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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Gymnastics-- Elena Shushunova

The last routine I posted featured an original namesake skill from Lori Strong that I would love to see more of today.

You can't browse videos from 1987 without seeing Elena Shushunova, and the "Shushunova" on floor--a straddle jump to a prone position--is one of the most OVERutilized skills. I was even surprised to see the term used in a televised cheerleading competition. Sometimes gymnastics skills get lost in translation on the way to cheerleading. Sticking a Shushunova in your floor routine was an easy way to get a difficult dance skill credit; I believe it used to be a C-rated skill but can't imagine that it still is. (Is the Code of Points online? I need that.) What was an impressive, high-flying jump from the originator later became a commonly-seen lackluster bellyflop from the lower-level masses. 

Here's Elena in 1988, finishing up with her Shushunova skill, but also competing one of the few roll-out tumbling passes ever done by a woman (now prohibited). I do like her original transition for back-to-back tumbling passes: a backhandspring step out onto the wrong leg directly into a round-off. Then off course a fabulous 80's trend (besides that lovely hairdo, off course): knee-handspring!

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