Top 10 Floor Routines Ever

July 31st, 2010 by Gymbit

When I first set out to create a Top 10 list of the best floor routines ever, I had no idea what a task it would become. How could I leave out gymnasts such as Svetlana Boginskaya, Oksana Omelianchik, Maria Filatova, Natalia Ilienko? Believe it or not, I did consider making this a Top 10 Soviet Routines from the 1980s list…well, anyway, here is a compilation of ten of my favourites. Enjoy!

10. Lauren Mitchell (AUS), 2009 World Championships

I like this routine because Mitchell presents a style unlike any other. The music is cool, and the dance matches the music very well. Mitchell shows that you don’t have to have balletic elegance to create a memorable performance. I think she should have won the gold medal.

9. Lilia Podkopayeva (UKR), 1996 Olympic Games

I have to include Podkopayeva because she’s one of my favourite gymnasts ever and her double front-half out mount is just amazing.

8. Mo Huilan (CHN), 1994 World Championships

This is one of the few “cutesy” routines that I can really appreciate. Only a gymnast like Mo could pull off a routine set to typewriter music.

7. Shannon Miller (USA), 1993 Hilton Challenge

I can’t blame Miller for using this routine for three years. It was just about perfect and it helped her win silver all-around at the 1992 Olympic Games and gold all-around at both the 1993 and 1994 World Championships.

6. Tatiana Groshkova (URS), 1989 Chunichi Cup

Groshkova must surely be the best gymnast never to snag a spot on a World or Olympic team. She mounts with a double-full-in…unbelievable!

5. Svetlana Lebedinskaya (URS), 1986 Goodwill Display

With so much competition amongst her Soviet teammates in the mid-1980s, Lebedinskaya never had a chance to make much of a name for herself internationally. It’s such a shame, because she definitely had the talent!

4. Irina Baraksanova (URS), 1985 World Championships

A typical Soviet routine that exemplifies the grace, power and musical interpretation that made her team unbeatable. Nearly any gymnast on this Soviet team could have won the all-around gold at these World Championships, but Baraksanova and Olga Mostepanova (fresh off her 40.0 win at the Friendship Games!) were withdrawn in favour of eventual co-champions Omelianchik and Yelena Shushunova…but who’s to say that was the best decision?!

3. Silvia Mitova (BUL), 1991 European Cup

This next video includes not just Mitova’s inimitable Blues for Klook routine, but also the routines of five other gymnasts who used this music after her. No matter how creative a gymnast is with the interpretation, it seems to me that it’s never a good idea to use such a well loved piece. The thing is, many of those other routines would have been perfectly good if only I could stop myself from thinking of Mitova and her wonderful choreography the entire time.

2. Anna Pavlova (RUS), 2008 Olympic Games

I just love this routine, and Pavlova performed it to perfection in the all-around. All her fourth place finishes make me sad.

1. Natalia Frolova (URS), 1986 Kraft Invitational

Hands down my favourite routine ever. I can’t believe it has been 24 years since Frolova performed this; the tumbling would be world-class even today, and the choreography is exquisite.

So what makes a floor routine great, anyway? For me, it’s the combination of captivating music and lovely choreography, with a dose of difficult tumbling on the side. I know there are so many fantastic routines that I haven’t included. Please add a comment and tell me your favourite floor routines of all time.

Next up: the Top 5 Worst Floor Routines Ever!

UPDATE: Click on Comments to see the favourite floor routines of other gym fans!

Posted in Fun | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Top 10 Floor Routines Ever”

  1. Ashley Says:

    i love #5. a lot of these i haven’t seen so it was refreshing to see. i didnt get why everyone loved pavlova but now i see it. i love how she’s good on vault but good on floor not just for her strength in tumbling but her elegance and grace while executing flawless dance moves. i think #5 was my fave, though. one of the ones that is most enjoyable to watch for me is jiang yuyuan at team finals in 08 olympics. the music seems to fit her perfectly and i love the playful aspect. the music has a little more flavor than the other gymnasts and she showed personality. seriously, watching that routine makes me smile.

  2. Gymbit Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Ashley! I love Svetlana Lebedinskaya’s floor routine, too. It’s one that not everyone would have seen since she never became as famous as some of her teammates.

    Here’s one of your favourite routines: Jiang Yuyuan at the 2008 Olympics!

  3. RJL Says:

    Wow, what an ambitious subject! It must have been so hard to narrow the list down to just ten, but you made some great choices. Interesting how all but two are from the early 90s or before…just shows how much more attention was paid to choreography a few decades ago. Here are a few of my favourites, mostly from the days when my interest in gymnastics was really at its peak: Alexandra Marinescu, 1995 Pre-Olympics (very cool music and choreography); Andreea Raducan, 2000 Olympics (I remember watching it over and over because I was so happy she won…at least for a day or two); Maria Olaru, 2000 Olympics (very different from the typical Romanian floor routine); Henrietta Onodi, 1992 Olympics (great tumbling); and Dominique Dawes, 1993 Worlds (a real joy to watch). Let’s hope there will be some new ones soon to add to the list!

  4. RJL Says:

    I should also have mentioned Yvonne Tousek’s routine from 1995-6…extremely original and enjoyable to watch.

  5. Gymbit Says:

    Those are some great routines, RJL!

    Alexandra Marinescu, 1996 European Championships

    Andreea Raducan, 2000 Olympic Games

    Maria Olaru, 2000 Olympics

    Henrietta Onodi, 1992 Olympic Games

    Dominique Dawes, 1993 World Championships (I love this one, too!)

    Yvonne Tousek, 1996 Olympic Games (really cool routine from start to finish)

  6. Talia Says:

    hey ashley, I agree that number 5 is the best but I might be a bit biased because she now coaches me for gymnastics. Im so lucky! She is an amazing coach and im soooo happy that her routine is on the list because that will make her really happy. im watching her routine over and over again! 😀

  7. Angie Says:

    I am sorry, but Dominique Dawes has best floor routine of all time…And this is coming from an ex gymnast and from a fellow West Virginian…(sorry Mary Lou)…

  8. Janice Says:

    Thanks so much for your list! I’ve also thought, over the years, about what routines would make up my list of top 10 all-time favorites. I agree with several of your choices – Mitova’s routine has been one of my faves ever since I saw it in 1991. I also love Mo Huilan and Podkopayeva’s routines. (You’ll see I’m partial to routines done by gymnasts from the U.S.S.R. and its republics). Sadly, routines these days have to pack in four tumbling passes, which is at the cost of the dance and artistry that characterized these wonderful routines from the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    A few more that I’ve always enjoyed (in no particular order):
    Dina Kochetkova – 1994 Worlds EF
    Ekaterina Lobaznyuk – 2000 Olympics (don’t know if it’s AA or EF)
    Tatiana Lysenko – 1991 Worlds AA
    Olga Strazheva – 1988 USA vs USSR
    Elena Shushunova – 1988 Olympics AA
    Camelia Voinea – 1987 Worlds
    Natalia Laschenova – 1988 USA vs USSR
    Svetlana Boginskaya – 1989 Worlds AA
    Dominique Moceanu – 1996 Olympics Team
    Dominique Dawes – 1991 Nationals EF
    Henrietta Onodi – 1990 Goodwill Games AA
    Svetlana Khorkina – 1995 Worlds AA
    Daniela Silivas – 1988 Olympics Compulsory (yes, compulsories – she just did this routine SO much better than everyone else – everything was perfectly synchronized to the music)

  9. Gymbit Says:

    Wow, that’s a great list of floor routines – thanks! I remember loving Dina Kochetkova’s floor from the 1994 Worlds as well, and I thought it really suited her. At the 1996 Olympic Games she performed this one in Team and AA, but busted out the 1996 Worlds routine again for Apparatus Finals.

    Dina Kochetkova (RUS), 1994 Worlds EF

    Dina Kochetkova (RUS), 1996 Olympics EF

    Ekaterina Lobaznyuk (RUS), 2000 Olympic Games TF – The Russian floor line up was awesome that year because they all had completely different styles. Don’t you think the team would have been unbeatable if the 5th and 6th members were Yevgeniya Kuznetsova and Yelena Dolgopolova?!

    Tatiana Lysenko (UKR), 1991 Worlds AA – one of my sentimental favourites

    Olga Strazheva (URS), 1998 USA vs USSR

    Yelena Shushunova (URS), 1998 Olympics AA (at 8:38)

    Camelia Voinea (ROM), 1987 Worlds

    Natalia Laschenova (URS), 1988 USA vs USSR

    Svetlana Boginskaya (URS), 1989 World AA

    Dominique Moceanu (USA), 1996 Olympics TO

    Dominique Dawes (USA), 1991 Nationals EF

    Henrietta Onodi (HUN), 1990 Goodwill Games AA

    Svetlana Khorkina (RUS), 1995 Worlds AA

    Daniela Silivas (ROM), 1988 Olympics TC

  10. Kat M Says:

    Wow – I am fascinated by this. I have not done gymmastics in a LONG time (like over 25 years), but I had this vague memory of the most beautiful floor routine I had ever seen. It was so vague, it was like a dream you had once and you can barely remember it. And here I find, to my amazement, that someone else had the same dream and remembers the same routine! Natalia Frolova was brilliant. That routine of hers was just perfect in so many ways. I love it.

  11. Gymbit Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed this, Kat. Natalia Frolova’s floor routine is still my favourite of all time. I’ve been watching lots of videos of the 2013 Worlds this week, and then I got nostalgic and wanted to see old stuff from the 1980s. I just rewatched Aurelia Dobre’s floor routine from the 1987 Worlds and I was reminded of the quality of movement in that era that is so hard to find these days.

  12. debbie Says:

    well obviously this was WAY before the great SIMONE BILES!!she is by far the best gymnast ESPECIALLY on the floor than anyone else EVER!!!!!!!!

  13. Sara Says:

    I disagree I do not believe Simone Biles is the best gymnast ever. She is sloppy in a lot of her skills exspecially floor and beam. Just cause she has power does not make her the best.

  14. Dayton L. Says:

    What about Nastia Liukin’s 2008 Olympics all-around routine? I have always found her floor routine to be absolutely gorgeous, expressive and balletic. She is the hardest working dancer I believe there has ever been out on international elite competition floor.

  15. Gymbit Says:

    Yes, that was a beautiful floor routine too. It’s hard to believe that was 8 years ago! Here it is:

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