Tomorrow we see Beam Finals! You can watch here. Event finals start at 8:30am EST.
Beam has definitely been up and down, with some brilliant routines and many falls. Hopefully tomorrow will be everyone’s best. But in a beam final, that is rare. Larisa Iordache leads the pack in difficulty, and will be keen to prove herself after an uncharacteristic fall in the all around on her best event. Kyla Ross will be hoping that her excellent execution will get her on the podium and Shang Chunsong will be trying to repeat her qualifications performance.
Here is the start list:
211 MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS
171 FERLITO Carlotta ITA
170 FERRARI Vanessa ITA
119 SHANG Chunsong CHN
229 BILES Simone USA
232 ROSS Kyla USA
204 IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU
210 RODIONOVA Anna RUS
The women qualified in this order:
IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 15.266 Q
SHANG Chunsong CHN 14.866 Q
ROSS Kyla USA 14.566 Q
RODIONOVA Anna RUS 14.466 Q
BILES Simone USA 14.400 Q
FERRARI Vanessa ITA 14.216 Q
FERLITO Carlotta ITA 14.216 Q
MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 14.133 Q
Beam is a precarious event to compete on and to predict. But I will give it a shot just for fun. It is after all, my favorite event.
I think Larisa will fight back and take her best event. She really is the beam queen. I think Kyla’s consistency and execution will win out over everyone else. With so many Chinese falls, I am not willing to bet on Shang this go around. Bronze really could go to anyone, but I am going to go with Anna just because her beam is so wonderful to watch.
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.
Though many exciting players have dropped out due to illness or injury, the 2013 Worlds All Around competition could actually almost live up to the expectations we all had of last year’s Olympic All Around Championships. The USA brings in two very strong all arounders in Simone Biles and Kyla Ross, who have both posted over a 60 all around score this year. Aliya Mustafina comes in healthier and more competitive than she has been since her injury. And Larisa Iordache has a chance to put in the performance that we all wanted to see last year. Any one of them has the ability to take the gold, and great gymnastics is in store.
The top five all around scores that have been posted this year mostly happened at the gymnasts’ perspective Nationals. Simone and Kyla pulled the top two, each scoring a 60.5. Aliya is right behind them with a 59.85. A new name to the all around podium possibilities this year is Giulia Steingruber from Switzerland. She scored a 59.4 at the Swiss Championships in early September. Larissa rounds out the top five of the gymnasts who will be competing at Worlds with a 58.55.
Simone and Kyla both looked great at US Nationals, and each still have a little bit of room for improvement. That is a great place to be going into Worlds. Simone comes in a full point ahead of Kyla in difficulty (D) scores, which usually means that Simone has to falter for Kyla to beat her. However, Simone has not had the most consistent history, and in her first major competition on a world stage, it would not be unheard of for her to do exactly that. Kyla has the advantage of her Olympic experience. She has been there, done that and just seems to get better under pressure. That being said, the USA has seemed to train their gymnasts to be machines on the world stage, and Simone is likely to be as well prepared for a solid competition as the past two years of girls have been.
Aliya also has a solid run at the gold. Reports are that she has had a cold, and isn’t as prepared as she would like to be. But she will be adding difficulty to her bars routine, putting her .5 behind Simone and .5 ahead of Kyla in the difficulty (D) score. It would be wonderful to see the delightful, mature Aliya combine with the fierce, unflappable Aliya of 2010 to grace the world stage. She is such a special gymnast, and seeing her return to an even better version of her former glory would be an incredible delight.
Giulia has dominated the all around in Switzerland for the past three years. However, this is the first year she has posted an all around score high enough to make a run for the podium on a world stage. Rumors are that she looked fantastic at the Swiss Championships. What a wonderful thing it would be to have a Swiss gymnast on the podium!
Last, but most certainly not least is Larissa. Everyone had such high hopes and expectations of her going into the Olympics. Something as common as plantar fasciitis hampered her dreams and our hopes for her. It would be wonderful to see a fully healthy Larissa come out and perform like we were all hoping to see last year.
It is unlikely that we will see anyone out of these top five on the podium. But anything can – and usually does- happen in elite gymnastics. Here is hoping that each of these girls comes into the all around finals healthy, happy and able to perform at their peak level. No matter what the order, that would be a win for all gymnastics fans.
The all-around gold medal is the most coveted individual gymnastics achievement. When people refer to the champion, they mean the all-around champion. This Olympic year has an EXCITING all-around competition in store! Most years in women’s gymnastics there is a battle between two, maybe three gymnasts for the gold medal. This year, that is not the case. This all-around final will have five gymnasts who could win the gold medal.
There are twenty- four gymnasts in all who qualified into the All-Around finals. Here are the top five who will be vying for the podium. Who will end up on top is anyone’s guess. Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a wild ride!
Viktoria Komova (60.632/25.7 Qualification)
After losing the gold to Jordyn Wieber last year by the smallest of margins, Viktoria comes into these Olympics ready to do battle – and win. Her slight form hides the incredible power underneath. She dances like a ballerina, vaults with power and grace, swings bars like she was meant to live life in the trees and tumbles on the beam as if she was light as a feather.
Viktoria debuted her amanar for the first time in her senior career during qualifications. Adding that to her arsenal along with one of the most difficult, perfectly executed bar routines in the world right now gave her the edge she needed to qualify in first. Her beam and floor routines are both exquisite, but not very consistent. She tends to either hit or miss on beam and is often plagued with low landings on floor. She will have to bring her best to keep her place at the top of the podium.
Alexandra Raisman (60.391/25.3 Qualification)
Aly is known to be one of the most calm, consistent competitors there is. Long overshadowed by higher scoring teammates, Aly shocked the world and herself by qualifying in as the top American. She comes in with the highest difficulty and most consistency on vault, beam and floor. However, her lower difficulty on bars, along with her poor form on this even is what keeps her from the top of the podium. She was fourth at last years world championships with a horrible mistake on bars.
Aly did the best vault of her career in qualifications, cleaning up her form issues and landing with just a small hop. She did the best bars routine she has ever done by far during podium training, seemingly to finally overcome her form breaks. She is generally rock solid on beam, and has scored the highest floor scores in both the team and qualifications. Overall, Aly does not have high enough difficulty to win gold without mistakes from both Gabby and Viktoria. But her rock solid, consistent performances make her a gymnast you should not count out. After all, as we have seen, anything can happen in the pressure of the Olympic spotlight.
Gabrielle Douglas, USA (60.265/25.3 Qualification)
Gabrielle, or Gabby, has been a rising star this year. Last year, she was known for her high flying bar routine, but her mental game was just not strong enough for her to be an all-around threat. This all changed when she came roaring out of the gate as an exhibitionist at the AT&T American cup. She unofficially (her scores did not count as an alternate) ran away with the gold. Since then, Gabby has been inching away at Jordyn Wieber’s lead in every meet until she finally overtook her by .1 at the Olympic Trials.
Gabby comes in with one of the highest potential start values of the group. She has the physical ability to blow away the competition. What remains to be seen is if she can continue improving her mental game and hit the routines when they count. She qualified in third because of a large error on floor. However, she hit four for four during team finals, and her All-Around score there would have easily won the title. If everyone brings out their best and they all hit, Gabby most likely wins. She will have to keep control of her nerves to stand on top of the podium.
Aliya Mustafina RUS (59.966/24.7 Qualification)
In 2010, Aliya was a star. In fact, it seemed she was on her way to becoming one of the gymnastics greats. Had we ever seen someone who could vault with the power and amplitude she attained and dance like a prima ballerina on floor? Someone who’s beautiful swing on bars was only outdone by her lightness and sureness on beam. Aliya won the all-around. She led the Russian team to gold. She qualified in EVERY event finals and placed on the podium in all but beam, where she had her only mistake of the entire competition. She looked unstoppable.
Unfortunately, an injury has put a serious roadblock in her path to glory. In 2011, she tore her ACL at the European Championships while performing her famous amanar. Her recovery has been difficult. She has grown and is still not used to her new body. But she has continued to train hard.
Aliya has yet to show the level of gymnastics and performance she attained in 2010 this year. She is not competing with the level of difficulty she formerly attained. But Aliya has a competitive drive, a fierceness and focus on the competition floor like few others. She has that undefinable quality and mental drive that propels her to the front. Her team loss will only drive her more. I would not be surprised at all if she ends up on the podium.
Larisa Iordache (57.8/24 Qualification)
Larisa’s junior showings made her highly anticipated as the Romanian all-around contender at the Olympics. She has a charming floor routine, one of the most difficult beam routines being performed at the Olympics, a solid vault and a very decent bar routine. Her achilles heel at these Olympics has in fact been her heel. She has plantar faciitis in her left heel and has not been able to put in a great deal of training over the past week.
This has definitely shown in bother her qualification and team performances. She has not been on her game. Hopefully the additional days of rest and training will allow her to continue on the trajectory she has been on her entire career – a place on the Olympic All-Around podium.
In addition, Deng Linlin from China qualified into the top group. This group will all compete together, starting on vault. It should be noted that Larissa did not qualify in this group and will start on bars. Once again, we all want these women to go out and have incredible, hit competitions!
UPDATE: The lastest reports say that she will compete in the All-Around in qualifications.
There has been a buzz this week on the gymternet surrounding Larisa Iordache, Romania’s young star. Many sources reported that she was not training much and seemed upset yesterday. Here are excerpts from Gymnastike.
In observing training today in the North Greenwich Academy, Larisa Iordache’s status is in question. The Romanians began their training on floor where Iordache warmed up tumbling passes with her teammates… Then, every Romanian gymnast except for Iordache practiced one full floor routine. She sat on the sidelines opposite of the rest of her team. She did not appear to be injured. She just sat quietly as her the rest of her teammates continued to train floor.
This is shocking because Iordache is one of the team’s best floor workers, could contend for a spot in the floor final, and is one of the favorites for the Olympic all around title. After missing World team medals the past two years, many consider the Romanians strong contenders for a medal here in London with an outside shot at gold. Larisa Iordache is a big factor in that.
The team then went to vault, again without their young star. Iordache instead got ready for bars and tried to stay busy stretching. She had a talk with the assistant coach and teared up. After vault, head coach Octavian Belu talked with Iorache for a few minutes. She looked upset, he appeared frustrated.
Today, The Couch Gymnast confirmed that she has a foot injury and will not be doing the All-Around in qualifications.
As you wrote, it’s [plantar] fasciitis. Now she feels better because the doctors applied an elastic bandage which is more dense and managed to balance the way in which forces are applied in that area. But she will not be able to compete in the all around and we will see on podium training if she will be able to compete on uneven bars and maybe on balance beam for her to qualify for the event finals. – Mariana Bitang
A huge part of the frustration here (at least what I read in between the lines) is that plantar fasciitis is not something that happens overnight. The pain builds. Had Larisa come forward earlier that she was in pain, some therapy and the elastic brace plus a few days of rest probably would have allowed her to compete on Sunday.
At this point, I think they are thinking of the team. Letting her compete in qualifications will allow her to qualify for a few event finals. Not doing floor or vault will allow her recovery time to help the team on Tuesday’s team finals. She could still compete on every event during team finals and help her team to a medal. However, as Larisa had a legitimate shot at the all-around gold, not being able to compete all-around in qualifications – and therefore not qualifying for all-around finals must be devastating.
This is a huge blow for Romania, who desperately needs her to challenge for team gold and who would have loved the all-around medal she could have won. Hopefully the rest time will allow her to come back strong. It is also a huge blow for the gymnastics world, who were really looking forward to seeing this dynamic, spirited gymnast challenge for gold in the all-around. It won’t be the same without her.
Larisa made her senior debut this year at the AT&T American Cup. Her junior showings made her highly anticipated as the Romanian all-around contender at the Olympics and she has not disappointed. Each meet she goes out and gets better, more consistent and more polished.
Larisa has a charming floor routine, the most difficult beam routine that will be performed at the Olympics, a solid vault and a very decent bar routine. She has been shown doing Amanars in training videos, which would increase her standings. She competes with a delightful childlike air about her and if she continues on the trajectory she has been on her entire career, she will easily be in the mix for the gold.
Aly has the most difficult floor routine in the world. This is due to her incredible tumbling. She has an original and creative routine representing her Jewish roots. Aly’s downfall is that she doesn’t have the balletic style and form that the international judges look for. It is unlikely that she will score a 15.8 at the Olympics (though I saw that routine in person, it was AMAZING! She is so, so high in the air, it is unbelievable). Last year she qualified first into the floor finals, but finished third. She comes in with an upgraded routine, and her difficulty and sky high tumbling and leaps will help her challenge for the gold.
Jordyn Wieber (USA) 15.6/6.2 or Gabby Douglas (USA) 15.45/6.2
Jordyn Wieber has, in my opinion, one of the most fun to watch floor routines. She brings energy to the floor, performs with her entire being (including her eyes and her smile) and has incredible musicality. She has a lot of difficult tumbling and leaps with a lot of amplitude. However, like Aly she does not have a balletic style. Her toes are pointed, her fingers graceful, but it is not the style international judges appreciate. She too is unlikely to score this high in the Olympics. However, she will definitely be a challenger for the podium – if she makes the finals.
Why might Jordyn not make the finals? A little problem called the two per country rule. Gabby Douglas has been improving on floor each and every meet. She has the difficulty, the form, the amplitude and the flexibility to score well. However, her nerves often get to her, leading to lots of bounces out of landings. Her groovin’ beats also are not likely to win a lot of points with international judges. But if she scores over Jordyn and makes the finals, she will definitely be in the mix.
Larisa Iordache (ROU) 15.3/6.4
Larisa brings a brand new floor routine to the Olympics that is full of energy and incredible difficulty. She is second only to Aly in that department. She performs with a delightful air of freedom and abandon that brings a smile to your face. She doesn’t have the perfect form or the perfectly stuck landings of her other Romanian teammates, but she will without a doubt challenge for the gold.
Catalina Ponor (ROU) 15.275/6.2 or Sandra Izbasa (ROU) 15.1/6.1
Catalina is a worldwide favorite. She performs with a dynamic and aggressive grace that is all her own. In her new floor routine, she plays to the crowd with a swankiness that only she can pull off. Oh, and did I mention she was the 2004 Floor champion? After taking a number of years off, Catalina has come back with a vengeance and looks better than ever.
Sandra Izbasa is the reigning Olympic floor champion. She also brings a new routine to the Olympics, which I happen to love. She has beautiful form and generally sticks all her landings. It will be interesting to see if she make her way into the finals.
Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 15.25/6.3
Lauren brings a very unique style of dance, music and presentation to the floor. She has a highly difficult routine to boot. Though she does not dance with grace and beauty, the judges and fans alike seem to appreciate her originality. Lauren has a hard time with many of her landing/jump combinations, which can make or break her routine. If she hits, she will be challenging for the gold.
Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 15.1/6.2
Vanessa won a bronze on floor way back in 2006. All these years later, she continues to bring difficult tumbling and has even upgraded. If Vanessa stays healthy, it is likely you will see her in the event finals.
Ksenia Afanasyeva (RUS) 15.067/
Ksenia comes in as the 2011 World Champion on Floor. Her floor routine was without a doubt, one of the highlights of the entire championships, and remains as one of my all time favorites. The Russian team has been battling injuries this year and have put in lackluster floor performances. However, that is not likely to be the case at the Olympics. Four of the five gymnasts could easily qualify for finals. Which two will come out on top is anyone’s guess.
Anastasiya Grishina (RUS) 14.933
Anastasiya is the most classical of classical gymnastics. She has perfect form, perfect execution and is mesmerizing to watch as she floats through her floor routine. As I said before, her main barrier to event finals will be her other teammates. So make sure and see her routine in qualifications. You won’t want to miss it!
Victoria Moors (CAN) 14.9/6.1
Victoria currently holds the title for beam dreams all time favorite floor routine. She does one of the best double twisting double tucks there is. She PERFORMS her floor routine as if she is on a stage. And she does it all with beautiful form. She brings an energy to her routine that doesn’t translate through the television, but let me assure you, it is captivating.