Monday, 2 September 2013

Competitions! And news

First up since it's freshest in my mind is the Chinese National Games prelims. This competition will have team, AA and event finals, with a limit of two-per-province for each non-team final. Prelims have already told us a lot, relying on translated quick hits as the livestream did not function for me and videos are unlikely to surface today (time difference, it's quite late there now).

- Yao Jinnan hit an excellent bars set, scoring 15.567 with 6.7 difficulty. No Mo salto but there's still time for that and her 7.0 routine is said to be ready. She connected a Chow-Pak-Chow 1/2. She landed low on her full twist on beam, had wobbles and then fell on her layout :( Her floor was extremely watered down and she seemed to hurt herself on her DTY. She may have exacerbated an injury she was already dealing with.On seeing the video, that definitely looks to be the case.
- Shang Chunsong HIT 4/4, sticking her FTY, nailing her floor set with the first pass done well and in bounds, earning 14.634, wobbling but staying on the beam and a great bars set earning her a score of 57.101, which is huge in China. She did have an upgrade on bars but did not do another connection, so the 14.9 she got there should hopefully be higher in the future. Lost some of her start value on beam due to wobbles, but her full potential is 7.0 UB, 6.6+ BB, 6.1 FX and 5.0 (training DTY, unlikely to appear this year though) VT. Watch out..
- Tan Jiaxin was a heartbreaker. Hit a DTY and full twisting Tsuk (FTT- same vault set as Larisa Iordache and plenty of others) but she crashed her full twisting double layout bars dismount, placing ninth and therefore needing someone to drop out in order to prove herself.
- Huang Huidan HIT bars and beam, highly unusual. Her bars score was a huge 15.5! I can't help feeling more confident now about her. Third qualifier to the AA final too.
- Zeng Siqi had a disaster, falling on beam and sitting her dismount, as well as wobbles and downgrades. She did not come close to qualifying for event finals as a result. Bars, vault and floor were okay, but she is really going for one event and one event only and this has very much jeopardised her worlds spot..especially since while the routine may have been a fluke, her lack of endurance is not and the dismount has long been a problem.
- Huang Qiushuang fell on beam, but hit bars. We'll see her in both the AA and bars finals.
- Sui Lu had a great day, 1st on beam and 2nd on floor. Who knows, she could maybe be persuaded to go to worlds..
- Fellow veteran He Kexin hit her bars, scoring 15.367. They were reported not to be to the best of her ability however, but still a fantastic score.
- It was not to be for Deng Linlin who sat her beam dismount, unfortunately, and was devastated.
- Wu Liufang touched the beam during her routine and fell on bars. This is not going to be a worlds where she is unfairly left behind, I think she is done as regards big competitions.
- Junior superstar Lv Jiaqi did really well, fourth qualifier to the AA and will compete in beam finals as a major challenger. She is a whopping 8 years younger than Sui Lu..
- Some other star juniors were hampered by injury, like Wang Yan who fell on beam but hit a new double twisting tsuk, and Liu Tingting who also fell on beam and had a very messy floor. Others like Mei Jie were absent altogether.
- Gorgeous Yang Yilin-esque Fan Yilin had a killer bars set, scoring a huge 15.234! Right in the medal hunt.
- Tan Sixin fell on bars but hit beam. 

So, Shang Chunsong solidified her place on the worlds team and even lessened doubts over her consistency into the bargain. We have seen some super-solid beam sets from her this year so I'm confident she can do that in at least one of the all-around and beam finals at NG. Yao cemented her place for bars alone..hopefully she can do the all-around but it's not looking good. Huang Huidan did herself a lot of favours for one of the most inconsistent gymnasts they have, and her spot on the team which was provisional as they all were, now looks even more likely. Zeng Siqi though is teetering on the edge. If Sui Lu can be persuaded to put off her retirement by about a month, that spot could well be hers.

Some videos already! Here. Hopefully more from either this channel or another. No Piibunina this time! The long two hour video is subdivision 2, which includes Yao Jinnan and Huang Huidan, amongst others. You might notice that the beam doesn't look right..because it wasn't, tilted to the right near the dismount mats. Lots of complaints about it, and lots of falls in the one place/one side. Frustrating to say the least. I heard the link above has taken down individual routines, so there is another link here. Running it through translate, from left to right, row by row- He Kexin FX, Wu Liufang BB, Yao Jinnan FX, Yao Jinnan BB, Deng Linlin FX, Deng Linlin BB, Guan Wenli BB, Shang Chunsong (whose name translates as providers Haramatsu??) FX, Zeng Siqi FX, Shang Chunsong BB, Zeng Sigi BB, Shang Chunsong UB, Jiang Tong VT, Sui Lu BB, Tan Sixin BB, Tan Sixin UB, Wang Wei FX, Yao Jinnan UB, He Kexin UB.

At Interland, Diana Bulimar won the AA title. Unfortunately, her difficulty remains much the same. It's extremely disappointing that a gymnast with such ease in her floor and beam routines has routines that won't get her anywhere near event finals. I will still hold out some hope...there is still Romanian Nationals as well as worlds itself. On a more positive note, she's got a new floor and I really like it! Nice and quirky, not childish but still fast-paced. It has been suspected for a while that Sandra Izbasa would only do floor, which indeed was exactly the case. Her floor in qualifications/AA was watered down but she made some upgrades for event finals which was nice to see- a very respectable 6.1 difficulty. It will be interesting to see if she can bring back the front full instead of the front layout, or any dance upgrades. I'm not a fan of her new choreography yet, I love the music but she seems to have little interest in the routine and it's dull and lacklustre. Hopefully she can sell it more.

I was so thrilled that Noel Van Klaveren hit in the all-around, but she was back to her inconsistent self by event finals. That 1.5 tsuk upgrade is causing problems, probably best to downgrade for the moment. Her beam was beautiful, really nice work. Chantysha Netteb won vault and wisely had her beam dismount downgraded. These two are obvious locks for the worlds team. Sanne Wevers had a 6.2 beam but some difficulty with it...not sure if she could be in contention for a spot or not.

The British girls were a bit of a mixed bag. Thrilled Rebecca Tunney is bursting with potential and new upgrades including a Bhardwaj because..why not, but she was having a good few problems and didn't qualify for either bars or beam finals as a result. Being out for so long with injury and recovery undoubtedly set her back, hopefully she can come back fighting at worlds. Hannah Whelan majorly impressed me with her beam including my favourite series- aerial to two layout stepouts (think Dudnik), and so did Ruby Harrold with an amazing bars routine in event finals, which was not only hit but more flighty and cleaner than it has been. Becky Downie was 50/50, big errors on bars both days but she seems to be back to her best on beam. That will be an interesting team to pick..

TCG have got a lovely post about event finals with all of the best routines, here. The sponsors of the meet have made a great video edit, just like they did at EYOF.


Dun dun dun! Russia have named their worlds team. Aliya Mustafina, Tatiana Nabieva, Maria Paseka and either Viktoria Komova if she's ready or Anna Rodionova if not. First things first, while Ksenia Afanasyeva's surgery was not serious, it was ill-timed. She'll be fine by December apparently, so she just about misses out. So disappointing as she has looked better this year, her sixth year as a senior, than ever. And....that was the sound of the floor title being blown wide open and Maria Paseka getting very lucky to get her spot. Paseka's vaults have been very hit or miss lately, so she's a bit of a gamble. Komova if she's ready will do beam and maybe bars. Rodionova if she goes will just do beam. The third bars spot if Komova doesn't do them goes to Paseka. Where is Anastasia Grishina and why on earth is she not down in place of Rodionova? Good question. Either her back isn't fully there yet and she is being wisely rested, or she has joined Anna Pavlova in the dungeon of beautiful unwanted gymnasts. Rodionova is delicate, injury-prone, inconsistent and has low difficulty. Despite all that her gymnastics is beautiful but when you add it up like that..she's not a great prospect, this year at least. The major problem I have with this team is the huge pressure Aliya Mustafina will be under, as the expectations on her in proportion to the rest of the team will be immense. She's not a gymnast who would shy away from that and will probably thrive to some extent under the strain..but it's still a lot for one person!

Brazil and Ukraine have also joined the ranks of naming their teams. Brazil will send Danielle Hypolito whose first worlds was in 1999 and has competed in almost all to date, Laetitia Costa and Jade Barbosa. It is not known yet if Barbosa will actually compete, it depends on how her injury is doing. Ukraine are sending Angelina Kislaya, Krystyna Sankova, Olesya Sazonova and Olena Vasylieva. No worlds for Daria Matveyeva. Kislaya is pretty good on bars, and Sankova and Sazonova have good potential on floor but their entire WAG programme is so fractured I would be very surprised if any of them made an event final.

News just in- the Netherlands have named their team. Chantysha Netteb, Noel Van Klaveren, Wyomi Masela and Sanne Wevers will go. The first two are locks, and will do the AA. I'm very glad about the last two, Masela because she had the London spot and lost it and Wevers because her beam is nothing short of awesome. A really nice team.

And Australia are sending...nobody! They upped their qualifying standards I believe across the board, but it's bad timing for a post-Olympic year and a gymnastics programme that it's in the process of rebuilding. In a way it makes sense, but it's a wasted opportunity for their new seniors. Maddie Leydin and Kiara Munteanu show huge promise, as indeed do some of the older girls. Only two showed up for trials, with the others crying off from injury or inability to hit the standards which were..wait for it..6.3 difficulty on balance beam with a score of 14.8. Optimism to the point of foolishness. I suppose they would have needed an amanar too.



34 comments:

  1. When has Sandra ever done a double layout? The only passes I remember her doing are piked and tucked full-ins and combination twisting passes (not that i am dissing her tumbling). She is 5'6" so I doubt a double layout would be her first choice for an upgrade. And why bother with the front full? It only adds one tenth to her d score, and she practically decapitated herself at London FX finals. She should just bring back the switch full, and I think she should try to get a split leap 2/1 named after her at Worlds, because she seemed to over-rotate her Gogean, and hers is one of the best.

    It sounds awful but I believe the reason Diana gets no upgrades when she is so clearly ready for them is because B+B don't want her to surpass Larisa...Larisa was supposed to be their star, but it hasn't happened yet due to bad luck. Larisa has almost too much difficulty pushed on her, yet Diana gets nothing.

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    1. Dead right, I confused her passes with Cata there I think. No, unlikely..though Amelia Hundley is the same height and she has a respectable one so it's not impossible..but better to concentrate on little things to up her d score. Yes, it's only one tenth but one or two more tenths are very valuable if she's to be a contender for gold. Afan has 6.4, Biles and Maroney have got 6.2 and Biles is likely to introduce more so..

      Yes, Larisa's beam difficulty is a full point over Diana's..that's definitely a theory that could well have legs.

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    2. I heard/read that Diana doesn't like upgrades and pushes back on them - I believe it was in an interview with B & B and they acted frustrated by it. For a team that likes to win, I don't think they'd hold one girl back b/c of another.

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  2. Thanks for the new, esp on the Chinese Nationals. China is going through a restructuring stage with the older gymnasts going to retire, so it is interesting seeing how their gymnasts do.

    I also noticed the low difficulty for Bulimar, maybe Romania isn't going all out on this year worlds so not too much difficulty being added as yet.

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    1. Yes, although they're quite unlucky with birth years. Their only new senior of note is Lou Nina, who's still battling an arm injury. 2014 is pretty dismal but they have a huge glut for 2015 and 2016. Shang Chunsong and hopefully Yao Jinnan will be carrying the team for quite a while I think.

      Yeah but the disparity between Larisa and Diana on their best events is downright odd..5.9 difficulty on beam versus 6.9, a few tenths on floor too. Diana's beam and floor just look too easy for her, fabulous upright landings etc. She looks like she could do a full-in double layout and a leap from a full-in, and bring back the 1.5 in her last pass.

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    2. On the good note.. most of the members of Olympic teams for the Big 4 usually turn senior in the Olympic year and year before anyway, so it isn't really bad that they have lots for 2015/2016 if the focus is Olympics. Plus the Chinese gymnasts have a tendency to peak at the 16-17 mark, puberty does hit them a bit hard so I'll just focus on the good things here haha

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    3. 2015 in general is a great year and with how this worlds is turning out with some great names not going or in jeopardy, I'm thrilled I'm going to Glasgow worlds as well.

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  3. I'm somewhat disappointed with Izbasa's and Bulimar's new floor routines. Diana's floor is more mature and less "cutesy", but I definitely think more choreography is needed to fully sell it. Sandra's routine kind of looks boring though...Do you know why she didn't perform vault?

    I think the reason Bulimar didn't show any upgrades is because she didn't want to overdo it at an unimportant meet. Although, she does have the potential to improve. The Romanian commentators at Euros said that Bulimar can perform a full twisting DLO. Plus, her double pike on beam is so high she could easily add a full twist to that. However, I find it kind of weird how much Iordache has upgraded and how Bulimar is doing the same routines from two years ago...

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    1. I think Diana's has a lot of potential, but I'm not convinced about Sandra's. Well, a small competition is the ideal time to show new upgrades and test them out, it's what most gymnasts do. I agree with the full-in DLO and harder beam dismount.

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    2. I have gotten the sense from interviews with Bitang and Bellu that they don't particularly like Diana (she isn't a favorite like Larisa), so is it possible that they are pulling a Marta Karolyi and intentionally holding her difficulty down so that she won't ever upstage Larisa or Sandra? Just a thought.

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    3. Well, they don't have many to choose from. Sometimes with the way we don't see Ocalisan or Stanila you'd wear they have a chest full of girls with 6+ d-scores hidden away somewhere. I know they are suffering with a lack of funding and facilities..but still. I don't know, maybe that is the case but they've been around so long- it's hard to believe.

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  4. Really despairing of B&B upgrading Bulimar's routines big time before Worlds - unfortunately I too subscribe to the conspiracy theory that they're afraid of Larisa being overshadowed. I like Larisa but she has almost too much difficulty, she can do the skills but it's messy almost everywhere.

    Shang has definitely solidified her place, it's only vault holding her back now but if she can upgrade to a DTY next year she'll be a decent all-rounder with stellar potential on 3 events. Yao seems to have had an ankle injury before and the commentators were saying it would affect her power.. but if nothing other than bars I think they will still take her though maybe not for the AA. Yao isn't ready I think it might be best to only have Shang doing AA. The rest of the Chinese gymnasts doing AA were quite far behind Yao, even with Yao's super watered down set.

    I am really hoping Sui Lu goes to Worlds, she looked more or less back to her London form and I do believe they were all saying they would retire after National Games so as not to look cocky/assume they'd definitely get to go to Worlds. I wish she'd stay in the sport a bit longer as she does look like she has quite a lot left in her, compared to the rest of her age - e.g. He Kexin hit her routine but it was definitely laboured and she had lots of leg separations I'd never seen from her before, and Huang Qiushuang is now doing a FTY only. My prediction now is Shang (AA), Yao (AA or just UB if not recovered), Sui Lu (BB, FX - hopefully she can recover her London difficulty), Huang Huidan (UB, and BB if Yao doesn't do AA..). Btw "Lv Jiaqi" is actually "Lu Jiaqi" - there is no word sound such as "Lv" in Chinese.

    Rebecca Tunney's bars look very promising, she's still a lock for Worlds anyway with their current depth. I would go with Ruby over Becky, much as I like Becky she is so inconsistent and can never hit bars when it counts.

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    1. Actually it is written as both Lv and Lu (with an umlaut). I don't have that symbol so I go with Lv, but I'm definitely not alone there. I have seen it with another name too.

      Yes, I think Becky has run out of time! It's interesting if you look at Shang's d-scores though, even with an FTY she's competitive..

      I'm also hoping Sui Lu goes! I don't have much time for Zeng Siqi, gorgeous as her work is, she doesn't have the endurance. Grr in a rush but I agree with everything else!

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  5. Do you know when Marta is going to nominate the team?

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    1. Not until after the selection camp, which will not take place until the middle of this month. I'd expect an announcement around the 18th..I believe it ends on the 16th. We know Ross, Biles and Maroney are going barring injury..the question is will they take a fourth like Ernst or Price, or rely on Maroney doing AA like Marta said after nationals..

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  6. Excellent post as usual :D
    Just a small correction, SCS scored 14.634 on FX (bringing her AA total to 57.101)
    She's also really improved her dismounts on BB and UB (I think she stuck both!). Also, I no longer panic about her going out of bounds/sitting down her punch front when she does her opening pass on floor (which looks quite amazing no she's fixed it up).
    At this rate, she could very well score somewhere near (or even above) 59 if she gets rid of the uncharacteristic wobbles on beam and all her connections on UB. All without a DTY and with CHINESE domestic judging! Isn't that exciting?
    Here are some more videos from the TQ
    http://i.youku.com/u/UMzg3MDM0NDc2/videos

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    1. Thank you! Ha some of the info must have been too fresh to get everything right. Yes, and she stuck her FTY too! Interesting! I can't wait to see videos of her, but youku doesn't work on my phone :( Thanks for the link.

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  7. RUSSIA KILL ME WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? I don't understand WHY Afan had to do her operation NOW. How does it even make sense? It sounded like it was an old injury, not a new one, so if so why couldn't she have just waited a month after Worlds? I get that the post-Olympic Worlds is not the most important of events but it's still Worlds and Afan is not getting any younger and she has looked so good this season. Argh!! Paseka got incredibly lucky there... Now it's all down to Aliya (and hopefully Komova too if she can make it) to bring in the results, and she has certainly been competing a lot and hasn't been in the best of health herself. Plus I do worry a bit now without Alexandrov there coordinating her training.

    I don't get Australia either. I get not wanting to send people if they have dreadfully low difficulty, like not even a 5.0, but a 6.3/14.8 difficulty is quite ridiculous. Like.. Didi Bulimar wouldn't make the cut based on that. Asking for such ridiculous difficulty especially in the post-Olympic Worlds just seems pointless. Why not send your top athletes anyway just for the experience, they have potential and they have *some* difficulty.

    Well I might be biased as the only WAG from Singapore competing in London had D scores of 4+ on all events... but she was still our only gymnast ever to go to the Olympics and in a country where gymnastics is not very popular and the school system is very punishing and doesn't make it easy balancing school with sport, I thought she did us proud.

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    1. Maybe it only became an issue recently, because certainly if it was on the cards for a while- it should have been done months ago. Even if Komova does go, the only expectation on her will be to do well and hopefully snatch a medal in bars finals if she actually competes them. Mustafina will have them all on her back, with expectations of at least two medals.

      Lol neither would Kyla Ross, or Simone Biles. The vast majority.

      Absolutely, qualifying for the Olympics at all is a huge, huge deal and I'm thrilled when girls like her just sneak in and qualifications is an amazing experience for them. Ireland hasn't had a WAG yet! One of our elites was beyond thrilled to score the same as Mustafina on beam at euros quals..the one where Mustafina fell twice! Hopefully our programme can make strides and emulate Britain a bit..

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    2. I don't quite get it either, because it seemed like Afan was quite in favour, and she was certainly a huge medal threat for floor at least if she hit. If you look at what Valentina says, it sounds like Paseka is scheduled to do all except beam, and this will be so even if Komova takes the fourth spot over Rodionova: http://www.allsportinfo.ru/index.php?id=75271. Beam seems like a bizarre piece of apparatus to put Komova on in the event that she can compete at all, since she's got issues with her mental game and hasn't competed in over a year!

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    3. I think it's probably just bad timing, it flared up and had to be sorted or something. Uhh Paseka's floor has a long way to go..she'd be better off conserving energy for vaulting. As for Vika, I think they are just concentrating on non-power events maybe.

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  8. Catherine, any news on Ferrari or the Italian team? Also what's the latest news on Iordache?

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    1. Now you mention it I've heard nothing about Italy except that Giorgia Campana is out with injury. If Ferrari was out, would have heard by now. As for Iordache, I think we'll be seeing her no matter what. No word on whether it will be a repeat of her London experience or if she's fully healthy by now.

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  9. I'm so skeptical at how peggy has decided to handle this... yes, we have disgracefully low difficulty and this can't be blamed on the girls whatsoever, this is due to years of culture where execution was favoured over difficulty and we have been left behind by the rest of the world. sure, we are rebuilding, nationals was a disaster, they are all crying out for a decent choreographer for floor, and there are only a few girls who might be competitive... but it seems there's no confidence in these gymnasts, they won't have experience that's needed on the international level, not showing up for a trial is disgraceful (even that is good experience in itself!).. you can't go from having sh!t d scores to saying 'you can't compete unless you have this more than acceptably high d score in mere months. no one expects medals from these girls anyway. build slowly, build confidence. I mean I'm no expert but I don't understand her reasoning.

    I hope vika doesn't compete. her illness can be fairly serious and I'd rather she rest up and heal than push for a lacklustre worlds.

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  10. Not sure if you mentioned anything previously but grishina was pulled from the world selection because the heads of Russian gymnastics were not impressed with her work habit at the Russian cup. Apparently she just left practice one day with no notice. Russian gymnastics released a statement about it a few weeks ago and they're making an example out of her

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  11. Ah Russia, always love to give me heartache. Since Paseka luckily gets a spot. I hope she uses it wisely and actually at least make the vault finals. You can tell the team lacks depth when Rodionova is being considered in case Komova can't do it and Nabs (as much as I love her) will be doing AA with that low difficulty across the board. Who knows, maybe she will surprise and bring higher difficulty, but she is known for her inconsistency. Either way, she is always fun to watch.

    Agreed, again the weight of everything falls on Aliya's shoulders. I have no doubt she will do her best but damn can they stop burdening her with everything! Komova hasn't performed all year, so I don't know what shape she is in; however, if she isn't well, she might as well sit out the rest of the year and be done with it.

    As for Grishina - RewritingRussianGymnastics posted a link to the article that stated the teams and "Valentina says that the gymnasts selected all participated in all of the necessary qualifying events, and that the selection was made on purely sports basis." So no Grishina and apparently no depth in the squad either based on the choices.

    I am more interested in the Russian men's team tbh as they have named a great squad. Only Aliya and Nabieva interest me for the girls, and I will cheer for them.

    BTW has Italy named their team? I know Romania has named theirs and only 3 gymnasts for them are going - so they lack depth as well it seems.

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  12. JUNIOR JAPAN LIST IS FABULOUS!!!!! This is actually going to be more exciting than worlds AA haha
    In addition to USA and GBR, Andreea munteanu, Andreea Iridon, Kim Janas, Maria Kharenkova, Maria Bondareva and more are confirmed for the meet!!! :D

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    1. agreed- junior japan looks AWESOME! :)

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  13. The Couch Gymnast has announced that the nominative registration lists are out and the US has named Ross and Biles all around, McKayla for vault and floor with Brenna Dowell for bars and beam. I'm kind of disappointed because I feel like Ernst has more potential on beam and decent bars over Dowell who has huge difficulty on bars but questionable execution.Plus beam is her worst event.

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  14. Hey Catherine, the Worlds Nominative List is out on The Couch Gymnast! There are a few surprises...

    -Italy is sending Adriana Crisci to compete VT and FX. Didn't she compete in Sydney? The list says she was born in 1982 :0
    -Sandra Izbasa is set to compete vault. Is she prepared??
    -Komova is confirmed, but she's only doing BB. Meanwhile, Paseka is doing FX.
    -Brenna Dowell is on the U.S. team, but she's performing UB and BB. Aren't those her worst events?


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    1. Yes I just went through it on my new post. I think it will be about 95% accurate but we know things like Australia sending girls and Netherlands 4th girl are not accurate. The list was compiled in and around 10 days ago, and can be changed up to the day before competition.

      Bars is now one of Brenna's strengths, which is kind of incredible. Beam has interesting skills, but yeah it's not great and definitely her worst.

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  15. The list is nominative. The fig requires nominative names by sept 3. The us hasn't even had camp yet, so the list isn't official

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    1. im annoyed looking at australia's 'nominative' list.. mary-anne monckton fine, but georgia-rose brown and olivia vivian, who supposedly didn't even show up for trials? i can see liv viv perhaps being injured but surprised that GRB would be a no show. and no georgia godwin who actually did show up for trials? that's a bit of a low blow for poor GG.

      and now if brenna has caught wind of this i daresay the pressure is on her.

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    2. Australia is not sending any WAG gymnasts to worlds this year.

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