Saturday, September 28, 2013

Men's Podium Training Round-Up: Part 2

Photo via The Guardian

Yang Hak Seon

As the 2011 World champion and the 2012 Olympic champion, Yang is the clear favorite on vault at this year's World Championships. Today, however, he struggled on his namesake: the handspring triple twist. The timing of his block was a little off, which launched him forwards rather than up. The end result: a landing that could rival the world's best long jumpers.

As for Yang's second vault, it's unclear which vault he will perform. In the video from Gymnastike, he did a Kasamatsu 2/1. (For the WAG fans, just think of it as a Tsuk 3/1. In MAG, there's a difference, but don't worry too much about it.)
Notice how Yang landed and then did an extra half twist. That's a sign that he's thinking about throwing a harder vault. Should Yang throw the Kasamatsu 2.5, it would be the first time a gymnast has performed the vault in international competition, and the Yang II would be born in Antwerp. (According to the YouTube page of the Men's Technical Committee, Yang submitted the vault for consideration. This, however, does not mean that Yang will compete the vault.)

As things stand right now, in terms of difficulty, Yang lags behind Ri Se Gwang ever so slightly. Whereas Ri Se Gwang has two 6.4 vaults, Yang Hak Seon has one 6.4 vault and one 6.0 vault. But if he goes for the Kasamatsu 2.5 and lands it, Yang would have two vaults out of a 6.4.

The problem: As far as I know, Yang has not landed the vault in competition this year.

Ri Se Gwang

Unlike Yang Hak Seon, Ri Se Gwang put his eponymous skill (i.e. Tsuk double back with a full twist) to his feet during podium training, and it didn't look like he was going to break his clavicle with his knee. So, props to him!

Based on Gymnastike's videos, it doesn't look like he threw his piked Dragulescu in podium training. Instead, he opted for a handspring double pike-ish. If he can't manage the piked Dragulescu, that will take some pressure off Yang Hak Seon to perform two 6.4 vaults.

Kim Hee Hoon

Yesterday, the gymternet freaked out because Shirai Kenzo of Japan threw a triple-twisting Yurchenko. Well, it looks like Kim Hee Hoon also can chuck the hullabalooed vault. As expected, the vault has been given a 6.0 D value by the FIG.

(Please note: In order for the vault to be named after Shirai Kenzo and Kim Hee Hoon, they still have to perform it in competition.)

Steven Legendre

Team USA took a chance on Steven Legendre. At the U.S. Nationals, he was the only gymnast who performed two 6.0 vaults competed two 6.0 vaults, which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons he was named to the team. However, he struggled with the landings on vault at the P&G Championships.

Today, USAG did not upload any of Steven's vaults to their YouTube channel. (In case you haven't noticed, USAG is selecting the highlights and leaving out the lowlights.) It's hard to know exactly how he did. Based on Gymnastike's video of his Tsuk double pike, though, my guess is that Steve didn't land any of his vaults, and if he did land them, he did not land them well.

Floor was an entirely different story.
You don't see too many 5/2-twisting double backs, do you? Mostly because it's worth the same as a double-twisting double back, so why do the extra twist? Well, because you don't want your ankles to turn into cankles from short landings.

It's no secret that Steve's ankles are bad. So, it's hard to tell whether he was hopping to give his ankles a break or whether he will hop throughout the competition. I think that Steve has a decent shot at event finals on floor. If he wants to medal, though, he can't be tenth-ed to death on his landings.

Daniel Keatings

Yesterday, I mentioned that Daniel Keatings was going back to his easy pommel routine from the European Championships, and today, it looked good in podium training!
I also love how his summer tan makes the Ukrainian gymnast look downright diaphanous.

Kristian Thomas

Kristian Thomas was not on the initial nominative roster for Great Britain, but after a strong showing on vault at the Westminster Cup, that all changed. If there were any lingering doubts about whether Thomas should be competing in Antwerp, I think his performance during podium training dispelled them.
Nice landings, but in order to medal, he's going to need a little help from guys like Ri Se Gwang, Yang Hak Seon, and Denis Ablyazin. You see, Kristian's vaults are out of a 6.0 and 5.6, which puts him at a disadvantage.

That said, I'd run away to Vegas and marry the heck out of Kristian's Yurchenko double pike. Yum.

Max Whitlock

Earlier in the season, Max was competing an easier pommel routine, but at the Anadia Challenge Cup in April, Max increased his difficulty. During his first go at the harder routine, he struggled in the execution department. At the time, I wondered whether he would go back to the easier routine. Well, it looks like Max likes the big D.
Max doesn't have the extension that Krisztian Berki has or even the extension that Daniel Keatings has. (And he seems a little tentative on his hand placements on his Busnari.) So, going with a harder routine might give him the edge he needs to beat the gymnasts with better execution.

Dear Krisztian Berki,

You know that I will always love you, but I also have to support any man who covers himself in black paint like Shakira. Woof.


Your Biggest Fan

Alberto Busnari

Speaking of Busnari, he has submitted another pirouetting skill to the FIG.
According to a recent press release by the FIG, this variation would be valued as an F, but should Busnari compete it in Antwerp, it would not be not named the Busnari II.

Also of note: Vahagn Stepanyan of Armenia submitted a pommel skill. It's a double scissors to handstand with traveling. It's kind of cool, but lacks fluidity.

Prashanth Sellathurai

While we're on the subject of pommel horse, we must talk about Prashanth. He was the 2006 World silver medalist and the 2009 and 2010 World bronze medalist on pommels, but he did not compete in London last year. Well, that was a big mistake because this year, he's all the rage.
Earlier this season in Doha, Prashanth struggled on pommel horse, but based on a clip from podium training, things seem to be going better for him.

Arthur Zanetti

Arthur Zanetti has submitted a back lever push to planche to the FIG.
As you can see, he wriggles about when he's pushing into the planche. Since he can't perform the strength part cleanly, I doubt that we will see the skill in competition. The field is going to be too strong on rings, and my guess is that he wants to medal.

Unfortunately, I have not seen a a full routine from podium training, but Gymnastike caught part of his turn. By the way, I never realized how short Zanetti was until I saw this photo on Instagram:

Also of note: Aleksandr Balandin of Russia has submitted another rings skill to the FIG. This would be his third strength part named after him. Really, it's just another variation of his other eponymous skills. In case you haven't been keeping track of them all:
  • Balandin I: Start from a hang and pull up to a Maltese cross (E).
  • Balandin II: Start from a hang and pull up to an inverted cross (E).
  • Balandin III (Perhaps?): Start from a hang and pull up to a planche (E)
We get it. You're really good at doing strength elements from a dead hang.

Ali Zahran

Ali Zahran of Egypt has submitted a skill, as well. It's a back lever pull to inverted swallow (or Victorian), and it would be an F! (He still needs to perform the move in competition.)

I literally fell out of my chair when I saw that. How is that possible!?!? Was this kid raised on a diet of protein shakes and steaks?!

Eleftherios Kosmidis

Eleftherios Kosmidis has rearranged his floor routine since the Osijek Challenge Cup, where he landed out of bounds on a handspring double full to Rudi. (Video here.) Now, he opens with a stretched Thomas, and he has moved to the double full pass to the diagonal. His difficulty level should be on the lower side, so he's going to need to stick and not Legendre-tenth himself to death.

Also of note: His fellow countryman submitted yet another element named after him. You can see the video of the skill here.

Jossimar Calvo Moreno

Calvo Moreno has submitted a skill to the FIG, as well. He's looking to perform a double-twisting double back off the end of the parallel bars. (It would be an F dismount.)
I'm not sure whether he performed the skill during podium training, but it's nice to see that an old school skill is still alive. Back in the day, when Uncle Tim was a youngster and Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" was one of the top songs in the United States, we had to learn a variation of that dismount. Talk about rug burn of the feet!

Oleg Verniaiev

Yesterday, I was begging for videos of Oleg Verniaiev's routines. Today, I regret that I asked for said videos. I wept tears of sadness upon seeing his high bar and floor routines. I knew that high bar probably wasn't going to be good. It has never been a strong event for him, but I wasn't expecting him to look this tired on floor. Seriously, it looks like he and Aliya Mustafina are on the same conditioning regimen. (Heck, they might have the same twisting coach.)

Pour me something strong. We're in for a bumpy ride! But I'm not giving up on my Oleg! Never! Maybe he needs a bad training session in order to push him forward. Maybe?

More videos?

I can't talk about all the videos, but here are a few more that I've found:

Once again, I'm sure there are more videos and articles floating around out there. If you want to share some, leave a comment below.

How to watch the men's competition live?

For those in the United States:

For those in the UK:

  • Thursday, October 3, 2013 – All-Around Final
    • 7-10pm BST
    • BBC Online
  • Friday, October 4, 2013 – Men's All-Around Highlights
    • 1-3pm BST
    • BBC Two
  • Saturday, October 5, 2013 – Men's Floor Live
    • 1:30-2:25 BST
    • Red Button
  • Saturday, October 5, 2013 – Men's Pommels and Rings Live
    • 2:30-4:30pm BST
    • BBC One
  • Sunday, October 6, 2013 – Vault, P-Bars, High Bar
    • 1:30-4:30pm BST
    • BBC Two

Related Links:

Men's Podium Training Round-Up: Part 1
Men's UTRS: The Best Scores of 2013 Updated September 23


  1. Aliya's been sick, maybe Oleg has too? I hope he can pull it together- I have no doubt that she will, though!

  2. I hope Oleg will break the cycle and screw up qualification instead of screwing up when it counts.

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