As the end of the new year approaches, let's celebrate some of the most outstanding gymnasts that have emerged in 2017.
These three gymnasts are all first-year seniors who all put up incredible performances for their first major competitions in the senior international field. Check out our top picks below, as well as honorable mentions.
3. Jade Carey
Jade Carey burst onto the scene in 2017 and had one of the best years a first-year elite can hope for. Carey is a powerful gymnast who can perform some of the toughest skills in the world on vault and floor. Prior to 2017, Carey competed at the J.O. level before being spotted by Valeri Liukin, after which she was invited to participate in a national team camp.
From there, Carey competed at the American Classic (a qualifier for nationals) and placed first on vault, beam, and floor. She then competed at the U.S. Classic where she again placed first on vault and floor, and fourth on beam. At nationals, Carey competed with the best gymnasts in the nation and impressed on vault and floor especially, placing first and second, respectively.
Carey’s performance at nationals earned her a spot on the national team, and, consequently, a chance to attend the selection camp for world championships. Carey was named to the worlds team and competed in event finals on vault and floor, and she won silver medals on both. Her rise to the top in such a short amount of time is an incredible accomplishment and a highlight for 2017.
2. Elena Eremina
Russia’s Elena Eremina demonstrated an impressive start to her senior career in 2017. She is skilled on all four events, but is especially good on bars where she competes highly difficult skills, including a Nabieva to Pak combination. In early 2017, Eremina won the silver medal in the all-around at Russian Championships as well as a silver on floor.
She was selected to represent Russia at the 2017 European Championships, where she qualified to the all-around final and finished fourth. She was impressive on bars, where she took the silver medal. Eremina put up an excellent performance at the Russian Cup in August, where she won medals on every event, except vault, and in the all-around.
The highlight of the year for Eremina came at 2017 World Championships, where she won the bronze medal in the all-around and the silver medal on bars.
1. Morgan Hurd
Morgan Hurd surprised many fans this year when she emerged as the new world all-around champion. Although she had always been an impressive gymnast in her junior career, she was battling an injury this year which kept her out of the top ranks in some of the domestic U.S. competitions, but she certainly managed to work her way right to the top, not only in the U.S., but in the world.
Hurd had an early start to her competition season when she competed at the Stuttgart World Cup in March, taking the bronze medal in the all-around. She was also chosen to represent USA at the City of Jesolo Trophy, where she helped the team to a gold-medal finish. Hurd had been struggling with an elbow injury and had been in recovery mode when she competed at the U.S. Classic and nationals in the summer; however, she was still named to the national team and thus invited to participate at the selection camp for worlds.
Hurd was one of the four U.S. gymnasts named to the worlds team and competed all-around in qualifications. She had qualified into sixth place in the final, and so was not an overwhelming favorite to win the gold, but she put up a fantastic performance in the final to capture the gold medal, finishing only 0.1 ahead of silver medalist Ellie Black. Hurd also won a silver medal in the balance beam final. She has absolutely established herself as one of the best gymnasts in the world and will likely only be going up from here.
Ellie Downie (Great Britain)
Ellie Black (Canada)
Maile O'Keefe (USA)
Emma Malabuyo (USA)