The good news is that Cottbus still has great competitors- Anastasia Grishina, Anna Dementyeva, Evgeniya Shelgunova, Kristina Goryunova, Huang Huidan, Chantysha Netteb, Noel van Klaveren, Sophie Scheder and Roxana Popa. Not to mention Jesolo taking place this weekend too. This meet will hopefully showcase a consistent and strong Simone Biles with more controlled landings on floor, Lexie Priessman's incredible 6.7 floor routine, Bailie Key's upgrades and general fantastic all-around work and a sneaky little upgrade or two from Kyla Ross. I don't expect Kyla to knock out upgrades like Simone has been doing, especially as she lost training time recently, but it would be nice to see her floor at least approach 6.0 and some little adjustments to her beam and bars. I'd like to see improvement on beam and bars from Amelia Hundley and I'm looking forward to her floor. Probably Bailie's the most after Simone's though- she has a new floor routine at last! Not to mention beam and bars upgrades. As for Maggie Nichols and Peyton Ernst, I'll be eager to see what they come up with as they are definitely unknown quantities at this stage. Brenna Dowell's amzing front double pike is always welcome too. Sadly Katelyn Ohashi has pulled out of both Jesolo and Chemnitz, due to a back injury. Hopefully she can recover quickly but I'm happy she is getting a rest from competition anyway, as she looked exhausted at American Cup. Mai Murakami and the rest of the Japanese team will be competing though, and there's an enormous pile of Italian talent on the roster. Can't wait!
Sadly, Huang Huidan had a disaster on bars today in her attempt to qualify to Cottbus bars finals, though she apparently did not fall on her dismount, just a big stumble. She also came to a stop halfway through. Evgeniya Shelgunova suffered the same stop, and had other errors- her Pak sounds as unique as ever, and she scored higher. Must wait for video to judge how big an error Huang's dismount was. She lost the tiebreaker for the eighth and final place to Jessica Lopez so she won't get redemption there. Hopefully she nails beam. Next week we will see Zeng Siqi, Tan Jiaxin and Zhang Qing at Doha. The Chinese are barely out of winter training and I don't expect amazing things from them just yet, but hopefully some lovely work materialises. The good news I got from the quick hits is that Anastasia Grishina performed beautifully on bars, earning the top score by a mile- 14.9. Apparently Oksana Chusovitina has cleaned up her form? I thought when I saw her vaults recently that she had downgraded, as they looked much cleaner. How amazing that they're the same vaults. I wouldn't be surprised if she suddenly emerged as a top all-arounder capable of scoring 60+. Well I would, but she keeps defying logic. Beam and floor finalists at Cottbus will be determined tomorrow. Hopefully video emerges soon, or even just of finals.
Interestingly enough, Cottbus is not using the new vault code. As a world cup., it really should be, unless FIG have reneged on it since LRSY. Evgeniya Shelgunova fell on floor in quals. That, her bars error and her scary second vault should be enough to seal the deal for Afan to go to Euros. Anna Dementeyeva scored well on floor but fell off beam. She is capable of such beautiful work but I doubt they will trust her with a spot somehow. I'm so happy that Anastasia Grishina hit beam. That's two in a row and top qualifier for both I believe. Huang Huidan sadly grabbed the beam and then fell off trying to regain her balance after that. Looks like she will be joining Demy in the inconsistent lovelies box so far this year, but Grishina has clawed her way out so hope remains. Let's hope Shang Chunsong, Tan Jiaxin, Zeng Siqi and Zhang Qing all produce stellar work in their upcoming meets. It will also be interesting to see how Wu Liufang competes nationally this year. They may actually need He Kexin and Deng Linlin to hang on for a while, particularly if Yao Jinnan is not on top form.
In Jesolo news, Simone Biles second vault was very high. I have no idea what it is. I'm guessing a Mustafina. If it is that will be amazing to see, especially as it hasn't been done really well by the handful that have already done it. Even Maroney's was a little low every time she did it. Always great, but could have done with more height all the same. Mai Murakami apparently trained very well, high double double (generally it's been low recently) and a DTY. So excited to see her routines. Loving their training leo, it's showing up USA's (hideous bright pink, black bit and obligatory swirl) leos as extra tacky.
Alla Sosnitskaya, a new Russian face, has some extremely beautiful turn combinations in training. Neither materialised at Russian Championships though, but nobody was pulling out all the stops there. She had some very out of control landings on floor at Russian Championships, but she does have a nice double layout and triple full so hopefully she can gain more consistency with her landings in time- they're not bad in this video, except one. Check out the BEAUTIFUL illusion-Memmel-double turn, and later the triple turn which starts as an l-turn, graduates to a Moors turn (I don't know what that position is called) and then down to being held at ankle height. Exquisite stuff, hope to see it again soon. Alla turned senior last year but doesn't appear to be on the radar as of yet. I'm not sure what's like on the other events, they could certainly do with a strong clean vaulter if her strengths also lie in that direction. Video is here.
I'm trying not to get excited about the training video of Aliya Mustafina doing a double layout. Granted it's definitely not appraching competition surface and she has a whole bunch of extra backhandsprings in, but wow is it beautiful. As a sidenote, I'm sick of hearing on places like gymfanconfessions (good for a laugh) that Aliya has terrible form. I wasn't aware that her triple fulls and amanars are all that her routines consist of. It's hilarious and yet infuriating when people submit confessions acting as if she is Aly Raisman, Evgeniya Shelgunova or Shallon Olsen in the form department. Yes, she has creepy fans and yes, there's quitea lot of hype around her even now on the gymternet- but no need to blast her as having crap form. There was even one that said she was the worst gymnast ever. LOL. Nobody is acting like her triple fulls and vaulting are Cheng Fei-like objects of beauty, but no need to get delusional. Anyway, I wonder where the DLO would fit in? I hope not to replace her first pass, which is so well done. I'd like to see her do the double arabian-stag, DLO, 1.5 into double tuck and then a 2.5-front layout last pass. No triple full in that routine, and she's generally very solid on dance elements too to bump up that d-score. Hopefully it will appear and isn't just a tease like Jordyn Wieber's. The link is here, it refuses to embed.
I'm busy lately so I can't post or comment as much, but it's temporary and I'm still using my phone to keep up to date :)