Chances are you’ve never heard of Noémi Makra, or her name rings a bell, yet nothing particular springs to mind. This Hungarian gymnast turned senior in 2013 and is a hidden star. Whether rising or falling, that is the question.
Ever since I caught sight of her in Antwerp, she’s been one of my favourite gymnasts. She’s the one I keep rooting for, no matter how many times she messes up or gets knocked down by harsh scoring and injuries. I can’t say exactly what it is that makes her stand out. Is it her near-perfect piked full-in on floor? Or is it the well-controlled triple twist? Is it the flow of her uneven bars routine? Maybe the impeccable form on her front pike half on vault? Only one thing is certain, this gymnast deserves some more applause (and medals).
Enough with the talking for now. Let’s watch some of her best routines on each event.
♥ her form
♥ Maloney to Hindorff, Church, double layout dismount
♥ onodi+front aerial+side aerial, roundoff+layout, switch+LOSO, gainer+back pike (not in video)
♥ quadruple spin, piked full-in, triple twist, 1.5 to double pike
You’re probably wondering why she isn’t more successful then. Part of the answer lies in the overview of her difficulty scores and total scores at international competitions this quad.
As the numbers show, inconsistency hits her on everything but vault. You never know whether she’ll reach her maximum difficulty or whether she’ll score 5 to 9 tenths lower than expected. On beam, she has a unique set with a high connection value, but one wobble or small hesitation often ruins the whole series. On floor, it’s mostly the Gomez and the 2.5+front tuck that is giving her trouble. The quadruple spin gets devalued to a triple or a double sometimes and she doesn’t always have enough bounce for the front tuck in her last tumbling pass. This is actually a serious problem, since she doesn’t have any other front/side tumbling in the rest of her routine, and that’s how she ended up with a 4.8D in the qualifications at 2014 Worlds. Apart from her own mistakes, I feel that in her earlier years Noémi was often underscored by the judges, which is not uncommon for unknown gymnasts from weaker gymnastics countries.
The last two years haven’t been going well for this young woman. 2015 was a tough year, mainly because she was struggling with an ankle injury and failed to hit when it really counted. At the Test Event this year, her left knee was wrapped up and she didn’t look fully ready, causing her to finish 2.5 points behind her new rival, first-year senior Zsofia Kovacs. In my opinion, Noémi has the potential to score 14+ on every event and 56+ all-around. The only question is whether she will be able to turn the tide, improve her consistency, stay healthy and peak for Rio. That’s all I want for her.