What are like 5 or 10 routines I should watch to help get me into RG? I'm an AG fan but don't know RG so well apart from a few really famous girls.
love this kind of asks !! but it’s gonna be hard to put just 10 routines in here haha
I’ll try to have some variety in terms of countries (this one’s gonna be tricky) and decades !! So here you go, some iconic routines :
- Bianka Panova (Bulgaria), clubs, Seoul OG, 1988 : x / One of the bulgarian “golden girls” from the 80s, who managed to outshadow the mighty Soviet Union at this time. The choreography, the delicacy, the interpretation, so much beauty in this routine.. Plus some interesting risks, like the one just before the end, she catches both clubs with her arched back, she missed it in the preliminary round, which eventually cost her the podium…
- Amina Zaripova (Russia), ball, Atlanta OG, 1996 : x / I love the era of RG, the premices of the 00s style but with more attention paid to execution, Amina had this classical elegance but you can already see the start of the russian style, with great flexibility and more tricky apparatus technique. Amina is Margarita Mamun’s coach now !
- Yana / Ianina Batyrshina (Russia), clubs, Atlanta OG, 1996 : x / One of most daring and innovative gymnasts of the 90s, with crazy risks and difficulty, extreme flexibility and a lot of dynamism ! She and Alina Kabaeva are often praised as the precursors of the 00s style, but more credits to Batyrshina, she did it during an area when difficulty and innovation weren’t rewarded like today, she finished 2nd of these olympics after a drop
- Elena Vitrichenko (Ukraine), ribbon, Atlanta OG, 1996 : x / really cool routine with interesting ribbon work ! Vitrichenko finished 3rd AA (the way she was harshly judged between 1996 and 2000 led to a lot of controversie..)
- Greek ensemble (Greece), 2 hoops + 3 ribbons, Osaka WCh, 1999 : x / The peak of the greek ensemble, they were world champion that year (their 10 clubs routine is also worth watching) great collective work and great transmissions (albeit a bit static compared to the routines we see nowadays) with super elegant gymnasts. They were expected to take the gold in Sydney but a mistake in finals left them with the bronze
- Yulia Barsukova (Russia), ball, Sydney OG, 2000 : x / Iconic Swan lake routine, so much elegance, precision, poise.. Barsukova was one of the last “classical” gymnasts in Russia (before they went mostly for extreme flexibility and crazy difficulty) with perfect legs (she was a ballerina til she was 13 y/o). She was expected to finish 3rd at these olympics but eventually took the gold, since Raskina from Belarus and Kabaeva from Russia both made mistakes
- Simona Peycheva (Bulgaria), ball, Madrid WCh, 2001 : x / One of the best gymnasts of the 00s, participated at 2 olympics (Athens and Beijing), had that extra fierce badass sparkle (typically bulgarian) and a great execution, which wasn’t the case for everyone in the 01-04 quad. She also attempted a comeback in 2013 after giving birth, it didn’t lead far since Bulgaria had new promising seniors, but still, she looked amazing and that’s pretty badass
- Anna Bessonova (Ukraine), hoop, Budapest WCh, 2003 : x / Another iconic Swan Lake routine haha.. The CoP changed a lot during this quad with like ~20 elements counting towards the d-score and you can see she doesn’t stop !! Anna is one of the most rewarded gymnasts of the 00s, famous for her crazy oversplits, incredible presence and longevity !!
- Irina Tchachina (Russia), hoop, Athens OG, 2004 : x / my fave russian gymnast with Barsukova, she embodied perfectly all the qualities that belonged to this quad : flexibility, dynamism, powerful jumps and leaps, intricate apparatus work + the Pirate of the Caribbean music made it epic. She had a knot in her ribbon final during the AA final and finished with silver, while Kabaeva won the gold and Bessonova the bronze. The podium is still controversial to this day (but which one isn’t in RG haha)
- Bulgarian ensemble (Bulgaria), 2 balls + 3 hoops, Athens OG, 2004 : x / because the bulgarian ensembles will always have something the others don’t, out of five gymnasts, they truly become one coherent group. They work in great synchronisation + choreography always great, just sit back and enjoy (+ the final ball catch)
- Natalia Godunko (Ukraine), ribbon, Baku WCh, 2005 : x / just epic, daring gymnastics, when you can do 4 rolls in a row before catching your ribbon, you’re a queen, this is law (she got 3rd for this routine and cried afterwards in the locker room, Tchachina, one of the russian gymnasts, came to her and told her everyone knew she was the best at it)
- Anna Bessonova (Ukraine), ribbon, Benidrom, 2008 : x / Besso at her best, with a Hopak inspired routine (Hopak is a traditional ukrainian dance). Ukrainian RG + spanish audience is always a great match, here it’s legendary !!
- Daria Kondakova (Russia), hoop, Montpellier WCh, 2011 : x / Dasha was the russian silver princess during Kanaeva’s reign but she was super popular among fans, bc of her interpretations, her risks, she just takes your breath away, and she had original pivot combos despite lacking in relevé
- Evgenia Kanaeva (Russia), ribbon, Montpellier WCh, 2011 : x / The Tsarina of RG, absolutely incredible handling of the ribbon
- Alina Maksymenko (Ukraine), hoop, Kiev WCh, 2013 : x / A fan and crowd favourite, no one expected her to deliver like this bc she was kind of a headcase sometimes. Risks, performance quality, leaves you breathless
- Yana Kudryavtseva (Russia), clubs, Baku European Games, 2015 : x / just shows you how much of a virtuose she is when it comes to apparatus handling, I’m in awe
- Salome Pazhava (Georgia), clubs, Bucharest Grand Prix, 2016 : x / the best she’s ever performed this routine, she is not the gymnast with the best form, but her senses of rhythm and musicality are completely unique, her dance steps (watch her feet) are inspired by traditional georgian traditional dance. I don’t think words are enough to describe my admiration and love for her gymnastics, all I can say is few gymnasts have such a unique innovative style and catch you in their own universe. How Salome performs, it just goes beyond gymnastics, in Almudena Cid’s words : ES UN ARTISTA
I don’t think I’ve managed enough diversity tbh,
other gymnasts I would recommend you to check out would be : Margarita Mamun, Ganna Rizatdinova, Melitina Staniouta, Deng Senyue from China bc her pivots were life (she’s retired), Sabina Ashirbayeva from Kazakhstan (bc her pivots are life), Grace Legote from South Africa (bc legs and performance quality and everyone loves her), Ulyana Trofimova from Uzbekistan bc she had the best backscale pivots and backwards illusions (and still does despite being retired for 4 years), Inna Zhukova, Yulia Raskina, Liubov Charkashyna…
Thanks for your ask !!