2015’s New Seniors: The Game-Changers, Part 1

There are tons of new seniors on the rise for 2015 (and you can check out our pretty complete list to see everyone making the jump!). The 14 on this particular list are those who have the potential to be game-changers, both as individuals as well as for their nation’s teams. This is the first in a series about new seniors, so stay tuned to see more of our favorite up-and-comers!

1. Tyesha Mattis, Great Britain

Born in London and a student of Lorraine Atkinson at East London Gymnastics, Tyesha is a fierce all-arounder with a ton of power. Though she was a frontrunner for European Championships this year after winning the all-around title at English Championships (defeating both Amy Tinkler and Ellie Downie with a 55.3 – and that was with big mistakes!), an injury kept her out for the remainder of the 2014 elite season. But with her awesome DTY, uber powerful double double on floor, and high start values along with consistency on bars and beam, she’s one you can expect to take the British team to another level.

2. Kim Janas, Germany

An ACL injury sustained in training about a year ago meant Kim was out for nearly all of 2014, but before her bad luck, she dominated the junior scene in Germany. At the European Youth Olympic Festival in the summer of 2013, her score of 54.95 tied Russia’s Maria Kharenkova for gold, though she lost the tie-breaker and was awarded the silver medal and then also picked up a silver on floor with her famously creative routine. At the Leverkusen Cup last October, she showed off her upgraded DTY vault and won the AA with a 53.9 – even with multiple falls in a disastrous bar routine that earned just a 10.4. Bars won’t really matter for her, though – the Germans are already solid there, and she will definitely make any international team with her combination of vault, beam, and floor.

3. Nia Dennis, United States

Nia first turned heads last summer when she showed massive height on both her Tkatchevs on bars as well as her standing arabian on beam. She’s had some struggles with consistency that made her narrowly lose out on what could have been an all-around win at U.S. Nationals this summer, but if she can figure out how to compete confidently (hopefully new club teammate and queen of late bloomers Gabby Douglas can give her some advice!), she’ll be a major threat as a senior. Her difficulty across the board already rivals some of the best in the world, and she could be a great utility player in a major team final. Upgrades on bars, beam, and floor could make her even more valuable, and I wouldn’t be surprised to watch her seamless DTY turn into an Amanar in the next year or so.

4. Wang Yan, China

One word. VAULT. If there’s anywhere China falls behind, it’s here…and it doesn’t hurt that she’s also pretty great on beam and floor, both of which were struggles for the Chinese this year. Yan has two major vaults – a Tsuk double full and a Rudi, with start values of 6.0 and 6.2 – and is training a Tsuk 2.5, though who knows if that’ll ever see the light of an arena. She won the gold on this event at the Youth Olympic Games this summer and could possibly challenge in next year’s event finals at World Championships. While floor isn’t quite at the same level just yet, she shows enormous potential. Twisting comes naturally to her, and unlike her teammates, she’s very springy in her tumbling, so we can probably expect upgrades here in the future which will be a major help in team competition.

5. Amy Tinkler, Great Britain

While I love Amy because her last name is so much fun to say, that’s not why she made this list. She’s here because she’s a phenomenal little gymnast, especially on floor, where the Brits tend to fall a bit short. She’s this year’s WOGA Classic floor champion and then picked up the silver medal at European Championships with a routine that includes massive tumbling, including a huge double layout and tucked full-in (at one point, she was training a tucked double double, so don’t be surprised if that emerges in the next couple of years). She’s also a pretty serious vault threat, having won European bronze on the event with a pretty solid DTY.

6. Seda Tutkhalyan, Russia

I am an unapologetic Seda fan, and think she has what it takes to breathe new life into a dying Russian morale. She is incredibly positive and upbeat in addition to being super talented, and she makes everything about her performances a joy to watch. She doesn’t share the traditional Russian lines or polish with her teammates, but is a firecracker of a gymnast and shows promise on vault (where she already has a powerful, if messy, DTY), beam, and floor. Her consistency is something that needs to be fixed in the coming months, as it’s been her downfall this year (though she did come out with the Youth Olympic Games all-around title even with a fall on floor). But once that’s taken care of and she tosses in some upgrades, get ready – she’ll be unstoppable!

7. Andreea Iridon, Romania

Bars, bars, bars, bars, bars. Why didn’t Romania medal as a team this year despite all of Russia’s mistakes? BARS. Where does little Andreea excel? BARS. It’s actually funny how excited I get over her bars – they’re not that amazing in the grand scheme of things, and I think Larisa Iordache is probably stronger at this point, but compared to the bleak bar sets from her teammates this year, she’s golden. She definitely has the potential to improve on her difficulty, but what’s best is that she is SO lovely to watch (those lines!) and she pays close attention to technique. But don’t ignore her beam or floor – she got silver medals on both at European Championships this year with fabulous routines.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

22 thoughts on “2015’s New Seniors: The Game-Changers, Part 1

  1. Pingback: 2015’s New Seniors: The Game-Changers, Part 2 | The Gymternet

    • I meant compared to previous years. First, they were only the top scorers on beam by two tenths in TFs, and second, beam was overall a hot mess this year, so of course China would stand out…but their top beam routines weren’t that great, maybe Bai Yawen aside (and she still has some work to do). Hitting the top score in TFs doesn’t inherently make them a good beam team, especially when two of their scores were in the low to mid 14s. They only had one score breach 15 and it was a 15.066. That is NOWHERE NEAR where China’s beam should be. Not compared to 2012 when you had the likes of Deng Linlin and Sui Lu. Wang Yan is no Deng or Sui at the moment, but she has potential in her routine to be on a higher plane than the rest of her teammates were this year at Worlds. They can do SO much better than they did on beam, so yes, I think they struggle to have routines that are really remarkable the way they did just two years ago. And no, just because everyone lost their minds in 2012 TFs on beam doesn’t mean it was a bad beam year for China. One day of meet scores doesn’t make a team bad or good at beam. Watch the routines. -Lauren


      • I Guess I get what you’re saying but if you’re looking at historical start values- wouldn’t you say that the US struggled on vault this year? In 2012 four members had Amanars and other participants at trials had 6.0 d+ vaults ( Sacramone, Price, Priessman). Now in 2014 there were only two girls healthy enough to have 6.0+ d.


        • Lexie wasn’t a senior in 2012 and didn’t compete at Trials. Vault isn’t as much of a struggle this year for Americans as beam and floor were. On vault they were still able to put up an Amanar and a Cheng, and could have had a second Amanar had Maroney been healthy/on the team but even without a second Amanar they still had Ross who consistently hits in the 15.1-15.2 range. Three 15+ scores on an event is hardly a struggle. They really only had one strong beam worker however, and two relatively strong floors, which is why I chose Bailie and Nia for this article. They both have potential there (well, Nia more on floor with her beam consistency issues) and both have a big shot at making a future team thanks to excelling here. They have also both trained Amanars, so even though vault isn’t a “problem” really, two solid all-arounders with strong BB/FX and a potential amanar as a bonus will make them frontrunners as seniors. Just like Wang Yan’s VT/BB/FX can make her a frontrunner in China where everyone else is killing it on bars, and like any Russian with a halfway decent BB/FX or any Romanian with even the slightest UB talents will be frontrunners.


        • Also just to add, while vault may not be quite where it was two years ago in terms of their concerns over the next two years it’s not that big of an issue as much as beam and floor are. In the same vein with China, beam definitely isn’t their biggest concern. But with Wang Yan having a reliable set in addition to strong vault and floor, it can only help!


  2. In your opinion, do you think Nia Dennis has the potential to score higher and have more of an impact than Bailie Key? I could see them becoming rivals.


    • I honestly think she does, after giving it a bit of thought today. I don’t want to go as far as calling Bailie ‘stagnant’ or anything but she reminds me a bit of Jordyn Wieber for some reason, in the sense that maybe she hit her peak at 14/15 and even if she doesn’t go downhill from here, I don’t see her rising tremendously. I can see her staying at this level for a good amount of time or maybe upgrading a little bit before 2016 but I don’t see her adding overwhelming difficulty. That being said, it doesn’t mean she’s out of the race…she’s so consistent, with slight upgrades on beam and floor she’d definitely be a huge 2016 contender. But I think Nia’s definitely more of a trickster and I think she’ll keep adding and adding and then one day, consistency will click for her and she’ll have that in addition to huge skills. So I definitely see her as having the advantage, but you never know…I think Nia is definitely the more exciting gymnast, but you don’t win meets by being ‘exciting’ so it could be quite the battle between them.


  3. How was jordyn stagnant. She had a fracture during the olympics. And still scored fourth in prelims. Before the injuries; she was right up there with gabby. Baile is very talented ;with both difficulty and grace. I feel Kim is moving her along right. She had an injury and will work on her upgrades. Plus I find elligance and power more exciting than just power. Bailie tells a story on her floor and balance beam. I see her challeng anybody in the world. I’m not sure if you’re list is by order or just a list. But if you have bailie as 12th and not as exciting as Mia I’m not sure if you have a issue with her or just like power and robotic. I find this girl as the real deal who can challenge Mia, lordache , and even Simone


    • Stagnant doesn’t mean bad. She just peaked at a really young age and stayed at that peak for a long time. She could earn the same scores at 13 or 14 than she could at 17, but while she stayed in the same range others – like Gabby – hit their peaks later. Like, Jordyn was doing an Amanar at 13 and stuck with it for four years. It’s a lot harder to maintain a skill like that over a four year period than it is to add an Amanar six months before the Olympics and hope for the best. But while she maintained a really high competitive ability for a long period of time, she didn’t really grow much in those four years either. You knew what you could expect from her and not much changed, whereas other girls were more exciting in the Olympic year because they were adding bigger skills they didn’t already have in the past. So yes, in comparison to Gabby, Aly, Elizabeth Price, and others who upgraded with the hopes of making the team in 2016, Jordyn WAS stagnant.

      I don’t see Bailie as telling story in pretty much anything she does, and find her artistry to be woefully lacking. That’s one thing I hope changes as she gets older, but I personally think she more robotic in her movement than Kyla was/is. She can add skills all she wants, but she won’t be ‘exciting’ to me until she can figure out how to perform.

      The list is not in any order, and her name is NIA, not Mia.


      • Do you are telling me bailie isn’t artistic. Wow I’m not sure what you have been watching. But I thi it’s more a personal issue with her. She’s prob one of the only Americans who has power and artistry right now. Next you’re going to say Simone is artistic and not like a robot. Well we can disagree ; but by next year and this year well see bailie taking on anyone


        • Simone is one of the only truly artistic U.S. gymnasts. Even KZB has said working on Bailie’s artistry is one of her biggest challenges and something they’re focusing on for the future. I was in an interview a foot away from her when she said this. Bailie is an incredible and beautiful gymnast, but she is very lacking in her performance value. Her coaches know it, and so do the judges. I’ve been to every single U.S. competition and the audience doesn’t care when she performs on floor. When Simone performs on floor, or when Laurie Hernandez performs on floor, it’s a different story – the entire arena is engaged because the gymnasts are making them want to watch. Bailie does the opposite.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Now I realise you’re not only lost but a complete ignorant person . You must be smoking something. Jordyn and Shawn were more artistic than Simone. We got a real winner here. I can’t wait to your view of baile flops and she wins nationals


        • I’ve said a thousand times Bailie is an incredibly talented gymnast. I wouldn’t have included her on this list if she wasn’t. I literally called her a ‘game changer’ because I think she has the skill and consistency to help bring the U.S. to another level internationally. She has a very good chance at winning major competitions as a senior. But she’s not going to win competitions because of her artistry, lol. If her own coach thinks artistry is something Bailie needs to work on, then you must think KZB is ‘smoking something’ as well, huh? You’re insanely biased and it shows, which is why no one takes your opinions seriously. You are 100% unable to talk about the sport objectively. It’s okay for a gymnast to have flaws…even though Bailie needs to work on artistry, she is still miles ahead of most other gymnasts in terms of her attention to technique, her start values, and her consistency. She is an unstoppable talent. But it would be nice to see her bring expression into her performances.


    • Allison are you blind like laren. You must be on something like this person who is watching something and it’s not gymnastics. If Simone wasn’t overscored at worlds lordache would have beaten her plus lordache is more artistic began her. And laren bailie will be the one to beat and you’ll be sobbing


  4. Excited for Seda, Iridon and Wang. Maybe they will have what it takes to bring power (for Seda and Wang) to the Russian and Chinese team. Iridon has lots of potential to help Iordache bring up the team bar scores to a more competitive level. Any competition to stand up against the Americans is good for gymnastics. Its quite boring that the Americans and a few consistent international gymnasts always seem to win WAG (Team USA, Mustafina, Iordache, Shang Chunsong).


  5. Nice to see a list that doesn’t ignore Tyesha see has been showing some serious potential for a while now but has somehow managed to stay under the radar . A year out through injury may prove to be a good thing we’ll see but i’m excited to see her back


  6. Pingback: GymNews - 20 ianuarie 2015

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