Kyla Ross Soars to Silver

The Uneven Bars Final was packed with talented girls and difficult routines. Unlike the vault finals, a number of different outcomes seemed likely. In fact, the only thing I got right on my bars predictions was Kyla Ross in silver.

Gymnastics Coaching tweeted: “looks like I’m going to be eating my words. … I’m the guy who said Kyla couldn’t medal on Bars.” And then I remember that I was of the same opinion earlier this year. I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. And I need to remember to wait til closer to competitions to form those opinions! Especially because Simone Biles almost medaled in bars!

The Final started off with Yao Jinnan. This title was hers to win or lose. If she hit, it was unlikely that anyone could beat her. But as has so often been the case with the Chinese in finals, she fell. Granted, the skill she fell on is crazy hard. But she has hit it again and again. It was so disappointing. She held herself together well until the finals were over, when she burst into tears.

Huang Huidan was up next, and put up an excellent routine. One Chinese coach has said in the past, if one of us falls, we all must fall. She seemed to break that tradition by staying on the bar and hitting a clean routine.

After her came Rebecca Downie. With high swinging bars and an innovative routine, Rebecca is a crowd pleaser. However, she too succumbed to the pressure of a World Championship Finals and fell off at the end of her routine.

Sophie Scheder followed with a clean, beautifully swung routine. She has such great lines on bars! She is a pleasure to watch, but was not able to challenge for the top spots.

Simone Biles came up next. I am still getting used to the fact that Simone qualified for a bars final. And she lived up to the spot, hitting her routine!

Kyla Ross followed Simone, putting up her ever consistent, ever beautiful bar routine. She bested everyone except Huang. Going into the last two gymnasts, could it be that America would go two, three; that Simone would medal on bars?

Not if Aliya Mustafina had anything to say about it. Aliya threw her heart into it. It was enough to overtake Simone, but not Kyla and Huang.

Last up was Ruby Harrold. Ruby has an innovative, interesting routine! She performed it well, but it was not enough to change the medal standings.

In the end it was Huang, Kyla and Aliya. Kyla and Simone both talked to the press in the mixed zone about being pleased with what they did and how they needed to go back and rest up for tomorrow.

Watch the 2013 Secret US Classic Bars Champions

By John Cheng
By John Cheng

There were lots of attempts at some high flying skills on bars, but in the end, clean and consistent won the day.


Uneven Bars Champion – Kyla Ross (15.4)

Uneven Bars Silver – Madison Kocian (14.45)

Uneven Bars Bronze – Abigail Milliet (14.4)


Uneven Bars Champion – Veronica Hults (14.55)

Uneven Bars Silver – Amelia Hundley (14.400)

Uneven Bars Bronze – Polina Shchennikova (14.35)

All videos are from USA Gymnastics.

Who’s Who in 2012: Bar Hopefuls

2008 Olympic Uneven Bars Medalists (Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

Here’s who to look out for on the medal podium in London.

Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 16.2/7.0 and Viktoria Komova (RUS) 16.2/7.0

Watching the Russians do bars is like watching art in motion. There is a lightness to their work that makes it appear as if they are effortlessly floating from bar to bar. Every movement is exquisite with the toe point of a ballerina and the amplitude of a trapeze artist. Their routines are so mesmerizing, it is easy to forget that they are doing some of the most difficult routines in the world. One thing is for certain, the training time lost to knee and ankle injuries was put to incredible use on the bars, taking their bar work to a level above everyone else.

Beth Tweddle (GBR) 15.95/7.0

Beth is widely considered the most successful British gymnast of all time, most especially for her two World Championship titles on bars. She brings a different style to bars, earning her difficulty with lots of high flying, difficult and connected release moves. It is a routine that pleases the crowds. However the risks that she takes are often her undoing. If she hits, she will most likely medal. I think most everyone in the world is rooting for her to do so- to win an Olympic medal on her home soil at the age of 27 would be an incredible Olympic moment.

Gabby Douglas (USA) 15.9/6.5

Dubbed the Flying Squirrel because of her high flying release moves, Gabby is breathtaking to watch on bars. She literally takes your breath away because you aren’t sure that she can come back down and catch the bar. But she always does. Gabby has excellent execution, dynamic amplitude and beautiful form earning her high scores even with lower difficulty than others in the field.

He Kexin (CHN) 15.85/7.1

He Kexin is the defending Olympic Champion. Widely regarded as having the most difficult bar routine in the world for the last many years, He makes people gasp and shake their heads when she does her infamous release combination. She has bars in the old style of China – delightful to behold while doing release moves like no one else. However, He has been very inconsistent ever since 2009. She could easily take the gold or not even qualify for the finals.

Others you will likely see in the finals but who probably won’t end up on the medal podium:

Yao Jinnan (CHN) 15.85/6.8

Kyla Ross (USA) 15.65

Youna Dufournet (FRA) 15.5/6.9