Gymnastics>Biography>Zamolodchikova>Super Zamo Site>Profile>Routines

Gymnastics Routines



Here is a sample of Elena, "The Full Forty", at her very best, taken from the 1999 season of Russian Championships, which gives you some idea of the new Elena, a unique gifted talent ...

Notice however, that in her recent successful international competitions in the year 2000, Elena performed a different program.

Elena's Current Program

Horse Vault

... unmatched in the current generation of female gymnasts. the 1999 World Champion and 2000 Olympic Champion on vault ...

... At the 2000 Moscow Stars of the World Competition Elena premiered a new vault nobody has ever competed before, a Yurchenko with 900 degrees rotation, or 2 1/2 twists !!!

It's a Tenner !!!


Elena vaulting
Elena vaulting

Elena is the one of two girls in the world presently capable of vaulting the double twisting straight Tsukahara (#3.506, start value 10.000!).
Her team mate and friend Ekaterina Lobaznyuk is the other one.

From her starting point, 3/4 down the runway, she sprints towards the horse, with all the power her legs can deliver, to build up the speed and momentum needed for some of the best vaulting currently available. Elena moves with about 30 km/h towards the apparatus in the final phase of her 'launch', which is close to the maximum speed a human being her size can actually achieve.
Just before she reaches the beat board she jumps forwards, body a little piked, arms raised sideways and legs together stretching forwards. The Tsukahara entry requires Elena to punch the beat board with her feet, then she sort of dives forwards, arms stretched at shoulders' width. The punch of the beat board gives her the necessary vertical momentum which carries her legs up into the air, while all in the same movement she starts twisting her upper body for some 180 degrees. Diving backwards now, her hands reach for the frontal curve of the vaulting horse. She puts down her left hand first, left arm bend in the elbow, using this arm like a pivot, rotating her body with it, and pushing off with it just a fraction later. Her right arm remains more straight and is used mainly to push off. Her legs are trailing behind her upper body in this first phase of flight, and because of the rotational inertia, they do come apart from the perfect shape.
The powerful touch of the horse is also an extremely delicate moment, it is the crucial moment of the vault: the transition from first to second phase of flight. Now all of the forces of impact, rotation and levitation are bundled and come together in just Elena's shoulders, elbows and wrists. The impact is huge, many times her body's weight are put one her wrists, but Elena is well adapted and thoroughly trained, she can handle it with ease.
With her left arm giving a mighty push, Elena thrusts herself into the air, achieving great height. She needs to get enough time in the air to perform the two complete clockwise revolutions while she does the one and a half stretched backwards salto. Since Elena is small and compact, they happen almost too fast for the human eye. Only in slow motion you can see she has good form in flight, body straight as an arrow, legs together, arms drawn close.
Most importantly now, she must stick the landing, the final impression to make on the judges. She does so by slightly piking her body in the hips during this final phase of flight, when she can already see the landing area, and by spreading her arms to stabilize herself on sticking the landing.

When she walks away from the horse, usually her left arm, which has been doing most of the work, is held a bit stiff in the elbow, an indication of the enormous power it must have delivered. But Elena recovers quickly, while already preparing her second vault in her mind, she shakes the pain off.


This one adds up to 20 (well, almost) !!!


Elena vaulting

In this professional photograph from Reuters, one can almost see the forces of impact of Elena's hands on the horse's leather, pushing it forwards into little moulds. Notice the concentration on Elena's face, with her teeth clinched.

Her second vault is also ranked with the most difficult, the double twisting straight Yurchenko (#4.505, start value 9.900).

This vault, with the (considered easier) round off - back flic entry, requires a completely different approach.
Now using the full length of the runway, again Elena sprints towards the horse with all the power her legs can deliver. In front of the beat  board she puts her hands down, one after the other, her body already turned for some 90 degrees, the other 90 degrees are done when Elena continues her round off move. When her feet touch the beat board, Elena faces away from target, the vaulting horse, and throws her arms into the air. She punches the beat board, and flies backwards, blind, towards the horse, arms stretched over her head. Only at the very last moment she makes eye contact, when she puts her hands on the frontal curve of the horse, at shoulders' width. There is absolutely no room for error here, it could be fatal!
The first phase of flight has now been successfully accomplished, her legs continue to move upwards, they are kept tightly together. Elena now pushes off from the horse, converting all of her forwards speed into upwards momentum. Again her wrists take the full blow of impact, but because she can keep her arms straight, less muscle power is needed, the round off - back flic entry worked to her advantage.
By a subtle play of muscles on arms, shoulders and chest she initiates a rotation for 720 degrees, drawing her arms in to conserve the rotation, performing a one and a half layout backwards salto. All muscles tensed in flight, her stretched body is cleaving the air like a javelin, almost too fast for the human eye.
When she spots the mat beneath her, in the final phase before landing, she elegantly spreads her arms to stop the rotation, and she strikes the mat like a dart hitting the board, absorbing the energy by a little bending in the knees.

This is what you call "sticking the landing"!


The future of women's vaulting is being shaped by Elena right now !

Elena is putting herself firmly on the map for the coming gymnastics season, Russia again is bringing progress in women's gymnastics.

Power, guts, technique and character as shown by Elena, a gymnast so very much alive, is plain breathtaking!


Elena vautling
Elena vaulting

Elena's brand new vault, the layout Yurchenko with 900 degrees of rotation, or two and a half revolutions, is very difficult to land.

Even a powerful gymnast like Elena has hardly enough time in her second flight phase to complete the rotations and be able to stretch out upon landing. The height of the women's vaulting horse is perhaps a limiting factor here.

Elena lands blind, with her back towards the horse, and has to rely on her motoric memory, air-sense and general gymnastics 'instinct' to be able to stick the landing.

To the right she is actually vaulting this vault, at that time still without a number. Elena landed it well, and was smiling with satisfaction and pleasure over her attempt.

She has submitted the triple twisting Yurchenko for the 2001 World Championships even. An unfortunate injury, sustained a few weeks before the competition, prevented her from presenting this new vault.


Will these two vaults make her the best vaulter the world has seen so far? Her ideal physique and optimal power to weight ratio might suggest so, she has learned the necessary technique and is courageous from nature. The Gold Medals she won at the 1999 World Championships and 2000 Olympic Games definitely have proved it.

Elena is still working to improve her second 10.000 vault, the newly learned Yurchenko 2 1/2, will she will try to upgrade it into a triple twisting Yurchenko?


Asymmetric Bars

... in the asymmetric bars Elena has a routine that seems to be one swirl of movement, a display of power without any effort at all it seems. There are no visible pauses and Elena keeps her legs tightly together, if a little bent sometimes ...


Elena working the bars
Elena working the bars
Elena saluting

Elena competing in the bars, 2000 Russian Cup

She used to start with the Priakhina-mount, a round off onto the beat board in front of the low bar, followed by a back flic with full twist into a somewhat quirky backwards circle over the bar. Quirky, because we see her first twisting her body in flight for three quarters of the turn, making eye contact with the bar, before grabbing it with twisted arms, then twisting for the remaining quarter turn, while swinging over the bar in a position between piked and laid out, with some inevitable loss of leg form.

Elena continues her movement with a piked swing outwards under the rail, applies a kip to cast herself to handstand, then quickly turning for 180 degrees. From handstand Elena does the Chusovitina, an under swing with foot support, popping off in straddled reverse flight upwards, legs leading, to grab the high rail and swinging outwards from it.

Nowadays, she runs towards the apparatus, punches the beat board in front of it, and jumps over the lower rail in a stretched Hecht, with hand support.

On the high rail she kips and immediately casts a rear ways up rise to handstand. From vertical, she swings down between the bars, to do a backwards circle into a handstand with half turn, already starting on the upswing, so no Healy proper, while changing the way her hands grab the rail into el-grip, thumbs facing outwards. From handstand she goes down into a full circle round the bar in forwards attitude, with her back leading. Before going over the top she releases her left arm, turns her body counter clockwise round the right arm for the full 360 degrees, to re-grasp the bar in eagle grip, thumbs facing outwards again. You need to have very flexible shoulders and strong muscles, as the upper arm bone is completely dislocated from its shoulder socket.
Elena then swings down between the rails to release her grip at just the right moment on her upswing to do a straddled forwards salto in the fourth quadrant, way above the level of the rail, this flight element is called Jaeger salto. Groping for the rail in horizontal body position with her arms stretched out, Elena continues with her routine.

Elena working the bars

Elena's groping for the high rail in her Hecht mount of the apparatus.

Hanging from the rail in normal grip, Elena quickly pulls her hips to the bar and casts herself to handstand, starting a backwards circle inwards, her chest leading, building up speed for a full twisting hop above the rail, already started on the upswing, with Elena sort of spiraling her fully stretched body snake-like. From vertical she continues into a backwards swing down from the outside, when passing the level of the lower rail Elena thrusts her body upwards in a mighty whip, and releases the rail for a straddled reverse flight rear ways over the bar, the straddled reverse Hecht, better known as the Tkachyov move. On re-grasp she swings down and immediately releases again into a stretched backwards salto, flying between the bars to front support on the lower rail, facing in. This transition element is called Pak salto. This combination, with three releases in a row, only the strongest girls can comfortably manage. Elena does it bare handed and without any visible effort. She makes it look so deceptively easy, which is the sign of true mastery over the apparatus!

Elena working the bars

Elena's Jaeger release, in a professional Reuters photo.

On the lower rail Elena swings outwards under it in piked position, kips and casts a handstand with half twist, to swing back inwards, then kipping and casting herself into a backwards up rise, before falling back in a sole circle, jumping to hang from the high rail, completing her, rather easy, but required, working of the lower rail.
Now is it time for the dismount series, first kipping and casting to set up two backwards circles, leading into the tucked double twisting double backwards salto fly-a-way to a secure stand (Super E dismount).

Only one or two other gymnasts were ever able to deliver the tucked double-double dismount repeatedly and safely, one of them was the originator, Oksana Fabrichnova, who now works the flying trapeze in a German circus.

Elena's bars routine in shorthand

Elena's older (Aug 1999) asymmetric routine is different from the one described above, has 0.5 connection bonus, and 0.6 D/E bonus.



Balance Beam

Elena's routine on the balance beam is equally spectacular, full of risk and brisk, because she works the beam very swiftly, almost staccato, with lots of sharp accents given by different parts of her body.

She seems like hewn and polished from solid rock, such is the tension in her leg muscles.
Yet she works the hard surface of the beam almost silently, an indication of her technique and economy with power ...


Elena on beam
Elena on beam
Elena on beam

Elena competing on beam, 2000 Russian Cup.

Elena used to mount a la Priakhina, from the side: round off onto beat board - back flic with full twist - hip circle rear ways round the beam to front balanced hip support, with an authoritive small nod of the head to indicate to the judges her mount has been accomplished.

Nowadays, Elena mounts without acrobatics, she puts her hands on the beam and immediately swings her right leg over it.

Sitting on the beam in straddled sit, Elena continues by kneeling with her left knee on the beam an instant later, striking a classic pose with her right leg stretched downwards.

Elena start her first pass standing upright, a backwards acrobatic series of back flic - layout salto - back flic. When she needs to put down her hands she puts one hand over the other, using a minimal surface area. Her feet don't fit side-by-side on the beam anymore, so they are staggered, right foot first, the left one a little later, the lunge position, or step-out which actually helps her to maintain stability.

On the way back in her second pass she first strikes some poses, then she does a nice pirouette, sort of kicking herself around, and a huge Wolf jump - stretched backwards full twisting salto to straddled sit combination. On this second element, named Rulfova, Elena used her hands to support her body just before landing, so as not to strike her crotch uncomfortably on the beam. She quickly rises to her feet to show some more powerful poses, head upright, shoulders square, a monument of control and craftsmanship.

The third pass has Elena jumping up in a jump of no real value, but she uses it to set up a jump forwards into a big switch leg leap or Sissone, with the required 180 degrees of split, in combination with a jump 1/4 turn down to the beam, straight into rear ways circle round the beam (Yurchenko loop).

The fourth pass contains a full twisting back flic, in which she cheated a little, as she first twisted for 3/4 of the turn, put her hands down in staggered position, before twisting for the remaining 1/4 turn and ending upright on her feet again, immediately throwing a Wolf jump to earn some combination bonus. Elena heads back towards the end of the beam she just came from, turning around to continue her pass with a tucked salto forwards.

At the far end of the beam now, Elena turns around for the last time, and takes a few breaths in order to acquire the composition required for the final and dismount pass, which is of great difficulty (E value): round off - tucked double backwards salto with a full twist in the first (Mukhina), to a solid stand.

One thing will surely strike a careful observer, although the routine is standard and not too difficult as far as the gymnastics elements are concerned, her acrobatic elements are of superb content and great difficulty, especially in the combinations.

Elena used to be very tensed on the beam, her weakest apparatus one might think, and the only one which needed some work done, to raise the start value comfortably to the full 10.000 points.
(Elena herself says she has no problems at all on beam ...).
It was noticeable however, by the many minute adjustments in her positions, and nervous shuffling with her feet, details only the most experienced judges will notice, given Elena's tempo.

Her current beam routine has a different content, and was much better executed, the many times OEG watched it being performed live by Elena. Elena even medalled in Russian Cup and European Championships with it.

Elena's beam routine in shorthand

Elena's older (Aug 1999) balance beam routine has 0.6 connection bonus, and 0.4 D/E bonus,
The Priakhina mount, is actually rated "E" value by the Women's Technical Committee.



Floor Exercise

... tumbling power no boy gymnasts will be ashamed of. Elena seems to just some 80 pounds of pure, fast acting, twitch fibre muscle in her floor routine.
Here she can channel her boundless energy in powerful tumbling runs and effortlessly stuck landings ...


Elena on floor
Elena on floor
Elena on floor

Elena competing on floor in the 2000 Russian Cup.

Carefully choreographed to match Elena's character and abilities, she can show off her dynamic skills in a most convincing manner. Even now that she works to a more mature piece of Jazzy music, the routine is still completely Zamo and has to be seen for real to appreciate it!

Here Elena's former routine is still described. The new Olympic routine will follow later.

The first pass goes like: round off - back flic - double twisting double backwards salto in the tucked position, *stuck solid* with the chalk dust flying! This skill, extremely rare, named after Romania's Daniela Silivas, has only been done by Dina Kochetkova in Russian female artistic gymnastics before, though it was premiered by Aleftina Priakhina, an USSR gymnast from the 80's.

Elena's second run is mixed in tumbling direction: short sprint (for real!) into running layout front full - round off - back flic - triple twisting stretched salto backwards *stuck completely round with room to spare* - quick step out into lunge position.

The required gymnastic elements are next: huge switch leg straddled side leap with quarter turn to parallel landing, jumping up into a tucked jump with 3/2 turn and an huge straddled planche dive (Shushunova), leading into nice and spunky work on the mat, with Elena crawling like a crab, spinning on her back, whipping herself up and round. She gets to stand from her kneeling position by means of a cartwheel, ending right in the corner, striking a pose.

She continues with her third pass: a round off - whip back - layout back 2/1 - punch front - pose combination. (This pass used to end with Elena facing outwards after a l.o.b. 2 1/2, with the chance of her overstepping the boundary)
Elena now shows some spicy dance to her funky jazz music, shaking her hips, jumping around, falling into poses while moving briskly across the mat, finally striking her 'two fingers raised' pose while stepping in the corner and drawing her hands across her face, peeking through the spread fingers, for a nice touch.

Almost near the end of her routine now, she sets off for her final pass along the diagonal: round off - back flic - double back tucked full (Mukhina) *stuck cold*, before twisting some, jumping up with a full turn in horizontal, falling to the floor, stretching her body, ending in a rear support position, smiling, with a gloriously radiant face like she expresses ... how is that for a floor routine? ...

Although the routine is simple in its construction and content, Elena is very capable of selling it, by showing nice accents with hands, head, or hips when the music calls for them, she is even able to smile an alluring smile.

She is a natural born gymnast after all, and floor exercise is one of her most favorite apparatus ...

Elena's floor routine in shorthand

Elena's older (Aug 1999) floor routine has 0.6 connection bonus, and 0.4 D/E bonus.


A qualified judge gave the following (personal) commentary after OEG let her examine the shorthand notation:

"a few comments -

bars -  I think this bar exercise is great -  it has two of my favorite elements on bars - shaposhnikova  and pak.  They both show awesome amplitude and I always get the feeling of flight when I see them.  I also like the combination giant full, giant hop full, tkatchev, pak - great combination with little room for error.  I'm not so sure about the mount - I've never seen it performed, I get the impression it could look a little messy if not done well.  In terms of composition - all the SC bonus elements are together - I'd rather see them more spread, but to start with an E and end with an E is great.

beam - again not sure on the mount, I'm not really keen on elements which circle the beam, they don't seem right.  The two combinations with full twisting flips are really difficult - must require a lot of courage.  There are no saltos which is unusual - except the chen near the end.  I'm surprised not to see a flip layout or similar -  I know she fulfills requirements of the acrobatic series - but I like to see a salto - ( I really liked Lashenova's straight back to two feet - awesome)

floor - some interesting acro passes -  not many can do the double in back out ( I remember Groshkova doing it a 90 Euros though),  the second run of front full to triple twist is a really excellent combination.  The gymnastic series is pretty standard, most gymnasts would probably do a combination along those lines.  With the rule change requiring 2 gym C's and either gym or mixed series, I think that a little of the composition has deteriorated now.  Almost all gymnasts at high level will do two or more gym C's to get connection bonus too, so the mixed series will almost certainly disappear - that's a pity.  Finishing with a full in back out is good too. Most gymnasts would think they were pretty good to open with that element!  I think Tianjin will have a seemingly compulsory double pike as floor dismount!

from the skills she's doing it's obvious she's a power gymnast with fast twitch muscles, and presumably must twist well as almost all her high level skills are of the twisting variety."


Here you have been given a picture of one of the most exciting gymnasts currently on the scene, certainly the present most powerful one.


Elena's routines under the new Code of Points

These are some suggestions by a qualified (international brevet) judge to adapt Elena's routines to the requirements of the new Code of Points.


"I have thought about getting the start values up for Zamo.

"On bars the best way would be to get the easiest E element in-between to D elements. For example a clear hip to handstand with full turn has been upgraded to a D element. I would then suggest the Tkachyov with Stalder action (the one that Khorkina does which is really the Ricna) into a Pak salto which I think this gymnasts can do.
The two D elements combined with the E element gives her .4 in bonus while the E+D+E combination also gives .4 in connective value. The total for a combination such as this would be .8. Since after meeting all their special requirements they come from an 8.8 they would only need .4 in additional bonus. One of course would be the dismount (she does a D dismounts anyway).
Another example would be a clear hip handstand full (D) to a toe on handstand 1 1/2 (E) into a release such as a Gienger or Jaeger (D)."

"Beam is the hardest to get a 10 start value.
On beam she now need an acro series with a salto. She also need a planche, scale or handstand that is held 2 seconds.  For sure she should consider adding a round off / flip flop to the full in dismount for a B+B+E combination. This would give her .2 for the E and .2 for the combination. She also needs he held element and acro series. The switch leg leap to the 3/4 Shushunova will give her .1 in connection value. The full twisting back handspring need to be combined with something to get additional bonus. They are still D's. Maybe she could try a one arm back handspring to a full twisting back handspring to .1 in D bonus and .1 in connection value."

"She needs to consider a dance combination of C +D (that is the minimum) for bonus on floor. Some suggestions would be a cat leap double to a 1 1/2 twist to prone (like Khorkina). Also a double turn to an immediate tuck jump double. A combination such as this would give her .2 in bonus. One for the D and one for the combination. She might also consider a relatively easy indirect pass such as whip/whip/to a double back pike for an A+A+D combination. This would also give her .1 in difficulty value and .1 in connective value. I think I figured out that she would have come from a 9.6 if she had satisfied all their special requirements. In particular she is missing a leap series with take off from one leg and a turn (B or better).  With these requirements included in her routines + the same tumbling she did in the Olympics + the added suggestion from above she should be coming from a 10 SV". 

We will have to wait and see what the experts form Russia come up with in Elena's case.





SuperZamoSite banner

Copyright OEG/Edwin Koppers, all rights reserved. Last updated 21-07-2002.

No text from this web page, and absolutely no pictures whatsoever, may be taken from this page and uploaded to another web page, news server, message board, FTP server, or any other public or private storage space, without express permission from OEG.


Gymnastics>Biography>Zamolodchikova>Super Zamo Site>Profile>Routines