Kara Eaker is the 2017 U.S. junior national champion on beam. Photograph: YouTube

As part of our recap of 2017, here are our ten favourite beam routines of the year.

1. Kara Eaker (USA, junior) – August, P&G Championships

The gym gods fulfilled every beam fan’s prayers, and blessed us with Kara Eaker. Her routine is incredibly difficult, her execution flawless, her poise astonishing. She could easily be the next balance beam Olympic champion!



2. Li Qi (China, junior) – September, Chinese Championships

Speaking of junior beam queens, Li Qi also has incredible difficulty and execution. She is a teeny tiny gymnast with incredible focus and poise. She also could be the next Olympic champion on beam.



3. Maile O’Keefe (USA, junior) – August, P&G Championships

Oh dear, there is also a third junior gymnast who could be the next Olympic champion on beam. Maile O’Keefe has potential to win medals on virtually all apparatuses, but she shines particularly on beam. She already has difficulty, execution and maturity to compete with senior gymnasts. Watch out in 2018!



4. Larisa Iordache (Romania) – September, Romanian Championships

Larisa Iordache is possibly the unluckiest gymnast ever, and she did not have the chance to compete her full difficulty on beam at the World Championships. But in the routine below, performed at the Romanian Championships, she hit both her full twists and her very difficult triple twisting dismount in combination. Sigh… I hope we shall have the chance to see her back to full strength again!



5. Ragan Smith (USA) – August, P&G Championships

U.S. national champion Ragan Smith was also very unlucky at the World Championships, getting injured in warmups just before the all around final. In qualifications, she also had a fall on beam, which left her out of the final. However, it is doubtless that Ragan is one of the best and most consistent beam workers in the USA and in the world. She will be back!



6. Pauline Schäfer (Germany) – October, World Championships

A gymnast who instead achieved what she deserved this year was Pauline Schäfer, the 2017 World champion on balance beam. Pauline had the best routine of the World Championships to win the title, which included the cleanest execution and the most solid nerves. Hard work pays off, well deserved!



7. Varvara Zubova (Russia, junior) – December, Voronin Cup

Varvara Zubova is another junior gymnast who has incredible difficulty on beam. She was not included in the potential Olympic medallists group simply because Russia, beam and the Olympics have a very complicated relationship. But other than that, she has all the potential to medal on the big stage.



8. Tabea Alt (Germany) – October, World Championships

Tabea Alt made a name for herself winning two World Cup all around titles in the spring of 2017. On beam, her best apparatus, she has plenty of difficulty, but what won her a bronze medal at Worlds was her ability to keep her nerves at bay and hit a clean routine. Well-deserved medal!



9. Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA)  March, UCLA v. UNC

The NCAA is not renowned for its difficult routines, but Katelyn Ohashi is fierceless (and an incredible gymnast). Her routine includes a triple series (BHSO + BH + back layout) and from time to time she also competes a layout with full twist. Impressive!



10. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – April, NCAA Championships

Sarah Finnegan’s routine is not the most difficult you will see around (though sometimes she includes a triple wolf turn), but her form is exquisite, her toes perfectly pointed and her flexibility enviable. This is as beam should be competed. Hopefully next season Sarah will be awarded with a long overdue perfect 10.0!




Article by Talitha Ilacqua
Axact

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