Chinese Nationals All-Around

The all-around final from Chinese Nationals proved that this competition was truly from another dimension, and I couldn’t be prouder. Here’s a rundown of the major Olympic contenders and how they fared in today’s all-around compared to the events of day 1. (Results)

Who was still great?

Lu Yufei – National Champion Lu Yufei (!). For someone who wasn’t even remotely close to the edge of the radar for the Olympic team pre-pandemic, Lu’s rise to a national championship has been remarkable. In the Before Times, the highest AA she had ever scored at an actual competition was 54.0 and her claim to fame was that time she was at the American Cup and NBC was like, “I mean no, though.” Here, her two scores were 56.932 and 56.735, going a full 8-for-8. We saw a gymnast with strong enough bars to stand out even among the Chinese team (with a truly stylish piked Jaeger), consistently high-scoring beam, and an increasingly undeniable floor routine that went 14.133 on day 2.

Zhang Jin – Also in the 8-for-8 club was Zhang Jin, who used an exceptionally composed two-day performance to snatch silver in the all-around. While her all-around beam wasn’t quite as secure as the first day, her floor remained at a team-final level reminiscent of 2018, and she was one of the very few gymnasts who successfully didn’t die while performing a competitively difficult vault on both days of competition. Zhang’s best path to a surprise Olympic bid seems to be if everyone else continues being kind of blah or downgraded on vault.

Based on this competition, it would seem she has regained her position from Qi Qi as the one you can go to for a 14 on vault.

Who recovered?

Tang Xijing – Not that Tang was bad on the first day. She was fine, but she clearly improved every event for the all-around final to record the #2 total on the day—behind only Lu Yufei. Her bars was extremely clean, and the shakiness that characterized her beam hit on the first day was gone. With a floor score today that also matched Zhang, Tang should consider this a successful nationals despite not finishing in the top 3 all-around or being on the very highest-scoring team permutations from this meet.

That’s mostly down to not having a high vault score given the FTY she was showing. If she adds that DTY back at the training camp competitions, I’d say that makes her a favorite for the team since the vault score is the only reason she ends up behind a gymnast like Zhang in the current team score dynamic. Even if she doesn’t upgrade back, I’d say she’s in contention with a good shot, especially if she manages to keep showing more consistency than someone like Li Shijia.

Ou Yushan – It wasn’t exactly the triumphant rebirth we had hoped, but Ou Yushan did get maneuvered into the all-around final after all (thanks to some strategic withdrawing — byeeeeee Wu Ran) and drastically improved on her day 1 performance. On this occasion, she only fell the one time on beam instead of two, and did not flop over on her Yfull, allowing her to move up to 6th in the final all-around standings with the #3 score on the day, even with a fall.

The highlight of Ou’s performance was once again her floor, this time featuring a stick on her whip-whip-3/1 for a 14.333. That floor routine alone keeps her on China’s highest-scoring potential teams since it’s at least a half point (if not closer to a point) better than what the general pack of team contenders are able to do on floor. My feeling on the matter is that Ou fully earns her Olympic ticket thanks to floor, and then if you get a hit beam out of her too, that’s an extra win.

Also a special shout-out to He Licheng, who was not even on the national team but managed to finish fifth here, ahead of quite a few name brands, and hit a pretty strong DTT in the all-around final that made you go, “Hey, might want to keep this in mind.”

Who are we not mad at, just worried about?

Li Shijia – Today, Li was not able to live up to the excellence of her first-place performance from Wednesday, falling on her DTY attempt and again on her acro series on beam, which dropped her down to third in the cumulative standings. Bronze is still not a bad result, and if you assume a hit beam like the one we saw on the first day, Li is definitely on your best-scoring potential team. But today’s work did not assuage any consistency concerns. She’s opening the door to those who might emerge as more reliable hits.

Guan Chenchen – Here’s the thing. Guan Chenchen fell all the way from 4th to 9th in the final all-around standings because of today’s performance, which is not ideal. But, it was mostly due to a full-throated apocalypse on bars, a routine that is entirely irrelevant for her. We know Guan is bad at bars. I talked to everyone, and we’re all OK with it. On the bright side, she did manage to hit beam this time for an insane 15.466—the highest beam score of the competition so far.

That beam score (along with her DTY) could actually put her on China’s highest-scoring potential team, though I’m not super optimistic that would actually happen given the general concerns over her hitting. But it would be numerically justified, and I’m therefore on board.

Because of her 9th-place finish, Guan does not automatically make the Olympic selection squad, which is troubling, though per the Chinese gymternet, the procedures sound like they’re written loosely enough to allow for Guan to be added as an additional invite, which of course she should be.

Who’s in big, bad trouble?

Qi Qi – Qi’s day 1 performance left numerous concerns as to how helpful she might actually be to an Olympic team at this point, despite her recent necessity for vault and floor. With her scores dropping on vault, beam, and floor in the all-around final, those concerns were only exacerbated. Knowing that vault is kind of an important deal for her, Qi attempted to step back up to the DTY today, but it did not go well with a short-sideways landing and a fall. Qi dropped all the way to 12th all-around in the final results, did not show a convincing performance here on any event, and has now withdrawn from the vault final. Not a great sign.

Wei Xiaoyuan – Now, there was a recovery here. Wei came back from her two-fall beam performance on the first day to stay on the apparatus today. That was a victory. But staying on meant just 13.966, which wasn’t that close to a contending beam score, especially when Guan can have some wobbles for 15.466, and Ou straight-up fell for a 13.833. It’s really been all about a very good bars routine for Wei this week, but as is also the case for Liu Tingting right now, a high-ish 14 on bars alone is not enough to get onto a Chinese team.

Next step: Day 1 of event finals. I’ll be watching to see whether any of the vault specialists can make a good case for themselves as a contender for the +1 spot, and for what ends up looking like the highest-scoring three on bars.

19 thoughts on “Chinese Nationals All-Around”

  1. Lu Yufei was really amazing!! It’s hard to pick a team, but I would say Lu Yufei, Tang Xijing, Li Shijia and Guan Chenchen would be a great quartett. Fan Yilin and Zhang Jin/Yu Linmin as individuals

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  2. Ou Yushan’s whips are amazing. I’m not sure they actually are whips (they look more like regular straight somersaults), but they are very, very pretty.

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  3. My current China four is Lu Yufei, Li Shijia, Zhang Jin and Ou Yushan. If Tang Xijing gets her DTY back, she might get in over one of the first three, and Ou Yushan needs to stay great on FX to keep any other UB/BB contenders at bay. I don’t really see any other possibility. Maybe Guan Chenchen over ZJ if they truly find her BB irresistible? But OYS covers “possible beam 15 that can also be a 13”, so…

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  4. Could the Chinese coaches find *some* other combination than front hs-front tuck, please? It does NOT suit all their gymnasts; it doesn’t even particularly suit Guan Chenchen, yet they force them all to do it now. Apparently it’s the schtick they can teach so everyone will do it willy-nilly. Ugh.

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    1. It’s equivalent in difficulty to a back tuck 1/1 or an Arabian so it’s no surprise so many go for it. I’m more shocked by the number of back 2/1 dismounts on beam especially given China’s history of doing the 3/1. Seems far more valuable to train a round out triple twist dismount for 0.8 in difficulty than these connections that frequently get broken.

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      1. Yes, I’m aware of its bullshit D score. We all know it’s nowhere near as hard as an Arabian or a full. I’m not surprised they force all the Chinese gymnasts to do it; I’m surprised they’re stupid enough to keep forcing them when most have big wobbles each and every time. As far as triple twists, absolutely–and Chinese gymnasts used to do more back fulls on beam as well. Chinese triple twists USED to be rather good, sigh. The idea that Shang Chansong’s is the only full currently is disgusting. Chinese beam has really, really suffered from codewhoring and dumbing-down.

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      2. Ironically Qi Qi has a full too lol. I agree that they should train them more because the FIG likes fulls a lot more than layouts, RO + full is worth 2 tenths more than RO + layout.

        As for the triple full dismount, many had good ones as juniors (Tang Xijing, Li Qi, Chen Yile, Zhang Jin) but the only one I’ve seen recently is Wei Xiaoyuan’s from 2020 nationals. I’m glad that a lot of them have switched to double pike instead

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  5. Is it just me, or do the Chinese seniors actually look over 16 years old now?
    They’re taller and appear more fit than ever.
    Is that coincidence?
    Product of Chow training?
    Are they actually older ?

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    1. I think they stopped selecting exclusively for the tiniest, thinnest gymnasts, that’s all. Chow’s supposed emphasis on leg conditioning probably contributes to the appearance of being fit.

      Even when age falsification was likely for some of their top gymnasts, the whole NT wasn’t 14. But there were lots of reports that younger gymnasts were selected based first and foremost on their body type and they were looking for tiny and thin – that could easily get you a team of Chinese gymnasts who do not look 16 yet (mostly) are.

      (Hopefully you are not just trying to be edgy by snarking about the Chinese gymnasts’ ages.)

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      1. Your denial of the years and years of Chinese age-falsification and outright cheating is touching, if imbecilic.

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  6. I love the work Liang Chow is doing with the Chinese team on FX and VT.
    However, I do not like any of the floor music of the top gymnasts and there is little to no choreography.
    Reminds me of a few quads ago when the Chinese women had zero choreography in their beam routines, aka Sui Lu and Deng Linlin.
    Beam is interesting in how they have studied the code and maxed it out. If China hits 3 beam sets cold they will be putting pressure on the US. The US wouldn’t be able to afford 2 falls in team finals if China goes 12 for 12 and has three 15+ beam sets.

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    1. China will not put any pressure on the US even with a 12 for 12 hit. None of their harder vaults are executed well and there is little difficulty on floor. They could potentially outscore the US women on the beam rotation alone, but they won’t be close on vault and floor.

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      1. True. Vault and floor will win the USA the gold medal once again…Beam is China’s if they hit but I still suspect the beefy Americans will outscore them handsomely. Except for Suni on bars and beam and Simone on vault and floor (tumbling) the Americans are unwatchable. Especially Chiles and Skinner. So are the Russians on everything except bars and most other European teams on .. well pretty much everything. Just as fat as the Americans (please no unitards unless you have the legs of a 5’10 Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast like Bessonova or Nikolchenko). The Chinese show the best form and extension but unfortunately don’t have enough difficulty on vault and floor to be truly competitive. Plus their constant pauses on beam and floor really hurt their E scores. All in all, we are up for a horrible Olympics. Thank God we’ve got Kaleyn, the Averinas, Salos and Ashram in rhythmic to give us some true competition and excitement.

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      2. Darling. SO SORRY your psychotic ANOREXIA FETISH is no longer being gratified by muscular, healthy, actually functional ATHLETES on the US team. FUCK OFF AND DIE, you sociopathic CUNT!

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      3. Well let’s just first ignore how you completely passed over the gorgeous gymnastics of McCusker, Wong, Eaker, and Hurd, but Chiles unwatchable, really? She has probably the best Chusovitina on floor I’ve ever seen and now has a great beam routine too. But specifically McCusker, Lee, and Wong have the extension and flexibility to go toe-to-toe with almost any of the Chinese gymnasts today.

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  7. DARLING. SOOOOOOOO SORRY your psychotic ANOREXIA DEATH FETISH isn’t being gratified any longer by the healthy, muscular, ATHLETIC US TEAM OF GYMNASTS!

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  8. Chinese show the best form? Normally yes, but I can count the many many forms errors I have seen by the Chinese on BARS that normally you NEVER see. Flexed feet, leg splits, heavy swing.. They are still top notch and far ahead of the rest, but to say Chinese bars is the same as its been, is a def NO. Their bars have regressed IMO. Not as innovative as they once were. Normal set up, lings, healys, dismount. copy repeat. They used to be innovators.

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    1. The one-armed pirouettes are still almost exclusively the purview of the Chinese so they are still unique there. As for the rest of the elements, they’re pretty much mandatory for a high bars scores. There’s no way to rack up competitive difficulty on bars without a series of low to high bar and high to low bar connections for a bunch of 0.1 and 0.2 connections.

      There’s a reason Sunisa’s Lee’s only 1/1 pirouette is a giant 1/1 for a paltry C value – it’s because pirouettes under the current code are very harshly deducted and have no potential for 0.2 connection bonuses.

      The Chinese stick with the E pirouettes because even though the technique is extremely difficult, they are actually easier to avoid deductions on. This is because for these pirouettes, you are permitted to start the pirouette before the handstand phase. This makes it very easy to end in handstand compared to pirouettes that require the turning to start and finish all in a handstand.

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