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United States v. Russia v. China


Following up on my exploration of which skills are the most popular in US elite routines, I decided it would be interesting (to me exclusively) to compare US composition to routine composition in Russia and China to illustrate the very different approaches taken by the three countries and where they can learn from each other.

And by each other, I mean the US. Because, let’s be real, the US won by 8 points.

The US numbers are based on routines from the three major domestic competitions this summer, Russia’s are based on Russian Cup (and occasionally Russian Champs if the gymnast didn’t compete at Russian Cup), and China’s are based on the Chinese Championships. I did not include all of the seniors from Russia and China at those meets because…well, they’re not on Youtube. But also because many gymnasts attend those meets to compete for their region/province but aren’t international elites and don’t have a comparable skill level.**

So, here we go. The “winner” for each skill is highlighted.




For as much as we complain about the monotony of routines under the current system, there are a number of different ways to compose competitive sets on each event, as these three countries show us. A significant problem, however, is that countries seem to figure out one way of doing it and then repeat that over and over again for every gymnast. I probably shouldn’t be able to say something as general as “China does this,” “Russia does that,” but because intra-country composition is so homogeneous, I can. And do.


**The gymnasts used for each country are as follows:
United States – Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Douglas, Kocian, Hundley, Baumann, Smith, Gowey, Skinner, Dowell, Desiderio, Schild, Ramler, Frazier, Navarro, Trautman, Mussleman, Paulson, Gaskins, DeGuzman, Locklear (UB, BB), Nichols, Foberg, Clapper, Dennis (UB).
Russia – Mustafina, Melnikova, Tutkhalyan, Spiridonova, Paseka (UB), Afanasyeva (FX), Kapitonova, Shelgunova, Sidorova (BB, FX), Dmitrieva, Akhaimova (FX), Kharenkova, Skrypnik, Fedorova (BB, FX), Nabieva, Mikhailova (BB).
China – Shang, Wang, Mao, Fan, Tan, Liu TT, Lu YF, Liu J, Luo H, Zhu, Chen, Yao, Bai, Huang, Wu (FX), Xu (FX), Zhou (BB), Hua (UB), Xie (UB)

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