Women’s Team Final

This is it, our day of days. I hope the gymnasts are less nervous than I am right now, because otherwise they will all be falling all over the beam. If there was ever evidence that I could never be a high-level athlete, my mental state right now is it. I’m not even doing anything.

Gabby Douglas, Huang Qiushuang, and Ksenia Afanasyeva are all doing beam in an Olympic Team Final. I think I have reason to be disconcerted. How many times over the months and years have we said, “over my dead body” about all three of those?

My current state:

Well, here we go. All of the attention will revolve around how the US hasn’t won since 1996, but the Russians have technically never won (as an independent state), so both are overdue. China is relying on Yao to do vault in Team Finals, so that tells me what I need to know about their chances, and Romania just isn’t strong enough on bars or vault (aside from Izbasa) to challenge hits from the US and Russia. I say hits, but honestly I would be surprised if either the US or Russia goes 12 for 12 tonight. There will be falls, the question is when and how many.

Follow along after the jump at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT

Looking at the first rotation, I think the US needs to lead Russia by the same margin on vault as qualification to feel comfortable about their performance. Let’s look for a 1.2-1.3 lead. Otherwise, Russia will come back on them completely on bars. Does Mustafina do the Amanar today? I can’t imagine that she would after not doing it in so long, but they’re Russian that way. Still, I’m not buying it. Can you imagine Martha having someone do that? Ha.

I’m honestly just sitting here watching the countdown on the feed like the saddest boy in your high school class. 11:46. 11:42.

The world feed spent an awful lot of time focusing on irrelevant mixed groups during Qualifications, so let’s hope it doesn’t do the same today. Canada is the mixed group of Team Finals.

OK. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Watch Douglas and Komova. How are they going to manage a Team Final? I’m fascinated. There’s a lot of talk about whether Wieber is going to have a good day, but I think she will. Eyes more on Douglas and Ross for me. Even though Ross is solid, she’s so new.

The US is in that red leotard nobody likes. Russia looking Russian.

Rotation 1:
OK, I lied. I’m not ready for this. It’s coming on too fast. Let’s watch the landing on Maroney’s vault. It needs to be better than it has been all year. Grishina looks like she’s about to throw up (resting face?) Ponor is in her element here. She looks more confident than anyone else on the floor. Ferrari forgot how to salute for a second. And the buffering starts of course. Thanks.

Just came back to hear them talking about Jordyn’s vault being good. What a great way to start. In the 15.9s for Wieber and Douglas. That’s what they needed. Ferlito on floor. This is the mixed group action I was talking about.

Maroney Vault – Landing? BEAUTIFUL! Good girl! Please stick around for a hundred more years. 16.233. Huge and deserved.

He Bars – a little dead after Li Ya combo and a leg sep on the pak, and the usual dead hang up to high bar, but this is the hit routine they needed. Of course, hitting beam and vault will be the question. 15.766.

Yao Bars – This is where her leg shouldn’t be an issue. Great routine. This keeps China in it for now. She’s pleased.

The US improves by .5 on vault from Qualification because of Maroney’s landing. No one will match that. China goes 46.399, which is .5 lower than Qualification.

Whelan Beam – After these Olympics, she may be opening a pub called Wobbles and Legs. Poor on the double pike with a thousand steps back. I do like her overall, but she’s no longer at her best.

Italy and GBR both go lower than Day 1 on their events. McKayla’s reaction after her vault is the best thing we will see today.

Mustafina Vault – Just doing the DTY as expected. It would have been ridiculous to do otherwise. Gorgeous double full. Very little you can take there. Stuck and perfect. 15.233. That’s about right.

Shintake Bars – Too many wobbles here. She Raisman-ed her back leg on the switch leap and then wobbled after it. Major step after double pike.

Komova gets a big 15.833, which we didn’t see and is an improvement on day 1. This will be the real test of Paseka’s consistency. Very low and a big step to the side. She stood it up, but that will erase the gains made by Mustafina and Komova on their vaults.

Chelaru Bars – That she has to go in TF is the single biggest reason their best hope is bronze. Hit but so many deductions.

Russia goes 46.366 on vault, which is less than .1 better than their day 1 total. It’s so sad that Paseka’s Amanar scores higher than any DTY. USA will lead by 1.766 after the first rotation, which is a bigger deficit than Russia would have liked.

Iordache Bars – Leg separation on handstand, close on jaeger, it’s not great but it’s great for Romania. Everyone in the top teams are doing what they are supposed to do, though (except Paseka).

Moors Floor – Hits very nicely today. Much improved over day. I enjoy that routine, even with the cliched music choice. Miss Val is on top of this, right?

Romania goes even lower on bars than day 1, so they must make it up. Honestly, they could make up about a point on beam and floor combined if they do what they are capable of.

A look back at Gabby Douglas, very nice. The only things she needs to improve are the direction and distance.And Komova’s with legs and a hop into the red, which is why she was lower than Douglas and Wieber.

Rotation 2:
Russia starts here and the US goes second. They really need to make up that whole 1.7 deficit on this event, which is going to be a bit too much to ask, probably. Grishina will be vital. Shannon didn’t watch any other routines or talk about any other teams. No kidding.

Pegg hits a 1.5. Here comes Grishina. This looks better, a little bit of a struggle. It won’t be a massive score, but that’s what they needed. It’s a 14.700. That’s a major improvement.

Brittany Rogers is looking like a Gymdog waiting there on vault. Biggish step back. We’re seeing an awful lot of Canada instead of Russia. Black’s rudi is solid enough.

Russia gets a 15.700 from Mustafina that we didn’t see, which is the same as day 1.

Komova Bars – So clean and wonderful. That half turn for no reason is the biggest deduction in the whole routine. Russia did their job and more on the bars. Russia improves by .6 on bars from day 1.

Buffering through Ponor’s beam. Thanks. The iphone is my savior right now. Japan on floor. Ponor’s score is a humongous 15.416. Romania improves by .5 on beam. They’ll challenge for bronze with that.
USA time on bars now. There is room for improvement from Ross and Wieber, and we need to see that improvement. The US needs a 44.400 on bars to tie Russia, which they should certainly do if there are no falls.

Wieber time – pause during Weilers, very sluggish, very nervous, hops on dismount. It’s a hit but it won’t be a huge score. Just a 14.666. Bad news there. Ross needs to make it back.

More vault in the coverage. Some average 1.5s from Italy.

Sui Beam – Beautifully dominant on beam, hitting all the difficulty. I’d just like to see better routine composition (all that simple walking back to do the next skill). Great double pike dismount.

Ross gets a 14.933. Not quite high enough. Douglas needs a huge one. Hits the tkatchev pak and everything. Her stalder shoot was poor anda step on dismount but it’s OK. They’ll have the lead, but Russia is the higher scorer on beam if they hit.

Tweddle Floor – looked like she would land her DbA out but landed in before stepping out. Another big stumble out of piked DbA. This won’t be the kind of score they need.

Douglas just a 15.2, so the US is well below the Day 1 total. They have just a .4 lead on Russia, but it is a lead. They will feel better than Russia does right now, but it’s all about the beam and Gabby Douglas.

Huang Beam – big wobble on walkover and back pike, sheep jump with questionable credit. Has to grab the beam (maybe just her ankle) on the onodi. I know it was not a very good routine, but I’m going to give Huang a standing ovation for staying on the beam in the Olympic Team Final. About a year ago, I would have bet 2-3 falls in this situation.

Rotation 3:
The US will start on beam, which is probably better than waiting.

We’re seeing Cairns on vault. Big step back on Y1.5. Fanasa on bars. Very slopping in transitions, big leg separation on DLO.

The internet makes me want to die. Sorry, people who are following along.Kyla Ross hits beam for 15.133. Douglas follows her with a 15.233. Up to Aly Raisman now. So proud of Gabby because I never would have expected her to hit beam in a TF.

Sui on floor – hits the early passes well, but Huang had a disaster before her. Good hit, but Romania will feel good about their chances now.

Raisman finishes for the US with a 14.933. Not her best, there was a big lunge out of the DbA dismount, for instance, but they will take it all day long. Pressure on Russia to hit three beam routines now. If they do and Komova and Mustafina get the kind of scores they got day 1, Russia could have the lead, but the US will like their chances finishing on floor is Gabby can get it together.

We’re seeing Kyla on beam now, thrilled with her hit routine.

We’re seeing Bulimar on floor, but Mustafina has a huge wobble in the background. Looks like Mustafina stayed on but barely. Not sure if there was a fall elsewhere in the routine, but she had a number of wobbles. Shouldn’t score that well. 14.533, Oh Aliya. That’s not so great. Komova and Afan have to be pristine now.

Komova on beam -she probably needs to go at least mid 15s. Extremely clean so far. Good that she got rid of the second layout. Oh, every Russian gymnast reminds you of Khorkina, Shannon. Komova looks extremely precise right now. Wobble on switch leap. Girl, what is wrong with you! Double Arabian looked like she wouldn’t get it around but she did (although very low with a big step to the side). Won’t outscore the Americans. The replay of her sheep jump is my heaven. 15.033. Can wait to hear Tim Daggett about that score.

Pressure on Afanasyeva – time to work beam like the rest of her personality. Starts well with her series. She’s showing her teammates how it’s done. Absolutely beautiful clean routine. She keeps her team in it, but they will have a near point deficit going to floor. They will certainly need help from the Americans. 14.833. Just not enough difficulty, but I think that’s harsh.

Izbasa on floor, legs in the triple full but otherwise strong. While there are form breaks, I enjoy this routine and it should score quite well, potentially competitive with what Raisman got on day 1. Could be an interesting fight between them in floor finals.

Setting the scene: The US has a 1.3 lead on Russia and Romania has a 1.3 lead on China. The only thing that could change these standings is a fall from the US on floor. What’s more, Russia needs a major hit from Grishina, and we all have our doubts.

Rotation 4:
Iordache lands a little locked on her DTY with a bounce out of the area. Not horrible, not great.

Mustafina Floor – great DbA, usual legs in 2.5 + full, same on triple full. It’s a good routine, but the judges will dislike the legs. Expect a similar score to day 1.

Ponor vault – excellent, just the legs and a minor hop. I really thought there was a chance she could have the 2.5 by the Olympics given her height and the improvements she’s made these years, but just the DTY. Bronze is right there for them.

Canada with Pegg on beam, while we hear that Mustafina gets a 14.800 on floor. That’s the kind of score they needed. We’re seeing this beam routine instead of Grishina. Switching to the floor feed. Grishina looks like she just stumbled out of a tumble. What was that? Oh Russia, you could have at least made this close. There will be big questions about whether Komova should have gone. I’ll need to see it again. What even was that?

Apparently a really nice story happening for Canada with their placement. I haven’t been watching the people outside the medals, but that’s great. I was harsh eariler about their being a mixed group, but I am happy for them.

Grishina gets a 12.466 for balking a tumbling pass. Devastating. Do they have to watch out for Romania now? Tears all around. Everyone needs hugs.

This needs to makes Ksenia more of a diva here. First two passes are brilliant. There are parts of this routine that I love (the attitude turn, the leg choreo after the third pass) but I think it was a little oversold before I saw it. It’s great, but I’m not dying because of it. Double pike dismount to her face. Oh, I thought she was over her Afan-ing! That was her early career. Disaster for Russia all over the place. They will hang on over Romania, but that’s ridiculous given the relative performances. The bars still just killed Romania.

The USA needs just 40.300 on floor to win the gold. That’s an average of about 13.400. Canada is right in this for 5th. Amazing for them.

Deng vault – good body position, efficient, no distance.

Douglas floor – minor step forward on short triple full, fixes the DbA problem from day 1, hits the tuck full as well. This is what she was doing early in the year. Hit routine and it’s just a formailty now, essentially. 15.066.

Brilliant DTY from Huang. Nice to see them finishing on a good note. They will be in clear 4th.

Wieber floor – everyone in the building wants this for her, perfect double double, a little short on the final double pike, but she owned that routine. The best she’s ever performed it. 15.000. Raisman needs just a 10.300. Ha.

Raisman floor – If she performs all her difficulty and has fewer than three falls, basically. One more Hava Nagila for gold. Plays it safe without the layout, which is fine. Hits piked DbA. hahaha, of course I get buffering during her routine so I can’t see the finish. Tears from everyone. Great moment. Gold for the US.

NBC will do everything in their power to make us cry tonight. I can’t wait. USA wins by 5 points. I do wish it had been a bit more exciting, but you can’t have everything. “I need to get in here,” says Geddert during the team’s moment. Buh.

They’re waiting on the scores for no reason. Even Kyla is crying. Oh, nice moment with the GBR team. Oh look, more commercials during the celebration. If Russia had been absolutely perfect they would have been close, but it likely still wouldn’t have made a difference in a USA 2008 type situation.

Canda just edges GBR for 6th, great boost for the Canadians.

Final Standings:
1. USA – 183.596
2. Russia – 178.530
3. Romania – 176.414
4. China – 174.430
5. Canada – 170.804
6. Great Britain – 170.495
7. Italy – 167.930
8. Japan – 166.646

Two Per Country

Obviously, in the wake of Jordyn Wieber missing out on the All-Around final, the subject of the two-per-country rule has come to the forefront once again. This is perhaps a positive side-effect of the result because it leads people to remember that this rule needs to be addressed.

However, I am a little resentful of the way this rule is being discussed both in gymnastics and in the wider sports media. Now, I agree with the large majority of people that a three-per-country rule makes more sense for our sport because it would provide a more engaging final competition and because the two-per-country rule doesn’t do anything. (I don’t buy this fairness argument, though, because sport isn’t fair. That’s what makes it sport. If it were fair, the US would be fielding a team of 11 here and everyone would get a participation trophy.) The true reasons this change should be made are getting lost behind emotion and a lack of understanding and explanation.

While everyone is quick to jump on the current rule and say how terrible it is because it was mean to Jordyn, during last night’s NBC broadcast, for instance, not a single person stopped to explain why the rule exists in the first place. There is an actual reason there. It’s not just arbitrary. The two-per-country rule is intended to encourage the international nature of the sport, cultivate the opportunities (and attention given to those opportunities) for people in countries without gymnastics history or a major program, and ultimately create a worldwide sport with true international parity. (I apologize for the use of parity. I’ve been watching NCAA for too long.)

I think we can all agree that those noble aims make complete sense and would nurture the health of the sport. While misguided, the FIG is at least coming from right place. However, the rule does not work because you cannot hope to build gymnastics programs by starting at the top and suddenly giving access at major competitions to people who aren’t prepared for it. Artificially bringing in gymnasts who don’t have the talent level to participate doesn’t make the country stronger. The attention needs to be paid to the lower levels of the sport, to increasing funding and access on the junior and domestic levels (note that this is difficult, which is why the FIG chooses instead to pay lip service to the idea with a stupid rule).

Creating a more international sport has to start from the youngest gymnasts at the smallest clubs, not at the Olympics. That’s why the two-per-country rule doesn’t do anything. That’s why we should get rid of it, and that’s what we should be talking about. Right now, the argument against the rule is coming from a “the thing I wanted to happen didn’t happen so now I want the rules to be changed!” place, which is petulant to say the least.

Men’s Team Final

As we attempt to recover from the hoopla of women’s qualification and the NBC broadcast of it, which was a ridiculous endeavor all of its own (with Jordyn standing there right behind Aly and Gabby during their Andrea interviews. . . I died of discomfort along with everyone in history). Though it did allow us to discover my new favorite Elfi-ism, “This routine is a piece of work in every sense of the word.” I will be using that often. I don’t understand why people don’t like her. She cracks me up and is the shining star of that harrowing broadcast team.

But now we have a bigger event, the men’s Team Final. Our wacky qualifying day saw Japan and China qualify in the fifth and sixth spots, but don’t believe that makes them distant contenders in the final. I’m a little less optimistic for China because they seem to have legitimate holes in this lineup, while Japan’s struggles were less indicative of a pattern of errors than of a bad day. [Message from the future: look how super smart I am. . . HA]. That being said, there are legitimately six countries in medal contention who could be exchanging the lead all day.

We saw a lot of tight routines and bizarre misses in Qualification, and the nerves will only increase for Team Finals. Even though there are a number of relevant countries, it may just be that going clean enough is the requirement for a Bronze.

The interesting US lineup decision was keeping Horton off vault in favor of Orozco, as we see above. Though Horton did not go in Qualification to allow Orozco and Leyva the opportunity to do the AA, he is usually a stronger vaulter than Orozco. Given his struggles in PT and his poor competition overall so far, this is not such a surprise.

Commentary after the jump from 11:30 ET/8:30 PT

Rotation 1 will see the USA and Russia on floor, Great Britain and Germany on horse, Japan and China on rings, and Ukraine and France on vault. We’ll get Shannon and Other Guy on the NBC feed, but I do wish I could watch this competition with Christine, Mitch, and Matt. They’re like old friends now, and they’ll be losing themselves for Team GB.

We’re nearly there now. Introductions happening now. China’s success may hing on how many routine Guo has to do today and if it’s possible to recover from the kind of day he had in Qualification (and if he can, give those pointed to Yao Jinnan). France is without Cucherat, and they will be mostly making up the numbers today.

Rotation 1:
Leyva floor – double double lay with hop, clean in the Thomas skills, Manna to handstand is good, his front 1.5 is always a little low in the chest position which isn’t my favorite, slight short on the DLO with a step. Fine but not amazing.

Verayiev vault – pretty nice Dragulescu, easily stood up. Can you complain about body position on this vault? I don’t think you can, even though I want to. Radivilov’s is not quite as strong, with a major hop to the side.

Smith horse – good scissor handstands, he swings slowly like through molasses, very clean in the swing throughout, not a lot you can take there. 15.966.

Yamamuro rings – inverted crosses look pretty good, better in the holds than on day 1, completely stuck DLO 1/1. 15.366.

Beny a 14.566 in vault, which is not competitive with the other teams.

US goes 45.266 on floor, GBR goes 45.932 on horse, Japan goes 45.699 on rings, and Ukraine goes 48.065 on vault. The US is significantly lower than in Qualification, so they are in trouble after the fall from Mikulak, apparently.

Germany has our dear Philipp Boy come off on horse. Horse and its little friend vault have gotten together to try to ruin our Olympics, apparently. Second fall in a row for Germany.

Ablyazin floor – a little short on the triple twist dismount with a hop, but a strong routine with difficult tumbling. That should easily break 15.

Chen rings – extremely controlled with obviously a huge level of difficulty. They can rely on that routine for high 15s, but the 14s from the first two competitors will ensure they are below Japan here.

A look back at Dalton’s solid floor routine to recover from Mikulak’s error. Hop forward on triple full dismount. 15.466.

Ukraine leads after the first rotation because of vault, but Great Britain also finished a strength, and Japan is right there after a successful rings rotation.

Rotation 2:
Zou hits his vault today. They are improving, but is it enough? Definitely underrotated but it doesn’t really come up in his score.

Zhang has a large step back on his vault, but who knows with vault scoring? 16.200

Belyavskiy nearly loses it on one pommel spin but gains control, totally botches his dismount trying to come up to handstand. Disaster.

Nguyen on rings, trying to make Germnay recover, some struggles in both of his handstands, but a fine DLO 1/1 with just a hop. 15.133.

Sabot for France on pbars, a little hesitation off the start, lack of rhythm here (is that a deduction? It should be), a very strong double pike dismount. Few notable errors in the routine.

Russians and Germans held back because of horse disasters, so China is our clear leader out of the first group of four, and having done vault, I expect them to lead overall.

Uchimura vault – 2.5 is pretty good but some squat legs and a hop, excellent in the air of course. Kato follows with a 16.041, but Yamamuro has an ugly far – no where close and he appears to be hurt.

It appears Leyva has fallen on horse for the US, disaster. Two of four routines have mistakes so far. Mikulak now, this is a necessary hit. Who calls him “California Cool,” Shannon?

Purvis on rings,one wonky handstand and a very low landing with steps forward, but at least the flipping and holds were strong. Not his best. 14.600

Japan still moves up into second place, but they are significantly behind China now after the fall. China is the only team that has completely delivered so far, actually, well other than Ukraine, but this is getting all kinds of interesting.

Waiting on the Orozco score for horse now. It was apparently another disaster, the US has missed 3 or 6 routines and sits in 7th. They had a shot at a medal here, but that’s a terrible start. Time to focus on GBR now. In a fairly solid 5th having not yet done vault.

Rotation 3: 
Whitlock starts with a hit on vault for GBR with some direction.

Huge leg separation for Ukraine from Nakonechnyi, otherwise fine, DLO 1/1 dismount.

Purvis on vault, his run just makes me smile, nice Y2.5 with a hop.

Horton trying to get it together on rights, this is looking a bit better, still he’s not super solid in the holds or inverted crosses. There are placed to deduct here, that’s for sure, struggle before dismount but hits the double double.

Orozco on rings, minor hesitation in the straddle support and a poor handstand after that. Is it bad that I want to call his dismount “a Mustafina”? Probably is if you’re a MAG fan. OK but just OK.

Uchimura pbars – much better than day 1 so far, very little to take until a hop back on the double pike. I do think his issues on day 1 were not symptomatic of larger problems, and we’re seeing that so far today.

The US puts up an equivalent score to day 1 on rings, which is a victory by the way things are going. Ukraine maintained on hbar, but they don’t have the scores that the other teams do. They fall a bit more behind GBR and Japan.

Boy on vault does just the double front this time with a large step back.

Feng on pbars, good double pike, a notable leg separation in handstand, step back on double pike. 

Sabot high bar, smooth clean routine but not dynamic, relying on pirouette skills for difficulty.

Zhang has a few breaks in his routine today, but the score should be fine. The major question is what we will see from Guo now after the problems of day 1. Guo’s routine was just OK but China will certainly take it.

Very fluid routine on rings from Balandin, it doesn’t look like a struggle, double pike dismount. Russia had a fall on horse, but they have been clean otherwise and will still contend for a medal.

After 3, China, Japan, and GBR are our leaders, but Russia has yet to vault so look for them to move up. The US is in 8th, but they should probably be 6th after vault. China has a totally unexpected two-point lead over Japan right now. They have fixed the problems it seems.

Rotation 4:

Tsuk double pike from Russia, so they get a score over 16 after Pakhomenko’s problems. Ablyazin sticks his version, so that will be over 16 as well, but they needed to gain more ground on the top teams than they will because of the score in the 14s to start.

 One issue on a giant for Zhang and I still question some amplitude on releases, but a hit, and expect a big score from Zou after him. They will move well ahead of Russia by and will be difficult fo Japan to catch right now.

Orozco vault – nowhere close – no block, no lift. Bad fall. Should Horton have been in? Fourth fall for the US. There’s always Rio.

Mikulak’s vault is nice with a larger side step, but it’s largely just to finish out at this point. The US will move ahead of Germany and France after this rotation. Little victories.

Whitlock on pbars, muscling up a little at the beginning, big steps back on the double pike. Got through, but iffy.

Y Tanaka on hbar – strong routine, good height on releases, maintains body position the whole way, obviously a huge improvement from day 1. 16.000. This is the only way they will have a shot at China, though the deficit is large.

Vernaiev has not the best landings on floor, a little sloppy all over the place.

Uchimura on hbar – has to muscled up a little out of his layout Kovacs full and the tuck version, but a huge improvement and just a hop on landing. Thank you, Japan.

After 4: 1. China, 2. Japan, 3. GBR, 4. Ukraine, 5. Russia, 6. USA, 7. Germany, 8. France.
Now that everyone has vaulted, we have some more realistic standings. I expect a fight for bronze, and Ukraine is hanging around a bit more than I thought they would.

Rotation 5:
Tanaka has a handstand mistake on floor and then takes a fall. Congratulations, China. We obviously knew China had the ability, but I didn’t think they had the mentality or health to actually do it. Things have come together for them once again. 13.733 for Tanaka.

Kuksenkov hits a very nice 15.100 on horse. Ukraine is not fading right now. Big horse floors, and they got through the bars events and floor, which is where I expected them to have more problems. Ukraine, Russia, and GBR for bronze? This is getting good.

Uchimura hits a strong floor routine, a few more hops than I would like to see, but that first score will be the death of them.

GBR has a fall on high bar, which puts them down. Advantage gone there. Ukraine moves ahead of GBR by .3 going into the final event. The US apparently completely hit pbars, which will be important for confidence. Two points behind GBR and Ukraine now.

Big slip for Russia on pbars but stays on. That will be a low score.

Zhang on floor should be safety maintaining China’s lead. I know they have the deadly horse still to come, but no other team is looking on enough for that to even matter. Do we trust Japan to hit 3 horse routines in the final rotation right now?

Zou on floor, sticks double double lay, one or two minor hops, but he will probably get like a 28 or something. China has been unbeatably clean today while everyone else has been blech.

Hambuchen on bar – great amplitude on his releases without breaking the swing, rooting for him in the AA, hop on double double. Good routine.

China will maintain the massive 2.5 lead on Japan going to pommel horse, Ukraine has a minor lead in the bronze position, but it could still be them, GBR, or Russia for that bronze medal. Let’s focus on that bronze matter more than gold in this rotation, or is that a ridiculous request? Keep in mind that the US can gain significant ground on high bar. The problem is that they HAVE to be completely clean and they HAVE to get some help from ALL of the teams above them. It’s time to try to salvage something on what could be their best event. It’s going to be a bit too far for them, but the score might end up respectable. Great Britain still has a great shot at this bronze though. I would be so thrilled for them.

Rotation 6:
Oh, I’m so glad my browser crashed at the beginning of the sixth rotation. Thanks.

Chen gets a 14.733 on horse. No surprises there. Guo manages through his horse routine somehow. I thought he would be the disaster for them today, but they’ve been able to avoid their weaknesses.

Zhang to finish things for China, and he does. It will be gold for China again. I would not have called China hitting every routine today, that’s for sure.

Russia improves on day 1 with a 45.033 on hbar, so GBR and Ukraine (and maybe the US) should feel good about passing them up.

Japan takes a fall on pommel horse in the replacement routine for Yamamuro, so I’m switching over to high bar momentarily for the final US performances. Orozco gets a solid 15.333.

Horton hits the layout Kovacs full and Kovacs and Kovacs full all very good. Good for him. One bit of sloppiness in a piroutette. Sticks DLO full dismount. Good for him for getting it back together fir the team finals.

This really is going to be routine for routine for GBR and Ukraine. They’re within tenths after the first routine of the rotation. Exciting! Big score for Purvis, 15.533. That’s exactly what they needed.

 Leyva finishes with a great routine. Should feel good for the US to finish out with two good rotations. 1 fall on floor, 2 on horse, 1 on vault. You can’t come back from that.

GBR moves ahead of Ukraine by less than .2! And the world feed didn’t even show it to us. THey showed us Leyva. Love Leyva, but come on! Awareness! This is for bronze.

Disaster for Uchimura on horse. Will Japan completely throw this away? They just had to be clean or suffer one fall on horse to get silver easily.

The US will move ahead of Russia for fifth. Maybe they can take something from that. . . or not.

Japan out of the medals entirely after Uchimura’s fall! GBR gets surprise second and Ukraine gets surprise bronze! Love it. So incredibly excited for GBR. I’m totally shocked about Japan’s complete  collapse there. Uchimura. . . how does the AA go now?

Japan is protesting! Awesome. This is getting even better. Don’t go away, we need to have a stick around about this. Addressing Uchimura’s dismount now. This cadre of judges. . .

It’s bad enough that we have to wait, we also have to listen to the Black Eyed Peas? Come on, arena!

Inquiry accepted, and Japan moves up to silver! Crazy! Great Britain still at least gets a medal, but Ukraine needs 10 times the hugs of Jordyn Wieber right now. I feel so horrid for them after they already celebrated. A world of boos from the crowd. Imagine if that had knocked GBR out. Judges get a massive boo as they leave. Awesome. Prince Harry loves it.

Say it with me now, counterprotest! Counterprotest! Counterprotest!

Live Women’s Qualification – Subdivision 5

We’re almost home. Just one more subdivision to go. I would not expect Romania to have any trouble placing ahead of China, but it may be too much to expect them to challenge Russia or the US. There has been conflicting information about Iordache’s health, but it does appear that she will attempt the AA today. How much difficulty? We wait and see.

Japan needs a 167.332 to advance to Team Finals, which I expect them to get.

Also to watch are the tenuous spots in the Event Finals, such as Afanasyeva’s current 6th place on beam. If two Romanians pass her, it would take only one more routine to knock her out of finals.

Here we go!

The PA announcer has asked me to raise the roof as the athletes enter the arena. No, shan’t.

Rotation 1 – Romania on floor, Japan on bars:

No Bulimar on floor, which is interesting. Depth, yes, but I prefer her to Chelaru. Top floor score so far is 43.757 from the USA, which Romania can beat.

Phan on vault – World Bronze medalist. She’ll start with a DTY. Completely underrotated, landed a bit sideways and put a hand down. Handspring rudi (I think she was attempting layout but I wouldn’t give it), very low and major step to the side. Nowhere near the quality from last year.

Teramoto opens with a big 14.566 on bars for Japan.

Ponor on floor – Yes, please. Fantastic DLO. Quad spin was all the way around. Huge mistake on the third pass. Totally bailed and did a tuck full. Are we going to have to start calling her Mattie Ponor? Double pike was solid. No floor finals for her, then? Boo. Still gets a 14.600 with a botched pass. It actually doesn’t end up changing the D Score much if there’s a backup dance element to count.

Tsurumi on bars – Where is Christine Still to call her an efficient little gymnast when you need it? A few leg breaks and missed handstands. There are things to take, but she has some great qualities as well. 15.033, which knocks Kyla Ross out of finals.

Izbasa on floor – actually, you know, gets her complex dance elements around. Very short on tuck full, but otherwise a strong routine, should be well over Ponor’s score. Yes, 15.066. Second best score so far on floor. The commercials are out of control right now. It’s like after every half routine.

Iordache on floor – let’s see about the injury. Double double is fine and right into the corner. Sticks tuck full. Totally missed her third pass, got no amplitude, didn’t complete the twists and fell. So strike what I said about Ponor not making floor finals. She should be there and Iordache will not.

Still, Romania can drop the score and still have the top floor score of the day, 43.999, but that’s not enough of an advantage given the bars to come.

Japan records a very strong 44.232 on bars, which is 5th on the day and puts them in great shape.  Tanaka shows multiple shaposh elements with good style, few form breaks, great DLO.

I was just about to say how helpful it is to be given the scores for each country after the completion of one rotation when our commentator said it was “more misleading than helpful.” I don’t think he gets it.

Rotation 2 – Romania on vault, Japan on beam:

Shintake on beam – very nice form but few creditable connections, which will keep her score low. Major wobble on the loso, but that’s really the only thing. Clean and pleasant, like all the Japanese routines.

Ponor on vault – very high DTY with a little bit of usual Ponor legs and a smallish hop forward. 15.133, which is a little Ponor scoring because Mustafina’s was better for the same score.

We don’t get to see Isbaza’s first vault which earned an impressive 15.500. “It’s hard to be very autistic in the gymnastics portion.” She meant artistic, right? DTY as second vault, very strong. She should easily move into second place for EF.

Iordache finishes with 15.100, so they will score lower than Russia on this event, but clearly third best.

A few minor stumbles for Minobe on beam, but also some graceful, light work. Extremely low double pike. Head near the ground. 14.133.

Teramoto finishes on beam for Japan – dismounts with a triple full. This team seems very fifth place right now, which is great for them.

Now we get to see Isbaza’s tremendous Mustafina. Not quite as strong as Maroney’s, but very good.

A sleeveless leo from Lithuania is performing on floor. Clean, low difficulty, dismounts with a low double tuck. Van Gerner gets a pretty impressive 14.866 on bars. I didn’t expect that. Almost made finals.

Rotation 3 – Romania on bars, Japan on floor:

Romania is going to bars, so it’s time to brace ourselves. Japan always has very fine work on floor but gets hit for lack of amplitude in the tumbling, so it will be interesting to see what the judges do with this.

As it stands now, it looks like the AA final cutoff is going to be around 54 flat.

Shintake on floor – Not a ton of difficulty (double full third pass), but no real errors, just some minor landing position issues.

Bulimar on bars – better rhythm and handstands than we see from some of the others. Errors like a dead hang and a little piked in her bail hs – she will be in danger of getting no credit for that. 14.000. They’ll take that any day.

Here comes Chelaru – legs are a little insane, straddled gienger. It did look like she got help from the coach, but on replay he probably didn’t on the jaeger. Awkward but fine landing on the dismount. Messy routine that should not score that well. 13.733.

Iordache – the good one, some form breaks in the legs, and a missed handstand, orphan 1/2 a la Komova. Good not great, which is better than usual for Romania. Nice that she will be able to do AA finals. 14.100. It’s fine, but they can’t afford to lose this much ground.

Teramoto on floor – so compact on her tumbling. They’re counting a 13.633 already, so they need her to start getting into the 14s. Not much in terms of obvious deductions to take. Should be a solid score but not near the best. 14.233. That sounds about right and makes it nearly impossible for Japan to fail to make TF. They’ll be there in solid position with GBR as expected. Canada will be the surprise there.

Going into the final rotation, Romania will need a 45.100 on beam to pass China. Very doable, both the US and Russia exceeded that score.

Rotation 4 – Romania on beam, Japan on vault:

Excited to see Romania on beam. Expect Ponor and Iordache to come back for beam finals, but it could be any of them, really.

Bulimar on beam starts with a very encouraging 14.866 for them. They will gladly take that if necessary. Good double pike dismount with a minor hop.

Izbasa on beam – a little legs in an otherwise nice series. Small wobble on switch half, and dismounts with a 2.5 with a larger lunge forward. This will score well, but I would consider Bulimar for Team Finals, or am I crazy? Waiting on the score. 14.600. Yes, may I interest you in Bulimar?

Iordache on beam – major wobble on on back full but stays on. Some great double turns happening today on beam. Wobble again on walkover. Finishes with well-rotated triple full dismount. Much more around than most are. Just OK as a complete routine, though. Too many wobbles. 14.800.

Japan has finished on vault with a 42.033 to go into 5th place for the moment, which will become sixth after Romania finishes beam.

Because bars was so bad, Romania will move behind China in spite of China’s Yao-tastrophe. Interesting.

Ponor on beam – Terrifying switch ring and almost a fall because of it, on other wobble but otherwise confident. Maybe a bit too rushed and aggressive. Big lunge back on double pike. They will need her to be much better at Team Finals. She did not have her best day. 15.033. She has received some fancy creative judging today.

Thus ends our fifth subdivision.

Final Qualification Standings:

1. USA – 181.863
2. Russia – 180.429
3. China – 176.637
4. Romania – 176.264
5. Great Britain – 170.656
6. Japan – 170.196
7. Italy – 168.397
8. Canada – 167.696
9. Germany – 167.331
10. Australia – 166.721
11. France – 164.796
12. Brazil – 161. 295

1. Komova – 60.632
2. Raisman – 60.391
3. Douglas – 60.265
Wieber – 60.032
4. Mustafina – 59.966
5. Deng – 57.998
6. Ferrari – 57.932
7. Teramoto – 57.865
8. Iordache – 57.800
9. Huang – 57.707
10. Izbasa – 57.532
Grishina – 57.332
11. Lopez – 56.665
12. Seitz – 56.466
13. Tunney – 56.391
14. Gomez Porras – 56.132
15. Whelan – 55.699
16. Pegg – 55.657
17. Van Gerner – 55.632
18. Ferlito – 55.500
Pinches – 55.266
Yao – 54.798
19. Steingruber – 54.715
20. Little – 54.498
21. Malaussena – 54.399
22. Pihan-Kulesza – 54.365
23. Tanaka – 54.333
24. Brennan – 54.232

1. Maroney – 15.800
2. Izbasa – 15.316
3. Paseka – 15.049
4. Chusovitina – 14.808
5. Pena Abreu – 14.699
6. Berger – 14.483
7. Rogers – 14.483
8. Black 14.366

1. Tweddle – 16.133
2. He – 15.966
3. Komova – 15.833
4. Yao – 15.766
5. Mustafina – 15.700
6. Douglas – 15.333
Huang – 15.266
7. Seitz – 15.166
8. Tsurumi – 15.033

1. Sui – 15.400
2. Komova – 15.266
3. Douglas – 15.266
4. Deng – 15.166
5. Raisman – 15.100
Ross – 15.075
6. Afanasyeva – 15.066
7. Ponor – 15.033
Grishina – 14.900
8. Bulimar – 14.866

1. Raisman – 15.325
2. Izbasa – 15.066
3. Ferrari – 14.900
4. Afanasyeva – 14.833
5. Mitchell – 14.833
6. Wieber – 14.666
7. Ponor – 14.600
8. Mustafina – 14.433