The 2011 World Gymnastics Championships All Around Finals, or How I Learned to Stop Loving Gymnastics and Start Hating Everyone.
It's time like these I wonder what it would have been like had there been internet after the 1992 AA finals.
It's been about two weeks since Wieber beat out Komova by a mere .033, and for the most part, things have settled down. So why do I even need to write this blog? My intention, two weeks ago when I capped these pictures, was to do a SCAM-like comparison in order to shut all of the nay-sayers up. However, since then, the majority of people really have come around, so this seems kind of pointless. But whatever, I'm bored. Deal with it.
We'll start with vault. This event was a treat to watch. Although Jordyn underperformed her Amanar, for her, she still had her typical beautiful form and tight rotation. A sub-par vault from Jordyn is equivalent to an awesome vault by most other people. The landing was a little "clunky," was Tim Dagget would say, which resulted in a sizable step.
I love that I can watch Jordyn do Amanars all day long, and never fear for her life. I can't say the same for everybody. Viktoria followed with a lovely DTY. Her form is very un-Russian, in that it in no way resembles an octopus spinning through the air. Legs pasted together, no crossing, pretty toes. She didn't get a ton of distance from the table, but still managed to land relatively upright. Despite a decent chest position, she still took a noticeable step/slide backwards.
Vika had a smaller landing error than Jordyn, but since the COP values the Amanar as being one billion points harder than the DTY, Jordyn comes out with the edge on this event. Despite this being fairly obvious, I have still read the random criticism blasting how "unfair" it is because Jordyn's start value is so much harder. I know, right? You can't make this shit up. Where were these people last year when Russia racked up the points using multiple Amanars (debatable, but that's another rant for another time.) I thought that was the whole point of this stupid new COP: let's see who can do the most hard shit. Whatever.
Click to enlarge, if need be.
Bars. Not Jordyn's greatest outing. That said, it wasn't nearly the trainwreck that everyone made it out to be. She went WAAAAY over on her clear hip 1/1, which caused her to barrel into her bail, which was just a huge mess. That said, she managed to keep it down to a form break, and most certainly did not fall. Let me repeat that: Jordyn Wieber did not fall on bars. No fall. So the next person who says "She shouldn't have won because she FELL!" gets a punch to the crotch.
Following that, she got her routine back on track. She more or less hit the rest of her handstands, and held on to her ridiculously low tkatchev. That skill needs to go like, yesterday. She reminds me of when my cat scoots her butt across the carpet. However, she saved the best for last, and absolutely nailed the shit out of her double layout dismount. I don't know what's up with the downgrade, but I'll take a beautiful, stuck DLO over just about any other dismount any day. That's just me though.
What is important is that despite having a major error, Jordyn came back and blasted through the rest of her routine. Fuck up in the interior of the routine, and you simply cannot afford to step on the dismount. Which she did not. And that's why she's the world champion.
Naturally, Jordyn was to be followed by Viktoria, with her perfect uneven bars body and delightful swing. Yeah, she goes a little overboard with the inbar stalders (I think I counted five?) but whatever, they're all pretty. She knows how to hit handstands like a motherfucker. However, there are exceptions...
She was as late on her inbar stalder full as Jordyn was on her clear hip. Yeah, the hip angles are different, but those are each .5 deductions. I love how everyone and their mother, including Tim Dagget's mother, ranted about Jordyn's late handstand, but largely ignored Vika's.
No one seems to know why in the world she does that messed up 1/2 turn before her dismount. I don't know why it's there. It just gives her two chances to not hit handstands. It makes no sense. Then, a little step on the dismount. I know it's just a little step, but I'm betting she wishes she could take back just one of these little fuckers. One less teeny step, and she'd be the one giving up her NCAA eligibility right now. You know, if they had that in Russia.
Could you IMAGINE if the NCAA recruited Russians? I would die. Viktoria would go to UCLA, while Nabieva would head straight to Bama, obvs. Musty to Florida... I digress.
So after two events, things seem pretty self explanatory. Jordyn threw down on vault, while Viktoria was all "Come at me, bro!" on uneven bars. 1-1.
Up first on beam was Komova. She opened up with a lovely punch front, followed by her signature pass of LOSO-LOSO.
Side rant: it depresses me that this pass is like the height of beam passes in 2011. Don't get me wrong, Vika's performance of said pass is DIVINE. There is no denying that. What gets me is that bitches have been doing this pass since, what, the eighties?? Three LOSOs in a row was the norm fifteen years ago. FIFTEEN MOTHERFUCKING YEARS AGO. But that was all shot to hell when it was decided that skills shouldn't be repeated, and then further tossed down the drain when dynamic connections were more or less eliminated from the code. I mean, yeah, I guess you could do LOSOx3, and while it would give you four hundred bonus Spanny-points, it wouldn't get you jack shit in real life. So what's the point? Might as well do a front aerial- pause pause pause- arm swing- BHS- LOSO. Because that's a connection.
Anyway, right, Vika's beam. Gorgeous LOSOx2. Fluffy dance, fluffy dance, and then the arabian. She manages to land it so upright, it's unreal most times. Other times, like today, it's a little off, and she bends at the waist to save it. This is where it all goes downhill for Vika. It seems as though once she has a bobble, they just keep coming until the very end. And this routine was no exception. She fared well on her leap pass of split leap (which I'm not going to cap. There is no point, we all know she has gorgeous leaps,)- wolf jump. Wolf jumps are, by nature, very fugly skills, but she manages to make them look pretty and delicate.
Her L turn was decent, keeping her leg up long enough to rotate the spin, but dropped it before she could connect to her front aerial. The aerial itself came with a balance check, which she had to upright before she could do her sheep jump, which had, what else, its own wobble. Lots of bobbles, zero connections.
Side somi was fine. Back on track, she went for the double turn, which only got about 1.63 times around. But since the code only counts halves, she was scored as having done a 1.5 turn. She eagerly dismounted with a BHS-BHS- high double tuck, which was landed with a low chest and a sizable step backwards.
Wieber came out and pulled a "Jordyn," and by that I mean she came back after a dismal bar routine and annihilated beam. As she tends to do. She nailed her "pass" of front aerial-arm swing-one armed BHS-LOSO. She did it as well as it can be done. Because let's accept it, this is not a connecting pass, and never has been. But the code doesn't give a shit about a little thing we like to call DYNAMIC CONNECTIONS. Suck it, code. All the same, nary a wobble on the pass.
I love how everyone likes to bitch about Jordyn not hitting 180 on her splits. "Lack of split!" they claim. Well, assholes can suck it, because bitch hits her splits. Accept that.
The first wobble is on her side somi, and even then it's just a slight arm wave. Her L turn was amazing, so much so that even Elfi, who is like minutes away from getting Vika's name tattooed on her ass, starts to audibly pant over it. The next visible error came during her PIVOT TURN. It was just a super slight waiver, but even still, it's a pivot turn. I have no idea what is going on there, because she made the exact same error during event finals. I mean, whatever, I shouldn't judge, but it's a pivot turn. A pivot turn.
In a change from her routine from nationals, Jordyn left out the extra half, and stuck with a comparatively easy switch side leap. She also left out the extra turn she had been adding after the L turn. Hmmm. I'd assume those will go back in before London. Lovely side aerial, then it's time to prep for the full-BHS.
People need to shut up about this full-BHS. Crediting non-connections has been en vouge for like ten years now. You think that the world AA final is going to be the first time that the judges are all "Wait a minute, that wasn't connected!" No. Unless you stop moving entirely, the judges seem to consider it a connection. She has a minor balance check after the full, but she never loses momentum. Those arms keep moving, her body keeps moving. Do I agree that it is a connection? No. Does the code think it's a connection? Yes. Thus, she was credited with the connection. (I'm assuming that it was credited. Who knows what the judges really did.)
It really reminds me of those horrid leaps everyone keeps adding to their passes on floor. Like, one out of ten are actually rebounded leaps. The rest are landed, swing arms to set, then a leap. And those all count. So until the code figures that out what connections are, people are going to get credited. Including Jordyn.
Moving on, Jordyn dismounted with her lovely, clean 2.5, with a step on the landing. Three very minor bobbles aside, Wieber absolutely destroyed her routine. Komova, while without falls, still had a number of large errors. Plus, she lost a shitton of connection, so that sucks. Pretty simple, Jordyn takes beam. 2-1.
Time for the final event: floor.
Being that she qualified in second, Jordyn had to go first. I love this floor routine so much. To any asshole who tries to pull the "But that Jordyn Wieber routine should get artistry deductions! It's not very creative..." card, I only have this to say to you: do less crack. Jordyn has arguably the most creative and well performed routine in existence today. It has lots and lots of different movement that utilizes the entire floor. She uses all sorts of levels. Some girls do their obligatory "must get my hips near the ground" pose, but Jordyn has multiple moments where she's up high, down low, to the side. You get it. She is remarkably expressive with the music. But above all else, it is entertaining. She obviously enjoys it. And when the performer enjoys themselves, it's hard for the audience to avoid having a good time too.
Artistry is such a subjective term. Too many people assume that ballet = artistry. It does not. There are so many different styles of movement that can convey emotion; ballet is but one of them. So artistry trolls, STFU.
Onward. Jordyn opened with the Silivas, and aside from a small slide back, it was beautiful. Her legs, her toes, everything is always where it needs to be. Her chest was close to being considered too low, but I don't know that it was low enough to garner a deduction. She followed with her 1.5 through to triple, with which she gave up the same slight slide backwards. That stick rule is such a bitch. It is easily the most hated aspect of the current code for me. Easily. What was wrong with lunging? Now most landings resemble little kids trying to march through mud.
Jordyn nailed her triple pirouette, and hit her leap passes. Her 180 DEGREE leap passes. Back in August, I watched Jordyn warm up these leaps over and over, working really hard to stick them. What good is a great leap if you stumble out of it? The hard work seemed to pay off, because she nearly stuck them cold in Tokyo. Every little tenth, you know? No skill ever seems like a throwaway to her.
Next, Wieber went into her 2.5-punch layout pass, which has given her problems all summer. This was no exception, and it resulted in a step out of bounds. As in, she landed in bounds, and took a step out of bounds. In bounds, then out of bounds. Some people seemed to think that she landed ass-first out of bounds, and should have just ended the routine there and hit the showers. In real life, it was just your run-of-the-mill step out of bounds. Not the end of the world. Jordyn, being Jordyn, didn't let that phase her, and instead stuck her double pike cold. I know it's cliched, but it's true: leaving a good impression on the judges makes a difference. She ended that routine, and her entire night, on the best note possible. That's why she's the world champion.
The final routine of the night belonged to Viktoria Komova. She knew the score she needed to win, and it was easily within her reach. These are the moments that make or break competitors. Some girls live off of this shit, and others... don't.
Vika opened up with her 1.5 through to double arabian. And while it was landed much, much better than in team finals, there was still a minor hop. I know it seems like I'm harping on her little hops and such, but seriously, one of these bitches cost her the title. She followed with a double tuck. Is that a place holder for something else? Why is she doing a double back? Despite the relative ease of the skill, she still took a huge bounce backwards on the landing. If you're going to do a plain old double tuck, you'd better stick the hell out of it. She makes a point of it to then take another step to get into the correct position, like where she would have landed had she not had the huge bounce. I've never understood that. She's not the only gymnast to do it, but I just figure, if you've already taken the step, either cover it up or move on. Each additional step taken is another reminder to the judges that you're not where you're supposed to be.
I know other people don't like the 80s breakdown of her Swan Lake music, but I live for it. There just such a delicious Romania-in-the-80s flavor to it. The bangs, the bitchface, the unflexed wrists. WIN WIN WIN! After her sassy little breakdown, Vika stepped into her double L turn, which wasn't great. It was fully rotated, but the free leg kind of flies up and down throughout the turn. This was followed by the prescribed leaps and jumps, which Vika again did not stick. You gots to stick your jumps. She came THISCLOSE to sticking her triple full, but there was still just the most miniscule of hops. She almost seems like she lands fine, but then moves her feet as she stands up. Maybe once she gets some meat on her bones, she'll be able to absorb those landings. Or maybe it was just the super bouncy floor in Japan, who knows. All the same, a step is a step is a step.
The next semi-major error in the routine was Vika's Memmel turn. Side note: it slays me that Memmel, Strug and Gogean each have major dance elements named after them. Back on topic, Komova both under-rotated and fell out of her turn. She reminds me of Shawn Johnson, in the sense that she stops to finish every. single. skill. And while it's not a bad thing, it further exaggerates her mistakes at times. In this case, she fell out of the turn, lunged, stepped back into her finish position, and did the signature "I'm finished" head bob, which is really just a Russian salute. Or as the preschoolers call them, a "ta-da!" I'm being very nitpicky, but it just makes her mistakes seem a bit more obvious. Khorkina would have improvised some slinky dance move out of that turn, and the judges would have been blown away and added seven Khorkina-points for pizazz.
She ended her routine with the same final skill as Jordyn, with an extremely different result. While Jordyn's double pike was high and stuck, Vika landed with a very low chest (Yang Yilin-low) and stumbled forward. And again, instead of moving quickly to correct her error, she stood up very slowly, and then kind of crumpled into her finishing pose.
That slow reaction gives the judges all sorts of time to realize and focus on her mistake. Jordyn left the judges with a stunning final impression, while Viktoria did not. And that's why she's not the world champion.
While both athletes had their mistakes, Jordyn performed better than Vika on FX. Landings and sureness of performance both belonged to Jordyn. 3-1.
Jordyn out-performed Viktoria on three of the four events. While she had a major error on bars, it wasn't enough for Vika to take over with two sub-par efforts. And really, that's what they were. Everyone knows that Komova is capable of much better than what she offered on the night of finals, especially on beam and floor. While Jordyn's routines weren't executed as well as they could be, she was closer to her ultimate potential than Vika was. Ultimately, that won her the meet.
Of course, we'd all prefer that every competitor was perfect, and in a race of perfection we'd wait to see who was more perfect on that perfect night. But the reality is, especially with the code we currently have in place, there are going to be mistakes. And because gymnastics is not a single-elimination event, even those who make errors are allowed to keep competing. It's not dodgeball, you don't have to go sit by the wall once you've been hit. Or in this case, arch your back on a bail. The great competitors will take that error, and use it as motivation to be even better for the rest of the meet. Jordyn sure did. And that is why she is the current world champion.