Report International Gymnix 2016

 

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Junior Cup competitors 

The British Junior team travelled to Montreal to take part in the 25th annual Gymnix International over the weekend. A prestigious event, and the opportunity to test themselves against many of the best junior gymnasts in the world, as other than China, the top teams were represented with USA, Russia, Romania, and Japan all in attendance.

Firstly, it is disappointing not to be able to bring you many videos of the event, Flogymnastics  secured streaming rights to the competition, and made it available on their pro service only,  which means that unless you pay, you can’t see it.  I paid the monthly membership fee so that I could bring a detailed report to followers of British gymnastics, and tweet live as the event happened. I wrestled with doing so, as I am financially supporting the idea that gymnastics coverage should be exclusive to those who are willing to pay, whereas I firmly believe the opposite. I very much hope this is not the way gymnastics coverage will go, not just for ordinary fans, but should Ellesse, Alice, Maisie, and Taeja’s parents have to pay to watch their own children compete now, when most competitions that don’t happen to be under subscription service can be seen on youtube thanks to fans who are willing and happy to record and share the action for nothing but the love of the sport? Should absent coaches have to pay to see their gymnasts they have worked tirelessly with compete? Without the parents and coaches there would be no gymnasts to film and charge people for, I couldn’t disagree more with the concept. I hope very much this isn’t something that spreads, I think of people like SusanW who travels to so many British competitions, takes great quality footage, and happily shares it with everyone so they can enjoy and support our gymnasts in their efforts. People like her, and the many like her worldwide that do the same should be celebrated and applauded. Not to mention British, USA, and Russian gymnastics who stream their championships for free year after year. Shutting people out does not promote  sport,  making coverage financially exclusive discourages mass following and participation. This is not something that massively affects British gymnastics as yet, and I would hate to see it do so, but as well as British, I am a world gymnastics fan, and I suspect I am not alone in my opinions here.

I absolutely appreciate the Flogymnastics are a business, and as such will need to make a profit. Whereas  it would be great to see all the excellent training, documentary, and feature videos they produce for free, I do understand these cost to produce, so charging people is where they will recoup the money, and make their profit.  It is the competition coverage I take the most exception to,  ensuring that there is no other option but to pay should you wish to see the routines.

 

After that, on to the competition!

As I mentioned in the meet the team post, the original team was changed due to injuries to Latalia Bevan and Jolie Ruckley, so Maisie Methuen and Alice Kinsellsa were joined by first time internationals Ellesse Oates and Teaja James.

First up was the team/AA event with a mixed day for the girls in that there was a lot of  excellent gymnastics,  but also the team did have three falls which of course affected their total as even with a four up three to count format,  they had to count a fall on bars. They were far from alone though, with many of the teams counting falls, including second placed Russia who also had three falls, and had to count one on beam.

Starting on vault, and a solid opening piece for the girls. Ellesse vaulted a handspring pike front needing a large step to bring it under control, but a solid opener for 13.325.
Alice vaulted a nice and well landed full twisting Yurchenko for 13.875, then followed with a straight Yurchenko with a hop back, for 13.425. An average of 13.650 gave her a place in the vault final.

Maisie also claimed a place in the vault final with a handspring piked front half to open with, a little low in the chest on landing, and a small pace for 13.825. she then performed a handspring piked front for her second vault, really well executed, but needing a bigger step to control the landing for 13.575. Average of 13.70

Taeja opened with a full twisting Yurchenko with a big bounce back for 13.80, she then also went for the straight Yurchenko again with the hop back, for 13.475. Average of 13.6375

On to bars, Taeja went up first, and after almost going over on her opening cast to handstand, she settled well into her routine. Taeja really attacks her gymnastics, and what I like about her is that she tries to go for the maximum on all her skills. Sometimes she puts a little too much in, and like here she had to fight to keep it under control, but I believe as she progresses, she will lean exactly how much to give everything, and really perform her skills with that extra virtuosity that makes the best gymnasts really stand out.

Blind turn into big Jaeger, just losing her leg form a little at the end of the skill. Toe on and off, into nice flighted Tkatchev, shoot half landing right in handstand, then shooting back to the highbar, she just mistimed the skill, and came off. Taeja repeated the skill again this time with no problems, giant full, then nice full out dismount to finish. 12.675 (5.1 D 7.025 E)

Next up was Ellesse, so stylish on this piece, she opened with a lovely Gienger, then was a little late on her giant full, but did the Pak to low bar well. Then a sharp cast to handstand top turn, toe on and off, shoot back to high bar, and hitting a great handstand on her cast. Blind in, forward giant, then finishing with a double front with just a small pace. A great  routine for her first international, and with one of the highest E scores, there really is some quality work here for her to build the difficulty on. 12.950 (4.90 D 8.050 E)

Maisie has upgraded her bars since last year, she’s added a toe full at the beginning, and is now linking the Maloney to the clear circle to handstand, then straight into the Tkatchev. She did come quite short on the cast into the Maloney today, as well as the clear circle, so would have had a deduction there, but it’s great to see her building the difficulty.
Shoot half to low bar, toe shoot back to high, blind in, top out, then she’s brought back the full out to finish with. A good performance, and a place in the bar final was the reward. 13.20 (5.1 D 8.10 E)

Closing out the bars rotation, Alice has upgraded since we last saw her in competition in December. 0.3 up on D score, and a completely reworked routine. Opening with the toe half to Jaeger, then toe full on the high bar now, a little late on completing the turn today. Giant, and into the Pak. Unfortunately Alice didn’t get a solid catch on the low bar, she tried to adjust, but wasn’t able to save the skill causing her to come off. Back on to finish the routine, toe on and off, Maloney, shoot half back to the low bar. Toe shoot to high bar, toe on and off, then two giants into double straight dismount, running out of steam a little at the end meant a lower landing and having to take two paces forward.

It may not have gone to plan today, but great upgrades, and Alice was clearly cross with how it had gone showing her strong determination to compete to her best ability. 12.550 (5.60 D 6.950 E)

Ellesse started things off on beam, opening with change leg to sissone, she went safely and confidently through the flick layout and the free walkover. There were issues on both skills with leg extension for the E panel to get their teeth into, but a solid start. The sheep jump I don’t think she would have been awarded on the day, and I have seen her make much better attempts, change leap quarter turn with a wobble, but kept on, then a good punch front with a small step. Side some again with a wobble on landing, then finishing with a double tuck, a little low on landing, but safely through. It was a bit of a tentative performance, but Ellesse held her nerve and made it through without major error, so well done. 12.80 (5.30 D 7.50 E)

Maisie was up next, and she really is developing into a very stylish worker on this piece. Great extension all the way through her legs and feet on the opening change to sissone, flick layout layout, then double spin. She didn’t totally commit to the change to ring, it’s an incredibly difficult skill hence the E value, and anything other than hitting the exact position required results in it being devalued. Maisie also ambitiously tried the free walkover connected to the sheep jump , not quite making the connection on the day, and not getting the position on the sheep jump, so again taking the downgrade. When she has it solid however, it’s a big 0.8 for both skills, plus 0.2 connection. Maisie had a big wobble on the Onodi, but kept it on, then finished with the two and a half twist with a pace to the side.
13.025 (5.40 D 7.625 E) Maise is going for a 5.9 D though, so great potential in this routine.

Taeja opened confidently with the flick to chest stand mount, wolf turn, and change half with a little bobble which she controlled well. Handstand into two layouts with great dynamism and extension, she had a big wobble at the end, but fought well to stay on. Good punch front with a little hop, she was a little short of split on the back leg her change leap into W jump. The free cartwheel didn’t quite go over the top, so she landed a little off line which took her off the beam. Side somi which she again fought well to hang on to, then an excellent two and a half twist with a great landing.
Not the routine Taeja would have wished for, but she works so well on this piece, sharp, confident and flowing throughout, very promising. 12.525 (5.5 D 7.025 E)

Alice also opened with the flick to chest stand, then made the double spin with just a small wobble at the end. She went for an upgrade to her leaps, changing the split leap to change leap for a change to change quarter. She didn’t make the connection here, but it’s a 0.1 when she does, as well as the new C leap. Lovely free cartwheel layout series, with a small adjustment, then W jump to sissone for the requirement, and into the free walkover. Alice had a big wobble on this skill, but managed to stay on. Finishing with a two and a half twist with a small hop, it was again a routine with great promise for the year to come, and Alice like Maisie is elegant and stylish on this piece.  13.325 (5.5D 7.925 E)

Finally on to floor, Ellesse went up first, and a change to her opening element, with the tour jette full changed for a split jump full. One and a half twist to double twist opening tumble with a hop back, change to ring, then tour jette full for an upgraded dance passage. Two and a half twist second tumble, a hop back on landing, then double spin with a bit of loss of control taking her off the vertical axis. Ellesse had to fight having landed deep on her full twisting straight front, but she did well to take just one pace, finishing with a double tuck, a little low on landing, but well done to Ellesse in her first international, through with no major errors. 12.375 (5.0 D 7.375 E)

Taeja opened with a big double tuck with the tiniest hop on landing, this is definitely a place holder skill, as she was doing the double pike here. In podium training right at the end of floor, and just in the edge of the picture I thought I saw her do a full in, but I’m not 100% sure. Whether she did or not, I think we’ll see a new tumble here imminently. Straight front to full twisting straight front, and again in podium training she did a one and a half in her routine, and I think a double when just tumbling. Also, she’s moved the two and a half twist to the end of the routine, so again it suggests an upgrade is planned here. The same leap series, hop full to split full, then switch half to the corner. One and a half twist to straight front, but she did have to bend her legs today. A change to her spins, double L spin to single spin, then finishing with the two and a half twist. 13.025 (5.0 D 8.025 E)
Taeja was the only one of the British girls not to have her coach with her, and despite the two falls has shown such huge promise here. A young junior, not senior till 2018, if you are not familiar with her, then remember the name as looking at the skills she has in training, she has the potential to have a big second year as a junior, then hit the senior ranks as one of GB’s new stars.

Alice has upgraded on floor since December, she started with the Memmel spin to back spin, then tumbled one and a half to two and a half, an extra half twist on the second element. Triple twist second tumble, again an upgrade from the double pike, then upgraded dance passage with the change leap to change half upgraded to tour jette half to change half. The double pike moves to the third tumble, then finishing with a double tuck. Alice did have a couple of low landings, but has clearly worked very hard to be able to have all of her upgrades competition ready in just a couple of months. She was awarded a 5.0 D score in December, and a 5.6 here, so great work. I think now the difficulty is in, we’ll see the E score rising through the year. A place in the floor final was the reward for her efforts, 13.50 (5.6 D 7.9 E)

Maisie opens with her dance passage which is a lovely change as it’s so rare. I like it when gymnast does something a little different to stand out. Change to ring to tour jette half beautifully done, then opening tumble of a high double tuck. A little too much power and a big step back, this is also a place holder tumble, likely for the lovely double Arabian she now has. The double pike has moved to the second tumble, then Johnson half which is the change to side with an added half turn. Double spin to back spin, handspring straight front full to stag leap, then a very tidy handspring to straight front with double twist.
Maisie performed absolutely beautifully, she smiles, she projects, she emotes. Her work is clean and flowing, and the routine is lovely. The difficulty here was what kept the score down, a 5.0 meant she wasn’t able to make the final, but the 4th highest E score reflects the quality. If she is able to up up her difficulty but keep the same level of execution we will see her getting places in finals. 13.350 (5.0 E 8.350 E)

In the end, 7th place for the girls on the day. As I said, other teams did have errors, but they did have higher difficulty meaning D score wise the British team were at a disadvantage. Looking at the D scores across the teams in 1st to 7th, taking the top three highest as Japan only competed three gymnasts, it will come as no surprise that the US were way out in front three points clear of second place Russia. What does become clear is that difficulty is deciding the placings, with only France taking E score advantage by beating GB when they were just below them in D score.

Team scores

  1. USA 170.350
  2. Russia 163.8
  3. Canada 162.125
  4. Japan 161.65
  5. Romania 161.475
  6. France 160.075
  7. GB 159.350
  8. Belgium 150.250

 

D Scores per team

USA VT 17.10, UB 17.30, BB 17.80, FX 17.00. Total 69.3

RUS VT 15.80, UB 17.30, BB 17.50, FX 16.30. Total 66.30

CAN VT 15.50, UB 16.40, BB 17.50, FX 16.30. Total 65.70

JPN VT 15.80, UB 16.40, BB 15.60, FX 16.30. Total 64.80

ROU VT 15.8, UB 15.00, BB 17.20, FX 16.40. Total 64.40

FRA VT, 15.0, UB 15.60, BB 16.80, FX 15.30. Total 62.60

GB  VT, 15.0, UB 15.80, BB 16.40, FX 15.60. Total 62.80

 

Three apparatus finals for the British girls, starting on floor, and Alice did brilliantly, raising her E score by 0.1 which was enough to take the bronze medal. 13.60 A great reward for such hard work in upping her difficulty over the last couple of months, and in fact the second highest D score in the final.

Both Maisie and Alice competed in the vault final, Maisie placed 6th with 13.975 average, after improving on both vaults. The handspring piked front half scored an extra 0.2 from qualification for 14.025, and the handspring piked front an extra 0.4 for 13.925. Third highest E score average from Maisie, excellent work.

Alice placed eighth with an average of 13.50. 13.875 for her full twisting Yurchenko the same as in qualification, and 13.225 for the straight Yurchenko, which was a little down on qualifying.

Maisie contested the bars final, improving from qualification she gained 0.1 in D score for 5.20, and also managed a higher E score for 8.20.  A total of 13.40, up 0.2, and another great performance from Maisie.

Full results from the competition can be found here:

http://internationalgymnix.ca/en/results/results-2016/

Well done to all gymnasts and coaches, the young Brits have returned home to carry on preparing for upcoming competitions, and trials for Junior Europeans which is their biggest competition this year.  Both Russia and Romania fielded their strongest teams here so we have a good idea of how they are going to look for junior Europeans. Russia look very strong, but I think Romania are catchable, and a repeat of team silver is well within possibility.

 

Newly crowned Scottish AA senior champion Cara Kennedy, and bronze medalist Shannon Archer both of Gity of Glasgow  competed in the  Challenge category. Cara placed 17h with 48.850, and Shannon 20th with 48.35.

Shannon made the vault final qualifying in third place, she vaulted really well to finish with the silver medal with an average of 13.336 (13.70, 13.033)

Cara made the floor final finishing 6th, a great routine just unfortunately running out of steam right at the end on her double pike which is what kept her from the medals, and looking at the scores she would have likely taken gold should she have kept to her feet.  12.575 (5.10 D 7.475 E)

Well done to both gymnasts

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2 thoughts on “Report International Gymnix 2016

  1. First, I’d like to say thanks for all your event coverage. It’s great to read about the progress of the GB squad, and your reports are really insightful.

    I’d also like to provide a little perspective on the paying subscription system for competition viewing. I’d like to view it as something positive – finally, gymnastics is getting the professional treatment it deserves. After all, football fans have to purchase their sky subscriptions too! This is because quality coverage is incredibly hard and even more expensive to produce.

    As a media professional (at last) it has taken me over a decade of effort to acquire the training and equipment that will enable me – God willing – to make a living from my activity. It has been incredibly disheartening to realise how little this work is valued. It feels sad that people expect competition coverage for free when it requires so much skill and dedication to produce – yet they happily buy 2 or 3 coffees a week they could easily make at home, for above the price of a subscription to a private channel.

    Journalists are often working for below the minimum wage, spending more on travel and accommodation that they can ever recoup from selling their stories. When they are photographers or videographers, they have to finance the equipment and insurance as well.

    We all like to have things for free, and I’ve been the first to enjoy all the youtube gymnastics links! It’s been amazing to have access to all of these performances I’d never see. But they come at a price: by allowing fans to film and share, you’re pulling the rug from beneath the journalists’ feet. It’s becoming incredibly difficult to make any kind of living from the activity you love, and strive to deliver to the highest standards – and heartbreaking when just asking people to play by the rules is considered greedy!

    For the past few years I’ve worked day jobs and used up all annual leave on volunteer media projects – covering gymnastics competitions and many other things.
    I contribute to 2 well followed free sports websites myself, on a voluntary basis. They’ve helped me acquire the necessary experience, because no news outlets can afford paid interns. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and will continue to help out. It’s not physically sustainable to keep things exclusively this way, and with competition coverage almost exclusively reserved to free publications, finding creative ways of earning a living has been a real challenge. I’m hoping it’s possible though 🙂
    Even established professionals who’ve contributed to the history of the sport, such as Eileen Langsley, have spoken of this difficulty. If it’s hard for someone like her, who has been able to build her portfolio, equipment set and credibility under a system where her work was valued, how much harder is it for new journalists and photographers! We’re not even allowed, for example, to sell calendars with our pictures or use them for any advertising. Only editorial publication is allowed – and if people want that for free, you can see where that leaves us…

    Live coverage of competitions is what brings subscribers. You can’t attract enough following by producing documentaries alone.
    Moreover if spectators are allowed to film and share, we are killing the concept of quality. The only videos available will be of amateur standard. I’m not a contributor to FloGymnastics and have no links to them at all. But I feel a surge of sadness and professional solidarity with them reading your post – because I know just how much work it takes to set up such an enterprise, how many years of preparation, how much personal and financial risk… to bring beautiful, quality coverage of a beautiful sport.

    It’s also a slight misunderstanding to suggest that parents and coaches can’t access the performances of their children. When they email the journalists, they almost always get given access for free as long as they agree not to share online. Moreover, you may have come across the photography clauses that prohibit filming unless you’re a rights holder – apart from a team representative being allowed to film their athlete strictly for personal / practice use. This case has been thought of 🙂

    Being able to view competitions, surely, is worth the price of a cup of coffee, no?
    If we value the work of gymnasts and coaches, and the years they put into developing excellence – can we also value the work of journalists? Just enough for them to be able to afford their cameras? After all, as writers, photographers and film makers are like gymnasts – artists of sorts, and lovers of excellence too 🙂

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  2. Hi Gymfan, and thank you for offering your perspective from the other side of gymnastics coverage, I did when I expressed my opinion expect an opposing response, as I am aware that there are mixed views on the subject, and valid arguments on both sides.

    Perhaps I am a a little old school in my thinking and approach, I come from the era of working full time, coaching up to another 30 hours a week on top of that, and thinking nothing of it as you do it for the love of the sport. I think you are British, and if so you may be aware that we still have excellent coaches working to earn their money, then coaching for nothing or very little but the love, and some of them are producing national squad gymnasts. We may be behind modern times here in that we don’t have subscription, and we have people producing amazing footage which they are happy to share. In my opinion only, the coverage I referred to from one fan in particular is of equal quality, but of course one person cannot cover all routines which an enterprise is set up to. I am used to everything for the love of the sport, as I say perhaps an old fashioned view, but I will remain grateful that British Gymnastics stream everything for free.
    I think people expect coverage for free because that is the way it has always been. Years of excellent coverage on youtube, both amateur and professional, as I mentioned free streaming from national bodies, all the major championships, and most smaller competitions.
    Perhaps we are at the crossroads of amateur verses professional sport here, yes our top athletes are funded, but they get don’t make their whole career what a top footballer makes in a month. Sky sports is £45 a month for 270 channels, and seven sports channels, I paid £15 for a month of Flogymnastics where I can only watch gymnastics of course, and one event featuring the British team.
    For me, as a writer of a British blog, this is the first time I have encountered this in nearly a year of blogging. I have reported on every competition the juniors and seniors have attended, and only a couple have had no footage available. I have paid £15 to report on gymnasts I have been able to write about and watch for years. The gymnasts haven’t profited from this, neither have the coaches.
    I mentioned the parents and coaches of the team, as I was aware that both were following my coverage meaning they did not have access themselves. Yes they could have paid, or perhaps they could have emailed and been given access, although they likely were not aware of this, and it seems would have had to find out for themselves.
    I had heard about prohibiting filming for anyone else, although I didn’t mention it as I wasn’t sure, it seems that is the case though. I can understand why, as having secured the rights why would you want people to get it for free, but again it’s one set of people deciding to change what has always been fine for everyone else.

    I don’t know what the answer to this is, I am just a blogger who spends hours and hours researching and writing for absolutely nothing in return, working much like I did as a young gymnast then coach, I do it for my love of the sport and nothing more. Reviewing the routines, working out the upgrades, the D scores, then typing it all out took over six hours of my Sunday, and I was happy to do it for nothing but enjoyment. Perhaps I am the wrong person to comment on this as I come at it from the completely opposite direction. I am not trying to make my living here, but I understand that other people are. If every competition was streamed, and multiple subscription services became the norm, my blog wouldn’t exist as I wouldn’t be able to afford to sustain it. I enjoy what I am doing here, so obviously hope to be able to keep it going, and know which circumstances will allow that, and which will not.

    I appreciate that you have worked very hard to be able to make a living as a media professional, and I wish you every success. I believe fully in finding your passion in life, and figuring out how to get paid for it. In terms of gymnastics coverage that may not fit in with how I would like to see things go, but I am just one person with one opinion, and in the end it will be the opinions of the many that win out whichever direction that takes.

    Thank you again for sharing your opinion and perspective, I welcome all feedback, and believe that things are best understood when all sides are presented.

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