Posts Tagged ‘Jiang Yuyuan’

Japanese Olympic teams announced

May 8, 2008

Japan's Mayu KurodaBarring injury, the Japanese men’s team competing for gold in Beijing will be Hiroyuki Tomita, Kohei Uchimura, Koki Sakamoto, Takehiro Kashima, Makoto Okiguchi, Takuya Nakase.

The women’s team, announced at the same time, is Kyoko Oshima, Miki Uemura, Yu Minobe, Koko Tsurumi, Yuko Shintake, Mayu Kuroda.

Japan is the first country I know of to announce its Olympic teams, although it’s been speculated that China’s women’s team will consist of Cheng Fei, Yang Yilin, He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and two others. The Japanese men were second to the Chinese by a sizeable margin at the 2007 World Championships. The Japanese women grabbed the 12th and final team berth to Beijing.

(Via International Gymnast Magazine Online)

Chinese Nationals: Quick hits

May 7, 2008

Cheng FeiCheng Fei: 16.1 on vault (Fei)
Jiang Yuyuan: 16.1 on vault (Amanar)
He Kexin: 17.3 on bars
Yang Yilin: 17.05 on bars
Pang Panpan: 16.15 on bars
Li Shanshan: 16.95 on balance beam

Granted, this is from an internal meet. Makes one think that we’re going to be seeing some similiar scores come U.S. Nationals in June.

(via International Gymnast Magazine Online)

New floor routines 2008 II

March 19, 2008

One of the best things about the Olympic year is that many debut new floor routines. We love them and hate them.

Not sure how to feel about Jiang Yuyuan’s latest offering, shown at the 2008 Doha World Cup in Qatar a few weeks ago, though.

Jiang has beautiful movements and marvelous expression but the routune as a whole seems far less sophisticated than what she used at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart last September.

Jiang Yuyuan, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Is it possible that this is something of a training routine for Jiang? Cheng Fei performed a new routine at the 2007 Chinese Nationals but had switched back to the music and choreography of her 2006 World Championship-winning routine by the time she went to Stuttgart.

Cheng Fei, 2007 Chinese Nationals Prelims, Floor Exercise:

Cheng Fei, 2007 World Championships Prelims, Floor Exercise:

After all, competing the older routine is sometimes wiser. Just ask Chellsie Memmel.

So few slots, so many questions

March 7, 2008

In theory, by March of an Olympic year, we should be getting a better idea of who’s going to be on the Olympic team in most countries.

China is not most countries.

Here are Deng Linlin and Guo Weiyang, two from the People’s Republic whose success at the just concluded Doha World Cup may contribute to their own Olympic surge. Guo won gold on high bar in Doha. Deng won gold on beam and silver on floor.

She didn’t do too shabbily on vault, either, winning a bronze behind Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina and Russian Anna Pavlova.

Deng Linlin, 2008 Doha World Cup Event Finals, Vault:

Guo Weiyang, 2007 Chinese Nationals Event Finals, High Bar:

Ksenia SemyonovaMatters aren’t much clearer when it comes to the prospective Russian women’s team, either. Ksenia Semyonova is the reigning world champion on the uneven bars, but Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova keeps coming up with big results at smaller meets. Ksenia Afanasyeva had a great competition at last week’s Russian Cup.  

Add veteran Pavlova to the mix, as well as the stalwart Yelena Zamolodchikova, Svetlana Klyukina, Yekaterina Kramarenko, Polina Miller, Kristina Pravdina, Anna Grudko, Irina Isayeva, Daria Elizarova and Yulia Lozhechko. There’s no dearth of talent in Russia.

Who goes? Who stays? Who knows?

Good grief.

China’s B team impressive, but U.S. men disappointing in Beijing

November 30, 2007

Beijing Test Event: Great meet for Jiang Yuyuan. Not so for the U.S. men’s team.

The Americans sent three inexperienced and three somewhat experienced newcomers to Beijing for what International Gymnast Magazine termed a “dry run.”

It was dry all right.

The U.S. men wound up eighth out of the eight teams that competed. China, whose B team could probably win an Olympic medal, held off the challenge from the Japanese, the South Koreans and the Germans by performing solidly in front of the home crowd, some of whom were decked out in the same shades of red and yellow that the Chinese wear at many international meets.

China’s Lu Bin, now 28, topped the standings with a 16.525 on vault and delivered a solid 15.95 on still rings. Teammate Yan Mingyong posted the best score on rings with a 16.275. Feng Zhe was the only competitor to break 16 on parallel bars, scoring a 16.175.

Yan Mingyong, 2007 Shanghai World Cup Finals, Still Rings:

Feng Zhe, 2007 Glasgow Grand Prix Finals, Parallel Bars:

The Koreans did well on floor, where the high (15.725) came from Kim Soomyun. The Romanians shone on pommel horse; Daniel Popescu was the high scorer there with a 15.375, while Germany’s Fabian Hambuchen dominated the high bar standings with a 15.95, seven tenths higher than his nearest competitor.

Daniel Popescu, 2007 Moscow Stars, Pommel Horse:

World all-around silver medalist Hambuchen, who posted the highest all-around score in the preliminaries, competed everything but pommel horse and scored no lower than 14.875. Reigning U.S. Champion David Durante had one of the worser meets of his career, managing only 11.775 on pommel horse and 12.825 on parallel bars.

Jiang Yuyuan wins Good Luck Beijing

November 29, 2007

Jiang Yuyuan won the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.

Third after the preliminary round, China’s Jiang Yuyuan rallied to win the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational Thursday, International Gymnast Magazine reported.

Jiang, did not compete beam at the 2007 World Championships, posted the highest score on all four events during the all-around final to edge Australian Daria Joura, who led after the preliminary round. Jiang had a 15.4 on balance beam, a 15.725 on uneven bars, a 15.225 on floor and a 14.875 on vault. Joura also posted a 14.875 on vault.

The tiny, charismatic Jiang is quickly making a case for her inclusion on China’s 2008 Olympic team.

Jiang Yuyuan, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

American Bridget Sloan was third. 15.1 on balance beam was her high.

2005 World Champion Chellsie Memmel came in fifth behind Australian newcomer Lauren Mitchell. Memmel posted a 14.55 on uneven bars and a 14.7 on balance beam, but barely cracked 14s on floor and vault, where she competed a watered down Yurchenko full.

Canadian national champion Kristina Vaculik, Russian veteran Svetlana Klyukina, Great Britain’s Marissa King, Dutch standout Verona van der Leur and Romanian Andreea Grigore rounded out the top 10.

Joura charges to lead at Good Luck Beijing Invitational

November 28, 2007

Australian Daria Joura is on a roll.

Australian Daria Joura is coming on strong as 2007 draws to a close.

Fresh off her floor exercise gold at last month’s DBT Cup, Joura is leading the field after the preliminary round of competition at the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational, otherwise known as the Beijing Test Event.

The Invitational is being treated like a mini-Olympics, which in some ways it is. All it really needs is more of the world’s top competitiors, but enough impact gymnasts are there to make it interesting.

Second behind Joura by a little less than half a point is American rookie Bridget Sloan, the designated alternate of the Super Seven Stuttgart group, while 2007 Worlds competitor Jiang Yuyuan is third.

The competition is also the comeback ground of 2005 World Champion Chellsie Memmel (fourth after preliminaries) and 2006 almost World Champion Pang Panpan (fifth, competing exhibition only.)

Chellsie Memmel

Both sat out the 2007 Worlds nursing injuries, but both could have a huge impact this summer — provided they make their respective Olympic teams.

The Romanian effort continues to be shockingly subpar. Top Romanian qualifier Andreea Grigoire is sitting in 16th place after scoring only a 54.975 over four events.

China’s Cheng Fei was the top qualifier on vault (15.15) and floor exercise (15.0), while 2007 European bars champion Daria Zgoba qualified first on that event (15.8). Memmel earned the highest score on balance beam (15.525).

China's Cheng Fei

(via International Gymnast Online)

China’s 2008 contenders

October 31, 2007

China's Zhou Zhuoru

The U.S. commentators didn’t think too much of her at the 2006 American Cup, but China’s Zhou Zhuoru likely made a bold statement about her ability to perform in big competitions at the DTB Cup in Stuttgart last weekend.

Zhou Zhuoru, 2006 American Cup, Uneven Bars:

The Americans seemed to a little more respect for Zhou after she was part of the team that toppled the U.S. at the 2006 Worlds.
Zhou Zhuoru, 2007 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Zhou’s gold on balance beam and bronze on uneven bars at the DBT might be somewhat vindicating to the woman who is, in all honesty, probably classified as a “second-team gymnast” by others besides Tim Daggett. She given that she was designated the alternate for the 2007 World Championships in favor of less experienced teammates Li Shanshan, Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin and Xiao Sha.

As International Gymnast Magazine put it, Zhouru’s performance “helped her Olympic cause.”

Exactly right. Although it’s extremely fun to discuss who’s on the bubble for making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team (Memmel? Bieger? Hong? Peszek? Sloan? Everyone who isn’t Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin?) I’m wondering who’s on the bubble in other countries, particularly China, and Zhou is certainly one.

Compared to the 2006 Worlds, where the women won their first team gold and Pang Panpan became the first Chinese woman since Mo Huilan to almost walk away with a world all-around title, the Chinese performance in Stuttgart was probably something of a mixed bag.

Chinese newspapers made a lot of the fact that while the Chinese took home eight golds in Aarhus, they managed — horrors — only five in Stuttgart. Chinese coaches have pledged to up the difficulty of their gymnasts’ routines for Beijing.

China retained only two athletes — He Ning and Cheng Fei — from its golden 2006 squad, partially due to injuries and partially to give Li, Jiang, Yang and Xiao a chance to prove their abilities on gymnastics’ second largest international stage.

Whether or not they really did is a matter that hasn’t been explored too closely, except probably by the Chinese coaches. What is apparent is that the Chinese rivals the U.S.’s in depth – and not just on beam and bars.

China’s legitimate shots to make the women’s Olympic team include:

— Pang Panpan:

China's Pang Panpan

— Zhang Nan:

China's Zhang Nan

— Zhou Zhuoru:

China's Zhou Zhuoru

— Cheng Fei:

China's Cheng Fei

— Li Ya:

China's Li Ya

— He Ning:

China's He Ning

— Xiao Sha:

China's Xiao Sha

— Yang Yilin:

China's Yang Yilin

— Li Shanshan:

China's Li Shanshan

— Jiang Yuyuan:

China's Jiang Yuyuan

I’m sure there are others I’ve left out.

And now, a barrage of amazing Chinese gymnastics from this quad’s Olympic contenders and past Chinese greats:

The Worlds Awards

October 26, 2007

A new Longines Award?

Northernriver at Difficulty Plus Execution made a terrific observation about China’s Jiang Yuyuan in some comments about the latest issue of International Gymnast Magazine today:

…if Longines (also known as “That Watch Company in Cahoots With FIG”) ever made a “Prize For Cuteness” to go along with their “Prize For Elegance” (ha), I’d nominate “Yuanyuan” quicker than it takes Shawn to say “It’s such an honor.”

What else might Longines have given awards for at the 2007 Worlds? Below are a few suggestions, inspired by the absurdly named Longines Prize for Elegance, which was bestowed on Shawn Johnson in Stuttgart.

Don’t get me wrong: Johnson is dynamic, steady, inspiring, humble, immensely talented and a whole lot of fun to watch, but elegant is not an apt description of her abilities. It would be better if Longines had decided to replace the word “elegance” with “sportsmanship.” On and off the competition podium, Johnson certainly deserves an award for that.

Without further ado, here we go:

The Longines Award for Vaulting Without Actually Running: Beth Tweddle, who performs a respectable Yurchenko one and a half twist after about five steps.

Vaulting, yes. Running: Not really.

Honorable mention to Romania’s Razvan Selariu, gets a tremendous block off the horse despite doing little more than “trotting” down the runway.

Razvan Selariu, 2007 European Championships All-Around, Vault:

The Longines Award for Reputation Salvation: That goes to Nastia Liukin, who looked mostly like her indomitable old self despite an few floor mistakes and two falls on balance beam over four days of competition. Those who wrote Nastia off after the U.S. Championships will surely be reconsidering now. Honorable mention to the U.S. men’s team, who hauled themselves from 13th to fourth in the world rankings, showing a lot of naysayers that they are indeed clamoring for a place on the Olympic podium.

Nastia Liukin, 2007 U.S. Championships Prelims, Uneven Bars:

Nastia Liukin, 2007 World Championships Team Prelims, Uneven Bars:

The Longines Award for Falling: This is for Yang Wei, who took one of the more dramatic falls I’ve ever seen on high bar during the men’s all around final. And he wasn’t even doing a release move! Unlike some of the less muscular gymnasts, Wei seems to have some trouble doing in-bar elements and twisting his body around on this apparatus. That performance might be written off as a fluke, but one has to recall the disaster in Athens that cost him the all-around title.

Yang Wei, 2007 World Championships All-Around, High Bar:

The Longines Award for Longevity: There are so many gymnasts this award could go to: Russia’s Elena Zamolodchikova, Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina, France’s Isabelle Severino, Brazil’s Daniele Hypolito, Bulgaria’s Jordan Jovtchev,  or even Yang Wei himself, who competed at the American Cup nine years ago. My choice is the Czech Republic’s Jana Komrskova, a tall, elegant vaulting specialist who has competed internationally since 1998, when she was sixth in the all-around at the junior European Championships. Competing a relatively simple (for this code) Podkopayeva and a Yurchenko full, Kmorskova performed with dignity and grace during the vault final. And she stuck her landings.

Jana Komrskova, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Vault:

The Longines Award for Most Consistently Overscored Routine: Steliana Nistor, balance beam. To Nistor’s credit, she should also receive the Longines Award for Graciousness: Throughout event finals, Nistor could be seen congratulating the other girls in the competition on their performances and accomplishments, whether they were her teammates or not. She’s an example of the way gymnasts should behave.

Steliana Nistor, 2007 World Championships Team Prelims, Balance Beam:

The Longines Award for Amazing Saves: Vanessa Ferrari, uneven bars, team finals. Ferrari, like some of the Ukranians, sports grips that appear to be nothing more than folded bits of tape. One of them actually came off her hand about halfway through her bar routine during finals, and Ferrari, in the middle of her inverts, basically just shakes it off and keeps going. Even though she had to improvise a little bit at the very end of the routine, it was a really nice job on her part. Rick at Gymnastics Coaching has already mentioned this in his blog. To use his words, “What a fighter!”

Vanessa Ferrari, 2007 World Championships Team Finals, Uneven Bars:

The Longines Award for Most Overused Word by American Commentators: That would be “gassed,” as said several times by both Bart Connor and Raj Bhavsar to describe the state of most competing in the men’s all-around final. Perhaps the best illustration of this is Hiroyuki Tomita’s reaction after falling from the pommel horse due to fatigue as much as anything else, when he walked over to the chalk bin and simply sat on his haunches for several seconds, the way gymnasts do when they’re, well, gassed.

Gassed?

The Longines Award for Most Impressive Yang Wei Performance: Still rings. Yes, he won parallel bars over a field of gymnasts that specialize in that event, but on rings Yang performed what looked like a swinging double layout and capped off the routine with a stuck double double layout dismount. Awesome. Honorable mention for his vault in team finals.

Yang Wei, 2007 World Championships Team Finals, Vault:

The Longines Award for Coolest New Trend: Double front dismounts off rings, particularly Hiroyuki Tomita’s double front pike with a half out.

Hiroyuki Tomita, 2007 World Championships Team Prelims, Still Rings:

The Longines Award for Endurance: Everyone who competed in both the men’s team competition and all-around, which were held less than 24 hours apart, but particularly to Korea’s Yang Tae-Young. The reigning Olympic bronze medalist was the only gymnast to do all six events at both competitions.

The Longines Award for Best Split Jump Ever: Japan’s Koko Tsurumi. It was the highlight of a beautiful balance beam routine.

Koko Tsurumi, 2007 World Championships All-Around, Balance Beam: