The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Just the Good Stuff: Event Finals Day 2

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


  • Everybody lived
  • Not even a single death
  • Not one
  • Well, perhaps the death of form
  • Ri Se Gwang won another world vault title, once again successfully showing all the different shapes in a single position on his first vault, followed by a very successful second showing that was just the one shape, tucked
  • His insane difficulty put him in first, but once again the execution difference between him and the other competitors (or even between his two identically scored vaults) was not large enough to reflect reality
  • The most impressive vault of the competition belonged to Dalaloyan, who performed another excellent double front pike and probably should have won on execution
  • Kenzo took third place, going for execution over difficulty (particularly on his stuck Kas 1.5 second vault), which was enough to get him a medal but not enough to challenge the beasts
  • Dom Cunningham performed very well to place 4th, with his TTY scoring among the best vaults of the day and just outpacing another medal contender in Nagornyy—who struggled to complete his Kas 2/1 and dropped down the standings as a result


  • Ooooof
  • Yeeeeerrrrrr
  • Erglgru
  • So it wasn’t an ideal beam final, featuring just two exceptional routines
  • On the rough side, we had two falls from likely medalists—Kara Eaker fell instantly on her mount, Sacramone-tribute style, and Sanne Wevers missed her side aerial to bhs series, dropping them both out of the medals and instantly canceling the final
  • Oh there’s more: Zhang Jin had a multi-fall showing, and Ellie Black wobbled in the middle of her leap series and appears to have lost some difficulty to put her at just 4.8, I presume as a result of not getting her 0.5 CR for a combination of dance elements.
  • That brings us to Simone, who did not fall but was fighting it the entire routine, breaking several of her connections and wobbling on most of her acro elements. The result was a 7.4 E score and a total of 13.600, so if you only looked at the score, you would assume she fell
  • That result was still good enough for a bronze medal for Simone since, even though Nina Derwael went through mostly cleanly, she too had more wobbles than in her previous routines and had far lower difficulty
  • So, the two exceptional routines belonged to Liu Tingting and Ana Padurariu. You know, just like you expected
  • Padurariu hit a composed routine with no significant issues, which in this final was enough for silver, only behind Tingting, who had more difficulty—much of which is built up from smart mixed series like her excellent aerial, split ring, Korbut—and no major balance checks. Hence, the gold
  • Tingting is your world beam champion


  • For what seemed to be (and was) inevitable final, this one proved to be pretty compelling
  • We knew that Zou and his handstands and toes and crazy 7.0 D would win as long as he had something even in the vicinity of a hit
  • That happened
  • We also knew that Oleg boasted the second-best difficulty of the final, was the best in the world before Zou came along, and would get silver as long as he had something even in the vicinity of a hit
  • That happened
  • Bronze was the free-for-all, and for most of the competition, it looked as though the 15.233 that Sam Mikulak recorded in the first position would hold up
  • And it did, through the strong but slightly messier work of Lin Chaopan and Jossimar Calvo, but not through the routine from Artur Dalaloyan in the final position, which earned him bronze and took Mikulak to 4th
  • I thought Mikulak’s score was going to hold up because he was a little cleaner and a little higher, but it was not to be. Yet.


  • Simone
  • I mean, she went OOB again, but still won by a casual point because Simone
  • The drama, of course, surrounded the remaining positions
  • Morgan Hurd received an execution bump to put her in silver medal position despite having a lower D than some of the other contenders, quite significantly not attempting the difficult turns that got a few of her colleagues into trouble
  • Bronze went to Murakami, who once again struggled on her attempted quad twist by falling out of it wildly, but nonetheless looked characteristically comfortable and controlled in tumbling
  • The heartbreak of the final was a 4th-place result Melnikova, who was phenomenal on her early passes, the best she has ever been, but sort of lost it at the end, presumably not getting her double Y spin and landing short on her double pike
  • There’s nonetheless a very good argument to be made regarding Melnikova, that performance, and a medal
  • As it turns out, the rest of the group was bunched so closely that an OOB for Flavia Saraiva because of her rubber legs was enough to take her off the medal stand
  • But, as we learned in the AA final, any event in which Brooklyn Moors finishes last is automatically rendered invalid, so this floor final is automatically rendered invalid


  • Man bar turned out to be the Epke show, as we mostly expected it to be
  • He performed his 6.8 D score, hit all of his crazy releases, and sailed past the 15 mark to record what would prove to be an unreachable score
  • Because Epke
  • Uchimura did give him a run, ending up just three tenths behind solely as a result of his lower difficulty
  • There is some controversy about the finish because Kohei is considerably cleaner and the E scores were only 0.1 apart
  • OK, I know he’s Kohei and I also know that Epke and his legs don’t always agree on which direction to go, BUT I did not think Kohei’s finishing positions on his pirouetting skills were particularly free from deduction either, so I’m not up in arms about the E difference
  • Sam Mikulak got his bronze! So we can stop talking about his lack of individual medals now
  • Mikulak received the highest E score of the entire final, and he needed it because it was sure a tight one
  • Tin Srbic finished just a third of a tenth behind Mikulak, showing excellent releases but also finding himself short of vertical on his late-routine pirouettes
  • The lesson of this final: don’t pirouette. That’s what destroyed the scores of the Chinese athletes Deng and Xiao who both could have contended for that bronze
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