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.
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