Every gymfan knows the Big Four are not going to stop winning medals anytime soon. And that’s okay, because we all love little Ragan, Liu Tingting, Eremina and Iordache. But what interests me even more is the best of the rest. That’s why I present to you, the all-arounders that could be closing the gap and coming for your medals.
With World Championships around the corner, these girls are breathing down the necks of the top medal contenders.
Mai Murakami & Asuka Teramoto (JAPAN)
These ladies have been around for quite some time, and it looks like 2017 might be their year. If the judges treat them fairly, both have a chance of sneaking on that AA podium. Mai has great difficulty across all events, posting D-scores of 5.8 on vault, 5.4 on bars, 5.8 on beam and 6.2 on floor. Meanwhile Asuka is currently 4th on The Gymternet’s list of best all-around scores this year, right behind Eremina, Smith and Melnikova.
Eythora Thorsdottir (NETHERLANDS)
As the rising star on the Dutch team, Eythora has been steadily improving on every apparatus in the last few years. At the NED-GBR meet in October 2015, she barely landed a 1.5 twisting yurchenko. Flashforward to today and she’s been vaulting the double-twisting yurchenko successfully for over a year now. Nevertheless, she’s had some rough competitions this year. In the all-around final at the European Championships she made some costly mistakes on uneven bars and balance beam. The Dutch Invitational last week didn’t go smooth either, with 5 out of 7 scores in the 11s and 12s. As you can read on her Instagram, she still keeps her positive attitude and she’ll certainly overcome these difficulties.
Rebeca Andrade (BRAZIL)
She missed her chances at a bronze medal on home soil last year, but Rebeca is back for more. Her first major competition in the new quad was a great opener, as she earned the silver medal and a 56.000 score in Jesolo. Right now, her vaults look as good as ever and she received a 14.450 on bars at the Varna Challenge Cup in early September. If her beam and floor are somewhere at the same level, Andrade is ready to kick some ass!
Tabea Alt (GERMANY)
I’ve been rooting for Tabi ever since she won the beam bronze at junior Euros in 2014. She has come a long way since and though I can’t really tell what exactly made the difference, she has evolved from happy-to-make-the-final, to surprising-medal-threat.* At German Worlds Trials a week ago she did have a fall on beam and put a hand down on her last tumbling pass; yet apart from those errors, Tabea looked solid and clean overall. To top it off, she surprised everyone with 2 new UB elements in her routine.
Ellie Black (CANADA)
One of Canada’s top all-arounders, Ellie has been steadily improving her place in the all-around standings on the world stage. She’s moved from 13th in Antwerp, 9th in Nanning, 7th in Glasgow to 5th in Rio. Although she has numerous (event) finals under her belt, she has yet to clinch her first world medal. That might just happen this year, in her home country.
Melanie Dos Santos (FRANCE)
Melanie first caught my eye at the FIT Challenge in 2015. A couple of weeks later at EYOF her promising career came to a halt as she tore her ACL on vault, exactly one year before the Olympics. Still she pushed through and came back slowly but steadily, to now look the strongest she’s ever been. Some of the bigger names will have to mess up for her to get on the podium, but everything’s possible in gymnastics.
Zsofia Kovacs (HUNGARY)
Ah, Zsofia Kovacs. The best all-arounder Hungary has brought forth in years. The current European vice champion. In Romania, she showed everyone she’s a force to be reckoned with. How she’ll perform in Canada, however, is still uncertain. In recent weeks, Zsofi has been dealing with an ankle injury and hasn’t been able to bring her best routines at Hungarian Nationals and the Szombathely Challenge Cup. Hopefully she’ll recover in time and end up in a top 10 spot.
Although we won’t see them shine in Montreal this year, these girls deserve the same kind of recognition:
♥ Giulia Steingruber (SWITZERLAND)
♥ Vanessa Ferrari (ITALY)
♥ Ellie Downie (GREAT BRITAIN)
♥ Axelle Klinckaert (BELGIUM)
*Tabea’s progress is what I secretly wish for Belgian gymnasts too.