Floor Finalists – Start List, Qualification Scores and Videos, Predictions.


The Women’s World Championships will wrap up tomorrow with the Floor Finals. How this week has flown! You can watch them live here. Event finals start at 8:30am EST.

Here is the start list (the order they will compete in):

170 FERRARI Vanessa ITA
179 MURAKAMI Mai JPN
229 BILES Simone USA
204 IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU
218 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI
205 IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU
232 ROSS Kyla USA
110 BLACK Elsabeth CAN

This is how they qualified into finals:

  1. BILES Simone USA 6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033 Q
  2. IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU 6.200 (D) + 8.533(E) = 14.733 Q
  3. IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 6.100 (D) + 8.400(E) = 14.500 Q
  4. FERRARI Vanessa ITA 6.300 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.500 Q
  5. MURAKAMI Mai JPN 6.300 (D) + 8.166(E) = 14.466 Q
  6. ROSS Kyla USA 5.700 (D) + 8.633(E) = 14.333 Q
  7. STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 6.100  (D) +8.033(E) – 0.1 = 14.033 Q
  8. BLACK Elsabeth CAN 5.800 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.000 Q

My Predictions

I think that all of the gymnasts performed well in qualifications. I don’t think there is someone in the field that can do significantly better than they did, and I think the top girls are all pretty solid competitors. So I am actually going to go with the order that they qualified in.

  1. Simone Biles
  2. Sandra Izbasa
  3. Larisa Iordache

BILES Simone USA 6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033 Q

IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU 6.200 (D) + 8.533(E) = 14.733 Q

IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 6.100 (D) + 8.400(E) = 14.500 Q

FERRARI Vanessa ITA 6.300 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.500 Q

MURAKAMI Mai JPN 6.300 (D) + 8.166(E) = 14.466 Q

ROSS Kyla USA 5.700 (D) + 8.633(E) = 14.333 Q

STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 6.100  (D) +8.033(E) – 0.1 = 14.033 Q

BLACK Elsabeth CAN 5.800 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.000 Q

McKayla is Not Impressed. She is Delighted!


McKayla was not impressed on the podium, she was delighted. At the end of an exciting vault final, where McKayla was really challenged by others, she seemed to drink in the experience while the anthem played. Her eyes sparkled as she smiled a deep smile of contentment and a little giggle.

This was a great vault final, opening up with two beautifully executed, stuck vaults from Giulia Steingruber from Sweden. These were the same two vaults Alicia Sacramone won her world title with.

Next up Yamilet Pena survived another handspring double front attempt. She did not however, get it to her feet. It is a bit of a mystery. She always looks so upset that she didn’t make it, as if she really thought she had it. Yet we rarely actually see her make it. She falls on her second vault as well. Not a happy camper.

Oksana Chusovitina completes two clean vaults with some not so clean landings. But seriously, the fact that she is still competing and making finals is just mind boggling. Phan Thi Ha Thanh followed her with a fall and near knee injury. After her was Chantysh Netteb who fell on her vault and did injure her knee. Her vault was super high and clean, so this was surprising, and so sad.

Then the competition heated up with the top three gymnasts all at the end. Simone Biles threw a powerful and clean Amanar apart from her ankle cross. Almost sticks it and then has to take a hop back.

Her second fault was a thing of beauty. Great height and distance with perfect form! This most definitely put up a huge challenge for McKayla.

Next was Hong Un Jong. She had submitted the TTY to be named after her, so speculation was rampant. She hadn’t actually done one in Antwerp, so it seemed unlikely that she would throw it at the finals. If she was going to win gold, she needed to throw it. But she was almost assured a medal if she stuck with her Amanar. And to the relief of American fans everywhere, she stuck with the Amanar. After all, if she competed it, it was not likely to be a great TTY, and it just feels “right” that it should be called a Biles or a Maroney. (Won’t that be interesting if that is determined soley by competition order in prelims next year? How do they decide that?!?). Anyways, Hong did a powerful Amanar with lots of power to spare, but a huge bounding step forward. Not enough to surpass Simone.

And as we all assumed it would, in the end it came down to McKayla. But this year, she had to have two great vaults to win. And that she did. She did a gorgeous Amanar that just barely landed out of bounds.

And a great second vault as well with just a small step to defend her World title.

The American team really has become something special in their bond to each other. A huge hug between McKayla and Simone, lots of laughter and smiles as they walked to the awards podium. What a great pair.

Step One on her four year path to Rio and an Olympic vault medal is complete. And done in the ever impressive Maroney style.

The Bars Finalists – Start List, Predictions, Qualifications Scores and Video Roundup


Here are your 2013 World Uneven Bars Finalists. They will compete in the Saturday morning event finals session, starting at 8:30am. You can watch it here.

The gymnasts will compete in this order:

  1. 118 YAO Jinnan CHN
  2. 121 HUANG Huidan CHN
  3. 145 DOWNIE Rebecca GBR
  4. 150 SCHEDER Sophie GER
  5. 229 BILES Simone USA
  6. 232 ROSS Kyla USA
  7. 211 MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS
  8. 148 HARROLD Ruby GBR

The qualified in this order:

  1. YAO Jinnan CHN 15.433
  2. ROSS Kyla USA 15.133
  3. HUANG Huidan CHN 15.133
  4. DOWNIE Rebecca GBR 15.100
  5. MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 14.900
  6. BILES Simone USA 14.800
  7. HARROLD Ruby GBR 14.600
  8. SCHEDER Sophie GER 14.566

My predictions for the podium….

  1. Aliya Mustafina
  2. Kyla Ross
  3. Rebecca Downie

The Chinese are without a doubt the leaders. But I just have a feeling they will both fall. I hope not!!! I think Aliya will pull an Aliya… come out super fierce for finals. But this one is pretty wide open. If Yao Jinnan hits, she will win it.

Here were their routines in qualifications:

1 YAO Jinnan CHN 6.700 (D) +  8.733 (E) = 15.433 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM2FniCtrys
2 ROSS Kyla USA 6.400 (D) +  8.733 (E) =  8.733 15.133 

3 HUANG Huidan CHN 6.600 (D) +  8.533 (E) =  15.133 

4 DOWNIE Rebecca GBR 6.600 (D) +  8.500 (E) =  15.100

5 MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 6.200 (D) +  8.700 (E) =  14.900 

6 BILES Simone USA 6.000 (D) +  8.800 (E) =  14.800 

7 HARROLD Ruby GBR 6.300 (D) +  8.300 (E) = 14.600 

8 SCHEDER Sophie GER 6.400 (D) +  8.166 (E) =  14.566

The Vault Finalists – Start List, Predictions, Qualification Video and Score Round up


Tomorrow (Saturday October 5) are the first two event finals of the World Championships. You can watch live in the US here starting at 8:30am EST.

The 2013 WAG World Championship vault finalists in the order they will compete (start list) are:

  1. 218 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI
  2. 133 PENA ABREU Yamilet DOM
  3. 233 CHUSOVITINA Oksana UZB
  4. 238 PHAN Thi Ha Thanh VIE
  5. 191 NETTEB Chantysha NED
  6. 229 BILES Simone USA
  7. 200 HONG Un Jong PRK
  8. 231 MARONEY Mc Kayla USA

Their qualification scores were:

  1. McKayla Maroney USA 15.641
  2. Simone Biles USA 15.550
  3. Hong Un Jong PRK 15.249
  4. Phan Thi Ha Thanh VIE 14.966
  5. Giulia Steingruber SUI 14.799
  6. Oksana Chosovitina UZB 14.750
  7. Yamilet Pena DOM 14.683
  8. Chantysha Netteb NED 14.516

The general predictions (and I agree) for this event finals are pretty easy. The top three will finish the same way they qualified:

  1. McKayla Maroney USA
  2. Simone Biles USA
  3. Hong Un Jong PRK

The plot twist will be an possible half twist. Hong Un Jong has submitted a Triple Twisting Yurchenko to be named after her. If she is able to add a half twist to her amanar and stay on her feet, she will undoubtedly win. We have yet to see her do the vault, but anything can happen in a World Championship Final!

Check out each of their qualification vaults!

McKayla Maroney USA 15.641 
6.300 (D) + 9.550 (E) = 15.850

6.000 (D) + 9.433  (E) = 15.433

Simone Biles USA 15.550
6.300 (D) + 9.600 (E) = 15.900

5.600 (D) + 9.600 (E) = 15.200

Hong Un Jong PRK 15.249
6.300 (D) + 9.333 (E) = 15.633
6.400 (D) + 8.566 (E) – 0.1 = 14.866

Phan Thi Ha Thanh VIE 14.966
5.800 (D) + 9.066 (E) =  14.866
6.200 (D) + 8.866 (E) = 15.066

Giulia Steingruber SUI 14.799
6.200 (D) + 9.166 (E) = 15.366
5.000 (D) + 9.233 (E) = 14.233

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCM9MLHo4OQ

Oksana Chosovitina UZB 14.750
6.200 (D) + 8.800 (E) = 15.000
5.500 (D) + 9.100 (E) 0.1 = 14.500

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcwJ7OJlxKE

Yamilet Pena DOM 14.683
1 7.000 (D) + 7.900 (E) =  14.900
2 5.800 (D) + 8.666 (E) = 14.466



Chantysha Netteb NED 14.516
5.800 (D) + 9.133 (E) – 0.1 = 14.833
5.200 (D) +9.000 (E) = 14.200

The Top 8 All Around Finalists – Score and Video Round Up


Here are your top 8 All Around Finalists. They will be competing Friday, at 2pm EST. You can watch here Live. If you haven’t seen all of their performances, each score is linked to a video of their performance. (McKayla Maroney will not be competing due to the two per country rule). Also, for a taste of what’s to come, check out this playlist (or watch it below) of each of the top five gymnast’s qualifications performances back to back in Olympic order.

Rk Name NOC Total Vault UB Beam Floor
1 BILES Simone USA
60.133
15.900 14.800 14.400 15.033
2 ROSS Kyla USA
59.198
15.166 15.133 14.566 14.333
3 YAO Jinnan CHN
57.965
14.766 15.433 14.100 13.666
4 IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU
57.865
14.933 13.166 15.266 14.500
5 MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS
57.165
14.966 14.900 14.133 13.166
6 MARONEY Mc Kayla USA
57.149
15.850 14.300 12.666 14.333
7 SHANG Chunsong CHN
56.998
13.966 14.400 14.866 13.766
8 FERRARI Vanessa ITA
56.915
14.366 13.833 14.216 14.500
9 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI
56.465
15.366 13.233 13.833 14.033

McKayla Maroney – the Princess of Poise


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Photo by John Cheng

McKayla has gone through so much in the past year, it truly is quite amazing that she is not only at Worlds, but has improved since last year. Three surgeries, media frenzy, meme fame and a changed life. She has made no bones that she has some unfinished business called doing her best at the Olympic vault finals. So between now and then, she will give gymnastics her all.

Though vaulting is what she shines at, she really wants to be an all-arounder. And floor is her favorite event. So it was incredibly meaningful for her to be able to compete all around in the qualifications. She didn’t have her most spectacular day, but she did really well.

She started her day out on floor. She had a number of small bobbles on her landings and her leaps weren’t quite all the way split. But it was really a great routine. Many on the gymternet felt like she was really underscored here.

After seeing her INCREDIBLE vault in podium training, this amanar was anticlimactic. But it was a normal, amazing vault from McKayla.

Her second vault however, was one of her better ones.

McKayla is not known for her bars. But this was most definitely one of the best bar routines she has ever done!

On the other hand, this beam routine was most definitely not her best. Getting into the swing of competing beam again often takes some time.

As always, the highlight of the day was McKayla’s interview. Such poise, so much authenticity, and so much grace. i fall more in love with this girl every interview.

She only qualified into the vault finals, being another victim of the 2 per country rule on both floor (where she tied with Kyla Ross but the tie was broken with Kyla’s higher E score) and the all around (where she placed 5th in the world).

Simone Biles – The Queen of Springs


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Photo by John Cheng

Simone Biles is USA’s Queen of Springs. I really think there are springs in her legs! The way she tumbles is just amazing. She is doing some of the hardest floor passes in the world and yet it seems like she is just getting started. She does these high flying skills that should take everything she’s got and instead she has power to spare. And she punches off the beam like she is tumbling on the floor.

Simone has such a sweet personality, and the joy of gymnastics just shines through everything she does. I used to coach a gymnast who would be barrelling down the vault runway and just break into a huge grin. Every single time. She just loved it so much. Simone does that as well. You can tell her smiles on floor are as more from her love of doing what she is doing than putting on a performance.

Simone had an incredible day of qualifications. She just hit everywhere! She started out on bars, where she earned a higher execution score than even Aliya Mustafina!

6.000 (D) + 8.800 (E) = 14.800

Simones presentation and poise on beam has improved so very much this year.  She really hit her skills with precision and attacked the beam.

6.100 (D) + 8.300 (E) = 14.400

Simone completely rocked floor. Her tumbling passes were sky high and mostly stuck. She performed her little hear out and was a joy to watch on floor.

6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033

Simone gave McKayla a run for her money on vault! She put up two awesome vaults.

You can tell she is just having the time of her life. Love the quote “Actually, I was telling Brenna [Dowell] before I was getting ready to march out, Martha [Karolyi] scares me more than the judges, so I saw the judges and I was fine!”

Simone is going into the All Around finals as the leader of the pack. She also qualified for every event finals. She is the first American to do that since Shannon Miller!

Kyla Ross – The Empress of Elegance


by John Cheng, USAG

Kyla Ross has gone from the Queen of Clean to the Empress of Elegance. Last year, I was always so impressed with her beautiful lines and lightness of movement. But her gymnastics didn’t keep my attention. It didn’t inspire me. No longer. Kyla now commands my attention on every event.

The change is not only in her incredibly improved expression, artistry and dance on floor and beam. Her experience in Olympic competition, the media frenzy, fame and the incredible bond of her team has given her a poise, a presence, a confidence that shows in everything she does. From her interviews to her height, her bright red lipstick to her beautiful routines, Kyla has grown up.

Kyla stepped out onto the floor today in a beautiful red leo with red lipstick to match. She looked gorgeous. And fierce! She was raring to go, always the first one off from the line-up to prepare for the event.

She did a beautiful DTY, but not the best she can do. She had a much bigger hop on her landing than normal, but it is still quite a gorgeous vault.

5.800 (D) +9.366 (E)  = 15.166

Kyla’s has such a light and airy swing and competes bars with a calmness that is almost peaceful to watch. She is a little short on a few of her handstands, but other than that, it was a great routine. Stuck landing and all.

6.400 (D) + 8.733 (E) =15.133

Kyla competes beam like she is dancing in the clouds. Every movement is done with a lightness and a preciseness that just makes it look like she is floating. This was a great routine. She missed one of her connections and had the tiniest of wobbles. But this is a routine I will watch a few times.

5.900 (D) +8.666 (E) = 14.566

I really am falling in love with this floor routine. The choreography is beautiful, playing with little nuances and hits in the music and really expressing the music well. And Kyla is performing it so well. She has great musicality, expressiveness and of course, execution. This is undoubtedly the best floor routine she has ever done. And a stick on her last pass to boot!

5.700 (E) + 8.633 (D) = 14.333

And perhaps where she has grown the most is her ability to interview. She is delightful, humble, authentic and just fun to hear from.

What a great start from our Empress of Elegance!

And Then There Was Drama


We have been wondering for many months if it would be a three way race in the USA for the top two coveted all around finals spots at the World Championships, or if Marta would put up two all-arounders and give two others the opportunity to qualify for event finals. She had said after US Nationals that she would be happy to go with the three all-arounder scenario and then take an alternate, but time would tell.

When the selection committee selected Brenna Dowell as the fourth member of the World Championship team, it was a little unclear as to what path they were taking. If Brenna perfectly hit her new bar routine, she might have an opportunity to make it to the bar event finals. But Brenna makes more sense as an all around alternate than as an event specialist. Peyton Ernst seemed to have more potential to make it into the beam finals than Brenna did to make it into the bars finals. So the selection of Brenna gave us our first clue that Marta might still be on the three all-arounders path. However, all official standings showed McKayla Maroney competing vault and floor and Brenna competing bars and beam.

Until yesterday. As podium training began, it became obvious that a shift had been made. International Gymnastics reported it first that McKayla Maroney would be competing the all around and Brenna would be an alternate. Read the full interview here. “All three have looked like All-around medal contenders in the training sessions we’ve observed here in Antwerp, but only two will be able to advance to All-around Finals due to the Worlds rules. So, one of the greatest battles during Prelims could be the battle among the three Americans for the two coveted Finals spots.”

Yes, we went from predictable to high drama. Isn’t it the American way? It must be mentioned how hard it must be for Brenna Dowell. And I agree. To come all the way to Antwerp and end up not competing is heart-breaking.  There have been many cries around the gymternet of how unfair it is because she has worked so hard. And I agree, it must be a heartbreaking experience. But I must admit. I think McKayla has worked incredibly hard for this opportunity as well.

Without a doubt, McKayla is the most popular, well spoken, sought out of the Fierce Five. She must have turned down so many opportunities to return to training. She went through three surgeries, an incredible media frenzy and still seemed to return to training better than ever, upgrading on floor and improving astronomically on beam and bars. Here McKayla talks about how very much she loves the sport.

Simone Biles comes in with the most difficulty at a 25.1. That is almost a point ahead of McKayla (24.2) and Kyla (24.0).  The real test here will be in consistency and in execution. Simone’s career is short, and not one yet that you can identify a pattern. However, US Nationals day 1 is the only time she has yet put 4 for 4 together. She has looked incredible in podium training, and with the proven results of Marta’s training camps, there is no solid reason to believe that she won’t come out and hit routine after routine. That being said, there is nothing that compares to the Olympic experience of McKayla and Kyla.

If Simone hits all her routines in prelims, McKayla and Kyla, best friends since they were little girls, will be battling it out for the second all around finals spot. McKayla comes in atleast .2 ahead in difficulty, but will most likely lose out more on beam and bars. On the other hand, Kyla cannot compete with McKayla on vault and floor. In the end, it will come down to stuck landings, legs together, and pointed toes. This will be a competition where every tenth counts.

All in all, I do believe it will be a race for the two all around spots (which I STILL disagree with as much as I EVER have!). Simone is looking AMAZING and if she hits, she will claim one of the two American spots. McKayla and Kyla will come down to sticks, form and a little bit of luck to see who makes it into the finals. They come into this competition with the lowest start values of all of the all around competitors, but the highest consistency and execution of all of the competitors

It is ironic, because often the controversy about difficulty vs execution is often about American vs European. But this year, the best execution but lowest difficulty will come from one, if not two of the American’s. The drama has begun to see who will make the top two..

McKayla Maroney Podium Training


McKayla Maroney is doing all around on the world stage! Marta had said this was the route she might go, but it is really exciting to see McKayla finally have this opportunity. She has worked so hard for it this year.

We have seen the 2012 team Olympic vault replayed so many times. Could this one even be better? I know the 10.0 in execution seems to be gone forever. But come on people! Award this kind of brilliance!

Bars is not McKayla’s strength. But she does have a nice swing, and this is the tightest form, most well executed routine I have seen her do.

She fell on one routine and stuck another, This seems to be a compilation of the two.

All pictures and videos by USA Gymnastics

She shimmies and shakes and and swoons with the best of them. And this vaulter can tumble. Really impressed with both the upgrades and the consistency of McKayla’s floor.

McKayla has, in my opinion, become one of the best interviewees in the sport of gymnastics EVER. Well, okay, maybe equal to Alicia Sacramone. But she always has authentic, heartfelt, interesting, non-trained things to say.