And last of all, those who are somewhere in the middle.
The Jury still out.
1. Mother Russia. Nerve-racking mistakes all over the place, and not just from the newbies. Komova continues to infuriate on beam. Even a simple switch leap incurs a wobble. She only came here for 2 events, so shaking all over the beam like a Tourettes patient is inexcusable. She’s also picked up the nasty habit of bending her knees on her giant swings before her bars dismount. We don’t approve.
We were particularly disappointed with her beam routine in the EF. Iordache’s slightly underpar set meant Vika had as good a chance as she’ll ever have to win a major beam title. She started so beautifully, and then it all went tits up. Not a waver on the tuck front, two layouts or spin, and even the wobble after the arabian was acceptable. Halfway through, everything went wrong.
The fall itself is no great shakes. She’d thrown the gold away by then anyway, and falling on a new and very difficult upgrade in EFs is perfectly respectable. It’s the sort of thing that might happen to someone with an actual headgame. All this pausing to throw in a random balance check after a tuck back has got to stop, though.
For Mustafina, timing seems to be everything, and it remains to be seen if she’ll be 100% ready for London. They need her to lead them. These girls can’t handle the pressure without her. An injury to any of their top girls would be completely devastating for them. We must just point out, though, that Aliya’s 3 event total on Saturday was a smidgen under 45. Had she done beam, very probably she’d have scraped out a 60 AA- generally acknowledged to be the threshold around which a person is an Olympic AA medal contender. Far too many people either didn’t notice or failed to understand the significance of this. Rule her out at your peril.
2. The British team for the Olympics. Before Brussels, the two locks were Tweddle and Whelan, and there were half a dozen others in serious contention and a million permutations. There still are. The newbies, Tunney and Harrold, did very well indeed. Danusia Francis remains useless on three of the four events, but luckily for her, GB are good at headcasing the one she can do. Whelan’s fall in TFs was arguably a one off, but there certainly isn’t a reliable third beam worker, let alone an alternative second. And none of them move like Danusia does. She’s got to be in London, if only to perform a beam duet in the gala with new BFF Viktoria Komova.
Blondes have more fun, indeed. Photo credit to fyeahgymnastics.
3. Sidorova. Being first up in the first rotation of team finals on beam isn’t the most desirable of positions, but she could have helped her cause by staying on the thing. She could have seized the opportunity to qualify herself for floor finals, but again, she got Russia off to a rocky start in preliminaries. Her spot on Russia’s Olympic Team isn’t in total peril, particularly in the absence of a viable alternative. After all, she hit two of her four routines, and not in the easiest of circumstances. But she certainly didn’t do herself any favors in Brussels.
Stoi! readers, what do you think?