Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships: Women’s All Around Final

Well. We thought it couldn’t get anymore nail biting than it did yesterday, but once again it came down to the last few routines. EEK!

First of all…my star of the day award goes to Hannah Whelan. They weren’t going to pay much attention to her, and then she was at the end of the first rotation in 9th place. And then she kept creeping up in the standings to point that going into the last rotation she was in 6th place. Her last routine of the day was bars, her lowest scoring event, but she still finished in 9th. Very respectable! Hopefully she’ll stay healthy and be able to do some upgrades on Bars to be in with a chance to be in top 8 in London next summer. One thing is for sure: she did Great Britain proud today! To see her floor & vault click here (I think it will only work if you’re in the UK unfortunately).

The top 6 was where the drama was though.

The Americans both had huge vaults. Wieber pulled out the amanar, perfect but for a big step on landing. Raisman had the double twisting yurchenko, put to near perfection. It’s been said many times, but she does have many similarities in power, strength and style to her older teammate, Alicia Sacramone. The rest pulled good vaults, but from what I could tell did not come close in execution to the Americans.

Then it was onto uneven bars. The Russian star, Komova pulled out another great bars routine, though still not quite so well executed as we had seen in qualifiers, but much much better than she did in Team Final. The Chinese girls pulled out great routines. Wieber went up and made some huge mistakes and it really did cost her. Then Raisman went up. It was awful, I was yelling at my TV – I know that she, like Alicia, struggles on bars. Last year she had an awful time on Bars in AA finals. Today, she had a total meltdown again. Somehow she managed a good dismount, but she only scored 12.900. Ouch.

On to beam. Wieber had dropped from 1st to 4th. Komova went up first, and pulled a good routine having a number of wobbles – but no falls. Then Huang got up on beam – was doing well and then fell. All of a sudden, the door for an American medals opened back up. Then Afanaseva got up on beam and fell on her first move – a standing arabian. Raisman got up and performed a hit routine (she really can command that beam!) – a lot of gymnasts would have been so rattled after a performance like she’d had in the previous rotation, but her focus is such that she just moved on and fought back. Yao followed, and also had a fall. This was unbelievable – Chinese are known to be great on beam, and now both their gymnasts had fallen. Wieber got up on beam and had a near perfect routine, really just a small step on dismount putting her into 2nd place going into the last rotation…

Floor. Huang’s routine was charming but low on difficulty. Afanaseva had powerful tumbling – her first 2 passes (ending in a double straight and a triple twist) were breathtaking. She too had fought back after her fall on the beam. Aly Raisman killed it on floor hitting all her difficult passes with controlled landings and nailing her leaps and choreography. Yao hit her routine too – the precision was fabulous, the performance had the charm of her teammate, Jiang Yuyuan had in Beijing on floor. Wieber got up, and had a powerful routine, but took a step out of bounds on one of her passes. Her difficulty was high, and aside from her step out, the execution well done. But surely after the step, it would be silver?

Komova got up. Her first pass was great, but she fell out of a spin on her dance moves, and though the choreography had that Russian grace and elegance, it seemed like she was tired as she wobbled and landed deeply on some of her tumbling passes. Though improved from Team Finals, it still wasn’t going to get a good execution score. However, most of us thought it could be enough for Gold.

But when the score came – it wasn’t. Wieber had beaten her overall by a mere few 100ths of a point. Wieber burst into tears, and so did Komova. But for very different reasons. And rather than the massive cheering you’d normally hear, the arena was strangely quiet with a few audible gasps as most of them thought Komova had done enough for Gold.

For sure there is debate going on about scoring at these championships! Yesterday some suggested USA men’s team should have got Silver over Japan. Today some are saying that Wieber was overscored on floor or Komova underscored and that Komova should have got Gold over Wieber.

In the end it was Gold to Wieber, Silver to Komova and Bronze to Yao.

All I know is: Gymnastics at London 2012 is going to be one to watch. The Russians will want to get their Golds the Americans won here. Beth Tweddle will want her medal in Uneven Bars. Lauren Mitchell (who scored highest on Floor today improving her score again) will want her medal on Floor. Ana Porgras who scored high on Beam will want a medal there. Because none of them will have the chance to reclaim their world titles on those events this week despite their high scores in Team and All Around.

Tomorrow: Men’s All Around final. If the last 2 days are anything to go by – it’s gonna be dramatic!


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