London 2012: YouTube Videos of the 10 Best Tricks in Women's Gymnastics
Team USA is searching for its identity right now. Shawn Johnson, one of the country's favorites in the Beijing Games, retired after not being about to recover from her skiing accident.
Nastia Liukin is attempting to recapture her glory from 2008 and could possibly be the only member on the current squad who competed four years ago for the national team.
So while we wait for the women's gymnastics national team to piece itself together behind Jordyn Wieber let's take a look at some of the coolest, most impressive, and down right ridiculous skills in women's gymnastics that YouTube has to provide.
Some are specific moves. Some are a routine or part of a routine that was jaw-dropping. Let's begin.
Personal disclaimer: I am not, nor never was, a gymnast and remain in awe of their talents.
Arabian Double Front
You have to watch the video for a little bit before you get to the move I'm referring to but you'll notice it once you see it.
Again, going for that awe factor means looking for a move with a high degree of difficulty, and the Arabian double front is one of those.
Granted, the floor has a bit of a spring to it (not much) but I challenge any non-gymnast to even attempt to flip once. Warning: please do not attempt at home, or generally, at all.
This is just one example, though, and I'm sure you can scour YouTube for more. Or just watch the Olympics later this summer.
Olga Korbut: Korbut Flip
The Korbut flip first became popular in the 1972 Olympics, when Russian phenom Olga Korbut introduced it to the world.
There are two things going for this nifty little move.
1. This move was named after Korbut, so anytime you get a new skill named after you that's pretty impressive.
2. The Korbut flip is now banned. Why? Because gymnasts are not allowed to stand on a bar. That adds another level of cool. It's so cool it's not allowed.
Gainer Triple Twist Dismount
This particular dismount of the balance beam looks more like something you would see a high diver doing into a pool.
Maybe my preference to not spin at a ridiculous speed or the concept of doing any sort of back flip has me in awe of this move, but either way there's something to be said about landing this.
And in the video this gymnast is adding another pre-launch move just to spice things up, I'm sure. I know this particular gainer is one of the more difficult skills a gymnast can perform in a competition but she makes it look relatively effortless.
Chusovitina Full-Twisting Double Straight Back
Again with the huge double flips on the floor. This move was named after the Russian, Oksana Chusovitina.
The video shows her performing her skill in the beginning of her floor routine in the 1991 Worlds. Just imagine standing perfectly straight for a second or two. For some, standing still is a challenge in itself.
Then imagine doing that while flipping in the air. Now add a twist. And land on two feet without falling over.
Seems tough to imagine, right?
Chusovitina, by the way, is still going strong in her mid-30s.
Notice: The footage is very grainy.
Viktoria Komova: Uneven Bars
The particular move to pay attention to is in the very beginning, when Viktoria Komova jumps from the low bar to the high bar.
It's called the "Komova." Surprising, I know. It's described as a "Pike Stalder with 1/2 Turning Flight to High Bar" on one YouTube video.
Apparently, this is only a Class E skill in the gymnastics Code of Points. For some reason I can't shake from my mind the feeling of "who would do that?" Then again, I'm not a gymnast. Class E or not, this seems like a very difficult skill to perform.
What's even more impressive is she does that at the very beginning, with very little momentum built up. That's a pretty good setup for the rest of the routine.
Balance Beam Skills
Note: This video doesn't allow embedding, so to watch the video just click here. For whatever reason the creator of the video blocked embedding and commenting, but it still makes for a good video montage.
This video doesn't label any of the skills performed in it, making it more difficult to tell what they are.
What caught my eye in this video was the very first move performed, in this case in the 2008 Olympics. It looks like something out of a floor routine crossing from one corner to another, not a beam routine. While there are plenty of moves that involve three to four flips in succession I can't claim to have seem many that involve that high of a back flip at the end.
As for the rest of the video, some of the skills are far more impressive than the others. Take a look.
Kerri Strug: Vault
This may seem cliche, or make me look like a homer, but this is just impressive.
Kerri Strug's first attempt on the vault, on the last shot the U.S. had at gold, resulted in her missing her landing. But that wasn't the only thing. She managed to hurt her ankle, making her second and final attempt on the apparatus darn near all the more difficult.
But you've seen this before a hundred times. Strug stuck the landing on one leg, winning gold for the home team, and was promptly carried off by her coaches.
It was an impressive feat of courage, guts, will power, whatever you want to call it. And that's why it has already gone down as one of the best moves in women's gymnastics history.
Uneven Bars Skills Part 1
Skip to 23 seconds into the video montage to find the first cool piece of athleticism in this video (not that the rest isn't insanely athletic).
That tumble onto the spring board and flip over the low bar is possibly the coolest start to the uneven bars I have ever seen. Check that, it IS the coolest.
Granted the spring board gives the gymnast the needed lift to get over that low bar and up to the high bar, but whoever thought of that combination has quite the imagination.
Not that almost every skill has it's inherent risks, but I can just see so many things going wrong in the second it takes to perform this—clipping a body part off the low bar, missing the high bar, over-rotating, getting too close to the high bar, etc.
And did I mention it's just plain cool?
Uneven Bars Skills Part 2
This is the same video as the previous slide, but this time skip to 3:26.
Clearly this move is no longer allowed because I have never seen it before and the video clearly looks like something that is 20 years old.
You just don't see this move anymore, and that's what makes it one of the best YouTube video moves that I found. It's different.
Dismounting off the high bar by spinning yourself not from your hands, but from you torso, is pretty incredible. We're all used to seeing the twists and flips off a dismount when a gymnast releases from their hands. It looks easy, maybe because we're accustomed to seeing it.
This doesn't look easy. Getting the body to contort like that with less leverage than you'd get from using your hands is impressive.
Then again, it's different so maybe that's why it's so impressive.
Nadia Comaneci: First Perfect 10
And last but not least, I had to stray away from a particular move once again for this incredible accomplishment.
Today's gymnasts and the sport's fans won't know what it's like to perform (or witness) a perfect score. Since the rules were changed a few years ago, gymnasts are no longer striving for that illustrious one-zero. That's reserved nowadays for the NBA Slam Dunk contest and all of its hoopla.
Comaneci set the Olympic world on fire when she became the first woman to score a 10.
If you look closely at the end of the video, you can see that the scoreboard says "1.00." It wasn't able to show "10." The crowd got the message, though.