Tag Archives: Aliya Mustafina

2017 versus 2016: A Beam Comparison

As an addendum to my flitting, meadow-based prance through the new Code of Points, it’s time to take a closer look at beam. Here, I’ve selected a few example routines from major beam players in 2016 (chosen for definitely important reasons and absolutely not just because they were the easiest to find on youtube). Below each routine is a comparison of what the intended D score was in 2016 to what the D score would be for the same routine under the 2017-2020 code.

It’s a way of starting to become comfortable with the new code (and as such, condescending and snarky corrections are most welcome), as well as an opportunity to dissect some of the significant code changes in order to see how beam composition will have to adjust in 2017 to avoid the bigger pitfalls.

Clearly, some gymnasts will have to make more changes than others.

Let’s start with Sanne Wevers’ routine at the 2016 Test Event.

Sanne Wevers
2016 2017
Bhs 1/1 mount – E Bhs 1/1 mount – E
Double L spin – E Double L spin – E
Side aerial + side aerial + aerial – D+D+D = 0.3 CV Side aerial + side aerial + aerial – D+D+D = 0.1 CV
Triple spin – E Triple spin – E
L spin + single spin + double spin – C+A+D = 0.2 CV L spin + single spin + double spin – C+A+D = 0.2 CV
Switch split + bhs 1/1 – C+D = 0.1 CV Switch split + bhs 1/1 – C+D = 0.1 CV
Gainer layout dismount – D Gainer layout dismount – C
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – EDDDD – 2.1 Acro – EDDDC – 2.0
Dance – EED – 1.4 Dance – EED – 1.4
CV – 0.6 CV – 0.4
Total D – 6.6 Total D – 5.8

The D score for this particular routine would decrease by 0.8 in 2017, with two significant obstacles emerging. The main one is the elimination of the 0.1 CV for non-rebounding D+D connections, something Wevers was taking advantage of twice in that side aerial + side aerial + aerial walkover combination. She would still receive the 0.1 series bonus, but not the extra 0.2 for connecting the individual D skills.

The other is the dismount. At the Olympics, Wevers upgraded her dismount to a gainer “layout” full, which is a D value in the new code, but her Test Event routine highlights the problem for those still performing the regular gainer layout. The gainer layout is now a C, yet in the above routine, Wevers would still have to count it among her 8 skills—in place of the D-valued bhs 1/1—because it’s the dismount. As in the previous code, the dismount must be counted.

And that, children, is how the WTC eliminates unwanted skills.

It’ll be interesting to see what those who were relying on non-rebounding combinations do in the next quad: do they give in and go for rebounding acro, or just add more spin combinations?

Speaking of non-rebounding, how’s Aliya doing?

Let’s take one of Mustafina’s good ones, where she got credit for an acro series, to see how the changes would affect her.

Aliya Mustafina
2016 2017
Double spin – D Double spin – D
Split leap + sissone + side somi – A+A+D = 0.1 CV Split leap + sissone + side somi – B+A+D
Switch 1/2 + onodi – D+D = 0.2 CV Switch 1/2 + onodi – D+D = 0.2 CV
Side aerial – D Side aerial – D
Aerial + aerial + bhs – D+D+B = 0.2 CV Aerial + aerial + bhs – D+D+B = 0.1 CV
Switch ring – E Switch ring – E
Round-off + double tuck – B+D Round-off + double tuck – B+D
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – DDDDD – 2.0 Acro – DDDDD – 2.0
Dance – EDD – 1.3 Dance – EDD – 1.3
CV – 0.5 CV – 0.3
Total D – 6.3 Total D – 5.6

Aliya would lose 0.7 overall for this routine: the 0.5 CR, 0.1 for the sissone + side somi (since D acro + A dance no longer gets connection value—all of those A dance elements will be replaced with split jumps in the next quad since that’s a B now…………….), and 0.1 for the two aerial walkovers combination, running into the same problem that Wevers does.

As far as I can tell, non-rebounding acro will still be allowed to fulfill the 0.5 CR for an “acro series,” so if Aliya does decide to keep going, the Legend of Aliya and the Acro Series might live on, and on, and on.

I actually thought the new code would be worse for Aliya’s routine composition, but she doesn’t lose all that much and could adjust around the new regulations pretty simply and comfortably.

Now, let’s address the winner of the new beam code, Simone Biles. Obviously.

Simone Biles
2016 2017
Wolf spin 2.5 – E Wolf spin 2.5 – D
Barani – a fantasy mystery Barani – probably definitely F now?
Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV
Punch front + sissone – D+A = 0.1 CV Punch front + sissone – D+A
Switch split + switch 1/2 + back pike – C+D+C = 0.2 CV Switch split + switch 1/2 + back pike – C+D+C = 0.3 CV
Aerial + wolf – D+A = 0.1 CV Aerial + wolf – D+A
Bhs + bhs + full twisting double tuck – B+B+G = 0.1 CV Bhs + bhs + full twisting double tuck – B+B+G = 0.3 CV
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – GEDDC – 2.3 Acro – GFDDC – 2.4
Dance – EDC – 1.2 Dance – DDC – 1.1
CV – 0.7 CV – 0.8
Total D – 6.7 Total D – 6.3

In the 2017 code, the half turn into back tuck is an F skill instead of an E. Apparently, that is what Simone performs? He says with a question mark? But, then, what is the value of the half-twisting body chuck? (No, I’m literally never letting it go.)

Biles definitely has received F credit for that barani in the past too, but if you want to give her F credit for sure now instead of just sometimes-mostly-ish-in-the-US-probably, then go for it.

Simone’s current routine composition fares very well in the new code. She does drop some tenths (the wolf 2.5 downgrade and D+A elimination take her down a total of 0.3), but critically, she would make that value back in other places without any composition changes.

Switch+switch 1/2+back pike picks up an extra tenth because of the new mixed-series bonus, and the new dismount CV is basically made for her. Without any composition changes at all, her total CV would actually increase.

Laurie Hernandez’s routine is a somewhat different tale.

Note: this video is of her championships routine, but the chart below uses her updated composition from later in the summer because it’s more interesting and more current, with the bhs+bhs+double pike replaced by round-off+double pike, and the lost tenth made up with an additional wolf out of the front tuck.

Laurie Hernandez
2016 2017
Front pike – E Front pike – E
Aerial + sissone + split – D+A+A = 0.1 CV Aerial + sissone + split – D+A+A
Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV
Sheep – D Sheep – C
Front tuck + wolf – D+A = 0.1 CV Front tuck + wolf – D+A
Side aerial – D Side aerial – D
Switch split + switch 1/2 – C+D = 0.1 CV Switch split + switch 1/2 – C+D = 0.1 CV
Switch ring – E Switch ring – E
Round-off + double pike – B+E Round-off + double pike – B+E
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – EEDDD – 2.2 Acro – EEDDD – 2.2
Dance – EDD – 1.3 Dance – EDC – 1.2
CV – 0.5 CV – 0.3
Total D – 6.5 Total D – 5.7

Laurie does not get off the hook quite as easily as Simone. She also loses D+A tenths and another tenth from the downgrade of the sheep (making that skill essentially worthless—time to learn a new D dance element everyone), but unlike Simone, Laurie’s current composition doesn’t make up those tenths anywhere else.

When Laurie returns in the next quad (when), I anticipate that learning a more difficult beam dismount will be a very high priority. Without it, she’s in danger of falling behind. Solely because she doesn’t get dismount CV, she goes from being two tenths behind Simone in 2016 to five tenths behind under the new code.

(We may have wondered about the advisability of Ragan Smith trying to add that Patterson in 2016, but it’s SOOO the 2017 code.)

Let’s talk about Aly.

Aly Raisman
2016 2017
Front pike + wolf – E+A = 0.1 CV Front pike + wolf – E+A
Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV
Switch split + back tuck – C+C = 0.1 CV Switch split + back tuck – C+C
Side aerial – D Side aerial – D
Switch 1/2 – D Switch 1/2 – D
Front tuck + split – D+A = 0.1 CV Front tuck + split – D+B = 0.1
L spin + single spin – C+A = 0.1 CV L spin + single spin – C+A = 0.1 CV
Round-off + Patterson – B+G Round-off + Patterson – B+G = 0.2 CV
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – GEEDD – 2.5 Acro – GEEDD – 2.5
Dance – DCC – 1.0 Dance – DCC – 1.0
CV – 0.5 CV – 0.5
Total D – 6.5 Total D – 6.0

Parts of the new code are no friend to Raisman, but not all of it. In 2016, Raisman was using a crapload of those random 0.1 CVs to get her D score into the competitive zone and will now have to adjust for their demise in a couple places. In addition to the loss of a D acro + A dance, she won’t get CV for the switch split + back tuck either, a combination that must now include one D element to get bonus.

Like Simone, however, Raisman is saved by the dismount and the additional 0.2 that will come from connecting a round-off to a Patterson.

As alluded to in the code write-up, a Patterson is now worth four tenths more than a double pike: two tenths because of the skill value and two more tenths for the automatic connection. No one is doing a Patterson from standing.

The biggest victim of the new code may be Flavia Saraiva, as best illustrated by her attempted 6.8 difficulty from the Test Event.

Flavia Saraiva
2016 2017
Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV Bhs + layout stepout + layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV
Round-off + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Round-off + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV
Switch split + split – C+A Switch split + split – C+A
Switch ring + sheep – E+D = 0.2 CV Switch ring + sheep – E+C = 0.1 CV
Punch front + wolf – D+A = 0.1 CV Punch front + wolf – D+A
Aerial + aerial + side somi – D+D+D = 0.3 CV Aerial + aerial + side somi – D+D+D = 0.1 CV
Round-off + double pike – B+E Round-off + double pike – B+E
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – EEDDD – 2.2 Acro – EEDDD – 2.2
Dance – EDC – 1.2 Dance – ECC – 1.1
CV – 0.9 CV – 0.5
Total D – 6.8 Total D – 5.8

Saraiva’s routine would drop a full point in the new quad because she basically does every single thing that has been downgraded in the official 2017 NONE FOR FLAVIA BYE Code of Points.

She loses two tenths of non-rebounding connection, another because of D+A, and two more for the downgrade of the sheep jump (one for the skill and one for the combination since it’s no longer D+D, which is required to get two tenths).

Saraiva is fully capable of getting back up there with the top Ds, but she’ll basically want to scrap the second half of this routine and start over.

By contrast, Eythora almost gets Flavia-ed by the new code, but she is saved by her dismount and spins.

Eythora Thorsdottir
2016 2017
Sissone + side aerial + swingdown – A+D+B = 0.1 CV Sissone + side aerial + swingdown – A+D+B
Split ring + sheep – D+D = 0.2 CV Split ring + sheep – D+C = 0.1 CV
Illusion – D Illusion – D
Split leap + aerial – A+D = 0.1 CV Split leap + aerial – B+D = 0.1 CV
L spin + switch split + Y spin + single spin – C+C+C+A = 0.3 CV L spin + switch split + Y spin + single spin – C+C+C+A = 0.4 CV
Round-off + triple full – B+F Round-off + triple full – B+F = 0.2 CV
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – FDD – 1.4 Acro – FDD – 1.4
Dance – DDDCC – 1.8 Dance – DDCCC – 1.7
CV – 0.7 CV – 0.8
Total D – 6.4 Total D – 5.9

The new code is not that happy with Eythora’s composition. It’s not having this sissone + side aerial nonsense or this sheep jump nonsense, but as was pointed out in the comments, the split leap becomes a B in the new code (BECAUSE WHY), so that’s still eligible for connection tenths when paired with D acro.

And yet, the new code saves Eythora like an endangered swan because she has an F dismount, and because the code is still desperately in love with spin combinations.

By my reading of the new series bonus rules, Eythora’s L spin + switch split + Y spin combo would qualify for an additional series-bonus tenth since dance elements can be used now. But we’ll have to see. Are spins definitely part of that?

In general, the most effectively HUGE-D beam routines in the next quad will have F or G dismounts and will also take advantage of three-element mixed dance/acro combinations that can get individual CV as well as a series bonus. So basically Simone’s exact routine.

Olympic Preview — Team Russia

So this is happening now. Officially.

The IOC has finally deigned to deliver its spineless, toothless, lots-of-other-things-less message on Russia that if you conduct an expansive, multi-sport, state-sponsored program to cheat, subvert doping regulations, and actively undermine the ideals of the Olympics…it will work out mostly fine for you in the end. Go have fun in Rio, you crazy kids.

In its infinite wisdom, the IOC put its foot down to say that the buck stops…26 other places that aren’t here BEST FRIENDS AGAIN?!?!?!?!

At least we can keep ourselves warm at night by snuggling up with the silver lining to all of this, that we get to see the Russian gymnasts at the Olympics. Phew. Mustafina makes it all better.

The depressing part of this whole ordeal for the Russian gymnasts is how much they have been let down by their country. We’ll never actually know for sure, but the gymnasts—female gymnasts especially—probably are innocents in all of this. Still, every one of their accomplishments in Rio (let’s hope there are some, he says nervously eyeing a German hospital) will be tainted by the bad name their sports officials and athlete peers have given Russian sport. Sadly, that’s the kind of taint that can’t be switched out through a hole in the wall. You think the headline would be Spiridonova Wins Bars Gold? No. That Cheating Russian Cheater Wins Bars Gold.

But enough of that nonsense. (Actually, the real tragedy here is that I’ve been forced to talk about things that aren’t gymnastics for multiple paragraphs. I’m the victim.) To the sports part!

Russia has been looking the normal amount of in-several-pieces-on-the-floor heading into these Olympics, woefully absent the talents of Komova and Afanasyeva that could have rendered this a very special team. Still, a group able to wheel this many jewel-encrusted, medal-worthy routines out there should be able—and be expected—to medal barring a case of 2015-itis. Much will depend on which Mustafina shows up, but come on. It’s Mustafina. She’ll pull it together.

Angelina Melnikova – 2016 Russian champion and (unofficial) European AA champion, young enough to still have hopes and dreams, will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting
Aliya Mustafina – 4 Olympic medals, 11 World medals, defending Olympic bars champion, hero, role model, regal bird of prey
Maria Paseka – 2015 vault champion, world record for Amanar improvement in a single quad, bee farm
Daria Spiridonova – 2015 bars champion, bars, bars, bars, bars, bars, please don’t make me do the others, bars, bars, bars, bars
Seda Tutkhalyan – 2014 Youth Olympics champion, is going to have to do beam, light the candles, we still believe in you

Projected Olympic Lineups
Vault – (Tutkhalyan) Melnikova, Mustafina, Paseka
Bars – (Paseka) Melnikova, Mustafina, Spiridonova
Beam – (Spiridonova), Tutkhalyan, Melnikova, Mustafina
Floor – (Mop with a bucket for a head), Mustafina, Tutkhalyan, Melnikova

I guess the expectation should be that Spiridonova will have to dawdle her way through a floor routine in qualification since Paseka didn’t do floor at Russian Cup. As for bars, Paseka has been much stronger there this quad, which is why I have her in the qualification spot, but I’d love to see Tutkhalyan get a chance at the AA.

The presumed top all-arounders will be Melnikova and Mustafina, but part of me would live for the oft-dismissed and slighted Seda going full Raisman on one of them in qualification to get a spot in the final. That actually may be the best argument for why Tutkhalyan won’t do bars in qualification. If Valentina, Flotsam, and Jetsam plan on Melnikova and Mustafina in the AA, they may not want to give Tutkhalyan a chance to snatch one of their spots. Continue reading Olympic Preview — Team Russia

Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

A. The Greatest Uneven Bars Routine You Will Ever See

Step aside, Nabz. There’s a new sheriff in town.

I love Russian Cup soooooooo much. It’s difficult to quantify the amount Mustafina is over this routine. I would say she’s having none of it, but she’s actually having negative numbers of it. She gets about halfway through and is like, “Mission complete! Bye bye now.”

This is a COMPETITION routine.

I would rather watch this than a gold medal routine any day. I basically haven’t stopped laughing. Praise be to Aliya.

B. Russian Cup

Did other routines happen? Because it doesn’t even matter at this point. I’m set.

Afanasyeva did not participate because of her case of chronic Russia, but she is theoretically still in the running for Rio. They’re pretty much just planning to cover her in healing spells and wheel her out on a gurney for qualification, hoping for the best. I figured it would be Mustafina who would have to be carried around the Rio competition floor by four strapping German nurses, but it looks like it will be Afan instead. #cantpredictgymnastics. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

Things Are Happening – June 17, 2016

1. None for Komova

Gorgeous apocalypse Viktoria Komova heaved up the pile of cinders that used to be her skeleton this week to declare that her everything hurts and that she has been forced to stop training for Rio. Obviously. This is why we can’t have nice things.

It’s really good that Valentina named her to the Olympic team 88 months ago then. That was a productive exercise. Now, with Komova out and Afanasyeva being the usual amount of Germany, the Russian senior squad is basically Aliya Mustafina standing astride a tower of human bones. Or as she calls it, Thursday.

As for the Olympic team, this should get interesting now. Komova’s absence could increase Spiridonova’s chances, but without Komova, the most gaping chasm becomes a beam lineup that would feature Mustafina, Melnikova and literally no other person. Theoretically, Tutkhalyan would be the obvious replacement here, but I can’t imagine that her zero hit beam routines from Euros helped her case in any way. Is Kharenkova getting resurrected? Gutsu? Who’s doing floor again? Dear dear.

I suppose right now Russia is looking at relying on Mustafina and Melnikova to do as much heavy lifting as possible, including AA in the team final for either or both. Paseka would vault and be a usable third option on bars (Spiridonova would score higher and be an EF threat, but the remaining team spots may need to be used to plug holes on other events). If Afanasyeva can come back enough to give them a floor routine, that would be ideal, leaving Russia basically looking for a fifth member to deliver a relatively non-horrifying beam routine (AHAHAHAHA) rather than both beam and floor.

2. P&G Championships rosters Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 17, 2016