As we draw to the end of this year, I cannot help but wonder at how quickly it seems to have passed. 2013 was a year of transition, from an Olympic cycle to another. We left London behind and started our journey to Rio….a long and unpredictable way, but full of surprises and great achievements, I am sure about that!


(Kenzo’s quad twist - source)

There have been many moments of great triumphs, performances and results during the year, but we are now coming to a time when we need to draw some conclusions. I would like to name some of my favorite non-Romanian gymnastics performances, the ones that drew my attention in 2013.

So, in no particular order…

Aliya Mustafina and a routine for an All Around World medal

Who would have thought that her floor routine will be so solid after the nightmare she had to face in qualifications? Yes, I know we are talking about Mustafina and her fighting spirit, especially when it really matters, but still…. the entire year she looked out of breath and almost on the edge of falling apart. But that night, on her last rotation, on floor, she seemed so fresh and ready to get her spot on the podium, no matter what. Two whips, a double Arabian, a stag jump….and a big WOW from the entire arena. Great effort and such an amazing routine.

Epke Zonderland - the Gold medalist on high-bar

The Flying Dutchman was the crowd’s favorite at Worlds. And I don’t think the only reason was the fact that Antwerp is located close to the Netherlands border. Epke is a showman, he knows how to bind to the audience. Also, his routine is unbelievable with all  those crazy releases made in combination. Definitely one of the highlights of this year. The crowd was fantastic, so supportive and involved in the whole process. A stuck landing and the entire arena went crazy, in a good way! Fantastic experience and I’m thankful I had the chance to witness it live.

Kenzo Shirai - the amazing kid with a quad twist

Have you ever believed that someone is capable of so many twists in just one single routine? Kenzo Shirai of Japan became World Champion on floor at only 17, being also the youngest gymnast in this year’s men competition. He is also the first athlete to perform a quadruple twist at a major event. My hat is off to you, Kenzo. The mix between your talent and the performance you achieved is an inspiration for all of us.

Other mentions: Ksenia Afanasyeva’s floor routine from the Summer Universiade, the Amanar of McKayla Maroney and the winning UB routine of Huang Huidan.

Mihai

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