All posts by balancebeamsituation

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.

Continue reading Chinese Nationals All-Around

Chinese Nationals Day 1

Qualification is complete at Chinese Nationals, and as is tradition, we now know far less about this team than we did to start the competition because everything is [upside down face emoji x13].

Here’s a rundown of how the major team contenders (and also Shang Chunsong) looked today as China tries to come up with a team of four and a +1 to go to the Olympics along with the already-qualified Fan Yilin (who got the top bars score because of course she did).

Who had a good day?

Li Shijia – The darling of the Chinese program heading into 2019 worlds—who then sort of got overshadowed when Tang Xijing went “IT ME THOUGH” in the all-around final—had an excellent first day of competition and leads by a pretty comfortable margin heading into the AA final. Her stellar beam routine (6.7 D) earned the top score of the day, and her nearly-as-excellent bars has her in third position.

Li was also among the few top athletes to pull out a DTY today, though it was not her strongest with a short landing and a lunge forward.

Heading into this meet, I would have characterized Li’s position in the team hierarchy as borderline and in need a big nationals performance to show that she’s an actual necessity. So, Stage One complete. If she keeps this same level up through the AA and event finals, it would make an extremely compelling case for her as a team member with must-have scores on bars and beam who can also give you any event at any stage of the Olympics as needed.

Lu Yufei – Veteran Lu Yufei has been the revelation of the last six months in Chinese gymnastics. For the first four years of her senior elite career, she had settled into an “and also Lu Yufei” position where she would show plenty of talent but not the biggest D scores and then get a 52.300 and settle into the middle of the pack, not a major contender for team selection.

At last fall’s national championship, however, Lu busted out with “I’m having a pandemic to REMEMBIC” routines on bars, beam, and (probably most importantly) floor that made us all take notice. She expanded upon that thesis with today’s performance, looking stylish and composed in her difficulty on bars, beam, and floor—on a day when several significant people weren’t—and snatching a bunch of 2nd-place qualification spots in the AA as well as on bars and floor.

Zhang Jin – Not to be ignored. Lately, I had sort of written off Zhang Jin in terms of Olympic team chances because 1) she hadn’t looked quite as good as she did in 2018 when she was an essential part of the worlds team and 2) the relative strength of the newer seniors on vault and floor was dampening her necessity as the go-to, non-bad VT/FX score.

It’s still definitely an uphill battle for Zhang, but pulling out a DTT for one of the better vault scores of the day and qualifying top-3 into floor final and beam final (it was one of her good beam days) was really everything she could have done to keep herself in the mix.

Who had a medium day?

Continue reading Chinese Nationals Day 1

Who’s Going to the Olympics?

Here, I’m tracking the athletes who are going to the Olympics and the path through which they are qualified. I’ll keep this in a tab at the top and update it as we learn more.

WOMEN

United States Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
China Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Russia Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
France Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Canada Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Netherlands Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Great Britain Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Italy Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Germany Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Belgium Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Japan Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Spain Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Individuals – 20
(2019 All-Around)
1. Flavia Saraiva (BRA)
2. Giulia Steingruber (SUI)
3. Georgia Godwin (AUS)
4. Diana Varinska (UKR)
5. Lee Yunseo (KOR)
6. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN)
7. Martina Dominici (ARG)
8. Alexa Moreno (MEX)
9. Danusia Francis (JAM)
10. Kim Su Jong (PRK)
11. Aneta Holsaova (CZE)
12. Marcia Vidiaux (CUB)
13. Maria Holbura (ROU)
14. Elisa Hämmerle (AUT)
15. Anastasia Alistratava (BLR)
16. Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (MAS)
17. Mandy Mohamed (EGY)
18. Nazli Savranbasi (TUR)
19. Barbora Mokosova (SVK)
20. Filipa Martins (POR)
Individuals – 12
(2019 Event Finals)
1. Yeo Seojeong (KOR)
**The remaining 11 unused spots
were put back in the all-around pool
Individuals – 11
(2019 All-Around –
reallocated from unused
event finals spots)
1. Ana Derek (CRO)
2. Caitlin Rooskrantz (RSA)
3. Jonna Adlerteg (SWE)
4. Gabriela Janik (POL)
5. Simona Castro (CHI)
6. Lihie Raz (ISR)
7. Julie Erichsen (NOR)
8. Ariana Orrego (PER)
9. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)
10. Ting Hua-Tien (TPE)
11. Marina Nekrasova (AZE)
Individuals – 2
(2019 All-Around –
reallocated from Japan’s
unused host country spot
and
North Korea’s withdrawal
)
1. Tan Sze En (SGP)
2. Megan Ryan (IRL)
Individuals – 4
(Apparatus World Cup
Series winners)
VT – Jade Carey (USA)
UB – Fan Yilin (CHN)
BB – Urara Ashikawa (JPN)
FX – TBD (ITA)
**Italy’s spot will be either Lara Mori
or Vanessa Ferrari, depending on the
alleged conclusion of the series.
Individuals – 3
(Spots awarded following
cancellation of All-Around
World Cup Series
)
1. TBD (USA)
2. TBD (CHN)
3. TBD (RUS)
Individuals – 2
(2021 European Championships)
1. TBD (RUS)
2. Larisa Iordache (ROU)
Individuals – 2
(2019 All-Around – next two
Asian athletes on list due to no
2021 Asian Championship)
1. Milka Gehani (SRI)
2. Pranati Nayak (IND)
Individuals – 1
(2021 Oceania Championships)
May 21
Individuals – 2
(2021 African Championships)
May 26
Individuals – 2
(2021 Pan Am Championships)
June 5
Individuals – 1
(Tripartite Commission for
under-represented nations)
1. TBD

In the event of cancellation of the Pan American Championships, those spots would go to Luciana Alvarado of Costa Rica and Karelys Diaz of Puerto Rico.

In the event of cancellation of the Africa Championships, those spots would go to Annabel Agba of Nigeria and Sofia Nair of Algeria.

The next alternates for general spots from the 2019 all-around standings are Maria Kharenkova (GEO), Argyro Afrati (GRE), and Maia Fishwick (NZL).

MEN

Russia Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
China Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Japan Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Ukraine Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Great Britain Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Switzerland Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
United States Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Taiwan Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
South Korea Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Brazil Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Spain Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Germany Team1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
Individuals – 12
(2019 All-Around)
1. Carlos Yulo (PHI)
2. Manrique Larduet (CUB)
3. Ludovico Edalli (ITA)
4. Milad Karimi (KAZ)
5. Loris Frasca (FRA)
6. Robert Tvorogal (LTU)
7. Alexander Shatilov (ISR)
8. Ferhat Arican (TUR)
9. Artur Davtyan (ARM)
10. David Huddleston (BUL)
11. Bart Deurloo (NED)
12. Daniel Corral (MEX)
Individuals – 18
(2019 Event Finals)
1. Artem Dolgopyat (ISR)
2. Rhys McClenaghan (IRL)
3. Cyril Tommasone (FRA)
4. Ibrahim Colak (TUR)
5. Marco Lodadio (ITA)
6. Samir Ait Said (FRA)
7. Marian Dragulescu (ROU)
8. Le Thanh Tung (VIE)
9. Shek Wai Hung (HKG)
10. Ahmet Onder (TUR)
11. Tin Srbic (CRO)
12. Tyson Bull (AUS)
**The remaining 6 unused spots
were put back in the all-around pool
Individuals – 6
(2019 All-Around –
reallocated from unused
event finals spots)
1. Rene Cournoyer (CAN)
2. Rasuljon Abdurakhimov (UZB)
3. Marios Georgiou (CYP)
4. Ivan Tikhonov (AZE)
5. David Rumbutis (SWE)
6. Andrey Likhovitskiy (BLR)
Individuals – 1
(2019 All-Around –
reallocated from Japan’s
unused host country spot

and Larduet’s apparent
withdrawal)
1. Sofus Heggemsnes (NOR)
2. David Jessen (CZE)
Individuals – 6
(Apparatus World Cup
Series winners)
FX – Rayderley Zapata (ESP)
PH – TBD
SR – TBD
VT – TBD
PB – TBD
HB – Epke Zonderland (NED)
Individuals – 3
(Spots awarded following
cancellation of All-Around
World Cup Series
)
1. TBD (RUS)
2. TBD (CHN)
3. TBD (JPN)
Individuals – 2
(2021 European Championships)
1. TBD (RUS)
2. Adem Asil (TUR)
Individuals – 2
(2019 All-Around – next two
Asian athletes on list due to no
2021 Asian Championship)
1. Dinh Phuong Thanh (VIE)
2. Loo Phay Xing (MAS)
Individuals – 1
(2021 Oceania Championships)
May 21
Individuals – 2
(2021 African Championships)
May 27
Individuals – 2
(2021 Pan Am Championships)
June 4
Individuals – 1
(Tripartite Commission for
under-represented nations)
1. TBD

In the event of cancellation of the Pan American Championships, those spots would go to Tomas Gonzalez of Chile and Santiago Mayol of Argentina.

In the event of cancellation of the Africa Championships, those spots would go to Mohamed Afify of Egypt and Hillal Metidji of Algeria.

The next alternates for general spots from the 2019 all-around standings after David Jessen (should he receive the Larduet spot) are Tomas Gonzalez (CHI), Andrei Muntean (ROU), and Luka Van Den Keybus (BEL).

The Path to Tokyo

81 days to the Olympics, and with NCAA season out of the way, it’s time to start getting mentally prepared for the push to Tokyo. For realsies now. I’m starting this arduous process by planning out the critical benchmarks between now and the Olympics for various team selections and qualification of the remaining spots.

May 4-9 – Chinese Nationals

May 4 – Men’s Team/Qualification
May 5 – Women’s Team/Qualification
May 6 – Men’s All-Around
May 7 – Women’s All-Around
May 8 – Event Finals Day 1
May 9 – Event Finals Day 2

The Chinese national championship acts as the first stage of the Olympic trials process, though teams will not be named at this point. The official teams will be determined after two training camp competitions in June and early July. The national championship, however, is the final major public test and therefore our last chance to establish firm and dramatic opinions about what the team should be.

May 15-16 – NHK Cup

May 15 – Women’s All-Around
May 16 – Men’s All-Around

The NHK Cup serves as the final qualification event for Japanese team selection. At the end of the NHK Cup, the scores from the already completed All-Japan Championships will be added to the NHK Cup scores, with the top 3 athletes in the all-around being named to the Olympic team, and the 4th selected from among the top all-around finishers based on the “ekhsfkhjdfklhjfd” criteria.

May 18-23 – Virtual Canadian Championships

The Canadian Championships will be held virtually this year, with day 1 routines submitted between May 14-16 and judged on May 18, and day 2 routines submitted between May 19-21 and judged on May 23. The announcement of Canada’s women’s Olympic team will come on June 17th.

May 21 – Oceania Olympic Qualification

One Olympic spot is still available for both men and women from the Oceanic region, which will be decided at the Oceanic Championship—held in conjunction with Australian Nationals this year. The Oceanic qualifiers will be decided based on the all-around results of the first day of elite competition on May 21.

May 22 – US Classic

OK, yes there are no actual Olympic implications at Classic and it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s got to be on the schedule…

Continue reading The Path to Tokyo

American Classic – Senior Live Blog

American Classic < US Classic < US Championships < Olympic Trials

But we’ve arrived at base camp? I guess?

I watched bits of podium training yesterday, and…it was pretty rough. I’m very interested to see whether that was just podium training things, whether that will continue in the actual “competition” (to reinforce, it’s basically just camp with a fancy name), or whether lots of those people won’t end up competing those events.

In the first rotation, the GAGEs will be on vault, Sunisa Lee and DiCello are on beam, and Blakely and McCallum are on floor. Among others. 23 seniors here in all. In PT, the GAGEs did only timers on vault, no actual twists except Scott, whom I saw do some fulls.

Continue reading American Classic – Senior Live Blog

European Championships Women’s All-Around – Live Blog

In “Olympic qualification is done so PEACE OUT” news, Larisa Iordache and Vanessa Ferrari have both withdrawn from today’s AA final, Iordache pulling out with a kidney infection, which seems fun. They are replaced by Naomi Visser and Zoja Szekely in the lead group (Alice D’Amato declined the two-per-country replacement of Ferrari).

Let’s all just be glad we’re done with those qualification streams and now get to enjoy a real broadcast that a professional made. Olly doing some poetry about dreams. Joined by Blythe for their tag-team ASMR special.

Continue reading European Championships Women’s All-Around – Live Blog