Worlds 2011: Thoughts on Women’s Team Final

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Like every other nation, the USA came to Tokyo with one main aim, to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, whatever else to come was a bonus. They received a huge bonus yesterday when they won the Women’s Team Final. It was odd, the Americans looked as the Russians did last year as they entered the arena, like they owned those gold World medals before receiving them on the podium two hours later although the US knew it in a more graceful and non-cocky way. The Russians lacked that flare yesterday, they also lacked Amanars and kept it safe with two DTY’s and an FTY.  The USA shone yesterday, they really did. They appeared to be un-phased by Alicia Sacramone and Anna Li’s injuries, manky thought that without Sacramone’s big vault and beam score they could not win. Consistency was the key in this Team Final and that’s what the USA were, consistent and unflappable, always in the lead and never trailing behind.

Being up first on vault was excellent for them, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney were by far the best vaulters in the competition, their scores certainly reflected this. The girls pulled out their most fantastic Amanars, something the Russians wish they could have done. The US placed first on vault followed by Russia with over 2 marks separating first and second place. The Germans finished in third place on Vault, boosted by Oksana Chusovitina’s score.

In rotation one Japan and Australia were on beam, China and Romania were on beam. Huang Qiushuang fell off on her piked jaegar, Mary Anne Monckton fell on beam for Australia, Lauren Mitchell suffered a couple of wobbles but all in all what you would expect from a team final.

Rotation two saw the US move to bars, usually their weakest apparatus. None of them were ever going to beat Beth Tweddle’s 15.666  but Wieber was closest for the US with 14.766 Douglas really stepped up for US here, cool and confident she scored a nice14.733 for her only event in the team final. Sabrina Vega also stepped up, many being unsure of her ability to hit bars considering she has been so consistent throughout the last year. Viktoria Komova hadn’t been looking herself so far today, looking tired but all the same performed a spectacular set on bars, perfect with just a small hop on dismount.

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At the same time Catalina Ponor performed a beautiful routine on beam. She hit the routine with just a few minor mistakes to score a confident 15.166 but was outscored by the reigning Beam World Champion Ana Porgras who received 15.300. Lauren Mitchell performed a clean floor routine, often coming close to stepping out of bounds.

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China’s Sui Lu scored a fantastic 15.666 for her beam routine, it was simply beautiful. She was graceful, elegant and light on her feet make sure to watch it below.

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After a very uncharacteristically bad bar routine in qualification, Beth Tweddle pulled the bar routine we know and love out of the bag to score a high 15.666 meanwhile the Romanians performed some lovely floor work Ponor showing us what we have been missing while she was in retirement. The USA and Russia showed some fantastic beam routines, Maroney, Raisman and Wieber were solid, only slight wobbles here and there. Viktoria Komova slipped off on her flip, layout, layout – it was a most more like a step off  Meanwhile the Australians were on vault where Lauren Mitchell placed her hands on the floor in her DTY, losing substantial marks for her team. The Chinese were on floor where Sui Lu didn’t  impress like she had on floor,  receiving a low score of 12.066, in fact the second lowest of the competition behind Rie Tanaka’s floor.

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Coming into the 4th and final rotation, the USA knew they had to have clean floors, they are well capable of doing so.  The Russians however were let down by Komova’s disastrous routine. In her 1.5 to Double Arabian Front she was forced to take steps backward to prevent under rotating she looks very unhappy knowing that she won’t get the score she wanted. She scored 13.800 whereas the majority of the floor routines were in the 14’s. Must have been tough knowing that she is capable of doing much better. The British have a relatively good final rotation on beam. Rie Tanaka impressed the home crowd with her bar routine, scoring a respectable 14.100.

Finally the USA take to the floor, knowing that the gold medal is so close in reach. Maroney was first up to produce a crowd loving routine. Wieber was next, her floor is always a sure thing, rock solid. She always looks like she’s enjoying it so much. The only slight mistake was a slight out of bounds after the 2.5 to front layout full, otherwise a perfectly clean routine. It was highly unlikely that Raisman could mess up her routine that much, and of course she didn’t scoring and excellent 14.666 to help her team win gold.

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I’m delighted that the USA won, I had a feeling all along that they wouldn’t, as long as Vega and Douglas continued to hit. This is the USA Women’s third ever Worlds title. With Jordyn Wieber ranking first out of all of the gymnasts (given she competed on all four apparatus) and offering a solid contribution throughout the competition, going into the Women’s AA Final tomorrow, should we expect her to win the gold? or should we expect a good Wieber V Komova shown down?  If she wins, she’ll be the first USA woman to do so since Sloan in 2009.

 

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac

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