Friday, June 22, 2012

"My best events are vault and bars and beam and floor": The Kyla Ross Conundrum

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful Junior gymnast. Although she consistently placed well in the All Around, she struggled on bars and would sometimes place in the 20s on that event at national competitions. Then the gymnast grew some, trained a lot and suddenly, she became really good on bars. So good, that she started winning international medals. The gymnast's name was Rebecca Bross.

Rebecca Bross is a perfect example of the rule that you can change specialties. The girl who placed 15th amongst American Jrs in 2006 on an event could be named 3rd best in the world on that same event just 3 years later. Just because you were once weak on an event doesn't mean that it can't be your strongest event several years later.

While Rebecca Bross was winning that medal in London 3 years ago, an up and coming junior was arising in the spotlight. Kyla Ross won several competitions that year, equipped with her green bow and pack of Gym-Max teammates. At the time, Kyla was working with a 4.9 UB SV, and only tied for 12th on bars, despite winning Vault and Beam and earning 3rd on floor. But as it's so often said: "That was then, and this is now."

Kyla is a good bar worker now. You can't argue with that. She's won the uneven bars gold 2011 Classics and 2012 Jesolo, and the Silver at 2011 & 2012 Championships, 2012 Classics, 2012 Pac Rims, 2011 Jesolo and 2010 Pac Rims. Please don't tell me that all of those titles don't qualify someone to compete on Uneven Bars in a team final setting.

Furthermore, if you've pinned her as a bar specialist, don't be confused thinking that she can't compete on beam and that you need a beam worker on the team to go up instead of her. She's won as many titles there as she has on bars, and more of them are gold.

So you've got Kyla in your bars and beam lineup and you want to put her on floor? Don't! She's only got a 5.5 Start Value there. Her 5.5 is the lowest of any girl who will be competing floor at Trials! Once having an Amanar doesn't make someone a good floor worker!

I don't know what I think about Kyla's vault, but I certainly wouldn't call her a major team asset on vault. It seems that she's been struggling with the Amanar, but in an emergency, she could certainly pull out a fabulous double.

I'm not sure what the issue is or why fans can't get it straight, but even Kyla seems confused on where she fits in. When talking to a journalist she stated that her best events are "Vault and Bars and Beam and Floor." All in all, we need to realize that things can change within an athletes skill set. This isn't the same Kyla that we met in 2009.


  1. Although I can't find the interview again, I am pretty sure she said that she is strong in only vault, bars, and beam and she did not mention floor. I might be wrong, but that is what I remember. Although I understand she doesn't have consistent amanar, her double is pretty strong on its own.

  2. I'm kind of confused by this blog post, or rather I'm not exactly sure what the point of it is. Now, don't get me wrong, I love this blog and most of what you usually have to say is the truth. But what exactly are you pointing out here? I think the quote you're using is taken out of context. I believe Kyla was merely stating that she thought she was a good all-arounder, which she is! Her floor exercise, while not super difficult, is actually very beautiful and consistent. Anyway, all I'm saying is that I don't think I would really call this a conundrum and I'm pretty sure Kyla is aware that her difficulty score on floor is not as high as everyone else's.

    1. Katie,
      I was just poking fun at the quote that Kyla made, I do indeed think that she understands her own capabilities. The point of the post was because numerous people have called Kyla a "vault and floor specialist", that she was "weak on bars" and that "if Kyla was on the team, we would need a beam specialist". There are a ton of people in the gym blogosphere who seem to think that Kyla cannot work bars or beam, which is simply untrue.

  3. Amazing performances! Congratulations to the girls!