Sunday, 15 July 2012

Top AA contenders: quick breakdown

Unlike d-score rankings, this is based on observation. Feel free to disagree! I am assuming seven top contenders, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Viktoria Komova, Aliya Mustafina, Larisa Iordache, Yao Jinnan and Huang Qiushuang

Name: Jordyn Wieber
Country: USA
Combined d-score: 25.5
Known for: Being extremely powerful, solid and dependable across the board. Very very focused and determined and highly unlikely to headcase
Best event: Floor
Wow skills: Full twisting double layout bars dismount, double double on floor, amanar
Worst event: Bars
Execution, vault: Jordyn has a very good amanar, good form, good height, distance and landing. Her twists could be faster to enable a slightly safer landing but it's fine as it is. The best amanar we will see in AA
Execution, bars: Jordyn uses brute power to complete the routine, this muscling up will be deducted. Aside from that it is clean with good form. Releases could be deducted for lack of height. She has shown that a mistake messes up the whole routine before, but competed with no mistakes at Trials.
Execution, beam:  The problem here is that she has been missing her connections all year. Aside from that, it's fine. Not going to wow anyone with it's artistry or form, but not going to be deducted for lack of either. Great dismount
Execution, floor: Great landings, clean tumbling. Nothing stands out as being bad or sloppy.
Artistry: Jordyn's floor is extremely clever, suits her down to the ground and IS artistic. A masterpiece in how to have a great floor when you are not balletic in the slightest
Needs to: HIT her beam connections which are being changed now at camp.
Headcase factor: Not a factor
Mistakes: Could mess up beam connections. Bars mistake a possibility
Overall: Power does not mean sloppy form! Jordyn always showcases clean, powerful gymnastics. her difficulty has been surpassed, but her unshakeable competition demeanour means she stands ready to bypass others who make mistakes

Name: Gabby Douglas
Country: USA
Combined d-score: 25.8
Known for: Having insanely high bars releases 'flying squirrel', high difficulty in every event but also for letting nerves get to her and headcasing, especially on beam
Best event: Bars
Wow skills: Standing full twist on beam, piked tkatchev that hits the rafters, amanar
Worst event: Beam, headcase reasons only
Execution, vault: Gabby's amanar has clean form, good twisting ability and a good landing. Unfortuantely she exhibits many sit-downs in training, and missed her hand at Pac-Rims so this isn't a certainty that she will nail it. When she does, she will be deducted for lack of height and distance.
Execution, bars: Gabby shows sky-high releases, great lines and sharp pirouetting. Execution score here will be very high.
Execution, beam: If she doesn't make any mistakes, execution will score high. Clean tumbling, great leaps and a standing full twist that is completely upright! Characteristically has wobbles and balance checks which will bring her down, and a fall is not out of the question either.
Execution, floor: Again, clean tumbling and great leaps. The problem here is her choreography which is jerky and NCAA-style. It might get hammered in London, it might not. If it doesn't, execution will be high. Has had some issues with landings at Trials, which could also cost her
Artistry: Potentially poor on floor, that depends on London judging. Beam flows very well.
Needs to: NOT headcase on beam, it needs to be as it is in training. Try to get more of a block off the vault, as the fact that it is flat is resulting in her poor distance and height.
Headcase factor: A big factor. High on beam, possible on vault
Mistakes: A perfectly hit beam routine would be surprising, one or more balance checks very likely. She has not hit her full potential on bars this year, missed connections.
Overall: Gabby has higher potential than Jordyn as she doesn't really have a weak event. She has had an amazing year after being written off in 2011. If she hits everything she will be tough to beat, unfortunately missed connections and her troublesome beam knock back her difficulty and e scores.

Name: Viktoria Komova
Country: Russia
Combined d-score: Could be as high as 26
Known for: Beautiful bars with pencil-like turns, her 90's style beam acro line and unfortunately known for poor sportmanship
Best event: Bars
Wow skills: Patterson beam dismount, amanar, double double bars dismount
Worst event: Floor
Execution, vault: Hard to tell as her amanar which recently surfaced is not shown from a great angle. It looks very clean with good twisting form but doesn't look very high.
Execution, bars: Extremely clean and precise, Vika has almost certainly the best bars execution we will see- especially if she nails that extremely difficult dismount
Execution, beam: Beautiful lines and leaps here, but has issues with balance checks. She has had a very troublesome year on beam, though was recovering from an injury. If she shows no mistakes this too could be the highest scoring on this apparatus execution-wise.
Execution, floor: Often shows deep landings on tumbles, other than that is is very clean
Artistry: Decent on floor, but not particularly special or noteworthy. It's dissapointing because with her lines you expect Soviet balletic grace. Beam has a lovely flow and is beautifully put-together.
Needs to: NOT fall off beam, or show any major balance checks there. Nail her double double bars dismount, she fell back after landing it at Russian Cup. Get slightly more height on her amanar.
Headcase factor: A factor, especially on beam where it's high
Mistakes: Again, beam is where she loses it a bit. Balance checks.
Overall: More and more with her upgrades, she's proving herself as THE one to beat. Floor is where she could struggle, as well as beam. Has the potential to blow everyone else away, especially now she is not injured or recovering.

Name: Aliya Mustafina
Country: Russia
Combined d-score: Could be as high as 26.1!
Known for: Her beautiful bars and fierce beam. She is seen as the 'diva' probably all due to her gameface. Also known for making a remarkable comeback, the queen in 2010, she tore her ACL last year and is now making great strides in getting all of her difficulty back
Best event: Bars or beam
Wow skills: Amanar
Worst event: Floor
Execution, vault: Great on her DTY, very clean. She crosses her legs almost at the knees on her amanar, which will hurt her bigtime. BUT it hasn't been seen this year and may have improved. Good at sticking landings.
Execution, bars: Very similar to Komova- precise, clean, great lines. Nothing blatant that will cost her.
Execution, beam: Very high, Musty is precise in her movements and shows great leaps. Very clean. Unlikely to fall off or show a big balance break
Execution, floor: Had mistakes at Euros but has improved since. Twisting form is bad and will cost her. In general, it's a little bit sloppy
Artistry: Has a great confidence in her movements so sells a routine very well. Beam is well done too. She has grace and power and showcases both well
Needs to: Clean up her floor, try to improve her twisting form. Land safely on that amanar!
Headcase factor: Not really a factor
Mistakes: It's her form that will cost her but underrotating on floor is a possiblity
Overall: What a comeback, Aliya stands ready to get on the podium, especially if she cleans up her twisting form. She will be one of the most determined and ready

Name: Larisa Iordache
Country: Romania
Combined d-score: Could be as high as 26.6, likely to be over 26 anyway
Known for: Incredibly difficult combinations on beam and a very difficult floor, but also weak bars by comparison to others
Best event: Beam
Wow skills: Double double on floor, amanar, full twisting layout in combination on beam
Worst event: Bars
Execution, vault: Hard to tell, again not a great angle on the video of her amanar that surfaced from training. It looks decent with good height, nothing amazing. Hard to judge the form.
Execution, bars: Far below the two Chinese and the two Russians, but it's not bad. Very good for a Romanian but she will lose ground here. Decent swing but shows form breaks and just isn't precise enough.
Execution, beam: Very high, she is just great in every way here. Very clean, great tumbling
Execution, floor: Sometimes bouncy on landings, if she cleans those up it will be very high. Lovely clean tumbling
Artistry: Exciting! her floor is so energetic and well choreographed, she sells it well and is so amazing to watch. Beam is more skill-skill but is not mechanical looking
Needs to: Clean up on bars, hit all of her connections and upgrades, stick her landings on floor
Headcase factor: Not a factor
Mistakes: Missing connections, leg seps on bars, bouncing out of floor landings
Overall: If she brings all of these upgrades and hits all the connections, her bars deficit might not be a problem due to her insane floor and beam difficulty. High execution could carry her through

Name: Yao Jinnan
Country: China
Combined d-score: Could be 25.6
Known for: Surprising everyone at worlds last year, Yao is very good on floor which is unusual for a Chinese gymnast. Great bars
Best event: Bars
Wow skills: Stalder shaposhnikova half on bars
Worst event: Vault- just lack of amanar really
Execution, vault: Clean and tidy DTY, not much to deduct except the landing which she doesn't usually stick cold
Execution, bars: Typically Chinese, beautiful, difficult and with incredibly sharp turns. Uses shaposh variation transitions so no dead hang which often mars a Chinese bars routine
Execution, beam: Not as innovative or difficult as her teammate Sui Lu, but clean and well presented nonetheless. Lovely lines. Has fallen off a lot unfortunately
Execution, floor: Crosses her feet slightly when twisting, prone to stepping or hopping slightly out of landings. Otherwise, extremely clean
Artistry: Another dissapointment! Her choreography is a bit scrappy and doesn't showcase her lines well enough. Beam is fine
Needs to: Not fall off beam, work on her artistry
Headcase factor: High on beam, very low elsewhere
Mistakes: Not sticking landings
Overall: A very strong all-arounder who could be up there even without an amanar, doesn't really have a weak event! Another who could clean up if others make mistakes.

Name: Huang Qiushuang
Country: China
Combined d-score: Could be 25.7
Known for: Beautiful lines, surprising power, THAT 2011 worlds leo and falling off bars and beam
Best event: Bars
Wow skills: amanar
Worst event: Bars or beam, just for the falls
Execution, vault: Again not a great angle to see her amanar but it's safe and well rotated. A big leg sep and a large side step on landing from what we have seen. On her DTY shows slightly sloppy legs, which is likely to be amplified when amanaring
Execution, bars: Beautiful lines, but has tiny leg seps and dead hang after transition. Muscles up kips. Usually sticks her dismount cold.
Execution, beam: Clean, great lines.
Execution, floor: Sells her routine, great form and lines, clean tumbling. Sometimes hops out of her twists, going OOB not unheard of.
Artistry: Amazing, she gets so into her music and really sells it. Great movements and it flows very well. Beam is fine
Needs to: Get more consistent! Clean up her vault
Headcase factor: Huge. Sadly, headcase is her middle name
Mistakes: Other than falling, going OOB a possiblity, steps on landings
Overall: Absolutely beautiful lines and such potential but it would nearly have to be a miracle for her to go clean on every event with no falls or OOB.

Wow I'm glad I'm not a commentator...not many ways to describe 'lovely clean form/execution'. I think I'll stop with the breakdowns now!


  1. Aly Raisman says hi.

  2. Aly is let down by her bars. I don't think she will be able to beat either Gabby or Jordyn, unless one of them falls. She IS an AA contender, but not a top one.

  3. Looking back, this is quite accurate. It's a pity about the injuries.