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2001 Ball Routine
(Version 1 and 2)
- 1995-1996 Clubs Routine - 1999-2000 Hoop Routine - 2001 Ball Routine -
Gym. Masters AA: 9nd
Europeans: 26.300 - 7th
World Games: 26.300 - 7th
Worlds AA: 24.275 - 6th
Photo copyright 2001 Derri See
Almudena, a veteran and definitely one of the very best rhythmic gymnasts, has always charmed the audiences as well as the judges (who do not seem to appreciate her however) with her dramatic, expressive and beautifully choreographed routines. She performs well with her flexibility, her wonderful ballet techniques, and of course, the last but not least, with flair (I do not see this in most top gymnasts).
Similarly as Vitrichenko, Almudena routines are so inspiring and touching. Take for example, her 2001 ball routine. While most other competitors squeeze their way through their routines with merely techniques (badly executed) and hardly displaying artistry, Almudena has a splendid composition for her ball routines. She has high artistry, making full use of movements that the judges deem as useless and unimportant ones.
What is worth mentioning is the music “La Tieta”. Almudena’s choreographer (or whoever) has brilliantly changed the tenor song into a violin piece. The music thus becomes even more emotional, expressive and soothing. Almudena further doubled with her efforts in blending with the background music. It is therefore very commendable.
Almudena starting pose is very stylish. (refer to the photo) Sitting on the mat with her legs straight, Almudena tucked the ball tightly with her right foot and traps it with her supporting right leg. Her face and hands expressions already signal impending emotional background music.
At the start of the music, Almudena begins with a large roll of the ball by her right leg up her body as she lies down on the floor. (dexterity) Getting up on her knees, she bounces the ball, allowing it to roll down her left hand as she performs a back flexion on knee. Getting up, she performs a 360 degrees scale balance with the ball supported on the neck. This is definitely quite challenging and maybe Almudena can improve this element.
At the start of the sad but meaningful theme, Almudena kicks the ball up with her neck beautifully. Catching it, she immediately performs a full turning double stag ring leap. Subsequently, Almudena executes a front vertical balance with a large roll of the ball over both arms and trunks and continues with a Ralenkova (a flip into MG), finally stopping at the Timochenko balance to bounce the ball. This is especially beautifully done in her later competitions. However, she has a variation earlier. Instead of stopping at the balance to bounce the ball, Almudena stops at a vertical balance and then falls to a Timochenko, which is even more difficult.
Next, Almudena tosses the ball, does a turning Buckle leap or split leap and upon catching the ball, performs a turning arching stag ring leap. This is followed by her favourite side leg up pivot (name that I do not know) In the Worlds (Madrid), Almudena next performs a arguably spectacular element. She tucks the ball with her left foot and releases the ball as she raises the leg to form a ring balance. Next, she runs to the next side of the mat and opens a side split leap. Supporting on the knee, Almudena raises her free leg to form a legmount on knee. When her free leg comes in contact with the ball, she collapses into a back flexion. It is another brilliant combination. In earlier competitions though, Almudena simply performs a turning Cossack jump, then a turning stag leap before the legmount on knee.
When the music begins climbing towards climax, Almudena shows an interesting element. She performs a leg up pivot and bounces the ball on the floor, catching it after a turn, which is immediately followed by a stag ring leap with deep arch. Next, she performs a full pirouette (˝ leg up pivot + ˝ back flexion pivot, maybe she can try full MG pivot to increase difficulty) and leaps diagonally across the floor with a turning split leap with deep arch. A half turn of stag leap into a back catch balance follows suit.
Here the music reaches its peak. In 2001 Worlds, Almudena shows off her ability with the Tchachina pivots: a double front Arabesque pivot into a front attitude spin and finally a slightly different side leg up pivot (can someone clarify this?). In earlier competitions, she performs another triple pivots combination. This is quickly followed by a famous original element. Holding the ball on her neck, she performs a cartwheel and slides the ball down, trapping it between her feet.
When the music modulates here, Almudena displays her most difficult flexibility element. She does a 360 degrees turning side legmount and bends her supporting leg (with help of her hand) to turn another 360 degrees legmount on knee. This is particularly difficult and risky. I am really glad that Almudena tackles it finally in Worlds. As a strong music phrase enters, Almudena tosses the ball, rolls twice to catch the ball. She gets up with a back flexion kick, and continually does a turning stag leap and finally opening up her free leg into a scale balance.
Coming to a conclusion, Almudena performs a legmount, rolling the ball over both arms, and then makes a full turn. Not to outdone, she stops and performs a back flexion. The ending definitely is the most spectacular. Almudena unleashes her most original element. She does a split leap but with her front leg supported by her hand and above ground. Finally, she rolls the ball down her legs! Trapping the ball in her thigh, Almudena buries herself on the floor and the breathtaking routine concludes.
I strongly feel that Almudena is underscored in this routine. She has many original elements in her routine (walkover to trap the ball between her thigh and feet and the last element) Perhaps she deserves a better placing, though some may argue about her difficulty.
ball performance in 2001 should be at the all-around final of the World
Championships. She is very neat and clean in her elements and her emotions are
Copyright 2001 Angela & Derri See