The first Youth Olympic Games took place in Singapore in 2010 and the competition was opened only for gymnasts born in 1995. Several of the medalists made into the London 2012 Olympics and two of them made their second appearance in Rio 2016.
Four years later in 2014 the second Youth Olympic Games took place in Nanning, China. The competition was open for gymnasts born in 1999 and their medalists were the young stars of Rio 2016.
So let’s take a quick look back into the careers of the Youth Olympic Medalists.
The Queen of Singapore was then Russia’s biggest promise in the all-around for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics, particularly after their star Aliya Mustafina tore her ACL in early 2011. Viktoria, who has never been noted for her consistency, did deliver for Russia at the most crucial moments in the all-around at both Worlds and Olympics yet both times came in second place behind Wieber (2011) and Douglas (2012). An uneven bars specialist Viktoria Komova won bars at the Youth Olympic Games and then became World Champion on the event in 2011.
Viktoria who did plan to continue in the sport after London 2012 saw endless injuries and illnesses keeping her from come backing for three full years. It was until the European Games in June of 2015 when she came back into the international scene and later that year became World Champion on Bars once more. A strong candidate for the Russian Olympic Team in Rio Viktoria saw her Road to Rio broken as continuous back pain forced her to stop training
Viktoria who wants to continue in the sport will await her medical prognosis before making a final decision about her career. Viktoria, the daughter of Soviet star, Vera Kolesnikova was at the time of Singapore a great promise but since London 2012 has had some of the most unfortunate careers in terms of injuries and illnesses.
The Italian gymnast is remembered for clinching the bronze medal in the all-around in Sinagpore 2010 after a very well executed floor routine. Performing so well under so much pressure was among the first tests Carlotta endured in what is an amazing career. Noted for her beam work Carlotta won silver at the Youth Olympic Games and the next year she earned silver once more by finishing second at the 2011 European Championships.
She is one of the two gymnasts from the Youth Olympic Games that became a two time Olympian entering the all-around final at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games finishing 21st and 12th respectively.
Diana Bulimar tumbled into the best birthday gift a gymnast can have when she won silver on Floor on August 22nd, 2010, her 15th birthday.Two years later Diana was at the London Olympics contributing on three events (Bars, Beam and Floor) toward her team’s third place finish.
At the 2013 Europeans she easily won silver on beam and bronze on floor and was on the route of an ascending career when a knee injury kept her from the 2013 World Championships. She recuperated and was present at the 2014 European Championships but again suffered a knee injury prior to the 2014 World Championships. In 2015 once again she was back and while she did attend the World Championships the injuries had taken their toll on her body as she could not demonstrate the same difficulty level she had in 2013.
After the unfortunate Romanian participation at the Rio Test Event where Romania failed to qualify a full team to the Olympics rumours about her retirement surfaced. She quickly denied them and continued to train for the 2016 Europeans only to rupture her Achilles tendon while training on the Floor Exercise. Like Komova, Bulimar’s promising career has continuously been interrupted due to injuries.
Jonna was the surprise from the Youth Games as she won bronze in the uneven bars final. She immediately became one to watch in the apparatus and at the 2013 European Championships she won silver on bars.
While competing in the all-around final at the 2015 Europeans Jonna tore her ACL. A year later she was back however her dismount from bars at the 2016 World Cup in Doha broke her road to Rio since she tore her meniscus ending her chances of a second Olympic Games. Jonna had represented Sweden at London 2012.
Ana Sofia Gómez
The biggest revelation of the Youth Olympic Games was Ana Sofía Gómez who finished 5th in the all-around and 4th on beam and floor. Success came to her a year later when she became PanAmerican champion on beam in 2011 as well as silver medallist in the all-around.
She represented Guatemala at the 2012 Olympic Games where she finished 22nd all-around and was third reserve into the all-around final in Rio 2016, making her only the second gymnast from the Youth Olympic Games to attend both the London and Rio Olympics.
The second best in the Singapore Games behind Viktoria Komova did not have the stellar career that her results at the 2010 Games hinted. She did make the 2011 World Team where she contributed on Bars, Beam and Floor in the Team Final but did not make the 2012 Olympic Team. She continued to compete through 2013 and 2014 but did not make any major international appearances.
Maria Paula Vargas
The silver medallist on vault of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games did not make it to London 2012 due to Spain having only one spot and it went to Ana Maria Izurieta. Maria Paula did attend the 2015 World Championships where she contributed on all events towards her team’s 17th place finish.
Little was heard from Angela Donald of Australia who won bronze on beam with a 6.0 difficulty score. She did not make any major international appearances after she became senior in 2011.
As for the 1999 Generation they all have very young careers but many were stars at the recently finished Rio Olympic Games.
The Russians managed to keep their all-around and bars titles from Singapore 2010 when Seda won the two gold medals at the Nanning Youth Olympic Games. Seda, who also won silver on Floor in 2014, has been a constant presence in the Russian Team since her senior debut.
At the 2015 European Games Seda won silver on vault and was named to the 2015 World Team. A good all-arounder with a big potential on beam, she has made several beam finals including the one at the 2015 World Championships but fell and placed 6th.
In 2016 Seda was named to both the 2016 European Team and the 2016 Olympic Team. At the European Team Final she contributed on three events but once more struggled on beam, so it was a pleasant surprise to see her deliver a solid routine during the Olympic Team final where Russia claimed the silver medal. Individually she advanced to the all-around final in Rio 2016 and was in medal contention but fell during her beam dismount.
Competing at home in Nanning 2014 Wang Yan won two gold medals (vault and beam) and one bronze (bars). In 2015 she contributed on three events to her team’s silver medal win at the World Championships. She also qualified to the all-around, vault and beam final but did not manage to medal on any event.
For the 2016 Olympic Games the results were very similar as she contributed on three events towards her team’s third place finish and individually advanced to the all-around, vault and floor final but again did not manage to medal.
Nanning was the much anticipated debut of Rebecca Downie’s little sister and she was the bronze girl by placing third in the all-around, beam and floor, she also won the silver on vault. In her senior debut in 2015 she won bronze in the all-around at the European Championships and was part of the team that claimed a historic team bronze at the World Championships in Glasgow. At the 2016 European Championships she was covered in silver after medalling in the team competition, the vault and floor final.
She made the 2016 Olympic Team where after a scary fall in the qualification round she returned to complete her competition. During the team final she participated on all the events to help her team finish 5th. She advanced to the all-around final where she finished 13th; she was also first reserve for the beam final.
The Rio-born took silver in the all-around and beam in Nanning as well as gold on Floor. A strong presence in the Brazilian Team since her senior debut she was part of the team that took bronze at the 2015 PanAmerican Games and individually she also placed third in the all-around in Toronto. At the home Olympic Games Flávia qualified into the beam final where she finished 5th.
The bronze medallist on vault at the Youth Olympic Games is re-known for her Floor work. At the 2015 Asian Games she won bronze and at the 2015 World Championships she finished 4th in the event. She attended the Rio Olympics where she contributed on vault and floor towards her team’s historic fourth place finish.
Even though Laura Jurca qualified to all the finals in Nanning 2014 she did not medal in any event, her highest placements were fourth on vault and floor.
In her senior debut she was the light in the Romanian disaster during the qualification round at the 2015 World Championships where despite being the youngest and most inexperienced member she did not fall on any apparatus. Individually she qualified to the all-around final where she finished in 8th place.
Laura was injured and could not help her team during the Rio Test Event where Romania failed to qualify a full team to the Olympics
Despite winning silver during the uneven bars final, Iosra Abdelaziz has not made any major international appearance since her senior debut in 2015.