US Wins Team Title
The US team was the gold medal favorite heading into today’s finals and gave a performance that they should be proud of. I think that this is the first time a team to really hit this well in team finals under the new code of points. All of their routines were precise and their largest problems were wobbles on beam and an out of bounds on floor.
They started on vault with the best vault rotation that I have ever seen. Aly Raisman went up and stuck her DTY, then both Wieber and Maroney had great landings on their Amanars, which were beautiful in the air.
Universal Sports did not show Vega or Douglas on bars, but judging by their scores they hit clean routines. Wieber did a nice routine, with handstands that were closer to vertical than I have seen from her all year.
Vega, first up on beam, had some wobbles, but still got a huge score. Raisman and Wieber followed her with two very steady routines. The scores increased for each gymnast.
On floor, they really just had to not completely fall apart to win, and they ended up doing much more than that. Maroney started with what was probably the cleanest routine I have seen her do all year, and miraculously did not land her double tuck out of bounds. Wieber followed her, with just an out of bounds on her front layout. At that point, however, nobody cared about one little out of bounds. Raisman followed her with a clean but safe routine, leaving out her front tuck after her double arabian. In some ways, I think that it was a smart choice. While they would have still won gold if she landed out of bounds and fell, it’s better for them to win with no major mistakes. I guess we’ll never know.
Congratulations Team USA!
Russia finished second, and was putting some pressure on the USA for the first two rotations. They started with two stuck doubles on vault. No Amanars, which was a good choice. They were not going to win gold with them, and Komova seems like she is about to break. She looked exhausted and struggled through team finals, with fall on beam and a near fall on floor. She looked like she was in pain on floor, and she was about to break into tears after it. Hopefully she can redeem herself in individual finals. Dementyeva did a good job today, but not great. She got what could have been expected of her on bars, and had a mistake on beam but still scored well. Nabieva did very well. She seems to be turning into a reliable team player. Even Afanasyeva and the two other new seniors, Inshina and Belokobylskaya, hit everything. Overall, I was impressed by everybody except for Komova, but you know what? Doctors were saying back in May that Komova probably would not be able to do all around at worlds, so really, I’m not all that worried about her. The girls did well today. They should be happy with their silvers.
The race for bronze looked like it might include a team that is typically outside of the top four, but then Romania and China pulled their teams together at the end and battled it out on vault. China won the bronze, even with a slightly lower vault score. They showed flashes of brilliance throughout the entire meet, but they counted three falls: Huang on bars, Tan on beam and Tan on floor. Tan’s floor score was the hardest to absorb. She crashed the roundoff on her first pass, and therefore probably counted a fall, lost .5 for no pass with two saltos and lost a counting D element. They also absorbed a low vault score from Jiang Yuyuan, but in retrospect it is probably good that they did not use Tan Sixin. Sui Lu and Yao Jinnan, however, were spectacular throughout and will hopefully be just as successful in individual finals and get the recognition they deserve. Romania, meanwhile, had a disastrous bars rotation despite not having any falls. Porgras came through and stuck her dismount, but the other two had handstand errors and Racea apparently hit her foot on the bar. They were in 8th place after the first rotation, and while they climbed up in the standings, they could not quite get into the medals. I’d say that Romania should be very happy with their performance, because they did not really have any disasters, but they need to go home and spend a lot of time working on their bars if they want to be on the podium in London. The Chinese will probably revamp their team next year, and hey, maybe they will even give Wu Liufang a chance. At the same time, however, they may not want to rely on somebody like Tan Sixin at the olympics, who can be great but can also have performances like this.
Great Britain had a great competition and finished fifth (their highest ever?) after a somewhat disappointing prelims. Beth hit bars for the highest score, and Hannah Whelan did well on every apparatus, especially beam where she was tenth. Germany also did very well in their first team final in many, many years. They were in fourth after two rotations, but then Seitz fell on bars and their last event was beam, so they dropped down in the standings. Japan, the home team, had some problems, but finished seventh. Australia, wearing some of the worst leotards I have seen in my life, finished eighth. I can not even think about their performance, honestly. It was impossible to pay attention to their gymnastics with those pink and orange leotards. Mitchell did get the top score on floor, though.
Looking forward to London, the US really is in a position that they have been in for the last two quadrenniums: they are the world champions heading into the olympics. In 2008 and 2004, they finished second at the olympics behind the team that finished second at worlds. Will this happen again? I’m not sure. Both USA and Russia have a lot of talented gymnasts who did not make these teams due to injury or age waiting at home who should be ready to go in London. Sacramone, Ross and Bross for the US and Mustafina, Grishina and Sidorova for Russia. Hopefully that competition will be a little bit closer. It is nice to see my country win, but it is also nice for them to have some competition.
And guess what? There are already videos up! chinesegym1 has uploaded the entire final, and universal sports has highlights for team USA, Maroney’s vault, Wieber’s bars, Wieber’s beam, Raisman’s floor and about 5 seconds of the medal ceremony. To watch the rest of the team final, jut click on the link to chinesegym1’s channel, which has all of the videos on it! I will be doing a results and videos post, but I want to wait for videos of individual routines to go up.
The competition continues Wednesday with the mens team final, which I probably will not watch live, and the women’s all around final on Thursday, which I probably will watch live. I really do not want to wake up at 5 am when I have school two days in a row!