Tag Archives: Tan Jiaxin

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

Things Are Happening – July 22, 2016

A. Afan Farewell

In spite of Russia’s desperate attempts to make Afanasyeva happen, this week Ksenia announced, “I’m not going to happen.” She explained that her kidneys are falling off and that she’s dying in the hospital and has no way to make it to Rio, forcing Valentina to go, “SIGH, FINE” and settle on Tutkhalyan once and for all.

Simultaneously, a bunch of chatter went around (because of Valentina) that Afan had “retired,” though it remains to be seen what level of Russian retirement this is. We don’t know whether she’s at “actually retired,” “Komova retired” (injured), or “Nabieva retired” (categorically not retired). Obviously, we’re all hoping that she’s Nabieva retired. We need those two clanking around Russian Cup for decades to come.

If the Russian team is allowed to be a team, it is now officially Melnikova, Mustafina, Paseka, Spiridonova, and Tutkhalyan, which is still quite a medal-looking squad. Floor will probably be a nightmarish hellscape, but the rest of the events look relatively viable. The fourth beam and floor routines in qualification should be a unique adventure.

This also means that Valentina officially went 2-for-4 on her 2015 Olympic team announcement of Mustafina, Komova, Afanasyeva, and Paseka. Honestly, it’s better than I thought she would do.

Jekyll and Shelgunova will replace Afansyeva as the alternate, so that would either be fine or disastrous, depending on the day.

B. Peyton Ernst

Interestingly, Florida has released Peyton Ernst. HMMMMMMM.

Jenny Rowland gave Ernst the option of either staying at Florida and doing a medical retirement or taking her beam elsewhere. The fact that Ernst is talking to other schools tells me that she’s not completely broken into shards in spite of her million shoulder injuries and still has some gymnastics in her (perhaps some more hands-free beam routines or something?) but that Florida’s not willing to bet on her to recover enough to be a major or multi-event contributor in the future. Florida has enough elites pounding down the doors to get in there that keeping a broken, perpetually injured elite on scholarship would seem like a waste of one of the 12 spots. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 22, 2016

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