Dina Averina’s Clubs Magic: The Most Difficult in Rhythmic Gymnastics For 2017

Clubs is not the most iconic apparatus in rhythmic gymnastics, and when you hear the words “rhythmic gymnastics” it is not the apparatus that first comes to mind either. The most iconic is the ribbon, and even though it was 2017 World Champion Dina Averina’s winning routine, that does not mean that it is the Russian’s favorite apparatus. If you are a long time RG fan, you would know it is the clubs.

Dina shares too much similarity with her identical twin, Arina. Aside from their family name, gymnastics skills, and physical attributes, they also share the same love for the podium. However, the clubs is probably the one thing that they don’t share the same love for. Arina didn’t like the clubs, as is evident on the scar on her eyebrow due to when she was “kissed” by a club during training years ago. In fact, during this year’s World Championships in Pesaro, Arina let Belarus’ Katsiaryna Halkina take the silver on the said apparatus finals, while Dina took the gold.

So what makes Dina Averina’s clubs routine the most difficult in the world of RG right now? We’ll share with you her performance here:

If you would watch closely, Dina’s eye-hand coordination is extremely exquisite! No matter how far or at what angle she throws—whether she is upside down or upright—she is still able to catch it with one hand, or even one leg. Her skills aren’t just eye-hand coordination, it might even be dared called an “eye-hand-legs” coordination, which probably doesn’t exist but describes very well what Dina does!

In rhythmic gymnastics, throws and catches are called Risks, and in this routine it is Dina’s highest scoring element, followed by the Apparatus Difficulty, which is really hand in hand with the Risks. Her Body Difficulty comes in third, and it is a combination of jumps, balances and rotations which she incorporated into her lowest scoring element, the dance steps.

Dina’s ambidexterity is really stressed in this apparatus routine. At times, she rotates one club clockwise and the other club counterclockwise at the same time. You could see in her face that if she could, she’d rotate the apparatus with her feet! Kidding aside, it is very evident in Dina’s face that she is having fun with handling the apparatus, which is properly emphasized by the upbeat music.

Dina Averina Clubs World Championships 2017

Technicalities of Difficulty Scoring

Now onto the technicalities of how this routine is scored, FIG uses their recently updated Code of Points 2017-2020 to grade Dina Averina’s performance. Aside from difficulty where every skill is scored and added, the execution is also graded where the scores are subtracted. Please keep in mind that we are not judges, so this assessment is pretty much with flaws. Anyway, here we go:

Right at the beginning, Dina already scored 1.0 after her opening pose where she throws one apparatus while rotating the other club around axis. She sights it and then re-throws after making a backflip. She then proceeds to make not one, but two, turning split with arch which is scored 0.6 each, collecting 1.2 points. For the next 0.4 score, she throws both clubs one higher than the other and makes one rotation to catch one club, and a second rotation to catch the second club.

What she does next is a split with horizontal at side which is worth 0.5 points. She follows this with a combination of throws and dance steps where she scored 0.7. A couple more combination of dance steps and rotations and she already scored another 1.2. Dina then does two rotations with one foot behind her, called ring, but with a help so it is only scored 0.5. This skill is followed by another turning split with ring worth 0.5.

The next 0.8 points was collected by doing a two clubs cascade, rotation, and catching one club with the other on the floor. The arabesque that she does next is with split and a help as well, so only scored 0.3. The throw and catch that follows the previous move is quite amazing as she caught both at the same time but with one hand behind her. Such catches, where the gymnast cannot see where the apparatus is going to fall but catches it anyway, has its special place in the Code of Points. This is scored 0.3.

Dina Averina Clubs World Championships 2017

Dina would then do a hand stand, front split with trunk below horizontal. This adds 0.8 into her points. Another throw for 0.3. While doing a ring with trunk horizontal flat, she throws the club from behind her, giving a 0.7. Again, she throws one club and throws the other mid-cartwheel. She catches the first one, does a rotation on the floor, and catches the other on the floor using the first club. This is an impressive 0.8. To stand up from the floor, only Dina has a very unique way. She does a front split with trunk below horizontal from floor, one hundred and eighty degrees. Another 0.5 points for that.

After more than a minute, Dina is still not happy with her scores so to finish it off, she collects another 0.7 by doing a front flip, throwing the clubs on the way up and catches it on the floor. She sits upright for the final pose.

And that was it! Adding all the scores together, Dina Averina’s difficulty score is actually over the highest possible score of 10.0. She has a total of 11.2, but only 10.0 can be awarded and so that is what she is given for this routine. Any execution mistakes she has done in there, doesn’t affect her scores much since she has quite a few extras. This is how she gathers almost perfect 20.0 total points and still slack at some executions: the magic of Dina Averina’s clubs routine. The Russians are really good with this strategy actually, and the CoP seems to fit them like it was made for them.

After Dina, Halkina is obviously great at clubs as well. We think even Bulgaria’s Neviana Vladinova has amazing ambidexterity like the first two. In general, rhythmic gymnasts are just really great at eye-hand coordination and ambidexterity. To be able to control both hemispheres of the brain and do those mind-blowing skills, they must be geniuses.

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