Friday, 12 August 2016

The one where Shang Chunsong gets totally robbed

It just wouldn't feel like a proper AA final without some controversy over the medals, especially an Olympic final.

Not gold of course. Simone Biles, as we all knew she would, destroyed the competition, winning by an unheard-of margin of 2.1 points in an Olympic all-around final. It was an absolute pleasure to watch her in action, as it always is. She has been so dominant for so long and it's great to see her add Olympic success to that - the only way such an athlete can enter mainstream consciousness despite her worlds medal tally.

Nor silver - Aly Raisman definitively put the ghosts of the 2012 tie-break AA to rest by storming to second place, behind only Simone. I wouldn't have thought it possible that she could get better than she was 4 years ago since coming back to that level in the first place is such a hard ask, but she really and truly has. The footage of her crying after floor are just special.

But bronze. As great a gymnast as Aliya Mustafina is, that was not a bronze medal performance. It was for half her routines, but she had a bad time on floor and beam which her placement doesn't reflect. Not when Shang Chunsong had such a great competition, hitting everything out of the park. Yes, yes she has a super-weak vault but even with that she had a huge d-score advantage over Aliya. And yes, her frame gives her built-in form deductions with her knees and legs - I'd be the first to admit that she does not have the lines of some of her team-mates. But to lose by a tenth when she was THAT GOOD is a joke. Her beam and floor were fantastic and weren't rewarded enough. This isn't like Glasgow where she got 4th thanks to her vault when everyone else hit. Aliya's beam with no acro series and corresponding super-low d-score and weak floor with again very low difficulty due to non-completion of turns should have taken her out of podium contention. And more than likely would have done had she been anyone else.

I'm tired of the Chinese getting underscored, but Shang Chunsong seems to get it especially bad. It just seems petty, as if they don't like the way she looks and don't want to reward her because it's not something they want to promote? I could be completely off the mark there but it smacks of some sort of grudge, some sort of fear of underage because she looks so young. No excuse for not knowing her story now and there's certainly no excuse for lowballing her.

There has been so much argument over Nastia V Shawn, Jordyn V Vika, Gabby V Vika. But this is the one that has the most merit. This can't be dismissed as 'It's a subjective sport' or 'She marginally outshone her'. There is no reason in the wide world why Shang didn't merit a few more tenths. It would only have taken just over one. Her execution still has the Chinese precision, it's certainly a lot better than most.

Happy as I am for the rest of the podium - and I am happy for Aliya too, it's not as if she has bought the judges or anything - things like this really, really piss me off. As if screwing the Chinese in subdivision 1 of qualifications wasn't enough.