Getting Ready for Rio: Gymnastics

With this new year comes also an Olympic year. It’s an important year for many athletes out there and is something that they’ve worked for almost their entire lives. They try their best to avoid injury just to make sure there is nothing stopping them from making it. Sometimes the only thing that allows them to get to the Games comes down to their birthday. Each month coming up to the Olympics, as I prepare myself for the Summer Games, I’ll highlight one sport I’m excited to watch and why I follow it so much. This month’s highlight is Artistic Gymnastics.

I love the dance qualities that Artistic Gymnastics has from the fluidity of the tricks on the beam to the entire floor routine. I think in another life if I wasn’t so tall and actually had the ability to wake up at 5 to work out I would be a gymnast. With this inner gymnast inside of me just dying to come out it’s no wonder I find myself watching routines until 2 in the morning, especially the 2012 London Olympics Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team Final.

Fierce Five.jpg
The Fierce Five: McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Jordyn Wieber

From the build up at the qualifications to the possible come back of an Olympic great of Nastia Liukin, I was watching the entire Olympic process for some of these girls. The selection process of the team and the connection that some of these girls have (McKayla Marone and Kyla Ross have trained together since they were five) made for an interesting build up to the biggest stage for the sport.

This coverage follows mostly the American Team through each apparatus and gives a bit of a back story to each member on the team. It’s also where you will find the highest vault score for that Olympics by McKayla Marone. What’s also interesting is that two (maybe three) members of that Olympic Team are making a comeback for this year’s Olympics (Gabby Doublas, Kyla Ross, and Aly Raisman). It would be a great start to getting acquainted with some of this year’s Olympic hopefuls. For part 1 click here.

Another gymnastics related video to watch is from the 2015 Gymnastics World Championships. This is the competition that qualified the different country’s teams for the Summer Olympics in Rio this year.  First is the Women’s Team Final. This broadcast is from NBC but if you want a more international coverage, there is also the coverage from British commentators which give you a little background on the British team, as the championship was held in Glasgow.

Another one to watch is the exciting routine by basically the only male Olympian I follow right now.

Danell Leyva

Danell Leyva is an American hopeful for the Olympics this year and his high bar routine from the first day of last year’s World Championship is so exciting and riveting that you may just find yourself watching it over and over again (like me). Then if you want to make sure he’s actually human, you can watch his routine from the second day of competition. It is such a shocking thing to happen but apparently something happened to his grip. Either way, he has joined the likes of the Hamm twins and Raj Bhavsar as one of my favourite male gymnasts.

Other teams making a big push for the Olympics to watch out for are the Russians, led by Aliya Mustafina. In the last Olympics they were right there with the Americans until the very end when they had a couple mistakes but I’m sure they’ll come back this year fighting for that top spot. During the World Championships the dream story was for the Great Britain team when they captured the bronze medal, qualifying them for the Olympics, at home. On their team are the Downie sisters who supported each other during the entire competition.

Ellie and Becky Downie.jpg

I’ve always said having a sister is like having a built in supporter, (to like all your instagram pictures regardless of the crap you upload) but to be competing in a sport at such a high level with your sister has to be a unique thing to experience. They’re not twins like the Hamm brothers but I’m sure it’s a close feeling to that.

I don’t follow the men’s side of the competition as much as the women’s but I do know that the Japanese team is impressive, namely Kōhei Uchimura.

Britain Gymnastics Worlds


He just won is 6th World Championship last year which to the majority of the world makes him the best gymnast of all time since it’s never been done before. The same can somewhat be said about Simone Biles as she won her 3rd World Championship in 2015.

Simone Biles

She just missed out in competing in the last Olympics because she was too young but has convincingly won everything since then.

So these are the main things I’ll be looking out for in Gymnastics during the Olympics. Honestly the one athlete I hope makes a comeback is Kyla Ross.

Kyla Ross

She was only 15 (turning 16 that year) when she competed in the London Olympics and was (i think) the only one who didn’t take a long break after the Summer Games. She was back competing the following year and was coming 2nd to Simone Biles in most of the all around competitions. What I think she really shines on is the beam and the uneven bars. She made it onto the 2012 Olympic team because of her consistency on these events. She’s been having a little difficulty lately because of growth spurts and injury but I think regardless of all of that she’s one of my faves because she has more of a ballet feel to her gymnastics, like Nastia Liukin, so I’m really hoping she’s back to 100% to compete this year.

For some reason I feel like the excitement for the Games this year is starting late or it could be that I’m focused on other things. Hopefully this can make some of you excited about watching this summer. What are your favourite parts about the Olympic games??

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