A straddled Jaeger with a half turn is one of the most impressive skills on uneven bars. Although China's He Kexin did not originate the skill, it only became popular and known after Kexin's Olympic gold winning performance on bars in 2008.

Skill: A straddled Jaeder with a half turn
Rating: E
Named After: Li Ya (China)
Event: Uneven Bars.

Debut: 2006 World championships

Ya's Bio

Li Ya is a retired Chinese gymnast who was born in 1988. The uneven bars and balance beam are her strongest events.

She competed at the 2003 World championships where she placed 4th with her team and during balance beam final. At 2004 Olympic games, her team finished in a disappointing 7th place. Individually, she placed 5th on bars and 7th on beam after a fall.

Li was not selected for the 2005 Worlds but was selected for the 2006 World championships where her team to win their first ever World title. Li did not compete in team final, it is said that she withdrew due to nerves sustained from a performance marred by a fall in the preliminary competition.

Injuries cut short Li's chances of competing at the 2008 Olympics therefor she announced her retirement.

In 2009, Li sued a restaurant for 26 million yuan ($3.8 million) in damages after a waiter dropped a pot of of soup on her causing scars. Li said that even after being healed, the scars are still there and she has no chance of wearing shorts. Li who works in the show business, added that not only did the scars affect her life but also endangered her financial prospects forcing her turn down tapings of two shows on CCTV. 

Beside originating the Jaeger half, she originated a double piked arabian dismount on bars which is also an E.

Li Ya and her compatriot He Kexin are the only gymnasts who connected the Jaeger half to a Jaeger.

But was Li the first ever female gymnast to do the skill?

No, Theresa Kulikowski performed it 11 years before Li. Kulikowski was an American gymnast who was a part of the 1995 World team and an alternate for the 1996 Olympic team. Nevertheless she had a killer collegiate career at Utah.

French gymnast Cécile Canqueteau also performed the skill back in 1997. Cecile competed at 1996 Olympic games where she finished with her team in 8th place. Her compatriots Annelore Collaud and Emilie Volle competed it in 2002 and 1998 respectively.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid 



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