# 2017 versus 2016: A Beam Comparison Part Deux

Welcome to the second edition of 2017 beam treatments. Following up on the first post, here are a few more comparisons of beam D scores to see how the intended 2016 D measures up to what the routine would be given under the 2017-2020 code, featuring a few gymnasts that you asked for and a few others that I think are interesting.

Let’s start with Ragan Smith. I’ll use the Patterson version of her routine since I assume that perfecting it will be the aim for 2017.

 Ragan Smith 2016 2017 Double wolf turn – D Double wolf turn – D Switch + straddle – C+A Switch + straddle – C+A Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Full twisting back tuck – F Full twisting back tuck – F Punch front + sissone – D+A = 0.1 CV Punch front + sissone – D+A Aerial + pike jump – D+A = 0.1 CV Aerial + pike jump – D+A Sheep – D Sheep – C Bhs + bhs + Patterson – B+B+G = 0.1 CV Bhs + bhs + Patterson – B+B+G = 0.3 CV CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0 Acro – GFEDD – 2.6 Acro – GFEDD – 2.6 Dance – DDC – 1.1 Dance – DCC – 1.0 CV – 0.4 CV – 0.4 Total D – 6.6 Total D – 6.0

The value of the Patterson combination is quite critical in making up for the lost CV from those D+A connections. With the Patterson, the only real hit Smith’s routine takes is from the downgrade of the sheep jump. Without the Patterson, however, her 2017 D score would be just 5.6, which won’t be all that competitive.

Based on what I’m seeing in these D scores, a difficulty in the lowish 6s is about what the top beam gymnasts should be aiming for in 2017. (Later in the quad, expect scores to go higher as coaches learn how to work the new CV/copy the more inventive countries.) A lot of top beamers are looking at 5.8s for their current routines, but most of those 5.8s can be reorganized with minimal pain to get another couple tenths. Continue reading 2017 versus 2016: A Beam Comparison Part Deux

# Why Romania Got It Wrong

Today, Romania kind of, sort of, probably, maybe, a little announced that Catalina Ponor will compete at the Olympics this year (because Romania) with Larisa Iordache as her second-in-command court jester, and to that I have to say….hrm. Incorrect.

It’s a difficult choice with arguments for both, but Larisa Iordache would have been the more prudent selection. Consider this the counterargument in favor of Iordache.

This quad is already lost for Romania. Nothing that happens at the Olympics will salvage it because the team didn’t qualify, but some manner of medal would at least symbolically indicate that there’s still life in the Romanian program. The only consideration for this spot should be who is more likely to be somewhere near medal form at the Olympics. At the Olympics. Not right now. At the Olympics.

That person is Iordache. Let’s break it down. Continue reading Why Romania Got It Wrong

# 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 – May 13, 2016

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