The C Score (2.0)

Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Mitchell

So at the World Cup Final, during beam, Cheng Fei and Lauren Mitchell had a brief attempt at conversation that was serendipitously captured by the live feed. Everyone’s talking about it.

The transcript goes something like this:

Cheng: Hey! Very good.
Mitchell: Oh! Thank you!
[they look around awkwardly]
Mitchell: [pointing toward the vault] Your vault, yesterday?
Cheng: Uhhh …
Mitchell: Your vault? [makes international hand gesture for vault] Yesterday. Was good. [gives thumbs up]
Cheng: Ah! [laughs]
Mitchell: [laughs]
Cheng: [all of a sudden, pointing to floor] You do floor?
Mitchell: No.
Cheng: [shrugs, goes back to winding up her tape]
Mitchell: Good luck for floor.

Beautiful.

Day 2. Let’s do it. Big surprises on beam, with Lauren Mitchell taking gold. Fei made it two golds on floor after major problems on beam. I managed to get a bit of live-ness from Brazilian TV station BAND, so I saw from Zamolodchikova on on floor: scroll down for my thoughts.

Beam:

In a bit of an upset, Mitchell took the gold on beam in the World Cup Final while the two highest-ranked competitors, Cheng Fei and Sandra Izbasa placed out of the medals.

Lauren Mitchell, Yulia Lozheckho, Li Shanshan

The beam podium: Lauren Mitchell, Yulia Lozheckho, Li Shanshan

Actually, the whole podium is somewhat of a surprise: Yulia Lozhechko was second, and Li Shanshan placed third. Sanne Wevers unfortunately scratched at the last minute with an elbow injury.

Fei, who I totally expected to win, fell off the beam on her sheep jump and put her hands down on her front tuck to finish with a 13.825, placing her sixth. Overall, a wobbly routine, rated “not her best effort” by the live commentators at IG. Isbaza was a different story. Her routine was fine but watered down, with a 5.9 start value (including a 2/1 twist dismount) in a field of 6’s; she finished with a 14.925, which actually placed her fourth. Not bad considering she had the second-lowest start value of any gymnast.

The lowest start value award goes to Dariya Zgoba, who has been dealing with a foot injury — **she apparently had surgery but is still recovering — and started at only a 5.4. To give you a sense, her dismount was a round-off-layout. Sad. On the other hand, despite this, she finished above Cheng — the two falls did her in — and Daniele Hypolito, who also finished poorly in the vault finals. Hypolito had a fall on her mount (a round-off layout). Without this, she would have finished ahead of Cheng and Zgoba. Too bad.

Mitchell had the highest start value (6.6), and a seemingly nice routine, but with a few wobbles. Lozhechko actually had the second highest (6.4), a tenth above Li, which made the difference — their scores were only .5 apart. She apparently almost fell on her standing Arabian, and somehow managed to cowboy a back double tuck, but the rest of her routine appears to have been consistent. Li did her flic-flic-layout-Korbut series and a double pike dismount.

I’m totally distraught that Wevers wasn’t in this final. I really wanted to see her leg-up double turn. It is amazing. Would have been named after her too. On the turn front, though, at least we got Zgoba’s full turn with leg at head, which is awesome. By the way, since I’m using this as an opportunity to consider the level of originality on the apparatus, let’s consider mounts, shall we? Hypolito fell on her round-off-layout, Zgoba did her great planche, and everyone else did a hop up. It’s tragic. While we’re at it, dismounts were 2/1 (Cheng and Izbasa), double backs (Hypolito and Lozheckho) and double pike (Mitchell and Li). Interesting statistics: 7/7 did a switch jump (6/7 did it in combination); 6/7 did a switch leap; 5/7 did a front tuck (Mitchell did hers standing). Only one (Lozheckho), thankfully, did an aerial to scale. Also thankfully, only two did side somis: Lozhechko and Izbasa. Lozheckho was also the only one to do an Arabian. Naturally, there was an epidemic of full turns with leg at horizontal, although Zgoba does her awesome turn with leg at head, and Mitchell did hers with leg in lunge.

Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, Sandra Izbasa

The floor podium: Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, Sandra Izbasa

Floor:

Redeeming herself after beam, Fei took first on floor with an excellent, precise routine (15.375), ahead of Jiang Yuyuan (15.225) and Sandra Izbasa (15.000). Fei and Jiang had the best routines of the night: Fei’s was precise and clean, Jiang’s was happy and bouncy, as usual. Izbasa looked tired.

Tragically, Suzanne Harmes injured herself during her routine, twisting her ankle (gruesomely) on a front handspring. She wound up having to end her routine early, and somehow still wound up with a 12.650. Overall, alot of falls on floor. Besides Harmes, Koko Tsurumi fell on her double pike dismount and Elsa Garcia fell on her tucked full-in.

Live-ish commentary:

I actually finally scored a live feed of this final after some trouble with the plug-in. From Zamolodchikova on, I actually saw it with my own eyes. Nice.

Zamolodchikova looked good — and happy! She landed low on her double pike dismount, and stuck her 3/1 (despite crossed legs, which I hate). I had the same reaction to Hypolito: relief. Her routine was very good, she had good presentation and seemed into it, and she stuck her dismount (double pike — what else?).

First thought on Garcia was: I miss her old routine. She has quieter music now; I thought the old music suited her better. She fell to her hands on her full-in, but her mount of an Arabian double-front was good. After what seemed like a really low score for Garcia, the judges were on the phone for a while. At this point, the Brazilian commentators started going on and on about how Hypolito was in third place, as if they were unaware of the reputations of Izbasa, Cheng and Jiang on floor.

Anyway. Izbasa takes the floor. Sadly, she looks really tired. Still a good routine though. Her triple turn was only OK, and she underrotated her 3/1 dismount, but everything else was fine: 15.000. She just didn’t seem to want it as much as …

Fei is precise today. Very nice two first passes: piked full-in, whip-to-triple. You can tell from the first seconds that she is going to take this. And she does: 15.375.

Jiang was great. The presentation was somewhere between the level of TF and AA at the Olympics. Very very nice. Besides landing a bit short on a 5/2 and on a 3/2-3/1, her tumbling was very good. Great ending to the women’s competition. How can you not love her? And she takes silver! 15.225.

Other floor things:

Naomi Ruiz competed as the nominee from the host country, with what IG described as a routine with “no expression,” but she still managed to place fifth (13.900). Zamolodchikova’s 14.075 placed her fourth, nearly a point out of the medals, but ahead of everyone else. That is to say, eveyone else struggled: pretty significantly. Of course, Harmes finished last after ending her routine early. Tsurumi had a disappointing day, falling, as I mentioned, on her double pike dismount. Fortunately she still has that shiny bronze from the bars final.

Best presentation was by Jiang, Cheng and Garcia, at least of the ones I saw. Zamolodchikova looked better than she has. I was disappointed by Izbasa. Hypolito was good, but not great.

Cheng had the highest start-value (6.3), followed by Izbasa and Jiang (6.2). Garcia had the next-highest, 6.1, but still finished 8th after some sloppiness and the fall (which also went out-of-bounds). Everyone else had a 5.7/5.8.

Naturally, we saw a lot of double pikes: seven of them, to be precise, and Harmes didn’t finish her routine, so that could have made it eight. Of these, all were dismounts except Garcia’s. We saw two 5/2-punch front layouts, one of my favorite combination passes (if the layout doesn’t look like the gymnast is about to fall backwards). Lots of full-ins (six of them, to be exact, two of which were piked). Besides Cheng, everyone who did a 3/1, in combination or not, was short. This is a perpetual problem on this skill. Perhaps the best skill of the day was Jiang’s quadruple turn. I liked it.

The IG commentary is here.

Beam:

1. Lauren Mitchell (15.250)
2. Yulia Lozheckho (15.200)
3. Li Shanshan (15.150)
4. Sandra Izbasa (14.925)
5. Dariya Zgoba (14.000)
6. Cheng Fei (13.825)
7. Daniele Hypolito (13.425)

Floor:

1. Cheng Fei (15.375)
2. Jiang Yuyuan (15.225)
3. Sandra Izbasa (15.000)
4. Elena Zamolodchikova (14.075)
5. Naomi Ruiz (13.900)
6. Daniele Hypolito (13.700)
7. Koko Tsurumi (13.575)
8. Elsa Garcia (13.175)
9. Suzanne Harmes (12.650)

The lists of participants are finally in (see bottom), and I’ve made a montage of all the gymnasts as a small preview for the World Cup Final, which takes place in Madrid this weekend. (See bottom of post for lists.)

The big news since my last post is that Kim Bui declined. The last slot finally went to Hiu Ying Angel Wong, 26th, of Hong Kong.

The montage shows the gymnasts for each event along with their current world ranking. (The pictures at the beginning are of all the gymnasts competing on at least two events.) The song is “Die Welt gehoert mir” (“The World Belongs to Me,” appropriate, right?) by Bluemchen, this weird German techno-pop star of the past.

Some thoughts, in order in which I think of them:

  • I love Sandra Izbasa and I consider her queen of the floor. But I’d like to see Cheng Fei get a little redemption, so I’m a bit torn — I want Izbasa to win floor, but I want Cheng to win three golds. Go figure.
  • I am really glad to see Elsa Garcia back, and am glad she’ll be competing on floor.
  • My favorite skill in the entire montage is Sanne Wevers‘ leg-up double turn on beam. Especially in an era when so many gymnasts can barely do a full turn. Wevers was a last-minute addition after Alina Kozich had to pull out with a rolled ankle, and even though I love Kozich (especially on floor), I’m glad to have Wevers!
  • Bars is going to be a big show-down, and the Chinese (He Kexin, Yang Yilin and Jiang Yuyuan could easily go 1-2-3, in that order.
  • I love Dariya Zgoba but, let’s face it, you’re not going to win bars with her low-high transition. Like I’ve said before, I really don’t think elite gymnasts should ever have their feet on the bar when their hands are not also touching it.
  • Elena Zamolodchikova! Enough said.
  • Daniele Hypolito is qualified for three finals! Although she could easily wind up 8th on bars, I’m hoping to see a great vault floor out of her.
  • Jana Komrskova is back. Check out her vault in the clip. She’s precise.
  • Lauren Mitchell is great on beam. I’m hoping for a bronze for her (I’ve gotta put Feifei and Izbasa above her … sorry).
  • Speaking of beam, Li Shanshan will be there! It was a little tough for her after the Olympics. Glad to see her back.
  • We get to see Jiang’s floor. If you don’t get all fuzzy inside when you watch that, you probably should see a doctor.

See? Plenty of things about which to be excited.

TCS out.

Vault:

1. Cheng Fei
2. Elena Zamolodchikova
3. Jana Komrskova
4. Ariella Kaeslin
5. Dorina Boczogo
6. Aagje Vanwalleghem
7. Elsa Garcia
8. Hiu Ying Angel Wong

Uneven bars:

1. Dariya Zgoba
2. He Kexin
3. Jana Sikulova
4. Yang Yilin
5. Anastasia Koval
6. Jiang Yuyuan
7. Koko Tsurumi
8. Daniele Hypolito

Beam:

1. Cheng Fei
2. Sandra Izbasa
3. Li Shanshan
4. Yulia Lozhecko
5. Daniele Hypolito
6. Lauren Mitchell
7. Dariya Zgoba
8. Sanne Wevers

Floor:

1. Cheng Fei
2. Sandra Izbasa
3. Jiang Yuyuan
4. Suzanne Harmes
5. Daniele Hypolito
6. Elena Zamolodchikova
7. Koko Tsurumi
8. Elsa Garcia
-. Naomi Ruiz

The FIG has released a list of the qualifiers for the World Cup Final who have confirmed their participation plus the next gymnasts down the list who will be invited. The lists are prettty much as predicted.

The World Cup Final will take place December 12-14 in Madrid

The World Cup Final will take place December 12-14 in Madrid

Vault:

Participants are Cheng Fei, Elena Zamolodchikova, Jana Komrskova, Ariella Kaeslin and Dorina Boczogo.

The next three down the list are Hong Su Jong, Aagje Vanwalleghem and Olga Sherbatykh I’m thinking we can count out Hong (Hong Un Jong has already said she would not participate, and while I realize they are not the same person, it seems like a good predictor). Sherbatykh is also out. Vanwalleghem is likely to compete, which moves Hong Mi Kang (ranked 18th) into the last qualifying position. She recently took first on vault at the 2008 Asian Games.

Uneven bars:

According to the FIG, Dariya Zgoba has confirmed her participation, which makes Zgoba, He Kexin, Jana Sikulova, Yang Yilin and Anastasia Koval the qualifiers.

The next invitees are Jiang Yuyuan, Vanessa Ferrari and Iryna Krasnianska. Jiang will almost definitely participate, Ferrari is definitely out, and I’ve heard that Krasnianska is probably out too. The first replacement would be He Ning (17th) and the second is … Koko Tsurumi (18th)!

Beam:

Fei qualified first onto beam (as well as vault and floor) and is followed by Sandra Izbasa, Li Shanshan, Yulia Lozhecko and Daniele Hypolito. Hypolito has already confirmed her participation, though Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is actually ranked above her.

Although Hopfner-Hibbs curiously declined her invitation on bars, she has expressed a desire to compete on beam if qualified, but rumor has it that she has already decided against participating because of final exams, etc. The next two invitees are Lauren Mitchell and Deng Linlin. I am curious about the Li confirmation, because she had been sent back to train with her provincial team. I presume, though, that the FIG did not get this wrong (though stranger things have happened). Even if Hopfner-Hibbs competes, we probably still have one place left because Deng is rumoerd to be injured. Next on the list is Lenika de Simone (18th), whose participation (if I’m not mistaken) would put Naomi Ruiz out of contention on floor, because Spain is only allowed to nominate a competitor if they have no other qualifiers. Should de Simone decline, next up would be Zgoba (19th), qualified and confirmed on bars, and Alina Kozich (21st), who is qualified and confirmed on floor too.

Floor:

Koko Tsurumi could be in on two WCF events

Koko Tsurumi could be in on two WCF events

Fei is first, followed by Izbasa — just like beam (which is exciting!). They are followed by Jiang, Kozich, Suzanne Harmes and Hypolito.

Zamolodchikova is first on the next list of invitees, and will undoubtedly participate. Patricia Moreno is next and retired, so that’s not happening. That leaves one spot to fill on floor, which could theoretically go to Daria Joura (16th), but the most likely competitor is Tsurumi, who is now likely qualified for two events!

It’s shaping up to be a good final, presuming everyone makes it to Madrid with no further injuries. I’m predicting Cheng on vault and beam and Izbasa on floor, but I don’t put much stock in my own predictions. I’m still calling He on bars. I’m doubting will see any major upsets.

It would be nice to see Zamolodchikova on the podium, but I think it’s a long-shot. Kaeslin has a decent shot at a medal on vault. The bars final could easily go Chinese 1-2-3 with He Kexin, Yang and Jiang. I have no idea about what kind of shape Li is in, but she could definitely compete on beam, as could Mitchell, though I have them competing for bronze with Cheng and Izbasa in the top two spots. On floor, Kozich could squeeze in for a medal, but I would expect Jiang to take third.

While the rather underwhelming (Coach Rick’s characterization of my reaction to the results) PAGU Individual Event Championships took place in Argentina, with the United States present, everyone else of consequence was over in Europe at the Massilia Cup in France.

The Massilia Cup’s Web site is beyond useless, but I’ve finally gotten my hands on some results. Note that there is both the Open and the Cup. The Open is for all teams who are interested in competing, while the Cup is limited to the official delegations from the top eight countries. The top performers then compete in an all-around known as Top Massilia in which each gymnast competes as many events as she chooses. It’s an EF competition, but for some reason they also compile all-around scores.

The Chinese dominated, sweeping both all-arounds and both team finals, with Jiang Yuyuan and her teammate Guo Wei winning the Cup (with only two competitors while all of the other teams had three, top two scores count), and Jiang taking gold in the Cup all-around and gold on bars and floor in Top Massilia. To be fair, however, the Chinese had the most experienced team (with Jiang), followed by the Australians, who placed third. The Russians took second, with the graceful Aliya Mustafina replacing Tatiana Nabieva, who was scheduled to compete (no word on what happened), Viktoria Komova (who does a Patterson dismount on beam), and Kristina Goryunova (Goryunova appears to have replaced Anna Demienteva, who was scheduled). Goryunova went on to medal in two EFs in the Top Massilia; Mustafina on one. Russia beat China in team finals on vault, but just barely, and floor by nearly a point, while the Australians actually placed first on beam, but came in only third. The three Russians went 4-5-6 in the all-around, Goryunova, Komova, Mustafina. Mustafina had the highest score on floor of all competitors.

Australian Lauren Mitchell had a good meet, taking second in the all-around in the Cup and first in the all-around in Top Massilia with silvers on two events, and third by team with Ashleigh Brennan and up-and-comer Britt Greeley. (Note: advance word had Emily Little competing on the Cup team and Greeley on the Open team. Not sure what happened.) And despite the scandal brewing at home, the Brazilians placed a respectable fourth. Their highest placement in the all-around was Bruna Leal, ninth, with Ethiene Franco tenth and Khiuna Dias twelfth.

The disappointments come for the French and the Romanians. The French senior team, with Youna Dufournet making her senior debut, placed only fifth, with a fall by Dufournet on bars and on her triple twist on floor. The other French competitors were Laetitia Dugain and Manon Erre (Dugain appears to be replacing Angeline Serre, who was expected to compete). Dufournet placed only eighth in the all-around with low scores on beam and floor. Marine Brevet and Chloé Stanic, two up-and-coming French juniors, actually beat Dugain, who placed a dismal 21st of 23.

But the real trouble is for the Romanians, who came in a dismal sixth despite putting up some of their top new talent — Amelia Racea, Diana Trenca and Claudia Voicu. As I’ve mentioned, the Romanians have a huge problem with vault (Racea does the best one, a FTY), and tend to score in the mid-50’s. Racea posted a reasonable 57.050 with trouble on bars to finish seventh. Voicu placed thirteenth, Trenca eighteenth. Hopefully the move to Deva by many of their top gymnasts of the next generation, including these three, will sort that out. None placed in any EFs.

China in first, Russia in second, Australia in third

The podium for the Massilia Cup team competition: China in first, Russia in second, Australia in third

As for the Open, the Canadians overperformed, taking the second and third spots on the team podium and placing Dominique Pegg in third place in the all-around. Pegg was my choice for top Canadian junior. A WOGA team placed fourth, but I don’t know who competed.

The two Chinese girls who placed first and second in the Open, Zhang Yujiao and Kang Xiaojun outscored Pegg by 1.5 and 2 points, respectively. Briley Casanova, a fairly well-known American junior, took fourth. Casanova had the highest score on vault and tied with Kang for the highest score on floor, but took a hit on bars with a 12.750.

As I mentioned, Mitchell placed first in the Top Massilia. Racea placed second — leaving out bars — while Goryunova placed third and Pegg fourth (the highest finish by an Open competitor). The rest of the competitors did not compete three events and I’m not even sure why they do this ranking.

More importantly, the Dutch Wyomi Masela placed first on vault, the best finish of any Dutch competitor. Goryunova took second, just above Dufournet on what some might say is her best event. As I mentioned, Mitchell took silver on three events (bars and beam, her best-scoring events). Jiang, unsurprisingly, dominated her competition on bars and floor. Guo took first on beam and third on floor, cementing the Chinese dominance.

Finally, the audience was also treated to a performance by Nastia Liukin who, however, appears to have used one of her routines from the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars. If I remember correctly, I didn’t enjoy it.

Nastia Liukin at the 2008 Massilia Cup

Nastia Liukin at the 2008 Massilia Cup

Full results are available here. That link is weird, so if it doesn’t work, here is the Massilia Cup main page.

Massilia Cup team:

1. China: Jiang Yuyuan, Guo Wei
2. Russia: Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova, Kristina Goryunova
3. Australia: Lauren Mitchell, Ashleigh Brennan, Britt Greeley
4. Brazil: Ana Silva, Khiuna Dias, Bruna Leal
5. France (seniors): Youna Dufournet, Laetitia Dugain, Manon Erre
6. Romania: Amelia Racea, Diana Trenca, Claudia Voicu
7. Netherlands: Joy Goedkoop, Wyomi Masela, Natasja Blind
8. France (juniors): Chloé Stanic, Marine Brevet, Justine Crosato

Massilia Cup all-around:

1. Jiang Yuyuan
2. Lauren Mitchell
3. Guo Wei

Top Massilia vault:

1. Wyomi Masela (NED)
2. Kristina Goryunova (RUS)
3. Youna Dufournet (FRA)

Top Massilia uneven bars:

1. Jiang Yuyuan (CHN)
2. Lauren Mitchell (AUS)
3. Geng Ruo Wei (CHN)

Top Massilia beam:

1. Guo Wei (CHN)
2. Lauren Mitchell (AUS)
3. Kristina Goryunova (RUS)

Top Massilia floor:

1. Jiang Yuyuan (CHN)
2. Aliya Mustafina (RUS)
3. Guo Wei (CHN)

Open team:

1. Shanghai: Zhang Yujiao, Kang Xiaojun, Ruo Wei Geng
2. Canada 1: Dominique Pegg, Rochelle Hurt, Anysia Unick
3. Canada 2: Jessica Dowling, Madeline Gardiner, Caitlyn Keats

Open all-around

1. Zhang Yujiao
2. Kang Xiaojun
3. Dominique Pegg

We’re nearing the end of the year, so here’s some stuff that’s coming up. This includes “breaking” news coming out of the current U.S. national training camp, which ends tomorrow. The official announcement of U.S. assignments can be found here.

Big news:

  • The U.S. PAGU team has been named: Rebecca Bross, Olivia Courtney, Corrie Lothrop, Samantha Shapiro. The inclusion of Shapiro means she must have gotten over her elbow injury.
  • Diana Bulimar and Larisa Iordache of Romania will compete at Top Gym.
  • Nastia Liukin will perform an exhibition at Massilia Cup.
  • Amanda Jetter will be joined at the International Artistic Gymnastics Challenge by Olivia Courtney and Corrie Lothrop. The latter two will be at both PAGU and in Brussels. Cassie Whitcomb, who was originally named for this meet back in October, is now out.

PAGU:

First, the U.S. team for the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) Individual Event Championships has been chosen: Rebecca Bross, Olivia Courtney, Corrie Lothrop, Samantha Shapiro.

The big news is that Jana Bieger has once again been screwed over by Marta Karolyi. This seems to be a signal that USAG is done with Bieger; they’re moving on to the younger seniors. If this is the case, I hope Karolyi will release Bieger, and then maybe she could go compete for Germany. I think she would have fun with that, and Germany’s got some other good contenders, including Oksana Chusovitina, Kim Bui, Jenny Brunner, Marie-Sophie Hindermann …. Or maybe she’ll just move on to NCAA. (I always forget she can’t do NCAA because she randomly went elite in 2006.) Anyway, it doesn’t look good for her in U.S. elite gymnastics. The other people on the training squad who were not picked are Mackenzie Caquatto, Amanda Jetter, Bridget Sloan, and Cassie Whitcomb. News from Sloan was that she was going to train for the American Cup in 2009 and not bother with international competition before then. The weird thing is that Shapiro was not even on the shortlist, presumably because she was injured, so maybe she has gotten over that injury, bumping the other three new seniors.

Top Gym

Top Gym in Charleroi, Belgium, which will be attended by two strong American juniors — Jordyn Wieber and her Geddert’s teammate Kamerin Moore — adds two great Romanian juniors to its competition list: Diana Bulimar and Larisa Iordache. Bulimar was this year’s Category II champion at Romanian Nationals, with Iordache taking Category III last year, and placing second to Andreea Tufa this year. Presumably the Category I juniors, many of whom just moved to the Olympic squad at Deva, have more important things to do. In her most recent competition, at Blanc-Mesnil in France November 7-8, Bulimar took second in the AA to Ukraine’s Natalia Kononenko.

The other countries that have already released the names of their gymnasts aren’t sending any big names. However, I still haven’t heard about Russia’s gymnasts, and it’s possible it may be Anna Dementieva and Viktoria Komova, who will be in neighboring France for Massilia.

Sweden, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have announced their gymnasts. Italy will send Chiara Gandolfi and Giorgia Campana, and Holland will send Jocelynn Kraan and Yvette Moshage. A second Belgian team is yet to be named, as are the Slovenian, Slovakian, British and, as I mentioned, Russian teams.
Massilia Cup:

Rumor has it that Nastia Liukin will be performing an exhibition at the Massilia Cup in France on November 21-23.

The Massilia Cup consists of the Massilia Open for teams by country or gym, the Massilia Gym Cup by country-team, and the Top Massilia, an individual final for the highest scorers from the previous competitions.

For the Massilia Gym Cup, Australia will be sending Lauren Mitchell, who is doing quite the circuit right now, Ashleigh Brennan, and top junior Emily Little. For China, Jiang Yuyuan will be competing, which is exciting because she performed only on floor at the recent Chinese Nationals. The Chinese are also sending Wei Guo and Mengsi Tan (not familiar with the latter). Russia is sending juniors: the exciting Tatiana Nabieva as well as Anna Dementieva and Viktoria Komova, who throws some amazing skills for her age. Fantastic junior Youna Dufournet will compete on one team for France with two seniors, Angeline Serre and Manon Erre; and there will also be a team of juniors only: Chloé Stanic, Aurélie Malausséna and Eva Maurin. Brazil sends Ana Silva, Khiuna Dias and Bruna Leal.

Beyond this, some exciting competitors for the Open Massilia. There are a number of them, so I’ll highlight the ones I’m happy to see: Ambre Casanova, Marine Brevet and Justin Crosato of France (Saint-Etienne); Sarah Gusmaroli, Marie Gaffino (although rumor has it she has retired?) and Julie Pennachio also of France (Marseille); Britt Greeley, Tain Molendijk (who has been injured) and Tracey Penaluna of Australia; and three (!) WOGA teams: Briley Casanova, Sophia Lee, Rachel Holman, Alyssa Baumann, Hayley Sanders, Dana Ho, Belle MacFalane, Rachel Philipps and Charle Dembo; and a number of Canadian juniors: Caitlyn Keates, Rochelle Hurt, Dominique Pegg, Anysia Unick, Jessica Dowling, Melissa Downing, Madeline Gardiner, Anna Gamelo, Sabrina Gill, Mikaela Gerber, Briannah Tsang and Alysa Samaratunga (apparently there will be a selection after a training week in France). Léa Kemayou of France will also compete with her Toulon team, but I don’t know about the other competitors.

I’ve highlighted a number of these juniors in my Up-and-Coming Juniors series.

International Artistic Gymnastics Challenge

The Challenge, held in Woluwe Saint-Lambert near Brussels, will now feature Corrie Lothrop and Olivia Courtney in addition to Amanda Jetter and Cassie Whitcomb. This means that Lothrop and Courtney will be both at PAGU and at Saint-Lambert.

The DTB Cup Finals were contested today, and Cheng Fei walked away with dominating victories on her three events, vault, beam and floor.

Cheng Fei on floor at the DTB Cup

Cheng Fei on floor at the DTB Cup

Before I go into the details, the news and how this affects world rankings. Results are at the bottom. This event was only televised in China as far as I know, but video of Cheng’s three victory routines is available on youtube from WangXiangu.

News:

  • Anna Pavlova was hurt on beam with torn ligaments in her knee
  • Yang Yilin came back from her problem on bars in qualifications to take third on beam and floor
  • Australia’s Lauren Mitchell performed extremely well, taking silvers on beam and floor
  • Cheng’s floor win moves her into first place in the world rankings

Rankings:

Fei will remain second in the vault rankings, unable to overtake Oksana Chusovitina’s giant lead. However, it looks like Chusovitina will probably not be able to compete in the World Cup Final in Madrid, meaning Fei will go into that event as the highest-ranked vaulter. Pavlova will remain in third. Aasje Van Walleghem will move into the high teens from a rank of 22.

He Ning‘s finish on bars won’t move her into contention for the WCF. Anastasia Koval, currently 15th, will move up, but she’s behind a number of strong contenders and even long-retired Emilie Lepennec.

Fei’s win on beam will move her ahead of Shawn Johnson and into fourth in the world rankings. She would have gone to the WCF on this event anyway. She will not, however, pass Pavlova, currently in third. Mitchell, currently ranked 27th, will move into the high teens in rank, but that probably won’t do much for her. Yang is not currently ranked in the top thirty.

The big news is that Cheng’s win on floor will move her above Sandra Izbasa into the first rank on floor. Neither Yang nor Mitchell are in the top thirty anyway.

Detailed report:

Bars was competed before vault today, but I’m going to do my discussion in Olympic order. By the way, I’m getting all of my information from the DTB ticker, which was incidentally a nice addition to the organization of this meet.

Cheng and Pavlova, given their start values, were the two to beat on this event, and wound up finishing 1-2. Both competed a a DTY and round-off half-ons with layout front half-offs. Fei completed her DTY with a small step for a 15.125 and also performed a solid second vault. Pavlova finished with a substantial enough step on the Yurchenko to finish with a 14.700 and a fall to the knee on the half-on layout front half-off for a 13.400. Aagje Van Walleghem of Belgium competed a Yurchenko 3/2 with a big jump forward on the landing and a well-done half-on piked front half-off to take the bronze. For those not familiar with the name, Van Walleghem has been around for quite some time (she is now 21) and competed at Athens, but missed qualifying to Beijing after a below-par performance at Worlds in 2007. Incidentally, Elena Zamolodchikova competed the same two vaults as Cheng and Pavlova, but with major missteps, including a bent forward landing on the DTY (14.625) and a fall forward on her half-on layout front half-off (13.825). She finished sixth. Despite the highest start value of the day on a laid-out Rudi (6.3), Ariella Käslin finished fourth after falling on the Rudi and competing only a Yurchenko full as her second vault.

Bars was a fairly low-key affair with only He Ningand Koval as legitimate contenders. They both began with 6.9 start values. Kim Bui and Jenny Brunner (6.6 and 6.5 start values) could possibly have competed against them, but had major mistakes and wound up with B-scores in the 7’s. He Ning threw both straddled and piked Jaegers, showed nice el-grip work and finished with a solid double layout dismount. Koval, the fifth-place finisher in Beijing, performed a piked Hindorff, a Stadler full-in to a high Tkatchev and a stuck double front dismount. The Germans, Brunner and Bui, placed third and fifth. Brunner performed a piked Jaeger and a layout front with half-twist dismount. Bui went from fourth in qualifications to fifth in finals after a problem on the low bar despite a nice Shapashnikova and a good Geinger with a Tsukahara dismount. Note that Yang probably would have been in this final if it hadn’t been for a fall on a 1.5 pirouette and a few steps on her dismount in qualifications.

The beam final finished in A-score order, with Cheng on top and Australia’s beam specialist Lauren Mitchell taking silver. Yang, depsite the problems on bars, came back for a third-place finish on beam (and floor, see below). Cheng had no major errors despite a step sideways on her 2.5 twisting dismount dismount, though she had some small steps, notably on her standing pike. Mitchell continues to do the squat double turn, which I hate, and had a problem hafter her layout stepout layout back, but finished solidly after perofrming a good aerial to two feet and a standing front tuck and a flick-flack to double pike. Yang performed an Onodi flip-flop layout step-out combo and had no major errors except a small step on her 2.5 twisting dismount. Yulia Lozhecko was wobbly on her front aerial to scale and side somis and performed only an OK double pike dismount to finish sixth. Most importantly and sadly, Pavlova had some major wobbles during her routine, including on the full turn, and fell on her dismount, injuring her knee.

Maybe the biggest news on the floor final is that Bui tied with Yang for third. Yang went OOB on her 2.5 twist and underrotated her triple twist mount. Apparently her triple turn was very pretty, and was quite nearly a 3.5. Bui performed a Tsukahara with a small step and nailed her 2.5 twist to layout with a half, 1.5 forward twist and double pike dismount. Cheng took first, as noted, with a piked Tsukahara, triple twist, 1.5 twist to full and a 2.5 twisting dismount. Mitchell finished second with a piked Tsukahara (OOB), a double Arabian, a nice double twist and a double pike dismount, all with generally strong landings, but fell out of her triple turn. Daniele Hypolito was a disappointment, finishing wiht a score in the 12’s with a double pike mount and an underroted 2.5 twisting dismount.

Vault

1. Cheng Fei (CHN) 14.900
2. Aagje Van Walleghem (BEL) 14.275
3. Anna Pavlova (RUS) 14.050

Bars

1. He Ning 15.350
2. Anastasia Koval 15.050
3. Jenny Brunner 14.150

Beam

1. Cheng Fei (CHN) 15.425
2. Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 15.150
3. Yang Yilin (CHN) 15.075

Floor

1. Cheng Fei (CHN) 15.250
2. Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 14.675
3. Yang Yilin (CHN)/Kim Bui (GER) 14.075

Full results are available here.