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

2 thoughts on “Women’s Team Final”

  1. I watched the NBC Coverage (replay) so I didn't get to see some of my favorites perform (Ponor, Afanasyeva, Tweddle, etc.) Russia dominates the leo competition. Seriously, those might be my favorite leotards of the 2000s. Stunning. I wonder how Russia would have scored if they had hit everything. They certainly would have given the US more of a run for their money. I was hoping for Romania to medal but seeing how close they were to silver I really wish they could have squeezed out 2 points somewhere else, but I think they'll be thrilled with the bronze. After a messy qualifications it's awesome to see Ponor get the top beam score during team finals. I hope she has the routine of a lifetime and takes home more beam gold. John Geddert pisses me off. He talks shit on college gym, didn't seem to prepare Jordyn for the possibility of not making AA finals and worms his way into team pictures at the end (I know he's the coach, but he still weasels his way into those pictures). I was surprised that Gabby did the all-around and I thought taking her on beam might not be a smart decision but it proved to be a good one. USA hasn't really had any mistakes during the Olympics thus far. For the most part judging seems to be pretty fair but how the hell does Maroney NOT go for 16.5?? Incredible difficulty and she makes it look effortless and performs it beautifully. Right after she stuck I wondered if we'd see our first 10 E score of the new scoring system. If that (and Nastia's 1.5 from AA in 2008) don't get 10s then nothing ever will again.

    And I love the imagery of you sitting there watching the countdown haha. I'm that boy too! OMG gymnastics!!

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