Before we get to the nonsense, the scoresheets for day 2 of WAG action.
And now, brace yourselves, because Romania.
-Obviously, Romania’s performance is the big talking point because it was the worst thing ever to happen in the history of time. It was like the black death, but with more poor hip circles. I think we all felt it would be a mess going in (I may have used the words “garbage fire”), but I still firmly believed that Iordache would be able to pull them through to the TF anyway. I was wrong. Romania currently sits in 8th after the first day, and will drop pretty deep into the test event field when it’s all over since there are legitimately six more teams with a chance to pass them yet to perform. Something needs to be done. We can’t let Romania go the way of Ukraine. Nadia needs to throw some Nadia money at the problem, like now.
-It started out not completely disastrous, just sort of meh. Floor was OK, no major errors, just uninspiring (and I thought a little harshly scored). Vault was perfectly fine. And then bars was even worse than last year. Somehow. Jurca hit, and then the covered wagon fell into the gully, and everyone drowned while getting dysentery and losing all the cattle and children. It was very “How many times, Alyssa?” How many times, Romania? Even beam was wobbly and emotionally scarring, featuring yet another fall from Iordache. The rest of the world is too good right now for Romania to have one event be that weak. This will continue to happen, though the Romanians will still be a favorite to get out of the test event. They just need to cut up some old mats and wrap them around Ponor, resurrect Izbasa, commission Interpol to find Ana Porgras, and hurl Nadia into a time machine. It’ll be fine.
-I think it’s easy to blame Romania’s mistakes on the injuries, of which there have been a lot, but that wasn’t really even the problem. The team competing today was more than capable of making the TF, and doing so comfortably with a score similar to Italy’s or Japan’s. This was about not being able to hit routines on the day. This same team (except for Ocolisan) scored a 226 a couple weeks ago, and this was NINE POINTS lower than that.
-On the other side of the spectrum, the drama queens themselves performed pretty well. Russia was a little glum on floor, but that was to be expected. (When you have to scare up a Maria Paseka floor routine, and it’s your second-best one, you need to look in a mirror.) But after that, vault brought a strong hit, with a little Vika Bonus thrown in for luck; bars was exceptional when Vika wasn’t hitting her foot and then using her powers of awesomeness to erase that from the record; and beam……could have been a lot worse. There are still plenty of problems, like figuring out how they’re going to fool the judges long enough to put a cardboard cutout of Mustafina up on floor in TF or the fact that they’ll be relying on Komova, Tutkhalyan, and Kharenkova to hit beam at the same time, but stage one is complete.
-Back to depressing news, the Downie sisters had a bars sad. Ellie’s disaster took her out of the AA final, and Becky’s disaster took my heart out and threw it into the Romanian gully. Cancel the bars final. Other than that, though, Team GB had a really good day. They should be proud of this performance, outscoring Italy to once again establish themselves as the best new option for the big 4. The improvements on floor in particular were check-plus worthy. Downie 2.0 and Tinkler have bolstered that lineup tremendously to make it competitive with any nation other than the US. And four hit beam routines! It’s because Danusia is there. Her beam aura is instilling them with beaminess via osmosis.
-Canada! Good day for Canada. Going in, I thought anything over 220 would constitute an acceptable score for the Canadians. They ended up well above that with 222.780, though it turns out they’ll need the margin since it’s going to take at the very minimum a 221.861 to make TF/Rio. Canada isn’t out of the woods yet, in 5th, but I don’t think this group could really have expected much more from themselves.
-Brazil is back, mostly. Somewhat. Brazil is currently the bubble team sitting in 6th, sure to get bumped at least to 8th by China and the US. Then, there’s danger from the likes of Australia, Netherlands, France, etc. Brazil was sort of a less drastic version Romania today, with bars their clear weak event, just not as weak as Romania.
-It’s hard to say where we stand for the top 16 teams at this point. The day 1 teams are a bit stronger than the day 2 teams will be (which is why I’m hopeful about Canada’s chances, even sitting in 5th), so Spain in 9th may still end up being OK. It will depend mostly on what Switzerland, Mexico, and South Korea bring tomorrow. Those will be the deciding competitors for the 16 cutoff.
-Chuso threw the Prod, and it looked like most of the other “my ass is gonna getcha” Prods we see. The judges then looked at their notecard from Nellie that said “don’t let a Prod make vault finals,” and reacted accordingly. Chuso is in 7th, and with Biles and Hong still to go among others like Steingruber and Wang, she won’t make the final. I never approve of people making the vault final with a fall, but at the same time, it’s Chuso so I’m less mad about chucking a fall-vault than I am for the other, non-Chuso people.
-The all-around didn’t go great today. But in lovely news, Ellie Black is winning. Ellie Black! With a 57.299. See? Not huge. Tutkhalyan, Tinkler, Harrold, Murakami, and Oliveira (lovely gymnast, won a bunch of fans today) trail in the 56s, with Iordache, Ferlito, and Ferrari all trundling in at 55.6. Iordache can still recover and be a force in the AA final, but how much of a force? After today’s showing, that bronze medal is up for grabs for pretty much everyone who has ever been born.
-Paula Mejias of Puerto Rico is currently 5th on vault. GET IT.
-Brittany Rogers is currently 4th on vault and 5th on bars. GET IT GET IT. (Bars is very unlikely, but I’m pretending that’s not true.)
-You know that thing where they spin you around and then laugh when you dizzily swing a stick at a pinata? The beam final.
-Miyakama delivered on floor to take the lead, just over Afan and Frags, all of whom should get back for EF comfortably.
DAY 2 lineups and notes:
-No such Romanian lineup drama for the day 2 teams. At least not really. Georgia Rose Brown is out for Australia, replaced by the return of Emily Little. Georgia Godwin is supposed to be the oncoming AA leader for Australia, and this is the moment she needs to bring four consistent events to get the team to that now-necessary 222 without Brown’s customary 13.5s across the board.
-Also, Elsa Garcia is officially out, meaning the rest of the Mexico team will all be doing AA and I will be quietly sobbing in the corner. This is a huge blow for Mexico’s hopes, and really helps those other border teams hoping to make the test event. For reference, this same group for Mexico finished 14th last year, but without Elsa Garcia’s scores, they would have finished 20th. That makes all the difference.
-China’s lineups are exactly as expected, with Fan sitting vault and floor, Mao sitting bars, and Tan sitting beam. Shang, Wang, and Chen in the AA. I’m most interested to see how these planned floor difficulties look in competition. That could be decisive as to whether China can qualify ahead of Russia, since Russia did not put up a good floor score. I’d also expect China to have the edge on Russia for beam, but this China group also makes me pretty beam nervous. Even more than usual.
-The US lineups are as reported/expected. I’m not over Maggie Nichols being out of the AA, and I’m not ready to talk about it yet. Just know that if she has three great routines, I’m going to be tweeting a lot about what score she would have needed on bars to make the AA final, and it’s going to be really annoying. So deal with that.
-Tisha Volleman is in for Van Pol for the Netherlands, meaning now the Netherlands has no competitors with a Van in their name, which I think is against the law. Lieke Wevers, Thorsdottir, and Titarsolej will go in the AA. I’m desperately hoping for hit beam routines from the Wevers spinning dream sisters. Watching them do beam is like watching a glass blower.
-Brevet, Pikul, and Vanhille will be the AAers for France.
-Ri Un Ha is out for North Korea, so everyone else will be competing the AA in qualification. She was the other one with a DTY.
-Julie Croket will be working only beam for Belgium. She showed so much promise before she joined the Diana Bulimar Constant Injury Repertory Players.
-Eniko Horvath is in for Hungary instead of Al-Salty, probably because she got all salty. (BAM! Would you like to hear some comedy jokes?!?) Also, Boglarka Devai will be competing two vaults, which I mention because I’m changing my name to Boglarka.
-For Malta (Malta is here!), Kirsty Caruana is out, and Peppijna Dalli (your name is Peppijna) is doing just vault and bars. Ralitsa Mileva is out for Bulgaria, Annelise Koster of Namibia (Namibia is here!) will be reduced to just bars, and Maya Williams of Jamaica will be reduced to just beam.