I’m getting hammered for my contention that Russian bar routines lack orginality.
What commenters do seem to agree on is that the Chinese team’s bars are boring. Stunningly beautiful, yes, but boring because everyone does the same skills.
A typical example:
Jiang Yuyuan, 2008 World Cup Final, Uneven Bars:
The Chinese are all very heavy on inverted giants and stalders, Pak saltos, Jaegers and Tkatchevs. Many do double layout dismounts.
But not all of them. Reigning Olympic champion He Kexin, whose Jaeger-half, Jaeger combination elevates the whole exercise. The first to perform the combination, Li Ya, also had a unique Arabian double pike dismount that’s now performed by Ksenia Semyonova. (She also did a full-twisting double pike off the uneven bars, which is rarely seen.)
2000 Olympic beam champion Liu Xuan also performed Li Ya’s combination — 11 years before Li brought it out in international competiton. Liu Xuan is probably more famous for the one-armed giant through to a Geinger that she performed in 1995. The judges thought it was too dangerous and made the element a C in the code of points to discourage other athletes from doing it.
And oh yes, those Gaylords? From Mo Huilan, Bi Wenjing and Zhang Yufei in 2005.
Mo Huilan, 1995 World Championships, Uneven Bars:
Zhou Duan (why, oh why didn’t she stick around longer?) threw a Gaylord II and did a Geinger-Pak salto combination.
Zhou Duan, 1997 East Asian Games Team Finals, Uneven Bars:
And here’s Xiao Tingting, who packs a whopping six release skills (only two are either Tkatchevs or Jaegers) into this routine at the 2006 Shanghai World Cup Final. I’ve posted this before, but it’s a good video to trot out every once and awhile.