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All Around Reflections

October 13, 2011
by

At the end of the last rotation, after Komova had finished on floor, the BBC commentators were acting as if she had won. Everybody on twitter thought that she had won. Almost everybody in the arena thought that she had won. The other gymnasts thought that she had won. Komova herself seemed to think that she had won (although she later said that she did not). So as the BBC commentators were still gushing about her on the “live” feed, which was actually a little bit behind, I was shocked to click on twitter to see this from Nastia:

And our new World AA CHAMPION is Jordyn Wieber! Congratulations Jordyn and #TeamUSA#NastiaFIG

Of course, twitter exploded after that. A lot of people were just as surprised as I was. Then surprise, for some, turned in to congratulations messages for Jordyn, and for some, it turned into anger. And BBC still thought that Komova won.

I can honestly say that before this meet, I had no idea how emotionally invested I was in the sport. I cried with both Viktoria and Jordyn for a few minutes. How I feel when they are competing shows what I think of them as gymnasts, but also what I think of them as competitors. With Wieber, I am always calm. I do not usually expect mistakes, so tonight was a bit of a surprise. I am always afraid that Komova will fall. I do like her a little bit more than Wieber, but this goes beyond that. My heart speeds up when she is competing, and I find myself silently cheering her on, sometimes in Russian (I know 4 words). I think that deep down, I am always afraid that she is going to hurt herself, at least at these worlds. She looked much better today than she did in team finals, thank god.

I do not think that I was ever angry with the result, but I honestly did not understand it. Komova had some small errors, but Wieber’s bars were an absolute mess (don’t even try to say that this was not true).

I took awhile to cool down, but then I realized that what really disappointed me was that nobody really won this. Yes, there is a winner, and it’s Jordyn Wieber, and I accept that. That does not erase the fact that nobody came out today and really performed like a world champion, like the American team did two days ago. Say what you want about Mustafina, but in 2010, she went out there and she showed everybody that she wanted to be the world champion.

Oddly enough, the quote after the all around that I actually think sums up what I am saying comes from Rodionenko, who was clearly pro-Komova. While the other quotations from him do not really match this one, when asked who the best out there was by The Couch Gymnast, he said

No one. This winner has mistakes. That’s not gymnastics.

Between the top three, everybody had mistakes. The reason that I ended up accepting, and even liking that Wieber won, was that she went out after bars and she was the one who performed like a world champion should. She went out there and she owned it. Komova, meanwhile, looked like she thought that she had it in the bag. I’m not saying that she gave up, but she did not seem to be fighting for a world title on beam and floor. She looked like she knew that what she needed was “hit” routines, but hit routines meant more than just staying on her feet. Yao, of course, fell off beam.

Photo: FIG on Facebook

It is easy to say that Komova should have won. We saw Wieber make a major mistake in the second rotation, and it looked like she lost it. But she fought back like a champion should, while Komova was cautious. It was not nearly as easy to see the deductions for Komova building up in the last two rotations.

I always say that I want the competition to come down to the rotation of turns, the steps on landings, the position of chest on landing, and even the toe point. But I would trade in drama for a great performance any day. This was ugly. Either Wieber or Komova could have been a great all around champion. They are fantastic, and a win from either one of them could have been great for the sport. Instead, we saw two nervous sixteen year olds out there tonight. In the last two rotations, however, it was Wieber, not Komova, who looked like a winner.

This has never been Komova’s year, and it has always been Wieber’s. Komova may have pouted on the podium, but she also knows that this is not her time. I am planning on writing more about the way she handled herself later, but I did not find it nearly as appalling as I thought I would from what I read (I did not watch the medal ceremony live). From her comments after the meet, she seemed more disappointed in herself and frustrated in how far along she is in her comeback than actually mad at the judges. She is mad at the coaches for not letting her try the Amanar, but she needs to focus on the real goal, and realize that this year, she was probably only pushed back so quickly because the team needed her so much. While she says that her ankles are 100%, that does not mean that she is prepared for this meet. Even John Geddert quickly acknowledged that she is clearly not at full strength, and that when she is, she will be much harder to beat. I hope that in the future, she can see this as a win, not a loss. Unfortunately, this all took away Wieber’s gold medal moment, to some extent.

I also owe an apology to Jordyn. My congratulatory message to her seemed like an afterthought. Honestly it sort of was, and I feel bad about that. Eventually, no matter how you feel about the results, you have to accept that a) they are not going to change, and the russians did not protest the score because it was fair and b) none of this is Jordyn’s fault. And that is just what I did. Slowly, I have accepted that she deserved this world title. While I still believe that it could have gone either way, I am fine with the outcome.

You do not have to agree with me, but that is the conclusion that I have come to, and I have thought about this a lot. I did think that Komova should have won in the beginning, and oddly enough, I have not watched any of the routines again to support my point. I needed some time to really think this over before forming an opinion. I probably will not watch it again until it is broadcast on NBC on Sunday; I am actually very excited to see if Tim and Elfi also thought that Viktoria had won it after floor. And I am excited to see how all of the gymnasts do in their next finals. Wieber is a favorite on beam and floor, Komova on bars and beam. Can Komova actually go out there and give us the performance of a world champion on bars tomorrow? Can Wieber win more gold? Will Romania leave without a medal for the first time in 30 years? I can’t wait to find out.

And if you have not seen it yet, here is the whole all around competition:

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Katrina permalink
    October 13, 2011 9:42 PM

    THANK YOU! This was one of the best written articles about the issues that I’ve read so far. Like you I haven’t watched the entire competition, only a handful of routines (just haven’t had the time to sit and fully watch). I’m honestly not a fan of Komova (I feel she’s going to break something every time she lands) but I’m not 100% fan of Jordyn’s either. They’re both amazing gymnasts (you have to be to be at this level) but they’re not my favorites. So thank you for an excellent post!

    • October 13, 2011 9:45 PM

      Thanks! And I actually have watched the entire competition, Live! I just haven’t had the time or really wanted to sit down and try to figure out who “should have won.”

  2. October 13, 2011 9:51 PM

    I dont understand if you say you think it is fair then what is the problem. I truly truly think that everyone, press gymnast and mabye fans expected Komova to win and be great. So when she wasnt , well everyone at first thought it was unfair judging?? I aldo did not watch the entire AA yet, but did watch Komava and Jordyn routines. I think it was as close as it was, but didnt Jordyn have more Difficulty? Isnt that what the “code” kinda forces the gymnast to do?? I think this was a gymnastic competition and someone is always going to be 2nd.. I think Komava should be ashamed of how she acted. Also why is everyone saying that they are not a “fan” of Jordyn’s.. You cannot argue that last night she was good!! I say Congratulations to all three of them. They should be proud..!!

    • October 13, 2011 10:00 PM

      I had a problem, but have realized that it was fair. I am trying to show other people who have a problem (there are lots) why I was able to do that. And yes, Jordyn had more difficulty, but she also had a major mistake and Komova had none, just a few small ones. Jordyn was good on three events, but had a major mistake on bars. Komova was great on bars, great for her on vault, and mediocre on beam and floor. It could have gone either way. I am saying that I was very impressed with Wieber on three events.
      I did say that I prefer Komova, but I don’t think I ever said that I am not a “fan” of Jordyn’s. She is definitely one of my top 5 favorites at the moment, at least.

  3. The Couch Gymnast permalink
    October 13, 2011 9:55 PM

    I have his quote here on my dictaphone if you don’t believe he said it. I can’t tell if that is what you are trying to suggest.

    • October 13, 2011 10:06 PM

      Nope, I definitely believe that he said it, but it does seem different from everything else he was saying about the results being unfair. And really, if you shouldn’t win with mistakes, how does he justify the Russian’s TF win last year?

      The quote actually helped me see that I was more upset about how the competition went than the judging or the results, which I eventually realized were fair. The fact that nobody had a clean competition probably has something to do with the code, but it also has something to do with the ages of the top competitors. I guess I was just really disappointed that nobody really wowed me all around.

      • The Couch Gymnast permalink
        October 13, 2011 11:15 PM

        I interviewed him separately from others. There was only me and one other. Maybe he had chilled a little before he spoke to others!

  4. Helen permalink
    October 13, 2011 10:15 PM

    I wish that Yao didn’t fall on beam- she would have had a good shot at the gold… China’s never won AA gold before, and it would be great to come on top of both of them…

    I completely agree with the quote, i was really looking forwards to the competition, but the one without mistakes didn’t win, and the other two medalists both had mistakes… no one really ‘won’ 😦

    • October 13, 2011 10:19 PM

      Yes, I would have loved it if Yao won! And numerically, she would have won by .416 if she had stayed on. 1 point for the fall and .2 of lost connection bonus not awarded because of the fall. Of course, we will never know how everything would have gone without the fall. She may have just performed so well after it because the pressure was off.

  5. Kate permalink
    October 13, 2011 10:38 PM

    My guess is we won’t get any true initial reactions from Tim and Elfie. The clips from Universal had the BBC commentators. And, last year, there were some hints that they weren’t even in Rotterdam, and they were commenting as they watched the broadcast. They might do that this year. If so they will know the results before hand. It would be interested in seeing their true reaction, though.

    • October 13, 2011 11:05 PM

      Yeah, I was not sure. Would they just fake that they did not know the results? It sounds like that would actually be pretty hard!
      Now I’m really curious. Does this seem rehearsed? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWK3BKyyHjs
      When I think about it, the “She’s a tough competitor, don’t count her out. Moment of truth,” sounds like they knew the results.

      I wish they were showing the events on universal the night of (like last year) instead of waiting until the weekend 😦

      • Kate permalink
        October 14, 2011 3:49 AM

        There are a couple things that make me feel their responses were rehearsed. I never actually saw them at last years worlds. Normally, they are on the floor somewhere, but last year, they were always in some sort of media room with a large tv behind them. At one point, Al also made some comment about the camera making him dizzy. (It was spinning around in circles during one of the routines.) If they were on the floor I wouldn’t expect them to be watching through a camera.

        Last year the various competitions were broadcast on nbc hours after the event took place. So they could have seen the results beforehand, and some of their reactions seemed “off”. For example, when Bross fell, Elfie’s reaction seemed milder than usual. She tends to react rather “strongly” to gymnasts falling. There were also a couple times, where they seemed to react slightly before an error occurred. There are times where an experienced eye can pick up that a gymnast is getting out of line before they actually fall, but I can normally go back and pick those up as well. And Al normally mentions something about how Elfie and Tim seemed to know the element was going wrong before it was obvious.

        There was also something about the way Tim was saying he was surprised that they were putting Mattie up in the team final since she fell in quals, that seemed off. It just seemed like it was more than general conjecture on how that might be a risk. (If they did know the results before the broadcast, this one really annoys me. It seems extra cruel somehow.)

        Now, I will be the first to admit that, this is all just circumstantial. I could be completely wrong. It’s possible that they were watching the monitors on the floor, or the specifically didn’t look at the results ahead of time, if they were watching the broadcast home. It’s completely possible there were subtle signs that gymnasts were out of line, that I still wasn’t/aren’t experienced enough to pick up. They have more experience then me. And Elfie could be trying to soften her reaction to gymnasts mistakes. I guess we will see this weekend. But I do agree with you, I really wish they had shown them on universal the night of.

        • October 16, 2011 3:52 PM

          I think that they may have known here too, even though Tim was apparently in Tokyo. BEFORE Komova’s routine, they say that her difficulty is 5.7, even though she was credited with 5.9 in prelims (5.7 in team finals). Maybe they were just looking at team finals, but maybe not. Maybe they are just better at judging from just watching the routine than most people who thought that Komova had it, but they say that Komova thinks that she has it, nothing about anybody else thinking that (even though she said the opposite post-competition).

          Surprisingly, they pointed out a hop on one of Komova’s leap that I hadn’t noticed. Kind of weird that they replayed both of the full routines a minute after we saw them for the first time, though.

          I’m much happier with Jordyn’s win after watching it again. I still think that the competition was a let-down, but I do think that she should have been on top of the podium.

          Most interesting thing in the broadcast? I don’t think I heard Mustafina’s name ONCE. Maybe they said it while discussing the american cup, but I think that they just said the reigning world champion who was Russian.

          • Kate permalink
            October 16, 2011 6:18 PM

            In the team final and event finals last night Tim mentioned Mustafina a few times.

            Ok this might be completely coincidence, but the interview with Alicia during the team final, sounds a lot like Tim to both my husband and myself. They never show the guys face. Maybe he was in Tokyo for podium training and came back to the US after?

            • October 16, 2011 6:53 PM

              I didn’t get to see the team final on NBC :(.
              That actually sounds likely. NBC/universal has had four commentators so far: Tim, Elfi, Al and the random Paul Sunderland. It probably wouldn’t make sense for them all to be in Tokyo.

  6. mllesatine permalink
    October 14, 2011 2:28 AM

    I waited until chinesegym put the final on youtube and since I don’t speak Chinese I was pretty much left in the dark when it came to difficulties.

    I don’t know who this Rodionenko dude is but for me this comment is in bad taste. It’s in the nature of this sport that you make mistakes and can still win when you do.

  7. Dowger Duchess permalink
    October 14, 2011 3:41 AM

    Mllesatine, I suggest you found it who this Rodionenko ‘dude’ is, you might then appreciate that he has every right to have an informed opinion on this result.

    Komova was fairly judged, but Weiber was over scored on every piece of apparatus. I said to a friend after the first piece of apparatus that the judges had already made their decision and it would take a fall, if not two for Komova to beat Wieber and sadly I was right. When you have watched international gymnastics you just have an instinct for this sort of things!

    • mllesatine permalink
      October 14, 2011 1:02 PM

      I’m sorry for my dude comment. It read as condescending and that was not my intent.

      If my years as a fan of football has taught me anything than it’s to take everything a coach says with a grain of salt. Not because I don’t believe that they know better than I do (which they obviously do) but because I know that there is a lot of pressure behind the scenes and coaches have to justify their work constantly.

      But complaining after the fact makes one look like a sore loser.

      And I get what you are saying about biased judging. But because I watched the final in Chinese I couldn’t properly compare Wieber and Komova. So yes, I can’t say if Komova was robbed. The talk (or should I say wank) about it probably spoils it for both Wieber and Komova.

  8. Tmoney permalink
    October 14, 2011 9:43 PM

    What are you talking aboult over three compitions Jordyn only had one major mistake but komova had several including a fall on beam and she didn’t get slamed by the international judges like Jordyn did for the bar ruotine and Jordyn went basically 11 for 12 that’s incredible komova was def overscored morethan once and jordyns beam I liked and thought was better all three times so to say wasn’t a winner or no respect is a joke Jordyn was the most consistant hit just about all her skills even with the bars whitch wasn’t as bad as you say she out did komova 3/4 so give Jordyn her due respect even Jordyn had an off quarter sometimes

    • October 14, 2011 10:12 PM

      I do not understand how Jordyn’s performance throughout the rest of the competition has anything to do with the results of the all around. This is not the 1980s. Preliminary scores do not carry through to the finals. It does not matter at all who was better on day two when awarding the gold in the all around final.

      I do respect Jordyn, but that does not change the fact that I was let down by the competition, and that nobody on the podium had a great performance in the finals. I did say, however, that Jordyn looked like the winner on three events. Bars were pretty bad. She lost over a point on two skills. That is a major error.

      In the end, I accepted Jordyn’s win, and I am trying to convey that here, even though I am very disappointed in how the competition went FOR EVERYBODY. As I was watching it, I thought that Komova had it in the bag. When I looked back at it, I was impressed with how well Jordyn fought back. Viktoria needs to learn how to win. She has seemed tentative post-injury.

  9. October 15, 2011 5:14 PM

    Viktoria also needs how to loose.. Oh and Laura I didnt mean that “you” said you wernt a fan of Jordyn but I have read that from alot of other comments. And really how many other AA or team finals have there NO been any mistakes?? Didnt Vanessa fall off beam and still win AA.. I thought that what the powers that be wanted in this sport? Really Jordyn did a great job and Viktoria did also, but she didnt really have that spark, fight or call it whatever you want. BUT THEY ARE BOTH great gymnast and again congrats to both of them.. p.s. Laura are you russian?? Just curious bc you what you said in the article??

    • October 15, 2011 6:15 PM

      Yes, Viktoria definitely needs to learn how to lose. Unfortunately, this was her first major AA loss without large errors, and she had no idea how to handle herself. That combined with everybody thinking that she had won made it too much for her. I was fine with her crying, but I wish that she had smiled a bit on the podium. Having said that, she has been very mature about it since leaving the arena. Her coaches and her mom are pissed, but she has been saying that she did not deserve to win. I do think that this is going to ultimately make her have more of a spark next year. She had it in 2010 when she was winning everything, but since her injury, she has not been the same gymnast, despite getting back most of her skills.

      I was too excited about this competition and ended up being let down. We all know that there are going to be mistakes, but I expected a lot out of Wieber after seeing how she performed at nationals and the first two days of worlds. I actually really wanted her to win, but after bars I thought that she had lost it, and wanted Viktoria to take advantage to get her confidence back. I am also worried that the 2012 all around will be like this, which would disappoint me a lot. The 2008 all around, although 2012 will hopefully be much deeper, was great because everybody on the podium performed very well.

      No, I am not Russian. I know four words of Russian, all from gymnastics: Davai, Stoi, Molodets and Spacibo. I have been a Komova fan for years, though, and only started warming up to Wieber in mid 2010. Therefore, I must admit that I probably am somewhat biased. I usually try my hardest to not let that show, but I think that I may have here. I do think, however, that what I said is nowhere near as extreme as what many others are saying. A lot of people are still livid about the results.

  10. July 21, 2012 12:34 AM

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

  11. August 5, 2012 12:37 AM

    Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.

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