Preview: Can Komova Hold Off Wieber in Tokyo?
(7 votes, average 3.71 out of 5)

Russia's Viktoria Komova and American Jordyn Wieber are set for an all-around showdown Thursday at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.

Komova barely edged Wieber in qualification, but faltered in Tuesday's team final, when Wieber led the U.S. to gold over Russia and China. The pair far exceed the rest of the field in terms of difficulty, meaning either gymnast could fall once and still take the silver.

Komova and Wieber likely have the top two spaces sewn up, but a handful of gymnasts could challenge for a podium finish.

Using scores and rankings from the qualification, let's take a look at some of the top qualifiers to the women's all-around final:

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Viktoria Komova14.53315.73315.40014.49160.157

Viktoria Komova
Strengths: Difficulty, artistry, execution
Weaknesses: Consistency

Komova is the total package in gymnastics. She combines outstanding artistry, difficulty and execution, bringing to mind the glorious Soviet gymnasts of 25 years ago. No wonder: both her parents were Soviet team members in the 1980s. Her mother, Vera Kolesnikova, won a gold medal with the Soviet team at the 1985 Worlds, and was Komova's first coach.

But Komova is simply not 100 percent yet at these world championships. The first-year senior lost valuable training time all year due to a sprained ankle that required surgery in May. She's made remarkable progress, but her coaches were unsure until recently if she would be able to compete four events in Tokyo. So far in Tokyo she has shelved her Amanar (Yurchenko 2 1/2) for a safer double full, which lowers her difficulty score by .7. And she's already competed eight routines in Tokyo and may be running out of energy.

However, Viktoria Komova is at such a level that even at 90 percent strength, she could beat the entire world.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
2.Jordyn Wieber15.43314.80015.23314.56660.032

Jordyn Wieber
Strengths: Difficulty, consistency, power
Weaknesses: Uneven bars, artistry

Wieber has competed like a fine-tuned machine in Tokyo, hitting eight of eight routines so far. She doesn't have the form or artistry of Komova, but is far more powerful. Her Yurchenko 2 1/2 is booming, and she tumbles a double-double on floor exercise. If she is planning to peak in the all-around final, the gold could be hers.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
3.Yao Jinnan14.86614.56615.06614.53359.031

Yao Jinnan
Strengths: Style, execution
Weaknesses: Difficulty

Yao doesn't quite have the difficulty planned by Komova and Wieber, but she's no slouch in that department. Her beam is packed with tricks, including a standing full, and she mounts with a double layout on floor exercise. Yao has power and seems capable of an Amanar vault, but for now is competing a clean double. And like all the Chinese in Tokyo, Yao is heavily penalized on uneven bars by the execution panel in a manner that doesn't seem to match her performance compared with the majority of the field.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
4.Alexandra Raisman14.66614.00014.93314.83358.432

Alexandra Raisman
Strengths: Power, consistency, difficulty
Weaknesses: Artistry, execution, uneven bars

After a disaster on uneven bars during the 2010 world all-around final, Raisman has made a special effort to improve her weak event. Her tumbling brought her the highest score on floor exercise in qualification, but elegance is not her strong point. However, like Wieber, Raisman has been a rock in Tokyo and could take an all-around medal today.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
5.Ksenia Afanasyeva14.43314.08314.10014.32556.941

Ksenia Afanasyeva
Strengths: Artistry, experience
Weaknesses: Uneven bars

The 2008 Olympian is still going strong, qualifying to her first world all-around final over teammate Anna Dementyeva (who was sick with 104 fever before the competition). Artistically, Afanasyeva is picture perfect on balance beam and floor exercise and has a strong double-twisting Yurchenko vault. She has been inconsistent on uneven bars, where she is the only Russian team member still performing without grips. The shy Russian brings a lot of experience to the meet, and an all-around medal is not out of reach.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
6.Huang Qiushuang14.60014.90014.66612.76656.932

Huang Qiushuang
Strengths: Uneven bars
Weaknesses: Inconsistency

Huang is a brilliant gymnast, but consistently inconsistent. She fell on floor exercise in her very first routine in Tokyo, but qualified to the all-around final after her Tan Sixin also struggled. Huang fell yet again in team finals, missing a release move on uneven bars. Chances are running out for Huang to prove herself to the team, and the all-around final could be her final big test.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
7.Elisabeth Seitz14.63314.43313.80013.86656.732

Elisabeth Seitz
Strengths: Uneven bars
Weaknesses: Balance beam, floor exercise

The German champion has an eye-popping uneven bar routine, where she's capable of a Def and a full-twisting Maloney. She has a solid double-twisting Yurchenko vault, but doesn't seem to compete to her ability on balance beam and floor exercise.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
8.Raluca Haidu14.36613.83314.53313.73356.465

Raluca Haidu
Strengths: Balance beam
Weaknesses: Uneven bars

Haidu was the top Romanian in qualification, but would need to count on errors from other gymnasts to win an all-around medal. Uneven bars is her big weakness, and she scoreed a 12.900 in the team final. But she's a steady competitor on balance beam, where she boasts elegant lines and attractive gymnastics.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
9.Koko Tsurumi13.50014.93314.26613.66656.365

Koko Tsurumi
Strengths: Uneven bars
Weaknesses: Difficulty

Tsurumi won the all-around bronze medal at the 2009 Worlds, but the competition is considerably stronger this year. Tsurumi has the home town support behind her, but the tiny gymnast needs to risk her inconsistent double-twisting Yurchenko for a chance at the podium.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
10.Lauren Mitchell14.30013.60014.03314.39156.324

Lauren Mitchell
Strengths: Floor exercise, balance beam
Weaknesses: Uneven bars, injury

Mitchell was just fractions behind Tsurumi in 2009, and has the capability of an all-around finish this year. Sore ankles, however, have limited her performances in Tokyo. She's capable of the top difficulty score in the world on floor exercise, and a huge score there and three other hit routines could lift her into the medals.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
22. Ana Porgras 13.900 12.666 14.400 13.866 54.832

Ana Porgras
Strengths: Balance beam, elegance
Weaknesses: Vault, inconsistency

Porgras, the 2010 world champion on balance beam, has been hit or miss so far in 2011. She just snuck into the all-around final after falls on uneven bars and balance beam in qualification. She is capable of a double-twisting Yurchenko vault, but her coaches have smartly shelved it so far this year. She competes vault in the third rotation, so if a medal is within reach, perhaps Porgras will risk it today. It's been four years since the Romanian women medaled in the all-around at worlds, a streak they no doubt would like to snap in Tokyo.

Follow IG Publisher Paul Ziert's live commentary from Yoyogi Stadium, broadcast simultaneously on IG's official Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Comments (1)add comment

CHoCHoKanel said:

No, Komova is mentally fragile. She is a child, not a bitch
Not Khorkina
Not Mustafina
Her gymnastics is very beautiful, her form is amazing.
But gymnastics needs toughness!!
Weiber, I don't like her phony coach but, I don't like her style, but she is strong mentally and physically. I want Komova to win but the possibility is 10% only smilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gif
October 13, 2011
Votes: +2

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