.


Just behind her was Emma Malabuyo with a 57.050. Malabuyo, who is committed to UCLA, scored a 14.250/5.5 on floor, which was not only the highest score of the competition, but one of the highest scores in the world. She also scored a 14.100/5.4 for second place on bars, a 14.200/5.9 on beam for third place and a 14.500/5.5 on vault for fifth place. Malabuyo is a joy to watch on all apparatuses, but she shines especially on beam and floor, where her blooming personality meets difficulty and great execution.


Third and fourth were charming GAGE gymnasts Kara Eaker and Leanne Wong. Both gymnasts have exquisite lines and presence, and stunning execution. They both competed also as Level 10s at the Junior Olympics this year, and as elite gymnasts they still need to build some difficulty, but they have huge potential for the future.

Kara Eaker was third with a 55.500. She posted the highest score of the competition on beam, an outstanding 14.850/5.9, for a routine that includes a free-cartwheel + LOSO + LOSO. Eaker was also third on bars with a 13.500/5.0, sixth on floor 13.450/4.9 and thirteenth on vault 13.700/4.6.


Leanne Wong was fourth with a 54.700. Wong was first on vault with a 14.650/5.5 for the most beautiful and clean DTY of the competition with only a tiny step back. She left me with a bittersweet feeling though, as seconds before in warmups she had stuck a stunning DTY. Wong also tied for third on floor with a 13.850/5.1. Words can hardly express how beautiful her form, poise and execution is on this apparatus. Wong also scored a 13.250/5.0 on beam and a 12.950/4.8 on bars.


Fifth was Adeline Kenlin of IGN with a 54.050. Kenlin is another extraordinarily beautiful gymnast, who however did not have the best day, falling on bars on her double front dismount and wobbling on her best apparatus, beam. Kenlin still posted the fourth best score on beam, a 13.950/6.0 and the seventh best on floor, a 13.400/5.2.

Sixth was Olivia Dunne of ENA Paramus with a 53.750. Dunne posted the fifth best score on floor, a 13.650/5.4 and tied for fifth on beam with a 13.700/5.7.

Seventh was Audrey Davis of WOGA  with a 53.550. Davis tied for fourth on bars with a 13.300/5.1 and fifth on beam with a 13.700/5.5.

Eighth was Jay Jay Marshall of TIGAR with a 53.350. She had the seventh best score on vault with a 14.300/5.5.

Tied for ninth were Annie Beard of Texas Dreams and Sunisa Lee of Midwest with two 52.800s. Beard is a star in the making, who has great potential and loves the stage. She kept her ending pose on floor for so long, that she made her coach Kim Zmeskal wonder whether there is a deduction to keep a pose for too long! Lee was not at her best, but posted the third highest score of the competition (tied) on floor, a 13.850/6.2.

Grace McCallum of Twin City Twisters, who tied for twelfth in the all around, also tied for second on vault with a 14.600/5.6.

Uneven-bar specialist Gabby Perea of Legacy Elite competed only on her pet-event, but fell on her Tkatchev for a 13.100/5.8. She however has great difficulty and executions, and could help Team USA significantly on this apparatus in the years to come.

Day 2 of the junior competition resumes on Sunday, 20 August 2017. A live stream is available on YouTube on the USA Gymnastics channel.


By Talitha Ilacqua
Simone Biles' last competition was the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Olympic champion Simone Biles is officially back in the gym. The twenty-year-old, who won four golds and a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics last year, said that she returned to the gym two weeks ago in a giggly NBCSN interview at the P&G championships in Anaheim, California on Friday night.

‘I actually started, like, two Fridays ago’, Biles said. ‘I’m weak. But I’m coming back. I’m just doing conditioning and basics right now.’

Biles lastly competed at the Olympics last summer. She has taken much of 2017 off, but has always been committed to come back with an eye on Tokyo 2020.

‘It’s OK to sit out one [year]’, Biles said. ‘I can’t imagine being out on the floor now.’

It is still unclear who will coach Biles this quad. Her long-time coach Aimee Boorman, who is in Anaheim herself this weekend, moved from Texas to Florida with her family.

Biles has also not yet set a return to competition. If she repeats as Olympic all around champion in 2020, she will be the first gymnast to succeed since the late Czech Věra Čáslavská in 1964 and 1968.

2012-Olympic-all-around champion Gabby Douglas made the Olympic team also in 2016, but failed to qualify for the all around final, finishing third in qualifications behind Biles and Aly Raisman. She is still undecided whether she wants to make a comeback or not.

Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez both plan to return to training after taking 2017 off.

The fifth member of the Fierce Five, Madison Kocian, is the only one to have competed since Rio. The Texas-native competed as a freshman for UCLA, and recently said that she has not ruled out an elite comeback.

By Talitha Ilacqua
Angelina Melnikova at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Russia’s national team coordinator Valentina Rodionenko issued a statement today, naming four gymnasts to the preliminary 2017 World championships team. The four women are Olympians Maria Paseka and Angelina Melnikova, and junior European champions Elena Eremina and Anastasia Ilyankova. Melnikova and Eremina are scheduled to compete in the all around, Paseka on vault and Ilyankova on the uneven bars and on balance beam.

The World championships are taking place in Montreal, Canada from 2 to 8 October 2017.

The team is very similar to the 2017 European championships one, with the exception of Ilyankova, who replaces Natalia Kapitonova. The latter had a brilliant beginning of season, but did not shine internationally, either in Jesolo or at the European championships.

Maria Paseka, 22, is a four-time Olympic medallist and the current world champion on vault. Paseka won a silver with the team and a bronze on vault at the 2012 London Olympics and two silver medals, with the team and on vault, in Rio 2016. She came into the Rio Olympics as the current world champion on vault, after winning the title in Glasgow in 2015. She is also the vault European champion from 2015.

Angelina Melnikova, 17, won silver with the team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and she is the 2017 European champion on floor. As a junior, she also won gold with the team, in the all around and on balance beam at the 2014 European championships. She struggled a bit with consistency this year, an issue that precluded her from qualifying for the all around and beam finals at the European championships, but she has the potential to be in contention for an all around medal and more.

Elena Eremina, 16, is the 2016 junior European all around champion, as well as a gold medallist with the team and the bronze medallist on balance beam. This is her first year as a senior, and earlier this year she shined especially on the uneven bars, winning gold at the Jesolo Trophy and silver at the European championships.

Anastasia Ilyankova, 16, is the 2016 junior European champion on both uneven bars and balance beam. In November 2016, she also won gold in the all around and on floor and silver on bars and beam at the Massilia Cup. Ilyankova did not compete much this season due to persistent injuries, but she excels on the uneven bars, and she has the potential to medal on the world stage on this apparatus.

Noticeably missing from the World championships roster are Olympians Daria Spiridonova and Seda Tutkhalian. Spiridonova is the 2015 uneven bars world co-champion, but this year she showed some lack of consistency, which took her out of the European championships team. She and Ilyankova have similar difficulty on the uneven bars, but the latter has proven more consistent this year. Tutkhalian has also struggled with consistency, and was not awarded any international assignments this year. Missing from the roster is also Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina, who is on maternity leave.

The last word concerning the team, however, has yet to be spoken. Both the Universiade and the Russian Cup are coming up next week, and all gymnasts competing there are still in contention for a spot on the World team. The final decision will be made at a training camp in September.


By Talitha Ilacqua




Who would have thought that Sam Peszek has trained and competed the double Arabian on balance beam which is the most difficult dismount on the apparatus.

The former Olympic gymnast posted a video of herself doing the difficult dismount nine years ago, on Instagram. She has only competed it once.

"This was my only meet ever competing my double Arabian off beam and 9 years later I’m seeing it for the first time! Pretty cool!" She captioned the video.





During her elite gymnastics career, Sam competed an E rated double back pike dismount.

Peszek is best known for being part of the 2007 World gold winning team and the 2008 Olympic silver medal winning team, as well as for being a three time NCAA champion.

Written by Gigi Farid








Our princess Siyu became the center of the Anta cup competition when she showcased upgrades on all 4 events despite a swollen ankle. Her coach has advised her to withdraw from the competition but she insisted on joining.

 Vault:


Siyu debuted her DTY in the competition. It is a bit low due to her ankle but she still managed to land it decently. She scored 5.4+8.45-0.1 = 13.75 on the event.




Bars:

Bars has been Siyu’s forte. This time she surprised us with a new combination of Maloney+Giant 1/1+Tkatchev. She also has an Ono which is really rare among even the Chinese nowadays! She is actually capable of much more than the current routine but the Coach  told her to go easy :). She scored 6.0+8.05 = 14.05.





Beam:

Siyu had a shaky beam year in 2016, but she underwent a complete transformation this year! She rocked beam with a BHS+Loso+Loso, switch+switch ½+Korbut and a new mount~ She wrote on social media afterwards that she’s shaking all over beam during the competition but it turned out fine! She scored 5.8+7.65 = 13.45. Again, she’s capable of even more difficulty, so stay tuned :)





Floor:

Siyu could barely do a double tuck on floor last year due to an injury she sustained the year before. However, she pulled off something amazing this year! Her routine consists of 2 and ½ twists into full twist, and the very typical triple twist into punch front for Chinese girls~ She scored 5.4+7.75 = 13.15 on this event. All around wise, she scored a 54.40 which is really good for a junior!






Beyond gymnastics, Siyu also stood out from the rest as she simply exudes so much happiness! She is an extremely popular girl who likes social media and interaction, and is the mirror image of the stereotypical Chinese gymnast who tends to be more reserved. 

Another rare quality she has is the fact that she trains gymnastics out of pure passion. While the gymnastic landscape in China is changing, it is still rare for children from well-off families to train gymnastics, as it is often considered too hard on children. 

Siyu, however, is one such girl. While she come from a really well-off family in Beijing, she is deeply passionate about gymnastics and is one of the most diligent gymnasts in the team. Her upgrades on all four events this year is the best testimonial to that.

Written by Mrfirefoxgym/tumblr


Ponor/ Photo by Jeni Hull
A year ago, Bustle wrote a gymnastics related article and not only did they not get the facts straight but also have created an alternate reality of the sport.

The article started with explaining what Onodi is. They said when a gymnast jumps backwards, then does a half twist into a front handspring and that it is named after Hungary's Henrietta Onodi although it was first performed by Soviet Olga Mostepanova, which is correct.

However, it mentioned that all gymnastics elements are assigned a difficulty rating, ranging from "A" to "I" WRONG not all gymnastics element but the floor ones are. The difficulty rating of elements on balance beam and uneven bars ranges from A to G.



They wrote that Onodi is worth an F which again is wrong. It is worth a D on beam.



They then linked to a balance beam routine performed by US Nastia Liukin which included an Onodi and mentioned that the skill is also performed on floor exercise and that US ALY RAISMAN competed a DOUBLE version of it.




Everybody, this is an Onodi:
GIF xygretel
And there is no such a thing called a double Onodi, neither on beam nor on floor, and Raisman has never performed Onodi neither on beam nor on floor.

Could the writer have confused Onodi with Arabian? Raisman does compete two types of the Arabian skill, the tucked and the piked ones. She competes double Arabians, and the Arabian on beam is rated an F.





But the writer did acknowledge what's an Onodi at the beginning of the article and that Liukin competed one. Liukin never competed an Arabian.

The writer goes on to mention that Romania's Catalina Ponor attempted the move 'the double Onodi' and that was on vault! During the vault finals in Rio!

Ponor doesn't do Arabians, in fact Romanians don't do Arabians - that's if the writer had an Arabian in their minds while typing Onodi. Ponor has never had two different vaults thus has never competed in vault finals.

In this what we should call alternate reality, Ponor falls on the Onodi vault and finishes in 7th place.




In the real life Olympics, Ponor qualifies to the balance beam final and finishes 7th but she dioes not suffer any falls. It is worth mentioning that she did not perform on vault at this Olympics. 

Actually, Ponor has never fallen off any apparatus in competitions but this one time on vault during the 2016 Olympic test events.

Thanks to Notanotherwolfturn, the article went viral on Tumblr. One of Tumblr users went as far as creating a video that shows the Romanian gymnast competing an Onodi on vault and falling.



http://olympichampion.tumblr.com/post/164107173611/i-cant-believe-its-almost-been-a-year-since-cata

While another created a GIF of a double Onodi on balance beam.



Written by Gigi Farid


Aliya Mustafina has never shown her baby daughter's face on social media up until now.

The Russian gymnast has before uploaded countless of photos of herself with her daughter without revealing her face. But it seems that she finally feels comfortable enough to show her daughter's beautiful face to the world.



Mustafina married bobsleigh champion Alexey Zaitsev in a small and private wedding ceremony last November. The following month, it was announced that the couple is expecting their first child.


The two time Olympic champion named her daughter Alisa whom she welcomed two months ago.

Mustafina's last competition was the Rio Olympic Games where she won three medals. She has expressed desire to return to the sport and compete at 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Written by Gigi Farid


After winning the gold medal in the team final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, US Aly Raisman made a nice gesture to her coach.

She put her hard earned Olympic team gold medal around his neck immediately after the medal ceremony. This is not the first time for Aly to do so as she has done it in London, four years before.



By Gigi Farid


Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Ever since US Olympic champion Madison Kocian edited her Twitter bio, speculations have been made regarding whether she is retiring from elite gymnastics or not.

Kocian has recently updated her social media's bio and removed "elite gymnast" from it.

Her Twitter bio now reads "20. 3x World Champion. 2016 Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist! UCLA Gymnastics".

Last month, the 20 year old gymnast told NBC that she hasn't closed the door on her elite gymnastics career. She said that she will either stop in college and return to elite or finish her four college years and continue her life.

Kocian has suffered from multiple ankle injuries throughout her senior career which started in 2013. She was part of the 2014 and 2015 World gold winning teams. She was part of a historic four-way tie for the 2015 World gold medal on uneven bars with Russians Viktoria Komova and Daria Spiridonova, and China's Fan Yilin.

Her last elite competition was the Rio Olympic Games where she won gold with the team and silver on uneven bars.

She made her collegiate debut last January where she and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross made history by becoming the first Olympic gold medalists to compete as NCAA gymnasts.

Written by Gigi Farid