Here's the 2nd part of my Top Ten series: the Uneven Bars.
Given the plethora of amazing (and shitty) bar routines from this quad, picking just 5 for the best and the worst was ridiculously hard.
Don't take these to mean that these were the only good (and bad) ones - the majority of the Russians are amazing, but there are only 5 places here.
1. Aliya Mustafina, 2012 Olympic EF
In my opinion, the best bar routine of the entire quad. When it came down to it in EF, she knocked this routine out of the park. That third combination (Inbar stalder 1/1 + Pak salto + Stalder Khorkina) blows my mind every time she does that. For those of you who are not aware, that combo is INSANELY hard. She has to time the Pak perfectly so that she can push away from the bar and swing back up to the high bar. It's fucking hard. While watching this live, the minute she stuck the landing, I knew she had won it. Her dramatic eye makeup + leotard just screamed Olympic Champion. As my dear friend Aunt Joyce put it, Aliya's "eye makeup [was] quite terrifying." Bitch knew she had won it after she capped off that perfect routine with a stuck dismount.
2. Viktoria Komova, 2012 Olympic TF
If it weren't for that fucking orphan half-pirouette, this routine would probably be my #1. Her swing is just gorgeous, and this routine is probably her best landing of the double-double. I love her lines, her swing, the effortlessness with which she does all her skills, and just the overall look. Not to mention, bitch should go teach the flying squirrel how to properly do a piked Tkachev.
3. Anastasia Grishina, 2012 Olympic Test Event EF
Sorry if this is turning into an "I love Russia fest." It's just that the Russians are so fucking good on bars. This is the only time Grishina did the composition of this routine that I like the best, and well. She, like the majority of the Russians, has such a beautiful and natural swing that makes her gorgeous to watch. Jordyn Wieber could take a page or two out of the Russian bars book on how to properly swing bars. The London bars lineup of Grishina, Mustafina, and Komova was literally a clinic on how to do bars.
4. Tatiana Nabieva, 2010 Worlds AA and 2011 Worlds EF
Okay, I know that this is two different routines, but I love them both so much I couldn't decide which one to put in. The 2010 routine has her fuck awesome "Nabieva" skill, but the 2011 routine has a cool low-high-low-high sequence. Her world silver was actually quite well deserved. While she's quite infamous for her fugly form on vault, Nabs is also quite awesome on bars.
5. Ana Porgras, 2010 Worlds EF
Honestly, people just say Ana Porgras is good for a Romanian on bars. But that's not it. She's actually quite good on her own, ignoring that fact that she's Romanian. Her swing is natural and pretty, and that 1.5 was easily the best she's ever done in competition. Don't tell me that she's not good on bars when she has a World bronze medal and an extra World EF to her credit, plus numerous other minor medals on bars.
Now I know you're all going to say, where's Beth Tweddle and the flying squirrel? I like Beth, but she's not quite top 5 in my head. The flying squirrel needs to learn how to point her toes and how to do a proper piked Tkachev before she's anywhere near the Russians.
1. Alexandra Raisman, 2012 American Cup
I had a hard time deciding which of the many shitty and horrifying routines Aly's put out over the years to include her, but I thought her American Cup routine from this year stood out the most. If this piece of shit was properly scored each time she competed it, her E score would be in the 7s for a routine that didn't include a fall or some sort of meltdown. It looks like she's literally flexing her feet on purpose. Not even that she's just not pointing them, but it looks like she's deliberately flexing them. If I were judging this, I would deduct at least .1 for every leg separation and every time she flexed her feet. How this fucking piece of shit got into the 14s internationally several times this year completely baffles me.
2. Maria Paseka, 2012 SUI-GBR-RUS Tri-Meet
Not all the Russians are good on bars, and Maria Paseka is the clear proof of that. I happen to love her floor music, but this is one hot fuck of a mess. It's sloppy, there's no swing, tons of leg separations, etc.
3. Jordyn Wieber, 2012 American Cup
I chose this version of her routine to also highlight what a fighter she is, despite the fugliness of this routine. Not many people have the strength to pull that arch back and not fall over, but she does. That doesn't mean that this routine is good. Yes, the composition is different and unique, but she clearly cannot get through this routine without some mistake or another. I still don't understand why her Midwestern coaches didn't change this, when she had mistake after mistake with it. Her swing (or lack thereof) is the polar opposite of people like Mustafina and Komova. The whole thing is labored and clunky. She makes it look like work.
4. Vanessa Ferrari, 2011 European AA
There's just so much I hate about this. The 80000 leg separations, the muscling of the routine, and the fucking straddled forward giants that's she obsessed with. Why must she do those fugly forward giants, and WHY does she do them straddled? They're SO ugly! And all done in a horrifying leotard.
5. Lauren Mitchell, 2011 Worlds QF
So much is wrong here. The muscling of the entire routine, the way she catches the Jaegar AND the low-high transition so close, the partially flexed feet, and the overall fugliness of the routine. The only positive thing I can say about this is that she stuck the dismount, which wasn't even that good because it was SO close to the bar.
Finally, I love this routine so much, but it was my number 6, but I'm going to include it anyways as an honorable mention. A very deserving bronze medalist, who actually won not one but TWO European bronze medals on bars this quad.
It's December 24th here as I finish this post, so Merry Christmas!
Keep an eye out for the Top Ten of Beam post!