First of all, although we had seen the odd few bits of footage of Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas as they sought to come back, nothing really shows where someone's at than a competition. Hence the rabid excitement for their post-London 'debut' at Jesolo, and they 100% delivered. It's so great to see them back in the game.
Aly's floor was her highlight, with passes of 1-5-double arabian-layout (this was tucked in training! Kept in bounds in team final/AA), Dos Santos (this is the stick I was talking about yesterday), double layout and double pike. No fugly triple full thankfully. The first leap in her leap series is absolutely abominable-switch half? with the most reluctant back leg I have ever seen. Really needs to go. She definitely seemed that bit cleaner in competition than she did in training, with noticeably more effort to keep the double layout tidy. 15.2 is a HUGE score and one that's an enormous threat to someone like Mykayla Skinner. Her DTY was strong, but didn't look especially Amanar-able. Best to clean it up than lose several tenths by adding the extra half twist, particularly since the gap between the two vaults is less than last time around in London. Bars were somewhat of a surprise, I was really dreading it...and they were fine. Not amazing, but really one of the strongest routines she has done. And the shaposh-Tkachev combination is really cool. As for beam, she looks right back to business there with lots of connections and the Patterson back in action. Alas, there was an attempt at a split full that was beyond poor. Overall, highly impressive competition from Aly. The groundwork is definitely laid, just some improvements here and there. She's not going to challenge Simone, who is stronger than Aly's main competitors Gabby and Jordyn ever were, but she's right up there with the rest and remains of immense value on a team.
There was definitely less certainty over Gabby's readiness, given the fact that she has been off for longer and has done a bit of gym hopping in the meantime. But she has definitely proven that this is for real and in no way resembles previous shoddy comebacks we have been witness to. Bars are certainly giving her trouble, and this was evident in training too. She struggled through the routine, broke connections and seemed relieved to dismount. However, what she does do in the interior of the routine is very difficult and coupled with her now non-crooked piked Tkachev (Hallelujah!) is responsible for maintaining a high SV. I have confidence she will get back to her old self here in time. Beam was another story, she looked fantastic there. The ease in the standing full is just lovely to watch. I prefer her line now, she's still lean but more filled out. Although her tumbling is there on floor and looked good, the routine seemed slightly scrappy and as if it needs a good bit of work to come together. VERY nice DTY though, but I didn't get the best angle to see her block. Another highly impressive comeback and it was thrilling to see her and Aly neck-and-neck with just 0.2 separating them in the final AA standings.
Simone Biles had another typical competition. 15.95 on floor AND vault, 15.15 beam and 15.05 bars. 62.1 total YAWN this is so easy for her. First qualifier to every single EF. She leaves everyone in the dust and she STILL has more to give. Of note, she mentioned in an interview after the TF/AA that her next step is floor and vault upgrades. This is where I think the double layout last pass is going to come in...has anyone else noticed that the way she does her current full-in last pass has altered? She now does it straight up and down like McKayla Maroney infamously did her double tuck, and it makes me think it's preparing for an upgrade. As for vault, she launched her amanar incredibly high off podium-we nearly always see it on-which really sells the TTY upgrade. Likewise her Lopez although it doesn't get the same sort of pop off the table is stupidly easy for her and I expect to see a Mustafina in its place soon, working towards a Cheng for Rio possibly. I'm curious will we see that barani on beam at all, and also what she'll do with her bars..the Mustafina dismount and trying hard to get that Khorkina in or another Shap transition so that she's not counting a B there is my guess.
Every time she competes, we see again how she's not only THE greatest gymnast of our age, but will go down as the greatest ever. Which of course, depends how much favourtism you put into 'greatest'. She is executing the greatest difficultly ever seen in an AA programme, and does it extremely cleanly. That's basically it.
Bailie Key was a pleasant surprise, I expected her routines to look more sluggish than they were, based a bit on what she looked like in training. Her vault was much improved although still not 'her' in terms of dynamics, and her floor was really lovely. Considering it was played out of sync, we'll have to wait to get the full effect of it. Her bars show such a magnificent line, really stunning work. Again, handstands were short but I'm fairly sure they'll be better in time. As for beam, the routine is not playing to her strengths. The arabian was okay but still isn't executed high enough, the layout was another example of her head escaping a concussion at best and was so low she struggled to land it, and the double pike is not suiting her...very low landing. Again, I want to see her with Victoria Nyugen's routine. Bailie took second partly because other major contenders had issues or also aren't fully back yet, but would have been right up there regardless. A strong showing, she can and will be significantly better by summer I'm hoping.
I like being proved wrong and Kyla Ross certainly showed that she means business in elite and still has a lot to offer. I really love her new bars dismount and am delighted to see her bring back connections there. Lovely vault as always and although her floor was almost comically messed up and so rudely interrupted by non-stop rubbish by the commentators, it's clear that she's working very well with her new music and the choreography is her best yet- so sassy! Beam was a little tentative for her and considering it hasn't changed in a long, long time and doesn't contain any significant risk, I have little patience for wobbles from her. I know, I'm mean. As for floor, what a weird fall. Glad to see she herself is laughing about it on twitter now, but at the time it was very scary. I thought she might have hit her head and that thought only grew stronger when she biffed the landing of her second pass and bounced out and then turned a leap into essentially a beat jump-I was afraid she was concussed and should stop until I saw the replay of her first pass showing she in no way hit her head, phew! It's beyond bizarre to see Kyla fall and it was very damaging since she also had OOB deductions and no leap series. Despite this, she still had a very strong showing and I hope her health allows her to continue, and also persuades her to do something with beam.
Maggie Nichols is back with a bang! I was really curious to see her bars and beam and she really didn't hold back with either. Although we've seen strong work in progress on bars, she really seems now like a different person on that apparatus, I know I wasn't the only one who was puzzled and thought at first she was Kyla with a slightly different line and composition! I knew it wasn't...but couldn't think properly. Killer combinations, really nice line-could be a little straighter though, and really zippy work. On beam I love her barani and although I am a sucker for BHS-LOSO-LOSO, she lands hers really low-they're a world away from Victoria Nyugen's for instance. Another awful split full which needs to be binned. Strong vault too, and floor- and she had the wherewithal to invent a leap series after her first one was rudely interrupted by slipping on the floor. It's good to see her back and she's definitely shaping up again to be a solid dependable use-anywhere team member. Such a pity she was injured just before Nanning. I'm really pleased she's come on so much on bars, quite unexpected too given how she looked there a few years back.
Alyssa Baumann has a really nice beam and I like her passes on floor, great execution. Overall, I don't feel she stands out enough on an event or as an all-arounder. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to dedicate myself fully to the stream and missed some bits-and missed several names of other competitors. The US girls competing outside of the team were really hard to follow.
As for the juniors, as mentioned, I only got to see the odd tiny bit outside of event finals today and I didn't have time for the whole stream today. I opened the link and left it so it wouldn't disappear when the stream ends but Firefox wasn't very co-operative..I was going through it and had got most of the highlights but before I could see some stuff at the end and go back to look at other routines earlier in the stream, the browser crashed. Pfff. I'll be catching up on whatever goes up on youtube, as well as whatever goes up from the previous days that I missed or we all missed.
Norah's beam was stunning. Fantastic routine and her flighty layout is fabulous still. I'd like to have seen more of her since I was pleasantly surprised that she held her own in the AA standings. Laurie's floor was interesting, I'll really need to see it a few more times without annoying chatter and proper music volume to really decide on it. I just loved her last routine so much I'm sad not to see it, and this one has less choreo... I missed her stalder-fest bars sadly. I'm thrilled she's come back so strong and won the AA. Victoria balked her second LOSO on beam (she got it yesterday) which was unusual, but she did get the aerial-Onodi-sheep (which was broken yesterday) for a big score still. She's just so tiny! I'm really looking forward to her in general. Check out yesterday's routine in gif form here. I remain on the fence on Ragan Smith. I'm not convinced, but would be unsurprised for her to accelerate and suddenly be amazing. Her DTY is shocking in a bad way and should be scrapped until she grows. Lovely FTY though. Interesting that the judges made their point with the scoring yesterday by scoring most of them the same since the DTY's were poor by comparison.
Arianna Rocca of Italy's pike front half vault. Stunning, stunning, absolutely gorgeous. It was shown right before Simone went on floor and she appeared in the vault final too. So glorious.
Comeback queens! Great to see Aly and Gabby in action and also to see beautiful work from French veteran Anne Kuhm.
Simone dominating and basically giving a masterclass to everyone else all the time is a joy to watch.
Kyla flying off the floor is seriously hilarious WITH the knowledge she did no damage to herself.
Killer difficulty from those out of competition for nearly 3 years
Gorgeous floor choreography from Canada
Plenty of admittedly one-country-only competition in the senior AA with one in front, but several behind so close to one another
Meltdown on bars from Enus Mariani, the only event she did. She's not had an easy time and it's heartbreaking because she is phenomenal
Ellie Black didn't have a good competition with lots of falls and mistakes..possibly she's competing too much but either way, she could do with a rest.
The commentators. Just no. I am incredibly grateful for a free stream and I did know ahead of time they are fond of talking..but previous years I tended to watch routines on youtube and didn't have to rely on stream only since previous years weren't choked by a particular company having exclusive rights. Shut up. Shut up PLEASE even for floor. Given the fact that they were never not talking, I couldn't help but think that they were in an awful situation where any silence would mean they'd be taken out the back and shot. Also, cutting to interviews during the competition was a little weird and would have been better during rotations/warm ups or at the end only. Still, hurray for the stream we were allowed to have!
I really liked Ellie Black's EF one, and I quite liked France's white one for TF/AA. Very elegant. My favourite though was Elisa Meneghini's EF leo. Black with lime green/diamond necklace detail and more of the same on the sleeves. It sounds a bit mad but it was just amazing-could have done without the nude triangle. I'm a bit 50/50 on the navy and black Italian leotards, I liked them in theory and the Celtic-esque detail but they were overly shiny and a bit too busy overall. Likewise the US blue/purple leotard...it felt a bit disjointed or something but again, lovely in theory.
|FGI stream-via just-gymnastics tumblr|
This doesn't do it justice whatsoever, it was so much cooler in action. Maybe when there's a better photo rather than a screenshot.
Who was your favourite comeback queen? Will Simone score a 63 in the future and have it be legit? How surprised were you that the seniors came out in red, white and blue after the juniors had worn pink? Not that we have much evidence other than photos of them-long may their meet live on in photos and scoreboard form. Isn't this such a nice friendly competition with fabulous trophies that could be made that bit better by enticing back more federations, gagging the commentators and not having exclusive rights behind a paywall?