I just can't get over how hilarious that was. Larisa's deadpan helpful pointing out of said bee is also fantastic.
|Source- see watermark|
Okay, on with the competition!
What a thrilling final! We have our first back-to-back all-around champion in 20 years! Simone Biles repeated her feat...although I don't think anyone expected it to be such a tense nailbiter. A lovely person sent me the link for the AA stream and I tortorously avoided the gymternet on lunch and the whole way home. Congratulations to me for willpower. I am just about finished watching, with some catching up to do on non-broadcast routines of course.
Let's have a look at our top 8.
1. Simone Biles
2. Larisa Iordache
3. Kyla Ross
4. Aliya Mustafina
5. Yao Jinnan
6. Vanessa Ferrari
7. Alla Sosnitskaya
8. Jessica Lopez
Simone Biles was truly fantastic to watch, but she has been better! That was what made the competition so interesting though, seeing Larisa Iordache challenge her so fiercely with barely a tenth between them at times, with Yao Jinnan and Aliya Mustafina close on their tales. Only Simone's vault was truly one of the best she has displayed, with a much smaller hop forward that wasn't taken into account in her score. Bars were a little bit of a struggle, but the important thing was soldiering on, and the magnificent stuck dismount really helped. Beam was quite shaky, although thankfully it lacked the massive wobble and save she had in team finals. Breaking the connection hindered her there, but with floor to go it didn't seem like that big a deal. Until Larisa Iordache upped her difficulty at the last minute...and had an out of bounds. Very nerve wracking! Simone was bouncier than usual on floor but performed with her usual flair, stayed well in bounds with her chest upright and some really quite nice leaps.
She is just thrilling. I cannot get over the ease with which she does everything, and judging by the commentary, neither could Christine. Great performance (although as mentioned, not her best) and I can't wait to see how she does in event finals. Congratulations to our back-to-back champion!
Larisa Iordache. Well. I am so so so happy for her! Not since Euros 2012 has she been this strong in a major competition I feel, and while we knew there was strong competition for silver and bronze, I had no inkling she could get that close to challenging for gold. Especially with her consistency record when it really counts, and having to carry her team the whole time must be tiring. No sign of that today! Her floor and beam were highlights as ever, especially beam seeing her land the full twist and layout so securely. Upgrading her floor at the last minute was such a thrilling twist, one of the highlights of the entire competition. She was so fresh, so ready, and the only pity is that she couldn't inch that little bit closer. But who knows, she was so much more dominant than expected...
Kyla Ross Hearty congratulations to Kyla are in order. She's been dealing with an injury, has competed quite a lot so far with AA in TF and...pulled out her usual extremely consistent AA performance to take the bronze. Both Aliya Mustafina and Yao Jinnan sadly came to grief on floor, which just proves yet again that there's a lot to be said for a plan like Kyla and her coaches have. Slow and steady wins the race. However, it is a little sad to see Kyla further downgraded and only able to figure in to medals if others mess up, rather than last year where she was beating them by simply surpassing them. If she is happy to continue elite AA after this year then of course she would remain a great asset, but I feel she is becoming a bit susceptible to injuries and her gymnastics is deteriorating. I'd like to see her in NCAA where she would be so wonderful.
Aliya Mustafina seemed a little off from the first glimpse, so so pale and sombre looking and just a bit defeated looking. I was wondering was she tired or just extra focused, since as soon as she started competing there was no sign of an issue. Excellent DTY landing with nice airtime, great bars and solid beam with stuck dismounts on both. And then she stood up her double arabian opener on floor only to sit it back down. The most shocking part of the competition for me. She rapidly deflated after that understandably, but delivered an admirable floor routine all the same. I was unsurprised to learn afterwards that Aliya reported feeling unwell on waking up in the morning and felt that she gave her all to the team competition. It is sad to see such a fantastic gymnast drained by carrying her team on her back, yet AGAIN. I was really enjoying watching her in action and the commentary mentioning her ACL injury really drove home the point that her comeback has been amazing and showcased such determination and willpower. Hopefully she can show us what she'd made of in event finals and then take a well deserved break. Another fantastic performance despite the fall considering all of the factors against her.
Yao Jinnan is a consistent heartbreaker. She'll never be the gymnast we saw in 2011 and is sadly usually carrying an injury or recovering. At the moment she has been revisited by a recurring foot/ankle one that has had her compete in pain and she is just two weeks distant from the gruelling Asian Games. Nevertheless, she gave yet another strong performance today with exquisite massive difficulty bars, decent DTY and an excellent beam, an event she can be a bit hit or miss on. Floor though. I knew it was going to be a bad idea for her to finish on floor. It has been the event that she's struggled with since tweaking her foot again, and it really showed. I knew she wouldn't get the last pass. Such a shame for this super talented gymnast who seems dogged by bad luck. Gold on bars please after that and what happened in the bars final in Antwerp. Winning the Longines prize though was wonderful, very happy for her and it was definitely earned.
I'm really pleased with 6-8th. Vanessa Ferrari is her usual self, it has been impressive to see her regain the DTY and up her difficulty on floor at this stage in her career, 8 years out from her world title. I did not expect Alla Sosnitskaya and Jessica Lopez to place so well, particularly the latter but need to see videos of them to comment further.
The medal ceremony.
Simone Biles repeating.
Larisa Iordache FINALLY proving herself in a major AA competition in truly spectacular fashion. Who suspected that she would come that close to catching Simone?
Yao Jinnan getting the Longines prize. Well deserved and nice after a great AA ended badly, again.
Stuck dismounts on bars from Aliya Mustafina, Kyla Ross, Simone Biles and Yao Jinnan were great to watch and really built on the momentum of the competition for me
Jessica Lopez breaking into the top 8! She usually barely even qualifies to AA and has some truly lovely gymnastics.
Kyla Ross proving that consistency still beats significant difficulty advantage.
Aliya and Yao falling at the last hurdle. Heartbreakers.
Shang Chunsong having a nightmare on one of her best events
Asuka and Natsumi both coming to grief on beam. Asuka did the exact same thing in team finals and Natsumi had a complete meltdown on bars last year in the AA so all in all, quite upsetting.
Bars: Yao Jinnan, Aliya Mustafina, Roxana Popa
Beam: Yao Jinnan, Larisa Iordache
Floor: Simone Biles, Larisa Iordache, Shang Chunsong
Vault: Simone Biles
Seeing all the pink just before they marched out cracked me up. First, to the biggest consistent offenders:
This took a while to decide on. I liked the bodice shape, chrystals...and colour contrast! It worked well on both gymnasts and the shades were nice. The white accents were quite conflicting but in the end I liked the definition they gave.
|Source- USAG/John Cheng|
Not a huge amount to say here. A bit too shiny for my liking, not a shade of pink I can tolerate. Chrystals were nice but it was boring overall. Even in the blue shade they have it in.
An oldie but a goodie. The black collar bit throws it off still.
She has gorgeous leos, and this isn't one of my favourites. Still though, very unusual and striking and it really suits her. I love the sweeping black bit and it all just comes together so well.
An instant 5/10 for having two sleeves and no weird holes. Suited her down to the ground but was a little um, dominatrix for my liking. Not particularly nice but nothing majorly wrong with it.
Shang Chunsong's had too much going on, Roxana Popa's had lovely colour usage, Marta Pihan-Kulezsa's was AWESOME with a solid 8.5/10, Japan's paint party leotard is AMAZING and I will never have enough of it. In fact, it wins at 9/10. Congratulations Japan!
|Source- Xinhua/Huang Xiaobang|
The replay is here but it won't play inside the US. If you know of channels with uploaded non-broadcasted routines, please post in the comments. I expect Piibunina will be amazing as ever.
What did you think of the competition? Favourite routine/moment? How great are matching podiums? Is it true that Nellie Kim planted the bee in Simone's bouquet as a protest against athletic gymnasts?