Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Future of British Gymnastics: Glasgow Espoir Competition

A handful of Britain's young gymnasts descended on Glasgow last weekend, to take part in the 2013 Espoir competition, a meet held adjoined with the World Cup. All girls competing were either 12 or 13 years old. I was fortunate enough to watch both the all-around competition and the apparatus finals which were held on Friday and Saturday evenings respectively. I did not know much about the competitors, with the exception of Catherine Lyons and Teal Grindle, so I was content to sit back and become familiar with the athletes. I was very impressed with the maturity of the performances of many of the young athletes, and was delighted to see many expressive, confident and creative routines.

All-around competition
1st Catherine Lyons (Europa) 56.20
2nd Teal Grindle (Sapphire) 55.65
3rd Lucy Stanhope (City of Liverpool) 50.25
4th Louise McColgan (Largs) 50.15
5th Latalia Bevan (St. Tydfils) 49.60
6th Claudia Barkes (South Durham) 48.85
7th Alice Kinsella (Park Wrekin) 48.80
8th Maisie Methuen (Phoenix) 48.10

Lyons and Grindle were really a league above everyone else, with the two of them claiming the top two spots on every apparatus. Both girls had falls on bar, but in the end it was Catherine who claimed the top overall score. Nevertheless, it is obvious that these two young talents have a bright future ahead. Catherine has gorgeous lines, dynamic releases on bar and beautiful beam and floor choreography. Teal has already mastered many difficult skills across the board and has clean execution to boot! She is a confident performer and a very determined young lady- after a very nasty fall from bar on the second day she got back up to finish and performed a fantastic full-twisting double back dismount.

All-around medalists from the 2013 Glasgow Espoir competition, Catherine, Teal and Lucy

Here is Catherine's bar routine from the all-around final, the height on her geinger is amazing! Score 12.60

Teal's charismatic floor routine from the all-around competition. Score 13.75

Bronze medal winner Lucy Stanhope from City of Liverpool is another strong all-arounder and a very clean and elegant gymnast. See her here in the beam finals. Many of the Espoirs were doing this mount, I am unsure of the difficulty rating, but it certainly looks cool! Also doing very well was Scottish Louise McColgan. Also a very neat gymnast, she is especially fun to watch on floor. You can see her routine here.

Apparatus Finals

Teal warming up on floor

Catherine warming up on beam

Louise McColgan showing great flexibility in her leaps

Bronze medal winner Holly Jones on floor. Holly is another gymnast with gorgeous long lines!

1st Catherine Lyons 13.95 
2nd Teal Grindle 13.65
3rd Maisie Methuen 13.55

1st= Catherine Lyons and Alice Kinsella 13.00
3rd Teal Grindle 12.7 (fall)

1st Catherine Lyons 14.90
2nd Lucy Stanhope 13.60
3rd Amelia Montague 13.55

1st Catherine Lyons 14.75
2nd Teal Grindle 13.70
3rd Holly Jones and Latalia Bevan 13.50

Most of the vaults being performed were piked/ layout yurchenkos, Teal and Catherine both did FTY as their first vaults. Saw a few tsukaharas as well as one handspring front. Most of the girls are too small to be performing difficult vaults, but I'm sure they will come as they get older- they are only 12 and 13!

Overall I was very impressed by the talent on bar. Britain now has a strong reputation for bar, thanks to the likes of Beth Tweddle, Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold who have done very well on the world stage. This batch of Espoirs can definitely follow in their footsteps. Beams were also good, with reasonable difficulty. Catherine had a great routine, for which she was rewarded with a 14.90!

Most impressive of all were the floor routines. All finalists showed very polished routines, there were no major mistakes. These girls already look like professional gymnasts and have real artistic flair! I think that allowing gymnasts at such a young age to compete on a podium (in an arena like the Glasgow World Cup one) is a great experience for them, and really will help to build their confidence for the coming years of senior competition.

Catherine's winning floor routine

Article by Imogen Browne (follow on twitter @Iflip4gymblog)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Larisa Iordache wins the 2013 Glasgow World Cup!

The 2013 Glasgow World Cup took place this weekend at the Emirates arena, and I was lucky enough to attend! It was tight at the top, where defending champion Elizabeth Price (USA) fell uncharacteristically on her Amanar vault, leaving the door wide open for Larisa Iordache (ROM). A fall from Iordache on her layout 1/1 on beam was not enough to prevent her from taking the title over Price, winning by a margin of 0.6 points. 23-year old Vanessa Ferrari of Italy was again impressive, taking the bronze medal with a respectable total of 56.633.

Our view from the top of the Emirates Arena

1st- Larisa Iordarche 57.932 (ROM) 2nd- Ebee Price 57.365 (USA) 3rd- Vanessa Ferrari 56.633 (ITA) photo credit: Larisa Iordache Official FB page

The fall from Ebee on vault I guess was a lapse in concentration, she normally has no problems with it and had indeed successfully completed an Amanar in warmups. But a lower score of 14.233 compared to Larisa's 14.766 for a clean DTY put her at a disadvantage from the start. The youngest competitior, Spanish Roxana Popa also ran into trouble on vault where she only performed a layout yurchenko instead of a (double twisting?) that she is capable of. Ferlito (ITA) was also clearly injured, she was having problems with on of her ankles in all of the warmup vaults. Asuka Teramoto from Japan debuted a new vault, which she spent much of the general warmup time perfecting. She was the only competitor not to compete a yurchenko.

Ebee's warmup Amanar

Teramoto's vault

Bar was a disappointing rotation for both of the British girls, Ruby and Raer who both peeled off. Ferlito who was clearly having an off day also fell. Was really nice to see her helping straight afterwards prepare the bars for Vanessa. Both girls also pulled each other's springboards away- they hardly needed a coach on the floor! Iordache again scraped through another routine, Popa and Teramoto were good, but the highlight was definitely Ebee. That girl is so powerful and so strong that she makes it look easy! She was rewarded with a 14.833 for this routine. I reckon she should be in the lineup for bars at the 2014 Team World Championships.

Ebee rocking bars

Good routines from both British girls here, although sadly not the difficulty to bring in the big marks. Iordache received the top score here, 14.10 even with the fall on the layout 1/1. I guess the difficulty and the 'wow' factor is worth the risk for her. She also seems to have trouble with this pass when there is no twist, so why not chuck it in? Price and Ferrari were also impressive here.

Clean and stylish routine from Ruby, but lacking in difficulty to bring in the big numbers. Great experience for her though, and the crowd loved it!

Another professional and confident performance from Ferrari, she just keeps getting better!

The excitement was high in the last rotation, with Men's high bar running simultaneously. The audience was very involved and clapped many of the gymnasts through their routines. I would like to give a special mention to Ferrari. I like her floor routine and I enjoy watching videos. But at the top of the stands I was captivated by her! She really performs the routine, which makes a difference to some other gymnasts who just go through the motions. She was captivating! Also worth a mention is Larisa's artistic routine, where the leaps and tumbling stand out. I also love the choreography and all of the smiles! Ebee was her usual impressive self with dynamic tumbling and powerful dance. Popa is also very expressive for such a young gymnast and has great tumbling. I'm so pleased for her success this year and am looking forwards to seeing her grow over the next quad.

Roxana (in a fabulous leotard) on floor

Larisa tumbling, smiling and leaping her way to gold

Vanessa's impressive floor performance and a well deserved bronze medal!

1. IORDACHE, Larisa (ROM) 57.932
2. PRICE, Elizabeth (USA) 57.365
3. FERRARI, Vanessa (ITA) 56.633
4. TERAMOTO, Asuka (JAP) 54.866
5. POPA NEDELCU, Roxana (ESP) 54.532
6. FERLITO, Carlotta (ITA) 51.866
7. HARROLD, Ruby (GBR) 51.432
8. THEAKER, Raer (GBR) 50.632

The biggest congratulations has to go to Iordache, who has had a grueling month of back-to-back competitions and managed to put it all together to win in Glasgow. She did have a disappointing fall on beam, but her overall difficulty and consistency prevailed in the end- well done Larisa! 

Was pleased to see Ebee up there as well, it hasn't been an easy year for her, having to recover from injuries to both hips. Expect her to be back in full force for 2014!

Also to Ferrari- what a competitor! Although it seems as though she is at then end of her career, she seems to be getting better and better- such an inpiration! We hope to see her continue, Italy needs her consistency and leadership.

To top things off, I was lucky enough to meet Beth Tweddle, my favourite (sorry everyone else) British Olympian! We were stoked.

Shona, Beth and I after the competition

Article by Imogen Browne (Follow on twitter @ImogenMireille)