Chinese National Team: Stepping it up on Bars
The Chinese National Games are taking place this week, and I have greatly enjoyed watching the incredible bars performances that their gymnasts have been putting out. They, along with the British gymnasts, are bringing out some incredible new skills and combinations that the new code of points is encouraging. The top girls are attempting a F+ release skill and/or crazy release combinations. And the best part is, these routines aren’t all the same. While the Russians produced some great bar work last quad, it was all a Shaposhnikova-variation fest (which the Chinese are doing a bit of too now- and thank god, because it greatly decreases the dead hangs). The Chinese of 2013 show their trademark pirouettes, but each gymnast also has something very unique and exciting in her routine- and occasionally a few things!
Here are some of my favorite routines.
What stands out: The beginning sequence of pike stalder 1/1-chow-pak-chow 1/2, as well as her slow, gorgeous one-arm pirouette and floaty Jaeger. She is one of the few gymnasts of the world doing both el-grip work and piked stalkers. My only complaint is that she shifts her hands so many times on some pirouettes.
What stands out: Yao has the same gorgeous opening chow-pak-chow 1/2 combination as Huang. Below is her hit, “safe” 6.7 routine from qualifications, with wonderful handstands. In team finals, she showed the real deal with a MO SALTO. Unfortunately, she fell, but you can watch the routine here. Or a hit Mo from training here.
What stands out: The piked hindorff, connected to a pak salto. No big deal. She also usually connects her sky-high tkachev and gienger, which you can see in her (missed) TF routine here. Below is her qualification routine, with a conservative 6.7 difficulty.
What stands out: Tan competes a gorgeous maloney-gienger combination and a hindorff-pak combo, as well as ending with a full twisting double layout, which she unfortunately fell on here. She used to connect the hindorff to the gienger, which was pretty cool, but I don’t think anyone can really complain about her current composition.
I don’t think I need to tell you what stands out in He’s routine. It’s the same one that won her a silver at the Olympics last year and the world title in 2009. We all know what she is capable of on this apparatus. With all of these up-and-comers, one might think that He would fall behind in difficulty, but she actually had the highest difficulty in qualification on bars with a 6.8! It has been said that this may be her last competition, and she will be greatly missed in the world of gymnastics. He managed to stay highly competitive on bars in a second quad, even when her body seemed to be working against her. Let’s hope she can say goodbye with a medal, even in this deep field!
The competition for the two EF spots for bars will be fierce between Huang, Yao and Shang, who have been named to the world team. I, for one, can’t wait!