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Throwback Thursday: Liu Xuan and Elvire Teza

Liu Xuan (left) and Elvire Teza (right)

With Katelyn Ohashi wowing audiences (get that NCAA Floor title, girl) and Simone Biles being Simone Biles, I thought it would be nice to reflect on awesome gymnasts from the past you may not be familiar with.

I always remember Chinese gymnast Liu Xuan and French gymnast Elvire Teza from the 1996 quad. They both pioneered moves that were way ahead of their time. In the minds of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Liu Xuan was too far ahead and her eponymous move was devalued in the name of safety.


Let’s check out these ladies and marvel at their revolutionary moves. You won’t see gymnasts doing these skills today.

First is Liu Xuan. Liu is the first woman to perform a one arm giant on bars. She also performed a one arm to a Geinger release. These moves are RIDICULOUSLY hard, impressive, and, prior to Liu, performed only by men.

The shoulder strength I will never have.
Gif: Gymnastics Wiki

Liu attempted to break the glass ceiling on one arm giants. Even though FIG refused to appropriately value her skills, she still performed her routine at the Olympics (bars skills are valued from A through G, and her one arm giant is only valued as a B skill; one arm to Geinger is valued only as a D skill),

Next up is Elvire Teza. Teza faired a bit better with her eponymous E valued skill on beam (like bars, beam skills are rated A-G with G skills being the most difficult).


I remember the first time I saw Teza do this skill and I was just amazed. It was the first time I saw anyone treat the beam like the bars.

I’m not going to spoil it for you. Watch Teza’s beam routine and you’ll know immediately which move is the Teza.

Here’s a second look at the Teza:

Yes, she did that!
Gif: Gymnastics Wiki

Anyways, these are just two gymnasts I’ve been reminiscing about recently. Now you can say you know gymnasts that aren’t Simone Biles and/or American. lol

Next TBT, I’ll post some of my favorite figure skating routines from back in the day!

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