Posts Tagged ‘Kui Yuanyuan’

Cheng Fei: All-arounder no more

November 29, 2007

Cheng Fei will forgo uneven bars leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

China View reported today that five-time world champion Cheng Fei (vault, vault, vault, floor, team) will not be vying for one of the all-arounder’s spots on the 2008 Chinese Olympic team.

“As far as the all-around concerned, I have decided to give it up,” said Cheng, triple vault world champion in a row, here on the gymnastics Olympic test on Wednesday. “The time leading to the Beijing Olympics is not too much there and quite a few gymnasts in Chinese team are capable of challenging the event, so I finally give it away.”

Cheng’s 2008 status is already set — according to China View’s article, she’s team captain. What was less clear was that she’s been training bars at all.

Shocking as it is because the Chinese team as a whole is so good on bars, every now and again, the country produces an amazing gymnast who’s just not capable of their standard of bar work. Kui Yuanyuan was one. Cheng, although she has a decent swing, lacks a lot of difficulty given the current code of points.

Cheng Fei, 2005 Chinese National Games, Uneven Bars:

Too bad. Given that she’s capable of performing an Amanar on vault, Cheng has a shot at the all-around in any international competition basically by default. Her beam routine would be fine if she’d just take out the back full. As for vault and floor, well, she’s fairly dominant when she hits.

The nefarious full turn with leg held up

October 25, 2007

Amazing how this relatively low-value skill appears to be more difficult for many gymnasts than, say, a back handspring, layout stepout series.

In her commentary for WSCN at the 2007 World Championships, Tasha Schwikert noted that she’s seen so many people do full turns with their leg up on balance beam and either fall or take a major deduction that she’s wondering if it’s even worth the risk.

I agree. Few look truly calm doing this skill, even when they pull it off flawlessly. And that happens a lot less than one would think.

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

Yang Yilin, 2007 World Championships Team Qualifying Round, Balance Beam:

Xiao Sha, 2007 Chinese Nationals Event Finals, Balance Beam:

Ekaterina Kramarenko, 2007 World Championships All-Around, Balance Beam:

Vanessa Ferrari, 2006 World Championships Event Finals, Balance Beam:

More sympathy should be given to Li Shanshan, who fell doing a much more difficult variation of this skill during event finals at the World Championships. Ferrari also often takes a small deduction for it, but props to both for doing something truly difficult.

Li Shanshan, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Balance Beam:

Vanessa Ferrari, 2007 European Championships All-Around, Balance Beam:

One of the most beautiful, albeit slightly overrotated, turns with the leg held way up was done in 2001 at the American Team Cup by China’s Kang Xin. What’s most impressive, I think, is the way she sold it — and the rest of this marvelous routine.

Kang Xin, 2001 American Team Cup, Balance Beam:

The subject of deceptively hard skills on balance beam brings to mind the compulsory beam set from 1992 to 1996. The cartwheels, forward rolls and fouette jumps gave four of the Mag 7 (and numerous others, including Simona Amanar and Kui Yuanyuan) all sorts of problems in Atlanta.

Jaycie Phelps, 1996 Olympic Compulsories, Balance Beam:

Amanda Borden, 1996 Olympic Compulsories, Balance Beam:

Dominique Dawes, 1996 Olympic Compulsories, Balance Beam: