The second part of a totally subjective list of the top 30 floor routines from 2012.
#15: Rie Tanaka, JPN. There was a time when I thought "Pink Panther" floor exercises were mostly the domain of seven-year-olds. This sleekly performed, fun-but-sophisticated routine blows that theory completely out of the water. It's one of my favorites from this quad.
#14: Katelyn Ohashi, USA. Her finesse is incredible for someone her age. Ohashi is a senior as of today, and as much as I like the classical floor routine she's had for the past two years, I hope she debuts something new this year, just for a change.
#13: Elisabet Vasileva, BUL. A former rhythmic gymnast who discovered she can tumble at the elite level, Vasileva brings her incredible flexibility and wonderful daintiness to her floor performances. More on her here.
#12: Vanessa Ferrari, ITA. How far we've come since 2006! Her "Last of the Mohicans" was just epic and she has developed the artistry chops to carry it off. As much as I like Aliya Mustafina, I'm coming around to the idea that Ferrari was gypped of an Olympic bronze medal on floor.
#11: Barbara Achondo, CHI. The little-known Chilean national champion, who gave up gymnastics for 10 years after not making the 2000 Olympic Games, has returned to the sport and looks better than ever. This is how you do floor exercise.
#10: Laurie Hernandez, USA. Fall in love with little Laurie, one of the most charming and charismatic American floor performers since Dominique Moceanu. This girl can dance!
#9: Larisa Iordache, ROM. One of the most memorable Rodrigo y Gabriela interpretations out there. Though devoid of some of the choreography that made it interesting in previous years, the added difficulty of her tumbling passes made it more formidable in a way. Here's hoping her London Olympic experience just fuels her determination to continue.
#8: Aly Raisman, USA. The Olympic floor champion further grew into her "Hava Nagila" set this year, blending the most complex tumbling pass ever done by a woman with traditional Jewish dance moves. I have great hope that Aly, who said before the Olympics that she plans to continue in gymnastics, will mature into an Alicia Sacramone-type with more finessed movement (anyone who watched her performances on the post-Olympic tour could see that she's already striding in that direction.)
#7: Maria Kharenkova, RUS. The Junior European floor champion's charming routine to what sounds like music from an Arabian Nights movie is my pick for most interesting routine of the year, and no. 2 for most well-choreographed. It suits her extremely well, and hides a few potential form errors.
#6: Victoria Moors, CAN. The only gymnast to have had two floor routines worthy of making this list. There's the excellent "Assassin's Tango" she's used for the past couple years, which won her second place on floor at the London Test Event and made her into one of the quad's floor style icons. Then there's the sleek new piece she debuted at Elite Gym Massilia this fall, which we hope to see more of this year.
#5: Anastasia Grishina, RUS. We've delighted in watching Grishina grow up, but wish she had had a better Olympic experience to show off this wholly elegant, beautifully interpreted routine. It's still on almost everybody's favorites list.
#4: Aliya Mustafina, RUS. Few performers pack such a punch in presence, choreography, musical interpretation and dramatic eye shadow that judges overlook and fans forgive egregious form errors in tumbling. Mustafina is one such performer. This floor routine is a rare gem -- just close your eyes during the triple full.
#3: Peng Peng Lee, CAN. Canadian floor is generally remarkable for its choreography, but the marvelous child prodigy/trickster/comeback kid Peng Peng Lee took it to another level early in the year, upping the ante on her tumbling (she was working a full twisting double layout second pass) before an untimely ACL tear in May kept her out of the Olympics. Lee has moved on to UCLA, but plans to continue training for 2016, according to Bruins coach Valorie Kondos-Field.
#2: Mariya Livchikova, UKR. It will go down as one of the great shames of the year that Mariya Livchikova injured her knee in training at the 2011 Worlds and was not able to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. This wonderful, elegant routine has yet to be performed on a World or Olympic stage, but fortunately Livchikova looked completely recovered from the injury at the 2012 Europeans and shows promise to do well in the coming year. In the meantime, enjoy this exercise.
#1: Ksenia Afanasyeva, RUS. Simply the best floor routine of the quad, in my opinion. Sassy, daring and highly original. A piece you'll want to see again and again. Sadly, of the three times she did it in London, the only real hit is team prelims, and as far as I know there's only iPhone footage of that. Hopefully Afanasyeva will return -- if only to thrill us with that routine one more time.
Routines 15-30 of 2012 are here.