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China Grabs 3 of 5 Golds on First Day of Finals
(14 votes, average 3.93 out of 5)

IG Editor Dwight Normile is blogging from the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships at the O2 Arena in London.

Men's Floor Exercise

For the first time all week, the gymnasts are given no one-touch warm Olympic champion Zou Kai (CHN) competed first and had plenty of difficulty but several small landing errors (15.675, 6.8).

Steven Legendre (USA) achieved his goal of making the world floor final, and he mounted with a double front to barani instead of the double-twisting front. He looks a bit tight on his landings, instead of absorbing. He dismounted with an tucked Arabian double (14.95, 6.2). Legendre ended up repeating a skill, which really cost him.

Marian Dragulescu (ROM) performed a really clean, difficult set, covering any landing problems with steps and turns. His second pass was an interesting front layout to tucked full-twisting front-1.75. His biggest landing error was on his tucked double-double (15.70, 6.6).

Alexander Shatilov (ISR) mounted with handspring-double-twisting front to front-1.75 that was effortless. He's a tall guy and looks great on floor, but with today's longer routines, he can get a little loose in the air (15.575, 6.6).

Tomas Gonzalez (CHI) mounted with an open-piked (layout) Arabian double and avoided any major problems in his other passes, most of which were twisting elements. He ended with triple twist with a step, then pumped his fists in joy. Sorry I missed this gymnast in prelims, as six event were going on all day (15.225, 6.6).

Kohei Uchimura (JPN) stepped on his first pass and later was short on another landing. Earlier this week I mistakenly said he did seven passes, but I was wrong (one was just a transition). He only does six. (I never thought I'd say that about men's floor, but that's what it's come to.) Uchimura finished strong and stuck his triple twist (15.475, 6.5).

Makoto Okiguchi (JPN) drew applause for his interesting mount of Lou Yun (side somi-in, layout-.75 twist-out), punch front-1.75. He had some landing issues but overall a good routine in a high-level final (15.425, 6.6).

Matthias Fahrig (GER) mounted with a handspring-double-twisting front, punch double front that appeared to land O.B., but I didn't see the flag raised. He's an extremely tumbler, and apparently an extrovert, as he did a little dance for the audience as he left the podium (15.40, 6.6).

1. Dragulescu; 2. Zou; 3. Shatilov.

Note: The FIG announced earlier in the year that a Kiss and Cry area would be used for gymnastics, but it's not being used here.

Women's Vault

Anna Myzdrikova (RUS): a clean layout Podkopayeva (roundoff half-on, layout front-half, 5.6 difficulty). Low double-twisting Yurchenko second vault (5.8). 14.225 two-vault average.

Ariella Käslin (SUI): Handspring-layout rudi (6.3). Yurchenko-1.25 that she tucked right before the landing (5.3). 14.525 average.

Hong Un Jong (PRK): Sat down her Amanar (6.5), and her Cheng Fei (roundoff half-on, rudi, 6.5) was even worse. She didn't finish the twist or flip and landed in a heap 14.262 average.

Kayla Williams (USA): Handspring-rudi, tiny hop on the landing but solid (6.3). Double-twisting Yurchenko stuck cold. She leaped up then ran over to embrace her coach, Bozhidar Russev. From Level 10 to world champion? Why not? 15.087 average.

Elsa Garcia (MEX): Yurchenko-1.5 twist (5.3), one step back. She was well short on her roundoff half-on to piked Cuervo (5.2) and landed on her feet, knees and hands. 13.287 average.

Brittany Rogers (CAN): Fairly clean double-twisting Yurchenko, and the British announcer in the arena called it a "tidy landing." I'll have to agree. Podkopayeva second (roundoff half-on, piked barani, 5.6). A bit crooked and a step. 14.20 average.

Yekaterina Kurbatova (RUS): High double-twisting Yurchenko, with slightly sloppy feet, but a solid landing. Podkopayeva second vault, and she landed low but saved it. 14.337 average.

Youna Dufournet (FRA): Very clean Yurchenko-1.5 twist, just a step. Clean layout Podkopayeva with just a tiny hop on the landing. 14.45 average.

1. Williams; 2. Käslin; 3. Dufournet.

Note: I'm not sure a double-twisting Yurchenko should be worth .50 more than a Yurchenko-1.5 twist. Maybe a .30 difference would be more accurate. Also, if I'm a coach, I'm teaching my gymnasts a handspring-layout rudi if at all possible. It's worth 6.3, .50 more than a double-twisting Yurchenko. These are HUGE differences between three vaults that probably should be smaller, especially when the execution scores are so severe.

Pommel Horse

After hearing a deafening cheer from the home crowd as he was announced, Louis Smith (GBR) struggled right from the start, never got into a rhythmi and fell. With the chance of medal gone, he ripped through the rest of the set like it was nothing. He dismounted, then clapped toward the audience in appreciation for their support (14.45).

Robert Seligman (CRO) swung with his hips so high in the front that he's actually slightly arched at that point in his circles. It looks great but may hamper him in places. He had several form issues throughout, and his Russians-on-the-end dismount look a bit anticlimactic (sort of like when a song just fades out instead of ending on definite beat), when most gymnasts finish with some sort of handstand combination (14.75, 6.1).

Krisztian Berki (HUN) was the first to hit a clean set, start to finish, and his single-leg work really sets him apart. Qualifying in second place, he scored (16.075, 6.9).

Tim McNeill (USA) had some form glitches but otherwise swung through his difficult set without any rhythm problems. At this level of competition, his body position looks a tad below the top pommel horse guys in the world (15.150, 6.4).

Flavius Koczi (ROM) swung an aggressive set with a smooth scissor to handstand. His hips are a bit close to his hands when he swings, and it looked like his flair handstand pirouette dismount finished on the wrong side of the horse (14.975, 6.6).

Zhang Hongtao (CHN) did an immaculate set in every way, shape and form...except for one. When he landed his dismount in a squat, he celebrated with a double fist pump before standing up and presenting himself to the judges. That flaw aside, his routine was absolutely breathtaking (16.20, 6.6, difficulty, 9.6 execution).

Prashanth Sellathurai (AUS) performed most of his elements on the leather, Russians between the pommels, travels around the pommels, you name it. But to go right after Zhang showed the difference between the overall polish between the two. Still, the Aussie is talented (15.400, 6.6).

Cyril Tommasone (FRA) mounted with consecutive scissor handstands and hit everything else, although he swings a bit hunched (15.225, 6.5).

1. Zhang; 2. Berki; 3. Sellathurai.

Uneven Bars

He Kexin (CHN) was a bit crooked when she caught the second element of her Jaeger to cross-grip to Jaeger, and she might have missed a handstand but otherwise it looked great, and she stuck her tucked full-out (16.000, 8.9-E, 7.1-D).

Cha Yang Hwa (PRK) caught her hop-full to Hristakieva (full-twisting Gienger) but got off on the next element and had to improvise. Not a good day for the North Korean finalists (14.65, 6.3).

Koko Tsurumi (JPN) looked clean but not as sharp as in prelims. She really has a smooth style and should be a major player throughout this quadrennium (14.875, 6.2).

Serena Licchetta (ITA) swings a lot like Vanessa Ferrari but missed going over the top twice on elgrip giants and eventually fell on a Comaneci, which is rather late in the routine considering how difficult it is (11.95, 5.1).

Larrissa Miller (AUS) put forth an excellent routine with lots of inside-Stalder work and tight leg form. She stuck her high tucked full-twisting double (14.575, 5.9).

Bridget Sloan (USA) had no problems throughout with only a step on her full-twisting double layout. Lots of sole-circle work and a high toe-on piked Tkatchev (14.60, 5.9).

Ana Porgras (ROM) did a 1.5 pirouette to a Jaeger and dismounted with a double layout. Her inside-Stalder position was excellent but she had several small leg separations (14.675, 6.3).

Rebecca Bross (USA) showed great amplitude on her releases and looked like she had to bend her legs after catching her Jaeger to avoid hitting the low bar. She said later she was just trying not to peel off (14.675, 6.2).

1. He; 2. Tsurumi; 3(t). Bross, Porgras.


Matteo Morandi (ITA) Azarian Maltese mount, shaking in some of his later strength skills and bounced forward with a big step on his full-twisting double layout, which he had to pike to get around (15.30, 6.7).

Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues (FRA) did "his" inverted Maltese twice, but it still never looks horizontal and level with the rings. He must have been gassed, because he did a forward roll after his piked barani-out dismount (14.75, 7.1).

Arthur Nabarrete (BRA) mounted with a roll to back lever, press to Maltese, but struggled on his swing to handstand skills. Stuck his full-twisting double layout cold (15.325, 6.5).

Yan Mingyong (CHN) rolled to a Maltese press planche, lowered below a Maltese and press up to a Maltese. Very deliberate in all of his skills, but his full-twisting double layout landed low and he took a mini broad jump to save it (15.675, 6.8).

Jordan Jovtchev (BUL), 36, may have showed the most emotion ever (for him) at the end of finals routine. He stuck his dismount, stood up straight and pumped both fists. He showed his usual level strength elements and piked and tucked Yamawakis to L-cross, press Maltese near the end of the set (15.575, 6.7). His second-place score drew whistles.

George Stanescu (ROM) was not in the same league as most of the finalists in that his inverted crosses were much too high to challenge a field like this.

Alexander Vorobiov (UKR) was precise and did not always use a false grip in his strength elements. He did a slow Yamawaki to a Maltese late in the set and made a good landing on his piked double front, but not stuck (15.55, 6.8).

Samir Ait Said (FRA) was piked in his first Maltese and high in his planches. Hop on his full-twisting double layout (15.25, 6.7).

1. Yan; 2. Jovtchev; 3. Vorobiov.

Comments (7)add comment
..., Low-rated comment [Show]

NancyR said:

Mailing, the view from press row is not always good for technical evaluation; in fact, sometimes it's appalling. Try viewing bars from the opposite end of the arena, for example. No way to know if anything was done in handstand, or what a gymnast's lines looked like. One has to rely on the judges, and we all know how that goes.

Vault values are screwy. Back in the day, there wasn't enough difference, and now it's far too much. Beijing was a mess. Can't FIG get anything right?

Thanks for adding the D-panel scores. None of this makes a lick of sense without them (makes precious little with them).
October 17, 2009
Votes: +0

lauren.mitchell said:

im quite dissapointed with the quality of these worlds, especially for the women. these are a lot like melbourne 2005
October 17, 2009
Votes: -1

Vicki said:

Overall a much better competition than the all-around (too bad there are so few contenders for the all-around now).

Way to go veterans! (Dragulescu and Jovtchev) -- I hope they stick around until 2012
Pommel horse was great! I was afraid there would be a void after Qin but Zhang is as smooth and has additional flair and the other medalists were great too (still don't care for Smith's slow swing but too bad about the fall)
Kudos to He for being the only Olympic champ to stick around and deliver

Vault is strange in many ways...the bizarre inflated scores for men, the arbitrary vault values, the diluted talent pool in the final b/c so few gymnasts are allowed to do a second vault (in order to focus on team and all-around);
I think it would make a lot more sense to have EVERYONE do two vaults (every other event requires a million skills and vault is over in it would help establish scoring that is a bit more uniform, truly have the best vaulters in the final and would make the competition a little less cookie-cutter (at this point all the female contenders for all-around are doing DTYs and nearly all the men 2.5s; in order to "upgrade," they have to go to a vault that is too difficult for them -- two vaults would actually make it less precarious while offering more variety)
October 17, 2009
Votes: +0

Yung Choe said:

What a joke of a meet
Absolutely nothing new.
October 17, 2009
Votes: -2

Daniel.Montero said:

Tomás Gonzalez/Ana Porgras
My fellow chilean, gymnast Tomás Gonzalez finally caught the attemptio of everyone in this FX finals, he bay not be the mos explosive one, but the kid has got a los of talent and he has been overshadowed for a long time, i hope the people in Chile will know about this achievement because i think it is the first time a chilean gymnast is in a world gymnastics finals.
Anna Porgras shows the style and elegance coming back to romania, she somehow reminds me of the days of Silivas and Dobre, she realle needs to upgrade her level of difficulty and im sure she got the hunger to win now, you could see it in her eyes when she found out she was sixth in the AA, she is a remarkable gymnast, elegant and very flexible, guess she just need the time
October 18, 2009
Votes: +0

Trevis said:

Jovtchev is the king of gymnastics!! Jovtchev for 2012!!!
Jordan Jovtchev has been in this sport for so long and he's the biggest athletic inspiration to me, showing that age has nothing to do with how spectacular you can become. Jordan's probably the biggest athletic hero in my life, keep up the good work Jordan. I think a gold medal is waiting for you in 2012!!
October 18, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

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