The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Women’s Olympic All-Around Final

So, um, ahhhhhh.

Simone’s withdrawal has turned the Olympic all-around final into a free-for-all where the most likely medalist is everybody in what is now the most open Olympic all-around final we’ve had in the non-10 era. The top 6 qualifiers were separated by less than a point on the first day. Hello, chaos, lovely to see you again.

Rebeca Andrade now enters as the top qualifier followed by Sunisa Lee, Angelina Melnikova, and Vladislava Urazova all bunched together. But we’re going to have to keep our eyes on most of the groups at all times, with people like De Jesus Dos Santos in the mix (especially if she scores like she did in the team final), and Murakami hanging out in that third group starting on beam.

In the first rotation, expect Andrade and Carey to smoke everyone, but it’s also a critical moment for Lee, leading off the meet on her weakest event, as she must keep herself in sight of Melnikova and Urazova and not let things get too far away.

Athletes are entering the premises. Introduce thyselves!

Everyone: Leos
Lu Yufei: Parka

“My face says, ‘hooray sisters’ but my body says, ‘we have to listen to all these hos get introduced?'”

Rotation Just Happy To Be Here is already having the most fun.

Rotation 1

Melanie just basically flanked a Nabieva in the bars warmup. Tang Xijing just also had the weirdest “i’m intentionally trying to stop but not like that” peel off into her coach. It’s all going great.

Carey is warming up Chengs not Amanars, as expected.

Alice D’Amato gets us started on beam with some little steps on her front tucks and an immediate fall on loso.

Maggio does a full complement of passes on floor for a hit opener, finishing double tuck with a bounce back.

Lee – VT – DTY is really solid! Definitely her best one of the Olympics, basically stuck, chest up better, some leg crossing and some distance deductions, but big start for her. 14.600

Jessica Gadirova with a good piked jaeger on bars, hits tkatchev 1/2 to yezhova – shap to pak, no connection into van leeuwen, giant full – FTDT, hop to the side. Solid.

Andrade – VT – Cheng is exceptional – she nearrrlly had a perfect landing but does a little two foot shuffle forward as she tries to hold the stick. 15.300

13.666 for Gadirova.

De Jesus Dos Santos – UB – Nabieva is solid but can’t connect well into pak and has to do a full straddle as she swings through, I think with a leg scrape on the mat – maloiney to bhardwaj was ecellent – DLO1/1, step back. Not the start she wanted.

Carey – VT – Cheng – pretty good, shouldn’t score near Andrade’s though. Medium bounce back and crossed legs throughout. 15.200. I have some questions.

Seitz hit beam!

Derwael – VT – pretty large bound forward and sideward on her Y1.5, soft knees throughout. 13.900

Still waiting on the DJDS score, and it’s going to be not great.

Didn’t see Lieke’s floor but her reaction afterward is priceless and makes me think falls.

Urazova – VT – hits a solid DTY – only a small hop in place – some leg crossing, also not the most distance. Should be close to Lee. 14.500

13.8333 for DJDS is well lower than her potential of course, but it could have been worse.

Murakami – BB – candle mount, good – front pike, solid – aerial to split to straddle, very comfortable – front tuck, hop forward – wolf triple and it’s good! – wolf double, solid – switch ring check – doubel pike, shortish, hop forward. But she can to play today.

Tang – UB – maloney to pak – small arch on low, pulls it back – van leeuwen – healy and ling and front giant full to piked jager – shoprt cast 1/2 on high – DLO, chest a little down, hop forward. Fine. great beginning, gave away some at the end.

Menikova – VT – good DTY, small hop back, possible out of the area, but better distance than Lee and Urazova, small leg cross from her as well. Chest up. And no deduction for out of the area for 14.633.

14.233 for Tang.

Moors – BB – front tuck mount, check – switch to split ring, some back foot on switch – fhs front tuck, large break with a leg up check but keeps it on the beam – split leap to aerial to split jump, nice – side aerial, hit – full turn – switch 1/2, another bigger wobble, arm wave and leg up – rudi dismount, step back. Stayed on.

Looked like a large break for Jennifer Gadirova on bars. Got crooked on a full pirouette, extra swing.

Steingruber 13.333 on floor to lead the way there.

Kovacs – UB – inbar full to stalder shap 1/2, good – short hs on high – inbar 1/2 to piked jaeger, nice amplitude – Ricna, hit – stalder tkatchev piked to pak – van leeuwen, legs together – FTDT, bounce back. Good one. 14.233

Lee Yunseo very low on a 3/1 on floor.

Moors gets 12.433 on beam. Hey Denis!

Popa – BB – aerial to split, pretty – bhs layout 2 feet, step back but saves it – switch to wolf jump, hit – side aerial, very large break, stays on – another large leg up break on a jump – split leap 1/2, solid – bhs bhs double pike, short, luinge forward. A survive, but enough large breaks that the score will be pretty low.

Lu – UB – tkatchev to gienger and falls, can’t get dowel over on gienger.

After 1
Andrade 15.300
Carey 15.200
Melnikova 14.633
Lee 14.600
Urazova 14.500

No one in the lead group will be upset by that rotation. Lee will be especially pleased with her DTY score, picking up several tenths on her previous attempts at this meet and staying right where she needs to be. De Jesus Dos Santos lost a lot of ground with her bars performance, and Lu Yufei had the fall. Murakami with a strong 13.766 on beam that gains several tenths from qualification for her. Tang down 2 tenths on qualification but hanging around where she needs to be.

Let’s all wait to rotate! Fun!

Rotation 2

The big one for Lee of course. She’ll need to take the lead after this one, though expect Melnikova and Urazova to keep it close.

DJDS – BB – front pike mount, huge break, miracle she stayed on, but so many deductions, leg up both ways – front pike another wobble – not her day this far – layout 2 feet is secure – split to wolf – split 1/2 from side, nice – swtich 1/2, pretty – aerial to split to bhs, clean – switch, small check – full turn – double tuck, large bounce back. She pulled it together after the beginning, but another deduction-fest for Melanie.

Bars warmup taking 1000 years.

Andrade – UB – maloney, clean to stralder full, ptetty into piked tkatchev to pak to van leeuwen, so precise – piked jaeger, caught – 1/2 turn on high, not awful – a little short on toe full – FTDT, stuck. Excellent!

Just 12.166 for DJDS on beam.

Tang – BB – loso mount, hit – layou tto 2 feet is excellent, ideal, connects into split jump – switch ring and falls, way off line and her foot slips off – split ring jump to korbut is perfect of course – switch to split ring to bhs, strong – aerial to straddle to stag ring, nice – 2/1 stuck. One fall, the rest perfection. SIGH.

HUGE 14.666 for Andrade on bars. Up .466 on qualification.

Carey – UB – church, hit but does not connect to gienger – Yezhova – maloney to bhardwaj is solid – van leeuwen, little leg break – FTDT, bounce up in place. Hit but a downgraded routine.

Murakami gets her triple y around on floor. Some lack of control on double double.

Just 13.066 for Tang. 13.500 for Carey on bars.

Jennifer Gadirova with a nice loso loso series on beam. Check on aerial before split and split 1/2.

Derwael – UB – Nabieva hit – stalder tkatchev pike, hit – stalder staked 1/2 to yezhova to shap to pak to toe shap 1/2, all hit, just some legs, gets a little low at the end – full turn is finished well – FTDT, a little short, hop

Murakami went 14.000 on floor, continues stepping up her scores from qualification. Moors’ rudi to split jump is ready for UCLA. Just a ltitle short on her Pod today but fakes it into stag.

Kovacs with a fall on beam

15.266 for Derwael. A bit lower than Q and TF, which is appropriate, it wasn’t as solid.

Urazova – UB – inbar full to komova to pak to van leeuwen, nice height and position – inbar 1/2 to piked jaeger, good – 1/2 turn, short – toe full, not too bad – FTDT, holds the stick with a little lean. Very nice. 14.866

Lu Yufei with a major break on switch ring. Having a day.

Melnikova – UB – inbar full to komova to to pal to van leeuwen. nice – inbar 1/2 to piked jaeger, hit, some legs, a tad close on piked j – 1/2 turn late – toe full to FTDT, small hop. Good one. 14.900 for Melnikova, again outscoring Urazova when I thought Urazova was a bit stronger.

Lee – UB – here we go – nabieva to bhardwa to maloney to gienger – HOW did she caonnect that she looked so off – piked jaeger to pak to van lweuen, hit – giant full – FTDT, holds the stick well despite being a little forward. It shouldn’t quite be the score because she was so crooked on that combo, but she got her 6.8.

And she gets a 15.300! I’m a little surprised by that one. It bodes well for her event final performance because she can be much cleaner.

But Lee will be .066 down on Andrade after 2. She would have wanted to be ahead after bars. Lots of pressure on having a big beam now.

Jessica Gadirova – BB – aerial to split jump to straddle, little hestitations but keeps moving – bhs loso loso and gets wayyy short and off line, falls.

After 2
Andrade 29.966
Lee 29.900
Melnikova 29.533
Urazova 29.366
Derwael 29.199

So we’ve got ourselves a meet. Nothing giving between Andrade and Lee right now. Beam will be the beamiest. Urazova will need to pick it up a little here to get into medal shape because she won’t gain as much on floor.

Rotation 3

Carey – BB – forward roll mount – full turn – aerial a ltitle short before split and straddle – bhs loso loso series and falls – the streak is over – resumes with side aerial, hit – bhs bhs double tuck, hop back –

Murakami – VT – goes safe with the DTY and a smart choice, excellent work, small hop back. great form and direction. 14.533, I know you can take for distance, but I think they’re victimizing Mai a little.

Carey just 11.533 on beam.

Derwael – BB – loso mount, large break with a leg up check – bhs loso is more solid – switch to split ring leap, two parts, switch is lovely – aerial, hesitation, no connection – side somi, hit – wolf triple is solid – wolf doubel, fine – gainer pike full, a little down, hop forward.

Bui – UB – nice piked jaeger – pak, good legs together position – maloney to bhardwaj, a little crooked but OK – van leeuwen, some legs – toe full, fairly late into very nice gienger – double pike, lunge back.

13.366 for Derwael, down 4 tenths on qualification.

Solid DTY from D’Amato, medium bounce back

Urazova – BB – loso mount is solid – bhs bhs loso, riggght to the end of the beam but fine – switch – y spin – aerial to split to onodi, only very small hesitation – wolf triple is comfortable, wolf doubel is same – side aerial, hit – ro bhs 2.5, hopo forward. Really good. That will keep her right in the medal hunt.

Seitz with chest pretty far down on DTY but not too large a hop

14.200 for Urazova. Huge deal. Putting the real pressure on the top 3.

Melnikova – BB – switch mount, bend check but walks through it – bhs loso series, hit – aerial to split to straddle, nice – bhs 1/1, solid – wolf double, fine – side somi, strong – split ring jump, nice – round off double pike, great landing! Only small hop. She did it!

13.700 for Melnikova, which will put her .333 behind Urazova. It’s possible for Melnikova to make that up on floor. But damn that’s going to be close.

Holding Lee for Maggio’s routine? She has to take an extra swing.

Lee – BB – wolf triple is very fast, nearly gets away from her, arm wave – she didn’t do the wolf turn double? – aerial to split to bhs – switch ring to split leap, hit – switch to switch 1/2 to split ring jump, secure, switch 1/2 was a little tight for her perhaps but fine – side aerial to loso loso, holds it, check but holds it – bhs bhs 2/1, very secure landing. Through it and through it pretty well. Not her very best with some checks, she looked THE MOST NERVOUS, but through it, no major errors, but not doing the wolf double was weird.

Just 13.833 for Lee on beam. Not quite what she needed going to floor, but she’s in this thing. Now it’s up to Andrade.

Andrade – BB – switch mount is good – switch 1/2, small movement – bhs loso series, strong – aerial to spl;it ring jump, good hit – split 1/2 from side – switch ring, secure – sdei aerial to split to bhs, again not a movement – doubel pike dismount, lugne back. But my she’s never been quite as good as this.

Still waiting on the Andrade score. It’s supposed to be high. It’s not. 13.566. Oh we’re going to have WORDS judges.

After 3
Lee 43.733
Andrade 43.632
Urazova 43.566
Melnikova 43.233

Andrade still probably has this one in her control because she does have higher scoring potential than Lee or Urazova on floor, but it’s so very close.

Score change for Andrade! Her beam goes up one tenth to 13.666, putting her just one tenth behind Lee. Andrade scored 6 tenths better than Lee on floor in qualification

Rotation 4

Murakami – UB – Church to pak is nice – maloney to gienger, lowish but hit – a short hs on high – piked jaeger, solid – bail to shoot – FTDT, a little short, hop forward, much better day for her. 56.032 finasl.

Kim Bui hit beam in the Olympic AA final!

Derwael starts the leaders rotation on floor – double y spin is around – double tuck hop back – split leap full – 1.5 to front full, good – pulls around a teetery wolf triple – wolf double –

Moors finishes bars with a toe tuck 1/2 dismount, small hop.

13.433 for Derwael, which will put her on 55.965 and behind Murakami.

Urazova – FX – double y, falls out of it a little – piked full in, bounce back and an additional step – 2.5 to front tuck is solid – split leap to split leap full, a little squatty on landing – wolf triple is hit – wolf double – double tuck, wrenches it around, some chest position, little step – 2/1, stuck. It was fine.

Tang pulls out her DTY on vault to finish the day and it’s pretty good this time – a little deep, hop back.

13.400 for Urazova and a 56.966. That means Melnikova needs over 13.7 to pass her, which should be a comfortable score for a hit.

Melnikova – FX – DLO 1/1, medium bounce back, good chest position – double L is glorious – DLO, fine, small hop – front 1/1 is more awkward, hop and a little squatty – doubel wolf turn might need to go in the hall of fame with some arms – double pike, bounce back. Started great, gave away some bits at the end. Will be CLOSE because of the second half of this routine.

Still a 13.966 for Melnikova to go to 57.199. That’s going to be controversial. That’s a rather high execution score for the problems in the second half of that one.

Lee needs 13.467 now. Which would be solid but doable.

Lee – FX – double dobuel tuck, hit, bounce back – DLO, only a small slide, some chest positions – switch ring – split leap full, cleanly around – double L is a potential minefield there as her leg was below horizontal most of the time – wolf triple is around, as is wolf double, that part was better today – bach 1.5 to front full, pretty solid – ohhhh downgradeeeee. Only three passes.

A 13.700 and it’s enough to pass Melnikova with her best score of the competition on floor. 57.433. Up to a hit from Andrade now.

She needs to go over 13.800. She went 14.066 in qualification.

Andrade – FX – here it is, a “pretty good hit” for the win – front full thropugh to full in, bounces back OOB! Significant! DLO 1/1 is strong, stuck landing – split leap full, a little hoppy – double y was basically falling out of it and did a stag jump about it like a HERO – split leap full – DLO neailed, holds the landing – double pike, bounce back and another OOB. Rebeca…

And now we wait.

13.666 with 0.4 OOB is not enough for Andrade, she will finish behind Lee by only a little more than a tenth. WOW.

Lee will win the Olympic AA. What a star.

Andrade inquire the OOB to cause chaos challenge.

Carey will finish ou tthe meet. DO THE TRIPLE DOUBLE.

Carey – FX – Doues the double double, but it’s strong, chest up, hop back – double L falls off her heel toward the end – front layout to double double, bounce back – L hop – split leap full – DLO 1/1, just a ltitle pike, only small movement – full in, large bounce back, borderline OOB.

FINAL
Lee 57.433
Andrade 57.298
Melnikova 57.199

Urazova will finish just off in 4th place, followed by Murakami and Derwael. Tang holds on for 7th, which is an accomplishment given the issues today. Carey ends up 8th.

An excellent performance from all the medalists. Not the mess this one could have been. The lesson from Lee doing her 3-pass floor routine at the end of the AA final at the Olympics is a lesson we’ve been learning for years: DO LESS.

Andrade was phenomenal, and I have some execution questions about a couple of those scores. But she also gave so much away on floor in the final routine. For Melnikova, she did everything she could do. That was the best day she could have hoped.

%d bloggers like this: