The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Live from Worlds – Women’s Team Final

It’s team final day! Even though it doesn’t carry quite the same eeeeeeeeee as it did back in the days when the result was in doubt, it’s still the team final.

More or less, the teams advancing were those favored to do so—save for the revelation that Japan without Mai is weaker than we thought and the non-revelation that the Netherlands is phenomenal. Though the positions weren’t entirely predictable.

We have Italy just squeaking through to the final in 8th after looking like a potential medal upset option heading in. (If Italy hits beam this time, the team can finish a lot higher than 8th, though a medal looks a step too far at this point).

Qualification reassured me that China is the second-best team at this competition and the favorite for silver, but Russia had a much more solid day than expected to place third and is capable of replicating that result with another hit (ha ha ha, he says). France’s 4th place finish in qualification reconfirmed that France is the most likely team to be able to snatch an upset, especially if Russia is a little more Russia than in qualification.

I know the world feeds of team finals always tend to be a little “let’s start on floor” or “we can miss the middle US bars routine,” so I’ll do my best.

Catalina Ponor and her surprisingly high-pitched voice are being interviewed now and having to answer “what do you think of Stuttgart?” questions like she knows what city she’s in. She doesn’t have time for that shit. Her answer to the who’s going to win question was “I think we all know who’s going to win, but the world is the best for me.” So she’s basically the head of the UN.

Kevin Mc”Set New Signs” is here in person to sing “Set New Signs.” So there’s that.

Intros now. Italy is going with the “down on one knee” as their names are introduced. GB is doing hands-on-hips and then waving.

The Netherlands has a slightly new formation for today. The Flying V. A more complicated walk-down too, but Van Pol got slightly off.

Canada has come out holding hands as their intro. France did a sequential turn, and then they each have a little dance Florida intro style. Rythmic clapping follows. Most ornate next to Netherlands.

Russia is the only team that hasn’t brought out its alternate for the intro, but did copy Canada with the holding hands. Scandalous.

China has a unison pose that’s very Jiang Yuyuan floor 2008 and I’m on board.

And the US did nothing.

Well, I’m spent. Team final over, right?

Rotation 1

Bars warmup has been…unique. Greater than zero falls over here.

Routines beginning now

McCallum – VT – bounce back on her DTY, not the most control she can have, but fine. 14.600

Brooklyn fell immediately on her beam mount.

Kinsella takes her opening combo pass fully OOB.

Melnikova – UB – inbar full, a bit late – inabr shap ti pak, pretty – toe shap, a bit lof legs – inbar 1/2, a bit of a struggle but pulls it out – piked jaeger, a touch close – toe full to FTDT, endured. 14.333

Tang – VT – a little more hunched over on landing than you’d like to see, bounce back, will get deduction for body position and lack of distance there. 14.300

Lovely full in from Villa, great control – front 2/1, lunge –

Charpy a little close on piked jaeger and Ricna but works through both well – toe shap 1/2, only a small leg break – toe full – FTDT, small hop. Good hit. 14.033

Carey – VT – Cheng – controlled landing, small hop up in place – the usual corkscrew legs and piking, but will be a big score. 15.166. Pretty high for me.

Agafonova – Komova to clear hip full to pike dtkathev to pak, nice – toe shap 1/2, some legs – inbar 1/2 ro piked jaeger, solid, hit it this time – inbar 1/1, solid finish position – FTDT, small hop forward – 14.566

Li is a little too chest down on her DTY this time, step forward/sideward. 14.166

Whip double Arabian from James is nice this time

Black – BB – double turn, good, solid front tuck – bhs layout, right on – switch to switch 1/2, short of position but secure – side somi, hit with an arm wave – 2.5 with a small hop. 13.366

MDJDS – UB – Galante to pak, lovely – Maloney, only a bit of legs on the backswing – nice bhardwaj – perfect smap 1/2 – inbar 1/2 with a little back position – DLO 1/1, bounce back. Nice. 14.366

Simone – VT – Decides to go for the Cheng. Nice of course, great layout position, bounce back, not as large of a bounce back as in Q. 15.400

Eythora – BB – pretty switch mount – falls on her loso series WHYYYY

Spiridonova – UB – inbar full to Komova with some legs – pak to toe Shap 1/2 – inbar 1/2 – piked jaeger, excellent – short hs on HB – toe full to FTDT, a bit short with a hop forward. 14.766

Qi Qi – VT – goes for the DTY, the best for China by far, chest up, smaller bounce back – will get deducted for amplitude and distance compared to the Americans, but the rest is great. 14.600

Annnnd Eythora fell again on her dismount.

Pontlevoy – UB – inbar full, a bit late – Komova, nice legs – durectly to Ricna – pak to stalder shap 1/2, flexed feet – piked jaeger and falls.

The first shoe has dropped.

Padurariu – BB – can’t pull around the wolf triple and falls, the first two turns were nice but she lost it on the third.

Second fall for Pontlevoy on her bars dismount. The other shoe has dropped.

Asia – FX – DLO 1/1, pikes it way down to find the landing this time , and it workds, stuck – doubel arabian, hop forward – Memmel turn, definitely two – 2/1, bounce back –

The routine for Pontlevoy means the opportunity is there for one of the floor teams to establish itself as “next most likely.”

Sanne – BB – bhs to wolf jump 1/1, a little closer to connected this time – doubel L turn, drops just a bit short – side aerial to side aerial – switch, check – bhs 1/1 to split jump, nice – L turn to fulll turn, break the connection – double turn, check – split leap to wolf jump – gainer pike full.

Fenton hands down on her double tuck


Carofiglio – FX – front lay to front double, a little short with a slide, she had stuck it in the touch warmup, 85 minutes ago – Dowell, larger bound forward – switch 1/2 not bad – switch ring to split leap full, great positions – 1.5 to front pike was weird, lots of leg form in the air and then multiple pops forward OOB

Carofiglio’s score moves Italy up to 5th place with nearly a 40, one of the few teams to improve on its qualification performance here in TF. USA, China, and Russia have already opened up a huge advantage on everyone else. Other countries will be rooting for a patented Russia beam meltdown now.

Rotation 2

LOL Tingting’s grip looks like it’s just shedding coffee filters throughout this warmup.

Charpy – BB – loso mount, hit with some feet – bhs loso series, large break, leg up, keeps it on the beam – really struggles to pull a wolf turn around but she doesn’t fall like Padurariu – side aerial, nice – switch to split leap to swingdown – aerial to split jump, short – double pike, low, step forward

Asia just a hair short on DTY with a hop. 14.533

Hit floor from Volleman.

James, Y1.5, fine, a bit of knees, hop back

Chen – UB – Stalder Shap to pak, clean – Maloney to gienger, close catch, casts out of it still – healy to piked jaeger, nice – a little short on hop grip change – finishes FTDT, lowish hop forward, hit.

Villa slide back on her DTY this time.

Akhaimova – BB – round-off layout and she’s off – Lilia you were supposed to be the rock of this team. It begins. side aerial, small slide – side somi, solid – double arabian, just does land it with a lunge back

Shallon nice double double – hop back on piked full in,keeps it in bounds. 13.033

McCallum – UB – weiler 1/2 , small hesitation to mlaoney to tkatchev – Downie to pak, good – toe shap 1/2 – toe 1/2 and goes over the wrong way before the full turn – stays on the bar to keep the streak alive but a major deduction – FTDT, hop. 12.966

Alice – VT – DTY, small bounce back, some legs, nice

Lieke – FX – double L to double turn was lovely, just leaned a little in the doubel turn, double tuck, bounce back – 2.5, crossed legs, small step –

12.533 for Akhaimova –

Melnaie – BB – front pike mount, hit, small adjustment – front pike, wayyyy short and falls. FRANCE.

Tang – Maloney to pak, good – VL – some short hs – healy to ling to front giant full to piked jaeger, nicely done – DLO, stuck landing, excellent.

Moors Podkopayeva excellent but almost like she decided at the last secodn to stag, I wouldn’t give connection

Biles – UB – weiler 1/2 to shap to tkatchev, only a bit of legs – short hs on high – toe full to piked tkatchev to pak, good – small hesitation on low bar – shap 1/2 – double double tuck, best ever, stuck. 14.600

Melnikova – BB – switch mount, good – bhs loso series, very solid – aerial to split to straddle, excellent – bhs 1/1, a little tight, small check – wolf double, smooth – side somi, solid – split jump 1/2 from side, lovely extension – double pike, bounce back – that was like the best beam routine she’s ever done

Eythora ‘s floor is perfect

Liu TT – UB – stalder shap to pak – Maloney to gienger, lovely position for an inbar gienger – healy to ling, leg break and looked for a second like she was going to be able to save it but can’t get into her next pirouette and hops off. Tries to get up and do it again, and falls again.

The second two-fall routine we’ve seen on bars in two rotations. WELL NOW.

Boyer – BB – aerial to split to tuck 1/2 , good – round off layout, solid – switch to switch 1/2 – L turn to full turn, overturned a little – side aerial, strong – split leap to side somi, small pause before split jump 1/2 from side – double pike, solid, step. France needed it.

Black – FX – popa, solid – front full through to 3/1, very solid, smallest slide – 2.5 through to double pike, short (which was good because otherwise she’s going OOB), hop – switch leap 1/1, short – I do like the straight jump full integrated into her running steps – 2.5, small hop. Other favorite thing, her floor routine is 1:16. No need to hang around.

11.900 for Tingting. Ouch.

Lee – UB – Nabieva to pak to shap to bhardwaj, great obviously- Toe shap 1/2 – 1.5 to piked jaeger, solid – 1.5 a bit late as it would be – FTDT, small hop. Good.

13.833 for Boyer. Really good number.

14.733 for Sunisa on bars.

Agafonova – BB – candle mount – switch ring, some foot, good split position – side aerial to loso, lean at the hips with a step back but saves it – front tuck, short and falls. You felt it was inevitable. Another large break on split ring jump – double tuck, small step

So not the cleanest meet you’re going to see.

The US is ahead of Italy by nearly four points. Italy is in 2nd because of having not fallen yet and also having done vault and not beam. Italy still has just a few tenths on China despite Tingting’s meltdown, so it will be decided on beam for China.

We still don’t have a score for Agafonova, and they’re almost ready to start the next rotation.

12.166 for Agafonova and Russia falls to 4th.

Rotation 3

Eaker – BB – switch split to split ring leap – aerial to split ring, solid – still risking all these rings positions ater what happen in Q – side aerial to loso looso, right on – split leap to side somi, lean forward, saves it – siwthc side, nice – 2.5, hop back. Hit.

Schekoldina OOB on first pass – rather bouncy routine but a hit

Ellie Downie hit bars, including stuck DLO. 14.033

Villa – UB – stalder shap to tkatchev, nice – ricna to pak to shap to bhardwaj, hit beautifully – shap 1/2 – short on final cast hes – just does work through her front giant full but got too far over to the side of the bars – corrects – FTDT, nice.

Not a lot of control for Black on her vault landing. uncharacteristic.

14.000 for Eaker. INQUIRE.

Boyer – FX – 2.5 to front pike, small hop – switch 1/2 – falls out of memmel a little at the end but should get it – good double pike. 13.266

Chen – BB – layout – solid – switch with a correction that she turns into scale like a star – lone bhs – switch ring to split ring to swing down, excellent – aerial to split to double stag – 3/1 dismount, bounce back

Fenton falls on a Ricna.

Akhaimova – FX – DLO 1/1, solid, step back – DLO, very banana shaped but good, small step – double L drops too early for me – double arabian, step forward – wolf triple, pulled around – wolf double is fine – double tuck, bounce back

Shallon stuck her Cheng. I mean, it was crazy, but stuck.

13.166 for Fenton

Alice – UB – shap to tkatchev – ricna to pak to stalder shap 1/2 – excellent – scoot all the way over – front giant full to double front, hop back. Italy keeping it going.

Hit DTY for Eythora, bounce back

Becky – UB – stalder full to stalder shap to hindorff – Downie – Tweddle to yezhova to shap to pak – awesome! – toe shap 1/2 – some short cast handstnads in here – FTDT, stuck. Excellent.

Lee – BB – hits wolf turn – split jump to sissone – to aerial, small check – lean on choreography – bhs bhs layout and falls.

So there’s the streak. The US hadn’t had a fall in TF since 2010. Gets back up for some lovely leaps – side aerial loso, check – switch ring, nice position – split ring jump, check – double tuck, bounce back

Iorio – UB – Ricna, good into pak – Maloney to stalder 1/2 to yezhova – stalder shap 1/2 – frotn giant full – double front, small hop. Good.


Friess – FX – high double arabian, bounce forward – full in, bounce back – wolf turn double, solid 0- double tuck, bounce back – split jump full –

Tingting – BB – candle mount, nice – fhs to front tuck and falls. she’s having an abysmal day – switch ring, solid – aerial, pause before split ring, another pause before swingdown, no connection there, she’s fighting it – full turn – split leap to side aerial – split to wolf jump – 2/1, short, hop. Oh tingting.

Melnikova – FX – DLO 1/1, bounce back, some form, but good – double L, heel drops but I think she had completeld two turns by then – DLO, step back – switch – switch ring 1/2, a bit bouncy – front tuck through to 2/1, another two bounce back – wolf turn triple, arm wave wobbles it around a little – memmel turn, I’ll give it – double pike, bounce

12.333 for Liu Tingting. Yeesh.

Biles – BB – wolf turn triple, pretty smoothly done – aerial to split to straddle, solid – bhs loso loso, super solid – switch to switch 1/2 to back pike, broke connection before back tpike – side aerial, solid – split jump 1/2 from side – check on a wolf jump, arm wave to the side – full in dismount instead of double double, small hop

Melanie – FX – DLO 1/1, nearly hang sonto the stick but hops forward, some piking – full in, small shuffle back – switch ring – switch full – pulls around her wolf turn – front loso to double tuck, nailed landing – double pike, large bounce back but stays in bounds

14.433 for Simone.

Li – BB – switch to split ring leap, check before bhs so no connection – side aerial, very small slide back – fhs front tuck, step and a lean but holds it – switch ring to bhs, lovely – split jump to wolf jump, nice – aerial to split ring jump to swing down, now she’s confident – split jump 1/2 from side – double pike, bounce back

The US leads Italy by 2.5 points going to the final event, then it;s China in 3rd and Russia in 4th. France is down in 8th but will go to vault now. GB is just .7 behind Russia but, like Italy, has to go to beam.

Rotation 4

Tang – FX – 3/1 to front tuck, step back – 2.5 to front pike tuck – double tuck, shuffle back – hit.

Villa – BB – bhs mount, good – hits the tuck full series! small check – switch 1/2, a little arm wave – split leap to side aerial, nice – 2/1, stuck. There we go!

MDJDS – VT – fab distance on DTY, bounce back

13.500 for Tang on floor is HIGH.

Lee – FX – double double, solid, hop to the side – DLO, nailed that landing – wolf triple, solid, wolf double, nice – 1.5 to front full, stuck – switch ring, excellent – switch full, right around – double tuck, slide back. 14.233

Shchekoldina – VT – hits a solid DTY for her – knees and a bounce back but not a large bounce

Moors falls ona Khorkina on bars

Large break for Fenton on side aerial to bhs but hit – switch to split leap to Y spin, has to grab the beam on a major wobble – double turn, check – 2/1, bounce back

Great rudi from Friess, bounce back but strong height and comfortably completed

Qi – FX – full in, small hop – double tuck is so clean, but a bounce back – triple turn – switch ring, split ring 1/2 not quite there – 3/1, a slitle short witha step – 2.5 to front pike. 13.433

Sanne – UB – very close catch on her jaeger but works out of it – great DLO dismount

Melnikova – VT – a little more ragged than usual in her DTY, bounce back

Carey – FX – bounce OOB on Moors – double L turn – DLO 1/1, bounce back again, OOB again, she has struggles to controll these passes in the time we’ve seen her since nationals – double double excellent stick – split leap full, not quite 180 – front tuck through to double tuck, slide back

Pontlevoy a little short on DTY with a hop

Akhaimova – VT – rudi and hit, legs, bounce back.

Russia is using these vault scores to move past China.

14.733 for Akhaimova

Now China cannot catch Russia

14.333 for Carey

Asia – BB – loso mount, hits with a little lean – bhs loso series, solid – switch to sissone, hit – side somi, small break – switch 1/2 – full turn – aerial to split, good – double pike, small bounce back. ITALY.

Lieke falls on bars

Tingting – FX – held leg double turn, almost makes it look good – 3/1, hop to the side, nice amplitude – Memmel turn, good – wolf double is slow but pulled around – double tuck, solid, medium hop back – split ring 1/2 – front full to stag, a good one for her after her nightmare day

Kinsella solid on loso loso

Black – UB – Shap to hindorff, good – piked clear hip tkatchev – piked jaeger to pak with leg break – toe shap 1/2, some legs – toe tuck 1/2 dismount, stuck. Excellent for her.

13.433 for Tingting to keep China ahead of France but behind Russia.

Any kind of hit for Iorio is going to give bronze to Italy. Also definite shot at silver.

Biles – FX – hop to the side on triple double, one of her better landings on that –

IORIO FELL ON HER LOSO MOUNT. You’ve all seen Simone’s floor. I’m switching to this routine.

Another break for Iorio on a side aerial – switch to split leap – bhs loso loso, hit – aerial, check – y spin is nice – double pike, short, large lunge forward yeeeeesssh.

Simone hit, US won, la la la

That beam for Iorio will not catch Russia, but it’s still possible to pass China. I mean she just needed an 11ish. She tried to get close though.

11.933 for Iorio is enough! Italy wins bronze! They’re losing it. The US is first, Russia is second, Italy third.

We do still have a routine left, which will be Becky downie on beam, but GB is not in it for the medals.

Becky – BB – candle mount, rolls right through handstand – switch ring, check – side aerial to loso, very solid – aerial to split to bhs – side somi, strong – 1.5 dismount, hop forward. REALLY solid beam from Becky. Nice to see.

1. USA – 172.330
2. Russia – 166.529
3. Italy – 164.796
4. China – 164.230
5. France – 163.628
6. Great Britain – 161.495
7. Canada – 160.563
8. Netherlands – 159.427

I definitely doubted Russia coming in, and they kind of fulfilled those doubts because of two falls on beam, but everyone else was a disaster except for the US and Italy (one fall each), so the fact that China and France both had three falls meant that Russia’s two falls was like a hit.

We knew Italy had medal upset potential coming into the competition as the 5th-best team, but they needed help to medal, and that is what they got with the performances from China and France. Those two-fall bars routines from Tingting and Pontlevoy really decided this thing.

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