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Anna Li’s Is Doing A What? The Rybalko, Now Available For Women’s Uneven Bars

12 May

Anna Li photo credit Brigid McCarthy/The Couch Gymnast

There was a lot of buzz this week about Anna Li’s new uneven bars skill. This isn’t normally a subject we cover. However, we think it’s really freakin’ cool when a gymnast outside of the stereotypical teen years is innovating at the elite level. Anna did a “Rybalko”, a hop 1.5. This is especially difficult because she has to finish the turn very early in order to get straight and avoid whacking her heels on the low bar.

The 24-year-old, member of the 2011 World Championship team, known for her exceptional and seemingly unlimited bag of tricks on bars, showed a men’s high bar skill at the national team training camp. USA Gymnastics posted a partial video of her routine showing this skill.

There are rumors that Amanda Borden did this skill at the 1995 American Classic but a video has never surfaced. Even if Borden did compete this skill, it wasn’t done at an international competition and could not have been named for her. If Anna makes the Olympic team, the skill could be named the “Li.”

Now let’s take a look at what this thing is. It kind of looks like a one armed pirouette or 1/2 hop to healy. A Rybalko is a men’s high bar skill. If you have watched high bar ever, you have seen this:


Here is multi-world medalist Fabian Hambuchen’s Rybalko:

The greatest male gymnast of all time Kohei Uchiura’s Rybalko:

Here is Anna Li’s version, the full video is here:

There was Twitter discussion (sparked by super-researcher Between The Olympics Blog), of Yezhova performing this skill. But agrees that this is a hop full to higgins-roll, rather than a Rybalko. Full video here :

We’ve only ever seen one Rybalko that is truly done 100% hands-free done by super-human Legendre. We are sure Anna could do it this way too, if that stinking low bar wasn’t in the way. She’ll probably learn this for next season along with a Pegan, Kolman etc. etc. Just like us, she just gets better with age!

Legendre true hop 1.5:

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