7 Unique Skills to Watch Right Now

of 07

Shantessa Pama, Triple Back Dismount (Bars)

Shantessa Pama
Steve Lange

American junior gymnast Shantessa Pama braved a triple back off bars -- and landed it pretty darn nicely -- at the 2004 US junior nationals. (Also: She was 13 years old at the time!)

Watch it here.

If you're like us, it may actually take your breath away.

of 07

Tia Orlando, Front Handspring Front (Beam)

Tia Orlando on Beam at the 2004 Olympic Trials
© Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

American Tia Orlando competed this amazing front handspring front tuck onto the beam in 2001 until 2003, before ditching it in the Olympic year, probably due to its inconsistency in competition.

Watch it here.

Sidenote: Orlando was also one of the best American tumblers ever: She dismounted with an effortless running double front at the 2004 US nationals (and also threw a double layout, front double full punch front full, and piked full-in).

of 07

Jonathan Horton, Full-Twisting Triple Back (High Bar)

Jonathan Horton Gymnastics
© Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

US Olympian Jonathan Horton took the triple-back dismount and literally added a twist. He tried it during a special "originality" competition at the 2007 Winter Cup, a US men's meet held annually to help determine the national team.

Watch it here.

of 07

Yang Yun, Front Handspring Front Layout (Vault)

Yang Yun, on the far right, won the bronze on bars at the 2000 Olympics. © Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

Chinese gymnast Yang Yun competed this vault -- a front handspring front layout -- at the 2000 Olympics. It may not be all that unique, since other many other gymnasts have attempted it, but she did one of the nicest ever seen. We could watch it over and over again.

Watch it here.

Sidenote: You might recognize Yang's name: She is married to 2008 Olympic all-around champion Yang Wei. She was also one of the gymnasts on the 2000 team suspected of being underage, though the FIG ruled there was not enough evidence in her case. The FIG did find that a teammate of hers was underage, and stripped the team of its 2000 Olympic medal.

of 07

Christine Peng-Peng Lee, Flairs (Beam)

Christine Peng Peng Lee
© Adam Pretty / Getty Images

Flairs on beam are named after Canadian gymnast Leah Homma, but fellow countrywoman Christine Peng-Peng Lee also rocks them as her mount -- and the rest of her routine is well worth watching too. Here, she's anchoring the UCLA beam lineup, and competing one of the most difficult sets done in collegiate gymnastics.

Watch it here.

of 07

Aliya Mustafina (Bars)

Aliya Mustafina
© Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina's bar set in 2013 featured two unique skills: One, a full-twisting Shaposhnikova in combination with a Pak to a Shaposh-half -- is incredibly difficult, but looks almost simple the way she does it. Mustafina caps off her set with a 1.5 twisting double-tuck dismount, named the Mustafina, that she used in 2012 to win Olympic gold on bars.

Watch it here.

of 07

Liu Xuan, One-Armed Giant to One-Armed Gienger (Uneven Bars)

© Steve Lange

Chinese gymnast Liu Xuan braved an incredible one-armed giant to one-armed Gienger (wearing only one grip!) in 1995 and 1996 -- before ditching it when the FIG only deemed it a "C" value (or middle-of-the-road in terms of difficulty) and it wasn't worth the risk anymore without the reward. Why the head-scratching difficulty value? At the time, the FIG said they didn't want gymnastics to head in that direction because it was too dangerous.

Watch it here.

Sidenote: Liu earned a 9.700 in the above video at 1996 worlds, for ninth place in the uneven bar finals -- which many deemed outrageous. In the very-close field, however, first place was less than a tenth of a point higher, at 9.787 (and went to Svetlana Khorkina).

Her first attempts show how tricky this move really is. Watch her first try it in competition at the 1995 Visa Challenge.