Tag Archives: Mao Yi

Olympic Preview — Team China

It’s time to tackle one of the big dogs, the glorious and legendary bouquet of beam dance elements that is the nation of China. Since every other team has been overshadowed by the Americans this quad, it’s easy to gloss over the fact that China has quite successfully rebounded from the disappointing batch of taped-together injuries and comebacks that characterized the 2012 Olympic team to regain its place as the clear second-best team in the world, winning silver at the last two world championships.

This Chinese team does not boast the remarkable stature of the 2008 squad (no one would expect it to), and while increasing concerns over injuries and depth have introduced more doubt about that second-place status, it would be rather alarming if China were to leave the Olympics without a team medal. And at this point, that medal should be silver.

Fan Yilin – 2015 world bars champion, potential D of 7.1, how bars handstands should look
Mao Yi – 2016 Chinese silver, keeping them afloat on vault and floor, a 3.5 + front pike on floor that you won’t even have to cry after
Shang Chunsong – 2015 & 2016 Chinese champion, obviously the best one, could win an AA medal even with a yfull, the one who was malnourished as a child so you can’t make fun of how young she looks anymore
Tan Jiaxin – Quad stalwart, replacing Liu Tingting, helps China’s scoring potential even though she’s less exciting than Liu, DTY and 6.7 D on bars
Wang Yan – The one who’s powerful even though she’s 2’3”, vaults a Kas 1/1 and rudi, you’re worried about her consistency on beam and floor, has that upsetting Adi Pop butt wiggle choreo this year

Projected Olympic lineups
Vault – (Shang) Tan, Mao, Wang
Bars – (Wang) Tan, Shang, Fan
Beam – (No one?) Wang, Fan, Shang
Floor – (Tan) Mao, Wang, Shang

There shouldn’t be too much drama in China’s lineups, although more drama is being injected by the day. Fan Yilin doesn’t do vault or floor, which makes that easy. On vault, Shang’s full will be used in qualification to get her into the AA while the TF lineup will be a DTY, DTY, Kas 1/1 for 5.8, 5.8, 6.0.

On floor, Tan has a viable mid-5s routine to use in qualification (she went in the TF in 2014), but Mao, Wang, and Shang are the clear floor standouts and have worked the code to get themselves up into the 6s, boasting what should end up being the second-highest floor D in the competition.

On bars, Tan, Shang, and Fan are the obvious team final gymnasts. Neither Wang or Mao excel on bars, but Wang will be the pick in qualification to get her in as China’s second AAer, especially if Mao really doesn’t end up competing beam in qualification.

On that issue, Tan Jiaxin doesn’t do beam at all, so that lineup seemed very straightforward (Mao in qualification only, the rest in TF) until word came that China may use only three on beam in qualification. For China’s sake, let’s hope Mao is the one not able to do beam—or just being held off beam for reasons of general mysteriousness—because anyone else would be catastrophic. If Mao doesn’t do beam, there would be exactly no point to put her on bars since she wouldn’t in contention for the all-around anyway.  Continue reading Olympic Preview — Team China

The China Five


And the award for least controversial selection process of 2016 goes to China.

…Right? Or…wrong?

As the Chinese Championships draw to a close, it would seem to be way too clear who the five members of the Olympic team should be (hard as Wang Yan may try to bequeath her spot to someone…anyone else), a devastating blow to those of us whose second-favorite sport is playing around with team permutations.

But then China comes through in the clutch! Yesss!

[I’m amending this post to reflect the chatter coming through after nationals that China’s nominative Rio group is Shang, Fan, Mao, Wang, and LIU TINGTING, with Tan Jiaxin as an alternate.]

In my best impression of Tim and Elfi standing in front of a piece of black construction paper and flinging people’s magnet-names anywhere, here’s how I saw the team setting up after nationals.

Because China’s top gymnasts are all (essentially) specialists, the team is somewhat handcuffed as to which gymnasts can be chosen. Shang Chunsong is just SO much better than everyone else and an absolute lock, and Fan Yilin continues to be the best bars worker and a top-3 beam worker, two scores that are far too valuable to leave behind. It’s a testament to Fan’s lock status that she can fall on bars in TF and fall on beam in EF and still remain largely a sure thing because…who is taking that spot from her? Her bars routine can score a legitimate half-point better than the second-best Chinese bars worker, and one fall on beam is basically peak consistency in this group.

Shang Shang Shang
Fan Fan

Already, even with just two people set, the selection gets extremely tight because neither Shang nor Fan can vault in TF, meaning that all three other team members must have a usable DTY or more. Anyone else without a reliable 14.8 vault is already eliminated from the process. This removes early-quad gem Huang Huidan (“She looks like JULLLLIA, who is ELEEEEVVVVVVEN”) from consideration in spite of her returning with a pretty TF-worthy bars routine. Because of Huang’s lack of vault, she can’t be on the same team as both Shang and Fan, and since she’s the least necessary of the three, she’s out. Continue reading The China Five

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