At least 20 Olympic spots (but probably closer to 30) will be earned by all-around gymnasts in Stuttgart. But who will they be? I have some thoughts.
Now that we have nominative rosters for the world championships, it’s possible to play around with scoring permutations and team rankings with a little more confidence and realism than when we didn’t know which random local urchins were going to make up these teams.
So, to the hierarchy. As it currently stands, I have USA, China, France, Russia and Italy as a top 5 teams, with Canada, Great Britain, and Japan rounding out the team final, and Germany close but just missing out. That’s just a very rough sketch of this step pyramid as I see it in present day, and it will be refined as we get closer to worlds. Many previews in our future.
You know that thing where you’re watching gymnastics and think, “I wish this were boring and worse”?
Welcome to the Olympic Gala. The opportunity for 3 and a half people to drip into the Rio Olympic Arena to see some of the brightest male stars of the games be intensely proud of themselves for acting like insufferable hams while the brightest female stars give zero fucks and leave immediately.
If you didn’t watch it, well played.
I did. (The first one. Not the second one too. I don’t hate myself.)
So…probably sainthood, right?
It was basically one of those Gymnastics and Figure Skating Craptaculars, except without Nastia scarf-prancing to the tune of butt-shelves for thirty seconds, or some 9-year-old America’s Got Saddest glob country-twanging about hitting the open road. (And we’re all like, “You’re 9, the only thing you’re hitting is lunch recess.”)
This is how it started. (It didn’t get better.)
Today’s action features the event finals on Bicep Crash, Competitive Lowering Your Arms Slowing In The Corner, and Man Plummet, some of the most anticipated action of the whole Olympics.
And we’re all just going to pretend like this isn’t the last day of the Olympics so that we don’t have to deal with that emotionally. Agreed. Done.
PBars – Leyva, Muntean, Deng, You, Belyavskiy, Verniaiev, Larduet, Kato
Floor – Murakami, Wang, Fasana, Tinkler, Biles, Steingruber, Raisman, Ferrari
HBar – Hambuechen, Zonderland, Wilson, Mikulak, Verniaiev, Barretto, Larduet, Leyva
Part 2! Out of 3 for some reason! Today, our responsibility is to stay awake through rings somehow (not apologizing) and then try to maintain a respectable amount of life skills during the fall terror […]
And we’re back. Rested. Calm. Ready to pretend that the Olympics aren’t going to be over in a few days. What? How dare you. Shut your filthy mouth.
Today’s life experience will feature men’s floor, followed by women’s vault, followed by pommel horse, followed by uneven bars. Be warned that the (original) schedule has a break after each event for the medal ceremony rather than bunching the way they do at worlds. So sit back and take your patience pills.
Floor – Uchimura, Hypolito, Whitlock, Thomas, Nory, Dalton, Shirai, Mikulak
Vault – Hong, Olsen, Chusovitina, Wang, Steingruber, Karmakar, Paseka, Biles
Horse – Tommasone, Belyavskiy, Naddour, Verniaiev, Smith, Merdinyan, Whitlock, Kuksenkov
Bars – Lopez, Douglas, Mustafina, Kocian, Scheder, Shang, Spiridonova, Seitz
In spite of Mikulak’s alarming #1 qualifying position on floor, the heavy favorite will be Dear Sweet Kenzo. As always on horse, the favorites are the Brits + whoever doesn’t fall into the lava.
On vault, Biles is only aided by the fact that she gets to go last (in spite of the length of time since warming up) while her biggest competition, Hong, must go first. Paseka is right back in the medal hunt after showing her full difficulty again, though her landings have been the least consistent of the three so far. The pressing question heading into the final will be upgrades. Will Chuso throw a hail-mary Prod, and will Hong finally decide to chuck a TTY out there? My instinct is no since she’s basically guaranteed a medal with her normal Amanar. We shall see.
Today, the Simone Show moves into phase 2, the SIMONE part, featuring special help from her trusty assistant Aly Raisman. The most interesting item gleaned from qualification (reinforcing what we learned at trials) is that while we have been saying for years that Simone could fall twice and still win the Olympic AA, that’s not necessarily true. One fall, yes. One fall and some 2015 AA issues, probably fine. But two falls would start to be a problem.
The #2 American was always going to be the favorite for silver, but the margin by which Raisman leaped ahead of the other non-Americans in qualification was surprising. Two whole points, and two whole points ahead of people like Andrade and Tutkhalyan who had pretty much ideal meets for them and won’t expect to do much more today. That’s why medal expectations have turned toward Mustafina, one of the few in the competition who could go into the 59s with four hit routines, in spite of her underpowered 2016 floor.
Still, the race for bronze remains as wide open as it has seemed ever since Iordache got injured, but Mustafina’s 58 with a fall in qualification does appear to put her in the front of the pack, especially with Melnikova not advancing and Shang not looking at full strength so far in the competition. But those of us who are looking for an insane result somewhere still have bronze to cling to.