1. Liu Tingting is a thing
Charitably, in our time of devastating gymnastics need with only piddling little world cup events to keep us warm, the Chinese Nationals have arrived to save the day. Get ready to have sudden and arbitrary opinions about the Chinese gymnasts again.
For reference, all the cool kids are super into Liu Tingting right now, in case you want to seem popular. She’s like the snap-bracelets-in-1989 of Chinese gymnastics. Everyone’s wearing at least three of her. The even cooler kids were really into Luo Huan for a second, but her existence hasn’t gone great in the last few competitions, so she’s like SO a month again. Off the face of the earth! Now they’ve moved on to Lu Yufei and Zhu Xiaofang.
But, in real results that don’t have anything to do with coolness rankings, Shang Chunsong won both the TF and the AA final, obvi. She remains China’s best and sole medal-competitive AAer. I mostly hesitate to have any expectations for Shang in the AA because her vault continues to be something that wouldn’t make the lineup of a top-30 NCAA team, but with Iordache undergoing an Edward Scissorhands amount of hand surgeries (see below), the Olympic AA field is starting to look quite shallow and weak. I still expect a Russian to pull it together somehow for bronze, but if it comes down to a fight with Steingruber, Black, Downie, etc, then Shang can win AA bronze in Rio.
In more noteworthy developments, Mao Yi is a real thing now. She made the Worlds team last year, but she was sort of in the “you’re also here” part of the team with Chen Siyi, at least in my mind. The DTY she’s showing right now, however, has far superior distance and chest position to the other options, who are still a little two-inches-from-the-table/show-me-on-the-doll-where-the-mat-touched-you, just like at 2015 worlds. Even more significantly, Mao proved here that her floor is not just usable but necessary in a TF scenario.
It’s appropriate to lose yourself in that quad spin, and while routines that rely on spins for difficulty make me more than nervous, it’s not just about the spin because of the tumbling combos, and China desperately needs this “arm wave and an uncomfortable smile” of a routine.
I’m all for the 3.5+front pike trend. It’s much less objectionable than the 3/1+front tucks, which are also still here in force and are among the reasons China gets stuck down in the 8.0-8.3 execution range instead of 8.5-8.7, with the under-rotating and the coming in horizontally. I’m still not sold on the idea that the CV makes those passes worth it since they’re such deduction traps, but the connections do guard against downgraded twists.
Another future Olympian, power specialist Wang Yan, continues to be not Cheng Fei at all, disappointing everyone. WHY AREN’T YOU CHENG FEI??? Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 13, 2016