12 May 2011

Iryna Krasnianska

Today is a more contemporary gymnast, hailing from the great Ukrainian nation.  I picked Iryna/Irina (however you choose to transliterate the Cyrillic) because of her completely bad ass balance beam mount.  She is well known for it and I have to say, it's something.  After watching her mount, you can understand why this photo via Couch Gymnast (which proclaimed her to have a 12 pack) is not a surprise.  With that being said, she has beautiful lines.  Speaking of balance beam, she won a gold medal at the 2006 World Championships.  She deserved it because it's real, real purdy.

Balance beam is her forte, but after viewing her various bars routines, I have to say, I keep wondering why she does the same routine.  She starts with an Endo into an Adler with a German giant, which is plenty impressive.  But after her Tkachev, she does another Adler but struggles to hitch a vertical for her pirouettes.  Her routine changed between 2003 and 2006 that made it far more difficult.  The previous video is a flawless execution of her routine.  Then at the Beijing Olympics she jumps off in the middle of her routine exactly when she did in Stuttgart in 2007: her pirouettes.  I get that elite gymnastics weeds out the less excellent, but I feel like this is a ridiculous habit.  After watching the 2006 routine, I started wondering if she simply hasn't found her rhythm in these newer routines or if she needs to just lay off the difficult connections to her pirouettes.  Most gymnast do forward or backwards giants in between.

I hate to be a totally negative.  Her lines are very old school Russian and it's beautiful to watch even though her bails are completely maddening.  She does unusual tricks and combinations, which is always fun.  Those are the best parts of routines because it's like a present that pops open on its own and you sit there shocked and in awe.  I also love tricks that use leg lines (Endos, Tkachevs, pikes of any kind, aerials, etc.), so she has definitely won me to her camp of style.  I love to watch her balance beam work, which Couch Gymnast also admittedly loves.  She's not known for her vaulting either, but she's solid.  I can't speak to the difficulty level, but aesthetically, it just looks effortless and elegant.  Vaults always look sort of tossed, thrown, or hacked to me.  I was disappointed that her floor routines were unavailable on the internet, but perhaps we should focus on the apparatuses she's done beautifully.