The C Score (2.0)

Posts Tagged ‘2008 Pacific Rim Championships

Today: Canada and Australia

Canada

I’m going to do something a little bit different with Canada. Three of Canada’s juniors, Charlotte Mackie, Peng-Peng Lee, and Brittany Rogers — are already exceedingly well-known on the international scene (at least on this side of the pond) and already compete with seniors at internal Canadian events. And though none of the three were age-eligible for the Olympics, they all competed (quite well) in the senior Canadian championships. At that event, Lee placed third, Rogers sixth, and Mackie seventh. So I’m going to focus on girls who are currently competing junior-level Canadian gymnastics in an effort to see who is the next big thing.

1. Dominique Pegg

Pegg is this year’s big winner from the Canadian Junior Championships, where she took the all-around title and placed first on vault and bars, second on floor, and third on beam. Of the second tier of Canadian juniors (that is, those below the three I mentioned above), she is among those with the most experience. Last year, she placed fifth at Championships, behind the three above plus Sky Corbett-Methot, a member of the junior national team who has not been seen in major competition in 2008. In 2006, as a novice, Pegg took the silver in the all-around. Internationally, Pegg’s experience is fairly limited, though she did place sixth in the all-around at Junior Pan Ams in 2007 and fourth in the all-around at the 2007 Romanian International junior competition. By far Pegg’s best placement is in vault: she has placed first on vault at 2006, 2007 and 2008 Championships, and took first on vault at both of her big international competitions. She hasn’t attended Gymnix since 2006, when she placed 12th. Pegg has a very nice UB routine, where she does a nice, high Jaeger and a double tuck dismount with a full twist. Even at last year’s Championships, she had great amplitude and form. Of those I’ll cover here, Pegg is the only one (in addition to Lee, Mackie and Rogers) who will be of senior age next year.

Dominique Pegg

Dominique Pegg

2. Ti Liu

Liu placed third at this year’s Junior Championships, and first on beam. (I am pretty sure she qualified on bars, but for some reason she did not compete.) At last year’s Championships she placed ninth. At the 2007 Elite Canada, she placed second all-around, first on bars and beam, and second on floor. Her international experience has been limited: sixth on bars at the Massilia Cup (this year’s edition is coming up), and 13th at Gymnix in the all around, with a fourth-place finish on beam and a bronze on bars. She also competed at the 2007 and 2006 editions of Gymnix, in which she placed ninth and 14th, respectively, and at the 2007 Pan American Games. Liu is an elegant but strong bar worker, and does some nice Staldler work and a big straddled Jaeger. She needs to upgrade, though, particularly on her dismount, currently a piked double back. She’s a natural beam worker, though she still has some wobbles, and does, among other things, a double turn on BB, which we rarely see.

3. Caitlyn Keates

Pegg and Liu are both more further along than Keates, but she shows promise. She placed fourth at Junior Championships this year, and qualified to all EFs except vault. She placed only 14th at Gymnix this year, but in 2007 took second on beam and fifth on bars. She was the 2006 Novice champion at Elite Canada, and placed second on beam at that competition in 2007.

Honorable mention

Coralie Leblond-Chartrand of the Gymnix club placed fifth at junior championships this year, and was the only gymnast to qualify to all of the event finals, thoughs he didn’t place in any. At Elite Canada, Leblond-Chartrand placed fourth in the all-around and took third on beam. She has attended two Gymnix competitions, placing sixth in 2007 and 11th in 2008. Anysia Unick has even less experience on the elite level, but surprised observers by placing second at Championships this year. Finally, Jessica Dowling was the only other competitor at this year’s Championships to qualify to more than one event final: she qualified to three and placed in all of them, taking third on bars and floor and second on beam.

The Canadian team

Here’s where I’ll mention the big three. They are pretty excellent, wth AA scores routinely in the mid-to-high 50’s. Rogers took second at Gymnix this year, and placed seventh in 2007. She also placed sixth at Pacific Rim, where she also nabbed the bronze on vault and bars. Internally, she placed first at last year’s Junior Championships, taking the silver on bars. Mackie had the best showing at Pacific Rim this year, placing fourth, and also took fourth at Gymnix, along with a gold on vault and two bronzes on beam and floor. She also took third at the 2007 Yokohama Championships. Lee may be the best of the three. Lee was second to Rogers at last year’s Championships, but took fifth in the all-around and second on bars, both over Rogers, at this year’s Pacific Rim. She also placed fifth at 2007 Pan Ams. Recently, Lee’s gym closed and she is now training privately, but observers don’t seem to think this is affecting her.

The one problem for those looking for Canada to move to the next level is that Rogers, Mackie and Lee consistently get the choice international assignments, so the rest of their team has little experience. This could prove problematic in building a strong Worlds team, but on the other hand 2009 Worlds consist only of individual competitions. Even as we move into the quad, the new 5-3-3 format means that smaller teams with fewer all-star competitors may actually do quite well. With these three competing at the level of many juniors from top countries, Canada could be looking to place itself squarely in the top eight. For this to happen, however, those juniors still competing at that level will need to upgrade: no one is vaulting anything above an A-score of 5.2, and floor A-scores average around a 5.0.

Australia

1. Britt Greeley

Greeley will become a senior in 2009 and is currently, by my calculations,t he most outstanding junior. At the Australian Nationals in May, Greeley took second to Emily Little (see below), but generally speaking she is the best performer on the team, especially internationally. Despite the second-place finish in the AA, Greeley medaled in three EFs, taking gold on bars, silver on beam and bronze on floor. At the 2007 National Clubs meet, Greeley took fifth in the junior AA and second on beam. She was seen in international competition as early as 2005, taking 11th in the AA at the WOGA Classic. She took fifth at the 2008 edition of the Classic. She has also been sent to the Pacific Alliance (2006) and Pacific Rim (2008) meets. In the latter, she took 10th in the AA and finished seventh in beam EFs. Greeley’s best event may be BB, although she is actually more of a steady competitor than a trickster on that event. At WOGA this year, she competed only a layout full dismount, which may be evidence of trouble on (what I assume is) her higher-difficulty dismount. On UB, Greeley is a bit labored but has very nice lines, and the former would probably go away with a little strength training. She does a nice full twisting double tuck dismount. Greeley’s FX music makes me want to stick a screwdriver in my eardrum (it is a combination of “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” the techno version like in Shawn Johnson’s 2005 FX AND “Careless Whisper). She competed a back double tuck at this year’s Nationals, and does some nice twisting work. Good precision.

2. Emily Little

Little took the gold from Greeley at this year’s Australian Nationals. She competed Australian Level 10 through 2007 Nationals, but then competed as a junior international elite at the 2007 National Clubs, where she placed second in the AA (above Greeley), and took three EF medals: gold on floor, silver on vault and bronze on bars. At this year’s Nationals, she took home two golds on beam and floor. Little has really competed only at one major international event, the 2008 Pacific Rim, where she finished 11th in the AA and took fifth on VT. I haven’t seen much of Little’s work, but her FX is cute enough, with bouncy almost circus-like music, a double pike mount, and a pretty 3/2 twist dismount.

3. Chantelle Turnbull

The Australian juniors have very little international experience, and Turnbull in fact has none. However, she is currently rising fairly quickly through the junior ranks, and placed fourth at this year’s Nationals with a third-place finish on bars. She made several mistakes in that competition and likely would have placed higher otherwise. At last year’s National Clubs she took sixth in the all-around and third on vault. In fact, I chose Turnbull for third in front of several other contenders precisely because of her vault: she is currently competing a 3/2 Yurchenko, and I believe she is the only Australian junior to do so currently. Turnbull is a fairly powerful gymnast, clearly, and shows it also on floor, where she has decent tumbling that includes a nice full in double back. Inexplicably, however, her music choice is a techno remix of “Dragostea din tei.” The British would say the Australians were never known for their taste ….

Honorable mention

Two injured gymnasts deserve mention. Mary-Anne Monckton, who placed fifth and took silvers on beam and floor in a strong field at last year’s Nationals, was injured for the 2008 season. She also competed in 2007 in the Australian Youth Olympics, a relatively important competition for juniors from Commonwealth countries, placing 24th and taking second on floor. She also competed at Massilia in 2006. She is quite tiny and needs some work on bars and vault. Another injured junior of note is Tain Molendijk, who was 13th in the AA at the 2007 AYO and traveled to the Pacific Rim Championships in 2008 only to have to withdraw beacuse of injury. Finally, Karina Brooks took third at this year’s Nationals and medaled in three EFs, with two silvers and one bronze in EFs (silvers on bars and floor, bronze on beam). She was seventh at Nationals in 2007.

The Australia team

Australia looks to have a quite strong team for the future. While we are not sure about all the retirements yet, we do know that the famed Dasha Joura is planning to continue, for now at least, after a disappointing Olympics. There is also a whole set of new seniors who were not quite ready for the Olympics but competed well against the Olympians. (They are the Corrie Lothrops, Chelsea Davises and Mattie Larsons of Australia.) First is Emma Dennis, who won the 2007 Junior Nationals and placed sixth at this year’s combined Nationals/Olympic trials. Dennis was seventh at the 2007 AYO and third at Yokohama in the AA and on floor. She is a decent vaulter and quite good on beam. I like Dennis best on FX. She does a high full in, some nice twisting, a decent double pike, and is quite elegant. She also uses a classical piece for her music, which you don’t see much of anymore. She does a 3/2 Yurchenko vault. Dennis was on the Olympic team training squad and was the alternate for the 2008 Olympic team. Amber Fulljames was also a member of the 9-gymnast Olympic training squad and was second at 2007 Nationals and eighth in 2008 at her first senior Nationals. Last year she laced in three of four EFs, missing only on FX. Fulljames was 13th in the AA at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, 11th at Yokohama, and ninth in the AA in the senior division of the 2008 Gymnix International. Finally, I would also mention Yves Berryman, third at 2007 Nationals and 10th this year, and Larissa Miller, a good UB worker who placed fifth in 2007 and 12th in 2008. The junior gymnasts have a ways to go, but I think that if these new seniors choose to stick around, Australia will actually prove to be quite competitive in the next quad.

Up next: Brazil and the Ukraine

Today: France and China

France

1. Youna Dufournet

This girl is France’s biggest hope at the beginning of the new quad. She wound up third in the all-around at this year’s Europeans, but she could have easily won silver. She went on to win bars and vault with a silver on floor. Actually, Dufournet’s a major threat on beam with an A-score (in 2008) of 6.9, including an Arabian, which observers wouldn’t have noticed at Europeans because she wound up with a fall in EF. But her score of 15.700 in qualifications led the rankings, and she probably would have wound up with an even higher score in EFs without the fall. (She took third in BB in EFs in France, competing against seniors, as early as 2006.) Beam is probably her weakest event though, as she competes tough skills but with a lot of balance checks and some flexibility issues (also true on floor). Dufournet’s vaults are right up there: a DTY and a piked Omelianchik, although her scores were actually low despite her victory on that apparatus. On UB, she’s very solid. She has the occasional form breaks (in her Jaeger particularly) and randomly does two Shapashnikovas. She’s not the most graceful bar worker, but she’s strong and consistent, somewhat like a Chellsie Memmel (not a useful comparison if you’re one of those who doesn’t like Memmel, which I do). In addition to the Jaeger, she does a good Geinger and a double-layout dismount. Her EF score was an impressive 15.625. On FX, I think Dufournet is suffering from a choreography problem more than anything — put simply, it sucks, and she could probably handle much more sophisticated stuff. Otherwise, she has kind of a Vanessa Ferrari feel, and does a nice piked full in and an Arabian, plus a 5/2 twist. Let me be clear: this girl is a major threat. She wins absolutely everything she competes in in France, including the “Coupes,” or junior championships, and the Championnats, which are for the top two age groups of juniors. Except the one time she didn’t compete earlier this year (just before Europeans), she won all of these in 2007 and 2008, including recently in June, and placed 6th in the Championnats in 2006. In the May championships by team, her Avoine team placed third, but Dufournet had the highest score of any competitor, including Laetitia Dugain, Marine Petit, Pauline Morel and Marine Debauve (all Olympians). She had the highest score on VT, UB and FX. What I’m saying is that at 14, Dufournet is better — or soon to be better — than all of her country’s 2008 Olympians. Watch out!

Youna Dufournet

Youna Dufournet

Chloé Stanic

I enjoy Stanic, but we are now moving into a more expected level of French gymnastics. Stanic finished 13th overall at this year’s Europeans and finished second at Coupes in 2007 and third at this year’s Championnats in June. In the same team meet mentioned above where Dufournet placed ahead of all the current seniors, Stanic placed a very respectable 7th (no junior besides Dufournet placed higher). Stanic’s other international experience is pretty limited, though she placed a respectable fourth in a France/Switzerland/Germany/Netherlands meet in early 2008 (Dufournet, unsurprisingly, took first there). On FX, Stanic has a decent Arabian, but otherwise she has Nistor-like splits (feet flexed … not a fan) and not enough difficulty. Her vault is probably her weakest event right now, as she’s competing only a Podkopaeva, as far as I can tell. She is pretty shaky and labored on BB, although she does have what I think is supposed to be a combination of a standing back pike to back tuck, which is interesting. Her bars are just alright, though she has a high Tkatchev and a decent straddled Jaeger. At Europeans, she fell on her dismount — otherwise, she would have easily qualified to EFs. However, I’m not sure whether there’s tremendous potential for growth in her bar set, but she does have room to at least tidy things up.

3. Aurélie Malausséna

Malausséna has oddly been given very little international experience by the French powers-that-be, which is curious because she regularly places second or third in national competitions, alternating with Stanic. She placed third in the 2007 and 2008 Coupes, and second in this year’s Championnats (she was ninth in 2006). Her only international experience has been a France/Switzerland match, in which she placed third, and a small international tournament before she reached elite. The likely problem is that Malausséna so far does not shine on any particular event, though she is consistent across all four. She has a Chellsie-Memmel like quality in some ways, though she appears to lack the extreme flexibility. She would also have a decent FX if someone would change her choreography, and if she upgraded a few passes — the most interesting one is a double pike. On BB, she throws some decent skills — a punch front and a standing tuck — but otherwise it’s kind of a yawner. Her key to success might be UB, on which she has thrown a piked Jaeger, if she could add some difficulty (right now she’s in the mid fives).

Honorable mention:

I should probably start with Marine Brevet, who charmed a number of observers at this year’s Europeans. From afar, she looks not unlike Nastia Liukin, which might be one of the reasons. Up close, I don’t really see it, though she does have long lines. She has absolutely terrible bars — even beyond the more complex skills, she cannot do a kip without major leg separation. Internally, she has had somewhat of a meteoric rise. She is a 1994 kid, and was ranked fourth in her age group in 2007, during which time she placed sixth at Coupes and second at the Championnats in the category below junior elite. This year at Championnats, she placed sixth. Her best event right now may be BB (she qualified to EFs at Europeans, though she placed last), but there her most interesting skill is a split jump to arabesque. On FX, she just doesn’t have the difficulty yet, and one of her four passes is a 1/1 twist. Ultimately, she seems to have the form to improve upon, but we’ll have to wait and see if she does it.

The only two other French gymnasts I’ll mention are Marie Gaffino and Léa Kemayou. Gaffino placed fifth at this year’s Championnats, and eighth in 2007. She placed first in 2007 at one of her only international events, the Tournoi International du Pas de Calais, and was a member of the 2008 Europeans team. Right now her two best events are BB and FX, where she uses a modified version of Daria Joura’s music. She does some good twisting and is reasonably expressive. On BB she does a nice standing back pike (and a back tuck, like Stanic). Finally, Kemayou is France’s current power gymnast. She’s a strong vaulter and a decent bars worker, though she sometimes looks a bit clumsy. She’s one of the most aggressive beam workers the French have, and she seems confident. I think she actually has serious potential on BB (maybe a la Alicia Sacramone?).

The French team:

What we’re looking at here is Italy in 2006 — an assortment of fairly talented, but not internationally competitive, girls — plus a stand-out who pulls off pretty impressive showings in international competitions. Though I don’t think Dufournet will get the same form criticisms Ferrari got. She’s actually downright impressive. Otherwise, I don’t see much change in the potential standings of the French team. In addition to some form issues, the real problem is difficulty level. Few of their girls are even doing Yurchenko vaults, much less the type you need to stay competitive. They have a handful of good releases on bars, but nothing fancy. Same problem on beam. On floor, their choreography is very hit-or-miss. Overall, we’re still waiting for a team breakthrough. (Incidentally, the French run their program very much like the Americans, though their best gyms are state-run: they have decentralized training with occasional verifications. The difference being, of course, that there are around six times more people in the United States than in France ….)

China

1. Cui Jie

Cui Jie is the obvious choice for the next big thing coming out of China. Though she looks young — whatever that might mean about her — she is 14 and will be able to compete as a senior in 2010. Her biggest meet to date was the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships, in which she placed seventh AA. She would likely have placed much higher, however, if it hadn’t been for a fall on her dismount on bars leading to a score of under 13. She qualified to two EFs and placed sixth on vault and first on beam with a score of 16.025 (a tie with Rebecca Bross). At the Chinese Junior Nationals that took place last week in Yunnan province, Cui took second in the AA to the little-known Chen Chuyan. More importantly, at last year’s nationals, competing against seniors — including the eventual 2008 Olympic team — Cui took seventh on BB on fifth on FX, placing 11th AA. Already in 2007, Cui tied for sixth on FX and qualified 13th to the AA. FX is widely considered to be Cui’s best event. She has a good routine, despite a needed choreography upgrade, and sells it well. She performs an Arabian double front, a Rudi, and nice twists overall. She also does a nice twist to layout punch front and has very precise landings. She also does a double leg-up turn. On BB she general scores very high (see above), and does some big skills: punch front to Rueda, Korbut, double tuck dismount. She also performed a 1 1/2 turn at Intercity Games in 2007 instead of the ubiquitous leg-up turn, but had switched to the latter by Pacific Rim. Would be great to see her do a double turn in the future. Cui could stand to upgrade her UB, although she generally speaking has nice lines and good form. She does a nice Tkatchev and a decent Jaeger, and also has a lovely Pak. Had she not fallen on her double front at Pacific Rim, she likely would have received a respectable score. VT is Cui’s weakest event, as she still competes a Yurchenko full regularly, but I assume she is planning to upgrade. Overall, I think this gymnast is currently the best junior in China. She has good form, nice presentation, and is solid on three events.

2. Huang Ying

It says something about the low visibility of the Chinese juniors that I have put second a gymnast who has placed in recent competition only in EFs at Pacific Rim (she has not placed in any Chinese national competition that I know of, except perhaps at the most recent Junior Nationals, for which I do not yet have full results). In the Pacific Rim format, teams compete in a 6-5-4 format, and Huang was used only on beam and floor. However, she eventually placed 3rd on BB, with a score of 15.925 (15.750 in team competition), and 5th on FX. I’m actually not at all familiar with Huang on other events, but she is excellent on these two (as opposed to Wenli Guan, below, who is reasonably solid on all four but a stand-out on none). Huang has beautiful dance and high leaps on floor, and also does a 5/2 twist and a 1 1/2 punch front full. Her best event is BB, where she starts with two flip-flops to layout to Korbut, and an Onodi back tuck. Her dismount is a decent double pike. I can see this gymnast becoming an excellent specialist.

3. Wenli Guan

I’m going to take a risk here and put Wenli here despite the fact that we have not seen her since Pacific Rim, including at the Chinese Nationals that took place in June and the Chinese Junior Nationals that just concluded. I was unable to find any information about why that may be. Wenli, until Chen (see above), is the only junior who has beaten Cui in competition. She took sixth at this year’s Pacific Rim, also placing fifth in UB event finals. So far, Guan has not stood out on any particular event, though she does do a standing Arabian, a flip-flop to back tuck and a double full dismount on BB, and looks able to upgrade other skills on that event. She has long lines on UB, and placed a respectable 5th in EFs at Pacific Rim, but needs to seriously upgrade. Same problem on FX and on VT (Yurchenko full). I’m not in love with this gymnast, but she seems solid enough, though I think she has trouble with power skills. Although actually that may not be so bad with the new CoP.

Honorable mention

The data on Chinese juniors is scant at best, but I’ll mention a few more to look for. First, I suppose, is Chen Chuyan, who took the all-around over Cui in Chinese Junior Nationals. I unfortunately know basically nothing about this heretofore larely unknown gymnast, though she did place 16th in the AA at last year’s nationals (behind Cui).

Of more interest, to me at least, is Li Lijun, who placed third at the most recent Chinese Junior Nationals, behind Chen and Cui. She is already reasonably solid on three events, particularly FX and UB. Before this competition, Li was only vaguely known, as a pretty gymnast not unlike Fan Ye. She is extremely poised on FX, and does some nice, controlled tumbling, although it is largely twists. She seems relatively tentative on BB, and doesn’t do any superbly challenging skills, and has the same problem on VT, where she does a Yurchenko full. So far her best event is likely UB, where she has nice lines and does a strong Jaeger and Tkatchev, a nice Pak, and a good double layout dismount.

The Chinese team:

The Chinese juniors really have not seen enough international competition for us to be able to rank many of them with any consistency. This on top of the fact that reports of the outcomes of national competitions are extremely hard to come by. Cui is by far the most interesting of the upcoming juniors, but there are a few others who will be good specialists at the very least. Among them, however, my main concern is that there are no powerful gymnasts to replace people like Cheng Fei. (On the other hand, the relatively small Jiang Yuyuan can do an Amanar, which was not always the case, so there’s nothing to say the others won’t upgrade. Especially because vault comes last for a lot of juniors.) Perhaps the best thing for the Chinese team is that a number of gymnasts from the 2008 Olympic team — including the great Cheng Fei, who has suggested she will continue through 2009 and has not ruled out 2012 — are likely to continue, including He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin (the last of whom has a shot at gold at Worlds in 2009). This does not even include a number of other gymnasts, including Li Shanshan, Xiao Sha and Sui Lu, who were all contenders for the team but did not make it for various reasons. There’s also Huang Quishuang, a new senior who competed well at Pacific Rim, placing fifth in the AA, second on BB and fourth on FX (though her vaults need serious upgrading). That is to say, China remains deep on the senior level, and likely has plenty of juniors waiting in the wings (even just demographically speaking!). This gold was not a flash in the pan.

Up next: Italy and Great Britain


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

Pages

November 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930