The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Worlds 2018 – Men’s All-Around Final

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Anyway, to the competition! Is Xiao starting a streak? Or is it the age of the No-Kohei free-for-all? We shall learn the answer.

Our lead rotation group features Xiao, Nagornyy, Mikulak, Dalaloyan, Sun, and Kenzo. Clean performances from the first three in qualification gave themselves quite a buffer over the rest, but the other three all had their mistakes that, if rectified, can put them right up among the top options. The same holds for James Hall or Kazuma Kaya. And what of Oleg down in the third group but still being Oleg?

Let’s begin.

“Take me inside the mind of a Sam Mikulak.”

It’s just puppies.

First score in, Arican 13.966 on vault.

Sun – FX – front double pike, hop forward – front 2/1 to layout, clean – 2.5 to 1/2, solid – double double, a couple small hops out – punch rudi, stuck with a lean – Sun not even bothering to man wipe, just staring at the clock LOL – 3/1 dismount, super short with a couple lunges.

13.633. Far better than qualification.

13.466 for Yul.

Cool how we’re watching Oleg just sit there before rings instead of Dalaloyan on floor. Fun. Awesome.

Oleg – SR – not holding his holds for very long, super high in these cross positions – straddle planche is better – double double tuck, stuck. Got through the bad one

14.800 for Dalaloyan. And he needed it.

Mikulak – FX – 2.5 to double front, strong – front 2/1 to front tuck 1/1, stuck with a major swim – air flares, good – 1.5 to front layout 1/1, stuck – 2/1, stuck – extended man wipe – small hop 3/1. Very good first routine.

14.400. A little up from the first day.

I don’t understand how Oleg got 14.066 for that rings routine. It was…not good. Way more difficult, I know, but…

Nagornyy – FX – good triple back today, just a small hop – front 2/1 to double front, stuck – double double, hop back –  2.5 to front full to 1/2 – great – open full in side pass, small hop – 3/1, stuck. Excellent.

14.733 for Nagornyy.

Kaya – PH – really good speed – no leg breaks – a little bit of hip angle in his swing throughout, should be a strong score.

Xiao – FX – 3.5 to 1/2 – 2.5 to front 2/1, small hop – DLO, hop back – randi, struggles again, no fall but a staggered hop and awkward landing – 2/1 stuck – 3/1, stuck, good. Only OK.

13.933 for Xiao, a few tenths down from the first day.

Muntean – VT – Super clean Kas 1.5, small hop – not much leg form

Kenzo – FX – triple double tuck, hop back – shoots exactly horizontal on 3/1 combo pass but landed well – quad, excellent – 3.5 to full, stuck – 3/1, hop back.

Not the strongest landings for him, but our Kenzito should be winning at this point. 14.900.

Yulo – PH – a little dumpy up to handstand and back between the pommels – not a long or super difficult routine, but a hit –

After 1
Kenzo – 14.900
Dalaloyan – 14.800
Davtyan – 14.733
Nagornyy – 14.733
Muntean – 14.433
Mikulak – 14.400

A couple vaults got some people in the final group up there, otherwise sort of as expected there.

Xiao’s score got raised two tenths to 14.133.

Rotation 2

Oleg – VT – Dragulescu – nailed it – great stick. He got through rings, so he can let his big scores get him right up the rankings now


Marcel – PB – Makuts – double tuck to arms – diam – pretty low on his next tuck, cowboy – peach 1/2, good vertical, some arch – double pike dismount, hop forward

Dalaloyan gets through with 13.400 on horse. He got an 11 in qualification to place 4th, so that improvement is huge.

Mikulak – PH – “It is all mental, and we’re about to see that” – no trouble on his handstand circling today – one of his good ones. Two down.

Was that Cheryl Hamilton losing her shit in the crowd? Or just someone who looks like her? I don’t think judges should do that, even if they judge a different discipline.

Braegger’s Earring – VT – Kas 1/1, perfectly clean and stuck, but lower difficulty

Mikulak 14.300 on horse. Moldauer 14.400 on vault

Nagornyy – PH – large leg break but keeps it going – overall nice height over the horse – some piking, but got through

13.566 for him. Really got hit for that leg break

Hall with really solid hold positions on rings – good length and few hesitations – double double tuck, small step

Big 14.700 for Xaio on horse.

Dalaloyan replay – really nice routine actually – great speed and toes –

Kenzo 12.533 on horse. Yep, that’s usually what happens.

Arican some small elbow hesitations in handstand but good difficulty, double front 12 out stuck with check up

Moldauer – VT – Kas 1.5 – medium-sized bounce forward this time – great form obvi

Bevan – SR – as we wait for him to go, Tim is trying not to laugh at his insane back tattoo – solid straddle planche down to L sit – a little abbreviated in some of these handstands – double double tuck, shortish with a hop forward

After 2
Muntean – 29.083
Verniaiev – 29.032
Xiao – 28.833
Mikulak – 28.700
Arican – 28.566
Davtyan – 28.499

So that’s basically meaningless, but all I know is Andrei Muntean will definitely win the world AA title.

But, Oleg is right there, so we’re not forgetting about him even though he’s in the #3 group. He’s going to PBars next, too.

Rotation 3

Souza – VT – pretty nice Kas 2/1, lunge back – some legs. No, guys, that was a competition vault, not a warmup.

Hit 14.166 for Mikulak on rings.

Dauser – PB – nice diam handstand position – but then loses his arm on the 1/4 turn of Makuts, and then basically dies of gravity afterward and has an empty swing. Will be trouble.

Kaya – VT – Kas 1.5, just a little hop forward, good

Nagornyy goes 14.500 for rings. Super flat maltese work, really nice – double double tuck stuck. Nice.

Braegger – PB – clips his leg on his bhavsar – tippelt really low, I don’t think he rested on the bar, but it was super low – hand placements on diam – crazy release on his double front dismount, no chance and falls. PB is the new PH?

14.333 for Xiao. Bigger than day 1. Great stick on double double tuck.

Hall – VT – Kas 1.5 – pretty good, one medium crossover step – maybe a tad shot of twist, some knees

Sun – SR – good planche lower to maltese – I actually agree with Tim (!) about these high cross positions – trouble on his dismount, super short with a large lunge forward

13.9 for Sun. Not enough separation in these scores.

Hegi – PB – front straddle to arms is fine – tipllelt, good -stutz, good height – double front 1/2 out, hop back

Dalaloyan – SR – good maltese work opening – nice crosses – straddle planche – DLO 1/1, stuck. He’s having a great day and hasn’t even vaulted yet

Moldauer – PB – excellent front straddle – peach – peach 1/2, really good vertical – pretty short of vertical on these diam skills, not his best – tuck 1/2, good – double front 1/2 out, a little short with a hop. 14.500. Big number for him.

Verniaiev – PB – really nice peach to one to healy, excellent – Makuts, clean – super high tippelt – great extension of straddle in his bhavsar – this is Oleg awesomeness – double front 1/2, holds onto stick with a lean


After 3
Verniaiev – 44.698
Xiao – 43.166
Mikulak – 42.866
Nagornyy – 42.799
Onder – 42.765
Dalaloyan – 42.733

But now Oleg has to do high bar while the lead group vaults, so expect this margin to change.

We’re seeing a replay of Onder having a big error on a Stutz to one rail, but stuck landing.

Rotation 4

Nagornyy – VT – Dragulescu – not quite stuck this time with a couple small steps back, but still excellent. 14.766.

Xiao – VT – Kas 2/1 – nice in the air, medium-sized lunge back. 14.866.

Onder – HB – Yam – layout tkatchev – and layout tkatchev to mixed – tkatchev – tkatchev to mixed – super late on tak 1/1 – DLO double twist, step back

Kenzo – VT – STUCK his TTY. Yes. Correct. Good.

Sun – VT – Kas 2/1 – deeper on landing with a hop to the side and out of the area, nice shape –

Dalaloyan – VT – NEARLY sticks a from handspring double pike, smallest hop – excellent


Mikulak – VT – Kas 1.5 – holds the stick on his own vault with a lean. Needed that stick to make up for the lower D. 14.6

Oleg – HB – Yam – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2 – struggles on the vertical on a Tak – some really short handstands here – DLO double twist, way short and falls.


Also, can we talk about how terrible the camera work was there? Don’t cut in the middle of a Tak 1/1 so we can’t tell what angle we’re looking at and which direction he went over.

We’re checking out Kaya on replay on PB – crazy legs but great stick on double front 1/2

Hegi – super high on Yam 1/2 – hits the Def! – Kolman, good – closer on the tak 1/1 than most, but short with some arch – DLO full, step back

Hit PB from Hall. Davtyan the last one to go in this rotation – deep on a front 2/1 to save it – but good stick on final 3/1

After 4

Xiao – 58.032
Dalaloyan – 57.866
Nagornyy – 57.565
Mikulak – 57.466
Kaya – 57.232
Sun – 56.832

Four people for three medals?

Rotation 5

Hall – HB – strong Cassina – Kovacs – Kolman, hit – Yam – super late tak 1/1 – nice tak 1/2, though – DLO doble twist, step back. Good one overall.

Xiao – PB – stutz from arms 1/2 – double tuck – peach 1/2, good – peach – double tuck to arms, great – front straddle – tippelt, good – double pike, small hop.

If he hits his Liukin this time…

15.333. Massive.

Kenzo – PB – Makuts, struggles muscling out of it – double tuck, good – tippelt, good – stutz, nice vertical – tuck 1/2 and front straddle to arms, nice – double front 1/2, step back

Sun – PB – double tuck, good – peach 1/2, nice, small adjustment – front straddle to arms – tippelt, smooth – double front 1/2 out, stuck. Great one.

Yul 14.333 on floor.

Dalaloyan – PB – no mount trouble – hits priouetting – tippelt and bhavasr – front straddle is quite good – stutz, super – double front 1/2, stuck.

15.566. He moves ahead of Xiao. Wow.

Mikulak – PB – healy, good – peach 1/2, small adjustment – tuck 1/2 – front straddle to swing, grat – bhvsar, nice – tipellt, clean – stutz, good – double front 1/2 out, stuck. Keeping it close with the others.

15.441 for Mikulak. Staying in there. Will be looking to make up ground with his HB. He can gain a couple tenths there

Nikita can get a similar score on PB.

Nagornyy – PB – peach to one to healy, great – peach 1/2 – Makuts, worked through it, nearly clipped as he has done before but not this time – great diam – 1.5 piro with a lean – double front 1/2, almost awesome but like he college saluted himself into a step. Good, but a few more deductions there.

14.866. Because the other scores were so OTT, that hurts.

Kaya – HB – Tak 1/2 – layout tkatchev, solid, not super high – tkatchev – german giants – tak 1/1 very late to Yam – hop full – DLO double twist, stuck.

After 5

Dalaloyan – 73.432
Xiao – 73.365
Mikulak – 72.907
Nagornyy – 72.431
Sun – 71.632
Kaya – 70.965

Our four-person race continues. The Sam Mikulak high bar moment is coming. Mikulak and Xiao have the higher Ds on HB.

Tim is already giving Sam the gold medal. That’s…a little much. I mean, the goal is just hitting his routine for a medal right now. That would be enough. I have to think Xiao is the gold favorite here. If he hits his routine, that should be it.

Kenzo – HB – Yam – arch in 1/2 turn – layout Kovacs, good – really clean work overall – sticks DLO double twist, super routine.

Sun – HB – tak 1/1, fairly late – layout tkatch to tkatchev 1/2, quite nice – tak 1/2, late – layout tkatchev 1/2 – Yam, good – double double layout, hop back

Dalaloyan – HB – layout kovacs – tucked kovacs, super high – layout tkatchev 1/2 – tak 1/2 – strong – layout tkatchev – yam – DLO full, stuck. That was EXCELLENT.


Mikulak – HB – Here we go – Cassina hit – Kolman a little close and has to mucles out of it – layout tkatchev – tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 and misses a hand and has to improvise with a one hand catch. Oh Sam. Double double layout, with a hop.

OUCH. 12.366 for Mikulak.

Nagornyy – HB – Yam – layout tkatchev – layout tkatchev 1/2 – suepr vertical handstand but an elbow break to keep it – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2- double double layout, small hop. Good day for him as well.

13.900 and he’s into second

Xiao – HB – hits Liukin well – layout tkatchev – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2 – great handstand positions – double double layout, small hop. We should have our winner there….right?

A TIE?!?!?!? AN EFFING TIE?!?!?!

Tiebreak goes to Dalaloyan.

1. Dalaloyan – 87.598
2. Xiao – 87.598
3. Nagornyy – 86.331

But is this the better-execution tiebreak or the stupid “drop the lowest score” Aly/Aliya tiebreak? Either way it goes to Dalaloyan, but one of those tiebreak procedures makes sense, and the other definitely doesn’t.

Mikulak took 5th. Would have been 3rd with a normal hit.

Apparently it is that stupid Aly/Aliya tiebreak. UGH. At least it would have been the same result using a sensible tiebreak procedure.

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