Wang Yan with Yao Jinnan
Wang Yan will be representing host country China at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, held in Nanjing later this August.
Turning senior next year like her fellow competitors, she hails from Beijing and now trains in a top-tier national team squad which also includes Yao Jinnan, Huang Huidan, and fellow star juniors Luo Huan and Liu Tingting.
You may remember Wang from her stellar performance at Japan’s International Junior Gymnastics Competition last September, where she came second to the USA’s Bailie Key thanks to a 14.95 on vault and a 14.7 on beam. She defeated a host of big names for the silver medal, including Key’s teammate Laurie Hernandez, Romanian junior stars Andreea Iridon and Andreea Munteanu, and Maria Bondareva of Russia. She also took home silver on vault and bronze on beam in event finals.
More recently, Wang placed 1st on vault and 3rd on floor and in the all-around at this year’s Nationals, where she competed against seniors.
Her best event is – surprise, surprise – vault! This is definitely a very welcome asset to Team China as they look to Rio. At the moment, Wang is vaulting a double twisting tsukahara and a Rudi, with huge start values of 6.0 and 6.2. She’s also training a 2.5 Tsuk but is unsure whether it can actually become a safe enough vault to eventually add to her repertoire.
Here she is at Nationals earlier this summer:
That Rudi for sure has some issues, but hopefully she can iron them out with some growth. The first vault is very impressive, though…and so surprising for one so tiny.
Beam is another notch to her bow, although it’s not a typical Chinese routine as the tumbling is much more up her street than leaps. Her old routine had a full 6.7 capability (check it out for the ‘Shawn Johnson’ acro line alone), with 6.5 being the usual value. There’s a lot of ease to her work here, but unfortunately inconsistency on a few occasions too.
Floor, as you would expect, shows enormous potential. Twisting comes naturally to her but she also is very springy in somersaulting. I’d expect some good upgrades here in the future.
There’s always a snag though…in addition to being somewhat inconsistent, her bars are pretty average, doing nothing to boost her score in the all-around.
The score for this routine – a 12.85 – may seem harsh, as indeed domestic Chinese scoring is known for that, but her swing and handstands cause big problems for her. She also seems to have a touch of what some notable other powerhouses have had on bars – fear, as evident in her haste to get back off the apparatus. It’s not an event she should close the door on, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw improvement here.
In summary, Wang goes against the grain a bit in terms of style and event strengths from what we’re used to from her compatriots. She will be expected to do well in the all-around and especially on vault and beam, though it will be a tough competition for the 14-year-old, who will be under quite a lot of pressure to deliver on home turf in a tough field of strong junior gymnasts. Here’s hoping she delivers!
Article by Catherine B.
Photo credit to Xu Jinglei