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It’s no secret that some of the best women’s routines in the world this past year were done by junior gymnasts…that is, gymnasts who would not turn 16 until 2011 or later.  Below I’ve listed the five gymnasts who I believe delivered the best junior routines from this past year.  Some of these gymnasts could have easily been listed on multiple events (Komova, for example), but I chose the one routine that I felt represented that gymnast’s best performance.  I then listed the routines in ascending order from #5 to #1.

The Top Five Junior Women’s Routines From 2010:

#5

Kyla Ross Beam 2010 Visa Championships Day 2

One of the most perfect beam routines done by anyone in the past year, and in fact the past several years.  This routine was done under immense pressure, as it was her last routine of the national championships and enabled her to repeat as junior national champion.  She has a very Carly Patterson-like quality to her beam work, and I know Marta Karolyi must absolutely love this.  She won’t be eligible for Tokyo, but she should be a huge contender for London.

#4

Jordyn Wieber Floor 2010 Covergirl Classic

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She’s truly the new Shawn Johnson, and it would be so cool to see them on the same team in Tokyo this year.  This routine is difficult to find, so thank you to Gymnastike for posting this over the summer.  Jordyn’s new floor music and choreography were received very well this year, but what was perhaps underappreciated was her incredibly effortless double-double that she unveiled in this competition.  The rest of her tumbling is also jam-packed and executed beautifully, making this routine one of the very best floor routines in the world.  She could easily do the full-in as the last pass in place of that double pike, which I expect we’ll see by this summer, if not sooner.

#3

Viktoria Komova Beam 2010 European Championships Preliminaries

Many of Komova’s bar routines could have easily made this top five as well, but I chose her beam because it has such a special quality to it.  Her “floaty” layouts, great flexibility, and exquisite fluidity throughout this routine make it so pleasing to watch.  She did successfully complete her layout to immediate Arabian at a competition later in the year, but I felt this routine from the Europeans was the best executed beam routine she has competed.

#2

Anastasia Grishina Bars 2010 European Championships Event Finals

Just as Viktoria Komova is considered the “heir” of Aliya Mustafina, Anastasia Grishina may be next to inherit the royal throne.  Interestingly, Russia’s top three rising “queens” all become senior-eligible in consecutive years; Mustafina in 2010, Komova in 2011, and Grishina in 2012.  Grishina is not yet a powerful vaulter, but on the other three events she has the makings of the next great champion.  Bars is where she has been most impressive this past year, showing an impeccably smooth routine with world class combinations and gorgeous handstand positions.  She beat Viktoria Komova with this routine.

#1

McKayla Maroney Vault 2010 Visa Championships Day 2

If you blink you might miss it, but these few seconds of brilliance by McKayla Maroney on day 2 of the 2010 national championships provided not only one of the best highlights of the year, but one of the best vaults of all time.  The “Amanar,” or 2 ½ twisting Yurchenko, is becoming slightly more common on the women’s side now, but prior to this magnificent effort from Maroney, no female had EVER stuck this in competition.  Not only is it stuck cold, it is essentially straight down the middle and  done with a perfectly straight body, legs together without crossing of the feet, and toes pointed…truly a 10.0 in my book.  The judges settled for a 9.6.