Women’s Podium Training Update

OK, this is mostly just going to be about Aliya, and you’re going to deal with it.

The big news from the second day of women’s podium training was the authoring of a new installment in the Legend of Aliya and the Acro Series. Aliya did an acro series, you guys! A real one! With rebounding flight in a single direction!


Thankfully, she also did hop right off on an Onodi to ensure she was still adhering to the traditional customs of Russian podium training. Similarly in accordance with orthodox Russian teachings, we were specifically told before the competition that Aliya would be performing only bars and beam, which meant also floor. And with only one mummified leg!

Mustafina may be called upon to do floor in qualification because of health concerns regarding Angelina Simakova, who is dealing with an ankle. Time will tell. It’s Aliya at worlds. She’ll find a way to hoist herself through a floor routine somehow.

There’s some concern about Russia struggling with the vaults, an emerging theme from women’s podium training and a critical factor in Russia’s dreams of silver. Angelina Melnikova effectively answered the question “How many coaches does it take to PLEASE DON’T DO A CHENG.”

Melnikova did, however, go through her whole beam routine without hopping off randomly, so she might have to give back her citizenship. Akhaimova granted us the honor of adding a lovely entry to the wolf turn fall collection.


Someone should submit that as a dismount.

If you want to watch some of Ellie Downie on floor, you can see it in the background of Akhaimova’s beam. But I warn you, she falls on a double front. So I’m still worried about GB’s floor.

In China news, and worry news, vault and floor.

Floor was interesting (the order in this video is Luo, Zhang, Chen, Liu JR, then Du) in that we’re seeing Zhang try to squeeze out as many tenths of difficulty as possible in that first pass where she attempts to gain 0.3 in CV. Otherwise, China has a couple routines barely getting into the 5s that will need to count in a team final. Chen must get credit for her quad spin to break 5 in D score, and while Liu has bigger tumbling ability, the dance elements aren’t there, so she’s going to be stuck around 5 as well.

It doesn’t put China insurmountably behind Russia, but it’s not great. China’s beam should be amazing, of course, but how much can that carry the team?

Bars also requires a bit of change of perspective in that, even though this should be an excellent score still, the lineup is full of a number of 6.0 routines. Those aren’t the highest difficulties in the world, which means the Chinese gymnasts can hit these routines and still not be locks for the event final given the quality of the international field. The last time China missed a world/Olympic bars final was 2006.

In the race for who is the alternate, I think Luo (up 4th) looks stronger than Du (up 3rd) even though Luo missed during her set. Du is not showing the full upgraded difficulty that she performed at the Chinese individual championships, and if she doesn’t have a D edge…

On vault, China may be forced to Yfull in the first spot in team finals.

Other developments:

The bad news continues for Italy with Caterina Cereghetti having to pull out of the competition. She may have been the alternate anyway since her scores at the most recent friendly were the lowest of the six team members, but the Italian team is even more threadbare now.

It looks like Sophie Marois is in for Canada instead of Laurie Denommée. This doesn’t change a ton for me in terms of expectations for Canada’s performance, other than clarifying the lineup for vault, where I would expect Marois to feature. She’s been working a DTY again in training, so Canada could get a lift there.

Also, Brooklyn Moors didn’t…have a great time on floor in PT. And this wasn’t even one of the routines I was worried about! Bars is enough of a problem without making me worry about floor too.

In further America news, Simone is not intending to vault the Biles in event finals because there’s no touch warmup. This has been an issue in previous years as well, with Aimee and Simone reticent about trying to add the Cheng before 2016 because she wouldn’t have a chance to do it in a touch warmup.

The new skills are out! For the women at least.

We have the Biles vault, of course, along with two skills we’ve seen on this list before. Goksu Uctas Sanli has submitted the triple L turn on floor, which was previously submitted by Lieke Wevers at the 2016 Olympics, but she did not credit for it in competition.

Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska is also back at it, attempting to get the gainer layout 2/1 off the end of the beam again. She previously submitted this skill at the 2016 Olympics, when it was provisionally valued as an F. Because of gainer beam downgrades since then, it will now be an E.

In the same vein, Sonja Olafsdottir is attempting a gainer 1.5 tucked off the end of the beam, which has been given a D. That seems to be some inconsistent valuing to me. KJK is adding a 1/2 twist to this skill and laying it out, and the value only increases by one tenth?

Then, things get a little weird, and I’m here for it.

Tisha Volleman has submitted a hop 1/1 with extended bent leg (or front attitude if you’d like). The post says she is attempting this skill on beam, but in the picture, it is being done on floor, so…

If she is doing it on beam, the C value this skill has been given is WAYYYY too low. That seems HARD. I mean, an L hop 1/1 on floor is already a C.

Sara Davidsen of Norway is submitting a split leap 1/1 on floor, but where the leg is bent in a cat leap for the turn before hitting the split position after the turn. It has been given a C value, and I’m kind of surprised the WTC deigned to recognize it as a skill. They don’t tend to like single skills that combine multiple shapes (like pike-layout double saltos).

The WTC also accepted a portmanteau turn from Tienna Nguyen of Vietnam—a double spin on floor where the first turn is an L and the second turn drops down to wolf. It will be difficult to keep the turn going while changing position, which she’ll have to do to get credit. But if she does get credit, watch for mixed spins as your next big skill trend. The Netherlands is basically putting on a bib and grabbing a knife and fork about it.

24 thoughts on “Women’s Podium Training Update”

      1. Fanny Villedieu on youtube has a lot of PT and other training videos up (USA, Russia, Brazil, China, etc).

    1. Thanks!

      From what I’ve seen this Brazilian team is in the same league as France and Japan right now. I saw the Villedieu videos of their UB rotation and there is a FB post somewhere with quick hits on their PT, which seems to have gone really well. Highlights are that Andrade is vaulting a big beautiful DTY but that’s it, UB are clean, FX is really impressive, and they went 3/5 on BB (Jade and Flavia had a fall each, boo). I’d be surprised if they didn’t qualify for TF, though the beam routines will be important – they can be so good there but they can’t afford multiple falls. Rooting for them!

  1. Does anyone know if there’s going to be a stream anywhere on YouTube? It looks like stupid NBC has taken it from USAG’s channel. Since the NBC site is a nightmare to navigate and has a horrible video player and may not even show any qualification rounds but the US ones, I’m desperate for alternatives!

    1. NBC is actually livestreaming every subdivision with major countries competing. And get this… IT’S FREE (AKA you don’t have to already have a cable subscription). Thus, NBC is coming in clutch. For once.

      1. Wait, actually? Source? I’ve exchanged a few emails with them and it sounded like I’d have to pay the $35-$40 for Sling/Hulu/YouTube. (Though I’ll have to for finals anyway, so it’s kinda beside the point).

      2. Seriously, Alex, where in the world are you? This would make my month, if true, but when I go it asks me to sign in with a cable or satellite provider’s login.

      3. I’m in the same boat too…how can I access the NBC streams without requiring a cable login?

      4. @Robin: I don’t know what Alex was talking about, but there are several services that offer 1 week free trials (Sling TV, YouTube TV, and maybe Hulu as well) that will give you login info for NBCSN & The Olympic Channel. That gives you either quals through AA finals or all finals (but not both).

        I’m going to give in and pay the $40 to watch the event finals too, but it sure puts a bad taste in my mouth compared to last year (which got me hooked with the highly atypical awesome free streams).

  2. Why in the name of the eleven thousand virgins of Cologne ARE THERE NOT EFFING TOUCH WARMUPS?!?!?!? AS IF THEY DON’T WASTE HOURS ON GARBAGE NOW?!?! Thank you, FIG, for screwing over yet another great gymnast as well as the entire gymnastics audience worldwide by denying us the debut of a dazzling new vault in the World Championships.

    1. One touches are a waste of time, but it can take infinite time to judge a routine. OK FIG.

    2. The lack of touch before finals isnt new sadly. Its one of those weird things that for some reason the FIG thinks is ok. (in that there is touch for everything except EF)

    3. Thanks appreciate the suggestions but I’m in Canada. While I can use a VPN it’s extremely tricky to register for these normally paid sites – most require a US based credit card. I’ll just keep my eyes out for the free youtube posts and the great commentary here 🙂

  3. I’m willing to bet real, actual, literal money on Russia throwing Aliya into AA, and her chucking a DTY and sneaking her way into finals. I swear to god

  4. Can somebody explain to me the D value discrepancy between gainer dismounts done from the end vs. the side of the beam? Feels strange that it’s taking so long for a gainer double to be submitted when Khorkina did gainer 2.5 and gainer triples from the side (and they’re rated lower than the end of beam counterparts). Why is that?

    1. I would assume because you need more height and distance to clear the beam when doing a gainer off the end rather than to the side.

  5. Ellie Downie doesn’t look ready at all. Apart fromthe fall she is nowhere near hitting splits and as for her dance…..
    Let’s hope she was saving herself for the actual comp. Think GB should have rested her.

    1. The problem is that after GB’s top 5-6 girls there is a sharp drop in quality, and with Frags and Tinkler out, Harrold at college, Jupp always injured, and Becky Downie only doing 1-2 events, I can see why she made it into the team even if she is only 50% ready – look at how their Euros went.

  6. If the Nguyen is acceptable as a skill, then the Wolfkino can be too! lol

    Also, the Volleman is listed as a floor skill. (I’m guessing the FIG post was corrected)

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