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