Top 4 teams preview: Beam

This, for our money, is where it gets interesting. And where the title will be decided.

Between them, the top four boast one stellar lineup who wouldn’t fall even if you were shooting at them, two potentially high scoring and equally potentially headcase rotations, and one lot who should all stay on but who have some worrying connections issues.

The safe bet to come out on top here would be Romania, of course. But both the Chinese and the Russians are capable of being up there with them if they all decide to turn up, face the right way, and sing from the same hymn sheet. The US have the lowest potential scores by some way, but could very easily find themselves second only to Romania. That’s why we love this.


Iordache and Ponor are both rockstars. Anything less than 15.5 for either would be a grave disappointment. Their D-scores are absolutely colossal, and neither is going to fall off. Cata just doesn’t. Larisa did in the European team finals, proving she’s human after all.

Now, this isn’t the first time she’s missed the full twist in competition, but we simply don’t see her making that mistake again. She’s Romanian. They do beam like they think there’s a pit of poisonous vipers underneath, just waiting to dig their fangs into anyone who falls. Actually, that’s probably how they train.

The third beamer will probably be Bulimar, though former World and European medalist Izbasa can be quite useful (and steady) here. Bulimar has outscored her recently though, so it’s likely to be her getting the nod. She isn’t up there with the superstars, but can hope for lowish-15 with a hit set. Quite something for a leadoff.

Lineup — Bulimar, Ponor, Iordache.

Mutha Russia

As Stoi! has previously discussed, this will be a risky lineup. Mustafina is usually pretty solid, Komova and Grishina are not.

Spin Grishy, spin!

Russia did have the option of mitigating the risk somewhat by naming the unspectacular but more consistent Inshina to the team, and they didn’t.

Hence…hang on to your muthafuckin’ babushka’s time!

We all know by now that Komova and Grishina can both do stunning mid 15’s work, or fall on a relatively simple element because a hair was out of place. There’s also another possibility, which they showed us in the European team competition: staying on and connecting nothing (think Grishina’s otherwise gorgeous Onodi + side somi combo, or Komova’s L-turn pass).

This means that each could post 14-something for what initially appears to be a “hit” set. If we had to pick, this is what we’d go for. It seems to be the commonest result for both of them in recent months – hit but underpar.

If Vika builds in time to the set to wobble after a back tuck one more time, Stoi! may have to disown her.

Bronwyn wanted to point out Komova’s arabian double dismount – will she do it in qualifications? Or depending on how shaky the rest of her set is? If they plan on going completely balls to the walls, we should see it in every session she competes – she needs it if she plans on connecting the bare minimum.

Lineup — Mustafina (build some momentum), Grishina, Komova.


This picture is quite like Russia’s. They’ve got the consistent one-multiple world medalist Deng Linlin. She never falls, and should be well into the low 15’s. They also have the headcase du jour.

Sui Lu is a possible Olympic champion on beam (we hope not).

Up there with the Romanians in scoring potential, she also rivals the Russians for consistency. Her beam hit record for Worlds at the moment is 3 hit routines of 6 competed. All 3 of those hit routines occurred in Tokyo, so we did think she’d perhaps sorted her shit out.

But alas, the Test Event fiasco disabused us of that.

Now, that was clearly a one off, and not likely to happen again. But while we don’t expect another 4-fall routine, she does have form for fucking up under pressure. And the problem is that when she falls, it doesn’t tend to be a 1 major mistake in the routine, salvage the rest of it, 14.3 job. She overruns. Her 13 on beam in the Rotterdam team final cost China the gold (although to be fair, most of the medalling athletes that night either attempted to or succeeded in losing the title – it was such a close splatfest).

In some ways, she’d be more suited to rotating with Komova and Grishina. It’s a shame gymnasts have to do rotations with teammates rather than gymnastic soul mates.

Yao Jinnan is somewhere in the middle. While she’s quite consistent, she too has form for mucking up beam when it counts, costing herself a World AA silver in 2011 by doing just that. Odds are that she’ll be ok, but we want to prepare readers for the possibility that she won’t be.

Lineup — Deng Linlin, Yao Jinnan, Sui Lu.


We have learned two main things from watching Raisman, Wieber and Ross throughout selection season – the first is that they’re not going to fall off, and the second is that they’re not going to connect everything.

It has been mentioned that John Geddert plans on ridding Jordyn’s beam routine of her oft-dubious connections that she never actually connects. We’d like to think that the international judges have grown privy to the fact that her front handspring isn’t actually a front handspring, and shouldn’t receive credit. It’s not like she doesn’t have enough difficulty already. A 15.2 isn’t totally out of the question for a watered down hit set. Which she’s more than capable of.

Now we’re not saying that US domestic scores are more inflated (who, us?) than the rest of the worlds, but we’re thinking that Aly Raisman scoring anywhere near a 15.4 on beam in London is as likely as Lindsay Lohan winning an Academy Award.

This more or less “hit” routine from Jesolo only received a 14.55 (8.15 in execution) in contrast to Nationals & Trials.

Apparently the Italian judges dislike club feet and leaps well short of 180 even less than we do. We’re thinking a score in between the generous & harsh is the best to hope for (14.9/15.0’ish).

Rookie Kyla Ross, is a beauty on this event – a boring beauty, but a beauty nonetheless. If the US qualifies anyone to beam finals, we’re hoping it’s her. Neither of us can cope with another linebacker display a la the 2011 event final again.

She doesn’t have the highest difficulty level, but she’s generally good at what she does. She has 3 crucial connection spots in her routine, and she’s usually good for botching at least one of them. Around a 15.3 for a mostly hit (and connected) set.

Lineup — Raisman, Ross, Wieber

Likely outcome –

1. Romania, quite comfortably.

2. USA (no falls, a couple of botched connections)

3. Russia (no falls, but a plethora of wobbles)

4. China (1 fall, maybe 2)

– Clara & Bronwyn


13 responses to “Top 4 teams preview: Beam

  • Stoi!

    Maria, the statement that ‘the Chinese have all proven that they can do well under pressure’ is a bit misleading. They have, as has every single athlete featured in this post. But some of them have also proven the exact opposite, rather more often. Sui Lu is a headcase. The test event fiasco isn’t especially relevant except as another example of a missed routine, but she undeniably falls a lot. She ought to be coming into this as a 3 time world champion, and isn’t, and the only reason for this is her own lack of mental toughness. So if this one goes to the form book, China won’t win it- Romania will.

    Having said that, China are capable of being the best beam team if everything goes to plan. It could happen. Sui Lu hits sometimes, Deng Linlin is very consistent and Yao Jinnan’s good on the whole. We could be talking 46+ no problem. I don’t think China can win the gold, but if they had their best showing on beam they’d be in a strong position for silver.


  • Maria

    I personally think China has an unusually strong beam lineup, with the reigning world champion, the current runner up and a former world champion. They’ve all proven that they can do well under pressure and so I think they are the most likely to win the rotation. As for Sui Lu at the test event earlier this year, the main purpose of it was to familiarize herself with the arena, not to produce a amazingly brilliant routine like she did in Tokyo.

  • Gustavo

    I love you (your writing)

  • Stoi!

    Bronwyn’s take is that Afanasyeva usually falls on the arabian, so she could just leave that out if necessary. I wonder if they meant she was doing prelims, though.

    • Lebanks

      Yes the same thing I thought about her constantly falling on the arabian, but possibly just watering it down without the arabian.
      But then I also thought just like you bronwyn, that they only mean prelims.

      I honestly hope komova and grishina can keep it together for TF so they can make us at Stoi! as well as mother Russia on a whole proud – they’re both so beautiful on beam when they’re “on”.
      Komova really need’s to pull it together now, I think she has great international experience, despite the constant injuries, she has less of an excuse than grishy (but now let’s not forget that not every gymnast has nerves of steal like musty/lordache/ponor).
      poor grishy may not have as much experience but let’s hope she kicks ass! 😀

      I’ve honestly stopped and thought to myself – what if we shock the shit out ourselves.. what if vika and grishy stay on but musty doesn’t.. that would be sooo shytyyyy.
      but of course musty’s going to stay on – she’s queen B 😀

      • Stoi!

        what if vika and grishy stay on but musty doesn’t.. that would be sooo shytyyyy.

        Well, in my perfect world Grishina would actually qualify to all-around finals instead of Mustafina, but I’m not quite ready for that very unlikely shock just yet…

        Clara is right – Afanasyeva is usually steady on beam without the arabian, when she replaces it with the free roundoff. The problem is her d-score isn’t quite up to snuff. I’ve never seen her connect the side somi to the Onodi, and her dismount is also a bit of a nail biter. She can go with an ugly, cowboyed double tuck, or a double pike that we pray makes it to her feet.

        – B.

      • Lebanks

        I think even if grishy qualifies over musty, I think they’ll still stick with musty for some odd reason – that’s what I think.

        But if they’re talking about musty performing the amanar on podium, im guessing it’s most likely guna be vika and musty.
        If musty can actually do a okay amanar and get through her beam, i honestly think she has a pretty damn good chance of taking home a medal in AA.
        if she can go 4 for 4 without any major mistakes, I wouldn’t be surprised with a Silver though her FX and BB is obviously not as superior than it was in 2010.

      • Lebanks

        Also is it just me but does’t Lordache’s youthful rise in the gymnastic’s world and just the girl on a whole remind someone other than myself of musty in 2010??
        how she just toke over the gymnastics scene – i have a feeling lordaches about to.

        It also wouldn’t surprise me to see lordache higher than bronze on the podium despite her ub.

  • audgator

    Love these writeups!

    We must pray that Sui qualifies first and Iordache second. This will put Sui first up in EF and Iordache second to last.

    I am sorry to say that I hope one of the scoring controversies is over wieber’s front walkover. I already have visions of Tim Daggett showing it to us in slo mo and explaining how her hands and foot are on the beam at the same time.

  • lebanks

    @ Clara and Bronwyn… I myself thought and would LOVE to see that beam line up for Russia once they don’t fall (praying to sweet baby jesus that they dont EVERY SINGLE DAY -lmao)
    but.. have you all seen the new articles “Media links : Alexandrov, Nazarova, Garibov, Rodionenko ” that’s posted on Rewritting Russian Gymnastics?

    It states near the top of the article that:
    “She (Maria Nazarova) confirms that Ksenia Afanasyeva will help the team on beam and floor, and hopes she will qualify to one of the individual finals”

    ..Their going to use Ksenia on beam in TF????? or are they trying to say something diferent?
    I mean.. she’s not bad.. but in my opinion she is as well a head case.. and if she falls… then they madiswell just had put grishina in so she could fall with more beauty if she were to 😛 lol
    .. but i really hope to see Grishina in TF beam..

    • Stoi!

      Lebanks – Ksenia will definitely do beam in preliminaries. I think that’s what the article meant.

      The only way I see them putting her up on beam in team finals over Grishina or Komova is if one of them royally fucks up in prelims. Which is possible.

      – B.

  • Sofia

    What drives me completely nuts about Komova is that she doesn’t land badly and wobble, she seems to land find and then wobble anyway. Has anyone told her its not part of her set?

  • M

    Ah see, you didn’t disappoint 🙂 Nice writeup.

    This really is where things get interesting. I am hoping for a hit set from all 3 Russians. I know, I know that’s a big hope but dammit I want it to happen.

    I do hope the judges are more strict in terms of connections because at times I don’t know how US gets such high scores.

    Romania should have this event, hopefully they don’t have another splat fest as 2010 Worlds (I think it was) but they are usually steady so I don’t think that will happen.

    China is a mystery as usual, anything can happen.

    So truthfully – I hope to site back and watch things unfold with this lineup.

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