All you need to know: Kieran Behan @ London 2012

FIG Artistic Gymnastics Olympic Qualification - LOCOG Test Event for London 2012: Day Three

Many gymnastics fans, Team Ireland London 2012 supporters (and new to gymnastics fans) are expected to tune into Kieran Behan, Ireland’s second ever gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games, on Saturday morning, July 28th as he aims to qualify for the Floor Event Final.  So that you don’t miss Kieran’s shot at Olympic Final qualification we have come up with a quick FAQAK – or Frequently Asked Questions About Kieran, if you will :)

What subdivision?

  • Subdivision 1

What time?

  • 11am Saturday July 28th

Who else will be competing at this time?

  • Great Britain – Daniel Purvis, Max Whitlock, Sam Oldham, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas
  • Korea – Jihoon Kim, Seungil Kim, Soo Myun Kim, Hee Hoon Kim, Hak Seon Yang
  • China – Zou Kai, Chen Yibing, Zhang Chenglong, Teng Haibin, Feng Zei
  • France -  Gael Da Silva, Cyril Tommasone, Hamilton Sabot, Yann Cucherat, Pierre-Yves Beny
  • MG 3 =  ARM, ARG, LAT, IRL, EGY, SVK
  • MG 4 =  PUR, CRO, NED, AZE, SUI, CZE

What apparatus does Kieran start on?

  • Floor, his speciality.  His group will then move to Pommel, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and finally High Bar.

What does Kieran have to do to make the Olympic Floor final?

Kieran will have to place in the top 8, the 8 highest scoring gymnasts will proceed through to the event final. Should 3 gymnasts from one country place in the top 8, the lowest scoring of those will no compete as Olympic finals hold a two per country rule. So if Kieran were to rank, say 9th, he may make the final if three gymnasts from one country have qualified in the top 8.

Ireland’s top female judge Mairead Kavanagh who will be providing commentary for RTE discusses Kieran’s Olympic medal chances:

What kind of score will Kieran be looking for?

Kieran will be looking to score in the mid -  high 15′s or 16′s if he hopes to make the floor final. 16′s are difficult enough to achieve, in recent months USA’s Jake Dalton has scored a 16.100 and USA reserve Steve Legendre has scored a 16.200 but a 16 is hard to come by, those 16′s were judged at a USAG competition, not by an international judging panel. Current Olympic Floor Champion Zou Kai won his title with a score of 16.050 in 2008 and is sure to have upped his game to have a shot at retaining the title. Also, the Code of Points has changed since the previous Olympic cycle so we would be best relating the the 2011 World Championships where Kohei Uchimura won the floor title with 15.633 with Zou Kai in second with 15.500 and Hypolito and Shaitlov in third with 15.466.

At the European qualifiers, Kieran scored 15.266 to make it to the Floor final.  His start value is somewhat lower than those who are bound to make the floor final (such as Russia’s Ablyazin who holds a 6.9 or 7.1 start value) but in the sport of gymnastics, you never know and anything is possible. Those wit higher start values often take a big risk having so.  Kieran sure has a real shot.

When will we know if Kieran has qualified?

Officially, only after the last subdivision have completed their competition but we may have a fair idea coming into Subdivision 3 if he has placed high up the list, bearing in mind that some of the “big guns”, Romania, Germany, Ukraine and Russia will be yet to compete. This will be approximately 10pm on Saturday evening. The last subdivision begins at 8pm.

If he does not qualify is that it?

3 reserves will also be named per apparatus final so should a qualified gymnast pull out and Kieran is first on the reserve list, he would take his place in the final. The same goes if another 2 gymnasts happened to pull out and he were to be second reserve etc.

Who else is contention to make the Floor Final?

A whole host of names could make the floor final but the fact is:

  1. it depends on what happens on the day. A gymnast could unexpectedly step out of bound or fall.
  2. only 8 can qualify.

None the less, look out for Zou Kai, Denis Ablayzin, Kohei Uchimura, Jake Dalton, Daniel Purvis, Fabian Hambuechen, Kristian Thomas, Mykola Kuksenkov, Alexandr Shatilov, Tomas Gonzales,Diego Hypolito, Flavius Koczi… just to name a few!

I don’t understand how the gymnastics scoring works. Can you explain?

In short, Kieran is looking for a high 15 if not a 16, without upping his start value from previous competitions Kieran is unlikely to score a 16, as are most of the gymnasts.  A score above a 15 on floor is great. It all depends on the judging on the day. At his last control competition before moving to the Olympic Village Kieran scored a 15.65 on Floor which is what Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen achieved to rank 4th in Beijing in 2008. That certainly is a great score. A full explanation of scoring and how it works can be viewed here.

Where can I watch Kieran compete?

RTE

I’m told RTE will be showing Kieran’s qualification. As yet an actual schedule has not been released. Commentary will be provided by two of Ireland’s top judges  Mairead Kavanagh and Colm Murray. RTÉ has announced that it will offer up to 2,300 hours of coverage of the London 2012 Olympics across RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio and RTÉ Digital beginning with the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July and running until the closing day on Sunday 12 August. A full schedule has not yet been released.

If you are travelling or on holidays in Europe during the Olympic Games you can also stay in touch with how the Irish are faring in London by watching RTÉ’s television coverage live via the EBU’s Olympic Portal at www.eurovisionsports.tv/london2012/.

BBC Three

Will be showing the Men’s qualification on Saturday which is included in their program which also features Men’s road cycling and badminton – expect to see more of the GB boys at this time.  11am for subdivision one. They will continue showing highlights from the rest of the Men’s Qualification between at 8pm. Commentators will be Mitch Fenner, Christine Still and Matt Baker.

Normally within hours gymnasts routines will appear on YouTube – so have a search at some stage on Saturday.

How do I get in touch with Kieran?

Hundreds of people have been leaving Kieran comments and messages of support on his Official Facebook Page and on his Official Twitter page.  Make sure you do too, Kieran seems to be slowly getting his way through thanking everyone. His fanbase has been growing very streadily in the last week or so.

Gymnastics Ireland have released the below good luck video for Kieran and encourage fans to share it on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve done our part to get support behind Kieran, let’s hope you can too.

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

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