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Sunday, 13 October 2019

Worlds Thoughts Part 1

It's insane to watch Simone Biles win 5 more gold medals and all gold. Although she has a different standard to the rest of the field it's a great personal victory for her to compete a lot better here than she did at worlds last year where she was of course hindered by both kidney stone and still honing routine construction. Her beam has been great all week and although the interior of her routine can't match some other routines she absolutely nailed the life out of it in beam finals today and deservedly took the title. Fierce isn't the word. It's odd to think of the sport without her. She has been in it for almost my entire time of watching it and is still getting better.

Angelina Melnikova realising her full potential finally was so satisfying to watch. 3 medals for someone who has been bringing in results and carrying her team all quad but never hitting fully when it mattered individually. I never thought I'd see her hitting beam and floor so well and so consistently and I'm glad she was rewarded for that with a floor medal and beam scores over 14.

Russia had some amazing leos that I'm fully behind. Some a bit too shiny for me but loads of interesting work and several purple ones which is always an excellent choice. Can't decide if Lilia Akhaimova's AA leo was more stained glass or butterly, either way it was fun if a bit young for her.

Double Downies both medalling for the first time at worlds on the same day is a story for the ages. What a moment! Unfortunately the judges appear to have blinked while Ellie did the second-best vaulting of the final and gave her bronze instead. Becky, meanwhile, who started her worlds journey in the same city in 2007 and who has had an extremely rocky journey with injury FINALLY put it all together and knocked it out of the park to score silver. It should be mentioned that not only did Becky have to recover and hit but she also had to relearn her Ezhova and Tweddle by turning in the opposite direction than previously due to her elbow injury. Incredible isn't the word and the massive reaction and excitement of all the GB gymnasts Becky has competed with down through the years really solidified what a massive achievement that routine was.

Rhys McClenaghan qualified for the FIRST worlds final for Ireland and took bronze. The main thing to take away from that routine is that he did it to the best of his ability and that's all that can be asked for. His hip angle and extension need to be rewarded comparatively to Max Whitlock who won gold by a tenth with an 0.6 d score advantage but with a piked angle and flexed feet. Respect to Max for continuing to produce high difficulty and consistent work after so many years but that score...was not it. Far too high in contrast to Rhys and Lee Chih-Kai. No matter, it will motivate both of them to upgrade for Tokyo.

Roxana Popa's whip-whip-double tuck pass and her Mustafina turn are absolutely outstanding and so is her choreography and personality in that routine. How great to see her back after so long out! Her landings knocked her down a bit and she could do with an upgrade to really contend but that was amazing.

Tang Xijing did that. Incredible performance from a first-year senior especially after falling twice on beam in qualifications and initially being 2-per-countrie'd. The best she could have done on floor and hopefully she can get her DTY a bit stronger and slowly upgrade other events. She's not a standout on beam or bars within the national team but she sure was in the AA, crisp, efficient, precise. A huge total and really, second in the world behind the greatest of all time at the peak of her talent feels like a significantly higher achievement than China's other silver AA medallist Jiang Yuyuan who placed second to Aliya Mustafina. Pre-ACL tear Aliya was of course a force to be reckoned with but undoubtedly not in the same league as Simone.

It's perfectly normal to pull out of certain finals to concentrate on others. It's not always injury, it can be due to fear of re-aggravating an injury, overtraining/fatigue worry or simply focusing on medal chances. Liu Tingting being pulled was not exactly a massive surprise after such a disastrous TF as she had. As the team captain she would have felt an obligation to shepherd a mostly new but very talented team to a team medal and therefore to be the only one counting falls to throw them down into 4th is a heavy burden to bear. LTT has a beautiful floor and great bars when she hits and there's a reason why she is now a 2-time beam world medallist so her qualification to the AA especially with Tang Xijing falling twice and Chen Yile not doing the AA wasn't a big surprise but wasn't exactly the focus for her either. By all accounts it appears to have been a mutual decision both for LTT's own mental wellbeing (and probably physical too, her ankles are notoriously a problem hence double twist beam dismount) with the massive benefit of giving the usually very consistent and strong all-arounder Tang Xijing her chance. Ellie Downie pulled out of competing AA in TF and Nina Derweal pulled out of the floor final for very similar preservation reasons, so y'know, same sort of thing, just different finals order. No Gutsu, Galieva, Marinescu, Baraksanova, Mostepanova- gymnasts involved in shafting of qualified AA spots - comparisons are necessary.

Sunisa Lee is a joy to watch. She has a real lightness and floaty quality to her gymnastics, a really clean style. Floor finals was unexpected but probably shouldn't have been, she's improved so much even since summer. Sad to see her come to grief on bars and beam and knock herself out of the super competitive all-around podium but she is young and only going to improve from here.

Gutted for Melanie de Jesus dos Santos who has really had a miserable worlds, no other word for it. Clean in her 2 event finals but to fall short in team, AA and EF is a bitter pill to swallow for such a fabulous and well-rounded AA gymnast. Powerful on vault, dynamic on floor, solid beam, crisp on bars. I suppose it's great motivation for next year.


Purple leos had a really strong showing at worlds, nice to see.

Alexandra Schekoldina has a really stunning DTY. So tidy

The fact that Liu Tingting and Li Shijia both medalled in a final when they both lost significant connective value with pauses is very promising. The rest of their work has such quality it still keeps them high.

Nina was really fun to watch on bars. It's not my favourite routine but she has really tightened up on it and it's incredible to see her hit her crazy difficulty and do it so well. And then to plant the dismount as such a final statement. My heart said Becky but really and truly Nina earned that gold no question.

I'm so impressed that Ellie Black went for the Rudi after seeing the standings. Extremely brave move and obviously it didn't work out for her but wow, what an athlete. Hopefully she will be well recovered by the end of the year.

Giulia Steinbruber's leaps are a masterpiece. Such height, split and sheer power behind them.

Simone Biles is really not that far behind her. Her tumbling takes almost all of the focus naturally enough but her leaps on floor are seriously difficult and always very high with a great split.


It's late so, part 2 of X tomorrow! Hope everyone enjoyed a really excellent worlds.





 


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