I was thinking about doing them earlier this year, but couldn't get any kind of proper idea of podiums together at all, so I abandoned it. Which is just as well because..
Romania are not only not in team finals, they're far from it, in 13th place. I was afraid they would struggle to make TF earlier this year with news of lack of motivation and poor scores..then less afraid when Catalina Ponor came back again. It's not surprising that they missed it, Romania have been heading in this direction for years, but it is shocking when it actually happens- and it to miss by so much.
China had their best rotation on vault, and then completely messed up bars and beam. And floor, though that's not a surprise. They had major issues but also suffered from some dodgy scoring it seems. My hope is that they can only be better than this in team finals, not least because they only have to field 3 per event.
Giulia Steingruber qualified second to the AA, ahead of Gabby Douglas. Both had falls, so they're equal. Gabby is not competing at her full level of ability, or her 2012 level, but she is nevertheless very strong so it's seriously impressive for Giulia, who continues to steadily improve, to surge ahead of her.
Japan competed super strong, despite losing a key player to injury recently, and qualified higher than anticipated. They are always steady but their difficulty usually makes them hover much lower.
NETHERLANDS are in TF and are going to Rio! This is a beautiful team but I didn't hold out hope for that as they're also quite inconsistent. Not only was the team effort super impressive but they also have Lieke Wevers 5th in the AA and Sanne Wevers 2nd in the beam final and Eythora Thorsdottir 8th! Sanne's beam was a highlight for me.
Team USA were fractured and nervous, not showing their usual businesslike consistency at all. For the first time since 2010 in worlds or Olympics, they had a fall. 4 in fact, from 3 routines from 3 girls. This is not what we're used to, not from this level of talent. Of course, they still qualified 5 points ahead of anyone else, but even that doesn't change the fact that qualifications went about as bad as it could have for them.
Aly Raisman was shaky and showed none of her usual rock-like tendencies when she competes for her team. OOB on the layout was a disaster and knocked her out of floor finals, then compounded with the bars fall, huge bounces on her amanar landing (on what was otherwise quite a nice one for her) and a very safe downgraded bean routine meant she was also knocked out of the AA final. No individual finals and she was practically a given for AA and floor silver!
Some things though, are not that surprising..
Larisa Iordache was always going to have an uphill battle to be anything like the gymnast she was last year, having a tough year injury-wise and team pressure wise. It's not too shocking to see her far down the list of AA qualifiers, although it is sad. I was very much hoping she would knock it out of the park somehow and show herself capable of AA bronze. She COULD still do that, but it's looking unlikely.
Simone Biles was her usual superhuman self, acing everything and leaving everyone else in the dust. Her 15.933 on floor means she could have fallen and still qualified first which is just ludicrous and says everything about her ability. It also makes dirt of the argument that she would never score anything approaching 16 for it at worlds as she had been doing in the US. Beam has where she's shown more vulnerability (well, any) and the wolf was the culprit there, but I don't think she'll have any major issues and it wasn't enough to prevent her qualifying first. Nor was the fact that she competes a 5.6 vault enough to stop her doing the same on vault, where's she's up against girls with 0.8 more difficulty. Killer execution is still important it seems.
What is great about this worlds is how open it is. Gold is a lock on some events, but precious little else is. There's a huge amount of non big-4 in event finals and high in the AA qualifying list...more than I can remember seeing in the last few years, and that's always a positive thing. Team bronze is up for grabs, so is the AA and floor after Simone, vault is going to be tight, and bars is an interesting one. The scoring of the Chinese gymnasts is going to be shaken up in event finals when they're all on an even keel. Not to mention the prospect of a Dutch medal on beam. I am EXCITED.