2001 Ball Routine

Zhong Ling Collection

Copyright Derri See

Surprisingly, I find Asian rhythmic gymnastics schools more original and stunning moves then European countries. (Try looking at Yokochi’s hoop or Zhong Ling) Chinese schools, for example, have bred excellent rhythmic gymnasts such as Zhou Xiaojing and Zhong Ling. Zhong Ling is highly flexible and boasts highly difficult routines. In the 2001 Madrid World Championships, she wowed the audience with her beautiful pirouettes and thrilling throws. Since then, she has become a crowd favourite…

Zhong Ling’s 2001 ball routine has a wide display of leaps, pivots and flexibility moves. The music is a wise choice too, attracting everyone to its thumping rhythms. The routine certainly worth higher marks than given.

Tucking the ball between her hands, Zhong Ling begins with a stylish pose.  When the drums thud as the background music begins, she does a 180 degrees tuck jump. Standing up, she frolics with the ball playfully together with the energetic music. Her first flexibility move is a quick turning balance, which is followed by a double ring balance and then a stunning oversplit. Next, Zhong displays her high amplitude when she performs a split leap with 180-degree turn of body and legs as a unit.

Subsequently, she unleashes her first large throw. Flying off with a high split leap with a deep arch (very flexible), she catches the ball easily and executes a same arching split leap. Leaping again, she allows her left (free) leg to touch the head vertically as she releases the ball again high up. Catching the ball, she immediately executes a back walkover. This shows her originality as well as her daring stunts. It truly resembles a Chinese on beam.

Not to outdone, she places the ball on her left feet and raises it up quickly to form a “Timochenko”. This movement not only blends well with the thumping music, but also captures everyone’s attention, both the audience and the judges. She also displays her artful use of the ball. Upon catching it, she performs an instantaneous turning double stag ring leap (L0309!?! rated E). What a tricky combination! Following that, she rolls the ball down her hand as she stops at a ring balance.

Here, she stops at the background for a while by playing with the ball. It not only blends well with the music, but also allows her to take a short break as the thumping music dies down.

As a new music theme or a high octave is introduced, Ling performs some spectacular elements. First, she allows the ball to roll over the neck and down her back, well blending with the rhythmic music. Rising up, she performs a vertical balance into a double ring balance elegantly. Some interesting moves followed suit. She continues to show the variety of usage with the ball when a horn introduced into the background music. A triple combination follows soon after. She executes a 360 degress legmount (but changes into a Timochenko gradually), and then a beautiful Sissone leap and finally a MG pivot.

Now, Zhong Ling finally unleashes her most spectacular throw in the routine. Tossing the ball, she arches her back into a front walkover and catches the ball on her legs. (gasp!) It was so amazing that there was a great reaction from the audience. Even termed “top gymnasts” would find it seemingly impossible! Once again, Ling has proven to us that she is an excellent rhythmic gymnast.

She tosses the ball for a consecutive throw, catching it in a arching split leap position, and continue immediately with two leg up pivots. Another difficult combination. It is thus understandable that she did not fully articulate them but it is laudable for her attempt.

When the first theme of the music reappears, Ling performs some really beautiful pirouettes into a Sissone jump. As she executes her ring pivots, her free leg is almost touching her head. How flexible she is!

Following that, Ling effects two turning double stag ring leap. She throws out some jumps and leaps elements for eg a half turn into a Sissone jump. She continues with the common combination of a back catch balance into a back scale.

Towards the conclusion, Ling executes a full MG pivot. She finally ends off her energetic routine with a beautiful and high double stag leap turn (not too sure) and falls onto the mat.

Notwithstanding with her difficulties, Zhong Ling showed great poise and confidence throughout. With such a moving routine, no wonder Zhong Ling is so well received. However, it could be better if she could add just a little bit more of difficulty by working more in releve. Should you have doubts about my comments, try watching it now and be inspired.


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Major scores:

World Universiade: 3rd
Worlds AA: 24.150 - 1st
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 Copyright 2001 Derri & Angela See