by Anna Rose Johnson
On January 1st, 2018, a new generation of gymnasts will be ushered into the senior ranks—those athletes who will turn 16 in the calendar year and therefore be eligible to compete in senior meets—including the World Championships. In this post, we’re highlighting three up-and-coming elites who definitely have the potential to prove themselves on the senior stage next year.
Breakout star Kara Eaker stole the show at the 2017 Junior P&G Championships with her cool confidence across each apparatus and an elegant style reminiscent of Olympic champion and NCAA standout Kyla Ross. Already armed with high-caliber finesse and an invaluable steadiness, Kara only needs bit more amplitude and difficulty to contend at the very highest level of the sport. She does have a marvelous array of skills for such a young age, including a 2 ½ twist off beam, a flawless toe-on Shaposhnikova and sky-high Jaegar on bars. She won the balance beam title at P&Gs in addition to her AA bronze.
Although she’s only 15 years old, Olivia Dunne of ENA Paramus has already established an admirable reputation in the world of U.S. gymnastics. An elite athlete since 2014, Olivia’s fan base has only continued to grow since her earliest days on the elite scene. A powerful and polished gymnast, Olivia mounts floor with a double layout and follows up with an enormous full-in. She shines on balance beam as well, with a huge back layout series and double pike dismount. Her first international competition was earlier this year at the Jesolo Trophy, where she placed sixth in the junior AA and helped her team to a gold medal.
Both artistic and powerful, Tienna Nguyen of Zenith Elite has enjoyed an amazing junior elite career thus far. In her first year as an elite in 2014, she traveled to France to compete in the prestigious Elite Gym Massilia and won the uneven bars title, and since then she has continued to rise in the junior ranks. She had a great competition at the 2017 WOGA Classic, finishing second on floor exercise with an expressive performance to “Taniec Eleny.” Tienna’s goal is to compete at the 2020 Olympics, and we’re looking forward to following her journey on the trail to Tokyo.