By Gina Pongetti Angeletti

The sport just keeps getting harder.

Feature photo by Grace Chiu

The sport just keeps getting harder.

Some of this is because of the apparatus aspect like equipment changes, making landings more tolerable with springs and floor technology. Some of this is because of strides in the health and wellness category like recovery and injury prevention techniques that allow the body to be “less beaten up”.

Some new skills that are dreamt up start from the drawing board. Others simply add a twist or small change to existing skills.

Potential elements usually fall into one of a few categories:

  • an improvement in mastering gravity, technique and creativity (cue amazing pommel horse work)
  • the “higher, bigger, faster, stronger category (adding half twists to things, “half twisting out” of things, etc.)

There is a catch to this, however. The higher we are, the bigger the block, and the more the “spring,” the more time in the air, in theory.  So adding another movement to what may be an already-complicated skill relies even greater on:

  • Perfecting timing of jump, set, etc.
  • Perfecting height to allow for extra movement in the air
  • Order and timing of change of direction (i.e. flip first, then twist at a certain time)

An athlete may be able to “squeak” around an extra ½ turn in a wolf position, possibly resulting in a wobble or two, however still no more risk to one’s safety. But, there is no “squeaking” around of a handspring double front when you add the ½ out, if you are not high enough. This is where not only major deductions happen… the risk of injury escalates.


The official rules for the creation of a new skill are as follows:

  1. Cannot be an existing skill

  2. Has to be submitted to the Technical Committee (Men’s or Women’s) prior to the event for review with description.

  3. MTC or WTC will then evaluate it, approve it (skill and name), and then “value” it for a D score, or difficulty level on all events except for vault, which gets a start value.

  4. Must be performed at a World or Olympic competition. For the men, it can also be where a member of the MTC is present (arranged in advance).

  5. Must be performed without major deductions (gray area).

  6. Then, voila! Do it!


Here were the skills submitted for the Men at this World Championships:

  1. The Kranzlmueller – C value
  • Athlete: Severin Kranzlmueller, Austria
  • Floor Exercise
  • Endo roll through to a Japanese Handstand


  1. The Kurbanov – E value
  • Athlete: Nariman Kurbanov, Kazakhstan (SPELL)
  • Pommel Horse
  • In cross support position, travel backwards over both pommels.


  1. The Pham – E value
  • Athlete: Phuoc Hung Pham, Vietnam
  • Still Rings
  • Keeping a straight body and arms throughout, start with a slow roll forward, pass through cross position, end is holding swallow for two seconds


  1. The Nin Reyes- 6.0 Value
  • Athlete: Audrys Nin Reyes, Dominican Republic
  • Vault
  • Add a full twist to the Roche


  1. The Muntean – C value
  • Athlete: Andrei Vasile Muntean, Romania
  • Parallel Bars
  • Do a front upraise immediately into a backwards straddle cut, end in a hang


  1. The Koudinov – G value
  • Athlete: Mikhail Koudinov, New Zealand
  • High Bar
  • Add a full twist to a Gaylord


  1. The Miyachi – I value (Highest submitted value in competition)
  • Athlete: Hidetaka Miyachi, Japan
  • High Bar
  • Lay out a Kovacs, and add a double twist


Here were the seven skills for the women:

  1. The Alt – C value
  • Athlete: Tabea Alt, Germany
  • Uneven Bars
  • Stoop through on high bar, dislocate and release with half turn in flight between the bars to catch low bar in hanging position


  1. The Alt 2 – C value
  • Athlete: Tabea Alt, Germany (*second skill)
  • Uneven Bars
  • Dismount: Clear straddle underswing into a front tuck with a half turn


  1. The Andrade – G value
  • Athlete: Rebeca Andrade, Brazil
  • Floor
  • Double back flip on floor, 1 ½ twists within. Like combining a double back to start, and an arabian to end!


4.  (and 5) The Derwael – F value and The Fenton

  • Athlete (s): Georgia-Mae Fenton, Great Britain and Nina Derwael, Belgium
  • Uneven Bars
  • Combine a stalder handstand backwards, next do a reverse Hecht, add on a half twist, and then grab in L-grip


  1. The Fan – D value
  • Athlete: Fan Yilin, China
  • Uneven Bars
  • Start by doing an L-grip front giant… turn it into a dismount by letting go, flipping forward only a half of a flip, then continue with a double back tuck.


  1. The Sugihara – E value
  • Athlete: Aiko Sugihara, Japan
  • Balance Beam
  • Do a double turn, but hold your leg in a full 180 degree split position


  1. The Sugihara 2 – E value
  • Add an extra half turn to The Sugihara (making it a full 2 ½)


  1. The Wevers – D value
  • Athlete: Sanne Weavers, Netherlands
  • Balance Beam
  • 2 ½ turn, leg in position of choice

Also submitted, belatedly, though not performed:

The Olsen – 6.2 value

  • Athlete: Shallon Olsen, Canada
  • Vault
  • Yurchenko – Layout salto with 3 twists

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