Nastia’s floor needs a closer look

Nastia LiukinPeople carp about Nastia Liukin’s vault.

It’s not hard enough, they say. It’s a one-and-a-half twisting Yurchenko. It’s so 1996.

There’s been talk that she’s upgrading to a Yurchenko double twist (Opinionated interjection with unsolicited coaching advice: Liukin should really be training a Khorkina II, which would allow her to use her twisting ability to its maximum potential), which boosts her scoring potential slightly.

Even so, many think the Olympic AA champ is going to have to throw an Amanar (2.5 twisting-Yurchenko) or have someone else, namely Shawn Johnson, fall on said vault in order to open the door for everyone else.

All true. But Liukin’s problem isn’t so much vault as much as it is floor exercise.

Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the dance. She has a classy floor routine with wonderful choreography and a high level of difficulty. She even proved that despite being frail-looking, she could rotate her body around twice in the air from a running takeoff by adding a double front in 2006. Ironically, it’s the pass that’s given her the least trouble these past two years.

The problem is that she hasn’t hit any floor routine cleanly in any competition since the 2006 American Cup.

Nastia Liukin, 2006 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Since then:

2006 Pacific Alliance: Near fall on 1.5 to punch front? second pass
2006 U.S. Classic: Flail on front 1/1 to front 2/1, sat down double front
2006 U.S. Championships Day 1: Out of bounds on 2.5 twist final pass
2006 U.S. Championships Day 2: Out of bounds on first pass, got her passes confused and repeated an element
2007 U.S. Championships Day 1: Near fall and out of bounds on front 2/1 to tucked front 1/1
2007 U.S. Championships Day 2: Fall on 2.5 punch front final pass
2007 World Championships Team Prelims: Out of bounds on front 1/1 ot Rudi third pass
2007 World Championships All Around: Out of bounds on front layout to front 1/1 second pass
2008 American Cup: Out of bounds on front 1/1 to front 2/1 first pass
2008 Pacific Rim Championships, All Around: Slip and fall out of bounds on 1.5 to Rudi
2008 Pacific Rum Championships Event Finals: Appeared to put hand down on front 2/1 and went out of bounds, big form break in the air

Nastia LiukinThat’s a very long list. And potentially more problematic than getting a 15.0 or thereabouts for a well-done-but-not-quite-difficult-enough vault.

Liukin and her father/coach Valeri are very good at designing routines that complement her body lines and compensate for the fact that she’s not a power gymnast. They also seem to know when to throw in the towel on an element, like the back pike she performed at the end of her tumbling sequence on beam in 2006 and 2007.

These intricate forward-twisting passes have given her trouble time and again, and they need to go. But what to replace them with? Or downgrade and hope the execution score floats upward in response?

Perhaps Nastia should bring back the Randi she competed so well in 2005 and early in 2006, as well as her triple twist. The 1.5 twist to Rudi doesn’t seem all that problematic either, and she does it well.

Nastia’s definitely in the hunt. But she’s unlikely to win Olympic gold with any of the floor performances she’s given since the 2006 American Cup.

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9 Responses to “Nastia’s floor needs a closer look”

  1. Gymnastics Coaching » Blog Archive » Nastia Liukin to win the Olympic Games Says:

    […] Blythe on the Gymblog feels that Nastia’s weak apparatus is actually Floor. […]

  2. Brooke Says:

    I am so glad to see someone mention Nastia’s floor routine! She just never seems to nail it- she always seems tired by the time floor rolls around. I know that her dance is very difficult and she is always perfectly extended with awesome toe point, but does anyone else feel like her arms are always just flailing around in the air? I feel like she moves them so fast, and maybe it’s just me, but they are distracting. Oh, and her music seriously hurts my ears…sorry Nast. Thank goodness she is beyond awesome on bars and beam!!

    Has anyone actually seen her throw a DTY in practice or training? I am anxious to see how it looks for her.

  3. TCO Says:

    she’s a mess. She doesn’t even have a douyble back styule skill in her routine. And on bars…she milks that A score like crazy. She’s not a true gymnast.

  4. Gabrielle Says:

    Yes, there is a video of Nastia’s DTY and though it was into a pit, it looks good.

  5. Marcus Says:

    if she does her randi like she did in 2005 and 2006, she’d never get any credit for it

  6. Tasha Says:

    yea i dont think shes ever completed the randi, the new scoring system wud never credit it and she cant do a triple cause backwards tumbling is hard on the ankle

  7. Anna Says:

    well she won the olympic gold for all around, & thats whats most important.
    she is graceful, artistic, & elegant, something a lot of the other gymnasts dont have. i know they all have different styles, but i think her perfs are just breathtaking and flawless overall. maybe i dont understand gymnastics, but hey an opinion is an opinion. her music is perfect, in my view, dramatic and during her floor, she has her legs very high, <180 degrees, again, toes very pointed, beautiful twists. her runs give enough bounce for her to complete her moves.

  8. paris Says:

    nastia liukin is a good gymnast! i meen if she wasn’t afterall she woudn’t be the olympic champ.

  9. nastia fan Says:

    What the heck is all of this about? Nastia’s floor is beautiful and stunning in every way! Her form and technique is perfect and may I remind you her routines leading up to the olympics were nearly perfect.

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