Articles by "Meet The Originators"
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Maloney transition is one of the most used elements on the uneven bars.

Skill: Inner front support on LB – pike sole circle bwd through hstd with flight to hang on HB

Rating: D

Named after: Kristen Maloney 

Event: Uneven bars

Debut: 1997 Worlds

Kristen Maloney's Biography

Maloney was one of the most prominent American gymnasts from 1997 to 2000. Although she was senior at that time, Maloney was not named to the 1996 Olympic team.

At 1997, she competed at World championships where she finished in 6th place with her team, 13th in the all around and 7th on balance beam. 

At the following World championships, she finished in 6th place with her team but did not qualify to any of the individual finals.

Her last competition was the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she finished 19th in the all around final. Initially, team USA finished in fourth place; however, they were awarded the bronze medal ten years later, after an investigation by the International Gymnastics Federation disqualified the original bronze medalist, China, for falsifying a gymnast's age.

After retirement, Maloney competed in collegiate gymnastics. As of 2010, she has worked as a collegiate gymnastics coach

Was Kristen really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, US Lucy Werner competed the skill in 1989 in NCAA.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Elizabeth Price of USA

Youna Dufournet of France


Terin Humphrey of USA

Elena Eremina of Russia

Note that a gymnast has to debut her skill at either Worlds or Olympics to have it named after her, and in case of junior, she has to perform it at Youth Olympic games.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid

A full twisting double back layout is second most difficult tumbling pass on floor exercise.

Skill: Double salto bwd stretched with 1/1 twist (360۫)

Rating: H

Named after: Oksana Chusovitina 

Event: Floor exercise

Debut: 1991 Worlds

 Oksana Chusovitina's Biography:

Oksana Chusovitina is the oldest competitive elite gymnast. Her elite gymnastics career has spanned more than a quarter century.

She has competed for the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, and Germany. She was part of the 1992 Olympic gold winning Unified team. Individually, she won a silver medal on vault at 2008 Olympic Games. She is eleven times World medalist.

As a vault specialist, she does not compete a Yurchenko style vault but rather competes front handspring entry and Tsukahara-family vaults. She is one of a few women to return to competition after becoming a mother and one of a few gymnasts who attempted the Produnova vault.

Was Oksana really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, Tatiana Tuzhikova of Soviet Union competed the skill at 1987 World championships and was originally named after her. It was added to the CoP as a full in layout despite the fact that it was more of half in-half out. Four years later, Chusovitina competed a layout full out and the FIG considered it a different skill thus was added to the CoP.

In the current CoP, the FIG considers both skills the same regardless of the twist replacement and Oksana is the one credited with the it.

It is worth mentioning that Cristina Bontas of Romania competed the skill at 1991 World championships. Since the twist replacement was in the first salto, the FIG considered it the same skill as Tuzhikova.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Jana Bieger of USA

Daiane Dos Santos of Brazil

Ji Liya of China

Note that a gymnast has to debut her skill at either Worlds or Olympics to have it named after her, and in case of junior, she has to perform it at Youth Olympic games.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid

Double turn in back attitude is second most difficult floor turn skill.

Skill: 2/1 turn (720°) in back attitude (knee of free leg at horizontal throughout turn)

Rating: D

Named after: Ksenia Semenova of Russia

Event: Floor

Debut: 2008 Olympics

Semenova's Biography

Ksenia Semenova had a successful career. She won gold on bar at 2007 World championships and gold on bars and beam at 2008 European championships. She is also the 2009 European all around champion. 

She was part of the 2008 Olympic team which finished in fourth place and the 2010 World team which won gold.

Semenova's best events were uneven bars and balance beam. During her competitive career, she performed the "Tkatchev to immediate giant full", a move usually done by men.

Semenova currently works as a judge. She frequently attends meets that members of the several Russian gymnastics teams compete in.

Was Semenova really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, Rachel Updike of USA performed it in 2006. Teammate Ksenia Afanasyeva performed it at 2008 Moscow club.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Olivia Cimpian of Romania 

By Gigi Farid

Handspring double forward tuck is the most difficult vault in women's gymnastics. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous vaults. Only a handful of gymnasts managed to land it.

Skill: Handspring double forward tuck 

Rating: 7.0

Named after: Elena Produnova of Russia 

Event: Vault

Debut: 1999 Worlds

Elena Produnova's Biography

During her competitive career, Elena was known for her innovative and powerful skills on the vault and floor exercise. She is one of the few gymnasts to have a skill named after her on every single apparatus

Her senior international career lasted from 1995 to 2000. She is the 1997 World all around and floor exercise bronze medalist. In 1997 and 1999, she earned a silver medal with her team at World championships. She did not make the 1996 Russia's Olympic team due to injury. She won a silver with her team and a bronze on balance beam at 2000 Olympic Games. 

At 1997 Worlds, she placed fourth in the all around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise finals.

2000 Sydney Olympics was Produnova's last major international competition. She retired in 2004.

Was Produnova really the first gymnast to perform it?

Yes but North Korea's Choe Jong Sil is believed to be the first to attempt the vault. She attempted it at 1980 Olympic Games.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Yamilet Peña Abreu of the Dominican Republic.

Dipa Karmakar of India

Fadwa Mohamed of Egypt

Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan

Written by Gigi Farid

A double forward tuck is a difficult tumbling pass. It is mostly performed by gymnasts who excels at forward tumbling.

Skill: Double salto forward tucked

Rating: E

Named after: Lilia Podkopayeva 

Event: Floor exercise

Debut: 1993 Worlds

Lilia Podkopayeva's Biography

Lilia is the most successful gymnast from independent Ukraine. She is one of the few gymnasts who have achieved the rare feat of winning the all around gold medal at European championships (1996), World championships (1995) and Olympic Games (1996). She is the last female gymnast from Ukraine to win an Olympic medal.

Lilia is the originator of  the difficult double front half out which no other gymnast has ever competed it. She retired in 1997 due to injuries.

Was Lilia really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, Soviet Olga Strazheva competed the skill at 1986 Junior European championships

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Alina Kozich of Ukraine

Ivana Hong of USA

Alona Kvasha of Ukraine

Mariya Livchikova of Ukraine

Elena Produnova of Russia

Written by Gigi Farid

GIF by wherevermustafina

Ever since the FIG upgraded the double back tuck on floor exercise from C to D, many gymnasts have been competing it in the last eight years.

Skill: Double salto backward tucked

Rating: D

Named after: Nellie Kim of USSR 

Event: Floor exercise

Debut: 1976 Olympics

Nellie Kim's Biography

Nellie Kim is one of the most successful Soviet gymnasts. She is the winner of six Olympic medals, seven of which are gold and the winner of eleven World championship medals and nine European medals.

Kim is the second gymnast in the Olympic history to score the perfect 10. She competed at two Olympic games, 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow. She retired after the latter.

Nellie has been working in the FIG since 1996. She is now the President of the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee.

Was Kim really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, it is believed that Czech Renata Studlkova first debuted the skill at 1972 Nationals. Soviet Maria Abramova has reportedly performed the skill at 1974 Moscow News. 

Romania's Nadia Comaneci competed the skill at the American Cup few months before Kim.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Aliya Mustafina of Russia

Kyla Ross of USA

Ellie Black of Canada

Note that a gymnast has to debut her skill at either Worlds or Olympics to have it named after her, and in case of junior, she has to perform it at Youth Olympic games.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid

GIF by mustafinesse

A double and a half forward twisting layout is one of the most rarely done tumbling passes on floor exercise.

Skill: Salto forward stretched with two and  a half twist

Rating: E

Named after: Sabina Cojocar of Romania 

Event: Floor exercise

Debut: 2001 Worlds

Sabina Cojocar's Biography

As a junior gymnast, Cojocar was very successful. She dominated the 2000 European championships by winning five medals, three of which are gold.

She turned senior in 2001 where she contributed to her team's last World gold medal. Individually, she finished fourth on beam and sixth in the all around. She debuted the forward double and a half twisting layout but was somehow mistakenly attributed to her teammate Silvia Stroesu in the code of points. However, the mistake was fixed and the skill now bears her name.

She competed at 2002 World championships finishing fifth on vault and ninth on floor exercise. Unfortunately, her career was cut short due to chronic liver problem and left the training center in 2003. In 2004, Sabina returned to training to make one final push towards the Olympic Games but was unsuccessful.

The former gymnast currently works as a coach.

Was Cojocr really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, US Sierra Sapunar performed the skill in 1997.

US Kaitlin White and, Russia's Ekaternia Lobazynuk and Anna Pavlova performed it in 2001 but had trouble completing the twists.

Edit: That routine of Pavlova took place after Worlds.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Bridget Sloan of USA

Note that a gymnast has to debut her skill at either Worlds or Olympics to have it named after her, and for juniors, she has to perform it at Youth Olympic games.

Updates: The FIG has added the name of Belarus Svetlana Tarasevich as the originator of the skill along with Cojocar.

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid

Anna Rodionova of Russia
GIF by huanghuidan
A double Y turn is one of the most popular turns on floor exercise.

Skill: Double turn with leg fully extended in a "Y

Rating: D

Named after: Chellsie Memmel of USA

Event: Floor exercise

Debut: 2003 Worlds

Chellsie Memmel's Biography

Memmel is one of the most popular American gymnasts and also one of the most unfortunate ones. She was a very talented and hard working gymnast but injuries always stood in her way of having the career she truly deserves.

But despite that, Memmel managed to become an all around World champion (2005) and a bars World champion (2003). She also managed to make the 2008 Olympic team and won silver in the team competition but did not achieve individual success due to injury.

Injuries prevented her from trying to make the 2004 Olympics and from defending her all around title at 2006 Worlds which she qualified to in first place.

Memmel made a comeback in 2012 in the hopes of making her second Olympics but had two falls on beam at Secret Classics which prevented her from qualifying to the national championships. She petitioned but was very quickly and abruptly denied the chance to compete at the nationals thus ending her dreams of making the Olympic team.

Many people felt that the petition was unfairly rejected by the selection committee. Memmel announced her retirement at the end of 2012. 

Was Memmel really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, Soviet Natalia Andreeva competed the turn in 1989.

Henrietta Onodi of Hungary competed also the turn in 1991.

In order for an original skill to be named after its originator, the originator must compete it at either Worlds or Olympics, and if the originator is a junior, then they can compete it at Youth Olympic games.

Onodi competed the turn at Worlds but did not have it named after her. It could be that she did not submit the skill or she did submit it but did not have it named after her because she failed in completing the second turn. Most likely it is due to the latter.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Viktoria Komova of Russia

Valentina Holenkova of Ukraine

Ana Porgras of Romania

Yao Jinnan of China

Written by Gigi Farid

Onodi is one of the most popular acrobatic skill on balance beam. Many A listed beam workers have included it in their routines.

Skill: Back handspring with half turn to forward walkover

Rating: D

Named After: Henrietta Onodi of Hungary

Event: Balance Beam

Debut: 1989 World championships

Henrietta Onodi's Biography

Henrietta Onodi is one of the most successful Hungarian gymnasts. She was born in 1974 and turned senior in 1989. 

She is an Olympic and World champion on vault, and European champion on uneven bars. She is World and Olympic silver medalist on floor exercise, two time European bronze medalist on floor exercise and a European all around bronze medalist.

She competed at two Olympic games, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where she won her two Olympic medals and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Ónodi made many contributions to gymnastics during her competitive career. She was lauded for her unique style and power on vaulting and floor. Her uneven bars routine consisted of elements on the low bar at a time when most gymnasts did the minimum two elements on the low bar.

Nowadays, she is resides in the United States and has three kids.

Was Onodi really the first gymnast to perform it?

No, Soviet Olga Mostepanova debut it in 1983. Despite the Soviet gymnast competed the skill at two World championships, she never got it named after her. It is said that the reason was that her coaches never submitted the skill as they did not consider it to be a unique skill, but a variation of another.

A gymnast need to submit and compete her original skill at a World championships or at an Olympic games in order to have it named after her. In case the gymnast is a junior, she can to submit and compete it at Youth Olympic games.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Aliya Mustafina of Russia, 2013 World beam champion

Catalina Ponor of Romania, 2004 Olympic beam champion

Nastia Liukin of USA, two time World beam champion

Ling Jie of China, 1999 World beam champion

Other gymnasts:

Claire Martin of France
Anna Pavlova of Russia
Huang Qiushuang of China
Hollie Vise of USA

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid

GIF by miartina

A full twisting Gienger is a very difficult release on uneven bars. A small number of famous bars workers have done this skill.

Skill: Swing forward and salto backward stretched with 1,1/2 turn to hang on HB.

Rating: G

Named after: Snezhana Hristakieva of Bulgaria

Event: Uneven Bars

Debut: 1991 Worlds

Hristakieva's Bio

Snezhana Hristakieva was born in Bulgaria on March 11, 1977. She was relatively unknown gymnast. She competed at 1992 Olympic games where she did not advance to any individual final but finished 12th with her team.

Despite having this skill named after her, the full twisting Gienger is often referred to as Def which is the last name of the French male gymnast who originated this skill in men's gymnastics. The reason is Hristakieva having a much less catchier name.

Beside originating the bar release, she also  originated a Yurchenko on, 1/2 twist to immediate layout front off on vault which is worth a 4.7 in the current CoP.

It is rumored that the Bulgarian gymnast passed away more than 10 years ago.

Was she the first gymnast to perform this skill?

Yes, she is the first female gymnast to perform this skill. It is noteworthy that she competed it when she was a little junior gymnast.

Gymnasts who have also performed this skill

Elena Dolgopolova of Russia

Amelie Plante of Canada

Emilie Le Pennec of France

Other Gymnasts

Isabelle Sovereino of France
Elisabeth Seitz of Germany

Written by Gigi Khazback Farid