This Week in Training: Playtime

2:21 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

Arthur Nory (BRA) and Simone Biles (USA)
Photo Credit: Simone Biles

Jake Dalton said it perfectly: "Having some fun in the gym. Don't have to do routines right now so trying to have some fun with new skills. Even if I don't use the skills it's always fun to play around. #slowmo #playtime." It's a relative downtime for elite gymnastics so gymnasts have the time to work on new skills. As time goes on, they'll see what actually fits in routines and then try and piece them together. It took me some time to realize that but I'm glad with all this social media, we get to see what these amazing athletes are capable of even if it doesn't see competition in the end.

NEW SKILL ALERT! Last week, I missed this upgrade of Hannah Whelan. Whelan is an athlete who deserves praise for her longevity in the sport - from the baby in Beijing to the veteran in Nanning, she continues to eye the next Olympics. Her work on BB has always been helpful to team GB and she works a new sheep 1/2 on BB.

Roxana Popa is training a double twisting double layout dismount on uneven bars. Roxi has quite a few meets coming up and I doubt we'll see the upgrades soon but Worlds 2015 should be very very interesting. Euros too, most probably.

Claudia Fragapane, known for her powerful tumbling, continues to improve her all around status by working on bars. Here she is catching a Maloney (toe on Shaposh).

Mykayla Skinner is working the Li Xiaopeng vault done in MAG - a Yurchenko half on, 2.5 twists off! Basically, a Cheng with another full turn. She showed video of it a while ago along with her triple twisting double back. I'm actually amazed at how good the vault looks in terms of completed rotations and relatively straight body position. The "uneven weight" in the block doesn't seem changed so guess we'll wait and see what happens.

Youna Dufournet, known for her excellent uneven bar work, is working a new connection - a Ricna-Gienger. The connections continue with a toe-on giant 1/2 to straddled Jaeger. I'm not going to lie - I'm a bit concerned that the Gienger will be in bar and incur lack of height deductions. I also worry that this means the Def is gone. On the other hand, if she can connect a Def that would be insane.

Martina Rizzelli is working a switch ring on BB. It's on the low beam right now and needs a higher back leg but it looks like she has decent head release. We'll see what it looks like with more time and practice. (IG: martina_rizzelli)

Brazil's Youth Olympic Games competitor, Flavia Saraiva, is working hard. Here she is showing a quad twist. It's curretnly on the tumble track but you can tell how insanely quick she's twisting. Maybe this is a real life possibility. Maybe.

Danell Leyva is trying to up his all around game and challenge some of the best on floor with this triple twisting double tuck.

Arthur Nory is shown here upgrading his vaults. I can't quite see the first entry that well but looks like a front handspring double full (per Nastia Fan) and the 2nd is the coveted Li Xiaopeng - worth a 6.2. (Just a reminder that the MAG technical committee dropped the difficulty of all vaults by 1 point.)

Jake Dalton is working a DTDLO dismount on rings and a Kaz 2.5 vault (Yang II). Jake also has another video on IG of him training "that" pass - front double twist to front double tuck. #cray

Oleg Stepko, Azerbijan transplant from Ukraine, is seen here working a pirouetting skill on parallel bars to an immediate double front parallel bar dismount. The double front is becoming more common but it's always more impressive to have a connection into the dismount. There's also a video of him doing some pretty epic dance moves before he works some p-bar drills.

Sam Oldham shows some pretty impressive upgrades on rings - a double back connected to a tucked double double dismount

Frank Baines is working double doubles and triple doubles now on a mat over the pit. (IG: frankbaines)

This Week in Bloopers
The continuous upgrades of our World Champion Simone Biles cannot be ignored. Here she is bringing back the piked Tkatchev... or trying to anyway.

Confession time: I just checked Simone's I try to stay away from these as to a) not bother the gymnasts b) see how awkward people are when they ask the gymnasts about insanely personal things BUT I was curious if the new skill Simone tweeted about was actually a new skill and it's not, it's a new skill for her not the code. The interesting thing I learned was that Biles has a hard time with a standing full on the high beam. I'm shocked because I honestly thought that was the new skill. Who knew?!

Also, the Moors is real as I predicted! Finally! Now I just need the double double beam dismount. A girl can dream.

Which upgrades are most exciting to you?