Articles by "Junior Gymnasts"
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Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Last week, gymnastics fans went ballistic when video of 13 year old Japanese gymnast Chiaki Hatakeda competing a quad twist during 2017 All Japan Team Championships surfaced online.

But did she really complete all of her twists or was it merely an attempt?

This is Chiaki's quad twist:

This is hers in slow motion:

This is how she landed it:

She was very close to completing it as she landed after triple and 3/4 twists. However, the CoP is very strict regarding the number of completed twists which they downgrade if gymnasts under rotate it.

Chiaki, who was born in 2003, turns senior in 2019.

Written by Gigi Farid.

Ilka with US Nastia Liukin

Canadian national team member, Ilka Juk uploaded a video of herself training a never done before acrobatic combo on balance beam.

The junior gymnast is training a back handspring to an Onodi to two feet. The Onodi to two feet was originated by American gymnast Shayla Worely. It was previously rated a D but in the 2017-2020 CoP it got upgraded to an E.

Now that it is worth an E, the acro combination receives 0.1 connection bonus.

The Worely is one of the most rarely done elements. It is believed that no gymnast has ever competed it beside Worely.

A post shared by ilka♕ (@ilka_0921) on

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.


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 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.


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 :)


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

Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Junior French gymnast Carolann Heduit performed a very impressively difficult bars routine during a recent meeting where Swiss, British, French, German and Italian gymnasts competed. 

She competed an Inbar stalder (D) to pike sole circle 1/1 (D) to Maloney (D) to Ricna (E) to pak salto (D) worth 0.5 connection bonus, a Maloney transition with half turn (E), a piked Jaeger release (E) and a double front half out dismount (E).

However, the routine suffered from lots of form breaks like bent knees and leg separation. She also missed couple of handstands and had a fall. Hopefully, she can improve her execution before turning senior.

Heduit was born in 2003, hence will turn senior in 2019.

Written by Gigi Farid

Sunisa Lee competes on the uneven bars. Photograph: Sunisa Lee/Instagram

Sunisa Lee is one of the top juniors in the United States. She trains at Midwest Gymnastics Center with Jess Graba.

Her favourite event is the balance beam, but she excels on the uneven bars. Earlier this season she won a silver medal on bars at the Gymnix International Junior Cup, as well as gold with the team.

On bars, she performs the very difficult Nabieva release skill, which is a toe-on toe-off straight Tkatchev, named after Russia's world champion Tatiana Nabieva.

Lee is expected to perform the Nabieva at the Secret U.S. Classic later this month.

Un post condiviso da Sunisa Lee 💓 (@sunisalee_) in data:

Lee has also posted another video on Instagram showing off an impressive upgrade on floor. She performs a front layout to double front.

Un post condiviso da Sunisa Lee 💓 (@sunisalee_) in data:

Lee will turn senior in 2019, a year before the Tokyo Olympics. Once her elite career is over, she plans to compete for the Auburn Tigers, where the head coach is her current coach's twin brother, Jeff Graba.

By Talitha Ilacqua

Thirteen year old Ksenia Klimenko of Russia performed a really nice routine with unique combinations on balance beam during the 2017 WOGA Classic.

She begins her routine with a switch leap half (D) then does a side aerial (D) to layout step out (C), worth 0.2 connection bonus. She does another combination that is worth 0.2 connection bonus which is a forward handspring (B) to a forward tuck (D). She connects her forward aerial (D) to a sheep jump (C) earning 0.1 connection bonus. 

A side somi (D) and a switch ring leap (E) are included in her routine which she ends with a D rated double back tuck.

Execution wise, there were wobbles here and there.

Klimeko turns senior in 2019.

The routine is analyzed according to 2017-2020 CoP

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Angelina Simakova, who is a junior gymnast, competed one of the most difficult vaults. She competed a handspring fwd on – stretched salto fwd with 1½ turn (540°) off vault also known as Rudi.

The vault is worth 5.8 under the 2017-2020 CoP. Simakova, who was born in 2002, will turn senior in 2018.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

At only 12 years old, Japan's Chiaki Hatakeda performs a balance beam routine like a senior.

She competes a G rated full twisting back layout. She earns 0.2 connection bonus for competing it in combination. She does sheep jump (C) and the rarely done Yang Bo jump (D).

She ends her routine with an F rated triple twist.

The routine was analysed in accordance with the 2017-2020 CoP.

Written by Gigi Farid

Giorgia Villa with her individual four gold medals. Photograph: Benoit Bonatre

Last week, at a junior gymnastics competition in Combs La Ville in France, a young Italian gymnast, born in 2003, won five gold medals out of five. Her name is Giorgia Villa.

Villa moved to Brescia last year to train at the Brixia Brescia gym with Enrico Casella, who is also Vanessa Ferrari’s coach. Since then, Villa has grown immensely, and many people see her already as the new Vanessa Ferrari. And they may not be wrong.

Villa had a stellar 2016. In her junior debut last February, she won the all around competition, beating veteran senior teammates Carlotta Ferlito and Elisa Meneghini.

And last week, Villa also affirmed herself internationally, winning five gold medals, in the team competition and in all four events, in Combs La Ville, France. Villa scored 14.400 on vault for a super clean double twisting Yurchenko (she has Italy’s best double twisting Yurchenko ever!), an excellent 14.500 on bars (again, with super clean lines), 13.900 on beam, and 13.850 on floor, with another secure performance.

In an interview to the Italian magazine Gioia earlier this year, Villa argued: ‘Sometimes I ask myself why I chose this life. The answer is, because I loved it, because I love it. I enjoy myself in the gym, when I grow up I want to become a gymnast, and then a coach.’ About her future career, Villa was equally confident: ‘Europeans, Worlds, Olympics: this is the dream.’

Her recent successful performances make of it more than a dream. Villa is already training according to her personalized Olympic programme, which, according to her coach Enrico Casella, should bring her to the European Championships in 2018, to the qualifying World Championships in 2019, and to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

The future looks bright. A new gym star is born.

By Talitha Ilacqua

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Japan's Mana Oguchi competed a wide array of unique skills in balance beam at 2016 Nationals. She mounts the apparatus with E rated forward pike.

She does a forward tuck (D) to a leap (A), 0.1 connection bonus. She then does a back handspring to a LOSO fulfilling the requirement of''one acro series'.

She competes a one and a half Y turn (D) and a switch ring leap (E). She attempted to connect her front aerial (D) to Yang Bo jump (D) which could have earned her 0.2 connection bonus.

She dismounts the beam with an unusual dismount, double forward twist (D).

Oguchi was born in 2002 and turns senior in 2018.

The Routine has been analyzed according to 2013-2016 CoP

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo via Facebook
Deanne Soza is a very promising American gymnast who was born on the 24th of September in 2001. Her strongest event is floor exercise. She competed at the this year’s P&G Championships where she placed 6th on balance beam and US Classics where she placed second on uneven bars and third in the all around.

Arete Gymnastics, the gym where Deanne trains, has posted on their Facebook  page that the young gymnast has contracted a rare and a very serious eye infection in both of her eyes.

“At this point she is in a lot of pain and the infection is sight threatening. She is having treatments every hour and is not getting any sleep, so she doesn’t need visitors but she does need prayers. Please keep Deanne and her Family in your prayers.”

Yesterday, the gym reported that at the doctor’s office Deanne was able to see some light and shadow. Our prayers and our thoughts are with her.

Deanne will not be legible for the upcoming Olympics, however she will turn senior in 2017.

It is shown in this video, Deanne – at the age of 11 – doing some impressive skills and combination with lovely execution, like an Onodi to full twisting back handspring and back handspring to two layout step out on balance beam, a toe on Tkatchev release and a full twisting double layout on uneven bars.

Blogger Spanny Tampson has made a thoughtful call to the gyminternet:

Call to the gymternet!  The delightful Deanne Soza has contracted a very serious eye infection, which affects obviously not only her gymnastics, but potentially her ability to see. 
So what can we do?
I’m hoping that maybe we can send her something to cheer her up a little.  My idea is to take pictures that you, the amazing gymternet, take/draw/create and put those onto a card for her. 
Maybe it’s a picture of a get well sign that you’re holding up for her, maybe it’s a drawing of her you made while you were bored in class, maybe it’s one of those fancy edits that all the kids are doing these days.  Whatever you would like to share that is appropriate and uplifting. 
There is room for about 30 pictures on the card.  Perhaps if we get billions of fabulous submissions, we’ll send more cards.  But for now it would be awesome if we could put 30 pictures on this card, and send it to Arete. 
If you’d like to participate, and I hope that you do because Deanne is incredible, either post your picture here, or email it to me at 

Arete Gym on Facebook “At the Doctor today he said they think they were able to kill the bacteria that was causing so much damage to her eyes. the scratch on her cornea seems to be closing. She is gaining vision in her left eye and was able to see a silhouette of her father. It is believed that the problem came from a water born parasite from a swimming pool or hot tub in Pittsburgh. The parasite got behind her contact and into a scratch in her eye. Now it is a matter of how much damage her body and your prayers are able to heal. She is a fighter and is in good spirits because of all of the love and support she has gotten from all of you. Any thing is possible in the Lord!”

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid
Gym Power  reported that (linked, two young gymnasts from Netherlands were among the 298 passengers who were killed in Malaysia Airlines crash this week.

The victims of the crash are Mila Van De Mortel and Sam Wels.

“RIP gymnast Milia of Mortar and her parents, who also went on holiday by plane MH17 above that Ukraine is shot from the air. Then comes the very close and the shock even greater.”

“We Milia met while Starz Turn Sports Camp 2013 Sports Ookmeer in Amsterdam while we were making a documentary in which she was photographed with our mascot Tipper and helped in its own manner of interviewing: 
A cheerful and spontaneous teen who made ​​fun of her gymnastics buddies and loved gymnastics and all the nice things for her age.”

“Every victim of (war) violence and every human being snatched by someone else’s actions early in life is one too many, and it is deeply regrettable, every young talent like Milia and turner Sem Wels, and with them their parents, is taking a big loss to society and gymsportwereld. Incredible and incomprehensible that they will never be … There are really no words for … Today is her birthday: S. For Milia’s club and family strength and our condolences. “

GymPower wrote on their Facebook, according to Google translation.

According to, Sam Wels’ mother (Conny Wel Stuiver) who was also killed in the tragic plane crash along with her husband, was one of the top Dutch figure skaters in the early 1990’s. After her retirement, she worked as a coach and cherographer in the Bossche Skating Association.

 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 which was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur,  was shot out of the sky as it flew over eastern Ukraine on Thursday afternoon. It is believed that it was shot by separatists in Ukraine.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid