Turn Gymnastics - North America

Ask Mike: Youth Olympic Games Special

Posted: Aug 15 2014

Hey Everyone, Welcome to our new Ask Mike blog series! In this blog series you ask the questions and we give you the help and answers you’re looking for.

The judge behind the screen is Michael Ashe, widely recognized as the top young judge in the US. Ashe is currently the VP of the Northern California Gymnastics Judges Association and Regional Technical Director of the National Gymnastics Judges Association, as well as a member of the U.S. junior and senior national team's coaching staff. Ashe will be judging at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China this week, which is exactly where we kick things off...

Turn: What are your first impressions of the gymnastics over there at the YOG?

Mike: I have completed both podium training sessions now and I have to say that the level of gymnastics is high. Although there are some restrictions with junior rules, there still are many well executed routines and difficult elements being performed. Event finals definitely should be competitive.

Turn: Anyone in particular that we should keep an eye out for?

Mike: Ma Yue from China, Kenya Yuasa from Japan, and Nikita Nagornyy from Russia are clear favorites for the all around podium. Each of them have their own strengths. Ma Yue has a lot of difficulty, Kenya Yuasa has very clean lines and great execution, and Nikita Nagornyy is very strong with a great deal of power. With such different types of gymnasts vying for the top spot, it will be a very exciting competition.

Turn: Have you seen any new skills that will be showcased at the YOG?

Mike: There were two new skills presented at the judges meeting. One element is a Piatti stretched with a half turn to mixed grip. It was awarded an E value. The second new element is an Adler with a hop and full turn to mixed grip. It is in the same code box as the Adler with full turn to mixed grip (no hop) which is a D value.

Turn: Has there been any judging issues brought to your attention while you've been there?

Mike: There have been no judging issues as of yet. All of the judges were a part of the judges meeting run by the MTC. The purpose of the meeting was to have presentations on each apparatus and going over important rules to ensure proper evaluation. There is no doubt that this should be a well evaluated and fair competition.

Turn: We heard Yang Wei is one of the judges, who are some of the other judges out there?

Mike: Yang Wei was slated to judge this competition but was not present at the judges meeting and has yet to arrive. The draw has already been made for competition I & II. Since Yang Wei was not present he will not be judging those competitions. If he were to show up he still could judge competition III. A familiar name judging here is Japan's Hiroyuki Tomita.

To follow the meet, check scores at nanjing2014.org or watch it here on Olympic TV.
If you have a question related to men's gymnastics - from routine construction to rule interpretations and everything in between, write to info@turn=gymnastics.com or send us a message on facebook (www.facebook.com/turngymnastics). For other related topics, check back in with the blog section regularly. Remember follow us on Instgram @turngymnastics for updates as well.

- Team Turn

Extra, extra... Post qualification comments from USA's judge Mike Ashe (who was assigned to vault, so had a little extra time to watch some other events):

"With day one of competition concluded it seems that consistency was key. Surprisingly enough, one gymnast I failed to mention earlier in this post is one of the juniors whose gymnastics I'm most familiar with after his club's exchange with my team earlier this year, Mr. Giarnni Regini-Moran of Great Britain.

Giarnni was consistent throughout his high difficulty routines and scored an 84.40 to rank first all around. He also finished first on floor exercise, vault, and parallel bars.

Russia's Nikita Nagornyy was the top scorer after the first subdivision, but with costly mistakes on floor and vault finished second ahead of Hungarian surprise package, Botond Kardos.

Kenya Yuasa (Japan) performed a rather artistic headstand as a dismount and neglected to repeat the element for value, suffering a loss of element group and skill value (ouch!). The mistake proved too great to recover from, resulting in a fifth place finish.

Local boy Ma Yue (China) started off strong in the first subdivision, leading early in the competition with his top ring score, but a fall on his parallel bars dismount and falls on high bar dropped him down to 8th in the rankings.

It will be interesting to see which athletes will rise to the occasion and which will falter later today in the all around final. If Giarnni can perform at the same level as qualification he will be difficult to beat. However, if Nagornyy or Yue handle their difficulty they both have a shout at claiming the top spot."


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