As one quadrennium in gymnastics comes to a close and one is about to start, all eyes are now refocused towards Tokyo in 2020. The journey towards Tokyo in 2020 will begin in 2017 and just as Simone Biles did in 2013, some first year seniors will be hoping to make a splash on to the world stage in 2017. 2013 saw Simone win the AA title at the P&G Championships and win her very first World AA title when she took gold at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, in her first year as a senior gymnast.
With Simone and many of the other Rio 2016 competitors taking a break after a gruelling quadrennium, the gymnasts who will become seniors in 2017 will be looking to make their mark in the post Olympic year and begin their bid for an Olympic spot in 2020. Of course, it is a long road to 2020 and nobody really knows who will make it all the way to Tokyo but we will now look at some of those gymnasts who will become seniors in 2017, those born in 2001, those looking towards Tokyo who will be hoping to recreate the Simone Biles story, emerging as a new senior in a post Olympic year and remaining completely dominant throughout the quad.
1. Jordan Chiles (USA)
D.O.B: 15th April 2001
Club: Naydenov Gymnastics
Coach(es): Erika Bakacs & Dimitri Taskov
- 2013-16 U.S. Junior National Team member
- 2016 Secret U.S. Classic- 1st VT; 4th AA; 6th UB
- 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy- 1st AA, VT; 2nd UB; 5th BB; 7th FX
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 1st Team, VT, 7th AA
- 2015 P&G Championships- 1st VT; 4th AA, UB
- 2015 Secret U.S. Classic- 3rd UB; 6th TV; 8th AA
- 2014 P&G Championships- 3rd VT, FX; 4th AA;
- 2014 Secret U.S. Classic- 1st AA; 4th UB, BB; 6th FX
- 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy- 1st Team; 2nd VT; 6th AA
- 2013 American Classic- 1st AA, VT; 2nd BB, 3rd UB
Probably one of the most eagerly awaited senior debuts, Jordan Chiles has been on the elite scene for quite some time and probably has the best shot at taking a World AA title in her first year as a senior gymnast. She first came to my attention when she was 11 years old in 2012 when there was a video of a news report posted on YouTube titled ‘the next Gabby Douglas’. The report was on Jordan and was filmed in the post Olympic hype, whilst Jordan was a level 10 gymnast, right before she made her elite debut in 2013. She has attended National Team camps since 2013 and has been a member of the National Team since then.
Her talent is undeniable with her best event absolutely being VT, she has an absolutely exquisite Amanar which she unveiled this year and has stated that she is working a second VT. She is also great on FX, with incredible power, a-la Simone Biles and also fantastic execution, pointed feet, straight legs, great amplitude, good flexibility, nice dance, basically the whole package. Whilst she hasn’t always delivered when the green light is on, she has had flashes on what could be possible if she hits, winning the AA title at the 2014 Secret U.S. Classic and the AA title at the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy, it has been somewhat frustrating to watch her at times because she could be so great but seems to stumble at the last hurdle.
However, at the beginning of the quad I was worried that she would burn out but it seems that she is going at a steady pace, she has gone through a growth spurt already and has seemed to deal with it well, she has upped her difficulty in her final year as a junior gymnast, getting ready for her move to the senior level, which is exactly what you want to see and despite having to sit out of the 2016 P&G Championships due to injury, it seems to be nothing major and she should be in full health in 2017. If Jordan can get her nerves under lock, I suspect she could dominate 2017 and it could be a good thing that her junior career had its ups and downs, hopefully it will mean that she is hungry for success at the senior level and ready to take on the challenge. I suspect Valeri will take her under his wing, just as Martha seemed to do. Despite Jordan not always hitting in competition, Martha seemed to recognise the talent and select her for assignments regardless. I am certainly looking forward to Ms. Jordan Chiles’ senior debut.
2. Morgan Hurd (USA)
D.O.B: 18th July 2001
Club: First State Gymnastics
Coach(es): Slava Glasounov & Cleo Washington
- 2016 P&G Championships- 3rd UB, 5th AA, 7th VT
- 2016 Secret U.S. Classic- 1st FX, 2nd UB, 5th AA
- 2016 American Classic- 1st AA
- 2015 P&G Championships- 4th UB, 7th FX, 8th AA
- 2015 Secret U.S. Classic- 2nd UB, 9th AA
- 2014 American Classic- 8th AA
On the elite scene since 2014, Morgan Hurd instantly grabbed everyones attention with her adorable glasses and her tiny stature but take those things away and Ms.Morgan Hurd can grab anyone’s attention with her absolutely beautiful gymnastics. She was interviewed by Nastia Liukin live on NBC following the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2014 as a level 10 gymnast. She then went on to compete at the 2014 American Classic and went all the way to the 2014 P&G Championships in her first year as an elite gymnast. Before attending National Team Camps at the Ranch she familiarised herself with the Ranch and the new National Team Co-Ordinator, Valeri Liukin by attending Developmental Camps. These camps are designed to scout and track the USA’s top 7 to 10 year old gymnasts and provide a springboard for them to make the jump to the elite level and begin attending National Team Camps. They also worked as a tool for Valeri Liukin to familiarise himself with the young gymnasts, like Morgan that he would be working closely with once he took over for Martha Karolyi and guided the U.S. womens team to Tokyo.
Morgan has made steady progress from making her elite debut in 2014. Like Jordan, the talent is undeniable and has been obvious from the beginning however her start values simply were not high enough in 2014 to place at P&G Championships.This is ok. This is normal. It is bad to see a gymnast come out at 13 years old, 6 years before the Olympics that they are eligible for ready to win everything and take the world by storm. Morgan has shown a beautiful and steady improvement throughout the quad. By 2015 she had increased her difficulty on every event and managed to place 4th on UB at P&G Championships and place 8th AA. She improved on this again in 2016, in her last year as a junior gymnast, placing 3rd on UB and 5th AA at P&G Championships and making the Junior National Team! This upward movement in place is due to her increasing her difficulty, improving her execution and of course the older juniors moving up to the senior division but it is exactly the movement you want to see from a young gymnast. Morgan has had many of these upgrades ready for a while and is now starting to work them into routines, when she needs to and nothing is being rushed. She has had little injuries, she still seems to love gymnastics and you get a sense that the best is yet to come.
Morgan has beautiful lines, extraordinary flexibility, she is quick, sharp and has everything a gymnast should have. I cannot wait to see what is to come for Morgan in 2017 and beyond, I suspect this gymnast from Delaware (the very first elite gymnast from the state) will surprise many in the years to come.
3. Elena Eremina (RUS)
D.O.B: 29th July 2001
Club: Saint Petersburg
Coach(es): Alexander Kiryashov, Vera Kiryashova & Zulfia Latypova
- 2016 Voronin Cup- 1st AA, 2nd VT, UB
- 2016 Elite Gym Massilia- 1st Team, 2nd AA, VT, 6th UB
- 2016 European Championships- 1st Team, AA, 3rd BB
- 2016 Russian Championships- 1st BB, 2nd VT, UB, 3rd AA
- 2015 Junior Japan International- 3rd AA, 5th VT, 6th FX, 8th UB, BB
- 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival- 1st Team, 3rd VT, 6th FX
- 2015 Pas de Calais International- 1st Team, AA, VT, UB, BB, 3rd FX
- 2015 Russian Championships- 1st VT, 2nd BB, 3rd UB, 4th Team, AA, 6th FX
- 2015 Diyatin Cup- 1st Team, AA, VT, BB, 2nd UB, FX
Hailing from the same gym in St.Petersburg that gave us the great Tatiana Nabieva, Elena Eremina is certainly the Russian junior to watch as she makes the jump to the senior level in 2017. She has performed the famous move of Nabieva, the straight Tkatchev and along with Anastasia Iliankova, Eremina was named along with Seda Tutkhalian, Daria Spiridonova, Lilia Akhaimova, Angelina Melnikova and and Maria Paseka as the core of the Russian WAG programme by Valentina Rodionenko for 2017. In a recent interview, Eremina stated that she began gymnastics at age 3 and quit for a short period of time because ‘they’ said she was too plump for the sport. Thankfully she began gymnastics again shortly after and has made it all the way to the elite level.
A classic Russian gymnast with beautiful lines, she also has great power and shines on all 4 events, a true all around gymnast, it is no surprise that she took the AA title in the junior competition at the 2016 European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, cementing herself as the Russian junior to watch for the upcoming quad. Aside from her obvious talent for the sport, there seems to be a belief within Eremina that she is good enough to be the best, similar to an Aliya Mustafina mindset. Despite a few hiccups in event finals in Bern, she walked away with a bronze on BB and a clear desire to do better, crying after qualifying in 1st to the FX final and falling on a tumbling pass in finals.
Eremina has stated that she hopes to upgrade in 2017 in order to compete with the older girls and that the main thing in 2016 was that she won the AA at the European Championships. She is certainly one to watch and I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 and beyond will bring for this Russian beauty.
4. Alice Kinsella (GBR)
D.O.B: 13th March 2001
Club: Park Wrekin School of Gymnastics
Coach(es): Christine Still & Brett Ince
- 2016 Elite Gym Massilia- 5th Team, 6th BB, 7th AA
- 2016 European Championships- 2nd Team, BB, FX, 4th UB, 5th AA
- 2016 Italian Junior Friendly- 1st AA, Team
- 2016 British Championships- 1st BB, 4th FX, AA
- 2016 English Championships- 1st AA, BB, FX, 2nd UB
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 3rd FX
- 2015 Olympic Hopes Cup- 1st AA, VT, BB
- 2015 British Championships- 7th FX
- 2015 English Championships- 1st UB, 3rd AA
- 2014 English Championships- 1st UB, 2nd AA
One of the top juniors emerging from Great Britain, Alice has had an impressive 2016, the highlight of course being her three silver medals earned as part of Team GB and on BB and FX at the 2016 European Championships in Bern, Switzerland in June of this year. She also took the junior AA title at the 2016 English Championships and despite a bad competition riddled with falls, managed to take 4th AA at the 2016 British Championships and come back strong in event finals to take 1st on BB. She has travelled extensively this year, competing at a number of international competitions including the International Gymnix, held in Montreal, Canada, the Elite Gym Massilia held in Montpellier, France, the Italian Junior Friendly, held in Milan, Italy and of course the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. She has managed to compete calmly at each of these competitions, managing her nerves and doing what she is capable of, and placing on the podium at many of these events. Despite some hiccups in competitions, she seems to always manage to pull herself back together and continue to fight to the end and make the most of a bad situation.
Coached by none other than BBC gymnastics commentator Christine Still at Park Wrekin gymnastics, Alice has some interesting skills including a very interesting beam mount. She has nice form on skills, clean lines and good power. Her FX stands out with lovely dance and she performs the routine rather than just going through the motions. She makes the most of the execution score on all of her events and she looks comfortable with the skills she performs, not overloading her routines with her BB routine not being packed full of skills but rather doing the minimum amount of skills, nailing them and using up the extra time to add dance and flair to her routine. Alice is certainly one to watch and will be a prominent member of Team GB in the upcoming quad.
5. Olivia Cimpian (ROU)
D.O.B: 1st January 2001
Club: C.N.S. Cetate Deva
Coach(es): Liliana Cosma, Gheorghe Orban, Ioan Coroiu, Adela Popa & Gina Gogean
- 2016 Top Gym- 1st VT, FX, 2nd UB, BB, Team, 3rd AA
- 2016 Romanian Nationals- 2nd Team
- 2016 European Championships- 3rd Team, 8th VT
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 3rd FX, 5th Team, 12th AA
- 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival- 4th Team, 7th FX, 14th AA
- 2015 Nadia Comaneci Invitational- 1st Team, AA, FX, 2nd VT, 3rd UB
- 2014 Top Gym- 1st FX, 4th Team
- 2014 Elite Gym Massilia- 2nd FX, 9th Team
- 2014 Romanian Junior Nationals- 2nd AA, VT, UB, BB
Shining on FX in particular, Olivia first began gymnastics as a rhythmic gymnast before switching to artistic. The rhythmic influence is certainly evident in Olivia’s gymnastics, reminding me of Nastia Liukin at times with the way she moves, particularly on FX and sometimes BB, sometimes with less flexibility than Nastia. Her body is also similar to a rhythmic gymnast, she is long and lean, lending herself to producing beautiful gymnastics with beautiful clean lines. Whilst she has won medals mostly on FX, she also works two vaults and is good on that event as well. She is similar to a Viktoria Komova, she is thin, tall and has great lines. She is not necessarily the typical ‘power gymnast’ yet is able to pull off some powerful skills, not necessarily thanks to her power but because of the fact that she is light and can float in the air. She also is one of the better UB workers Romania has ever produced, or at least in recent times. She has a great line on the event and can swing bars like the best in the world. She simply needs to up her difficulty on the event in order to really have an impact.
She certainly will be one to watch in the upcoming quad as Romania tries to rebuild after a disappointing end to the quad, not qualifying a full team to the 2016 Olympic Games. Olivia has not been the top dog at many of the competitions she has competed at but she has also not had the difficulty to really contend. As I stated, her bars are truly world class, however she is only performing a double pike dismount. With some time spent upgrading, she really will be ready for the senior stage in 2017 and I suspect we will certainly see her on many Romanian teams at international competitions in the future, especially with her beautiful UB work, an event notoriously weak for the Romanian team. Likewise she can also contribute on both VT and FX and has a satisfactory BB routine. Definitely remember the name!
6. Thais Fidelis Dos Santos (BRA)
D.O.B: July 2001
Coach(es): Iryna Ilyashenko
- 2016 Pan American Individual Event Championships- 1st VT, 2nd AA, BB, 4th UB
- 2016 Brazilian Nationals- 1st AA, FX, 2nd Team, BB, 4th UB
- 2014 Brazilian Nationals- 2nd AA, 5th BB, 6th FX
- 2014 South American Junior Championships- 1st AA, Team, VT, BB, FX, 4th UB
After an extremely strong quad for the Brazilian WAG programme, topped off by a great performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in front of a home crowd in Rio de Janeiro, Thais Fidelis Dos Santos is certainly emerging as the future of the sport in the country. The Brazilian WAG team managed not only to qualify to the Team Final but almost get two individual medals with Rebeca Andrade qualifying in 3rd place to the AA final and Flavia Saraiva likewise qualifying in 3rd place to the BB final. Whilst it wasn’t meant to be and both faultered in finals, their performance as a team at the Rio Olympics was certainly mission accomplished for them. A mission they set out on four years ago, knowing that the Olympics would be in their country, Alexander Alexadrov, legendary coach of many greats such as Aliya Mustafina and Dominique Moceanu (for a short period) was hired as the head coach of the Brazilian WAG programme and Alexander certainly did sprinkle his magic fairy dust over the Brazilian programme.
Whilst they have had success on the world stage in the past with Jade Barbosa, Daniele Hypolito and Daiane Dos Santos the two young guns who ultimately made the Olympic team and almost earned individual Olympic medals, Rebeca Andrade and Flavia Saraiva were certainly products of Alexandrov. Evidently very talented, they were guided in the right direction by Alexandrov and the rest of the Brazilian coaching staff and their personal coaches of course and the results speak for themselves. They are on another level than what was previously expected of Brazilian gymnasts and Thais Fidelis is another young gun on that level. She is small and powerful like Saraiva, she is strong with great execution like Andrade and makes gymnastics look easy, performing skills with great amplitude and ease. She is truly an AA gymnast and has great tumbling on FX, her BB is also packed with interesting skills and she remains calm while performing on the BB, connecting skills with ease. She can swing bars and gets good height on her release moves but needs to work on handstands and her line on bars. She also has a tendency to muscle some moves, showing her strength but not exactly winning the judges heart. She is powerful on VT but is only performing a FTY at the moment. Definitely look out for this one though, a Flavia Saraiva in the making!
7. Anastasia Iliankova (RUS)
D.O.B: 12th January 2001
Club: V.F.S.O. Dynamo
Coach(es): S.V. Kiselev & N.V. Kiseleva
- 2016 Elite Gym Massilia- 1st AA, Team, FX, 2nd UB, BB
- 2016 European Championships- 1st UB, BB, Team, 10th AA
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 1st UB, 2nd Team, 4th AA, 5th FX
- 2016 Russian Championships- 1st AA, UB, FX, 3rd VT, 7th BB
- 2015 Junior Japan International- 1st UB, 8th AA
- 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival- 1st Team, 3rd AA, UB
- 2015 L’International Gymnix- 2nd Team, UB
- 2014 Voronin Cup- 1st AA, Team, 2nd BB, 3rd UB
- 2014 Russian Hopes- 1st AA, VT, UB, BB, 3rd Team, FX
- 2014 L’International Gymnix- 1st Team, 2nd BB, 3rd VT
Along with Elena Eremina, Anastasia Iliankova is certainly being touted as the future of Russian gymnastics, for 2017 at least. She has been named along with Seda Tutkhalian, Daria Spiridonova, Angelina Melnikova, Elena Eremina, Maria Paseka and Lilia Akhaimova as the core of the Russian WAG programme for 2017 by Valentina Rodionenko. Iliankova has been on the elite scene since 2013/14 and has been a front runner from the offset, winning medals internationally from the beginning of her career. She really shone in her last year as a junior gymnast, take the junior AA title at the 2016 Russian Championships, taking 1st on UB at the 2016 International Gymnix, taking 1st in the AA, on FX and with the Russian team at Elite Gym Massilia in Marseille and the crowning glory of her 2016 season, becoming junior European UB & BB Champion and also taking home a gold medal for team Russia at the 2016 European Championships in Bern, Switzerland.
Evidently her strongest event being UB, she can swing bars and has a good line on the event but does not have the typical Russian style on the event. She does float between the bars nicely, performing a beautiful Bhardwaj with ease and grace but has a more powerful style on the event, almost like Brenna Dowell style but a little bit lighter and more graceful than Brenna. On FX she has some form issues but overall is a nice package, performing her routine well and selling it with a smile, her leaps are mostly good and she looks comfortable with her tumbling, opening with a tucked full in and finishing with a double tuck and filling in the gaps with a 2 1/2 twist and a double pike. On BB, she has good leaps and is relatively steady, however has some form issues that have been irrelevant to her as a junior, due to her difficulty value and ability to hit a routine but could hurt her once she starts competing as a senior. She opens with a roundoff layout on beam which is extremely questionable at times. Sometimes it is layed out, other times its piked and other times it could pass as being a roundoff tuck, depending on the competition. Aside from this, she has a range of turns in her rotuine including a full turn with leg at horizontal, an illusion turn and a full turn with her leg in 180 split. On VT, she performs an FTY which will undoubtedly be upgraded as she enters the senior ranks. She can certainly compete when it matters, faultering slightly at times in the past but really showing what she is made of this year in 2016!
8. Maisie Methuen (GBR)
D.O.B: 22nd June 2001
Club: Phoenix Gymnastics
Coach(es): Tracey Skirton
- 2016 Junior Commonwealth Championships- 1st Team, 3rd AA, BB, FX
- 2016 European Championships- 2nd Team, 4th AA, 5th BB
- 2016 British Championships- 1st AA, 2nd FX, VT, 5th UB, BB
- 2016 Welsh Championships- 1st AA, VT, UB, BB, FX
- 2016 Italian Junior Friendly- 1st Team, 5th AA
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 6th UB, VT, 7th Team, 13th AA
- 2015 Junior Japan International- 7th VT, 10th AA
- 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival- 2nd BB, 7th Team, VT, 12th AA
- 2015 British Championships- 2nd AA, BB, 3rd UB
- 2015 Welsh Championships- 1st AA, VT, BB, FX, 2nd UB
- 2014 Northern European Championships- 1st AA, Team, 2nd FX, 7th BB
Maisie has been on the rise in the British Gymnastics system over the past few years and her talent and potential has certainly not gone unnoticed, being selected to participate in the British Olympic Committee’s Olympic Hopes programme, which allowed her to travel to Rio de Janeiro this Summer to help inspire and motivate her and let her get the Olympic experience as she trains towards Tokyo in 2020. Maisie took both the Welsh and British junior AA titles this year and competed extensively throughout the world, competing at L’International Gymnix in Montreal, Canada, the Italian Junior Friendly in Milan, Italy, the Junior Commonwealth Championships in Walvis Bay, Namibia and of course the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland where she helped team GB take home a silver medal in the team competition and also managed to place 4th AA in the AA final.
At the moment there is nothing overly exciting about Maisie’s gymnastics, she performs clean routines with relatively low difficulty. However it is obvious that there is potential to upgrade, which is great. And most importantly, she seems to compete well. Similar to Kyla Ross, she manages to do her job each time she competes and even though she has less difficulty her steadiness serves her well. Her best event is probably BB where she shows nice leaps and good form on most skills, including a nice and flighty BHS LOSO LOSO. Her FX is nice, she is not overly flexible but has good leaps and performs with a smile . She is solid in her tumbling and has good form but will need to upgrade to contend on the senior level. She also has great promise on VT, performing both a handspring double pike and handspring double pike with a half turn at this years British Championships. She has, in the past struggled slightly on UB, not having a completely natural swing but can put a routine together and just needs to work on hitting handstands and upping her difficulty. Overall, I am excited to see what the future has in store for Maisie, she has stated that she will take the majority of 2017 out of competition to focus on upgrading her routines and once she has the upgrades, it will be exciting to see where Maisie will go in gymnastics!
9. Riley McCusker (USA)
D.O.B: 9th July 2001
Club: M.G. Elite
Coach(es): Maggie Haney & Victoria Levine
- 2016 P&G Championships- 2nd AA, UB, BB, FX
- 2016 Secret U.S. Classic- 4th UB, 9th AA
- 2016 American Classic- 5th AA
Only emerging on to the elite scene this year, Riley impressed everyone in her debut as an elite gymnast with a 2nd place finish at this years P&G Championships. Whilst MG Elite teammate, Laurie Hernandez was busy making the Olympic team and becoming an Olympic champion, Riley was busy making her mark on the elite world and cementing herself as the new rising star from the New Jersey gym. She has recently moved to MG Elite and the results are showing in a big way. She has beautiful flexibility and long lines, making for beautiful UB work, complete with an interesting double back dismount with half turn. She can swing bars like the best, hits her handstands and has great form on her release moves, she would fit right in in a World UB final. She has some great BB work aswell complete with beautiful displays of her flexibility, a nice BHS LOSO LOSO flight series and lovely leaps. She has the classic MG Elite dance on FX and has some high and flighty tumbling to go with beautiful leaps and fierce dance. Her difficulty is quite good, particularly on UB, where she performed a 5.9 routine on day 1 at P&G Championships. Her execution is close to perfection on most things, particularly leaps, as are all the MG Elite girls and she really has a nice quality to her gymnastics.
Hopefully we will see Riley on the international stage in 2017, she had an extremely short junior career, not competing internationally as a junior but honestly I feel that could work in her favour, given the long road to Tokyo ahead and her age, the less time spent slogging it out on the elite level, the better. She has stated that she is working upgrades for 2017, one being a DTY on VT and some BB upgrades, along with new connections, she is just waiting to see how they work with the new code. And if anyone knows how to pace an athlete and bring in upgrades at the right time, its Maggie Haney, Riley is certainly in the right place!
10. Jade Chrobok (CAN)
D.O.B: 17th September 2001
Club: Gemini Gymnastics
Coach(es): Elena Davydova & Valery Yachybekov
- 2016 Olympic Hopes Cup- 1st Team, 2nd BB, 3rd AA, 4th UB, FX
- 2016 Pan American Individual Event Championships- 1st Team, 2nd UB, 7th AA
- 2016 Canadian National Championships- 2nd BB
- 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy- 3rd VT, 7th FX, 16th AA
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 3rd Team, 5th BB, VT, 9th AA
- 2016 Nadia Comaneci Invitational- 1st AA, BB, 2nd UB, 3rd FX, 6th VT
- 2016 Elite Canada- 1st AA, VT, BB, FX, 2nd UB
- 2015 Junior Japan International- 4th FX, 5th BB, 6th AA, VT, UB
- 2015 Canadian National Championships- 1st UB, 2nd AA, VT, FX
- 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy- 2nd Team, 3rd FX, 5th UB, 8th AA
- 2015 L’International Gymnix- 3rd AA, UB, 4th Team
- 2015 Elite Canada- 1st BB, 2nd AA, 3rd VT
Coached by none other than 1980 Olympic All-Around Champion, Elena Davydova, Jade, along with training mate, Ana Padurariu is one of the top Canadian juniors looking towards Tokyo in 2020. Jade has competed internationally quite a lot in the last two yeas, competing everywhere from Canada to Japan to Italy and she has handled herself well on both the international and national stage.
Jade’s best event is the BB, where she has great balance and remains calm when performing the event. She has power and amplitude throughout her skills, particularly her flight series, a side aerial to layout stepout and has nice lines on her leaps. At times, she could be sharper in her movement and have a better line in her body, however makes it work for her. She has some form issues on UB, not always hitting handstands and not having a perfect line, however that may come with time. On FX she has good, strong, powerful tumbling and definitely has the potential to upgrade her tumbling passes, looking completely at ease with her current passes, finishing with a lovely, strong double pike, complete with upright chest position on landing and filling in her routine with an impressive whip, whip to double back, a beautiful 2 and a half twist to punch tucked front to stag jump and a double twist which could easily become a triple. She is also a powerful vaulter, stating that she will hope to upgrade to a DTY in the future…watch out for her and her teammate Padurariu who will become a senior in 2018!
11. Wang Cenyu (CHN)
D.O.B: 7th December 2001
Club: Trains with the National Team and competes for the Hunan Province
Coach(es): Lu Lifeng, Zhang Haiyan & Huang Yubin
- 2016 Chinese Individual Championships- 1st BB
- 2015 Chinese National Championships- 1st AA
- 2015 China National Youth Games- 2nd AA
The only gymnast born in 2001 who is officially a member of the National Team, Wang Cenyu is one of a number of promising 2001 babies emerging from China. Like many Chinese gymnasts, she is strong on both the UB and BB, where she shows some exquisite work. On UB , in particular, she has a beautiful swing and natural ability for the event. She, like many of the Chinese gymnasts has beautiful pirouettes that always finish in handstand and has high and flighty release moves, one release move being an impressive laid out Jaeger. She finishes the routine with a beautiful double layout and includes a pak salto and an in bar Gienger into her routine for good measure. On BB she is a treat to watch really, she has the most exquisite roundoff layout for her flight series. The layout is definitely always a layout, never piked, never tucked and she gets impressive amplitude on the skill, as she does all of her skills on the BB. She has nice leaps and a beautiful landing position on all of her skills, performing each with ease and steadies herself, making for beautiful BB work, free of wobbles (reminiscent of Kyla Ross). On VT, she is only performing an FTY but can definitely upgrade and on FX, she does a lot of twisting and also performs a lovely double pike, which she finishes with her chest upright and with great ease. Whilst not being a very powerful gymnast, she definitely has some power in her, which is great for the Chinese team.
Hopefully we will see Wang grace the world stage this year in Montreal!
12. Kiko Kuwajima (JPN)
- 2016 Pacific Rim Championships- 1st AA, VT, BB, FX, 3rd UB, 4th Team
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 3rd VT, 4th Team, 5th AA
- 2015 Junior Japan International- 1st VT, 6th BB, 8th AA (not officially 8th AA due to 2 per country rule)
Kiko Kuwajima first came to my attention after taking the AA title this year at the Pacific Rim Championships. She certainly is impressive and it will be interesting see her emerge on to the senior stage as Japan will hope to build a strong team to compete at their home games in Tokyo in 2020. Kiko is most impressive on BB, where she has a routine of 6.3 difficulty value, complete with a standing arabian and BHS tucked full twist, this girl is not messing around! Sometimes her form is questionable, the knees and toes not completely being extended but overall she has nice leaps and is a nice package on the BB. On FX she has some nice tumbling, opening with a tucked full in and also throwing in a 2 and a half twist and a double pike for good measure. She struggles somewhat on the UB, where she doesn’t have a bad swing on the event but misses handstands and just generally isn’t naturally gifted on the event. On VT, she is ahead of most of the junior field, having a DTY and not just any DTY, she really has a good one. She has nice form in the air, good distance and good height, getting an impressive 15.050 for her DTY at Pac Rims this year where she stuck the landing.
Overall Kuwajima is really impressive, she has quite a bit of power, making her capable of really showing some impressive upgrades in the future, she is also small and petite which helps her and she does have nice form on most things…I will forgive the not pointed toes at times!! I am really excited to see where Kiko will go once she becomes a senior in 2017!
13. Lorette Charpy (FRA)
D.O.B: 3rd December 2001
Club: St. Etienne
Coach(es): Julien Kernion
- 2016 Elite Gym Massilia- 4th AA, BB
- 2016 French Championships- 1st AA, 2nd UB, 3rd BB
- 2016 European Championsips- 3rd UB, 4th BB, 5th Team, 12th AA
- 2016 France V Romania Friendly- 1st AA, UB, 4th BB
- 2016 Zuri GymDays- 2nd Team, 10th AA
- 2016 L’International Gymnix- 4th UB, 6th Team, 25th AA
- 2015 Elite Gym Massilia- 2nd AA (Open portion of competition), 12th AA (Masters portion of competition)
- 2015 French Championships- 1st AA, 3rd UB, BB
Born into a family of gymnasts, he mother first being a gymnast and then a coach and both her sisters, Serena and Grace competing in gymnastics at the elite level, the elite gymnastics path seemed natural for Lorette Charpy of France. At the age of 10 she followed her sisters to the pole of St. Etienne to begin serious training, moving away from her longtime gym, Saint-Vallier. Quickly, she was noticed and was added to the French National Team in 2012 at the age of 11, becoming the youngest member of the French National Team. Since then she has been selected to compete for France all over the world and has won numerous medals both nationally and internationally.
She is certainly being touted as the future leader of the French team and she certainly has the confidence to lead France to Tokyo in 2020. She is strongest on both the UB and BB, winning a European bronze medal on the UB this year. Her UB are certainly very nice, she has some difficult release moves including a Shaposh half and a nice and flighty double layout as her dismount. Most of the time she has a nice line on the event and hits her handstands and a nice ease to her swing. On BB, her leaps and jumps could be better, givne that she is not the most flexible gymnast but she has a great ability on the event, a great balance, she is steady and knows where she is in the air. Her legs are straight on her flight series (its the little things I appreciate!!) and starts her routine with the very interesting standing jump to splits on to the beam. On VT, she is just performing an FTY at the moment, as are most juniors and on FX, like BB, her leaps could be better, given she is not extremely flexible and sometimes has problems pointing her toes but has good solid tumbling, opening with a front double tuck and finishing with a double pike. We will definitely see more of Lorette in 2017, and maybe even more of her sister Grace, who is a member of the senior French National Team and is a beautiful gymnast.
14. Naveen Daries (RSA)
Coach(es): Liezl Miller
- 2016 Junior Commonwealth Championships- 2nd Team, 4th AA, BB, VT, 7th FX
- 2016 South African Championships- 1st BB, 2nd AA, VT, UB, 3rd FX
- 2016 African Championships- 2nd Team, FX, 3rd AA, VT
- 2016 Austrian Team Open- 7th Team, 20th AA
- 2015 Top Gym- 9th FX, 11th VT, 12th UB, 14th BB, AA
- 2015 South African Championships- 1st AA, VT, 3rd UB, BB, FX
Along with Caitlin Rooskrantz, who is really the leader of the South African juniors and who will also become a senior gymnast in 2017, Naveen Daries is a very promising hope for the future of South African gymnastics. She and Caitlin both came to my attention this year at the Austrian Team Open where they, along with two other young junior gymnasts from South Africa took 7th in the team competition out of a field of 15 teams, competing against senior and junior gymnasts, finishing ahead of teams such as Italy and Norway.
Whilst I have not seen much of either girls gymnastics, their AA scores are impressive and will certainly challenge the current South African seniors. Both are certainly capable of qualifying to both Commonwealth and World Championships and the Olympic Games in the future. Both girls, particularly Naveen are improving fast, upping their difficulty each time they compete and the clear natural ability is evident. Naveen has a beautiful body for the sport of gymnasts, having long, lean lines whilst also possessing some power. The future of South African gymnastics certainly belongs to Naveen and Caitlin and I am looking forward to seeing them on the senior stage in 2017.
15. Martina Maggio (ITA)
D.O.B: 26th July 2001
Club: Robur et Virtus
Coach(es): Merlo Alessia & Levito Mara
- 2016 European Championships- 1st VT, 4th Team
- 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy- 2nd VT, BB, 3rd FX, 7th AA
- 2016 Italian Junior Freindly- 3rd AA, Team
Injured in 2015, we have only really seen Martina Maggio emerge in 2016 as one of Italy’s top juniors. She is one of a promising group and showed her promise at the 2016 European Championships in Bern where she became junior European VT Champion. She performed a powerful DTY and due to the junior rules could perform a FTY to take the title but I suspect she is working a second VT of a different family for her senior debut. Because of her DTY, she is already ahead of the junior field. She also has some great tumbling on FX, opening with a triple twist, finishing with a double pike and putting a tucked full in and a double tuck in the middle, her tumbling is certainly ready for the senior ranks! Her BB is also nice, she has straight legs on her skills, nice amplitude and her power is clear to see. The highlight of her routine being her flight series, a BHS LOSO LOSO, which is beautifully flighty and well executed. On UB , she does struggle slightly but is not terrible on the event, managing to get through and currently performing a routine of 5.1 difficulty. She has a good swing, but is only performing a double pike dismount and has some crazy form at times. But can definitely become better on the event.
She is definitely a power packed young junior (now senior) who has some form problems at times but does not ignore her form completely, her BB work is really quite impressive and I am sure we will see more of Martina in 2017!
Other juniors becoming seniors in 2017 to watch out for:
- Laney Madsen (USA)
- Trinity Thomas (USA)
- Deanne Soza (USA)
- Victoria Nguyen (USA)
- Alyona Schennikova (USA)
- Shania Adams (USA)
- Elena Arenas (USA)
- Caitlin Rooskrantz (RSA)
- Uliana Perebinosova (RUS)
- Ioana Crisan (ROU)
- Alisia Botnaru (ROU)
- Naomi Visser (NED)
- Jimena Moreno (MEX)
- Natsumi Hanashima (JPN)
- Francesca Linari (ITA)
- Noemi Jakab (HUN)
- Latalia Bevan (GBR)
- Ellesse Oates (GBR)
- Louise McColgan (GBR)
- Megan Parker (GBR)
- Lucy Stanhope (GBR)
- Marie Skammelsen (DEN)
- Chen Xiaoqing (CHN)
- Lin Yuyao (CHN)
- Liu Jingxing (CHN)
- Luo Youjan (CHN)
- Haley de Jong (CAN)
- Brooklyn Moors (CAN)
- Talia Folino (AUS)
- Luisa Kirchmayer (BRA)