This was a suggestion, to look back and comment on a past competition. I picked this one because I am very familiar with these gymnasts and because I am more familiar with the scoring, as opposed to the last quad. I also picked it because it saw the rise and domination by a true great.
2010 World Championships All-Around, Rotterdam
The greatest excitement in this all-around competition surrounds Aliya Mustafina of Russia, the highest qualifier who does not have a weak event. Rebecca Bross of USA also has high hopes surrounding her. Bringing up the rear are their respective tag teams, the highly entertaining one of the unbelievably bad amanar Tatiana Nabieva and the powerful one of the much lamented form, Aly Raisman. Also present are the beautifully elegant but with a shitty weak vault Ana Porgras of Romania and the ultimate headcase can-be-great Huang Qiushuang of China and the fan favourite Jiang Yuyuan.
The USA at this point are weak. Rebecca Bross has almost a clear field as the 2008 team have fizzled away and stars like Jordyn Wieber aren't able to compete at the senior level yet. (Except of course at SCAM, which does not folllow any noticeable rules). Aly Raisman is a worthy number 2 all-arounder, but has quite a few issues and areas to clean up. Russia are a mixture. Aliya Mustafina is the greatest prodigy they have produced this side of the millenium and Tatiana Nabieva is strong on some events, but they are also suffering from lack of depth halfway through the quad. Romania are going through an upheaval with the changing of the guard, and a hideous lack of depth. Ana Porgras is truly exceptional with gorgeous gymnastics but lacks power. A 1.5 Yurchenko has no place in a major all-around for a top competitor. China's super-young team of 2008 (ahem I do not believe they were underage) are a bit all over the place at this point, though some remain firmly in the game, puberty is taking its toll.
(Sadly, I cannot find BBC coverage of the AA. DAMN. NBC it is)
Raisman VAULT Having failed to perform an amanar safely earlier that year, Aly has reverted to a DTY. Nice colour pink/berry leotard, pity about the white swirls which add nothing. Elfi and Tim are pretty complimentary of her rock-steady status, nice to hear. A really efficient vault, bounces out of the landing but it's really well done. Slightly sloppy and her feet kinda ugly in the air, but still a very decent vault. 14.9 fair score
Bross VAULT I appreciate Bross as a gymnast, but I never enjoy her routines. She comes across as stiff and robotic with uninspiring choreography or expression. I hate to say it, but her sickled feet take away from her line terribly, even though I know she cannot do anything about it (there are LOADS who have no excuse!) it still is just not nice to see. Another DTY, loose leg form in the air and she lands quite low and takes a step back. She was still recovering from a shin injury though, so this was a really good effort considering. Same leo as Aly. 14.7
Nabieva BARS Here comes the delightful Nabs. Gymnastics is always in need of fiery or different personalities I think. Painful as her vault is to watch, her form on bars is a totally different story. Here comes her signature move! LOVE it, great height and straight into a Pak. Wobbles slightly in her handstands, Tkachev slightly flat but still fine. Plants her dismount firmly as if the mat had insulted her. BOOF! Replay shows loose enough leg form, damnit. Looking like a total badass in a glorious black leotard, looks like the same leo as Nastia and Shawn's 08 one. Fabulous in black. 15.133
Mustafina VAULT Mustafina eyes the vault with pure ice in her eyes. Great game face. The first amanar of the day and probably one of only 2. Twisting form is not spectacular, crossing and loose form is evident in her legs but it's not atrocious. Nice landing in the centre, just a small step. It's not until the replay that you see how dangerous it is, because she's twisting into the ground. Also highlights the leg form and leg seperation on her block. Urggh. Truly this is a day of ugly vaulting. Another who gets the job done though. She looks well in purple, but it's an overused swirly leotard which gets no love from me. 15.666
Porgras VAULT Ah here comes Ana to show us an elegant vault, pity it's worth feck all. Gloriously done, beautiful form. Nice landing too. White and black leo, something about it looks PVC. Inoffensive, not great. 13.966 Sigh
Huang VAULT Our favourite headcase sounds a return to fugly vaulting. It's not awful, a decent DTY with some leg form. Small hop forward. Replay shows her legs fairly bent at the knee, but not enough to be declared tucked or anything. Standard reddish leo, looks fine. Can't find the score on this, probably a 14.7 or something like that.
Jiang VAULT Beijing cutiepie of the super-expressive floor is back, looking a bit older. She had an amanar in 2008 but was pulled from team finals with it as she kept messing it up right before. Nevertheless, a good vaulter and here she shows a BEAUTIFUL DTY, textbook stuff and by the far the best one shown today. Jiang was one who was slightly all over the place after Beijing but this is a nice return to form. Replay shows bending of the hips and a tiny hop back on presentation, but still glorious. 14.833 Same standard leo.
- Rotation one standings: Mustafina leads by half a point. Not surprising!
Bross BARS Truly one of the most aggressive bar workers ever. Great attack and handstands, nice height on her releases. I love her form on her stoop-throughs. Plants the dismount! Nice, but Mustafina's difficulty advantage on vault is fairly insurmountable. 14.933
Nabieva BEAM Excellent death stare! No casual stepping onto the beam from her, beautiful flic-flac mount instead. Brings her foot up on her barani but recovers fast. NICE barani though. And she's off on her round-off layout series, hitting her chest quite badly in the process which elicits a gasp from Elfi. Total shame. A bit rattled, probably in pain from that. Nice double tuck dismount, really sharp. Bahhh, fall deduction takes her right out of course. She is PISSED. NBC sees fit to replay the fall about 4 times, trying to see what she hit. Charming. 13.266
Mustafina BARS Yuss, a beautiful bars routine is on the way. Lovely crisp lines and fluidity. Lucky to catch her last release as it's really low but otherwise this is well done. Nice dismount, her own skill, just slight hop forward. Great routine. 15.350 Well deserved.
Porgras BARS Very reminiscent of Yang Yilin's lines, fantastic pencil-like form. Great height on her releases and flight between the bars. Plants a great double layout dismount. Fabulous. Could have done with higher difficulty, which is reflected in her 14.666 score.
Huang BARS Lovely pirouetting, nice and sharp. Big form break though, ughh. Really nice intricate high bar work. Great double layout with a planted landing. Ha she looks back at the bars like they pissed in her cornflakes, classic. 15.2 Hmm, seems a bit high considering.
Jiang BARS Not known as a great bars worker, but these are pretty nice. Very zippy in her movements, everything is done well and she has a nice pirouette combination. Lovely form and great full twisting double layout dismount. 15.533 WOW, nicely rewarded.
Raisman BARS Always her greatest weakness, and moreso here. Struggles but is doing okay until she messes up a turn towards the end and has to jump off. A great shame that her competition ends like this. Horrific flexed feet throughout. Nice dismount though. Lol at Al 'that could be a red flag for the Olympics'. Even with the power of hindsight that I have, that was a stupid statement to make, especially 2 years off London. 11.7
Rotation 2 standings. Mustafina has increased her lead to 6 tenths. Raisman and Nabieva are gone from the top, Jiang and Huang have replaced them. Lol at Al talking about Bross 'She's going to have to climb a big Russian mountain by the name of Mustafina'.
Mustafina BEAM Looking very determined here. Really nice double turn and a total stomp on her arabian. Leap series is totally badass. Extremely confident first half of routine, but some wobbles towards the end. Love her 'STOP' hand. Crossed feet in her triple twist dismount, but still a great routine. That leo looks worse as the competition goes on though.
Mitchell FLOOR First look at Australia's Lauren. Never going to be a favourite floor worker of mine, but she is a great tumbler. Woah seriously 80's elevator music. Really nice double arabian but was lucky to keep the uncontrolled stag leap in bounds. Full twisting double back is a little messy with a low landing, but sticks it. Awkward dance bit...fights to keep her cossack turn, but manages it. Really awful posey dance bit in the corner, she has great ability but her dance is eh not much to write home about. Beautiful combination twisting third pass. Another awful posey bit in another corner! NOOOO. Great double pike to end. What a tumbler, but the rest of the routine...I will end this by saying I really appreciate what she has done for Australian gymnastics AND only one pass had a leap out of it. Plainish black leo with red and blue swirly bits. Not bad at all, it's pretty decent actually. 14.6
Porgras BEAM Yay. Fabulous flexibility, great sheep jump. Pure elegance and form perfection. Really strong in her acro line. Gorgeous leaps. Really nice double pike, but takes an expensive step back. I like how Al says the Chinese now have to do something great to 'catch the Russian' because I'm now picturing them chasing Mustafina with nets. 15.433 Awesome
Huang BEAM This is a bit scrappy straight off the bat, leg up on first skill and misses a connection shortly after. Lacking confidence in her skills, but they are well done. And she's still on the beam, which considering her headcase label is great. Really nice double pike dismount. 14.7
Jiang BEAM She really is stunning. Really low landing on her pike front. Everything else is great, with planted landings but it's very skill-skill and doesn't flow very well. Nice Rulfova but it's all a bit stop and start, from the Deng Linlin school of beam routines really. Still it's a very good routine and she is precise in everything. Great dismount also. 15.066
Bross BEAM Needs a killer routine here to offset the Chinese. Mustafina is untouchable at this point. Runs onto the beam, nice attack. Can't get her balance after her arabian and ends up having to come off. Sad to see. Keeps her focus but it looks like she's going through the motions as she's clearly gutted. Loses her balance again but saves it. Heads into the Patterson and lands it well, slightly low but fine. Devastating fall though. That makes falls from both Americans, everyone else is largely clear of big errors. 14.1 Still in the game with a score like that actually, which is too high.
End of rotation standings (nice Ibiza vibe to the rotation music): Mustafina's lead still more than half a point. Jiang Yuyuan and Huang Qiushuang bringing up the podium. Bross in 5th, not too shabby after that fall.
Porgras FLOOR Gorgeous spin straight off the top, though I think she dropped her heel early. Great planted first pass- full twisting double I think? It's so clean it's hard to tell. Another lovely pass, twist into layout. Wonderful elegance throughout this routine. Nice balletic-style dance with a good spin. Sprightly music suits her so well as it also screams class. Sky-high double tuck and a planted double pike, slightly low. She doesn't have huge power, but it looks decent enough to improve her vault, the weakness of which remains a mystery. Great routine and a great competition. 14.3
Huang FLOOR Lots of talking about climbing and mountains from Al. This is 'the second gymnast Bross has to climb over'. And she fulfils their wishes by landing out of bounds on her first pass. One of the most expressive gymnasts on floor though, really gets into the movement. Sad about the headcase bit, which always haunts her on floor. HUGE air on her full twisting double pike, plants that landing safely. Wonderful dance, working really well to her interesting tribal-mix music. Very nice double pike to end. Probably needed more difficulty to offset that OOB. Great dancer though. Replay shows her landing out of bounds, half a point off. Worse than previously thought. NBC are THRILLED. 13.7 bahhh
Jiang FLOOR Using her crowd pleaser 2008 music, excellent. Combination twisting first pass. Double tuck, well done. Seems a little lacklustre compared to her former sparkle on this routine, probably tired. Difficulty is a bit low too. Nice spin and double pike. A bit dissapointing, but well performed. 14.566
Bross FLOOR Needs a really high score to medal. Nice first pass, layout into double arabian to stag leap. Lovely combination second pass. Dance is a bit all over the place, she looks awkward. Another awesome third pass, should be enough..? Floor scores pretty harsh here though. 15.233 Now that is a bit of an overscore.
Mustafina FLOOR And the routine that will seal the deal. Love this music, so perfect for her. Gorgeous tucked arabian, really high. Bit of a meh stag leap out of it but haven't seen anyone do much better with it. Great twisting combination second pass, leg form not noticeable in real time or with the angle. Nice precise spins and lovely fluid movements. Third pass another combo one, sticks the landing and it looks great in the air. Triple full to end and out comes the crossing of the feet! Still, fabulous routine. 15.033
1. Aliya Mustafina
2. Jiang Yuyuan
3. Rebecca Bross
Okay wow that took a while. I absolutely love watching Aliya Mustafina at the top of her game, and hope to see her get back there again as she is clearly able to show more than she did in London. She literally picked up the competition and swept the floor with them. Amazing to watch. Rebecca Bross was quite hyped up for this but even without the fall she would not have been able to take gold. Maybe not the deepest of competitions, but a great one for the pure dominance of Musty. Some really bad replays here, lots with a gymnasts hands leaving the bar and catching it again, same with feet on a beam- err great? Some not so nice overscores and underscores too.