Gaia Nesurini is the athlete Switzerland chose to send to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Like her name suggests, she hails from Ticino, the only canton in Switzerland where Italian is the sole official language.
Even though she won’t turn fifteen for another four months, Gaia already has more than a few international competitions under her belt. 2013 was a busy year for her! She started it off in Jesolo, where she contributed scores on vault, beam, and floor to her team’s 4th place finish in March.
Just a month and a half later, she placed 9th at the Lugano Trophy behind some of the top-performing European juniors, and then in June, went to Germany to compete in a Friendly meet with teams from France, Great Britain, Germany, and Switzerland, where she placed 17th all-around and 4th with the team.
In July, she helped the Swiss team to 14th place in the team competition at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht. Four months later, in November, she represented Team Switzerland at the Elite Gym Massilia competition, where she competed in the Open Massilia division along with her team.
This year, she made her Junior European Championships debut, where she placed 8th with the Swiss team, a huge accomplishment after the team did not place at all at the previous Junior Europeans in 2012.
In the ten months between the EYOF in 2013 and the European Championships in Sofia this year, Gaia improved her all around score by a full five points, but sadly this was still not enough for her to qualify into all-around finals, as three of her teammates placed ahead of her. Still, what a remarkable improvement! She earned a 50.265 in Sofia, and also posted Switzerland’s highest score on vault.
Gaia is part of the movement of tall gymnasts currently making their mark in the sport. At five-foot-four, her long legs and great toe point make her stand out, even on her weaker events.
Her beam routine, while not the most difficult, is absolutely beautiful to watch. Check out that awesome leap series! The 11.433 she scored for this could easily be a 12.433 if she can stay on. Her difficulty here is a 4.5.
Unfortunately, there is no footage of her vaulting at Euros, but she has upgraded last year’s piked Yurchenko to full-twisting layout Yurchenko, earning a 13.766 on the event in Sofia.
Her bar routine is very clean, though also lacking a bit in difficulty as it only starts out of a 4.1.
A real highlight in Gaia’s repertoire is her floor routine. Her difficulty of 4.8 is not what makes it stand out – she opens with a double pike, dismounts with a double full, and only does three passes in total. But none of that matters to me because her dance is super fun, very expressive, and really works well with the music! Only doing three passes gives her more time for choreography and some more lovely leaps, which are just a nice to watch here as they are on beam. She scored a 13.066 for this routine at Euros:
Though her routines may not boast the most difficulty, what she does, she does well. I really enjoy her form and especially the absence of flexed feet.
The sheer amount of experience she has competing internationally gives her an edge over many of the girls she will be facing in Nanjing later this month. Gaia is very calm and collected when she competes and rarely has any falls.
Though not the strongest Swiss junior, Gaia’s top-performing teammates don’t turn sixteen until 2016, giving her the opportunity to compete in Nanjing where she will finally get some individual glory after a career as a team player never making a final.
She should definitely get a spot in the all-around finals there, and she has vault final potential should she perform a second vault.
The Gymternet wishes Gaia the best of luck; or, to use her native language, buona fortuna!
Article by Fran Elsner