Thierry Pellerin of Canada
The FIG released the official list of the ten new men’s elements that were successfully added to the code of points in 2019, with four each coming on pommels and p-bars in addition to one on vault and one on high bar.
Though no new elements were submitted at world championships, the men were able to take advantage of the rule that allows for new elements to be added into the code of points at world cups and continental championships. The new elements include…
The Abu Al Saoud
Ahmad Abu Al Saoud, a gymnast from Jordan who is a regular at the world cup and challenge cup events, competed a reverse Stöckli from cross support on one end of the horse to the other. He got the skill – which is valued at a D – named for him at the Koper Challenge Cup, where he qualified second into the pommels final and ultimately finished seventh overall.
In addition to taking home four individual medals at last year’s European Championships, world champ Artur Dalaloyan of Russia also put his name in the record books as the originator of a super difficult p-bars dismount. The piked version of the popular Tajeda dismount – a tucked double front half-out – was already in the code valued at a G, but Dalaloyan was the first to do it successfully in a qualifying competition.
Czech gymnast David Jessen, a senior at Stanford University who helped lead the men’s team to the NCAA title last year, performed a DSA (Direct Stöckli A) with a hop backward through handstand at the other end, which involves a circle skill up into a handstand to dismount the pommel horse, rated a D. Jessen successfully competed the new element at the Doha World Cup, where he finished 38th in qualifications.
Josue Juarez of Mexico competed a cool salto release skill on p-bars at the Paris Challenge Cup, where he finished 27th in qualifications. Though he didn’t make the final, his performance of the basket straight into a back pike to an upper arm hang – the second skill on this list known as a piked Tejada! – was smooth, and he ended up getting the skill added to the code of points valued at an F.
The Juarez II
Juarez was a busy guy in Paris! In addition to competing the piked Tejada, he also got a second salto element named for him at this event, nailing a 5/4 front pike salto into a long-hang swing, which the men’s technical committee rated a C. FYI, a “5/4 salto” is when you rotate an extra quarter beyond a typical 360 degree salto, in this case catching horizontally a quarter past the vertical that would’ve been a complete salto.
Keitaro Okubo, a B-team gymnast for Japan who mostly specializes on vault, got the chance to lend his name to p-bars history with a glide kip to straddle cut backwards to long-hang swing on the apparatus, which was awarded a C element value. Okubo competed the skill at the Szombathely Challenge Cup, where he finished sixth on this event in addition to bringing home the vault silver behind teammate Hidenobu Yonekura.
Thierry Pellerin of Canada added a pommels dismount to the code that involves a 180-degree Russian from one end of the horse to the other that then goes directly into a handstand to dismount. Pellerin got the skill – valued at a D – named for him at the Szombathely Challenge Cup last fall, placing 10th on the event in qualifications to just miss out on the final by a tenth.
The Italians have truly been upping the game on high bar with some of the world’s most beautiful routines on this event in the past year. Paolo Principi isn’t generally one of their top scorers here, but he nonetheless turned heads at the Osijek Challenge Cup, where he finished eighth on the event and caught a Markelov half to mixed grip straight into his swing up to handstand (a Markelov inplies a half turn in flight, so this release with an additional half twist actually turns 360 degress in the air). Though he caught it a bit sideways, just shy of the complete twist, the men’s technical committee gave it to him anyway, and awarded it a D.
The fourth pommels skill in 2019 came from Diogo Romero, a Portuguese gymnast who successfully competed his now-eponymous skill at the Guimaraes Challenge Cup, where he finished 16th in qualifications. His element is a reverse Stöckli from cross support on the end to the far pommel, a C-valued circle skill that requires incredibly precise hand placement throughout.
Hidenobu Yonekura, one of Japan’s best vaulters in a sea of truly incredible vaulters, became the first to successfully compete a Kasamatsu 2½ – a tsuk-style vault with three-and-a-half twists off the table – at the international level when he landed the vault at the Melbourne World Cup early last year. At a 6.0 start value, the vault comes with the highest rating in the current code of points, an honor he shares with both of Ri Se Gwang’s double salto vaults (though keep your eyes peeled for Keisuke Asato to break this record with his piked Ri Se Gwang, valued at a 6.4 but only competed domestically so far).
Article by Lauren Hopkins