Hoop routines are a niche of their own.
She has unique moves, undisputed elegance that few can
parallel. In the period
between 1997-early 1998, Vitrichenko was the unchallenged Queen of Hoop and it
was with this routine that she conquered almost all Hoop Titles then
(in fact all, except the 1997 Worlds Title due to a loss of control in
her vertical spin).
In this piece of
composition, Vitrichenko chose “Saltimbanco” to be her background
music. The haunting tune
weaves further secrecy into the already dramatically mysterious
Kicking off her
routine with a horizontal split while sliding down, Vitrichenko
quickly executes a series of flexibility movements, such as a
flexibility backbend move, with
the hoop encircling round the toes and fingers.
This action demonstrates strength and flexibility, the core
values in all RSG routines. Next, she rolls over to one side, whilst the swiveling hoop
is transferred from one leg to the other.
This is an ingenious connection that certainly scores in
originality. Demonstrating a well-controlled full body wave, Elena
stands up, does a 3-movement balance move (B3202), before swirling
into a Ralenkova to reach into standing position again.
While watching these static moves, do note the role of hoop
used as a means to portray fusion between the apparatus and the body
into one. This is
important, given the fact that many inexperienced RSG gymnasts tend to
treat their apparatus as a separate entity. Their lack of comprehension and feel for their apparatus
often result in less than credible performances.
Elena does a 1
movement balance (B1202) cum 360 rotation.
The music then tightens as the thrilling melody blasts off into
a flurry of steady drumming and eventually fast chords.
To synchronize the heightened mood, Vitrichenko unleashes her
leg toss, executed while the hoop is traveling diagonally across the
floor guided by her leg. This
is an especially difficult move, but Elena performs it with great pénche
and confidence. Catching the hoop, Elena (in her 98 competitive season)
effects a vertical split variation with her body tilting dorsally
towards the right at 90 degree, and the hoop completes a Boomerang
toss. (In the 1997 season, Vitrichenko simply does the retro roll in a semi-kneeling pose. (i.e. the flexibility balance pose B3301
to be exact.) Almost immediately, Vitrichenko fish-flops, followed
closely by a pénche balance.
In the pénche position, her toes on the left leg cling tightly
to the hoop, before releasing it to allow the hoop slide down the entire length of
At this juncture,
the tempo of the music thumps to its climax.
The hoop is thrown high up into the air.
In the 97 Worlds, Vitrichenko does a split leap with 180 turn
of body and legs as a unit and catches the apparatus in a double stag
ring leap. This D plus B
difficulty makes this combination a grade F series—something pretty
spectacular. But in the
98 season, she converted her turning split leap into a split leap with
a deep arch. Still, the
effort is commendable.
executes her pivot combination: an assisted vertical spagat and
attitude balance. Throughout,
the hoop changes position, creating stunning visual display.
After this, Vitrichenko tosses the hoop and split leaps through
it (97 season). In the 98 Competitive season, she chooses to perform a double
stag jump through the hoop.
Now the beat of the
music rises to a new apogee. She
performs a side tuck jump through the hoop, while switching the
direction of the hoop around the body simultaneously.
This jump germinating into a leap combination is an awesome
spectacle—something NOT to be missed.
Note that thus far, only Elena has dared to employ this move in
Not to be outdone,
the finale was equally breathtaking: a high throw, a triple cartwheel
and trapping the hoop between her legs.
As the music rings its final note, Vitrichenko does a
flexibility move to sum up the beautiful routine.
music, lovely choice of body movements, no wonder Elena dominated the
Hoop exercise competitions in 1997.
Watch out for how Vitrichenko uses her harrowing eye movements
to blend with the silently poignant piece. A highly recommended
piece of exercise not to be missed.