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Two other French Artists…

A few weeks back I highlighted two of the best dancer’s in women’s gymnastics history – France’s Ludivine Furnon and Isabelle Severino. Well the history of artistry from this team doesn’t stop there. Here I wanted to highlight two other French sensations who were also known for their creativity and innovative choreography. One is the well known Elvire Teza, but the other one is a gymnast I feel was quite underrated and perhaps overlooked – Laetitia Begue. Let’s look at some of the amazing gymnastics these two imaginative athletes graced us with in the mid to late 90’s…

Laetitia Begue Floor 1996 French Nationals

Probably one of the coolest routines ever! This next one is a completely different style but equally impressive:

Laetitia Begue Floor 1995 French International

Laetitia Begue Bars 1995 Massilia Cup

A Tcatchev front! This is also called a Marinich, named after the ex-Soviet/Ukrainian great and Head Coach at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs – Vitali Marinich. Coincidentally, I noticed a post by Rick McCharles at www.gymnasticscoaching.com about this skill…this another gymnast that can be added to the list. Not only did she have one of the best ones, but she competed it very consistently in 1995-1996.

Laetitia Begue Beam 1996 Budget Invitational

Incredible difficulty, beautiful flexibility, and some unique combinations…the Onodi to needle scale was super cool!

Elvire Teza Floor 1997 National Cup

Elvire Teza Bars 1998 French International

I always liked her Pak salto from the German giant way better than the overshoot from German giant, which she started doing later in 1999 and 2000:

Elvire Teza Bars 1999 Massilia Cup

Elvire Teza 1997 Worlds Event Finals

She did many great beam routines in her career, but this one was one of her very best and included BOTH of her crazy skills – the Yang Bo sideways on the beam as well as the Rulfova sideways on the beam. To this day, I’ve never seen another gymnast perform either one.

Amazingly, France’s best gymnasts ever – Furnon, Severino, Teza, and Begue – were all on the national team at the same time, and in fact were all on the 1995 World Championship team together, where they finished 6th. Furnon, Severino, and Teza went on to compete together in the 1996 Olympics and 1997 Worlds (Begue injured her knee and ended up retiring). What an incredible – and underappreciated – team they were!