Just the Good Stuff: Men’s Team Final

What you need to know, in quick, easily digestible bullet points.

  • Sweet lord
  • If you didn’t watch, be glad you’re not 285 years older at this moment because the rest of us sure are
  • Anyway, China won—clunking its way to a controversial .050 victory of Russia, reminiscent of the 2014 final when China also barely squeaked its way to gold, that time past Japan
  • Still, no one can righteously complain that they were hosed in this meet because everyone had misses. No one earned that gold medal
  • Basically, the winner is nobody. Come back next summer and repeat the class
  • China did its best to throw its presumed gold medal into the crack in spacetime during the first two rotations when Xiao tripped over a ghost baby on a punch randi on floor, then Sun Wei bottomed out on pommel horse.
  • There was a whole lot of “Well, China’s out of it” at that point, but China’s combined FX+PH score was actually better here than it was in qualification because qualification on PH was so bad.
  • Even though there were two falls, China had actually “closed the gap” on Russia
  • Only being moderately bad was an improvement
  • China’s mistakes did mean that Russia was very much in this thing—despite its own problems on horse (Nagornyy’s Greek leg sculpture, Kuksenkov’s dismount improv class) and a low Lankin floor score for a routine we haven’t seen yet
  • After that, nailed vaults from Nagornyy and Dalaloyan had Russia flying
  • That is, until PBars, when Dalaloyan fell immediately on his underswing up to handstand mount
  • I’ve been assured this is not a case of Shaylaing because he did it on a real skill and had at least touched the bar at that point
  • But it sure looked like a Shayla moment
  • China was always going to make up a ton of ground on PBars, but the Dalaloyan moment ensured that China suddenly enjoyed a lead of a full point, going to high bar, where it’s supposed to be the better and more reliable team
  • Yada, yada, yada, all hell broke loose
  • Lin Chaopan went over the wrong way on a handstand, and Xiao fell on a Liukin, which was exactly the opening that Russia was looking for
  • Nagornyy finished the event and needed to score 13.783 to win the team gold, a very doable number for him
  • But, Nagornyy realllllllly had to muscle out of a layout tkatchev 1/2, opening the door for it to be a judges’ decision
  • With a normal hit, Russia would have won
  • But it was left in the hands of the judges
  • The score: 13.733
  • Not enough
  • China wins
  • The FIG was vindicated (in this case and only this case) for its decision to change the team final format to alternate routines within each rotation because the back-and-forth routines made that final high bar rotation 1000000 times more exciting
  • No one, however, was helped at all by the dumpy world feed, which showed minimal routines and tons of chalking and people standing around and was altogether infuriating
  • Yet, complaints about not showing enough of the US routines are unfounded. Their job is to follow the story of the meet, and the US was not the story of the meet. Sorry
  • Speaking of the US, the team ultimately met expectations in its 4th-place finish and will be equal parts pleased and disappointed about that
  • Pleased: This team was not supposed to medal. Fourth is a very respectable result for the routines that are available right now
  • Disappointed: Two things needed to happen for the US to medal—other teams needed to screw up, and the US needed to be perfect. Other teams sure screwed up, but the US wasn’t perfect
  • Sam Mikulak fell on pommel horse, Moldauer had the same rings problems as qualification, and Modi had the same PBars problems as qualification
  • Japan’s final bronze-medal score of 253.744 was super doable for this US team if they had been excellent and hit 18-for-18
  • Another thing that could have happened with a hit day: Japan winning gold
  • This Japanese team came in at a slight disadvantage, which was illuminated by qualification, but the way things played out, Japan could have made gold happen by taking advantage of the mistakes from China and Russia
  • Alas no
  • It started out looking like Japan would do just that. The Japanese were hitting the cleanest meet through three events, but then Tanaka peached himself right into Persian Gulf twice on Pbars and that was that
  • By that point, it was always going to be the bronze for Japan, and a fall from Tanigawa on floor didn’t change much
  • Great Britain had a shot to score right with the US if things had gone well, but GB suffered a similar fate to the other top teams, throwing in a few more falls than it did in qualification
  • Switzerland improved its qualification ranking by two spots (from 8th to 6th) thanks in large part to Hegi no longer decapitating himself on HB
  • Yay for no decapitations
  • Brazil took 7th, and the Netherlands was thrilled to make the TF for 8th
  • The Dutch had a fab HB rotation of course, but big mistakes on some other events (combined with just having lower scoring potential) ensured it would be 8th place
  • For tomorrow’s women’s final—the start lists are out and Riley McCusker is going on beam rather than Hurd, despite the fall on the first day. I don’t really have a horse in that race because they can both get big scores and the US is going to win by so much it doesn’t really matter. So meh.
  • McCusker has the higher scoring potential, so you can definitely make the argument she’s the right choice, especially if she’s been hitting in training. It’s the lineup I would have had before the team left for Doha
  • Simakova is staying on the Russian team and doing beam.
  • Liu Jinru will not be doing floor, after anchoring the event in qualification
  • Shallon Olsen will be called upon to do beam in TF. Would not have predicted that one a few months ago.
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28 thoughts on “Just the Good Stuff: Men’s Team Final”

  1. well, i am a little pleasantly surprised that mccusker gets to do beam and bars… i think back in the marta’s day she wouldve been banned! but i guess it is a testament that even with the fall in beam, she was only 0.3 behind hurd….

    So here’s to hope of riley coming back and killing bars and beam like shes supposed to! it’s nice to have a small rest for hurd./

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent men’s team final. I think China edging out Russia was probably correct, but it was very very close and they have very different strengths. Hope the Russians aren’t too hard on themselves, they’re still a very young team. The AA will be very exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stop saying that controversial shit bc there wasn’t any over or underscoring throughout. Anyway if the russians won by 0.05, it would be called heroic epic victory bc some people are biased in the first place.

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  4. Yikes, that was a brutal way to lose gold for the Russians. 0.05 seems like such an arbitrary margin. Nagornyy made a significant error in his routine, but 13.733 when he needed 13.783? That’s just cruel.

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    1. Thanks! I wasn’t able to watch it live and kept myself unspoiled and tried to find that – and couldn’t. So I read all the things. And now reading about how disappointing the feed was, I think this was accidentally the right choice. Here’s hoping the feed-providers take some constructive feedback and show us many routines and little chalking going forward!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Haters never gonna see ZJY’s effort when he decided to add difficulties he usually saves for event final, nor Sun Wei coming back from a fall on ph to present three impeccable routines. They are the winner well-deserved. Plz don’t called them ‘nobody’, ‘clunking’ and ‘controversial’ just bc ur favs didn’t win.

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    1. Did you miss the three points on Daloloyan Shayla-ing? The point wasn’t “China sucked and Russia deserved the gold,” the point was “everybody kind of sucked and no one really put up a compelling gold argument”.

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  6. How the final result ‘was left in the hands of the judges’?
    Nagornyy’s hb was scored close to 14 in his good days. After a major error like that (bent arm, break of rhythm, 0.3 deduction at least) how could people still believe his score would break 13.783?

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    1. c’mon he scored 13.733 i don’t see why it’s crazy to believe he could have broke 13.783. it’s just .05 there is no deduction in gymnastics that small.

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  7. I feel like any time a final is decided by that close of a margin it is controversial because the judging is never perfect. Judges have biases; they are human. We are human too and would judge the routines differently if we were judges. But I suppose that word usually is associated with outrage. I feel like this time there isn’t really outrage as there was in 2014 because the judges generally did a good job being the same towards all teams.

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  8. Yeah, Nagorny messed up on HB. I think Russia really lost the gold when Dalaloyan messed up on p-bars. He had more mistakes than just the fall and it added up to nearly two points off his normal score. Super close final and I don’t think it was at all controversial. China did clunk its way to victory with a lot of mistakes, but Russia couldn’t take full advantage. Other teams should take note: China is so far ahead on p-bars it’s almost ridiculous. Other teams need to step up on that or China will always be able to come back on that apparatus. Amazing to watch the Chinese gymnasts on p-bars. Such mastery! They Simoned it!

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  9. Can we just acknowledge that this is the first Russian mag team medal since 2006. Silver is such an accomplishment for this young team. So the gold slipped out of their hands but they and everyone else gave good fight. It was thrilling to watch which is more than we can say about WAG team finals tomorrow. I won’t need my Xanax tomorrow for sure

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  10. good post, but i echo the sentiments of the other commenters. there was no controversy or even any similarity to the 2014 debacle. china 100% earned the gold this time, with 18 fairly judged routines (they even gave them a sub-9 E on vault! without it being a disaster! #codegoals) and i do agree that nobody would call it a controversy had it been the other way around. also, this chinese team has more charm and personality than people give it credit for.

    also, slightly disappointed you didn’t mention the alec yoder screaming situation. it was so obnoxious and hammy i was living for it.

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    1. All of the US men on this Worlds team are former or current collegiate gymnasts. They bring the loud and boisterous NCAA quality to FIG competitions. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with that. They are doing gymnastics, not playing chess. Cheering is allowed. We want the sport to be exciting, not dead serious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes! exactly!! people even called it “toxic masculinity” in the live blog post, which is so not what this is. why not laugh with them? or at them, even???? it was fun watching russia and china battling it out and then in the background alec going “YESSSSJFHJKDFHGJFKDHGJKFDHKDF”

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  11. US men need help on rings, vault and p-bars. There definitely is room for Donnell Whittenburg on the national team. He needs to get healthy soon. He’ll be a huge asset to the US team.

    The men’s team final was what we all live for. Russia has Nagornyy anchoring on high bar? For the gold? He’s not a natural high bar worker by any means. If Russia wants to challenge for World and Olympic gold, then they need to improve on high bar. As do the Americans. In order to win in a close competition, you need to hit the heck out of high bar and slam the door on any doubts. You need the equivalent of Kohei anchoring HB to say “I dare you not to give us gold.” The Russians don’t have that guy in their lineup.

    Chinese men on p-bars are the equivalent of the American women on FX. They are in their own stratosphere.

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  12. I actually love the back and forth. You get additional drama, and it is also more fair. An athlete following a fall on his team has a chance to see how the other team responds; they might fall too.

    It’s just like a soccer shootout. You would never have all 5 go at once, because the team going second would respond to how the first team did or didn’t do.

    Also, I would have gone to Doha if I realized I could buy any seat in the house and move to the front row. But sad for the athletes who deserve better

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