History was made again during last night's women's all-around final in Glasgow, Scotland during the world championships.
Simone Biles became the first woman to win three consecutive all-around titles. Gabby Douglas became the first returning Olympic Champion to medal in a worlds final in... forever. Larisa Iordache came back to win a bronze medal in the all-around after a disappointing qualification.
While everyone expected Simone to win, she proved that she's not completly infallible. She started off super strong on her best event (or one of her best events), vault. She did her huge Amanar as per usual. She didn't nearly stick it, but had a hop foward and another big step forward, earning her a 15.833. Bars isn't her strong suit, but out of all of her events, that went the smoothest. starting of with her Weiler half to Maloney, then to a toe on full, with huge height on her releases, a piked Tkatchev to straddle Tkatchev and she stuck her full in dismount for a 14.900. The beam caused issues for nearly everyone, Simone wasn't immune. (The Twitters speculated that perhaps a jealous Viktoria Komova must have snuck into the arena and slathered butter on the beam) She hit her barani, but then had a huge balance check on her Front tuck, which caused her to grab the beam to prevent a fall. She was successful and managed to get through the rest of the routine relatively unscathed and scored a 14.900. Simone now just needed to get through floor, easy, this is Simone we're talking about! Her first pass was a full twisting double layout, hit no problem. On her second pass, her eponymous skill to split jump, she rebounded so high, she went out of bounds. She still stuck her last pass, a tucked double double. With a 15.266, the win was hers, easily, with a total of 60.399.
Gabby made up for her less than stellar qualification performance with a cool, steady performance to a silver medal. She started out on vault with a clean, double twisting yurchenko with a 15.300. Bars, definitely Gabby's best event. She's still got amazing height on her piked Tkatchev, but her skills are much more refined and elegant. 15.033 on bars. Gabby went up after Simone on beam and after the previous falls before that From Ellie Black and Seda Tutkhalyan. She definitely looked shook up and just dedicated herself to going slowly and not worrying. She wobbled off the bat a litttle on her front tuck and just did her best to keep steady and not fall, she was rewarded witha 14.400. Gabby finished her day with a fantastic fllor routine, nice and clean. Scoring a 14.583 and giving her an all-around total of 59.316.
The best treat of the night was watching Larisa Iordache's redemption, from a shit-tastic day in qualifications, two falls on beam and bars and Romania not making it to Rio. She made up for it in the al-around. She had the luck of starting on beam, which is her best event. During qualifications, she fell on her tucked full, but not this time. Lari couldn't help but smile when she hit that. She knew she was going to medal that day. Her enthusiasm was abundant on floor and she kept right on it, steadily climbing the leaderboard all night. Her last event was bars, not Romania's or Larisa's best event. At this point, she needed greater than a 13.982 to overtake Shang Chunsong. Since she's upgraded her bars, this is an easily attainable feat. She had a huge routine, with a Maloney to high bar, to a Jaeger, a Church into an immediate pak toe on full to full in dismount, stuck! She earned a 14.800, which gave her an all-around total of 59.107, only .109 behind Gabby Douglas. She teared up when her score was announced. Rightfully so. She had a bad start to her worlds and she could have wound up with zero medals. She was determined not to let that happen. This is a moment we all cried with her. Not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. For Larisa, that bronze medal might as well be a gold one, she was amazing today. She showed up and hit when she needed to for her team, for her fans and for her country. Bravo Larisa!
Shang Chunsong came in fourth with a 58.265. She had a great day considering her past performance. She's got mad skills on the uneven bars, including her own skill, a piked hindorff. On floor, she's got Kenzo Shirai like twisting abilities. Her first pass is a three and a half twist to a punch front. She also does a 1 1/2 into a triple. She's very tiny, but she's able to pull of huge skills on floor. But, the flipside of her equation is she can't pull off more than a Yurchenko full on vault. She's tiny, weeny tiny, but then there is her teammate, Wang Yan, who is ridiculously powerful and has a Tsuk double full that she can barely reign in. So Shang is very much a conundrum for me.
5th - Giulia Steingruber, the current European All-Around Champ. I was definitely hoping she'd pull off a medal in the all-around, but still 5th in the world, pretty good. She's amazing on vault, doing a handspring Rudi ala Alica Sacramone. She managed to pull of a very clean bar routine, albeit, not the most difficult thing in the world. Floor is a good event for her, huge difficulty, a full twisting double layout, a double layout a Popa. Beam was Giulia's undoing as for as the medal podium is concerned. She fell on her back handspring layout to two feet series. Sigh. But she still had a cheerleader in Simone. In the background, you could clearly hear her voice shouting: "Come on Giulia! Go Giulia, you got this!" I love seeing comraderie, and Simone is the ultimate example of comraderie and good sportsmanship. Simone's cheering worked, Giulia hit the rest of her routine cleanly and hit her gainer double full off the end of the beam. She finished witha 57.333 all-around total. Not too shabby.
6th - Mai Murakami of Japan. Huge day for her. The powers that be of the gymternet reported that she'd gone from being the second alternate to on the team in the time span of a week maybe. I'll say it was a good move on Japan's part. Mai with her new, short sassy pixie cut. She was fantastic. She's got huge tumbling on floor and a quad turn. I was really impressed by her beam routine, mostly her mount. I'll have to find a GIF of it later, but it's essentially a chest roll with a half turn on to the beam. She's so powerful on beam and she pulls off an awesome triple turn.
One to watch in the coming months and years is Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands, one half of the Wevers sister gymnastics power duo. Her sister, Sanne is known for her beam routine with the thousand and one spins. Lieke is just as beautiful as her sister, and this is evident in her beautiful lines on bars and beam. Bars, she does a church to pak which is exiquisite. From there, her Maloney to toe on to bail, just gorgeous. Her legs are glued togehter the whole time, extension at max, she's a dream to watch.
Placing 7th after a fall on beam, Ellie Black of Canada. Ellie is definitely dynamic. She's a powerful vaulter. I think she did a handspring rudi or a Tsuk 1 1/2. She recevied her highest score of the night, a 15.033 on that event. I was confused because it appeared she only did a handspring full, but her score suggested otherwise and the commentator had said she did a plain ol' handspring 1 1/2 (a Rudi). But she landed facing the audience. So, I have no idea. That's what I get for trying to work and take notes for this blog at the same time, dammit!
8th place, Laura Jurca of Romania, who also made up for Romania's shitty ass qualifications by suddenly showing up today. Dammit, where were this Lari and Laura when we needed them? She wore that hot pink leo that Larisa wore last year to AA finals. She's very tiny, but she's got big personality coming out of every part of her. I love watching her on floor, spritely choreography (guess it makes up for the lack of her swim choreography on beam).
Fashion wise, hot pink is not the color dujour, Gabby and Simone wore a beautiful red leo, with sheer sleeves and cut out patterns on the bodice. Larisa wore a green leo with a black bottom and white tiger stripes on the chest. Guess the days of Hot Pink Nation maybe coming to a close.... Maybe... there are still event finals.