Event Finals Day 3

End of the line, everybody off. Four more event finals to finish off our Olympic Games.

Men’s Parallel Bars:

 Women’s Beam:

 Men’s High Bar:

 Women’s Floor:

Men’s Parallel Bars:
Zhang opened for us on Pbars completely off, missing several handstands to Romanian degrees before coming off the bars. 13.808

Sabot of France has some handstand trouble (but not to the degree of Zhang) as well and a major pause on one bars but improves as the routine goes on, minor hop on the double pike. 15.566.

Feng – Really strong, tight tumbling, but the form on handstands wasn’t amazing and a minor struggle on a straddle release. Should be the best so far, but I wasn’t completely impressed. Isn’t it upsetting when people seem to overly celebrate based on performance level? 15.966.

Nguyen – Good rhythm, good positions, minor hop on tuck full dismount. I understand that it won’t outscore Feng, but it was the superior routine. 15.800.

Corral Barron – A fine but ultimately middle of the pack routine. 15.333.

Tsolakidis – moves through pirouetting quite cleanly with a tighter position than most. Impressive front double pike, just a step on dismount. I appreciated what was happening there, but there wasn’t enough difficulty. 15.300.

Tanaka 1 – I’m not completely pleased with these wonky handstands throughout, but very nice handstand on one bar and a stuck landing. 15.500. He should be doing better than that, but he was off at the start.

Tanaka 2 – I think I like this Tanaka better, but he’s having even more struggles than his brother with some cranky handstands. Poor dismount with big lunge forward. Probably the lowest score we’ve seen. 15.100.

Garibov – He had to be perfect to get into the medals, and some breaks with bent arms and a hop back on the double pike will keep him out of the medals. 15.300.

This final needed a little more Danell Leyva or a little more Marcel Nguyen winning. Smiley Sabot is making it better.

GOLD: Feng, SILVER: Nguyen, BRONZE: Sabot

Women’s Beam:
I’m looking forward to this final because, while we can expect it to be the China/Romania show with a Komova cameo, nearly everyone involved has a shot at a medal. There aren’t any clunkers  with no hope like in the vault and bars finals.

For yet another time at these Olympics, we’ll start with the favorite, Sui Lu. Front pike + swingdown is good, as is barani, no choreography, good swith ring. A minor wobble on a back pike the only issue with this routine so far. She’s hitting everything. Small step on double pike. That will likely be our gold routine. 15.500.

Ponor – her floppy switch ring as usual, wobble on double turn by making it 2.5 turn, huge wobble on her full bhs, with several steps. Boo. Glad she ended with the pike full dismount. Shouldn’t medal, but still fun to watch. 15.066. A little bit of Ponor scoring, but who cares? [Maybe Aly Raisman.]

Deng – beautiful in the layout+korbut series and confident in the switch ring, dismounts with a minor step back on the double pike. It was similar to Sui’s routine, but I think Sui was a little more confident and should score higher. Both will likely medal. They just need to keep that fluidity, grace, and choreography back to Chinese beam to get me on the train. 15.600 into first. I disagree. Deng had several more hesitations.

 Iordache – Completely comes off on back full series after a valiant attempt to save, and follows it with more wobbles. Really found her confidence after the beginning and was more solid, finishing with a very nice 3/1 dismount. 14.200. This bronze position is wide open for the Russians and Americans.

Afanasyeva – wobbles on pike 1/2, otherwise excellent, moving through with grace. I question a couple of these connections. Big stumble back out of double tuck, looks like she had so much time that she overrotated. 14.583.

Douglas – wobbles on her walkover to lose the connection, already the biggest error she’s had over four routines, then a big wobble on her back full. She’s not quite on anymore, splits the beam on a switch 1/2 and comes off. Her gymnastics checked out after the AA win. Better that this beam routine happened during EF. 13.633.

We’ve seen multiple shots of Sui Lu and she is devastated that Deng went ahead of her. I didn’t see it either, Lu.

Komova – big wobble on L turn, series look nice but then a minor correction after her loso, huge wobble on front tuck and comes off. Shannon says she gave up, but her center of gravity was in Manchester at that point, so what was she supposed to do? Fall on Patterson. 13.166. Taking out her hair clips in disgust. That’s going to take a lot of work.

These gymnasts are going to let Ponor back her way into a bronze medal after a wobble factory. Just Raisman left. She could sneak a bronze, though.

Raisman – She’s wearing Flag Blender. Is it going to be good luck? Front tuck is good, as is layout. The front pike will be the big test now, another wobble but not the problem from the AA, though it may be just enough to put her behind Ponor. Very solid on everything else. Patterson now – big hop forward again. She will be the beneficiary of going last, can she pass Ponor? 14.966. Nope.

How does Ponor always do it? That was a bad routine, but no one took it from her.

GOLD: Deng, SILVER: Sui, BRONZE: Ponor

Petition? Petition. Love a petition. Reviewing Raisman’s D Score. This is a dangerous thing, because there is an argument for downgrade on most of her split skills anyway. They raise Raisman’s D Score. She’ll get third based on execution! Another tie for Raisman, and now she moves up to bronze.

Ponor’s face! Ponor’s face! Show it! Devastating for her. It’s like 2005 Beam Finals but worse. Aly better not go into any dark alleys anytime soon. Well, we’ll have something to talk about here.

GOLD: Deng, SILVER: Sui, BRONZE: Raisman

Men’s High Bar:
Some really fun routines (and Zou Kai’s low amplitude code demonstration) in this event final.

Leyva begins, full tkatchev and layout kovacs are nice, one or two minor issues with swing and handstand, and a pretty large step on his double double layout, so not his absolute best but a strong routine. 15.833. It may be tough to medal with that from the first position.

Zhang – big releases and swinging well out of them, connecting with difficulty. Does a little dance to hang onto the stick on the double double layout. That will pass Leyva certainly. 16.266.

Garibov – goes over on a handstand, which is a shame because it was an elegant routine until then. Same dismount as the others with a hop to the side. 15.333.

Zou – Hits. Feet and amplitude. 16.366. I have nothing. Whenever you want to make the argument about this code overvaluing difficulty, point to this. But Zhang was competitive in difficulty and  superior on execution, so I don’t see that.

Hambuchen – wonderful height, rhythm and combinations. Great routine! One or two handstand issues, but he can’t do it much better than that. 16.400! He’s rewarded. I didn’t think they would do it, and I’m so pleased that they did. It was really excellent.

Zonderland – Absolutely tremendous releases and hair, which is why we forgive his frequent and extreme leg separations on every release. Excellent stuck dismount. Thrilling routine, epitomizes what high bar should be. 16.533. There will be much to discuss about this, but his difficulty was above Hambuchen. I can’t be mad at Zonderland, but I feel for Hambuchen because his routine is also thrilling and his form is superior. Nonetheless, Zonderland is also the kind of winner we want for this competition.

Horton – Great, clean releases but not connected in the same way as the others. They have moved past him on this event to some extent. Step on dismount, but a great way to finish out for him. 15.466.

Kim finishes for us – nice tuck position on his Kovacs, huge stumbles out of the dismount, but it was clean before that. 15.133

GOLD: Zonderland, SILVER: Hambuchen, BRONZE: Zou

Good podium considering we knew they were going to reward Zou. I’m absolutely right there with gold and silver. Our commentator said, “perfect dismount,” and it sounded like “birthing dismount.” That’s where I am with my gymnastics fatigue level right now.

Women’s Floor:
If I have to see Shawn Johnson’s pretend flooded gym one more time, I really will die. That portrait of her floating in the mud. . .

Finally the floor finalists are entering. It’s a shame that Afan has to go first. Ponor is right behind Raisman in line. What does she want to do? I think I forgot Lauren Mitchell was a person since we haven’t seen her since day 1.

Now that’s how you present to the crowd. Everyone watch Ksenia. There are some delightfully severe profiles in this group.

Afanasyeva – Steps out of her double layout, some enemy of glory put her flag up. Boo. Nice attitude turn after solid 3/1. Stop clapping, audience, you’re making it bad. Steps out again on her third pass. Did commit to the leg work quite as much after her third pass. She’s tired and upset, but a good double pike dismount. Don’t they know they should expand the floor for her? She needs some Ponor scoring now. 14.566. Won’t be enough.

Wieber – Stumbles out of double double surprisingly. Does her stupid stag after the triple and goes out of bounds again. Don’t these people learn? The Americans were trained within an inch of their lives to peak for Team and AA, and they are past due by this point. Raisman is still in form because she is so sturdy. 14.500. Three medals still up to be won. 

Raisman – Does she do the mount? Does it and hits it perfectly. She’ll wish that was there in the AA. Piked double Arabian with a pretend jump that I would refer to as little more than a balance check. Just the double pike left. That was the best one she’s done at these Olympics. That will be well over 15 if we go on precedent. 15.600. Can anyone match that?

Ponor time – perfect DLO to open, I was going to complain about the form on the second pass, but I’ll complain about the pretend tumbling out of the tumbling. Horrifying legs on the triple. Good double pike. Let’s hope for a medal here. 15.200. That could get one. 

Mitchell – Whip double arabian looked too low but she got it around. Bizarre sissone out of piked full, almost falls on the 2.5 + layout. She’s off today. Fine double pike to finish, but it won’t be near the medals. 14.833.

Ferrari – small stumble out of double double, back tuck out of tuck full, solid passes to open. This leo. . . I can’t even talk about it due to delicate sensibilities. Goes straight up for her double pike but lands it well. It could go into third for now.  14.900. Izbasa can likely pass her, though.

Mustafina – This is not likely a routine that can go 15.000, and the triple full as a dismount was even leggier than usual. Great Olympics from her, though. Wow, 14.900! Did not expect that. She goes ahead of Ferrari on execution, though it will likely not matter.

Izbasa – Great piked full. That’s how you stag leap out of something. A little stumble out of Double L. Takes a tumble on dismount! Devastating. 

 And there we have our Olympics.

GOLD: Raisman, SILVER: Ponor, BRONZE: Mustafina.


Event Finals Day 2

We already learned during yesterday’s finals that Christmas has been cancelled and there is no Northwest Passage, so it’s hard to muster enough enthusiasm for today’s results to make predictions (also, I haven’t the foggiest). Let’s just all try to pretend that we’re not getting just a little Olympics-ed out so we can bravely push through to the end.

Men’s Rings:

 Women’s Bars:

 Men’s Vault:

Comments forthcoming.

Men’s Rings:
(Imagine if we had Women’s Rings. You know Chusovitina would still be up there, flopping that cereal bowl haircut on crosses.)

Our commentator seems surprised that the level is higher in the event finals.

Chen Yibing is dressed for snow. Nice to see Grandfather Time make this EF again.

Chen – Sticks dismount, and we probably have our winner. You see how much better he is than the others in the holds and handstands. He’s just not shivery the way the others are. 15.800

Molinari – It’s nice that gymnasts from some of these lesser countries can make an EF in MAG. In WAG they’re just making up the numbers. Wasn’t nearly as solid in his holds, then goes for a 1.5 twisting double tuck (it appeared) and put his hands down. 14.733.

Balandin – I was about to talk about how smooth this was, and then Shannon said it, so I feel like I can’t. Anyway, his feels like a cohesive routine more than the others, but don’t expect it to challenge Chen. 15.666.

Morandi – #2 qualifier, this is excellent, but it looks like a pain for him more than it does for Chen or Balandin. You see him struggling. Step on landing. 15.733. Ooh, could have been first with a stick. Or would they still have kept him down?

Iovtchev – He just can’t hold these positions the way he used to. May have put his knees down on the DLO full. It wouldn’t have medaled anyway, but a nice little crowd recognition. 15.108.

Ramos – He’s holding these positions very well, just short on some of these handstands and inverted crosses, though, which could keep him out of it. 15.600. That’s mostly appropriate because he did have some visible deductions.

Ablyazin – A very solid routine, just a step on landings, but I’m having a little trouble separating these routines. To me, it did not have the same fluid quality of Balandin, so it would go lower, but I’m not paying that much attention to the real deductions. 15.633 and 4th just below Balandin.

Nabarrete Zanetti – (Didn’t we used to say Navarrete, or did I just always have it wrong?) Very clean in the legs and the holds, and moves between the positions confidently. Step on DLO full, but it was extremely well executed. 15.900. And he wins. It really was a nice routine. A bit of a shame for Balandin to miss out, though.

GOLD: Nabarrete Zanetti, SILVER: Chen, BRONZE: Morandi

Women’s Bars:
The judges couldn’t get it done for Smith yesterday, so it will be important for them to make amends for Tweddle. He Kexin will obviously challenge, as will Komova and Mustafina. Douglas, Tsurumi, and Seitz should fight it out for the 5th-8th positions.

Finally, our bars gymnasts are entering. Shannon chucks the pronunciation of He Kexin every time. Half of these gymnasts look like they are about to cry, but those are just their resting faces.

He – Her Li Ya is a bigger struggle than it used to be, but she got it with a little deadness. Minor step forward on the landing, and the dead hangs were the biggest issues in the routine. Three muscled handstands, but the pak looked cleaner than before. 15.933.

Komova – It was going perfectly until she brushed the low bar and took a step on the dismount. Still no golds for Vika. It really was a perfect routine before that where it would have been difficult to find any deductions. 15.666. They should take .300 for the brush on the bar, so without that she would have been ahead of He.

Seitz – Hit the Def every time at this competition, and I’m glad she’s doing the skill, but the from deductions throughout the routine do not merit a medal here. Overall a hit. It’s a shame that her shaposh full is so undervalued as to make it not worth it because I would have liked to see that as well. 15.266.

Yao – A clean routine, and her pirouettes were a bit quicker than He’s, but she has the usual Chinese muscling and is missing some amplitude on her releases. 15.766, in ahead of Komova.

Tweddle – Here we go. Stumbls on the landing will take her out of first, but she has by far the most exciting composition in the group. That’s a shame. It would have been great to see her win. A medal is still in the picture. 15.916. They really wanted to give it to her but just couldn’t with the steps. It will be nice for her to get a medal after Beijing’s 4th.

Mustafina – Brilliant routine. She missed one handstand right before the stalder full, but that should medal. It was just like Komova without the bar hit, so it should even be first. 16.133 Yes. She will be the bars champ and deserved. That routine is brilliant. Tsurumi and Douglas won’t be able to get 15.9, so Tweddle will be in with the bronze.

Tsurumi – (Shannon just tried to say Huang Qiushuang, and I think it was “Hu Quickshang”) Some missed handstands and a very close catch, so her score will not be very close. 14.966. It was an accomplishment for her to get into finals.

Douglas – Goes over on a handstand, so the score will be low. DLO dismount with a step. She wasn’t going to medal anyway, but this will be her lowest score of the competition. 14.900.

GOLD: Mustafina, SILVER: He, BRONZE: Tweddle

Men’s Vault:
Are we going to be able to maintain our momentum through men’s vault? They should really hold all the medal ceremonies until the end. Inconsiderate.

Radivilov doesn’t acknowledge the crowd due to Ukranian reasons.

Koczi – Kaz double with a big step to the side and slightly underrotated, followed by a handpring receiving a 15.966. Overall average is 16.033. I don’t see that medaling.

Thomas – Y double pike with a minor step back. Nice, controlled landing. Our feed has switched to water polo for no reason. NBC. I just don’t even have the energy to be mad at them anymore. Second score for Thomas was just a 14.700, so sounds like a fall. He’s in behind Koczi.

Botella Perez –  Starts with a 15.900 on a 6.6. vault and ends with a 15.866 average that will not pass Koczi but will pass Thomas. He holds up a towel with a message on it. You couldn’t gave come up with something a little more. . . legitimate?

Radivilov – Sticks a Dragulescu. Really one of the better ones I have seen, especially because of the good chest position. Excellent. Why am I saying the same things as Shannon? 16.400. Big lunge out of his Tsuk double pike, but he lands it well enough. Should easily be enough for first right now. 16.316 is the average.

Ablyazin – Better Tsuk double pike than Radivilov, and he gets a 16.433. Not sure I’m more impressed by it than Radivilov’s Dragulescu, though. Interesting. Ro 1/2 on 2/5 with a big step. Very similar performance to Radivilov overall. Average is 16.399 to move easily into first.

Mikulak – Kaz double comes around the side a little bit with a big lunge back out of the landing. 16.100. Sticks the double front with a very low landing, but he doesn’t move. Great job, great smile that forgives the squat. 16.050 average into 3rd for now, but he will be pushed back to 5th.

Ricky Stache and the Eyebrow Ring – The mustache is growing on me. Best Tsuk double pike yet, I think. Easily stuck, did not look like a struggle. 16.400. Amanar (Man-anar?) fine with hop forward. Won’t be a huge score. He’ll move into 3rd for now ahead of Mikulak.

Yang – Handspring triple full with massive lunges out. Gets a 16.466. So basically the only deductions were on landing. Kaz double is stuck and excellent. He’ll win with that. 16.533 average for first.

GOLD: Yang, SILVER: Ablyazin, BRONZE: Radivilov

Event Finals Day 1

Our first day of the slow descent toward the end of the competition includes men’s floor, men’s horse featuring Louis Smith (champion if he hits), and women’s vault featuring McKayla Maroney (champion even if she doesn’t hit). [buhhhhhhhhhhh]

Men’s floor:

 Women’s vault:

 Men’s horse:

Notes when we begin from 9:00 ET/6:00 PT

. . .
NBC is trying to punish gymnastics fans by not starting the coverage in time. What have we done to deserve this?

Men’s Floor:

We’ve finally arrived to see Zou Kai take the lead over Uchimira, 15.933 to 15.800. Ablyazin now. Lots of hops and shuffles on these landings, so there’s quite a bit to take in that routine. Lots of difficulty but can’t imagine it outscoring Zou. 15.800. Level with Uchimura.

Kozci -some struggles early on landings and in the handstand on his Manna, Fine but not event-final-medal level. Shannon pretends she had to talk to athletes at this Olympics to know that it’s harder to compete in silence. 15.100

Shatilov – his Sabrina Vega legs in his pike are forgiven, very low with a step forward on combo pass, whip+thomas is nice, minor step on tuck full dismount. 15.333.

Dalton – minor hop out of layout double arabian, multiple hops but stays in, lovely ending with a clean triple twist. It’s a shame about those hops on the side pass. 15.333. Even if he had been perfectly clean, he didn’t get the difficulty to medal today.

Nguyen – big step out of double double with low body position, the middle of the routine is very nice, but another low one on tuck full dismount. He was never going to medal, but that was one of the weaker routines he’s done at this competition. 14.966

Can we once again complain about the random draw for event finals that makes this so anticlimactic? It’s like they don’t even care about making competitions interesting or keeping fans engaged, which they obviously don’t. Zou Kai will win floor again. This final has been rather bland.

Gonzalez Sepulveda to finish – Oh I’m sorry, your mustache has some tumbling in it. Shouldn’t get credit for triple full dismount. It was like some triple full beam dismounts we see in WAG. This just makes it easier for Zou to win, you know. If you’re going to have a weird mustache, the least you can do is be clean elsewhere because who knows what kind of food particles and disease are sitting in that mustache. 15.366.

Medals: GOLD – Zou Kai, SILVER – Kohei Uchimura, BRONZE – Denis Ablyazin

We’ll do the medals before women’s vault starts, so I’ll step away. Don’t let me miss it!

The lollipop guild presents the medals to the cameras, and we need to start vault about 10 minutes ago. Impatience!

Women’s Vault:
At least Maroney and Izbasa are at the end of this rotation. Vaulters are emerging now. Do we think Pena Abreu can hit her double front? No?

Brittany Rogers – she’ll be a Gymdog asset, she hits a pretty nice DTY with a hop to the side, but good direction and pretty good form. She’ll need to anchor that rotation next spring because the 9.825s from Couch and Earls won’t cut it at the beginning. And now I will stop getting into NCAA, which I’m already more excited about than I am the rest of the Olympics. 14.766

Brittany Rogers Vault 2 – ro1/2 on layout half is not as strong. Very piked, leg form, and a low landing with a step. On replay, they could credit this piked. She never maintained layout shape. They credit the vault (good news for some others in this event) – 14.200.

Janine Berger – layout rudi is surprisingly solid in the air, she just needs to get the Sacramone one-lunge landing down. She didn’t have the stick and so took multiple steps out. A little feet issues and more piked on landing than we’d like. 15.133.

Janine Berger 2 – Tsuk double full is nice as well, some leg separation and landing issues, but she can be a Euros champion/world medalist next year. Let’s be honest, we’ve seen world championships where this performance would win gold. 14.900.

Ellie Black – nowhere close on her rudi, she basically landed ankes first and may be hurt, but she will continue. 0.000. I’d have to see the replay again to see if the arms really did land first, but I thought they would give her the landing.

Ellie Black 2 – she balks on the vault and didn’t feel comfortable on her ankle. Good decision.

Yamilet Pena – Produnova’s legacy – she balks her run as well! She looks totally rattled. She’ll have another run. Nope. Same miss as the first day of competition. She;ll get a score because her feet hit first, but it will be low. The judges will have to watch this score because they won’t want someone medaling with a fall again this year. 14.566.

Yamilet Pena 2 – DTY is pretty solid with a step back. She is so talented, I almost wish she would back off the double front for a while. She could find two difficult vaults to hit.

Oksana Chusovitina – Chuso’s rudi is chuso’s rudi with a locked-leg landing and a step forward. 15.100.

Oksana Chusovitina 2 – Tsuk 1.5 with a bounce out. It won’t win, but a wonderful wave to the crowd. What, crowd, you couldn’t manage a Nastia standing ovation for Chuso? What’s your problem? 14.466.

Maria Paseka – Our first Amanar of the day, similar to TF, low landing with a big step to the side out of the area. Some serious Nabieva legs on her block, too. 15.400.

Maria Paseka 2 – ro 1/2 on, layout 1/2 – she definitely had the layout position long enough and a nice landing, but some wacky legs will hurt the score. 14.700.

McKayla Maroney – now the competition can begin and end – pretty good but not near TF level – she may have landed out of bounds but hopped back in. Should still be .5 higher than anything else we’ve seen. 15.866.

McKayla Maroney 2 – GASP! Sits her Mustafina. Devastating. I can’t even make words about it. 14.300. Still in first (HA!) but Izbasa should pass her. Paseka is feeling very Russian about the whole thing.

Sandra Izbasa – Hits a very nice Mustafina. A little tucked and a hop forward. 15.383. She just needs to be OK here to win.

Sandra Izbasa 2 – DTY with a big hop. She is probably our winner. 15.000 Yes, she wins.

The Olympics is officially dead to me. [Silver lining: will this spur Maroney to stick around for another quad when it gets to 2015 and she starts getting jealous of those who might get individual golds?]

GOLD: Sandra Izbasa, SILVER: McKayla Maroney, BRONZE: Maria Paseka.

Men’s Horse:
What’s the point anymore? Some people will do some travels, the world continues to turn. Sigh.

Tommasonne is a little iffy to start for 15.141. 8.641 on the execution. Only real break was on the dismount.

Busnari has very nice control (translation: he’s slow and a little boring), but great turns in straddled handstand – that was exciting to see even if he has molasses pace. 15.400. I feel like “controlled” is the men’s version of “sturdy.” 15.400.

Hidvegi comes off on his Russian travel after very nice work on one side of the horse. 14.300.

Whitlock performs the most pleasant routine so far in terms of pace, and his 6.6 difficulty is higher than Shannon expected. 15.600 goes into first.

Berki’s legs are perfect every time, with good pace, a minor struggle on the Russian but that should be the highest score so far. 16.066. Trouble for Smith because that was excellent.

I don’t expect Nakonechnyi or Belyavskiy to contend, so this is going to come down to Berki and Smith with Whitlock looking good for a medal. Nakonechnkyi just had little struggles throughout, and Belvayskiy had a major leg break. Neither routine breaks 15.

Smith now (was Kristian Thomas moving in on Kate Middleton in the crowd?), looked tentative in handstands early but it’s an extremely clean routine. He couldn’t have done much better, but I honestly think Berki was better. Smith will win because if he doesn’t the judges wll burn, but . . . 16.066. Tie. Loses out on a tie. Berki wins gold, and Smith gets Nastia-ed.

GOLD: Krisztian Berki, SILVER: Louis Smith, BRONZE: Max Whitlock

Women’s All-Around

This is supposed to be Komova’s time. Whether it will be depends entirely on her. If she goes clean (you know, the way she hasn’t done yet), no one should be able to touch her.

If we crunch the presumed numbers, I give Douglas a .1-.2 edge on vault, and I give Komova .5-.6 on bars. Then it gets tricky. We get to the events where Komova should have a smooth path to outscoring Douglas, especially on beam, but we don’t have the evidence that will happen based on previous performances at these Olympics. And there must have been a reason the coaches put up Grishina instead of Komova on floor in Team Finals, right? Stay on the beam and stay in bounds on floor and the gold should be Komova’s.

As for our other contenders, expect Aly Raisman’s execution scores to be lower than they were in qualifications. In qualifications, I said “Keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is Aly Raisman.” Today, it’s “Keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is Aliya Mustafina.” She will hit all her routines out of pure spite, so if Komova and Douglas have mistakes, expect Mustafina to sweep in there. Larisa Iordache’s DTY and lack of bars will keep her out. Who else is in this competition?

Competition begins at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT as always.

Okay, anyone else getting beach volleyball when they click on the main feed for the women’s AA?

Ah, now here we are. I’m going to start with the main feed, but if we’re missing good routines or if it’s clearly going to be between only the top few, I’ll switch to follow the lead group once they go to beam.

Warmups underway now. We’ll open with Miss Gabby on vault. Jordyn is wearing a moping sweatshirt today. Vanessa. Ferrari’s. Sleeves.

Rotation 1:
Shannon tells us that the AA means more than the team.

Douglas vault – It’s a good one, just a shuffle to the side, maybe similar score to the first two days. 15.966.

Raisman vault – big hop forward/to the side – not as strong as Qualification. She needs to be perfect today to match day 1. 15.900 is high. Way high compared to Douglas. She had a major hop out of that and worse legs. 

Huang bars – a little wonky in some of her pirouettes and a dead hang, but fine. She hit. She usually does better for the team.

Komova vault – it’s OK, but multiple steps. It will still be a good score, but it will be lower than the 15.800 she got in prelims. 15.466. She will make it up on bars, but she and Douglas could be tied at halfway.

Ferrari’s shoulder cutouts on vault – DTY with sloppy tucked legs.

Deng vault – nice. I’m impressed by her improvement in the last few months on this vault. Good amplitude for her height, step back. 14.900.

Tunney beam – she has the stiffness of Kyla Ross with the fragility of damp rice paper, but she’s hitting so far. Big wobble on full turn. Pretty good on the double pike dismount. 13.133. Did she fall and I missed it?

Mustafina vault – DTY, a little big of legs and a college stick. Won’t be as high as her TF score, but it should break 15 based on what we’ve seen. 15.233. Scores are going to be high today.

Ferlito beam – I really like her layout. She does a full turn to Y turn (will we see someone do L turn + full turn + Y turn for .2 at some point? I kind of expect it). Some sloppiness on switch ring and 2.5 twist dismount.

Izbasa bars – this will be an experience, legs and hangs, but we can be proud of her for hitting.

Tanaka floor – OOB on mount, and steps on every pass. Come on, you’re Japanese! You’re supposed to hit every pass and then get deducted for lack of amplitude so that people can complain about your low scores. Don’t you know the rules?

After 1 Rotation: 1. Douglas, 2. Raisman, 3. Komova, 4. Mustafina, 5. Seitz, 6. Huang.

The revolution on top of Pihan’s head went while we were waiting for the rotation to end. Seitz’s def is so horrifying, but she hits it, many errors in the routine, but it’s enough for 5th. She’ll drop a bit from there, though.

Rotation 2:
We’ll get Raisman out of the way first on bars, then the rest will go. Even if she breaks 14, I don’t see her coming back on everyone else enough on beam and floor again today.

We start with Iordache on beam. I can’t fault the producer for that. Huge wobbles on her back full. She shouldn’t have wobbled that much, but she overcorrected after being minorly off. The rest has been nice, slight correction on side somi, just a tiny hop on triple full, but it won’t be in the 15s. Still 14.966.

Oh, now we’re back to Aly. Big pause on the stalder full and a little sloppier than the first day with a hop on landing. Shouldn’t break 14. 14.333. This is kind of a joke, but I’m loving it. Komova should be 34 in comparison.

Brennan sits down a 1.5. Vaulting in the Commonwealth is not healthy.

Komova bars – it really is perfect through almsot all of it, that stupid half turn ruins it for everyone, but if Raisman was 14.333, this should honestly be well into the 16s. 15.966.

Seitz beam – nice spin, just a little wobble out of it. Legs are nowhere close on splits, major steps out of double pike. Note her event.

World Champion Vanessa Ferrari on bars – legs are crazy throughout, hop to the side on dismount.

Deng bars – dead hanging like she invented it, good DLO full dismount. The handstands, swing, and amplitude are not up to par. 14.266. Lower than Raisman.

Izabasa beam – looking a little tight in doubting some of her landings and turns, but she improves as the routine goes on, 2.5 dismount with legs crossed and .3 step to the side. OK but just OK.

Mustafina bars – this is so excellent, do we think it contends with Komova? She’ll be right there for the lead at this point, but she needs to build up something before floor. 16.100! She’s just .1 behind Komova going to beam.

Huang beam – lost her legs a little on front tuck but held on, shouldn’t get connection. 14.133, well it’s not a 12.

Douglas bars – her usual, but maybe even a little cleaner. 15.733. She needed that score, that’s for sure.

Whelan beam – littel stumble out of whip triple, hits the final double pike quite well. It’s a Whelan routine.

Steingruber’s rudi with piking and major step to the side.

After 2: 1. Douglas 31.699, 2. Komova 31.432, 3. Mustafina 31.333, 4. Raisman 30.233. Huang falling a bit behind and Iordache hoping to make up ground on floor.

Rotation 3:
Komova beam – could be most important routine of the final. She must lead Douglas going into floor. L spin is good, maybe not getting some of these connections, minor wobble on arabian but holds on with minimal deduction, another slight correction on punch front, she’s working well given the situation. dismount – just a step back. I don’t think anyone can match that score on this event. I think we’ll have yet another AA come down to the wire. Douglas needs to have the same beam she did in TF. 15.441.

Seitz floor – huge bounce back out of pike full mount with OOB, not enough amplitude on tumbling, but a hit routine after the first pass mistake.

Deng beam – waiting, so we have a Whelan moment, completely to her hands on DTY, no chance, now Deng, her layout is still as great as it always was, no wobbles so far, this is excellent,wobble on the sheep, step back on double pike. Too bad she still has to do floor. 15.300.

Mustafina beam – oh boy, here we go. Extremely low on the arabian and comes off, probably no chance to save, wobbles on a bunch of events afterward like in TF. That may allow Aly Raisman to hit two more routines for an AA medal. Double tuck with step. She looked a little defeated before she started. 13.633. Devastating (but still ahead of Deng).

Douglas beam – Can she make it 3/3? Minor wobble on loso but holds it, same on back full and back pike, she’s nervous but fighting. Just the dismount now, hop back on double pike. She’s through it! Not her best, and Komova may take the lead, but it will all come down to floor. Exciting! 15.500. Wow. That’s too high with those little wobbles.

Iordache floor – multiple steps out of pike full to OOB, another situation with steps she didn’t need to take. Tuck full to back tuck (boo!), whip to only a double full. She is not in contention here. Such a shame with that injury. 13.833.

Raisman beam – hands on the beam on her front pike. Wow, didn’t expect it from Aly. She and Mustafina and one-upping each other on mistakes to see who can back herself into the bronze slot. This is very poor by her standards – all kinds of wobbles. Similar DbA dismount to TF. That score will be low. 14.200.

Big floor routine from Izbasa to keep her around going to vault.
After 3: 1. Douglas – 47.199, 2. Komova – 46.873, 3. Mustafina 44.936, 4. 44.466, 5. Raisman – 44.433.

If Douglas hits at her TF level, I don’t think Komova can catch her. The interesting fight should be for bronze because Raisman can be .5 higher than Mustafina, but she will have to go for her full mount and hit it.

Rotation 4:
Ferrari floor – double double with step forward, another full in to back tuck (this beam connection nonsense does not fly with me, nor does this leo obviously), fine double pike dismount. She will not figure in the medals. 14.866.

Izbasa vault – Mustafina vault, a little tucked and a hop forward but fine. 15.333. She’s in it if she gets some mistakes.

Deng floor – she’s in 4th but I don’t expect her to stay, the landings are fine and the turns are excellent, tried to get credit for a leap that she shouldn’t because she didn’t get it around, very low double tuck and even lower double pike, won’t score so well.

Huang vault – very strong DTY.

Mustafina floor – good second pass, falls out of her y spin minorly, small hop out of double tuck, usual crazy legs on triple full with step back. She’s making it tough on Raisman for that bronze spot. I expect this score to be higher than her others based on how scoring has gone. 14.600.

Douglas floor – Here we go, pretty good triple full, barely stays in on DbA + leap, but it wasn’t bad. Good tuck full. She just has to hit her dismount now. Double tuck + leap. Hit. This should be hers, really. Martha thinks so. Pressure on Komova. 15.033.

Raisman floor – pressure now, she needs a 15.133. She must at least go for her mount, but she doesn’t. That could be the difference, but if she wasn’t training it well. . . triple twist is usual, but I think this is just short of her best work. She didn’t quite have the form or the rebound. A little tight. Some form breaks. I see high 14s for this routine. 15.133. Tied with Mustafina. TIED.

Komova floor – she’s doing her best so far, this is excellent. Sticks her triple full and her double pike. That’s the best she could possibly do in this situation. And we wait. Grishina over this in TF?

OOh OOh OOh, Komova’s 15.100 is not enough, Douglas is our champion of the AA.

Mustafina takes third instead of Raisman because of the tiebreaker rule. That has to be so devastating for Aly, especially to lose out on a tiebreaker to someone who had a fall. That being said, I think Aly had several scores that were too high, so there’s that as well.


 No wonder there was confusion. Is that English? Also, that’s a really dumb rule. E Score would have made more sense. There will be controversy about that during tonight’s broadcast. Yay!

1. Douglas – 62.232
2. Komova – 61.973
3. Mustafina – 59.566
4. Raisman – 59.566
5. Izbasa – 58.833
6. Deng – 58.399
7. Huang – 58.115
8. Ferrari – 57.999
9. Iordache – 57.965
10. Seitz – 57.365

This really could have been Komova’s, but she gave it away on vault, and there was some severely wacky scoring happening that we will be hearing about for a long time.

Men’s All-Around

In the Men’s Team Final, we all became caught up in the “Boo, Chinese men!” tornado, and look where it got us. Let’s make a pact not to make the same mistake with the “Boo, Kohei Uchimura!” tornado. He can win with a fall, especially because all his closest competitors excel in the “beautiful disaster” category. Unfortunately, Uchimura’s inconsiderate performance on the first day means that he is in the second group, so we can’t just follow the lead group from event to event the way we will be able to with the women.

In an expected change, Yamamuro is out because of the injury suffered during the Team Final. He will be replaced by K. Tanaka. I’m having a strong Uchimura, Hambuchen, Leyva podium feeling right now.

Competition begins at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT

Athlete introductions now. There’s a lot of talent in that second group beyond Uchimura as well. Nguyen and Shatilov won’t be medalists, but they can be the medalists of my heart.

Rotation 1:
Note that through introduction and warmups, Leyva and Orozco look like they wish they were dead. We start on floor with everyone’s favorite baby linebacker Kristian Thomas – very strong routine on one of his better events, finishes with DbA with a hop forward. 15.566.

Jimmy Verbaeys, our last qualifier, on vault. Don’t you just want to adopt him and take him shopping for underwear? Just me?

Orozco on floor – hits with a stuck 2.5 dismount, should be one of those solid low 15s. 15.433, well now.

Uchimura horse – swings very well and there’s no handstand question on the dismount. That should help clear his way to the title.

Hambuchen floor – Very precise, that should be simiar to Orozco’s score. 15.200. Well, close. My beautiful disasters are hitting so far. They better keep it up.

Belyavskiy goes OOB on the first pass and the third, and is having a few steps and low landings and leg form issues. This is the weakest execution we’ve seen on floor so far. “The penalty phase,” Shannon? 14.466.

Leyva – good layout double double, he’s working a bit faster than usual, these fake stag jumps out of passes almost make me long for women’s fake dance elements out of passes. Almost. Good routine, minor hop on DLO.

Kuksenkova floor – stumbles back on his 2.5 dismount, beautiful long legs, but just a little lack of cleanliness throughout.

After one rotation, Kim leads because of vault, Thomas is second, Pozzo third, and Orozco fourth. As always, things will be a bit shaky until after the fourth rotation when everyone has vaulted. Nguyen already had a fall on horse and is in last, so we weep. K. Tanaka impresses on rings, but all this commentator knows about him is that there are three Tanakas, and he says it every time.

Did our PA announcer just say “hold onto your sandals?” Ryan Lochte’s monotone keeps interrupting us, and I’m over it. He and Aly Raisman need voice modulation lessons.

Gymnastics pet peeve alert: “piece of apparatus.” The British say this a lot and need to stop. It’s an apparatus, or a piece, but not a piece of apparatus.

Rotation 2:
Orozco on horse – pretty much a disaster. Form, form, form everyone before he gets caught on the leather before dismount. It’ll be low. 12.566, so he’s out.

Uchimura rings – Are we okay with back arch in handstands on rings? I’m not super happy about it, but it’s a great routine with a hop forward on dismount.

Hambuchen horse – he gets through, so we can breathe a little easier, just a 13.266 though, so he must have been hit significantly for something I missed or didn’t recognize. Uhhhh.

Note: I want one of the Ukraine jackets.

Tanaka hits a strong vault, Tsuk double, followed by Belyavskiy on horse now, gets through with some leg breaks.

They’re showing Kim on pbars because he’s the leader, but he’s not awesome on this event.

Leyva on horse – was looking good, but the hips dropped on the dismount. Sigh. My beautiful disasters screwed it up on horse, that’s for sure. 13.500. Oh, America.

Enrico Pozzo on pbars – Shannon is really proud of herself that she knows what a Teppelt is. She always identifies it. Big pause on one bar, but otherwise clean.

Kuksenkova horse – a few breaks on these travels, simple dismount.

Even though he’s in 4th, Uchimura is killing everyone because he hasn’t vaulted yet. Vernaiev is currently in the lead. Belyavskiy and Kuksenkov should feel at least OK about their positions.

Thomas horse – the British move very deliberately on this event, near wonkiness on the dismount, but he will be right up there as well. Orozco will be in last, which Hambuchen and Shatilov just above him. Thomas is in 7th, which is a great spot for him right now with his vault still to come.

Also, Shannon doesn’t know how to pronounce “skewed.” I hope she continues to say it as much as possible.

Rotation 3:
In rotation three, our lead group goes to rings, and Uchimura’s band of mummers goes to vault.

Uchimura vault – very, very nice. Stuck Y2.5, let’s see if his execution score is higher than Maroney’s. It probably will be since men’s vault execution is so much more lenient than women’s. Ooh, 16.266, so the execution score was lower. 9.666.

14.833 for Garibov with a poor landing. Nguyen follows on vault with a pretty nice Y2.5 with a step to the side. The commentator thinks the gymnasts are moths and that they are drawn to a light on right side of the vault. What?

No major execution faults for Kim on hbar, Leyva on rings starts well and finishes with a stick. Wobbly handstands were the only problem there.

Whoever is directing this broadcast loves our Italian Pozzo, legs are all over the pace in this routine in a Diana Chelaru kind of way, hop on dismount.

Vernaiev on pbars, too many corrections. Thomas on rings, not horizontal in some of these supports, very shaky, not his happiest event, we know, but he endured. BoJo looking like he was just dipped in custard as usual. Thomas still gets a 14.633.

Our commentator seems surprised that Uchimura is going to win. Why?

Orozco rings, why is Shannon pretending he can get into the medals? Good dismount, though. It’s a nice routine overall.

At halfway, Uchimura leads by .4 over Tanaka, .5 over Vernaiev, and 1.0 over Kim, none of whom will stick around. Great position, though, for Purvis and Thomas in 5th and 7th. Nguyen has recoved up to tenth, and my awesome Hambuchen/Leyva prediction is festering down at the bottom of the pile.

Rotation 4:
Our leaders move to vault and Uchimura moves to pbars. Leyva and Orozco on vault, can they manage today?

Leyva gets a 15.566, which should help his 17th place position. If he’s great the rest of the way, he could still break 90. Kim had a disaster on floor, which will push him back significantly as expected. Like Vernaiev and Tanaka, his best events are already behind him. Vernaiev’s 14.300 on hbar will keep him up for now, but it is not nationally competitive and will hurt him later.

Thomas on vault – takes a fall on his Y double pike. So sad, but we still have Purvis, right?

Nguyen hits a great pbars routine with difficult dismount. He moves ahead of Vernaiev with that score. 15.833.

Tanaka on hbar, saves a handstand but muscles it, sticks double double layout. Very nice day so far, and he’ll be right up near the top with horse still to endure.

Sasaki hits pbars, and Purvis follows, big breaks in the first two skills and then a fall. Completely off from the beginning. Brits will have to wait for the first day of event finals.

Uchimura pbars – perfectly clean here, good amplitude and handstands, buta low landing on dismount with multiple hops. Shouldn’t be a problem.

After 4 rotations, Uchimura, Tanaka, and Nguyen are our leaders, with Leyva in 11th and Orozco in 13th.

I love the PA announcer explaining each event like he’s giving instructions about the rides at Disneyland. “Remain seated please. Permanecer sentados por favor.”

Rotation 5:
 Vernaiev on ver-floor – tumbles out of bounds on a side pass, this is not a strength. Shannon still thinks it’s a great routine.

Nguyen on hbar – not a ton of difficulty, some bent arms, but a nice Kovacs full, I’d like off for legs in a lot of places, well stuck dismount.

Leyva pbars – there was one handstand position I wasn’t happy with and a hop on dismount, but it was better than qualification, certainly. 15.833 is big

Tanaka on floor – takes a fall on his second to last pass, which should take him out of his current position, but who knows? 14.166 seems high.

Kukesenkov on pbars, love that he does a double front, but the legs are a little insane. Solid but not more than solid.

Thomas pbars – it’s a little sluggish in a Jordyn Wieber on bars kind of way, sticks the double pike.

Uchimura on hbar – a hit will basically guarantee it at this point. Perfectly stuck dismount, best releases he’s had in the competition so far, and no one will be close to him going into the last rotation.

Hambuchen on pbars – He’s having a bad night, which I should obviously have expected but didn’t because I didn’t want to, hits routine with a low double pike dismount with hops.

Belyavskiy gets an important score over 15 to help him move into 4th place. Hitting hbar enough to stay ahead of Kuksenkov or Leyva and pass Tanaka will be the question. Nguyen is looking very good for a medal right now.

After 5:
1. Uchmira – 77.590
2. Tanaka – 75.974
3. Nguyen – 75.731
4. Belyavskiy – 75.531
5. Kuksenkova – 75.366
6. Leyva – 74.998

Rotation 6:
Shannon says Nguyen “puts a good face on the sport.” Well done. The feed is denying us Shatilov. How dare they?

Kuksenkov on hbar, little struggle out of Kovacs full, overwise he is quite clean, minor hop on the dismount. 15.066 for him, which is about what he might have expected.

Tanaka on horse – breaks and comes off. Unfortunately, we all knew it was coming. Another minor break, but it will be very low. 13.433. No medal.

Orozco on hbar, trying to salvage something like 7th, a fine routine, but ever since qualification, he’s just looked a little sloppy everywhere in addition to the falls. 14.966.

Hambuchen hbar – takes a fall pretty early on, sigh upon sighs. Bad day.

Uchimura floor – takes a fall on his second pass, but it shouldn’t matter. Weird, though, after the day he was having. He had almost two points over Nguyen, and the rest of it is a hit routine.15.100 with a fall.

Belyavskiy on hbar – he has medal hopes with a nice score. Not a ton of difficulty here. Lowish landing. Not enough to pass Kuksenkov, so he won’t medal.
Don’t look now, but Leyva can medal if he hits hbar to his capability. He needs a 15.435 to pass Kuksenkov, and 15.8s is within his range.

Leyva on hbar – hits his Liukin, lovely layout tkatchev, just a step on landing. Let’s wait for this score. It could be very close. 15.700! He will medal.

Nguyen floor – needs to hit for silver. Lovely clean routine, just a bounce back on dismount, and it will be silver for him.

Uchimura gold, Nguyen silver, Leyva bronze. So my premonition was 2 for 3, and I got the right country for silver (ha). I just misread the tea leaves slightly. It happens. The spirits are not always clear. Thrilled for all the medalists.

Women’s Team Final

This is it, our day of days. I hope the gymnasts are less nervous than I am right now, because otherwise they will all be falling all over the beam. If there was ever evidence that I could never be a high-level athlete, my mental state right now is it. I’m not even doing anything.

Gabby Douglas, Huang Qiushuang, and Ksenia Afanasyeva are all doing beam in an Olympic Team Final. I think I have reason to be disconcerted. How many times over the months and years have we said, “over my dead body” about all three of those?

My current state:

Well, here we go. All of the attention will revolve around how the US hasn’t won since 1996, but the Russians have technically never won (as an independent state), so both are overdue. China is relying on Yao to do vault in Team Finals, so that tells me what I need to know about their chances, and Romania just isn’t strong enough on bars or vault (aside from Izbasa) to challenge hits from the US and Russia. I say hits, but honestly I would be surprised if either the US or Russia goes 12 for 12 tonight. There will be falls, the question is when and how many.

Follow along after the jump at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT

Looking at the first rotation, I think the US needs to lead Russia by the same margin on vault as qualification to feel comfortable about their performance. Let’s look for a 1.2-1.3 lead. Otherwise, Russia will come back on them completely on bars. Does Mustafina do the Amanar today? I can’t imagine that she would after not doing it in so long, but they’re Russian that way. Still, I’m not buying it. Can you imagine Martha having someone do that? Ha.

I’m honestly just sitting here watching the countdown on the feed like the saddest boy in your high school class. 11:46. 11:42.

The world feed spent an awful lot of time focusing on irrelevant mixed groups during Qualifications, so let’s hope it doesn’t do the same today. Canada is the mixed group of Team Finals.

OK. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Watch Douglas and Komova. How are they going to manage a Team Final? I’m fascinated. There’s a lot of talk about whether Wieber is going to have a good day, but I think she will. Eyes more on Douglas and Ross for me. Even though Ross is solid, she’s so new.

The US is in that red leotard nobody likes. Russia looking Russian.

Rotation 1:
OK, I lied. I’m not ready for this. It’s coming on too fast. Let’s watch the landing on Maroney’s vault. It needs to be better than it has been all year. Grishina looks like she’s about to throw up (resting face?) Ponor is in her element here. She looks more confident than anyone else on the floor. Ferrari forgot how to salute for a second. And the buffering starts of course. Thanks.

Just came back to hear them talking about Jordyn’s vault being good. What a great way to start. In the 15.9s for Wieber and Douglas. That’s what they needed. Ferlito on floor. This is the mixed group action I was talking about.

Maroney Vault – Landing? BEAUTIFUL! Good girl! Please stick around for a hundred more years. 16.233. Huge and deserved.

He Bars – a little dead after Li Ya combo and a leg sep on the pak, and the usual dead hang up to high bar, but this is the hit routine they needed. Of course, hitting beam and vault will be the question. 15.766.

Yao Bars – This is where her leg shouldn’t be an issue. Great routine. This keeps China in it for now. She’s pleased.

The US improves by .5 on vault from Qualification because of Maroney’s landing. No one will match that. China goes 46.399, which is .5 lower than Qualification.

Whelan Beam – After these Olympics, she may be opening a pub called Wobbles and Legs. Poor on the double pike with a thousand steps back. I do like her overall, but she’s no longer at her best.

Italy and GBR both go lower than Day 1 on their events. McKayla’s reaction after her vault is the best thing we will see today.

Mustafina Vault – Just doing the DTY as expected. It would have been ridiculous to do otherwise. Gorgeous double full. Very little you can take there. Stuck and perfect. 15.233. That’s about right.

Shintake Bars – Too many wobbles here. She Raisman-ed her back leg on the switch leap and then wobbled after it. Major step after double pike.

Komova gets a big 15.833, which we didn’t see and is an improvement on day 1. This will be the real test of Paseka’s consistency. Very low and a big step to the side. She stood it up, but that will erase the gains made by Mustafina and Komova on their vaults.

Chelaru Bars – That she has to go in TF is the single biggest reason their best hope is bronze. Hit but so many deductions.

Russia goes 46.366 on vault, which is less than .1 better than their day 1 total. It’s so sad that Paseka’s Amanar scores higher than any DTY. USA will lead by 1.766 after the first rotation, which is a bigger deficit than Russia would have liked.

Iordache Bars – Leg separation on handstand, close on jaeger, it’s not great but it’s great for Romania. Everyone in the top teams are doing what they are supposed to do, though (except Paseka).

Moors Floor – Hits very nicely today. Much improved over day. I enjoy that routine, even with the cliched music choice. Miss Val is on top of this, right?

Romania goes even lower on bars than day 1, so they must make it up. Honestly, they could make up about a point on beam and floor combined if they do what they are capable of.

A look back at Gabby Douglas, very nice. The only things she needs to improve are the direction and distance.And Komova’s with legs and a hop into the red, which is why she was lower than Douglas and Wieber.

Rotation 2:
Russia starts here and the US goes second. They really need to make up that whole 1.7 deficit on this event, which is going to be a bit too much to ask, probably. Grishina will be vital. Shannon didn’t watch any other routines or talk about any other teams. No kidding.

Pegg hits a 1.5. Here comes Grishina. This looks better, a little bit of a struggle. It won’t be a massive score, but that’s what they needed. It’s a 14.700. That’s a major improvement.

Brittany Rogers is looking like a Gymdog waiting there on vault. Biggish step back. We’re seeing an awful lot of Canada instead of Russia. Black’s rudi is solid enough.

Russia gets a 15.700 from Mustafina that we didn’t see, which is the same as day 1.

Komova Bars – So clean and wonderful. That half turn for no reason is the biggest deduction in the whole routine. Russia did their job and more on the bars. Russia improves by .6 on bars from day 1.

Buffering through Ponor’s beam. Thanks. The iphone is my savior right now. Japan on floor. Ponor’s score is a humongous 15.416. Romania improves by .5 on beam. They’ll challenge for bronze with that.
USA time on bars now. There is room for improvement from Ross and Wieber, and we need to see that improvement. The US needs a 44.400 on bars to tie Russia, which they should certainly do if there are no falls.

Wieber time – pause during Weilers, very sluggish, very nervous, hops on dismount. It’s a hit but it won’t be a huge score. Just a 14.666. Bad news there. Ross needs to make it back.

More vault in the coverage. Some average 1.5s from Italy.

Sui Beam – Beautifully dominant on beam, hitting all the difficulty. I’d just like to see better routine composition (all that simple walking back to do the next skill). Great double pike dismount.

Ross gets a 14.933. Not quite high enough. Douglas needs a huge one. Hits the tkatchev pak and everything. Her stalder shoot was poor anda step on dismount but it’s OK. They’ll have the lead, but Russia is the higher scorer on beam if they hit.

Tweddle Floor – looked like she would land her DbA out but landed in before stepping out. Another big stumble out of piked DbA. This won’t be the kind of score they need.

Douglas just a 15.2, so the US is well below the Day 1 total. They have just a .4 lead on Russia, but it is a lead. They will feel better than Russia does right now, but it’s all about the beam and Gabby Douglas.

Huang Beam – big wobble on walkover and back pike, sheep jump with questionable credit. Has to grab the beam (maybe just her ankle) on the onodi. I know it was not a very good routine, but I’m going to give Huang a standing ovation for staying on the beam in the Olympic Team Final. About a year ago, I would have bet 2-3 falls in this situation.

Rotation 3:
The US will start on beam, which is probably better than waiting.

We’re seeing Cairns on vault. Big step back on Y1.5. Fanasa on bars. Very slopping in transitions, big leg separation on DLO.

The internet makes me want to die. Sorry, people who are following along.Kyla Ross hits beam for 15.133. Douglas follows her with a 15.233. Up to Aly Raisman now. So proud of Gabby because I never would have expected her to hit beam in a TF.

Sui on floor – hits the early passes well, but Huang had a disaster before her. Good hit, but Romania will feel good about their chances now.

Raisman finishes for the US with a 14.933. Not her best, there was a big lunge out of the DbA dismount, for instance, but they will take it all day long. Pressure on Russia to hit three beam routines now. If they do and Komova and Mustafina get the kind of scores they got day 1, Russia could have the lead, but the US will like their chances finishing on floor is Gabby can get it together.

We’re seeing Kyla on beam now, thrilled with her hit routine.

We’re seeing Bulimar on floor, but Mustafina has a huge wobble in the background. Looks like Mustafina stayed on but barely. Not sure if there was a fall elsewhere in the routine, but she had a number of wobbles. Shouldn’t score that well. 14.533, Oh Aliya. That’s not so great. Komova and Afan have to be pristine now.

Komova on beam -she probably needs to go at least mid 15s. Extremely clean so far. Good that she got rid of the second layout. Oh, every Russian gymnast reminds you of Khorkina, Shannon. Komova looks extremely precise right now. Wobble on switch leap. Girl, what is wrong with you! Double Arabian looked like she wouldn’t get it around but she did (although very low with a big step to the side). Won’t outscore the Americans. The replay of her sheep jump is my heaven. 15.033. Can wait to hear Tim Daggett about that score.

Pressure on Afanasyeva – time to work beam like the rest of her personality. Starts well with her series. She’s showing her teammates how it’s done. Absolutely beautiful clean routine. She keeps her team in it, but they will have a near point deficit going to floor. They will certainly need help from the Americans. 14.833. Just not enough difficulty, but I think that’s harsh.

Izbasa on floor, legs in the triple full but otherwise strong. While there are form breaks, I enjoy this routine and it should score quite well, potentially competitive with what Raisman got on day 1. Could be an interesting fight between them in floor finals.

Setting the scene: The US has a 1.3 lead on Russia and Romania has a 1.3 lead on China. The only thing that could change these standings is a fall from the US on floor. What’s more, Russia needs a major hit from Grishina, and we all have our doubts.

Rotation 4:
Iordache lands a little locked on her DTY with a bounce out of the area. Not horrible, not great.

Mustafina Floor – great DbA, usual legs in 2.5 + full, same on triple full. It’s a good routine, but the judges will dislike the legs. Expect a similar score to day 1.

Ponor vault – excellent, just the legs and a minor hop. I really thought there was a chance she could have the 2.5 by the Olympics given her height and the improvements she’s made these years, but just the DTY. Bronze is right there for them.

Canada with Pegg on beam, while we hear that Mustafina gets a 14.800 on floor. That’s the kind of score they needed. We’re seeing this beam routine instead of Grishina. Switching to the floor feed. Grishina looks like she just stumbled out of a tumble. What was that? Oh Russia, you could have at least made this close. There will be big questions about whether Komova should have gone. I’ll need to see it again. What even was that?

Apparently a really nice story happening for Canada with their placement. I haven’t been watching the people outside the medals, but that’s great. I was harsh eariler about their being a mixed group, but I am happy for them.

Grishina gets a 12.466 for balking a tumbling pass. Devastating. Do they have to watch out for Romania now? Tears all around. Everyone needs hugs.

This needs to makes Ksenia more of a diva here. First two passes are brilliant. There are parts of this routine that I love (the attitude turn, the leg choreo after the third pass) but I think it was a little oversold before I saw it. It’s great, but I’m not dying because of it. Double pike dismount to her face. Oh, I thought she was over her Afan-ing! That was her early career. Disaster for Russia all over the place. They will hang on over Romania, but that’s ridiculous given the relative performances. The bars still just killed Romania.

The USA needs just 40.300 on floor to win the gold. That’s an average of about 13.400. Canada is right in this for 5th. Amazing for them.

Deng vault – good body position, efficient, no distance.

Douglas floor – minor step forward on short triple full, fixes the DbA problem from day 1, hits the tuck full as well. This is what she was doing early in the year. Hit routine and it’s just a formailty now, essentially. 15.066.

Brilliant DTY from Huang. Nice to see them finishing on a good note. They will be in clear 4th.

Wieber floor – everyone in the building wants this for her, perfect double double, a little short on the final double pike, but she owned that routine. The best she’s ever performed it. 15.000. Raisman needs just a 10.300. Ha.

Raisman floor – If she performs all her difficulty and has fewer than three falls, basically. One more Hava Nagila for gold. Plays it safe without the layout, which is fine. Hits piked DbA. hahaha, of course I get buffering during her routine so I can’t see the finish. Tears from everyone. Great moment. Gold for the US.

NBC will do everything in their power to make us cry tonight. I can’t wait. USA wins by 5 points. I do wish it had been a bit more exciting, but you can’t have everything. “I need to get in here,” says Geddert during the team’s moment. Buh.

They’re waiting on the scores for no reason. Even Kyla is crying. Oh, nice moment with the GBR team. Oh look, more commercials during the celebration. If Russia had been absolutely perfect they would have been close, but it likely still wouldn’t have made a difference in a USA 2008 type situation.

Canda just edges GBR for 6th, great boost for the Canadians.

Final Standings:
1. USA – 183.596
2. Russia – 178.530
3. Romania – 176.414
4. China – 174.430
5. Canada – 170.804
6. Great Britain – 170.495
7. Italy – 167.930
8. Japan – 166.646

Two Per Country

Obviously, in the wake of Jordyn Wieber missing out on the All-Around final, the subject of the two-per-country rule has come to the forefront once again. This is perhaps a positive side-effect of the result because it leads people to remember that this rule needs to be addressed.

However, I am a little resentful of the way this rule is being discussed both in gymnastics and in the wider sports media. Now, I agree with the large majority of people that a three-per-country rule makes more sense for our sport because it would provide a more engaging final competition and because the two-per-country rule doesn’t do anything. (I don’t buy this fairness argument, though, because sport isn’t fair. That’s what makes it sport. If it were fair, the US would be fielding a team of 11 here and everyone would get a participation trophy.) The true reasons this change should be made are getting lost behind emotion and a lack of understanding and explanation.

While everyone is quick to jump on the current rule and say how terrible it is because it was mean to Jordyn, during last night’s NBC broadcast, for instance, not a single person stopped to explain why the rule exists in the first place. There is an actual reason there. It’s not just arbitrary. The two-per-country rule is intended to encourage the international nature of the sport, cultivate the opportunities (and attention given to those opportunities) for people in countries without gymnastics history or a major program, and ultimately create a worldwide sport with true international parity. (I apologize for the use of parity. I’ve been watching NCAA for too long.)

I think we can all agree that those noble aims make complete sense and would nurture the health of the sport. While misguided, the FIG is at least coming from right place. However, the rule does not work because you cannot hope to build gymnastics programs by starting at the top and suddenly giving access at major competitions to people who aren’t prepared for it. Artificially bringing in gymnasts who don’t have the talent level to participate doesn’t make the country stronger. The attention needs to be paid to the lower levels of the sport, to increasing funding and access on the junior and domestic levels (note that this is difficult, which is why the FIG chooses instead to pay lip service to the idea with a stupid rule).

Creating a more international sport has to start from the youngest gymnasts at the smallest clubs, not at the Olympics. That’s why the two-per-country rule doesn’t do anything. That’s why we should get rid of it, and that’s what we should be talking about. Right now, the argument against the rule is coming from a “the thing I wanted to happen didn’t happen so now I want the rules to be changed!” place, which is petulant to say the least.