Yang Yilin on China's SYTYCD

4:43 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Yany Yilin tried out for China's version of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). A very rough translation is provided below.



Why are you here?
Yang Yilin: Because I like dancing

[She dances]

First Judge: You know, breakdancing comes from gymnastics and you have a gymnastics background but this chereography is bad so of course the dance is bad. But you're young, you're an Olympic gold medalist. You have the skills. How can I not give you the vote?
[So he holds up the vote]
Judge #2: Have you retired?
Yang Yilin: No, I haven't but training less
Judge #2: Still competing?
Yang Yilin: Less
Judge #2: Gymnastics is very rigorous so their golden years peak at 16, 17. And so you see, she's 20, she's already competing less. There is a little bit of dance but mostly, it's gymnastics. Your gymnastics parts are good but you're too stiff in the shoulders etc and all that posing has nothing to do with dance. I'm sorry, I won't vote for you.
Judge #3 (lady with head dress):  Hm, I think you really love dance - that's why you chose to compete. I don't think you really need to be on this stage to dance so hopefully you continue dancing. Sorry, I can't vote for you
Judge #4: I want to see you continue so i'm giving you a ticket without any reason.

Judge 2 hit the nail right on the head, in my opinion. I agree with someone who commented on TCG Facebook - Yang Yilin would do very well on a version of Dancing with the Stars where the dances are choreographed for the athlete and the athlete needs to worry about learning new styles and performing. If the remainder of China's SYTYCD is anything like in the US, Yang Yilin got a ticket to "Vegas." In Vegas week in the US version, the number of finalists is cut from about 40+ dancers to the top 20 (or 10 depending on how they decide to run the season). It's a very rigorous week. Some days, you try out the different styles (contemporary, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, etc.). Some days, you need to choreograph as a group and you're at risk of being eliminated at any moment.

I'm curious to see how Yang Yilin will do here. She has "pretty lines." Whether she can do anything with them, whether the creativity and passion and performance is there, remains to be seen.

I did a post a long time ago on Nastia's floor routine which was choreographed by the runner-up on SYTYCD, Travis Wall. He has since gone on to choreograph for the show and has produced my favorite dances by far. Check them out here. My favorites are the Prom and Fix You dances. Travis once tweeted, a while ago, way before the Olympics, that he would be interested in doing a routine for Gabby Douglas. Please, Travis! I'm still a little sad we never got to see Nastia's routine.

Source: WOGymnastike
Translation: JLG

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Gabby Douglas for Teen Vogue

6:41 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

2012 Olympic All-Around Champion Gabrielle Douglas is not slowing down any time soon! She and Teen Vogue recently tweeted a behind-the-scenes video at her recent photoshoot with Teen Vogue. In the video, Gabby is seen wearing dresses from Christian Soriano's 2013 Spring/Summer Collection. She talks about meeting the President and First Lady, what she looks for in a man, and how she stays healthy. In true Dougie fashion, this video will make you laugh and smile.



Also, check out this great gifset by tumblr user fiercestfive here.

Douglas has already released her first book, "Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith," and hopes to release her second book, "Raising the Bar," on April 30th. In this book, we'll see more of Douglas' life after the Olympics including photos that she's taken throughout this post-Olympic media tour whirlwind. It will also include tips on how to raise the bar in your life. You can preorder the book here.

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Montage Monday: Brilliant

11:20 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

This week was full of some brilliant montages. No words. Just watch them.


Aliya Mustafina. Story. by uswntgymfan



Echoes in Eternity, Fierce Five Forever by CSaccullo



Team Italia. Cherry Waves by CSaccullo (Check out 1:27 - editing madness!)



Elisabetta Preziosa - I want Beam that way by SuperGymmie


The youtube videos were added to the March Montage playlist.

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Aly Raisman on DWTS

8:50 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Aly Raisman has recently arrived in Los Angeles, California as she prepares for her debut on Dancing with the Stars. Raisman's partner is Mark Ballas who has already won 2 previous seasons. He mentions that Aly's biggest issue is counting the music. She "dances through the music rather than on the music." I agree. The ending of the video is really cute when the reporter asks for a preview of Aly's sass.



DWTS also recently posted a video of their first rehearsal.



DWTS Season 16 is set to start Monday, Mar 18 at 8PM ET on ABC.

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Montage Monday: American Cup Edition

8:49 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

An exciting Montage Monday with lots of American Cup footage.

Sydney Johnson-Scharf. Feel this Moment.
@Ashley_Flipper/AshleyakaFlipper2
I think this is my favorite montage of the week. Many people fell in love with Level 10 gymnast and elite hopeful Sydney Johnson-Scharf who competed at the Nastia Liukin Cup. I call her the floor exercise love child of Mattie Larson and Sabrina Vega - her performance quality is out of this world. Look at 0:37+. She's this little bundle of sass and I love it!


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Bama, Danusia, and Sam OH MY!

1:50 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Bama, Danusia, and Sam OH MY! Katie tells you what you didn't see during the UCLA/Bama meet.

Hey y'all! Here's this lovely important disclaimer that you should read: 1. Brace yourself for lots and lots of Sam Peszek fangirling, and 2. These views and opinions are mine and mine alone and are not representative of Arabian Punch Front.



Being a student at the University of Alabama has its perks, one of which is cheap football tickets. The other is having a beast gymnastics team. The thing about gymnastics though, is that maybe 5 people on campus are knowledgeable about the sport.

I usually go to the meets with my friends and sit up in the nosebleeds for meets, but I figured UCLA coming to town warranted a little intensity. I found out a fellow gymternet tumblr user also goes to Bama (and we lived in the same dorm last year – freaky!) so we decided to meet up and go together. This was perfect because I was able to go with someone who was fine with me being a crazy fan taking signs and knew lots and lots about gymnastics.

As soon as we met up, I knew the meet was going to be awesome because I was not murdered by an internet stranger. I take my victories where I can get them.

The meet wasn't scheduled to start until 7:30, but we got to Coleman at 4:30. Yes, you read that right, we got there 3 hours early. They don't let you inside until 5:30, which in Alabama normally wouldn't be a problem. Not today though. Not with my luck. Since I wasn't wearing a jacket of any kind, Tuscaloosa decided it wanted to be freezing cold. I was not about to wait an hour and catch frostbite, so I made sad faces at the old ladies working the scanners until they came and let us in.

The first 150 students admitted to the meet get to sit on the floor. And when I say sit on the floor, I mean I was about six feet from the OOB line of FX. I was kind of freaking out a little bit (okay, a lot) because UCLA's team was RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF MY FACE. Yes, I was more excited about seeing UCLA's gymnasts than my own school's. Olympians and tons of former elites vs level 10s? Sorry Bama. I love you, but that's just the way it is.

The Bruins warmup pants were jazz pants, while Bama wore Nike leggings. UCLA had on navy sparkly warmup leos; Bama's were crimson with white curls. Everyone jogged around and stretched, then did cartwheels and tumbling. Honestly I don't remember much else about warmup, because I was on Sam watch. Priorities, guys.

Ashley Priess sprinted over to Sam and gave her a HUGE hug. They talked for a while, and it was really cute. Danusia Francis and Sam had on these baby blue leg warmers that were adorable. The reason I know Sam had them on is because at one point she took off her boot and did relev├ęs. The achilles looked fine during this, so I'm hoping that she'll be good to go soon!





UCLA came to warm up on floor, and Miss Val was standing right in front of me. My friend from the internet who still had not murdered me, thankfully, starts pointing and flailing. I, having no shame whatsoever, yell “Miss Val! Miss Val!” at the top of my lungs. She turns around and waves, and for a split second her regal facade is betrayed by an expression of happiness and shock that someone recognized her. Whenever I have a bad day, I will remind myself that I once made Miss Val giddy. I asked for a picture, and she was happy to oblige. She kind of scratched my back while asking my name when we were posing for the picture, and I honestly have no idea how I managed to avoid fainting.

I told her that I, too, am a dancer and that I think it's awesome that she has broken into gymnastics like she has. I also told her that I LOVE her choreography, and that everyone else's sucks in comparison. She told me she loves her job (UCLA fans fear not, she's gonna be there til they oust her it seems) and that it is really cool for her to see them do all this amazing tumbling. “How do they do that?!” I don't know, Miss Val. I don't know.



Let me just say that Miss Val really does have this regal and sophisticated aura and presence about her, but she's as sweet as can be. I can't say enough good things about her!

I told her that Danusia's was my favorite floor routine, and that I was excited to see it in person. Miss Val then throws her arm up beside her head, in an attempt to mimic the opening pose. “That one?” she asked. “Yep it's pretty much beast.” “Yeah, Danusia's great.” Yes, yes she is.

She also said that each of her floor routines has a story behind it. One of them is the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I think it's Dana McDonald's routine, but I'm not positive. We didn't want to take any more of her time, so we thanked her again and walked the two steps back to our seats.

It was at this point that Danusia was in the corner of the floor waiting to tumble, and I yelled “Werk Danusia,” at her. She turned around and fist pumped at me. I'm pretty sure everyone in the student section thought I was crazy, but who cares. It's Danusia Francis, y'all!

A few passes later, Danusia landed something short. I want to say it was a double back? Anyways Miss Val looked even scarier than normal when she saw it. If looks could kill... Anyways, much to my dismay Danusia didn't compete on floor. She tweeted me later and said that she hurt her feet in warmup, which is why she didn't compete FX. Boo hiss.


Credit: Sarah DeMeo via instagram


MEET TIME! When UCLA's gymnasts were introduced individually, I wanted to yell for all of them, but I also didn't want to get shot. Thus, I cheered for Vanessa Zamarripa and Danusia Francis when they were introduced. Danusia was second to last and Kaelie Baer was last. I yelled for Danusia, and the two of them looked over and laughed. When Kaelie was announced and I didn't yell for her, she looked over at our section and laughed. Then someone on the other side of the coliseum yelled for her, and she turned and pointed at them in appreciation. And that's the story of how Kaelie Baer won me over.

As far as routines go, Kim Jacob's floor brought down the house, and people thought Olivia Courtney's routine was cool. I thought UCLA was overscored on vault; they didn't get much height, which was especially apparent following the likes of Diandra Milliner. Danusia's beam looked wonderful from where I was sitting, and I think she was underscored. That could just be the fangirl in me, though. She definitely captivated the audience, which is quite the feat for beam!

“Home” was the beam music for an Alabama gymnast, and Miss Val was standing over by FX swaying and snapping to it. “Ho Hey” was beam music too, and Sam was interpretive dancing. It was great.

FINALLY Sam came on my side of FX to where I could yell at her. I had been praying to the gym gods that she would come over to me at some point – glad to know they were listening. Again, since I have no shame, I yelled her name, and she turned around. I pointed to my shirt and told her that I wore blue since she told me to. (She responded to a tweet of mine, telling me to come to the meet and wear blue.) “Oh, that was you?!” YES, YES IT WAS. “Well, come here!” She put up her hand for a high five, and I stepped out of my seat to give her one.



You know how in Mean Girls being punched in the face by Regina George is awesome? Well Sam Peszek gives PAINFULLY HARD high fives, but it's awesome. That's an understatement, actually. My non-murdering internet friend asked if she would mind taking pictures after the meet. “Of course,” came the super gracious reply, because SAM IS THE BEST.

Alabama closed the meet on floor, while UCLA was on beam. All of Bama's team stood right in front of me. This means that when Mattie Larson was up on beam and I held up my sign that said “Splattie,” all of the Bama gymnasts could easily read it if they turned around.

Which they did. Ashley Priess and Marissa Gutierrez asked me what it said and meant. I pointed to Mattie, who was up on beam at the time, and told them that it said Splattie because she falls all the time. Now don't get me wrong, I love both Mattie Larson and her gymnastics, but when you compete against my school, I put that love aside and root against you. Well, Ashley starts laughing like it is the funniest thing she's ever seen. Marissa, on the other hand is not amused and looks at me with this disgusted look on her face. “Can we, like, not?...Like can you put that down? Yeah, no.” So I turned it around. During this, Ashley is still laughing hysterically, and this is why I will forever love Ashley Priess.

Mattie then got a 9.9 on beam. And Sadiqua Bynum hit floor. And Shayla Worley hit all of her routines. It's all on Marissa Gutierrez, y'all.

The meet ended, and Sam and Ashley talked again. Yay for National and Worlds team friendship! Sam began to walk away to the locker room, but I yelled and got her attention. She came over and took a picture really quickly, and I honestly could have died happy at this point. We thanked her, and she told us she'd see us later. IF ONLY. I think proceeded to die internally for about the fifth time that night, but the gym gods had more in store for me, because Danusia started walking towards us. I yelled at her, of course, and if you didn't see that coming, then you haven't been reading very closely.



As she was walking over, I told her that I had several people ask me to ask her what hair products she uses. The answer is John Frieda, everyone. She then asked if I was the one yelling for her, I told her I was, and she thanked me. I said that I wanted to cheer for the whole team, but I was afraid for my life. She laughed and thanked me agan. I could listen to her talk all day – her voice is like velvet and her accent is divine! We took a picture before she scurried off to the locker room, and I went home unable to wipe a smile off my face because the whole night was, as Aly Raisman would say, amazing.



Written by @keparoo
All pictures are property of Katie P unless otherwise stated.
More video on vimeo and youtube
More pics (opens in a new window) 1, 2, 3, 4,

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Interview with Talia Chiarelli

1:27 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments


Credit: Grace Chiu/GraceClick.ca


Talia Chiarelli is a Canadian gymnast who recently signed her letter of intent to the University of Michigan. In 2011, her first year as a senior gymnast, Talia earned the bronze medal on the floor exercise at the Canadian Championships. She was named as an alternate to the 2011 World Championship team but represented Canada at both the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2012 London Test Event. As 2012 continued, Talia Chiarelli was named as one of twelve gymnasts from which the final Olympic team would be chosen but withdrew abruptly due to a back injury. Talia is now back in the gym and getting ready to compete as a Wolverine next year.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and trained at Nepean Corona School of Gymnastics until I was 11. I moved to Brestyan’s in August of 2006 when we moved to Massachusetts. When I competed with Bluewater my coaches were Dave and Liz Brubaker. I don’t really train at Bluewater, but I compete with them as my Canadian club. 

How did you make the decision to start competing for Canada?
I never really thought about it, but Mihai was kind of friends with Dave Brubaker and I think they talked about the idea. At first I tried it out to see how it was, and I ended up really enjoying it and realized I could get serious about it.

You were named as an alternate to the 2011 Worlds Team. What was the year like leading up to that moment and what was it like being in Japan with the team?
2011 was such a fun year. I went to Canadian Nationals for the first time in May, and then after that I was assigned to go to the Japan Cup in Tokyo with a couple other girls. That was my first assignment and my first time traveling overseas, so it was a blast. Being in Japan the second time was a little different and a little bit of a roller coaster, but it was a great experience and I got so much closer with all the girls. We were together for less than a month, but I felt like I know all the girls for my whole life.

Watch Talia's FX from the 2011 Japan Cup here or below:

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Montage Monday: A Stitch in Time

8:53 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

I split these by year and will go in reverse chronological order.

2013 American Cup
Chris Saccullo/@CSaccullo made this montage of Victoria Moors after the American Cup. It's a great montage for all of it's effects and highlighting Tori's gymnastics (aka stuck double double) but it's also hilarious since there are clips of Boston Moors, Tori's beloved cat, throughout the video.
Victoria Moors - Captivate


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English Championships Wrap Up and Russian Championships Qualification

6:14 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments


Credit: elitegymnast
Sisters Becky and Ellie Downie


The English Championships were this weekend as was the first few days of the Russian Championships set to finish on March 7th.

English Championships
Hannah Whelan won the all around competition and finished 1st on beam. We finally see the return of 2008 Olympian Becky Downie who was dealing with illness and injury throughout the last quad that took her out of the running for 2012. She looked fabulous on uneven bars winning that event with a 14.3.


Ruby Harrold was also seen with some great combination on bars - a toe-on Shaposh to Bhardwaj and a toe-on Shaposh 1/2 to a stoop shoot through to low bar. Not sure I named that correctly so you can check it out here. She finished in 4th after a fall on that event. English Championships saw the return of 2000 GB Olympian Lisa Mason. She won vault with a half twisting Yurchenko and a stuck front handspring on - front pike off. Watch here.

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Nastia Liukin and American Cup Wrap Up

5:49 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments


Credit: USA Gymnastics

This was an exciting weekend for gymnastics! The Nastia Liukin Cup, American Cup, Russian Championships and English Championships were all this weekend along with some great NCAA matchups. Here are a few videos and links to channels that you should definitely check out!

Nastia Liukin Cup
The Nastia Liukin Cup went fairly well this year. Sydney Johnson-Scharpf was heralded as the next big thing in elite gymnastics. Sydney is a 12 year old Level 10 gymnast at her mother's gym, 1988 US Olympian Brandy Johnson. I like to consider her the floor exercise love child of Mattie Larson and Sabrina Vega - excellent tumbling and leaps but also great at performing during every moment of her routine. Watch her FX that qualified her to the Nastia Liukin Cup here.

From the senior gymnasts, we saw lots of great gymnastics that we'll get to see in NCAA next year. Alex McMurtry took 1st in the all-around and earned the highest scores on VT, BB, and FX. She'll be headed to Florida next year. Second place finisher, Aja Sims wll be headed to Alabama and Samantha Partyka, who finished in 3rd, will head to Utah. Surprise of the meet for me was Kari Lee who was in the lead for sometime but then fell to 4th place when she finished on uneven bars, the event with the tightest scoring. She'll be headed to Arizona. Check out more of the future NCAA gymnasts here. Watch Alex's FX here or below:


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Gabby and the Scoreboard

2:27 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Blythe of Gym Examiner asks Gabby at a press conference following the AA final if she looked up at the scoreboard. We typically hear athletes say how they don't look at the score but Gabby was candid in her response. Chow is beside her so you get to hear his reaction as well.



link
source: glamaphonic

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