|property of Becky Downie|
The countdown to the Olympic and Paralympic games have begun, and for team GB that means the pressure is beginning to explode, five spots are to fill on the Olympic team but with a talent pool as deep as the current British squad anything or anyone could happen. For each of these girls it has different meanings, whether it’s the final cap to Britain’s most successful gymnast: Beth Tweddle’s career or a second chance for a now experienced Hannah Whelan, who captured the heart of the gymnastics community when she burst onto the scene in the last quad, this is the ultimate goal and for some, they dream no higher.
But what about the gymnasts behind the scenes, the ones at home working on bigger and harder skills to increase their start value, the ones that are yet to be seen by the world or have little to no international experience, the ones ready to take 2012 by storm.
Relatively known on the international scene after competing at the test event in January and a not so good competition at the American cup soon after, we are yet to see what she has to offer. Like Whelan in 2008 she is a new year senior taking the field by storm with a big bar set leveling her on the playing field of already established competitors. Rebecca is capable of a DTY on vault and has a dynamic floor routine with stable, efficient tumbling. Here is Rebecca’s competing at the London Test event on her favourite piece bars:http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Jocelyn turned senior in 2010 after successful years on the junior British gymnastics scene where she was selected for various international and friendly competitions. Now at the age of 17 Jocelyn has already proven herself as a useful member of team GB, in 2010 she was part of the silver medal team at the European championships and also a member of the 2010 English commonwealth team who took silver in the team competition and placed a respectable 5th in the AA. In more recent years Jocelyn has been overshadowed by up and coming gymnasts who have dominated the British gymnastics events as well as aging team members looking for a last chance. On the plus side Jocelyn is a strong dynamic performer with years of international experience under her belt, will she make the team. Here is Jocelyn competing at the London Test even on one of her strongest pieces floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
A member of the well-known Cardiff Central trio, Jess has been competing internationally for a few years now, not only is she a complete powerhouse, but also a relatively strong all-rounder. Jess’ most notable international competition to date is at the 2010 International Youth Olympic festival where she competed alongside stars such as: Carlotta Ferlitto, Victoria Komova and Tan sixin. Although Jess only finished in 18th a strong floor performance secured her a place in the floor final where she placed a respectable 5th place. Jess is capable of two different vaults placing her in contention for one of Britain’s weaker events. Here is Jess on her favourite event floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Nicole has had minor international experience, competing in events such as the 2008 Junior European Championships and more recently as a senior at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam. Nicole is another powerful gymnast where she particularly excels on floor and vault, although seemingly disappearing from the gymnastics scene in more recent times due to being hampered with injuries. Looking to make a comeback for the upcoming games Nicole has previously been capable of skills such as a full in on floor and a 1 1/2 TY on vault. It’s a race against the clock as to whether Nicole will gain all of her skills back and up her difficulty in time for the event. Here is Nicole on Vault at the 2010 British Championships:http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Charlotte is another gymnast from Heathrow gymnastics club. A taller gymnast Charlotte struggles with events such as bars, but excels with her well-choreographed floor and has an interesting and creative beam mount. Although she may not be the most experienced gymnast, hopes are still high, she was a member of the 2010 commonwealth team and recently competed in a friendly against Romania and Germany where she placed 9th. Charlotte still has big skills to contend with, a more interesting skill is her double twisting bar dismount. Here is Charlotte at the 2010 Commonwealth on Vault: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Niamph has been on the British team since 2007 and is a member of the same club as Becky Downie. As a junior Niamph had immense talent and showed large promise with her gymnastics, but since turning senior in 2010 Niamph as experienced many obstacles including a back injury obtained at that years British Championships. Before this Niamph was part of the silver medal winning team at the 2010 European Championships and also placed 6th on floor. In 2011 Niamph was back to her old competitive self, placing 7th AA at the British in 2011. Although a strong member of team GB her place on the Olympic team will be dependent on whether she is fit and capable. Here is Niamph on floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Another member to the silver winning Commonwealth team in 2010, Laura is a strong beam worker with an exciting and graceful floor. Laura finished 6th in the AA at this competition and works with skills such as a blind beam mount which is performed by very few gymnasts as well as a flick to one, flick to two, double pike dismount. Laura is a consistent worker with great prospects for future teams with her continuous upgrades but with so little time until the games there may not be enough time to meet the par of other already established hopefuls. Here is a video of Laura on beam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Kelly trains at Dynamo gymnastics club, where she has been since she started gymnastics, Kelly only recently qualified to the British team having previously being part of the English squad. Kelly is a dynamic gymnast with skills such as a double layout on floor, her easy flexibility and flowing leaps making her performance enjoyable, she may not have the experience or skills for this quad but she is one to watch for next. Here is Kelly on floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?