Ahhh, that time of year :D I have a massive advantage on the last one as worlds are actually in a few weeks instead of a year.
I won't do teams as they are all largely in place or with very little room to manouevre, even the US. I will say that I don't see Brenna Dowell on the team. In my mind it's Simone Biles, Kyla Ross, Mykayla Skinner, Alyssa Baumann, Madison Kocian and Ashton Locklear.
Moving on to the fun
1. Simone Biles
Woah, unorthodox choice I know! She hasn't raised the roof on her difficulty level since Antwerp..bars and beam changes probably cancel each other out. What she has done is clean up, she's technically better than ever AND her landings are so much more precise. It will all help. I think she would need to fall and have a significant other error for someone to have a shot at catching up to her.
2. Aliya Mustafina
3. Kyla Ross
I'm not overly confident in the order of these two. Aliya looked super strong at Russian Cup, better overall than last year. Kyla meanwhile has downgraded further. It's hard to know. Larisa HAS upgraded her floor and beam and her bars look stronger than ever...so she could of course feature here. The reason why she doesn't is because she has never gotten it together in the AA when it really counts while the other two are absolute beasts in competition.
4.(th again) Larisa Iordache
5. Vanessa Ferrari
Vanessa still looks very strong. Larisa will fall off beam I think.
SHOCKER. It won't be easy as we all would have imagined at the beginning of the year. Losing Ebee, McKayla Maroney and injuries to Peyton Ernst, Maggie Nichols, Lexie Priessman with no Fierce 5 comebacks...it's definitely not a glorious pool of depth. But they still have the goods..even though China technically has higher potential d-scores.
4. Great Britain
Now I'm really not confident in this..but at the moment it makes the most sense. China have killer, and I mean killer, bar routines. Their lowest d-score out of 4 is 6.7-8. If they all hit then it's a major boost. Likewise with beam, strong potential there as usual. Russia are just...not really a strong team. And just today they have lost Ekaterina Kramarenko. Viktoria Komova will almost surely be on the team now, but they'll still be weak. As ever, Aliya Mustafina does not a team make and she'll be carrying them. The second strongest team member is Maria Kharenkova. Together I can see them dragging the team above the twin onslaught of GB and Romania.
Romania recently spectacularly lost to Germany. It makes me very unsure of how equipped they are to deal with GB. GB are lacking depth in some areas but may still be able to surpass a greatly weakened Romania who didn't even choose a team as there was nobody to leave behind.
GB..hmmm, mystery. I'm not sure what the story is with Raer Theaker and Rebecca Tunney but I got the impression they're not going to be in contention? Gabby Jupp on the other hand is back! This could go either way for them. 4th would be an enormous achievement even with their new strength. 5th is just as likely. Romania veer from 3rd to 5th to me, they don't have 'it' for 2nd this year at least I don't think.
Hong un Jong
Phan Thi Ha Thanh
I'm a little stumped here, I feel a bit out of the loop. Hmmm. *Added Maria Paseka! We could see a suicidal Prod though of course. Perhaps Mahmoud as the last I saw of Pena she didn't look particularly strong and crashed a layout front if I remember correctly.
Madison has more difficulty than Kyla, but not as clean.
I haven't seen a huge amount of great floors this year. Mai Murakami is struggling at the moment, I don't see her getting her tumbles back and into this final, sadly.
I'm very confident in this finals line-up, out of all the EF ones.
1. Simone Biles
2. Mykayla Skinner
3. Giulia Steingruber
Ta-dah! So that was straightforward enough.
1. Yao Jinnan
2. Huang Huidan
3. Becky Downie
Yeah so this is impossible! The Russians have lesser difficulty which could get Becky into the medals if she hits everything for hers. Much like Euros. This is one of those predictions that feels right, but so many variables involved..
1. Larisa Iordache
2. Maria Kharenkova
3. Bai Yawen
BOOM, Larisa has to hit beam in a final when it actually matters, just once. Maria is quite steady with a lot of difficulty...but I have big issues with silver and bronze. Where is Kyla, how will Bai Yawen be scored, what about Simone's higher difficulty now...all legit concerns. It's a tough one.
1. Simone Biles
2. Larisa Iordache
3. Vanessa Ferrari
All 3 of these routines have 6.5 difficulty. Gold is obvious. Not so much the others. I dumped Mykayla Skinner after comments made me look harder at Vanessa Ferrari who I initially forgot about for floor finals altogether and needed reminding from Cordelia Price! Mykayla does have a good shot though at this podium.
Even when we're this close, there's still a huge amount of 'what if'. What's right here, what's definitely wrong? What's downright bizarre?