Monday, 22 April 2013

Event finals

Another dose of fabulous gymnastics and results in Moscow.


- A bit too splatty, with falls from Maria Paseka on both of her vaults, Taljana Tkalkec the same, and Chantysha Netteb on her DTY. Paseka of course, went in as the favourite, already vaulting a spectacular DTY in qualifying and saving the amanar. The crash is a surprise, as they were fine at Russian Nationals and last year she was vaulting them securely (if not fully rotated) at the Olympics, with her crashes coming a bit before then when she was still recovering from injury. As for the layout Podkopayeva, she used to just have piking issues with it. I'd imagine if she vaulted that first she would have landed it, but she possibly was not in the best state of mind after crashing her amanar in front of a home crowd. Chantysha got great power on both of her vaults, but it looks like she is hindered by injury. I can't wait to see her back at her best, and I loved her fast recovery for a very nice full-twisting Tsuk.

- Noel Van Klaveren is FIERCE. In my mind she is the rightful silver winner, but Larisa Iordache should not be tied with her and should have gotten bronze instead. Noel's vaults were just so superior form wise and I watch them over and over again to see the true laidout position on her FTT especially. I know her chest was a bit low on it but it doesn't alter how stupendous the vault is for me at all. We saw this as a second vault a lot- and even the very powerful Giulia Steingruber was very piked on hers. The Dutch girls have the best technique on it. It's only worth a 5.2 though, I'd like to see most of those who performed it upgrading it.

- It's always great to see an all-arounder in the vault final, and Larisa Iordache is a newcomer to it, as her vaults would not have been allowed under the previous code. Romanians have often done Yurchenko and Tsuk entry vaults together in the past and done them well so obviously B&B are accomplished in this regard so it'd be great to see her second vault improve in form, and eventually upgrade.

- I love Giulia Steingruber. She had issues with her landings at Doha and was third after Phan Thi Ha Thanh and Iordache. She stated she would go all out working on her landings, and it paid off. Great to see determination like hers and I'd love to see her figure into the top 10 AA at worlds as well as upgrading her second vault to contend in the vault final there.

- I'm very happy with the podium of Steingruber with Van Klaveren and Iordache tying for second but as I said above I think Van Klaveren deserved that second spot by herself, even with the landings being a bit off. THAT form.

Uneven Bars

- Lovely to see another hit routine from Aliya Mustafina. Not sure why there was a dead hang in there..tiredness probably. It was always going to win but wow was it overscored. I love her line but I think she is sickling more than she used to and I HATE sickling. Because her routine is amazing I can usually ignore it, moreso than I can with average routines, but it seemed to stand out more in event finals. As well as the dismount there's a lot of room for connections in there like she had in her old routine, it looks like it will be a cinch for her to upgrade when she needs to.

- Very sad to see Ruby Harrold and Becky Downie come to grief with their routines, especially Becky as she stayed down for a few seconds and looked so heartbroken. Ruby has had numerous issues with her ambitious routine, but this time it was the fabulous Zuchold that did it. She usually hits it very well so I'd regard that as a fluke. Although Becky has flaked in a good few competitions I wouldn't count her out as the bars specialist in favour of Ruby..she has a better hit record this year and she has the superior form and line.

- Also very dissapointed to see Ida Gustafsson have to jump off the bar and for Sophie Scheder to incur a big deduction for not reaching handstand on a skill. I think her bail was the culprit but I could be wrong. Ida has been impressing with her clean and beautiful routine for a good while now but I prefer the composition and flow of Scheder's, the reigning junior Euros bars champion. I'd also love to have Roxana Popa as well as of course, Anastasia Grishina, both of whom had bad qualifying rounds.

- Maria Paseka's bars are a bit rough around the edges, but better than I was expecting judging on what she has shown on this apparatus in the last year. I really like her composition and the difficulty is there. It was great to see her bounce back from utter vault failure to take a medal here and it was deserved. Jonna Adlerteg had such beautiful form and it was so touching to see her reaction knowing she would medal. I was afraid Paseka would bypass her but the judges saw sense. A great podium.


- I live for Larisa Iordache's dismount series. It's quite rare to see a triple full so securely around with no shadow of a doubt remaining. I know her ankles cross on it but it's just so solid, like the rest of her routine. I think her form used to be tighter here, hopefully she can work on that too. I was wondering if the layout full would make an appearance but probably a wise decision not to bother as it wasn't needed.

- Anastasia Grishina was quite slow and hesitant. I was enthralled with the beauty of her routine as always and of course slow is a lot better than falling, but I hope she can build on its difficulty without sacrificing consistency.

- The snappiness of Diana Bulimar's routine is thrilling. Yeah she's not waving her arms around and picking up her foot and putting it down again excessively, but it doesn't take away from the brilliance of her routine at all. So solid. I know dance skills have caused her problems here, so I hope to see her acro getting upgraded first. This routine looks ridiculously easy for her. I'd like to see her doing more straddle split jumps, and her tuck front is very high so she can pike that. Either a tuck full or layout full would be great, and her dismount is very high and precise..I think she could do a full-in.

- While I was not particularly surprised to see Olena Vasylieva headcasing, it was still unpleasant to watch. She has beautiful form, I would love to see her become more consistent.

- Pleasantly surprised with Katarzyna Jurkowska's routine, wonderful to watch. And again Ruby Harrold's was great also. Her NCAA dismount needs to go though it was said it's because she is still recovering from ankle injury so it makes a lot of sense.

- Another great podium, and thrilled to see Grishina pick up the bronze in a final she only qualified for by pure fluke.


- It wasn't Larisa's day for landings, she's had better. I was wondering if Diana could pass her out but I wasn't surprised or dismayed that Larisa's higher difficulty gave her the edge. I love how energetic Larisa's routine is, and I think while it isn't elegant or even stylish it's very engaging and charming. I keep expecting the start to turn into Radiohead- Street Spirit though. I also like how she dances into the corners.

- Afan was incredible to watch. A pity she dropped her foot early on the second spin combination but the rest was flawless. So impressed with her tumbling and the height of her double pike- one of the best I've seen. It's as if she runs into that tumble angry at how it failed her last year and uses that to get extra height. I love her music so I'll be sad to see it go in a way..she is cited to have a new routine for Universiade.

- It's odd to see the very powerful Diana land a bit short on her double pike, which she has done before. She seems to have boundless energy until that pass so maybe she is better off upgrading her other three tumbles and dumping the fourth one. Whatever works for her. Long overdue a new routine, and the full-twisting DLO looks very achievable. I'm not a fan of the piked full-in, it's so scrappy looking and I wish she could tighten her form on the double layout. It's the small things!

- I really enjoyed watching Roxana Popa in action. Beautiful Memmel turn! And very nice tumbling too. Another very solid and impressive routine by Giulia Steingruber. She has great technique on her opening full-twisting DLO and her follow-up DLO is fabulous too. She's another I'd like to see sharpen up her form on tumbles. Her double tuck which was a double twist earlier in the competition seems much too easy for her, needs an upgrade.

- Gutted to see Kristina Sankova put her hands down on her last tumble after a very good routine. I'm also annoyed to see she was the replacement for Mariya Livchikova and not there in her own right- she's much more powerful than the other girls they have, and valuable too as her consistency (though not shown here) is better too. She's capable of arabian double pikes! I hope she can continue to show her beleaguered federation that she's fully deserving of competition spots.

- Anastasia Grishina's luck was further in evidence as her spot was given to her by Aliya Mustafina's withdrawal. I've seen Aliya being called kind and loyal for this and while I have no doubt she can and does have wonderful team spirit- this is more down to Aliya's own exhaustion and endurance. She did pull out of the last two floor finals she qualified to also. Her floor needs to be reworked. Anyway, while Grishina had a dissapointing large stumble out of her first pass, the routine was gorgeously floaty and continued without further error. It's just amazing to see her hitting another routine! Out of 10 competitive routines, she hit 8..that has to be a record for her. Fabulous coaching.

Favourite vault- Noel Van Klaveren, VT 2
Favourite bars- Sophie Scheder
Favourite beam- Diana Bulimar
Favourite floor- Ksenia Afanasyeva

Favourite leotard- Oooh. Tough one. Larisa Iordache BB-FX leo was stunning, but I'm striking her off for it having an obscene cut, again. I really loved Katarzyna Jurkowska's- simple but so lovely. The Dutch girls' one was very pretty. I'm not sure what to think about Roxana Popa's? Looks like she robbed it from some of the 90's worst offenders. It was nice to see something go against every single leo I've seen in forever all the same, so props to her for keeping it interesting!

NCAA Nationals

I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert on it, I'm really not. But I was hoping for a Florida or Oklahoma victory and it did come down to the wire for the two, which was great. Well done to Florida for winning their first title! They have such a well balanced team, powerhouses like Kytra Hunter and Ashanee Dickerson, elegant bars and beam workers like Alaina Johnson and Mackenzie Caquatto and then workhorses like Marissa King and the awesome rebirth of Courtney Kupets- Bridget Sloan. Seriously, so in awe of how the nobody from 2008 whose world AA victory in 2009 was so unexpected and reviled and whose elite career ended disastrously with an injury right before Olympic Trials has gone on to take NCAA by storm. She was expected to be a very strong recruit but freshmen are generally not the ones to carry their team and take the AA title! Not to mention beam too. Incredible! I was gutted Lloimincia Hall did not make floor finals. I understand her routine is jarring but there's a reason why everyone was waiting and waiting for her to take the floor during Super Six- it's just electric. And I am so blown away by Danusia Francis who teased everyone with a training video of a transverse aerial at the start of the season..which never appeared again until last night! Wonderful that she actually landed it, such a pity she came to grief on a forwards one shortly after but that and Bridget Sloan dominating are what I take away from this year's NCAA.

For anyone who watched it, do you agree with those who took the titles? Is it a disgrace Florida won with a fall? It sounds crazy to me that there's a lot of controversy over that given how many routines counted towards the final score but I know that scoring is so tight, not like elite. Personally given Alabama's slight flop in the last rotation and Florida's utter destruction of the other three apparatus', and Oklahoma's lesser difficulty...I've no issue with it. How mental is it that 23 girls qualified for the 8-place vault final? That is just hilarious. Such a pity Vanessa Zamarripa was not on top form for her final hurrah too.


  1. It's quite puzzling that Yurchenko and Tsuk entries weren't permitted together in the old code. One would think that if you wanted gymnasts to show two different vaults, the more different the better, rather than a Yurchenko entry and roundoff + half twist on entry which pretty much most people were doing? Sometimes the codes don't make sense..

    Paseka was definitely a surprise on bars. Sadly if Komova was in her place Komova would probably have crashed after the vaults, so great mental strength to come back. I wish I could see more of her other than that awful Amanar, her block gives me the heebiegeebies.

    SO happy to see Grishina getting more confident, her smiles after her performances in Euros were so great to see. I'm happy for her to do less difficulty now and gain more confidence so hopefully she won't headcase it. I wonder if she had been senior a year before London she would have been better prepared to cope with the pressure. But really promising signs! It is pretty amazing how Aliya can always pull it out of the bag when necessary no matter how crap she has been looking in training/podiums. I wonder if she has been injured, heard things about her back and ankle and she definitely didn't look tiptop fit.

    Loved Giulia Steingruber throughout and she seems to have a really positive happy attitude which is nice to see. I've become a total fan of Van Klaveren, I agree she should've been silver outright - noticeably better form than Larisa.

    And LOVE Bridgey, she's awesome, a terrible way to end out her elite career though frankly Marta wouldn't have taken her anyway. Really glad she's having NCAA success (and the other ex-elite girls like Kytra as well). It's nice that there's more to gymnastics life apart from the politics game that is the national team scene..

  2. The fact that Florida killed it on their other three events is why they deserve the title. I watched the whole meet and frankly I thought Alabama could have overtaken Oklahoma.

    Speaking of Oklahoma how crazy was it that they were .2 behind Florida to take the title?

    Bridgey rocked it and she deserves her AA. This is my first year watching womens college gymnastics and I have a deeper respect for it. Imagine if Kyla skips rio goes to college at Stanford or wherever. I could totally see a rivalry between her amd bridgy. Plus Fl is getting a good recruit net year with Ale mcmurtry as well as kennedy baker. Can't wait for next year!!

  3. Ha I was confused with Bridgey..thinking Caquatto? I love her, as well as being a fierce competitor she's very down to earth. It's exciting to think of all she has achieved in only her first year.

    I've loved Oklahoma all year, Olson, Spears...beam. I hope they can build their difficulty and their programme on the back of such a great year. I do wonder where she will end heard the waiting-for-test-scores-Stanford rumour? I can only picture her at Stanford or UCLA somehow and not just because of location..but seeing her at Alabama or LSU just seems wrong.

  4. I wasn’t surprised to see Paseka crashed her Y900 (hahaha you said I usually name DTY as Y720 so I now don’t call it Amanar :P) as she didn’t perform it in EF in Nationals right? I reckoned she couldn’t put Y900 and layout Pod together then. It seems that she is still not ready. If it’s Valentina asked her to do so(do Y900 instead of Y720 in EF), hope after this disaster, she learned a lesson that not having highest D score will take gold undoubtedly…(IMO she’s keen on pushing all the girls doing Y900 which is stupid… plus, she seems to continually make Shelgu doing harder routines/skills and hold high hope on her which makes me vary scared…. I hope Shelgu can make team but not in this way—killing herself. ) and crashing layout Pod isn’t a surprise at all as she landed it short after DTY in Nationals and QT in Euros IIRC. BTW, I used to think she only has severe form break on Y900 but this proves I was wrong….( ) It’s mean of those haters to do so(print screen all her routines to make fun of it) but it’s truth that she has so many problems but judges tends to ignore them in OG or even in QT in Euros.
    Natteb’s feet must hurt when she landed that incomplete Y720… I look forward to see her compete when healthy. (She seems a bit inconsistent in whole week. Not sure if it’s due to her injury. )
    Belak wore same leo as that in Doha and nailed both her vaults while she did badly in Doha. Glad to see she was satisfied with it.
    Noel did very very well in EF! (Such a pity about the landing in AA (and dismount on bars…) Her Y900 potential is bigger than Larisa’s now. And YES YES YES, she deserved higher score to get silver herself even if I’m Larisa’s fan. (I’m sick of those who are blind to their fav gymnasts’ obvious mistakes/issues so I won’t do so, or I’ll dislike myself:P )
    We(members in Larisa or Ana Porgras forum in Baidu) assumed her two vaults will like Izbasa’s, but after Doha, it seems Bellu wants to give her Rosu plan haha but before upgrading, she should clean up her form, enhance her height and distance first. (They are good last year…)
    I like Giulia’s smile(confidence) when she’s competing and I’m so delighted to see her take gold! (Well, IMO it’s hard to say if she still can take gold when Paseka didn’t fell both her vaults(I mean Y720 and layout Pod ) as this comp is held in Russia….

    1. Yep, she did a DTY in qualifications but I thought that was more down to not needing the amanar to qualify and not having issues with it. It was stronger at Russian nationals than it was all last year. Still ugly and scary though. I see so much disinterest towards Shelgunova because of her form, but I too hope she can improve that and make teams as she already has a good basis of difficulty- I would agree some of it needs to be scaled back until her form is better. The Pak HAS to go. Ahh, I didn't know Paseka had issues with the Pod..I think I remember hearing that about Russian Nationals alright but I must have forgotten.
      That was quite a scary landing for Netteb! She did fly backwards very quickly but still, quite a stressful landing on her body. And Van Klaveren's bars dismount was another scary one. The Dutch girls don't seem to shine on bars in general.
      I'd love to see her be Rosu #2. That girl's form and power was extraordinary, it would be great if Iordache could emulate it!
      I'd love if Steingruber could upgrade her second vault. However she does pike it a good bit, so maybe it would have to change altogether for her to do a more valuable vault that isn't at risk of being downgraded.

  5. Aliya is good at hitting her routines :P but you’re right—that score is too high… I know it’s Euros so it’s strange to speak Chinese gymnasts here but, how come that obvious dead hang seems not giving her big deduction while Chinese always have? I don’t like to say it’s due to nationality but I can’t find any other reason… (You know I’m not native to China so I have no reason to be partial to Chinese) Grishina’s better than Aliya on bars when she hits and I want to see her hit with higher D score in the future!
    It’s Ruby’s second time to have big mistake on Zuchold IIRC but I think she will still have many chances (I’m surprised she hit almost all her routines in QT/AA as she and everyone don’t think she need to compete in AA final…) What a shame Becky fell…. Although before comp started, I thought Jupp probably can qualify to EF due to she or Ruby’s a bit inconsistency but they both did well in QT…

    Some CoP experts in Baidu AG forum count Sophie’s D score in EF. What a surprise she planned to throw a 6.5 routine! That means she was aiming for gold medal! Seems her Bail wasn’t credited and some other connection, either. I’m very impressed with her! (especially her execution and innovative routine ) IMO she should have take that bronze medal instead of Paseka who just didn’t make any big mistake but don’t worthy of that high E score compared to Sophie’s.

    1. Yeah the judges were very good at ignoring the dead hang. And the sloppy second twist in her DTY. I do love Aliya's gymnastics overall but it's not nice to see anybody's scores inflated. Yes, Grishina doesn't sickle her feet! But then, she has much more taps in her routine and I really despise them. She's very precise.
      Yes, I remembered that at English Nationals she completely overarched her back on it and had to jump off. Since then she has mainly had trouble after the Zuchold, not during.

      I love Sophie! Apparently she could have been hit with an 0.5 deduction for the total non-finishing in handstand, and then it would have hit her d-score too so I do think her placement was correct. Unfortunate, but correct. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of her and Roxana Popa on bars.

  6. Lari still seems to deal with puberty now, and that makes me worried… She crosses her ankle on floor as well. Her D score now is 6.4 without layout full and some connection right? Maybe Bitang can develop some other safer connections to her as I don't think she will do too risky skills in AA in any comp…..

    Grishina looked so nervous. I'm gratified by this routine even though it's only 5.6 D score. I'm curious what skills her coach will add.

    Seems both Didi and Larisa don't learn ring leap and unfortunately Didi is bad at spin… I doubt Bitang won't give her too difficult routine although I really hope she can have a competitive beam routine.

    It's very sad to see Olena made big mistakes and cried(Paseka as well)… I was afraid she wouldn't qualify to EF but she narrowly did it but she remained inconsistency in EF which was heart broken to everyone especially herself….

    I was a bit disappointed to Lari's landings then but yesterday I read that she has slight injury when competing(lower back, right hip and leg) so I then felt very satisfied with her performances all week and felt sorry that she couldn't rest more…. I think she definitely can throw a more difficult routine but it isn't worth it now so Bellu didn't put her in high risk( I doubt even in WC this year, she won't throw a too hard floor routine) (and I have to say her E score in EF was a bit high…)
    I like this choreo very much. It’s made by Adi last June BTW.
    Someone told me they usually get new floor music before WC, so let's wait for Didi's new floor routine. :D Didi and Lari's pike full in (Lari did it in OG in her water downed routine) is always like that -- sloopy form but good landing so I hope Bellu can take off this skill to avoid deduction. And I don't mind that leg sep in DLO even if it's a bit ugly… (Also, I think .1 leg sep is better than .3~.5 deduction from landing, and it's safer to gymnasts' feet if they can't land it with glued leg… ) BTW, Afan's DLO also has leg sep but she is wise to glue her feet to cover it. (Aliya also did so on bars)

    I thought Popa was a bit inconsistency judging form her performances last year and those in Doha this year, but she proved I was wrong in Euros :D How sad her scores are usually lower than expected (at least that DTY and FX in EF)… I want to see her qualify to UB EF in WC this year! (Sophie as well)
    I wonder if Giulia is capable of whip+1080 or something better skill instead of double tuck. If she can upgrade last pass, maybe she can qualify to EF in WC!

    It's said Sankova has slight injury so she wasn't chosen in list originally and I was glad they wanted to protect her then but Livchikova's injury means she has to go to Euros… I think she has potential to do a more difficult routine but her consistency is always disturbing her….

    I agree it's not because Aliya's kind or something. She just needs to rest and well protected. She can force herself to get maybe bronze medal in EF undoubtedly, though. Grishina did well and I love her whip to 1080! It's wise of her coach to make her replace 540 with whip. (won't waste too much energy and now she can full rotate it and land it much better but also has .2 CV) and make her try to do quad spin. (It's okay if she doesn't hit that spin as I believe she will do D+B or B+B turn in the future and she won't need this .2 anymore.)
    Her coach is continually telling me he is amazing hahaha (Grishina as well!)

    1. Yes, Larisa's beam d-score was 6.4 throughout Euros. It was 6.7 at Doha. She's one of the most solid and fastest beam workers I've ever seen, she looks well capable of more in that routine. Unlike Katelyn who looks over capacity! It's impressive that Larisa was that solid and achieved so much when she is overcoming more injury! Giulia seems very powerful, maybe a full-in tuck for her third pass and a 2.5 twist for her last one?

      Ah thank you, Sankova's inital exclusion makes more sense now! I'd still put her in the 'more consistent' of Ukraine's WAG though. Grishina's tumbling was glorious. I'm a sucker for clean triple fulls AND whips so the combinations was great. Afan finishes her rotation of her triple full so early, she does look well capable of the rumoured 3.5 twist she has in the works. Amazing that she's blossoming and upgrading after her second Olympics!

  7. Afan's gold is well deserved! That's her best routine so far.
    I'm sorry to say that she never hits her double L turn but judges don't care at all. And why I call D+B turn is “cheating D+B turn” is because she usually don't full rotate her turns even that simple double spin after semi turn in QT, which lacked at least 180 degrees. Her semi turn has problem at times but judges still credit all the turns she does. (If not credit her D vaule turns, she will lose those D+B CV as well and that costs her D score a lot-- 6.4 to 6.0)
    While so many gymnasts' double L turn get downgraded, Afan's was the only one which always get credit. (even HQS's in Tokyo was downgraded which is very harsh IMO.) Ridiculous. (Sorry, it's a bit mean but I can't stand this……)

    Favorite vault: Noel's Y720 in EF (or Didi's in PT )
    Favorite Bars:Sophie's in QT
    Favorite Beam:Didi's in EF or Lari's in EF
    Favorite Floor:Afan's in EF or Didi's in EF

    Favorite Leotard: all new leos from Didi XD (I thought fluorescing leos are suitable for her skin color, but I like that white leo with some decoration in flag's color most )As for Popa's in EF, that leo has CMYK color model except for black. It's a bit risky to do so but considering Spanish flag, it's okay to me haha.

    1. I was so impressed with Afan's routine! The stream was a bit choppy during it but I've watched it on youtube a few times since. I'm still bad at recognising 'short' turns unless the gymnast very obviously drops her heel clumsily or stumbles.

      Didi's leos were great! I'm sad though that when she grows they will be indecent like Iordache, Izbasa and Ponor..

  8. Blergh. I posted something and then it got eaten. Basically - love Bulimar. Not the greatest of difficulty but beautiful form (I think). I love Larisa's difficulty but the girl needs to point her toes! I do love watching her on beam as she has such fluidity.

    The Russians' dance is so gorgeous. It's clear that they've had extensive dance training. Giulia Steingruber's tumbling is amazing, but she doesn't have the choreo or the grace of Grishina or Afan.

    I wish Grishina hadn't dyed her hair that awful brassy blond that every Russian seems to do...

    1. I really only notice Larisa's form when it's glaring- her flexed feet on her leaps, her piked Tsuk full and her crossed feet when she twists. Her skills and snappiness is so impressive that she sucks you in and it's not as easy as it should be to notice that Bulimar's form is better on beam. Now on floor I'd say it's worse though. They're quite equal on vault and while Diana is cleaner on bars her release is awfully flat..and then Larisa has more swing and difficulty but her form is worse. Hard to tell which of them really is better at execution.

      I wonder how it compares to the Soviet training of old. It's clearly a main factor but I doubt it's as intensive as it was back in the day. Sometimes you think they are graceful only compared to powerhouses and they're not especially elegant etc...and then a gymnast like Grishina comes along. I think her floor routine needs to showcase her exquisite style more than it does currently. They should basically just act as if she's the rebirth of Omelianchik.