World Championship Preview: All-Around

Let’s just cut to the chase here. No dilly dallying. Or “well, maybe if she basdkjfas;dlskfjas;ldkf.” Simone’s going to win the all-around title. After we get that out of the way, the subject always turns to [insert 2nd American here] who will win [insert silver or bronze here].

The performances of Sunisa Lee at US Nationals and the selection camp—where she just broke 58 AA—have established her as the odds-on favorite to win silver at worlds. It is not prohibitive and not a fall-resistant margin, but given the level that we’ve seen from her (and even accounting for home gifts), Lee has started to establish a clear advantage over the remainder of the mortals. At this point, we can’t say it’s a toss-up for silver. Lee has become the favorite for that position.

It’s also somewhat unusual to have a basically unanimous favorite for the second American spot in the all-around final. Usually we’re like, “WELP WHO KNOWS ALY GABBY JORDYN,” but this year it really should be Lee unless there are issues in qualification.

And then we move to the bronze medal. The non-American medalist of choice this year seems to be European champion Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos. What with that European championship and all. She’s the only non-US senior gymnast to have broken 57 in the AA this year (which she achieved at the semi-soft French nationals, but still), and DJDS is the most realistically high-scoring and well-rounded gymnast across four events among the rest of the field.

Part of me wants to just be like, “OK, end of preview.”

But there’s absolutely the opportunity for plenty of other people to medal, and I haven’t done any charts yet, so let’s get into it.

Here are my all-around top 25 rankings for the competitors at worlds. This uses average score on each event in 2019, dropping the low. For these rankings, I have included everyone appearing on worlds rosters, even if I don’t think they’ll actually do the AA in qualification, or if I think they’ll end up being the alternate, because we don’t actually know yet.

I didn’t round up in the actual calculations because I’m not a basic catfish, but I did round to three places in this chart for the purpose of display.

1Simone Biles15.42514.38814.77514.95059.538
2Sunisa Lee14.20014.76714.18314.15857.308
3Grace McCallum14.69214.05013.94613.96756.654
4Melanie DJDS14.71714.20813.54813.71756.189
5Kara Eaker14.02813.69514.81213.51756.052
6Liu Tingting13.48414.57114.61713.20655.877
7Ellie Black14.50614.07413.68813.55355.823
8Ana Padurariu13.75814.46814.12813.46755.821
9Jade Carey14.99413.17513.30014.28655.755
10MyKayla Skinner14.86713.42513.65013.80055.742
11Asuka Teramoto14.78313.91213.41613.33355.444
12Tang Xijing13.67514.23314.30613.12555.339
13Nina Derwael13.56614.97813.67313.06655.283
14Li Shijia13.80013.58814.75013.10055.238
15Angelina Melnikova14.30014.29113.16213.28355.035
16Giorgia Villa14.56713.85313.54412.86054.823
17Brooklyn Moors13.60013.19214.05013.78954.630
18Sarah Voss14.43313.20013.66713.25054.550
19Ellie Downie14.51313.84012.80013.39054.543
20Elisabeth Seitz14.01314.71012.48913.27754.488
21Hitomi Hatakeda14.03114.11913.22513.02254.397
22Giulia Steingruber15.00012.80013.53313.05054.383
23Flavia Saraiva14.41312.92313.17813.75654.270
24Alice Kinsella14.28313.90013.13312.95354.270
25Georgia Godwin13.94413.52813.15213.53054.153

A number of things:

There are people who should be on this list but have enough misses this season to take their averages well down, like Diana Varinska. Using simply the eye test or the ambiguous-expectation test, she’d be on this list with people like Bachynska and Golgota, and I’d bump some others off.

Grace McCallum finds herself third here. I don’t have McCallum as part of the team of 5 right now because putting her in place of any of the others would lower the squad’s TF scoring potential and require some more Excel rage, but if she does make it on the team, she probably has the best chance among the Americans of unseating Lee for the second place in the AA.

De Jesus Dos Santos does rank as the highest non-American here, but her margin ahead of Liu Tingting and Ellie Black is not large. Liu Tingting has been working the DTY, but it has sounded, er, um, questionable. If that vault is together, then look out.

The DTY note should also be kept in mind regarding Li Shijia and Tang Xijing, who don’t have any real-life DTY scores to go off of yet. If they deliver those vaults at worlds, bump both of them up several places in the list above.

Nina Derwael has shown vault and floor in competition just once this year. Bars and beam can carry her far enough that VT/FX don’t have to be great, but we barely know where they are on the spectrum at all. Likewise, it’s easy to think of Ana Padurariu as just bars and beam, but those events are so good, that she can get away with an FTY and still be in this conversation. Note Canadian domestic scoring, though.

Angelina Melnikova is a more compelling contender than average score gives her credit for being, and I’d say that holds for Giorgia Villa as well. Both have suffered enough falls this year bring their averages down, but performing actual, solid meets (I know) should see them close to the top because they have some of the highest scoring ability of the entire class.

What, did you think I would abandon peak score of the year as a measure altogether? Bah.

1Simone Biles15.65014.75014.95015.10060.450
2Sunisa Lee14.55015.05014.55014.33358.483
3Grace McCallum14.80014.55014.45014.25058.050
4Kara Eaker14.20014.10015.40014.0557.750
5Melanie DJDS15.00014.65014.10013.96657.716
6Ana Padurariu13.90014.92514.87513.86657.566
7Ellie Black14.70014.55014.03314.15057.433
8Giorgia Villa14.85014.75014.46713.30057.367
9Angelina Melnikova14.46614.60013.60014.06656.732
10Liu Tingting13.56714.63314.96713.36756.534
11Jade Carey15.06613.30013.50014.60056.466
12Ellie Downie14.50014.60013.33314.00056.433
13Asuka Teramoto14.93314.06613.70013.63356.332
14Tang Xijing13.80014.35014.66713.35056.167
15MyKayla Skinner15.05013.50013.75013.85056.150
16Georgia-Mae Fenton14.00014.80013.80013.40056.000
16Li Shijia13.80014.05015.05013.10056.000
18Alice D’Amato14.80014.65013.23313.25055.933
19Nina Derwael13.56615.30013.80013.06655.732
20Diana Varinska13.80014.40013.95013.55055.700
21Asia D’Amato14.90014.05013.43313.30055.683
22Georgia Godwin14.20013.67513.83313.96655.674
23Elisabeth Seitz14.50014.90012.70013.50055.600
24Flavia Saraiva14.60013.26613.83313.90055.599
25Eythora Thorsdottir14.20013.85013.80013.66655.516

Most tellingly, we see Villa and Melnikova move up the rankings when using peak score, and these positions are more representative of where I see them in the medal conversation. They should be considered in that Ellie Black group of contenders.

71 thoughts on “World Championship Preview: All-Around”

  1. yeah, i totally agree MDJDS is the most likely one to make AA podium. She’s right below the US women on every list. The fight for bronze will be a great one!

    also impressive that the US, thanks to their AA emphasis has pretty dominate the AA list, even with jade and skinner.

    I guess you kinda already done your TF preview? or are we getting that next? 🙂

  2. The differences in placement between the averaged and highest totals are very interesting, so thanks for including both for comparison!

      1. yep, add to that, a peaked komova, and slightly off but still fairly peak musta. too bad at that point, larisa hasn’t fully developed.

    1. I feel like it sucks most for Kara Eaker this year, because the way the team currently seems to be set up (alternate still technically TBD), she likely won’t compete AA in quals, despite the fact that she could easily capitalize on a mistake made by Sunisa and make it into the AA final…if she were allowed to compete. 🙁

      1. Once the team was announced it was obvious that Eaker would be limited to UB/BB. Potentially she would do FX if Skinner somehow makes the actual team and they decided to use Carey in the AA and just use Skinner on VT.

        However, likely it will be McCallum as the 5th athlete, which would probably mean Eaker is still relegated to UB/BB because McCallum will lead off VT/UB in TF.

        McCallum’s VT/UB averages garner more than Skinner VT/Eaker UB averages.

      2. all the more reason why she needs that dty and maybe a little upgrade on ub to get it into the low 14+ at least. i would also possibily look into some sort of easier fx upgrade somewhere to more ensure that she can get a consistent 14+ on that also. then she can definitely rival sunisa too….

      3. I feel like if Skinner competes, Kara probably won’t vault. You want Skinner to get a chance to compete her difficult vault in prelims before doing it in team finals, and it would at least give her a chance to qualify to vault finals over Jade.
        But if Grace competes, I’m not sure. Grace has a solid DTY and I don’t feel I need her to have a warm-up vault in prelims. Kara could vault in prelims and Grace could vault in finals. It would just come down to if they wanted to give Grace or Kara a chance with the 3rd AA slot. And that’s a tough call. Both were good at Classics. Grace was 3rd at nationals, Kara was 3rd at camp. Neither one necessarily deserves it over the other.

      4. Yeah I really wanted to see Kara do her AA thing, she’s proven herself. Unfortunately, it won’t happen. Whether it’s Mykayla or Grace as the 4th score on VT, they won’t let Kara do VT in Q. And there’s no way they won’t have Simone, Suni and Jade all do VT in Q.

        My guess is that Grace will be the alt unless she does something amazing on UB at podium. Injuries aside, of course.

      5. @square444 So uh… why on EARTH would the US would pick Grace over Mykayla on vault for TF? lol

      6. Anon. They wouldn’t pick Grace over Mykayla in team finals if both are competing. I was referring to Grace competing vault in team finals if they make Mykayla the alternate because they want Grace’s bars.Then Grace would definitely compete vault in team finals over Suni and Kara, but Kara could still vault prelims if they wanted to give her an AA chance.

  3. if kara can bump up her AA score, can you imagine the dilemma usag has to face on whether she should be on the team or the non-nominative individual slot? lol..

    1. This is a huge issue that USAG will have to face. Ideally you’d use the spot on someone who has an event final-worthy routine but doesn’t work out score wise on 4-person team for team finals. Eaker seems to be the best person for the 2nd individual spot, but if she begins rivaling Lee as the second best AAer, then it will be hard not to include her on the 4-person team. However, it’s also possible that the 2nd best AAer would still not provide optimal team final scores as opposed to Biles + three 2/3 event specialists.

      Biles will do the All-around at the Olympic team final, so you only need 8 more routines from 3 gymnasts. Skinner fits nicely with her excellent vault and continually improving floor (Carey would be optimal, but she’s not eligible) and Lee provides an excellent bars and very solid beam and floor scores. Ideally, you’d want one more Amanar or Cheng plus one more solid bars and beam routine. However, Lee could go on vault, leaving McCusker to bring in a huge bars and beam score. However, if McCallum’s Amanar materializes and her new bars upgrades are consistent, then she would be perfect for the 4th spot (and potentially would be the 2nd all-arounder).

      Sadly, based on how she’s been performing, Hurd’s chances of making the Olympics look slimmer and slimmer. Her only very strong routine is bars and even that is behind Biles and Lee and sometimes McCusker (and now potentially behind McCallum too).

      However, nothing is certain – even the line-up for this worlds is in the air…

      1. Jade Carey is absolutely still eligible for the team. It just takes some creative thinking. As long as she renounces her apparatus spot before the PanAm Games, she is eligible for the team and the US is still eligible to earn a second non-nominative spot.

        If Tom Forrester were smart, he would sign a contract with Jade promising to bring her as long as she is not injured, either on team or non-nominative spot earned at PanAms.

        Realistically, I think Tom is just going to take the combined top 4 all around scores from Olympic Trials.

      2. CAN SHE renounce her spot and remain eligible for the Olympics and the US remain eligible for obtaining a sixth spot? It’s unclear. I don’t think she can.

      3. pretty sure this “contract thing” is not gonna happen. 1. the implication of it would be too much for usag to be able to deal with in this new day and age.

        2. pretty sure jade might have some buyer remorse for not being able to get the team gold but she’s not gonna just drop a guaranteed 2020 spot for a maybe on the team and then have to deal with a lot of uncertainties and have to go through trial.

        If jade wants to renounce her spot before march i am almost certain fig won’t penalize her/usag and will honor the request as long as they haven’t officially named her the winner. but i am like nearly sure that she won’t ask them to give up that spot in the end.

        3. I am pretty sure tom will just take the top 4 AAers…Sometimes that doesn’t give you the highest total if the pieces don’t complement each other but oh well…

      4. Interesting thing about Jade renouncing her spot to try to make the team in Tokyo. There is a decent argument for using 2-3 All-Arounders and a good V/FX specialist. And there was a time (earlier this year), the USA might have wanted to take Jade on the team. But with Skinner back, improving with every meet, and almost equaling Jade’s scores, the USA doesn’t even need to consider whether they really want Jade for the team. They have Skinner already there, as a strong V/FX option to either take or leave at their convenience. And if McCallum gets an Amanar, she’s a better option than either. So I think for Jade now, it’s nominative spot or nothing. It would be very risky for her to renounce her spot.

      5. Many people have tried to upgrade to an Amanar. Not many have pulled it off. We shall see. Grace pretty much needs the Amanar to be on the team.

      6. Is it Kara’s beam that blinds everyone? She’s doing well – but her season has been as up and down as Morgan’s (just luckily up on the right day). She’s only a strong AAer when the actual strong AAers falter – right now when everyone hits, Kara is not top 4. I don’t think she should be written off as an AA gymnast by any means, but every time she goes 4 for 4 everyone flips out about her making a push for that second AA spot and then she falls a bunch again.

      7. Re: I don’t get it

        Kara has hit 57.0 and 57.1 AA in the last two months, which is top 6 scores world wide this year that neither Grace or Riley have duplicated scoring above. She’s also #1 on BB world wide and is looking at about an 80% hit rate there, which is solid in the world of BB.

        Morgan’s highest is 56.65 once this year, #10 AA world wide in 2019. She isn’t top 10 in any event. And the only event she could be a 3rd score on, UB, she fell two days in a row during the team selection camp. Keep in mind, she was vying for Riley’s spot barring injury and couldn’t hit when the opportunity presented.

        I don’t think Kara is AA#2 on team USA right now, but I think she is a very close #3 and more likely to be on the team in Tokyo than anyone other than Simone and Suni.

      8. Re: I don’t get it. I disagree. I think Kara is absolutely a top 4 AAer. She’s a Nastia-Liukin-All-Arounder. She has 1 huge event (beam for Kara, bars for Nastia), 1 weak event (vault for both Kara and Nastia), one decent event (floor for both) and one above-average event (beam for both). You say she’s only at the top when others don’t hit, but Kara’s only ever NOT at the top when SHE doesn’t hit. When Kara hits, she has a 13.9 bars, 14.0 floor, and a massive beam. When Kara hits, she can score 57. Not to mention that hitting is part of ranking athletes. Kara outscored Morgan at Classics, Pan Ams, and Selection Camp. If Morgan didn’t hit her best at those three meets, that’s a Morgan-pattern of not performing, not a pattern of Kara getting lucky.

      9. “You say she’s only at the top when others don’t hit, but Kara’s only ever NOT at the top when SHE doesn’t hit.”

        Grace and Riley beat her at Classics. All three hit 4/4 and Kara was not as strong as those two. Sunisa wasn’t even competing. Plus Kara’s D score is low enough that she HAS to hit to be a contender – whereas Grace still was third at nationals after two falls her first day. (I find Grace overscored but I think Kara is too).

        I’m not saying Kara is terrible or anything – she is really good AND she has bounced back well from her more disappointing performances this year. She’s definitely a contender for an Olympic spot. I just don’t think she has as much potential as an AAer as several other US gymnasts,so I’m not as convinced she’ll be top four AA for next year just because she hit 4/4 one out of two days at pan ams and once at selection camp.

      10. “And the only event she could be a 3rd score on, UB, she fell two days in a row during the team selection camp.”

        Actually, she scored a 14.2 on day 2 per USAG selection committee report, she did not fall. I am OUTRAGED people would lie on Twitter just to try to make their case for her NOT being on the team. Unsurprisingly, those tweets are gone now. It wasn’t necessary to lie, to make an argument for her not to be on the team. It’s slander.

    2. She’s the highest score on BB and a favorite to medal there. I find it highly doubtful they will boot Kara to the individual non-team spot in Tokyo if she continues to be top 4 AA.

      It seems likely that they’ll take the medalists on the team and just let the next highest AA person be on the non-team spot, Jade being on the 6th non-team spot. Simone (1st), Suni (2nd), Kara (3rd) and Mykayla/Riley/Grace/etc fighting for 4th/5th spots, Jade 6th.

      Remember the 5th spot will be won through 2020 AA Cups or Pan-Am AA. And every single spot will compete in every single event, so all 6 eligible for the 2 US AA spots determined by their Q total score.

      1. it could come down to who complement who. at least there is the individual spot there so that might allow tom to make a break from just using the AA rank for one person.

        I think the top 4 AAers will be on the team still.

      2. I almost also want to bet all 6 will be doing AA too…lol… I mean, they will never get a chance to do that again. So why not, right? I want to bet they could potentially get 6 out of the top 10 AA scores in Q, not easy but doable.

      3. Anon at 12:15

        I was refering to 2020 qualification, NOT 2019, all 6 US team members can do all 4 events.

  4. What if Simone has a fall, an OOB and a big wobble on beam? Suni came very close to her score at selection camp. I hope Simone wins, but I don’t think it’s quite as much of a shoo-in as it was the past few years she compete.

      1. Yes – those camp scores from Simone ARE from one of her weak meets. That wasn’t peak or even average Simone.

        Sunisa is fantastic and I suppose she’s increased the pressure slightly on Simone, but only slightly. Simone would need multiple falls and major mistakes to give Sunisa an opening.

    1. Yeah, Simone came back with a vengeance this quad, but her competition grew tremendously as well. I really wanted her to come bag a UB medal in Tokyo, but that seems pretty unlikely despite her huge growth.

      2 falls for Simone or 1 fall and 2 OOB = an opening for Suni. Of course that still speaks volumes of the GOAT, but it’s definitely within the realm of possibilities unlike last year.

  5. I just don’t get “Olympic Gold Medalist” vibes from Grace (at least not yet), the way I did for everyone on USA’s Fierce Five and Final Five.

    1. You probably feel that way due to a lack of a standout event. However, Grace’s all around program is still one of the best in the world and she’s actively working towards upgrades.

      I think she’ll peak perfectly for Tokyo. Will it be enough? I don’t know – but either way, she’s in the fight.

      1. Yes, Grace is so very Maggie-like. Completely unassuming, basic, pure athlete. She doesn’t project that polished star-sparkle. And yet she’s so very good. I don’t think Martha ever wanted anyone injured, but I think she was nonetheless glad she didn’t have to try and fit a peak Maggie into the team she wanted for 2016. I feel like Forster is different, and if Grace is hitting and consistently placing 3rd AA, she’ll be at the Olympics. And I think she’d sparkle under the shine of an Olympic uniform. There’s something very appealing about someone so unassuming. But she needs to stay healthy…

      2. I’m a straight female, and I was talking about Grace’s GYMNASTICS, and/or referencing the star “it” quality that people discuss performers having or not-having. Some people seem to think Grace fades into the background a bit, or is more workmanlike in her work than spectacular. My point was that the actual quality of Grace’s work adds up to something spectacular in total, and that (due to the fact that only a small amount of athletes every 4-years make the Olympics) getting one of those rare Olympic spots and having people see her in that limelight, would get them to realize how special she is. I want to be, and kind of am, insulted that your interpretation went straight to a creepy one, but I’m going to try and assume your response came from a good, protective intention. Please do me the same courtesy. Thank you and much appreciated 🙂

      3. Oh I didn’t think you’re a real creep! I’m sorry! I thought your choice of words / phrases in the first post was odd but I do see what you are saying.

      4. @square444 your words were no creepy or even odd at all. It made me appreciate Grace a bit more even, I didn’t really have much of an opinion on her. Keep going!

      5. Yeah, I 100% believe that at one time or another Martha was rooting for some particular gymnast to get injured.

      6. Well, back in 2003 it was “the five left standing”. If martha had any wish for injury, maybe she might have learned from that..

        That was an impressive performance by memmel btw, the team got the first US worlds medal by a margin of over 3 falls using only 5 gymnast compared to other teams with 6

    2. Lol I still don’t get “Olympic Gold Medalist” vibes from Hernandez and Kocian and they EACH have an actual gold and silver Olympic medal.

  6. What’s crazy to me is… no one’s talking about how if Simone has another Worlds 2018 AA day in 2019, Sunisa Lee will be your World AA Champion. 2 falls from Simone, and that’s all it takes.

    1. What are you going on about??? There’s three posts on this page talking about that very thing. Good grief.

      Also, it’s true that Suni is the closest challenger for a few years now but weren’t Kyla and Larisa within a fall of Simone and Gabby within two falls?

    2. LMAO Suni is overscored. Look back at her E scores on floor and beam and vault and I doubt she’ll get the same scores internationally. When Grace was overscored, fans are whining about it but since Suni is a fan fave, they overlook it.

  7. It’s not Sunisa’s abilities that are the notable thing* – it’s Simone’s new inconsistency. With the exception of 2018 (and maybe 2016, but probably not), two falls would’ve cost Simone the title, but it was unthinkable, because she didn’t fall in AA finals. Now Simone falls sometimes.

    (*obviously Sunisa’s abilities are incredibly notable! I just mean that Larisa, Kyla, and arguably Gabby were all closer competitors during their respective peaks.)

  8. simone and larent and aimee already had this conversation about difficulty and consistency.

    Last quad she told aimee she wants to be consistency more so you got not much new tricks even though she pretty much already throw all these new skills sometimes.

    This quad she told laurent she wants to try new stuffs. so a little less consistency. Still i like the new simone more. you can’t try to be too safe all the time.

    1. Yeah I like it too! I’m just a jerk trying to pop the Suni fans’ balloon – among Simone’s challengers, Suni is nothing unusual. She is just competing against a different Simone.

      1. But I think she’s a different Simone in two directions. She’s a different Simone in that she’s falling internationally now. But she’s also a different Simone is that she has upped the level of her gymnastics even further. I think both need to be taken into account when assessing Suni’s performance against her.

      2. Yeah I think that’s what everyone’s saying Mary – Simone’s peak score is now really high but if she has a bad day, which is no longer unthinkable, then she’s much closer to Sunisa.

  9. With everything Suni’s father is going through, I would love for Suni to have an amazing worlds!!

  10. Keep in mind of the girls going to Worlds, Suni is the only one that’s likely to be around next quad. The rest are going NCAA or retiring. Simone might surprise us, but I doubt it.

    I think Suni was a little overscored, but she’s also done cleaner routines. If someone hits everything at 100% and Simone has a 60% day, even if someone else grabs the gold AA, it changes nothing in reputation.

    1. True!

      Not really important, but I expect Suni to go NCAA right away too – with her injury history she probably won’t want to wait and she’s committed to Auburn.

      1. I didn’t realize Suni already committed, but that’s fascinating.

        Here are the national team ages in 2020:
        Simone (23), Suni (17), Kara (18), Morgan (19), Grace (18), Riley (19), Mykayla (24), Leanne (17), Jade (20), Jordan (19), Trinity (19).

        I imagined only Suni and Leanne would consider hanging around after Tokyo to next quad for international competitions, because they’re both young enough and that good.

        You have to wonder though, out of all these gymnasts, Suni seems to have the most to gain from going pro if she peaks and shines in Tokyo.

        And imagine if college is free soon, wonder how that’ll change the sport.

      2. I think we are gonna see at least 1 or two NCAA comeback again. carey and skinner are still young enough if they need a vt/fx specialist to fill the 5 member team…lol. Also you can put biles in that category. She could legitly comeback just for her two strong events.

      3. I see. TBH that sucks, because I know her family needs help with all the expenses after her father’s terrible accident. Sucks that if she does well at worlds, and makes 2020 team, she won’t be allowed to accept and capitalize on her success and make any money from endorsement deals etc. SMH

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