Floor Routines #45-41 of the last decade…
Fan Ye: China
Fan Ye Floor 2005 Chinese National Games Event Finals
I know what most of you are thinking…Fan Ye was a bars and beam specialist! To an extent, that’s true…she is most known for being the 2003 world balance beam champion after delivering one of the most perfect routines of all time. She was also a major player for China on bars at the 2003 worlds and 2004 Olympics, where she crashed terribly on her dismount after hitting the bar during the team finals. Although she never had much power or difficulty in her tumbling, this popular gymnast DID deliver some very impressive routines on floor, where she occasionally showed the same level of perfection that she was capable of on beam. Her double turn with her leg at horizontal in this routine is one of the best ever, and all her tumbling passes and other dance skills were essentially perfect. How often do we have the opportunity to say that?
Beth Tweddle: Great Britain
Beth Tweddle Floor 2009 Worlds Event Finals
While Beth is most known for her spectacular bar work, it’s hard to deny the fact that she is now becoming one of the most successful floor workers of the last decade as well. Despite not being an elegant dancer, Beth consistently nails these three strong – and smart – tumbling passes to win floor at almost every competition she enters. Her gold medal winning routine here at the 2009 worlds in her home country has been one of the highlights of her career, though she’ll likely have more to come on both of her specialties in the next couple of years.
Zhang Nan: China
Zhang Nan Floor 2005 Chinese National Games Event Finals
With all-around bronzes at both the 2003 world championships and 2004 Olympics, Zhang Nan established herself as the most successful Chinese all-arounder ever. Though she didn’t really have a standout event, floor was always a strong part of her all-around effort as well as a huge asset to her Chinese team. Her solid, clean tumbling, engaging choreography, and well completed dance skills always impressed the judges and fans alike. Although Zhang actually competed all the way through 2009, her last world championship appearance was in 2006, where she helped the Chinese team to gold over the United States. Her routine here from the 2005 Chinese National Games was one of the best she ever did.
Pang Panpan: China
Pang Panpan Floor 2006 Worlds All-Around
Like her teammates Fan Ye and Zhang Nan, Pang Panpan didn’t make my top 50 list for powerhouse tumbling. While the difficulty in her tumbling was certainly adequate, it was her incredible choreography and playful personality that made this routine so memorable. Pang’s delightful routines were a major part of the Chinese world team gold over the United States in 2006, and in fact she was just one fall away from a medal in the all-around that year (she finished 6th after a disastrous beam routine). Unfortunately, injuries kept Pang from contending for spots on the Chinese team in 2007 and 2008, but the showmanship she always displayed on floor is a great example of what we all miss in gymnastics today.
Alyona Kvasha: Ukraine
Alyona Kvasha Floor 2002 Europeans Event Finals
Kvasha was sticking tumbling passes COLD long before today’s stringent landing requirements. Maybe not the most artistic routine in the world, but has any woman EVER nailed four passes quite like this? Kvasha was also admired for being one of the few gymnasts to end her routine with a full-in during an era overloaded with double pike dismounts. She did make the event finals at the 2003 worlds but unfortunately fell, and she narrowly missed a spot in the finals at the 2004 Olympics, where she competed a new front layout-double front pass.
Any thoughts on these routines? Check back very soon to see floor routines #40-36!