Friendship & Solidarity Live Blog

My weirdest post title? Probably. Can’t wait to live blog me some friendship.

The 30 athletes from Russia, USA, China, and Japan have been split up into two teams. Each athlete can compete all the apparatuses they want, but only the top 3 scores on each apparatus count for the team score that definitely matters.

Team Friendship is Angelina Melnikova, Asuka Teramoto, Hitomi Hatakeda, Yana Vorona, Sophia Butler, Liu Jieyu, Zhou Ruiyu, Artur Dalaloyan, Kazuma Kaya, Yuya Kamoto, Shane Wiskus, Yul Moldauer, Alexey Rostov, Zhang Boheng, and Shi Cong

Team Solidarity is Elena Gerasimova, Aleksandra Shchekoldina, Shilese Jones, eMjae Frazier, Chiaki Hatakeda, Zhang Jin, Akari Matsumura, Lu Yufei, Nikita Nagornyy, Kohei Uchimura, Dmitri Lankin, Wataru Tanigawa, Yin Dehang, Ma Yue, and Paul Juda.

It’s important to decide to have a very strong allegiance to one of these teams. Friendship’s WAG group allegedly should wipe the floor with Solidarity’s face, but Solidarity will hope that the Nagornyy-Uchimura punch will allow them to keep up.

If you’re in the US, it’s on the Olympic Channel starting at 11pm ET/8pm PT.

Kohei “I only do high bar now” Uchimura is doing pommel horse, vault, and floor. None of the US women are slated to do the AA, with Jones and Frazier skipping out on floor and Butler not listed for bars.

Friendship starts on UB/SR, while Solidarity starts on BB/Men’s VT. I’m interested in how many routines we’re actually going to end up seeing because Bart Conner would be leaping out of his chair in eagerness to call this a four-ring circus. 30 gymnasts, 129 routines, 6 rotations? And without really a “lead group” to focus on like you have in an AA final.

Looks like we’ve got Olly only on the web stream from the Olympic Channel it seems, not the TV. If you’re curious.


First rotation warmup happening. Only three vaulters on Team Kohei? Maybe fewer routines than we thought.

We start with Kohei VT – Manamanar – lovely, small hop forward. What a high bar specialist! 14.500

Now it’s Dalaloyan on rings. I notice there’s not a lot of Melnikova on bars being shown…

So I’ve decided to follow half of Lu Yufei’s beam routine that we can see in the background. Some pretty rings elements.

Wataru Tanigawa vaults a double front puck. It doesn’t go great. Sits it down and then gets up with a half turn like that time Nabs pretended she did a TTY.

Melnikova on bars now! Wonderful precision on ker Komova II to Pak. Strong piked Jaeger. Orphan half turn kills me in the eye. Excellent FTDT stick. That was good! 14.500!

Now we’re back to rings with Kaya – it’s rings – it’s fine – I definitely don’t have the energy to try with rings today – double double lay dismount is executed well with just a shuffle. 14.100

More rings with Yuya Kamoto – my favorite part is that we have seen three different background people starts round off + layout series on beam and have no idea how any of them have gone. Kamoto good extension on his DLO 1/1 dismount, small hop forward.

Teramoto – UB – stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger, secure – Ricna, hit – crazzzy legs ona stalder full but works through it into a comfortable Gienger – Jaeger, good – lone bail to stalder shoot like it’s 2011 in its realness – strong landing on FTDT. Similar to what we saw from her last time. Fine, secure, some form, needs to add back some combinations over the next 9 months.

Olly just referenced “unsociable hours.” Are there any other kind?

13.500 for Teramoto.

Yay, we get to go back in time to see some other routines.

Zhang Jin very strong in her ring jumps to Korbut combo – bhs bhs layout, secure – aerial, small check – switch to sheep, pause before straddle jump – split jump half from side, pretty good as far as those go – bhs bhs to a naillled 2/1. This is what makes Zhang so frustrating because we see moments of TF-level beam work from her, like here, but then other times…

Nagornyy VT – big Dragulescu – more cowboyed than we’d like to see, but landed – lunge back and a bit of a stagger – looks like he has a new forearm tattoo. Because I notice the important things.

Hatakeda – UB – shorts first hs – inbar full to komova II to pak, legs – van leeuwen, another medium leg break – hits piked jaeger – stalder 1/2 – FTDT, good, hop back. Not her cleanest showing but her difficulty is so important for Japan.

Zhang Boheng does a rings.

eMjae Frazier BB – she looks more like Marz every second – and we’re cutting away to see Lankin vault cool cool fine.

Lankin – VT – handspring Randi, hits it, large lunge to the side –

NOW it’s Frazier BB – aerial with a small check into split jump straddle jump, good position on split jump, and on switch, she’s worked on her back leg on those elements and it shows – side aerial – split jump 1/2 from side with a n arm wave correction – bhs loso series, leg-up check – switch ring, can’t save it – off balance and falls – it was actually a nice ring though, just some foot flexing – double pike dismount very strong. Comfortable for her.

Jones – BB – sissone, a bit of short back leg – Arabian CRAZY high but all over the place, falls – bhs bhs layout, hits it, leg up check but not too bad – side aerial is trouble, grabs the beam to keep herself on – good lift on her straddle from side position – big double pike, large lunge back. 12.400

tHiS wOuLd NeVeR hAvE hApPeNeD wItH mArThA.

Apparently that’s the end of the first rotation. The scores are a basketful of gumdrops to a rainbow made of squeals.

Freindship men 43.400, women 42.800

Solidarity men 43.700, women 41.900

The friendship team was bars/rings, the solidarity was vault, beam.

Dalaloyan – VT – CHRIST – did a piked Dragulescu that went baddddddd – landed on his ankle-face and the sound of him landing that vault was like it you ripped someone’s foot off. He’s fine?

Butler – BB – side aerial to Onodi! – Split and sissone are short of position but I’m all about that combo – someeeehow she saved her bhs layout combination because it was maybe a centimeter off the beam – the switch 1/2 it not worth it in this routine because of the deductions – aerial to straddle to back tuck was better. Good combo – double pike, huge stumble back out of the frame but keeps it on her feet. 12.500

Matsumura – FX – tries a quad turn, not quite all the way around – double tuck, smoothly landed, nice – L turn 1.5, falling out a bit again – 2.5 to front tuck, pulled out that front tuck, short with a hop, didn’t get much rebound – 1.5 to front full, solid. 12.600

Kaya’s Kas 2/1 on vault is extremely ragged in the air but landed, large lunge to the side. I think the sound we’re hearing might be the mat on this vault landings, but it sounds like if you knee was made of velcro and you tore it off.

Chiaki Hatakeda – FX – 3/1, high enough to lnd comfortably, some legs, hop to the side -double L to double turn was almost there, borderline credit – 2.5 to front tuck, good, medium hop forward – falls out of Memmel turn a little – split ring full was, you know – double tuck, chest down, small hop

Nagornyy – PB – peach to one, healy down, good – peach half small hesitation – makuts, hit – diam, right on – and with a 1/2 turn – double front 1/2, nearly holds it, small hop. Good.

Teramoto – BB – a lot of waiting for this routine….Apparently we’re finally ready – candle mount, a bit short of vertical – wolf double, hit – double turn, holds it – switch 1/2 and falls, tried to grab the beam to save it but no chance – small break on dance combination out of aeiral – side somi, fine – bhs loso series, small check – side aerial, hit – 2.5 dismount, just pulls it around witha lunge to the side. Not her strongest showing, but she’s back on beam…?

Zhou Ruiyu on beam, a little tentative in controlling some of her elements after landing, but lovely execution overall, no dismount though.

Hitomi Hatakeda – switch split mount – front tuck to split jump to wolf – aerial, smooth – side aerial to side position, hit – side somi – switch to switch 1/2, small check – bhs loso, no trouble – overturns a full turn, 1.25 – double pike, small step. Excellent work.

Lankin – PB – his legs are taking some journeyyys during this routine – only a matter of time before he fell and he go stuck in another pirouette and had to come off. Didn’t fall again but had a few more journeys, including with a multi lunge dismount.

He did PBars like a floor specialist.

Vorona – BB – double wolf turn, smoothly done – switch to split jump immediate front tuck attempot – cool idea but also a fall – loso loso series is hit – good back leg extension on swithc ring – side aerial with a check – aerial to split ring, strong – double pike, again a strong one, small step back.

W Tanigawa – PB – a couple handstands here and there and a moment of walking readjustment – but a good bhavsar and tippelt – high front straddle – exceptional double front 1/2 out and stuck.

Melnikova – BB – switch mount to immeidate switch to split, hits it – bhs loso, right on – aerial to split to straddle, great – Kochetkova, good – wolf double, hit – side somi, strong – split jump 12 from side, small hesitation – double pike, small hop. Excellent!

Rotation 3 warmup now. Kohei warming up his Bretschneider, doesn’t catch it but it looked pretty close.

Liu Jieyu – FX – double turn, fine – 3/1 to front tuck, pulls around the front tuck – 2.5 to front pike, small hop – double tuck, a bit sluggish there, but fine, lunge back – 2/1, small shuffle

Yuya Kamoto went on PBars, but Jessica did a misspelling on twitter so obviously that needed my more immediate attention – double front 1/2 out is deep but landed, small shuffle back

Nagornyy – HB – Yam, good height – layout tkatchev to layout tkatchev 1/2 – tak full, great finish position there – tak 1/2 was shorter – tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 – zou li min into stalder to double double layout, nailed it, stuck. Very good.

Uchimura – HB – caches the Bretschneider! Smoother than nationals – And the Cassina, huge Kolman – stalder rybalko slightly crazy – tak full, good – Yam – tak 1/2, strong position – double double layout, small hop

Why is Gabby Douglas doing a commercial for the car racing. Gabby, we’re not having this.

Tanigawa – HB – Yam – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2, hit – tak 1/2, layout tkatchev 1/2 – a bit more ragged bu that’s what happens when we go after Kohei – dLO 2/1 is very strong, stuck

Zhang – VT – DTT – lands it OK, small hop back, it’s a low vault as it always has been, but that’s the kind of comfortable completion that got her on teams in the past.

Wiskus – PB – healy – small hesitation in peach – tuck 1/2 is good – diam, nice – front straddle, solid – bhavsar, smoothly done – tippelt, gets it up to handstand well – double front, a hop back. 14.000

Jones – VT – huge DTY, so easy for her – small hop

Dalaloyan going 1 million MPH on PB – nearly sits his Tippelt but muscles out of it – hits bhavsar – front straddle, no trouble – stutz, good – slightly crazy form on double tuck 1/2, holds the landing well. 12.900. They may have said he sat the tippelt.

Matsumura hits a full on vault, so we’re still not seeing that DTY come back

Melnikova – FX – beautiful DLO rebounding into a huge split jump – double tuck, shuffle back – front full to a little twiddle jump and I’m not sure what that was supposed to be but I’m all about it – wolf double, strong – should get credit on that Memmel – double pike, huge bounce back and OOB – it had been going too well….

Chiaki Hatakeda hits her DTY today. Short with a lunge to the side, but his this time.

Butler – FX – DLO a bit whippy with a bounce back – piked full in, pretty solid, small step, keeps it in bounds – 2.5 to front tuck, kind of low but controls it well – looolllll pulls a Paseka on her wolf turn, just sort of sits it down and rolls around – whip double pike, hit –

Teramoto – FX – very smooth doubel L turn – 1.5 through to 2.5, hit, stays in – smallshuffle – front 2/1, some crossed legs and a step but fine – wolf double – doubel pike, small step. Good.

Solidarity moves into the lead with wag vault and Kohei in that last rotation.

We’re halfway done!

Teramoto – VT – handspring layout 1/2, not ready to bring the rudi back understandably – deep landing and off balance but keeps it to her feet –

Nagornyy – FX – punch front 2/1 to double front, good – double front pike 1/2, a bit short, small hop – a little bouncy but no major issues – double double was solid – strong showing. 14.200

Lankin – FX – excellent triple back, only a small shuffle – 3.5 to front full, small hop – 4/1 a bit crazy, lunge back – 2.5 to front 2/1 takes him well OOB – 3/1 to finish, hit. 14.100 *confused parallelogram face*

The Olly feed just had a heart attack but it looks like it is pulling itself back together.

Uchimura – FX – 1.5 to front full to front 1.5 – front tuck full to front 2/1 – 2/1 with a Kohei stick – 2.5, small hop – and he’s done – low difficulty for him because he’s not doing floor anymore but also beautiful

Lu Yufei – UB – tktachev hit into gienger, a little low but catcht – some legs in each E piro – piked jaeger took wayyyyy too far and falls – good van leeuwen upon resumption.

So, was that the last time we’re going to see Kohei do floor? –

Nice stick on a double front pike 1/2 for Tanigawa on floor. Has some other hops and shuffles, including a bounce on his 3/1 dismount.

Yul Moldauer on HB – tries a Kolman and it doesn’t go great. Fall. Finishes his routine with a beautiful dismount.

Solid FTY from Butler. Near stuck.

Dalaloyan with a Cassina and a beautiful laid out Kovacs but he can’t catch his tkatchev layout 1/2 and comes crashing down. Finishes Dlo 1/1 with a little hop. Bit ginger landing though. Probably still feeling that vault.

Shchekoldina is allowed to exist by the broadcast it seems – van leeuwen, good – piked jaeger, some legs – pak, also loses form a bit – maloney – toe full to FTDT with a lunge to the side

Rostov – HB – tak full very late – Cassina is good – hits Kolman – layout tkatchev and falls – weird, looked like he had plenty of time, just couldn’t get his hands around –

Kaya on HB now – Yam 1/2 and catches it – tak full a bit late – tak 1/2, hit, some loose back – tkatchev layout-ish – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2, some legs – german giants – double double layout, lunge forward – a hit, all over the place foot-form-wise, but a hit.

Fall on a Kolman from Yuya Kamoto.

We also get to see Gerasimova for the first time today, just as the women are about to exit the competition – inbar to Komova II to pak, beautiful, but then oooooh no. Tried to toe-on after her Pak and peeled off. Resumes, van leeuwen with some legs – inbar 1/2 to piked jaeger, good height – toe full to FTDT, some great stuff. But then also Russia.

Rotation 5 now, and Kohei is pommeling – well it’s beautiful. Similar to FX in that he’s doing like one skill by his standards, but it doesn’t matter.

Rostov – FX – front 2.5, small hop – front 2/1 to front full gets crazy legged but hit – double double, comfortable – whip to double arabian was pretty, just a bit deep – back 1.5 to half was of course the most struggle, starting to look sluggish there – 2.5 and OOB

Kaya double front 1/2 out, good – nearly sits a front double pike but then was like just kidding – he’s just coming up a little deep on some of these landings – 3/1, hop back

Paul Juda lives – he Americas his way through pommel horse quite well! appropriate use of straddles and spindle work – nice

Shot of Nagonyy doing a hilarious PH warmup with 8 legs all going different directions.

Nagornyy’s competition pommel horse was far more successful than his wamrup – some form and angle throughout but no errors even though it looked like he was going to bottom out on a Magyar there for a second.

I don’t know Shi Cong at all but I’m enjoying his style on floor. Some non-bonkers twisting form.

Zhang Boheng – FX – front full to double front pike, good second element height, msall hop – 2.5 to front 2/1, strong – punch randi, short with a bounce to the side – 2/1, stuck – finishes 3/1, hop back. Good.

And there’s still one more rotation!

Because that’s how we want this competition to end, with the pommel horse/rings rotation.

Solidarity leads Friendship by 1.5 heading into the last rotation.

Dalaloyan starts off the final rotation on PH and immediately has to put his hand down onto the horse when he was up in handstand – it’s all a little rough for him today, but he works through his straddle elements well.

Hit rings for Ma Yue, double double tucked, small hop to finish. 14.400

Rostov is having some legggsss moments in his PH routine – clipped the pommel at least once but it staying on –

Smooth rings from Yin Dehang until the late handstands – pulls out a strong landing on his double double dismount

Clean and composed PH routine from Kaya, in contrast to what we just saw from Russia.

Nagonyy and Melnikova has been putting the other Russians to shame today, and Nagornyy continued that with a very precise rings routine, lots of control.

Paul Juda is having his hand put back together after rings – but we’re seeing his rings in replay and it looks like it went well for him – FTDT dismount, small hop. Low difficulty but well done.

Final part of final rotation coming up now.

Lankin has a reeee-ough PB routine but his good events went better, including a hit rings.

Nice line from Zhang Boheng on PH – one leg break here, and had to pause getting up to hs for his dismount, but still

Wataru had a nice rings routine going until that last handstand which was basically horizontal, but a hit. Hop on dismount.

Wiskus on PH will be the final routine – waiting on the score for Yul now – he had a leg break about halfway through and could never really recovered, ends up having to tuck and then jump off. A fitting conclusion!

But it was fun! Until it got boring at the end!

Solidarity – 423.600
Friendship – 421.300

Friendship had the stronger WAG team, but the strength of Solidarity’s MAG team shone through, especially because Friendship MAG like Dalaloyan had a bit of a nasty one. And because the men have more events so there performances were more significant to the team result. A result that, and I cannot stress this enough, very matters.

11 thoughts on “Friendship & Solidarity Live Blog”

  1. classic kohei doing other events when he claims to only do high bar lmao. apparently he said hes finally pain free though

  2. Shilese Jones balance beam is so enjoyable . That huge arabian and the back layout to two feet that rivals the Chinese. 12.400 with a fall and a beam grab. If she hits that will bring in a huge number.

    1. I know. TBH I always feel like she’s capable of so much more than we’ve seen from her.

    2. All of Shilese‘s gymnastics would be enjoyable if she hit, but that routine was so shaky and messy it was unpleasant to watch. I preferred Frazier Jrs‘s despite the fall and the lower D and worse execution, just because the majority of it looked controlled and methodical instead of scattered and flustered.

  3. I love Kohei lining up his vault like he’s calculating orbital trajectories.

  4. i feel like it’s been so long since we’ve seen sophia butler! her gymnastics has matured so well and i just know she’s going to be a big star in ncaa regardless of her elite career :))

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