Leading contenders: Larisa Iordache, Catalina Ponor, Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova, Anastasia Grishina, Maria Livchikova, Carlotta Ferlito
Other EF prospects: Vasiliki Millousi, Francesa D’agostino, Hannah Whelan, Danusia Francis, Anastasia Sidorova, Diana Bulimar, Valeria Maksiuta
Though not as aesthetically pleasing to watch as Komova or Grishina, the Romanian’s have the rare blend of massive difficulty and the ability to (usually) stay on. Iordache & Ponor are the clear front-runners here.
The 15.45 for this routine is a tad generous (I’d take .5 for the wobble on the double turn), but she really packs the difficulty in, and I applaud a completed triple twist without rancid twisting form. Larisa trumps the field in terms of difficulty, so she can afford to give a bit away in wobbles.
Ponor is usually steady, and has a myriad of skills to choose from. Here’s her 6.3 set from the same meet.
According to Albert’s quick-hits, this is what Queen Cata cooked up in today’s podium training : Ponor – switch ring leap (good), double turn to turn, onodi – flic – layout to 2 feet, free aerial – flic – layout, switch leap – kochetkova, ro – timer for Tsukahara off. After all have competed, Ponor does a good piked Tsukahara off beam. She looks in amazing shape.
That looks like a gold medal worthy set to moi.
If by some odd twist of fate Iordache or Ponor miss in prelims, Bulimar could find herself on the podium. She’s currently Romania’s third strongest beam worker.
We won’t know Russia’s final beam lineup until the competition. Aliya Mustafina wasn’t supposed to compete beam at all (probably to give the less steady Anastasia’s some more experience), but she was doing beam sets in today’s podium training.
Any 2 of Mustafina, Komova, Grishina, or Sidorova can make beam finals. Mustafina is the only one I completely trust to hit, so the other spot is up in the air. Komova threw her Patterson dismount once in training today, and will probably need it to sneak past either of the Romanian’s if she makes finals. Unfortunately, Vika is usually good for at least one .3-style wobble on a switch leap.
Grishina is my favorite Russian on beam. Sure, she’s hit 1 out of her last 7 sets in competition, but I’m going to be completely biased & throw her a nod to make finals instead of Mustafina.
She can score a 12 or a 15-something depending on the alignment of the stars.
Albert mentioned that she’s changed the composition up a bit – Onodi to side somi, Illusion to turn to split jump. We’ll see what she throws in prelims. Assuming they put her up. Her set is quite heavy on combinations and if she manages to connect them. Without the connections, she doesn’t quite have the difficulty of Iordache or Ponor.
In Jesolo, I think the Italian judges were throwing her a bit of a bone, but Carlotta Ferlito is usually capable of hitting a solid set.
I want to see exactly how close these qualifying scores are.
My darkhorse for a beam medal is Maria Livchikova. Choreographically and skill wise, I think she’s the cream of the crop.
Her ambitious combinations don’t even garner all that much bonus, but it’s just nice to see something different. I’m not exactly sure where her difficulty stands since her injury, but with a similar set to her podium training routine in Tokyo should put her comfortably in finals.
Since there’s no chance of her competing in London, a beam medal would be a nice consolation prize.
DREAM PODIUM :
1. CATALINA PONOR
2. MARIA LIVCHIKOVA
3. ANASTASIA GRISHINA
(4) VIKTORIA KOMOVA/LARISA IORDACHE
PROBABLE PODIUM :
1. CATALINA PONOR
2. LARISA IORDACHE
3. VIKTORIA KOMOVA/ALIYA MUSTAFINA
– By Bronwyn