Will Yana Lukonina Go to the Worlds?

I am really hoping to see Yana Lukonina as the fourth gymnast for Russia at the World Championships in Montpelier in September. Watching Yana seems a lot more pleasing and fun to me than watching Dmitrieva and/or Merkulova. Yana has improved greatly during this season, with her pivots and jumps making me go WOW!

But she still needs to hold the clubs together. Here are some pictures.

Yana is looking up at her club:

When she has both clubs in her hands, she smiles:

She looks like she's having fun:

 But she is so flexible and soft, sometimes her body lines are not as clean:

One club in the air and look at Yana's expression:

Nobody knows if she'll catch it, not even Yana herself:

Dancing a little bit, nice head movement, she looks in control:

And here, she's radiant. The gymnast with the most dazzling smile in the world, now that Ira Rizeson quit. You know, watching Yana live is a very bright and joyful experience:

And here, she's looking up and smiling again:

Sometimes,it feels as though she almost forgets the clubs altogether:

But she is happy when she has not dropped:

Showing off her amazing flexibility:

Watching Yana perform some of these stunning body difficulties is actually like watching a fish swim; she makes it look natural, and you know she enjoys it. That should be enough to make her a world stage contestant, if she had a bit more focus and control.


A New Star from Argentina, Milagros Carrasco Pini

I really like Milagros Carrasco Pini so I wrote about her fun yellow ribbon routine from Montreal a while back, but I wanted to put a couple more pictures of this new promising rhythmic gymnast. She is very expressive and definitely goes for risky routines.

Too bad Milagros she is not going to the next World Cup event next week in Sofia, Bulgaria. But I hope to watch her again soon, hopefully at the Worlds in September?


One of the Best Rope Routines Ever, by Oksana Skaldina

Here is a special greeting for my friend Oksana Gorokhovskiy who turns 30 today, from another beautiful Oksana:

This is one of the best-choreographed rope routines, which showcases strong apparatus technique.

Born in 1972, Oksana Skaldina is the absolute world champion for 1991 and won a gold with clubs at the 1991 European Cup finals. She also won 3 gold medals at the Euroepan Championship in 1992 (rope, hoop and ribbon), as well as the bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Why Oksana was placed behind the Spanish star Carolina Pascual at the Olympics is somewhat of a mystery to me, and a result that I attribute to politics and "host privileges."

And here is a rope routine by Daria Svatkovskaya, Oksana's daughter, following in her celebrity mom's foot steps, or rather, leaps. :-)