As with the all-around rankings, these pre-worlds event rankings take each gymnast’s 2021 peak score (or peak 2-vault average in the case of vault) in order to compare them to the rest of the field and see what the current hierarchy is. And in case you’re keeping track, yes we are slightly over one day away from the start of podium training. Is…is she ready?
Pre-Worlds Vault Rankings
|VT Peak (Avg)|
Vault is absolutely my favorite event for worlds this year. Because the field is expected to be so light, we should see some gymnasts who would never imagine they could make a world vault final placing…maybe even in the top 5. Andrade is Andrade, and her biggest obstacle here will be…whether she decides to go for the vault final or not. If she does, she’s the massive favorite. Meanwhile, Melnikova will also be in the mix (and may not even need the Cheng to get a medal), and Murakami should be able to overcome the disappointment of missing the vault final in Tokyo as long as she competes two vaults here.
Devillard is the most likely spoiler for that trio. Her best vault average this year is a tier lower than the top 3 have scored, but that’s also with a Yurchenko full instead of the DTY she can perform. With an upgrade, or any of the previous three deciding not to do two vaults or to downgrade, she’ll be right there. Similarly, Qi Qi could put herself close to the medal mix by upgrading back to her previous difficulty.
Beyond those top contenders, there should be ample opportunity for some of the typical Challenge Cuppers, like Bacskay and Kysselef, to make a final. Their better performances this year, like when Bacskay won Mersin or when Kysselef won Koper, would put them right into the top echelon of vault scores in this field.
There are a few other athletes to keep in mind who haven’t shown a second vault score this year but who may/will compete two vaults here, like Elze Geurts who is going specifically as a vault/floor specialist, or perhaps one of the Italians if the mood strikes. Basically, anyone who has even a sliver of a second vault should go for it because at this point a Yurchenko full can make the world final.
Pre-Worlds Bars Rankings
*Domestic bonus used. (Officially. As opposed to literally all the other scores, where an unofficial domestic bonus is used.)
While the vault field looks wispy, the bars field should be pretty deep, with a nice Russia v. China battle brewing. Even though bars did not turn out to be the biggest problem for China at the Olympics, their 7th-place bars finish among 8 countries in the team final was deeply un-China. A couple members of this worlds squad (and by a couple, I mean Wei Xiaoyuan and Wei Xiaoyuan) might be looking to use this competition to say, “Welllllll, perhaps if you had taken me, things would have been different.” Meanwhile, Melnikova is the only Olympic bars finalist returning to worlds, and she and Urazova went 4th and 5th in qualification in Tokyo, setting themselves up as big medal favorites here.
Under typical circumstances, Andrade is probably going to score a touch behind this lead group on bars, but she certainly can make the final along with a number of the other athletes who finished alongside her in the 14-19 zone at the Olympics, including Zsofia Kovacs, Filipa Martins, Lee Yunseo, and Alice D’Amato. Good picks for the final, all of them, and I’d include non-Olympians Kayla DiCello and Elisa Iorio in the same tier of athletes who will be fighting among themselves for any remaining places.
And then there’s Becky Downie. She ranks only 13th here (11th if you do 2-per-country) using her score from that extra trial in that leaky broom cupboard, but we know she is medal-capable and has the necessary difficulty to beat pretty much everyone here. Then again, she struggled at the worlds trial and will have to adjust to the Taishan bars, so she’s a bit of a wildcard at this one.
Pre-Worlds Beam Rankings
China looks very capable of repeating the gold-silver placement from the Olympics, with all three of the presumed beam competitors (Li, Luo, Wei) ranking among the top 3 beamers in this field.
Russia, meanwhile, will have an interesting decision to make. With Melnikova and Minaeva announced as the all-arounders, only one of Urazova (tied for 3rd) and Vorona (6th) can do beam in qualification. I assume it will be Vorona because otherwise…why is she here? But, based on the format of the competition and what we’ve heard from the team so far, Russia would have to bench one of its major contenders.
The US brings its heartiest crop of finals contenders on beam and should get at least one person into the final, if not two, looking in particular to place McClain in there since she has the highest scoring potential of the bunch and would be the most likely to win an actual medal.
Ashikawa got into the Olympic event final at the last second when Iordache had to withdraw, but with a similar qualification performance at worlds, she shouldn’t have much trouble getting into the 8 here.
Pre-Worlds Floor Rankings
|Vera Van Pol||NED||13.550|
Floor appears to be closer to vault in terms of the depth of the field and clarity of the top contenders. Also in terms of who those contenders are, with Melnikova, Murakami, and Andrade looking a likely podium again here. But these scores should also serve as a reminder that we did see Andrade suffer out-of-bounds problems enough at the Olympics that the biggest total isn’t a given for her.
I’d expect DiCello to make the final if she performs normally, and Wong is certainly capable of it as well with one of her good floor days. As the third-highest-scoring floor worker in the group this year thanks to that 14.233 from the second day of Olympic Trials, Wong must be considered a true contender—and also has one of the more concise US floor routines without those extra elements that proved costly for members of the Olympic team. (Now, if we could just replace that switch ring with a different C element…)
Expect to see some surprises in this final because outside of that top 5 or so, things get very ambiguous. If Qi Qi shows up with a hit, I’m on board. And then we’ve got Visser? Hatakeda, Heduit, and Van Pol? There’s a huge traffic jam in the mid-low 13s that would seem to point to many many gymnasts feeling like they’ve got a shot at this one.