The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Women’s Team Final Live Blog

The time has come, dear friends, to find out that the US women have won the team final. Well…shortly, we’ll find that out. But also who wins the other medals! You know, the interesting part. Who’s going to fall the least?!?!

For the US women, the lineup news is that Hernandez will be going instead of Douglas on vault. Hernandez scored a fraction better in qualification, and it’s not going to make much difference either way. So there’s that. More interestingly, Hernandez is not doing bars, meaning Biles is competing AA today. I think the US squad has always been more content using Biles on bars in a team final than the general fandom is. Plus, if Hernandez is limited because of her abstomahamstring, her routine is not vital. Biles got a 15 in qualification for what was basically a C- routine for her.

Joining Biles in competing the all-around today will be Mustafina and Melnikova, because of carrying everything, Jade Barbosa, because Brazil is putting her on beam instead of Andrade which doesn’t make anyone feel comfortable, Eythora Thorsdottir, because she needs to do every event all the time, and Ellie Downie, because of ahhhh is everything OK and are we sure about that? At least now she has had actual time to be properly evaluated, now that the glow of “HEROIC STORYLINE, GRIT, GET OUT THERE, WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR NECK” has worn off.

There are some interesting beam decisions going on here. I can see Brazil’s reasoning in putting Barbosa up. Before the competition, I also had her going in TF over Andrade, but Barbosa did fall in qualification and continues to be Jade Barbosa, so there’s always a worry there.

Great Britain has also decided that it hates itself and is going to keep putting up Fragapane on beam until the end of time. Christ. I hope at least that they take out some of her difficulty. That routine is crazy risky and clearly way too hard for her. You don’t need a 15.2 from Fragapane! You just can’t have a 13.2!

On a scale of Russia to Russia, how Russia do we think Russia is going to be today?

Their qualification bars was 46.6. It needs to be the same today if silver is going to be a thing. Basically, Russia needs to be winning after 1.

Introductory fangirling about the US team. Kupets has appropriately received the note that bars is not a weakness for the US. Because, you know, second.

Russia isn’t even bothering to have the other two present? Just the three for bars? LOLLL. Aliya is trying to get everyone up there, like, “UGH, you’re doing it wrong!”

Aliya finally got the whole team up there.

Ahhh, the cheers for the Brazilians…Flavia. Saraiva. “AHHHHHH *faint* *dead*”



Hernandez – VT – a little short on her DTY, hop forward, slightly off line.

Melnikova – UB – inbar stalder – inbar full – toe shap to pak – toe shap 1/2 – inbar half small pause – piked jaeger – orphan half turn – tuck full, small hop. One hit down.

15.100 for Laurie. So still that. Don’t worry about it.

Raisman – VT – STICKS her Amanar. Well now. She has never vaulted better than she has in these Olympics 15.833. DAYUM.

14.133 beam for Hypolito, 14.100 floor for Sugihara.

Biles – VT – hop forward on Amanar this time, a bit larger hop than in the qualifications it appeared. 15.933. OK, the fact that she scored only .100 more than Aly, though………

Spiridonova – UB – inbar full to inbar shap to pak – one short hs in there – strong piked jaeger – step back on tuck full – good, a couple tight hs in there but one tenth things.

US 46.866 on vault, one tenth lower than qualification.

15.100 for Spiridonova. Just a 6.3 D this time. Not her intended by any means.

Kupets bringing realness in terms of ACTUALLY SEEING DEDUCTIONS. yes, it was a .3 hop.

Marakami 14.466 on floor.

Mustafina – UB – inbar full to inbar shap to pak – to toe shap 1/2 – very wonderful – inbar half – piked jaeger – strong hs – full was a little late, actually sticks the Mustafina this time. Best of the rotation by quite a margin.

Miyakawa – FX – DLO full, OOB – NAILS front lay to double front this time! – splits are very short –  tucked double double, staggered landing but control – very short DLO with a stumble, stayed up but large deductions there –

Barbosa fell on beam. Yeah.

15.933 for Mustafina. Same as Biles for vault.

46.166 for Russia. A half point lower than qualification. They missed Spiridonova’s full difficulty there.

Flavia went 14.833 on beam.

Group 1:
USA 46.866
Russia 46.166
Japan 42.474
Brazil 41.999

Now we have to try to live through GB on bars. Somehow. Get the beads. All the beads.

Mao – VT – a little short and lock-legged on double full – step forward. 14.833

Harrold – UB – her usual crazy legs on her difficulty like the bhardwaj and the shap 1/2 – high jaeger, excellent -double front with step forward

Seitz 14.000 on beam. SEITZ HIT BEAM AGAIN.

Tan – VT – larger hop back on her DTY, they’ll have wanted a bit more control on that landing.

14.833 for Harrold. One down.

Ellie – UB – going through well early – leg break on toe full but connects to piked tkatchev to pak, some legs – lost her rhythm a bit there and had to recast – DLO with a hop forward. Had some errors in there – stayed on the bars – solved the problem. 14.633. Similar to day one.

Wang – VT – very low landing on Kas 1/1 but stands it up. 14.733. Total will be just a tad lower than qualification.

Van Gerner – FX – back 1.5 to front full – hoppy – high double back – hitting her splits well – two 13.9s so far for NED.

Tabea Alt 14.600 beam. Germany doing it’s thing.

Becky – UB – stalder shap to piked hindorff is strong – toe full – addds and extra giant – stalder taktchev to pak to shap to clear hip tkatchev, working well now – sticks tuck full. Will be very strong score. She did pause for a moment and added an extra giant, but also kept her thing going. 15.400.

14.500 on beam for Schaefer. Excellent start for Germany.

13.900 for Eythora.

Scores after 1:
1. USA 46.866
2. Russia 46.166
3. Great Britain 44.866
4. China 44.332
5. Germany 43.100
6. Japan 42.474
7. Brazil 41.999
8. Netherlands 41.666

GB improves two tenths on bars from qualification.

GB is off to beam – China to bars

SHang – UB – good piked hindorff to pak – hip shap to very low in bar gienger and falls.
Ellie Downie falls on Arabian.

China has opened things for Russia, and it’s not even beam yet.

Just 13.366 for Ellie on beam, and now it’s Frags. Save me help me please.

Shang still gets 14.333

Frags – BB – arabian and hits – switch, wobble on sheep – tuck full series, large wobble but stays on – very very low side aerial, another big break – solid tuck full – WELL SHE STAYED ON.

Fan – UB – works through her inbar gienger well – great finishing position on her piros – DLO step back.

Frags stays on, but all those big wobbles will equal a fall. 14.433. IT’S NOT A 13!!! Not really sure how she still managed a 14.433 after that, but…great?

15.733 for Fan Yilin who goes, “That was literally the exact same routine I did in qualification. Please address your life.”

Schaefer delivers floor for Germany with a 14.375. They could use more 14s like that.

Tan – UB – Hindorff caught – pak is nice – toe shap to inbar gienger – very lare pirouette into tkatchev – DLO small hop.

Becky hit beam? Very low double pike with a lunge.

Did Jim just try to tell us that bars is a weak event for China? Hurhhhh?

14.941 for Tan.

GB loses five tenths on beam v. qualification, which is not good because it wasn’t a good score in qualification. China basically identical overall to the prelims scores on bars.

Russia to beam. The US to bars.

After 2:
1. China 89.339
2. GB 86.831
3. Germany 84.774
4. Netherlands 84.699

Welp Melnikova has already fallen and we barely started – front pike is solid – stumble back on her dismount as well. 13.033

Biles – UB – good weiler 1/2 – toe full is fine this time – tkatchev – piked tkatchev to pak very strong – toe shoot – sticks. Usual, better than qualification.

14.800 for Biles, if you’d like to continue talking about the bars scores from qualification, this is ammunition because this bars routine was better than prelims.

14.266 for Barbosa on floor.

Douglas – UB – inbar full – piked tkatchev to pak is good – inbar half to endo to shap 1/2, strong – one short hs in there – holds the stick on her DLO. 15.766. There you go.

Musty – BB – good double spin – lovely splits – solid side somi – switch 1/2 with a check – onodi to side aerial is good – two walkovers to bhs – switch ring – double tuck step back –

Andrade music problems – Jim getting his lessons from NCAA on – he studied up on this after that Arizona issue.

Kocian – UB – inbar sfgull to inbar shap to pak to stalder shap 1/2 strong – connected – inabr 1/2 to jaeger – stalder full to dismount – stuck. SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Great. 15.933.

14.958 for Mustafina. Andrade falls on final pass on floor.

Seda – BB – layout two feet, break at hips – switch adn switch 1/2, low back leg on switch – layout full hit! – small check – walkover to leaps combo – switch ring, check – double pike hop back. SEDA HIT BEAM TWICE. 14.766.

Flavia – FX – double tuck final pass stuck. 14.500. Brazil already has two falls, though, so into 8th by quite a margin still.

After 2:
USA 93.365
China 89.339
Russia 88.923
Japan 87.306
GB 86.831
Germany 84.774
Netherlands 84.699
Brazil 83.731

China a small lead for silver now over Russia. Neither team looking impressive, but Russia did improve markedly on its day 1 beam. China still staying about the same through two events.

Now we’ll have the US on beam and Russia on floor. Is floor less scary than beam?

Raisman – BB – front pike to wolf – check on layout series but on – switch to back tuck – leap series solid – side aerial strong – switch half usual – front tuck to split – sticks Patterson. The girl is having some Olympics.

Melnikova had a little trouble on her piked full in landing, awkward stumble but stayed on her feet – small bounce back on double tuck, smaller one on double pike. A hit!

15.000 for Raisman – Gabby givers her a standing ovation – OH MY GOD SO MUCH DRAMA THERE’S DEFINITELY A STORY THERE.

hop back tuck full for Teramoto 14.866.

Hernandez – BB – front pike solid – walkover to lovely splits – two loso series held well without a wobble – check on sheep jump but stays on, medium check, maybe .3 – front tuck to wolf – nails switch ring – double pike hop back. NBD. 15.233

Andradmanar with an extra half turn on landing, Nabz style

Seda – FX – solid DLO, two whips to double tucks, bounce back, just stays in – 1.5 to front full – 2.25 wolf turn – short double tuck with a stumble – 13.766

Simone – BB – wolf 2.5 solid – split jump pike jump strong – barani secure – two loso series, a significant check but stays on – keeps the streak a live – a couple checks here so she’ll be pissed, and probably won’t get all her CV on her leaps to back series – good walkover – a taouch short on tuck full, hop forward.

Mustafina – FX – heel drops on double L – short on full in with a lunge forward – she’s going to be in similar turn trouble, also drops out of double attitude – 1.5 to front full, stuck and pretty – quad spin is quite nice, that’s her best spin – double tuck, medium bounce. 14.000.

15.300 for Simone.

In case you didn’t know, Japan is continuing to kill it. Ahead of Russia for the moment. That won’t stay because Russia gets to vault and Japan goes to beam, but it’s still an accomplishment.

After 3:
USA 138.898
Japan 131.772
Russia 130.955
Brazil 128.630

US beam score is three tenths weaker than in qualification. All rotation scores just a tad lower, some because of execution by mostly because of tighter E judging today.

China to beam now, GB to floor

Wang – BB – get terrified – strong front pike – switch ring to sheep – two-foot layout, leg up but stays on – check on front tuck – walkover – switch 1/2 with a check – 3/1, chest down and step. WANG AND SEDA BOTH HIT BEAM TWICE WHAT WORLD IS THIS.

Tinkler gets 14.466. Very low double double, lunge forward.

14.466 for Wang as well. That’s up on qualification.

Ellie – FX – 1.5 through to double arabian, excellent – piked double arabian with a lunge – 2.5 to front –  solid double pike – 14.133

Shang – BB – wonderful layout series – bhs los series – very secure front tuck to wolf – walkover to sheep – aerial – hits 3/1 – very good routine – 15.066

Not everything is a redemption story.

Frags – FX – DLO full to wolf, strong small slide – piked double arabian, large lunge and OOB. Oh GB – triple full to split – OOB on DLO.

Fan – BB – round of layout, step back – excellent switch ring and sheep – walkover – piked side somi, check forward – switch to side aerial, another small check – 3/1 hop forward. Three hit beams for China.

14.166 for Frags. GB too far behind Russia to make that up on vault. Still waiting on Fan’s beam score. Because beam scores.

Everyone is about to stab the beam judges. JUST GET ON WITH IT.

FINALLY! 15.066 for Fan. One rotation left, US in control for gold, China in control for silver, Russia in control for bronze (because going to vault).

Germany currently last but should move up with this bars rotation.

Shang – FX – 3.5 to side-diagonal-pike again – 15. to 3/1 to front tuck, pulled the tuck around, very good quad spin – 2.5 to barani – low double pike with a lunge back.

Frags DTY – usual legs, good control on landing – a bit short

Tinkles – DTY – better than Frags, leg form and chest up but a bigger hop back. 14.933.

14.700 on floor for Shang.

Eythora 14.566 on beam.

Ellie – DTY – 15.133 – FANTASTIC – stuck

Wang – FX – double double tuck, well done, chest down but just a small slide – 1.5 to 3/1 to front tuck as well – 2.5 to barani, bounce – solid double pike, hop.

15.466 for Scheder – Seitz follows with 15.533. Germany actually got pretty close to GB. Great competition for Germany.

14.733 for Wang.

Mao Yi – FX – 3.5 to well OOB and sits it! Ouch. This score is not going to be pretty – 3/1, doesn’t try to connect out of this time – 2.5 to half is fine – She only needs an 11 to get ahead of GB, but this makes things very interesting otherwise – low double tuck with a hop.

I wonder if they’ll give Mao her 3.5 on the fall. If they give her a 3/1 that would be really devastating to the score.

15.250 for Sanne on beam.

Long wait for Mao’s floor score, not totally unexpected. 12.633. It’s enough to go ahead of GB. GB! China was trying to give it to you!

Sadly for Japan, they would need a 44.3 on beam to pass China. Qualification score was 41.699. Average would be a 14.744. They don’t have those routines.

14.900 for Melnikova DTY.

Aliya – VT – strong DTY, will score very well – Aliya legs but not too bad, small hop.

Hernandez – FX – DLO hop back – double arabian to stag is excellent – front lay to front 2/1 to front tuck, gets a little caught in place but pulls it around as usual – somewhat short double tuck, small hop, fine.

15.133 for Mustafina. WHICH VAULT WILL PASEKA DO??? Amanar. Good choice. Some crazy legs and a lock-legged landing but much better than the Cheng has been. 15.700. Russia moves ahead of China!

China just had to hit and did not do it. Silver for Russia again, tremendous accomplishment for the warzone that this team has been.

Japans first beam is a 13.833 for Murakami. Same as qualification.


Raisman – FX – 1.5 to double arabian to layout – right into the corner but stays in – works to get that split position on her 1.5, a little bouncy – good L spin – piked double arabian to stag – strong DLO, nearly stuck – sticks double pike – will get an a billion. 15.366.

Simone Biles literally needs a 7.

Japan has a very good shot at 4th with a final hit beam. Which would be HUGE.

Biles – FX – DLO full, small slide – Biles with a little hop. She literally could stop this routine right now and be fine – sticks double double – back with a full – casual and normal. Let’s see what the TF margin win will be. I thought it would be smaller than ever this year (like 4-5 points). It’s actually going to be their biggest ever.

I love how they have to wait for the score to celebrate and pretend like they’re not sure.

15.800 for Simone. Final margin is 8.209. You know.

Japan did get 4th, GB 5th, Germany 6th, Ned 7th, Brazil 8th. I love that they’re trying to find a good place to celebrate when the score comes up. #marketing. Oh, you weren’t even looking at the moment the score came up, Aly! Pull it together. NBC is going to be pissed.


“What do you get when you mix red, white, and blue? Gold.” Well, you had that one loaded, Jim. How spontaneous and natural.

So that happened. Some surprises there. Russia sneaking ahead of China for silver after China’s second fall (it really did come down to who fell the least. Russia fell once, China twice. That was the difference.) Japan just continued hitting like monsters to sneak ahead of GB by .009 for 4th. For a team that was borderline TF based on the pre-competition scores (I think I had them 8th?), they stepped up bars and beam tremendously.

8 points.

We have a prospective 2017-2020 code that makes relatively minor changes, but I keep waiting for the day of a complete overhaul based on “the US is too dominant.”


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