Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Evolution of The Shaposhnikova-Half

In the current state of gymnastics, it's very common to see the transition, of a Khorkina II, or the Shaposhnikova with a half twist.  So, it's time to take a look back at where it came from, the great Svetlana Khorkina.

*This is NOT Natalia Shaposhnikova*
In  1977, Natalia Shaposhnikova innovated bar transitions from squat-ons to this.  It was, and is, extremely difficult for the time, and set the path of future development for Svetlana Khorkina, who would upgrade this innovative move even more.

18 years later, Svetlana Khorkina of Russia added a half twist, thus the Khorkina II was born.  It is a difficult transition, which many gymnasts favor due to the difficulty rating in the code, an E, worth .5.  She blew the crowd, and the competition away with this move, due to it's difficulty, and her execution.  It seemed like on bars,(except for 1996 and 2000 AA), Khorkina could never put a foot wrong, especially on this move.

It was rare to see anyone but Khorkina compete this move, but once the queen of the bars retired, every gymnast started craving this move and it's difficulty.  The Russians especially love this move, it's hard to find a Russian who competes bars well that doesn't have this transition.  It's not just the Russians who compete this move, lately Americans have been trying to fill the hole in the U.S. program by upping their difficulty, which most of the time includes using this move.  Even Rebecca Bross, who is more of a power bar worker, not a natural swinger, which this move seems to be easier for, used this move as a way to boost her potential for the U.S. Olympic Team after her knee surgery.

All in all, The Shaposhnikova-Half has been climbing it's way into bar routines everywhere, and I see it continuing to climb into many more bar routines, until someone once again, sets the standard even higher.

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