Shortly (ish), we shall learn the champions of the first five finals in Cottbus—the 5th of 8 events in the apparatus Olympic qualification series.
The competition order for finals is
MAG FX – R Zapata; A Frey; N Ignatyev; K Prokopev; M Karimi; K Minami; C Van Wicklen; H Skinner
WAG VT – M Pinto; A Sakaguchi; L Zimmerman; T Belak; A Radivilova; Yu L; M Paseka; Y Ferrera
PH – R Seligman; T Pellerin; O Verniaiev; S Nedoroscik; H Merdinyan; Tan D; Weng H; K Imabayashi
UB – Fan Y; D Varinska; Yin S; S Scheder; A Morgan; A Agafonova; A Iliankova; K Bui
SR – E Petrounias; V Davtyan; A Avetisyan; You H; T Nagano; C Tulloch; Liu Y; I Radivilov
That thing where little children run out onto the floor and you’re like, “Oh no, we’re not even done with this part yet?”
That thing where the guy in the suit starts speaking and you’re like, “Oh no, we’re not even done with this part yet?”
Men’s floor about to get started (finally), as Rayderley Zapata looks to keep all these newbies to the series from getting too many points.
Zapata – very secure on his opening pass today, body position but good landing – amount of extra-ness on his hurdle is appropriately intact – solid double front pike second pass – just a small slide on double front pike 1/2 out and double front tuck 1/2 out – sticks 2/1 – 2.5 to front full, a little too hoppy there – DLO, bounce back, keeps it in bounds, knees –
14.800. Good improvement.
Frey – nailed double double tucked – double front pike 1/2 out, too low, bounce back, some chest position – double front, jarring bounce – lovely front 2/1 to layout, floaty – 2.5 to 1/2, just holds onto the stick – 2/1, secure – 3/1 wayyy short with a lunge forward. That won’t get the job done today, but considering I didn’t know he was a person until 2 days ago, good job for making the final?
Ignatyev – And the sun is in his eyes indoors apparently based on his facial expression before starting – double front pike, nearly solid, small movement – surprisingly OK control on double front based on how he went into it – his thing today is apparently looking like he’s going to be too low and short to stick but then sticking – does hop on 2/1 – lively toe point in sitting side split – 2.5 final pass, stuck. Nice.
Prokopev – front full to randi, a bit short with a lunge forward – 2.5 to 1/2, OOB and a staggering step – 2.5 to front 2/1, and he sits it down and def looks like he wants to stop and then remembers this is a competition set and he can’t – doesn’t stop though – still has, like, a 2/1 and a 3/1 to do, but really phones in his interstitial moving into the corner work. Not his day.
Karimi – pretttty double front 1/2 out, nice form – front full to randi, a bit short and has to take a crossover step – double double tuck, bounce back, just does stay in – manages to save his front 2/1 in combination with a slide bounce back – not the most secure Japanese handstand you’ll see – 3/1, wayyyyyy short, hands down. Oh Milad.
Minami – triple double to start, step back – randi, little bounce forward – 3.5 to front full is nailllled, stuck – he had a couple bounces on those first couple passes but is nailing the remainder, twists so fast – 2.5 to front 2/1, strong – 3/1 final pass, only small movement. So yeah, he’s going to win.
15.100 and into first place.
Van Wicklen – double front pike 1/2 out, lands totally OOB – front 2/1 to front full, some knees, hop to the side – 2.5 to half is stuck – 2/1, stuck – 1.5 to front 1.5, short with a bounce back – double arabian, super short, bounce back, possible OOB. That was an “alright, well, the one I need to do well on is vault” kind of performance.
Skinner – YOUR RUN – just a little bouncy on randi – 3.5 to large bounce forward – solid double double – 2.5 to front 2/1 is quite solid as well – this is a pretty secure routine, too bad about his battering ram run that is obviously automatically 2 points off – imprecise on 3/1 landing position with large lunge to the side.
14.533 gets him a bronze medal.
- Minami, 2. Zapata, 3. Skinner
NOW BRING ON THE WEREWOLF AND THE JUNGLE WOMEN
Oh is it like a Little Red Riding Hood thing? That was not initially clear.
Anyway, Zapata will not feel totally uncomfortable with a second-place finish here because Minami doesn’t have any points coming in, but his 30 points here will mean that he is in position to make a late push.
Now there’s adorable little boy doing floor, but he’s actually just the same size as Carlos Yulo.
And now Linda from HR is getting a plaque and also flowers and also a preposterous glass quill and inkwell that she has to carry all at the same time.
Medal ceremony after one event. Cool cool. Everyone looks really comfortably holding his flowers.
POMMEL HORSE AND WOMEN’S VAULT
Stephen Nedoroscik did Carol Burnett ear because adorable.
Seligman’s armpit chalking is the “prepping PBars” of Croatian gymnastics.
Seligman – that lovely extended body line serves him well – he gets a little floppy on a Russian travel but nothing disastrous, loses momentum toward the end on his triple Russian to finish, but a solid routine.
Pinto 1 – handspring tucked rudi as her first vault – step back and to the side, taking her out of the area – just a bit of leg stagger in the air. 13.900
Pinto 2 – Tsuk double full – gets it arounddddd ish? A little staggered on landing – there’s quite a bit of soft knees in the air – steps back – but a hit vault and goo difficulty of course. 14.133
Pellerin – best part was him being introduced next to Oleg and being so comically taller than him – lovely toes and nice height over the horse on travels – only a bit of hip angle in his general swing, not too bad – also finishes with triple russians, good, has to push and pike himself a little over the horse to get that done. Pretty routine
14.600 – currently 1st place
Sakaguchi 1 – pretty solid DTY first vault – comfortably around, just a little off line, medium-sized step back – form in the air is pretty good, bit of piking at the end, not bad. 14.433
Sakaguchi 2 – just a Tsuk full for her final vault – so she will have a D disadvantage, but it’s pretty, nice extended legs, just a bit too much piking so that she comes in a little down, small hop forward. 13.700
14.066 average – currently in 1st. Deservedly got the benefit of execution.
Verniaiev – gets a round of three-people applause for his one-pommel work, which is about on track – has a moment of large leg break in there, loses his height and starts straddling, but pulls it back successfully enough to end – the rest was both clean and super difficult, so we’ll see how much of a problem it becomes.
None. 14.866 with a 6.6 D and into 1st place
Zimmerman 1 – almost overdoes her DTY actually, large bounce backward – nice potential with it, though, big height and some vault difficulty Germany could use. 14.166
Zimmerman 2 – round-off 1/2 on, 1/2 turn with back pike off, which is technique we never see anymore – happy about that – usually it’s the round-off 1/2 on and then chunky 1/2 twist piked-layout nonsense. This was clear and intentional.
Nedoroscik – not wearing his goggles and therefore immediate disqualified – was doing fabulously well until he clunked off the end and landed thud-like on his side – ouchie?
13.700 – currently 4th
Belak 1 – handspring front layout full – step to the side and out of the area but comfortably completed – some knees and whatnot. 14.233 is a solid number.
Belak 2 – nailed her Y1.5, stuck landing, just a tad off line but keeps it in the area. Very clean, clearly best vault of the day so far. 14.200
14.216 average and currently 1st
A hit routine from Harutyun Medrinyan and those two wisps of hair he’s clinging to for dear life. Just a bit of piking but a very clean shape and work overall.
14.733 and currently 2nd
Radivilova 1 – DTY – and it’s a bit of a struggle – lands hunched over with a large lunge to the side and out of the area and off the mat – looks a little “Igor after he eats a bucket of nails again” about it. 13.833
Radivilova 2 – Goes for the Lopez, much nicer than the DTY in terms of completion and control – total crazy legs on the block – bounce back
D panel takes a long time with this before deciding that it was piked. They’ve clearly been told to destroy those attempted Lopezes. 4.8/13.566
13.699 average and into 5th
Tan – excellent elevation over the horse – does really well to minimize the issue when a straddle arises in his swing, pulls his legs right back together – overall clean routine.
14.433 and currently 5th. Same total as Seligman but lower E.
Yu 1 – Here we go, the real difficulty battle – completes her Cheng! Well controlled too, just a very small hop – some of the usual crazy legs we expect from the non-Simone Chengs, but her form issues are not the worst – some stagger on landing. 14.766
Yu 2 – DTT, also does pretty well to minimize the size of the landing error, this time it’s a step forward from landing short, but not too large – again some clear leg separation form and some piking that will take down the E. 14.533
14.649 average and currently in 1st, waiting on Paseka now.
Weng – here’s the most important routine of the final – gorgeous handstands out of scissor elements initially but a major arch over in handstand that he has to pull back and save – the rest is truly exceptional, so it won’t necessarily be a disaster even though it feels like it should be. He has such excellent position, especially in Russians. His aren’t dumpy.
And it isn’t. 15.000 and into 1st place.
Paseka 1 – Will start with the Amanar – oooh girl that was not a good one – huge lunge off to the side and out of the area and the mat and the world – 14.300
Paseka 2 – Well the Cheng was…the Cheng? She looks like she’s about to cry or murder (same?) – the form was tragic, but she wasn’t able to pull off the landing this time either – hands down fall as every part of her body hurtled toward the mat – super deep landing. 13.466
13.833 average and 5th place. She’s going to go stab a panda. Just saying.
Imabayashi – he’s pumped about his hit routine and it’s unclearif he’s crying or just adorable – he had a hesitation in a handstand circle but pulled it back confidently – some really beautiful potential in that routine and some flares, which have been sorely lacking in this LCK-free final.
14.966 and 2nd place! Awesome. He almost won!
Ferrera 1 – THIS LITTLE TROT – DTY attempt, lands it super short with a large bound forward. 14.266 is rather high.
Ferrera 2 – Lopez, does well to control that landing, small hop but you’re always worried she’s going to blast backward through the wall Kool-Aid Jug style on these landings – small hop back and really should get Lopez credit.
And she actually does. 14.133 for that.
14.199 average gives her the bronze. Even with that DTY.
HORSE – 1. Weng, 2. Imabayashi, 3. Verniaiev
Weng was the frontrunner heading in here, so this just makes him look even more impervious in his race to finish first on horse.
VAULT – 1. Yu, 2. Belak, 3. Ferrera
It was all about whether Paseka could challenge Jade Carey’s spot heading in, but now Yu has a first-place finish on her record. If Yeo and Chuso’s points from Melbourne last year are redistributed (the way we initially assumed they would be but now the FIG is making me concerned), Yu would have two 30-point results on her record, compared to two 30-points and a 25-point for Jade Carey.
Meaning one more victory at an event that Jade does not attend, and Yu would move ahead of her and into first place. Three more events to go.
UNEVEN BARS AND MAN STRONGS
Petrounias – excellent planche – roll to maltese, super strong – cross, nice horizontal – secure handstand – small hesitation in planche – just a moment or two where he isn’t as secure in hold as normal Petrounias – noooo super short on dismount with huge lunge forward.
Fan – inbar full to komova to pak to stalder shap to gienger – FAB – inbar 1/2 to healy to ling to Fan dismount, just a bit short with a hop forward. Did her thing there. Nice.
14.800 with a 6.4 D
V Davtyan – immedaite pull up to planche – very solid maltese position, lower to cross – small hesitation in hs – maltese positions are a highlight – one planche hold that seemed a bit short, those positions were more hesitant – DLO 1/1 dismount, quite piked but stuck wonderfully
14.825 and behind Petrounias
Varinska – stalder Shap to pak to Toe Shap to clear hip full (late) – tkatchev 1/2 to Jaeger is hit with legs – toe full to FTDT, chest down with a hop to the side. She hit! I’ll take it.
14.266 and currently 2nd place
Avetisyan – solid flat maltese, lower to cross – pretty solid handstand – tucks and pikes right to maltese, good – pretty comfortable last planche – stays a little in handstand to gain control of the rings – nearly sticks dismount, small step. Nice one. He’s one of the newer Armenian rings workers and I’m on board.
14.833 and 2nd place. Every rings routine is the same
Yin – healy to ling to beautiful piked jaeger – pak, toe shap to gienger, a little low but fine, inbar giengers you know – Ling 1/2 to a stuck dismount. That was excellent. Another Chinese bars star. Opportunities to add some more combinations in there too.
14.566 and 2nd place. Higher E than Fan but less D.
You? How?!?! – good maltese positions has been a theme of this final – pull up directly to planche is solid – layout saltos for a different difficult look – just a touch of lowering into a cross position – DLO 2/1 is deeper with a step back
14.833 and third place. Still everyone is in the 14.8s. “Petrounias was 14.866 so we have to keep everyone lower, yes?”
Scheder – stalder full to stalder shap to bail to toe full to toe 1/2 to VL – strong overall – piked jaeger, hit, a bit of loose back – toe 1/2 – FTDT, stuck landing, Great finish. Just a couple moments – especially those 1/2 turns that were short of handstand, which will hurt the E, and a lack of back tension or two – the bail and most handstands were glorious.
13.666 and 4th place. Doesn’t have her full D right now, and some more E things than the Chinese athletes had.
Nagano – pulls up to planche, rolls down to maltese – possible someone in the crowd made a tiger growl noise at that, or it was just the audio or my imagination – our first inverted cross of the competition – very solid holds and positions – an arch in handstand late – oooooof falls on dismount. Overcooks it and sits it down.
The 14.8 streak is over. 13.733. Dude, you totally would have had the same score as everyone else with a hit dismount.
Morgan – piked jaeger, good – Ricna to Pak, some feet – Shap to bhardwaj, hit, does well to deal with it because it was a touch close, which made the world feed lose its mind – lovely Shap 1/2 – toe tuck 1/2 dismount. Some form moments and won’t have quite the difficulty to challenge here, but a good hit.
13.766 and 4th place.
Tulloch – awesome roll to maltese – lower to cross, very comfortable – this security in holds has been a step above so far – double double tucked, short with a lunge forward, but not as large a lunge as Petrounias had.
14.666 and 5th place. Didn’t do his full possible difficulty. Also rings makes no sense.
Agafonova – inbar shap to clear hip full to piked tkatchev to pak, well done on all, some feet on piked tkatchev to get it over – small muscle up to handstand – shap 1/2, good – piked jaeger hit – just these cast handstands that are getting her, and the orphan 1/2 turn – inbar full to FTDT, step back.
14.733 puts her into 2nd place. Jussst misses out challenging Fan.
Liu – his pull up to inverted cross is quite nice – cross – it looked too high? Might be camera angle? up right to planche – maltese to lower to cross is basically perfect, he has time to crack his neck in cross – double double tucked, also short with a large lunge, though expect a big number because it was so solid on the rings.
15.133, first place.
Iliankova – Clear hip tkatchev piked and immediately falls. tkatchev half to yezhova seuqence upon resuming was sooooo good too. Because of course it would be. Stuck FTDT. Would have been in first place with a hit on the first release because the rest was so strong.
Radivilov finishes up in the Men’s Tired Dismounts final, and his tired dismount is slightly different, involving three small steps back.
14.366 and 7th place.
Bui – good piked jaeger – connected to pak with feet form – nice Shap, catches close on cbhardwaj but casts out of it OK – Shap 1/2 – finishes with toe full to stuck dismount.
14.100 and 5th place.
BARS – 1. Fan, 2. Agafonova, 3. Yin
Much like the other Chinese leaders who were already in control, Fan’s position simply looks even better after this win, as she’ should have 90 points after Nina’s win is redistributed since Nina qualified a team at worlds. China’s plan is just to win all the titles and then see
RINGS – 1. Liu, 2. Petrounias, 3. Avetisyan
Liu now has the maximum of 90 points and is cruising, both in terms of winning rings and in terms of winning the intra-China tiebreak because he has no results on his record that aren’t wins so far. It means that those who lose to Chinese men on other events will feel OK about themselves. Not a bad result for Petrounias, really, but Liu is nearly unassailable now. I say nearly. It’s still possible for someone else to get to 90 points, especially if he stops attending events, though.
So that will do it for today. The story was China. China winning everything. See you tomorrow.