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Andy’s Angle on the 2009 Worlds Part 1…

Well now that the dust has settled from the world championships, I wanted to give some of my random thoughts on the competition – both the good and the bad!
  • I’m tired of this code of points already…something is seriously not working and the entire thing needs to be completely revamped again.
  • The women’s scoring in particular was the most unpredictable and undecipherable I’ve ever seen. I was confused, lost, and actually ostracized as a knowledgeable fan. I can’t imagine how lost the fans were who haven’t followed the sport for 20 years like I have.
  • Execution scores on the women’s side are ridiculous beyond explanation. They give every gymnast a mid-8 regardless of the performance. High 8’s and rarely a 9 are only possible on vault. What a bunch of nonsense!
  • The only change that women’s bars needed after last year was more lenient deductions for handstand positions. The Beijing bars final was the best in history, so why in the world did they reduce the skill requirement to 8?
  • The men’s high bar final was spectacular, but unfortunately the scoring was absolutely atrocious. Uchimura did an almost flawless routine (first covacs was caught slightly close) with a perfectly stuck dismount and scored an 8.775 E-score – only 0.125 ahead of Zou Kai and just 0.25 ahead of Epke Zonderland, who both clearly had more deductions. Aljaz Pegan was completely ROBBED with an 8.5 E-score after an almost flawless routine with just a large jump forward on the dismount. Where did the other 1.0 come from?? And even worse, Igor Cassina, who actually had the sloppiest release skills, sloppiest tape, and worst toe point of the final – not to mention a hop on his dismount – received the highest E-score of the final with an 8.925.
  • Pegan’s Takamoto-half to immediate Tcatchev to mixed grip was extremely cool, as was Zonderland’s Takamoto-half to immediate Gaylord II.
  • I’m not a huge fan of Zou Kai’s look on high bar, but that Rybalko to full-twisting Yaeger was phenomenal. He makes some of the hardest gymnastics on floor and high bar look very easy. He still has horrible presentation on floor.
  • What a coming out party for Danell Leyva. Too bad he got slightly crooked on the Takamoto-half and bent his arms on the jam hop, as these deductions put him in 4th and just 0.025 out of a medal. I think he should have been ahead of Cassina (who won bronze) but actually behind Pegan, who was robbed and ended up 5th. Uchimura should have been closer to them as well (despite a lower D-score). But what an accomplishment to make the high bar finals in his first world championships. Great experience he can carry with him as he prepares for the next three years.
  • The same goes for Steven Legendre…made the floor finals in his first world championships, and maybe next time a medal will be there. I really hope we see this guy on our world teams over the next couple of years because his talent is phenomenal.
  • Dragulescu came through huge. Great to still see him out there and finally a world champion on vault!
  • WHAT IN THE WORLD happened to Ksenia Semenova??? Not one event final, and didn’t factor into the all-around for even a second. She even took out her in-bar skills on bars…one of the biggest reasons why she’s been one of the world’s top bar workers. Why??? She did look slightly out of shape, and didn’t have that “sparkle” we saw at the Olympics and at this year’s European Championships. I was absolutely shocked.
  • Speaking of “sparkle,” Jonathan Horton looked like he could have used a couple of Red Bulls or something. He just did not look like the same gymnast we saw in Beijing or even at the national championships a couple of months ago. Did his preliminary performance destroy his confidence? He actually almost looked a little disinterested at times during the all-around finals. Big disappointment.
  • Tim McNeill has arrived. Not only did he make the event finals on the weakest event for the USA, he hit all three of his pommel horse routines at the world championships and was our highest all-around finisher in 7th. If he stays healthy he should be a major player for a while.
  • The level of gymnastics on the men’s individual events is at the highest level ever, while the men’s all-around is the weakest it has ever been. I have to think this is exactly what the current world and Olympic formats encourage, and what the FIG must have had in mind when they began adopting them. I miss the real all-around finals.
  • The women’s all-around actually had some interesting diversity, but it’s still weak.
  • Having only two all-arounders from each country is ridiculous…it’s a travesty for our sport and makes absolutely no sense. In fact, having only four members on each team and limiting three per event makes absolutely no sense. Why in the world are we constantly preventing so many of the world’s best gymnasts from competing in the world championships???
Many more thoughts still to come in Part 2!