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.
- 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!
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.