What's The Difference: Deltchev, Gienger, Comaneci, Markelov, Shushunova

We’ve already covered the differences between the Shaposhnikova skills and the Tkatchev family, two major categories of uneven bars release moves. But there’s a whole other rag-tag group of release skills, all done on the high bar, that aren’t quite a family, but all look somewhat similar—and, in these modern gymnastics days, are all somewhat rare. Here’s how to tell the difference between a Deltchev, Gienger, Comaneci, Markelov and Shushunova—because when you actually see one, you’ll want to know what you’re looking at. 

Deltchev

Difficulty: D

via GIPHY

The Deltchev, named for the male gymnast Stoyal Deltchev of Bulgaria, looks like a weird cross between a Gienger (below) and a straddled Jaeger. It starts with the gymnast in a swing facing outward from the bar, and as she comes up on the other side, she does a half turn into a front flip with her legs straddled and catches the bar on the other side. It has the same outwards → inwards motion of a Gienger, but a different type of flip.

Gienger

Difficulty: D (piked) or E (layout)

via GIPHY

Unlike a Deltchev, which is a half turn into a front flip, a Gienger is a backflip into a half turn; both start in a swing facing outwards and end facing inwards, but the order of the twist/flip is reversed. The skill is named for the male German gymnast Eberhard Gienger, who first performed the skill. It can be done in a piked position or a layout position, with the pike at a D and the layout with an E (though many of the layout versions end up looking pretty piked anyways). These days, you’ll see some gymnasts connect one of the Shaposhnikova skills with a half twist into a Gienger to get some extra connection points. 

Comaneci

Difficulty Value: E

via GIPHY

The Comaneci is named for famous Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who competed the first Comaneci in the 1976 Olympic Games—the same Olympics where she got her perfect 10s. To do a Comaneci, the gymnast looks like she’s doing a cast to a handstand, but instead does a front flip with her legs in a straddle position, catching the bar in a hang on the same side as where she started. Although the Comenci has a high difficulty value, it’s particularly tough to connect anything into or out of it—which means that many of today’s gymnasts prefer to train other E skills that can get them those extra bonus connection points.

Markelov

Difficulty Value: D

via GIPHY

The Markelov is another skill named for a male gymnast—this time, Vladimir Markelov of the Soviet Union. (The skill is also sometimes referred to as Khorkina, named for female gymnast Svetlana Khorkina of Russia.) It begins with a front giant facing outwards, and as the gymnast reaches the top of the bar, she flies over it and does half twist with her legs in a straddle, and then catches the bar on the other side. 

Shushunova

Difficulty Value: E

via GIPHY

Soviet gymnast Elena Shushunova first competed the original Shushunova at the 1986 World Cup. The skill is essentially a Markelov with an extra half twist; instead of starting in a front-giant swing facing outwards, the gymnast does a long swing facing inwards, and as she nears the top of her arc, she does a half twist, travels over the high bar in a straddled position, does another half twist, and then catches the bar on the other side. 


Brette Warshaw is a freelance writer and consultant based in New York City. You can follow her at @bstarwarshaw.

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