A few updates on what you might have missed in the world of elite competitions this week as we all try to brace ourselves for NCAA conference championships tomorrow. And by we, I mean me.
In what was either the miracle of all miracles or an aggressive signaling of the end of days, Angelina Melnikova hit an entire all-around competition—including her layout on beam—to win the Birmingham World Cup title.
No one knows what to do with this information because it might all be just a hallucination Valentina had after taking “mama’s special pills,” but Russia absolutely needs Melnikova to be a real person on all four events this year following the injury to Best Child Elena Eremina. That’s a ridiculous proposition obviously, but the group of healthy Russians is pretty specialist-heavy right now, so someone who can realistically do all the events while definitely contributing TF vault and floor is essential.
A solid, hit competition put Marz Frazier into second. She did not have the D score to match Melnikova, so she was probably going to need Gelya to Gelya in order to win, but some execution issues on bars and beam (as well as an uncharacteristically short landing on her DTY) made Frazier unable to capitalize on Melnikova’s own execution problems and near-falls on bars and beam.
Everyone else had varying levels of disasters on at least one event, except for Alice Kinsella, who hit a full all-around competition for bronze, a result she should be very pleased with. The fact that both Kinsella and Simm appear to be rounding into AA form is essential for England’s CWG hopes because…
B. The England Broke
Amy Tinkler had to withdraw from Birmingham during warmups because of an injury to her ankle ligaments, an injury that will also force her to pull out of the Commonwealth Games. Every week a new one goes down. Remember when we thought the team was going to be Tinkler, Fragapane, Downie, Downie, Fenton?
Anyway, now it’s Fenton, Simm, Kinsella, Stanhope, and TBD. At this point, the maybe-unretired-maybe Charlie Fellows looks like the next best choice for the team because she can fill a number of roles in a team scenario and was the strongest of the remaining options at the British Championship, though Taeja James made a very good argument for herself with her qualification floor performance in Doha, placing first with a 5.4 D. She also attempted enough difficulty on beam that she got away with a mid-12 even though it didn’t come off. At this point, England would kind of take a mid-12 on beam.
The more injuries we see for England, the more Canada looks like the clear favorite in the women’s team competition, though the Canadians have not been immune to the spate of injuries either with Rose Woo pulling out of Stuttgart after her own warmup-induced ankle injury.
The winner of Doha was Marina Ulyankina, who performed this exhibition routine after Perebinosova hit bars (WHAT???) in the final, and it was magical.
That’s really all that happened and everything you need to know right there. Perebinosova (speaking of specialist Russians) finished second to the machine that is Nina Derwael in the bars final, with MDJDS taking third after an impressive hit. The only one who really had the difficulty to challenge hits from those three was Du Siyu, who fell on a Tkatchev.
On vault, Chusovitina took the title after hitting her rudi, which is back now, because of course it is, randomly in March in 2018, because Chusovitina. Time to start training that Produnova again, HE KIDDED. Placing second to Chusovitina was new North Korean vaulter Pyon Rye Yong, who hit her own crazy-legged rudi along with a terrifying DTY that popped way up into the air but traveled exactly one millimeter from the table.
So that’s fine. Try an Amanar, HE KIDDED.
Kim Su Jong, probably North Korea’s best all-arounder now, placed 6th in the vault final but has also qualified to floor. We don’t see them much because North Korea, but keep this group in mind as one that can place top 24 at worlds this year if a team is sent.
Coline Devillard took bronze on vault, looking like she’s starting to come back after shining brightly at the beginning of 2017, then faltering as the season moved toward worlds.
The other French women, MDJDS and Boyer, qualified 1-2 on beam and look like the favorites there heading into tomorrow’s final, while top-qualifier Taeja James will look to hold off an extremely tightly packed field in the floor final in an effort to continue making her CWG argument. Really any of the floor finalists could medal here (Meneghini and Mori? Klinckaert and Hermans?) as most of them are at about the same level.
Anamaria Ocolisan of Romania just missed the final floor with a 12.866, but the fact that Romania has gymnasts doing routines on events internationally is definitely something at this point because it has REALLY been Larisa and Tumbleweeds lately.
On the men’s side in Doha, the big news was Kohei returning to competition but not making any of the finals he attempted (PH, SR, VT, HB). It’s not as AHHHH a result as that might seem because this was a fairly deep field—even for a men’s world cup—where Kohei wouldn’t really have been expected to make a couple of these finals, though it’s still weird because Kohei.
In American news, Alec Yoder took bronze on horse in his quest to become the US’s new resident pommel whore.
This week, we take it all on: everything from Komova’s return in Stuttgart, to splatty splatty splat-fests, to how out-of-control NCAA senior day crack has become, to OH YEAH the Facebook incident.
You’ll enjoy it.
E. Beam routine of the week
Before she was best known for being the All-Time #1 Fan of the Oklahoma Ssssssinnners, Kelly Garrison was the most impressive beam worker in the world for a spell.
She’s most remembered for her difficulty in mount work, performing the tucked version of the Garrison mount here (just the tuck, you know, easy). But equally impressive are her amplitude and extension and sureness, which would be very passable in today’s code, as well as the grace and smoothness of her smaller elements, particularly the other Garrison (the sideways Valdez) and shoulder roll.