The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

World Championships Qualification Live Blog — Day 1

It’s actually starting! I’m here at the arena in Liverpool to give you all the live updates on the competition that the lack of streaming is cruelly keeping from you.

In the first subdivision, we have the US and Belgium. The US women made an adjustment from their podium training order and will be competing Skye Blakely on bars rather than Leanne Wong, yet keeping Wong on vault. Wong is theoretically on this team for bars—that’s how she made up the highest-scoring five—so if you were going to have her on an event, you’d think it would be bars. But Blakely also looked very good on bars in PT while Wong missed her main routine.

It’s a shame for Blakely not to be on vault because her DTY also looked quite strong in training, where she was performing like a top-3 all-arounder for this team. At the same time, I imagine they were conscious of not just pulling Wong from the meet entirely given what happened with Dowell in 2013 and how much crap Martha and Co got for it—and that was even before anyone pretended to cared about feelings.

Belgium has also pulled Noemie Louon from the competition after her podium training injury on her beam dismount and have replaced her with alternate Ylea Tollet, who will do vault and floor since Derwael is only on bars and beam right now.

The Spanish team has also been decimated with Marina Gonzalez and Lorena Medina joining Alba Petisco on the injured list, so they will be competing first alternate Maia Llacer as well as second alternate Laia Masferrer here.

So we’re 18 minutes out from the start of sub 1. Danusia and some boy I don’t recognize and may or may not be supposed to are doing the in-arena crowd-pumping action. I’d say we’re about half full at this point.

“Welcome to Our World” is not doing it for me.

Now Watanabe is teaching us about The Beatles. And how they are also the same as gymnastics. I’m not really sure.

Georgia Godwin and Joe Fraser are doing the athletes’ oath.

Watanabe has now declared the world championships open. No cauldron has been lit. What are you even doing.

Now it’s a second song performance. We’re all thrilled.

Now the gymnasts are walking out. US women are fully in their Blue Period.

Warmups begin.

Subdivision 1 Rotation 1

Blakely – FX – DLO 1/1, good, little bounce, some pike – again solid, small shuffle – wolf double – switch ring to split leap 1.5, I’d say credit full twist – back 2.5 – switch 1/2, nice – double tuck, a couple steps back there but stays in. Good one.

Derwael – BB – falls immediately on loso mount – hits loso series – hits aerial with a check – dismounts gainer piuke full with hop forward

Kanter 11.666 UB. I can’t see the vault scoreboard from my position so we may have to wait on some of those numbers.

Long ass scoring waits already for the first routines on beam and floor.

12.566 for Derwael

Jones – FX – double double, good, small hop back – split leap full – DLO, lands short, chest down, hop forward – L turn double was around – front tuck through to double tuck, good landing – switch 1/2, pretty. Good one overall, we’ll see how much the DLO landing costs her.

It was 13.600 for Blakely, which is a big start.

13.800 for Jones.

12.700 for Vaelen on beam.

Chiles – FX – 1.5 through to FTDT, just a tad short, small hop – DLO 1/1, excellent landing – wolf double, pulls it around, high position – L hop full to split leap full – switch side 1/2 is cheated around a little – front loso to double tuck, chest a bit forward, hop.

Good Y1.5 second vault from Belak.

Leg up wobble from Verkest on an aerial on beam. 1.5 dismount with bound forward.

Gahramanova pulled out a handspring front tuck with a large lunge forward on vault.

14.100 for Chiles. We’re not the Olympics anymore I guess.

Carey – FX – Moors, good control on landing, just a small bounce – DLO 1/1, small pike, again great landing control – switch full, pulled the twist around clearly – front loso to double tuck, little shuffle – split leap full, small hop – FTDT, just does pull out the landing, it was a near knee-down situation, but she saved it with a lunge forward.

Brassart finishes beam with a hit double pike dismount, hop back.

11.833 for Brassart on beam.

Samanta on vault with a pretty solid handspring pike 1/2, lunge back.

14.066 for Carey, so she is behind Chiles but ahead of Jones for the EF.

So four hits and a big floor score for the US, as we would expect. There’s some surprise in the gang that Carey still outscored Jones with that last pass, but she did have exceptional security on her first two pass landings.

US on 41.966, Belgium on 37.099

Subdivision 1 – Rotation 2

Verkest – FX – double tuck, bounce back – double pike, quite short, lunge forward – switch ring and split leap full dance passage – wolf double is nicely twisted exactly two times around – front full,, lunge forward

Wong – VT 1 – lands her DTY, lots of leg crossing, somewhat deep, with a hop back to the center.

13.766 for Wong’s first vault.

Wong – VT 2 – ro 1/2 on layout 1/2 is pretty clean, bounce back, a little bit of pike, not too much.

Tollet – FX – double pike, large bounce back – front full to front tuck, small hop – wolf 1.6 – switch to split leap full – double tuck, bounce back

Angel Wong hits her front tuck beam mount – a little slow on fhe to back tuck attempted connection so we’ll see what happens there – switch 1/2, large break, bend at the hips – side aerial, great save, lots of arm waving but kept it on.

13.100 for Wong’s second vault

Jones – VT – fantastic height on DTY, not her most controlled landing, larger bounce back than warmup. great distance.

12.266 for Tollet.

Chiles – VT – fabbbbb stickish on her DTY, what an excellent vault. She follows 14.200 for Jones. 14.466 for Chiles.

Chiles VT 2 – Nailed her Lopez as well, even more of a stick than her first vault, maybe a little college step salute quickly after stick. Amazing set of two vaults.

Carey – VT 1 – better Cheng than in PT – lots of leg crossing, medium lunge back, slight bit of direction. 14.600 with a 9.000 E score.

Good high double Arabian from Vaelen on floor, shuffle forward on one foot to try to stay in bounds.

Carey – VT 2 – also a solid DTY, not too large on the bounce back.

Carey is a tenth ahead of Chiles, who is about 6 tenths ahead of Jones in the race for the AA.

Chan with a big save on her front tuck mount, leaned on one foot for a while and kept it on – bhs back tuck series and falls – switch 1/2 to split jump, hit – side aerial, pretty – punch front full dismount, small hop.

US now nearly 10 points ahead of Belgium in the team standings on 85.232. Three strong counting vaults there.

Subdivision 1 – Rotation 3

Chiles – UB – toe full good finish to high piked tkatchev to pak, clean – maloney to gienger, nice – solid cast hs – blind to piked jaeger, good – bailto toe shoot, solid – FTDT dismount, just a little rebound in place. She is ON.

Verkest went 12.833 on vault for a Yfull. Tollet follows with a Yfull, nice late twist initiation – large bounce back but a pretty vault overall.

14.066 for Chiles. Breaking 14 internationally is big for her.

Carey – UB – Ray, good – blind to yezhova, hit – hip angle in cast handstands – maloney to bhardwaj, hit, just a small leg separation – van leeuwen – giant full, late – FTDT, small hop back. Hit.

Vaelen – VT – hits her rudi, lots of leg crossing, one step back and then an additional crossover step into salute.

13.333 for Carey.

Blakely – UB – Stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger, clean – Ricna and falls – a shame, she’d been looking so good on everything – pak with a leg break – toe full, misses combination to van leeuwen, now does it – double front 1/2 out, step back.

12.566 for Blakely.

Jones – UB – Stalder full great finish position to stalder shap to tkatchev, lovely height – toe full to stalder tkatchev piked to pak, well done – van leeuwen, fine – toe 1/2 – double front, small hop. That was the one!

Minakovskaya is fighting through a couple falls in this beam routine, the only event still running. She hits a side aerial – bhs back lay 1/1 dismount, hop.

Lonnnnng wait for Jones UB score. Like REALLLLLY long. Like did they forget or die?

14.566 seems a little low. Wasn’t measurably different from her Paris EF routine.

Borg’s beam is the only thing left in this rotation – bhs loso series, leg-up wobble, saves it – side somi, falls – side aerial, small squeeze correction – rudi dismount, lunge back.

Now it is Chiles less than a tenth ahead of Jones in the AA. Jones has .567 on Carey. So, you know, it will be about staying on beam.

Subdivision 1 – Rotation 4

Carey – BB – forward roll mount – full turn – bhs loso loso series, secure – side aerial, hit, pause before split and straddle – aerial, hit – switch, pause before switch 1/2, short of split – switch side, slightly crooked in 180 – split jump 1/2 from side, secure – bhs bhs double pike, chest down, step.

Brassart with a hand down on her double front 1/2 dismount on bars.

Halvorsen survives a yurchenko lay-pike-tuck full with a lunge to the side.

13.133 for Carey.

Jones – BB – Arabian is excellent – switch, small adjustment but continues into sissone – bhs loso series, pretty, no check – switch side, good amplitude – straddle jump from side – side aerial, lean correction walking out of it – bhs bhs double pike, larrrgeee lunge back but saved the landing. A hit!

Vaelen hits a FTDT bars dismount, lunge back.

13.200 for Jones is enough to move ahead of Carey in the AA.

Blakely – BB – wolf turn triple is nicely done – back tuck full, awesome save, she bounced back and did a couple leans and stayed on – fhs front tuck, leg-up wobble – switch to switch 1/2, hit – aerial to split – near stick on a strong double tuck dismount.

Derwael – UB – Stalder tkatchev 1/2 to yezhova to Stalder shaposh to pak to maloney to bhardwaj, good combo – van leeuwen, solid – toe full to FTDT, little slide back. A good one. 

Blakely still on 13.733 on beam even with a couple large mistakes.

14.700 for Derwael goes into first place on bars. Higher execution score than Jones.

Chiles – BB – falls on bhs loso! – She was having succcchhh a good day – aerial to straddle jump to bhs, hit – full turn – side somi, holds it securely – switch split, kind of splits the beam and falls again – that will cost her the AA for sure – side aerial – switch side, lean forward, brings it back – double pike dismount, small hop.

Just one of those no-good-very-bad beam days for Chiles.

So Jones and Carey will be the top 2 in the AA after the first subdivision. US will lead team of course. Carey leads vault, Derwael leads bars, Blakely leads beam, Chiles leads floor.

11.366 for Chiles. Actually would have been close between her and Carey if she had only fallen once.

So, the US performance was fine and will rank very well. Started better than it finished. Floor and vault were impressive today. Blakely fell on bars which means they had to count Carey’s score, which you would rather not do (where is Leanne), and then Chiles’ beam meant they were counting a couple low 13s. Blakely the top beam for the US but not her best. The 13.766 tells you that her best would be a HUGE number. 

SO, we’re already on to the second subdivision with Spain and Romania, so let’s go.

Subdivision 2, Rotation 1

Llacer – FX – doubee tuck, small rebound – front full, step – saw a short landing on a pass out of the corner of my eye while watching Preda’s bars.

Preda – UB – clear hip 1/2 to jaeger, hit – Ray, good turnover – pak, leg separation – crazy van leeuwen, lots of tucking and leg separation – giant full gets off line, she can’t get over to handstand on her next giant and has to hop off – finishes with double pike, step.

12.066 Adalsteinsdottir on vault. Really strong landing for Gudmundsdottir to follow on her Yurchenko tucked full.

10.666 for Preda.

Barbosu – UB – maloney to clear hip full to giant swing to clear hip tkatchev piked – Ricna, solid – pak, clean – shaposh 1/2, some leg break – toe on – front giant 1/2 – FTDT, hop to the side. Nice job.

Lihie Raz saved a punch front on beam, very deep but somehow not a fall.

Emma Fernandez of Spain finishes her floor with a lovely stuck double pike.

Nice handspring front pike vault for Leon, small step.

13.433 for Barbosu on bars. 12.633 for Raz for beam.

Perea – Ecu – BB – switch to split, pretty nice – side aerial – switch 1/2, check, some foot position – bhs loso, solid, just a bit of knee position – full turn – hits side somi – step back on dismount. Nice one. 11.400. Pssh.

Casabuena – FX – piked full in, shuffle back – doubel tuck, small bounce, good chest up position – front full, a bit of knees – switch ring is pretty – split leap full, good extension – double pike, larger rebound back, stays in bounds.  13.200, a really good number.

Raya – FX – double tuck, small hop up in place – split leap full, short of 180 – nice triple turn – front full, medium step, – wolf double, around – switch to switch 1/2, she’ll get deducted for these split positions – double pike, does well to get her chest up quickly and minimize the moment, just a little scoot forward.

Subdivision 2, Rotation 2

Preda – BB – good bhs mount – side aerial to bhs hit – side somi, holds it with a little arm lean foreward – swithc to split to korbut, well connect, just a little foot form – switch 1/2, back leg, small check – split ring jump, small correction – full turn, overturns by a 1/4 – aerial, knee position – 2/1 dismount, lunge back. A hit.

Casabuena – VT – 2nd up for Spain – hits a clean yfull, bounce back, pretty solid position in the air

11.966 for Preda.

Barbosu – BB – hits front tuck mount with step forward – bhs front tuck series, another fantastic save (there have been a bunch of those toda), large lean forward onto one ball of the foot, stayed on – was secure after that until her switch ring, a bit hesitant and a step back – wolf double, no trouble – split leap 1/1, gets it around so will probably get credit, short of split – 2.5 dismount, step.

Maisferrer finishes vault for Spain with a very usable Yfull, just a bit of knees, somewhat forward, small hop.

Netzer – FX – FTDT, minor step back, good height, some leg form – 2.5 to front lay, small scoot back – switch to split leap full – double tuck, step back OOB – switch side 1/2 –

12.500 for Barbosu on beam

Spain was close with Belgium after floor but gave up quite a bit of ground on vault. They’ll hope to make it up by staying on beam in the last rotation.

Adalsteinsdottir – UB – weiler, can’t get up to handstand and stops – casts back up and gets her weiler to jaeger – bail, a little crooked – clear hip to toe shoot – giant full to back lay full dismount. Oh really pretty twist on that dismount. 11.033

Subdivision 2 – Rotation 3

Preda – FX – double y spin is around – double pike, bounce back – front full – switch full, good elevation – double tuck, just small movement – split leap full, good work – switch ring and split ring 1/2 as her dance passage. A good one.

Fernandez opens Spain’s bars with a hit. Raya with a very strange peel off going into a release on the high bar.

Barbosu – FX – FTDT, a bit short, hop forward – 2.5 to front full, good, hop to the side – hits double pike – double tuck, bounce back.

Lost arena wifi for a second there during Barbosu’s floor but we’re back now.

Raz hits her DTY, chest a bit forward, hop to the side.

Casabuena – UB – maloney to pak, feet flexed – van leeuwen, leg break – blind to piked jaeger, good height but close catch – giant full – toe on to delladio dismount, step back.

Adalsteinsdottir – BB – stomach roll mount – bhs loso, check, knees – L turn, good leg up position – split leap full, not bad! just a little short of split, around – side aerial is strong – switch, good position – cat leap, check, pause before split and straddle – split jump 1/2 from side, secure – 1.5 dismount, larrrgeee lunge forward off the mat. But I’m a fan.

Llacer – UB – fairly crazy yezhova with a leg break – shaposh to pak, hit, leg separation – maloney to gienger and falls, low element, couldn’t get her hand over. Spain will be counting a fall on bars. Resumes with clear hip to giant full to double pike, step forward.11.066

11.600 for Adalsteinsdottir.

Gudmundsdottir – BB – bhs loso series, pretty position – back tuck, secure – switch to wolf jump, low on wolf position – switch side, not quite to split, leg up wobble – straddle jump 1/2 from side, falls – resumes, side aerial, arm wave – just a back lay dismount, hop in place. 10.133

Subdivision 2 – Rotation 4

Preda hits her Yfull, medium step back, chest up, good direction.

Fernandez – BB – Spain – bhs mount, step back – bhs back pike series – side somi, chest way forward and falls – resumes successfully, has a nice position on her wolf jump. We’ve seen some dumpy ones today. Saves her double pike dismount with a lunge back.

The degree to which Milca Leon has improved since we first saw her at worlds in 2017 is stunning.

Raz – UB – maloney, some legs to pak, legs apart – toe shoot – toe on to giant full, solid finish position – she hits her legs on the low bar on her blind change and then again on the high bar on her connected piked jaeger and somehow didn’t come off on either. But then she sits her double front dismount.

Adalsteinsdottir did the first split leap 1.5 on floor of the day that I would credit.

Casabuena keeps her bhs loso loso series on the beam with a wobble – front tuck, step. Also showed a good aerial to split jump to back tuck mixed series. Saves a side somi with an arm wave. Double pike dismount, hop. 12.966

Raya – BB – back extension roll to switch to split, short back leg – attempts layout 2 feet and falls, so Spain will also count a fall on beam – side aerial, arm check – standing back tuck, secure – full turn, lean – double tuck dismount, hop back.

11.033

Masferrer – BB – candle mount, hit – bhs bhs loso, small leg up check – side aerial, hit – sissone to switch, short back leg on sissone but nice switch position – back tuck, secure – split jump 1/2 from side was a real struggle but she stayed on, bend over at the hips – 2/1, step back.

Pretty Memmel turn from Mueangphuan on floor.

So that’s enough of that. Just waiting for final scores now.

11.733 for Masferrer

Team:
1 – USA – 167.263
2 – Belgium – 156.063
3 – Spain – 149.162

AA:
1 – Jones – 55.766
2 – Carey – 55.132
3 – Chiles – 53.998
4 – Vaelen – 52.432
5 – Barbosu – 52.233

VT:
1 Carey, 2 Chiles, 3 Vaelen

UB:
1 Derwael, 2 Jones, 3 Chiles

BB:
1 Blakely, 2 Jones, 3 Carey

FX:
1 Chiles, 2 Carey, 3 Jones

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