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Andy’s Angle on the 2009 Worlds Part 2…

  • Rebecca Bross should be encouraged by the fact that clubmate Nastia Liukin finished in her exact all-around position at the 2005 worlds…three years before winning the Olympic all-around gold. Not a bad omen!
  • I was really happy for Bridget Sloan…pretty crazy to think she now joins Kim Zmeskal, Shannon Miller, Chellsie Memmel, and Shawn Johnson as one of America’s world all-around champions.
  • Afanasyeva could have won the all-around for sure.
  • The underage gymnasts from Russia would have been the highlight of the all-around final.
  • Jordyn Wieber would have smoked all of them.
  • Koko Tsurumi and Lauren Mitchell were the “feel-good” stories of these world championships. Both were amazing and deserved their medals. Koko could certainly do a harder vault. Lauren’s confidence was incredible…so nice to see her emerge as so much more than the beam specialist she became famous as. Her floor is awesome.
  • Anna Myzdrikova was ROBBED in the floor finals. Her routine was AWESOME and had the most difficult and unique tumbling along with very nice dance skills. She had just one low landing on the 2 ½ to barani, with the other three passes essentially stuck. They gave her an 8.375 E-score!!! Meanwhile, Deng Linlin was given an 8.475 after landing even lower than Myzdrikova on a full-in and completely cheating a triple turn and a tour jete full. Was this a joke??
  • There are very few great female tumblers in the entire world right now. That’s why Myzdrikova is SO incredibly refreshing to see with her whip-double Arabian and triple full to back tuck. That’s also why I was especially disappointed that Kayla Williams was left out of the final.
  • Despite a lack of really powerful tumbling, the women’s floor final ended up not being too bad…minus the terrifying crash of Jessica Gil.
  • I don’t like the way Rebecca Bross’s floor routine is designed at all. She does two tumbling passes and then waves her arms and does awkward poses for a full 55 seconds before doing a third tumbling pass.  She doesn’t dance at all, and she needs to use her tumbling ability way more effectively than she does – perhaps a big backward tumbling pass???
  • Rebecca Bross’s leg-up double turn is terrible – she botches it every single time. She finally took it out for event finals and then had trouble with just a single.
  • Kohei Uchimura is the man. Not only is he the best all-arounder in the world, he may be the only complete all-arounder in the world. It’s a shame our system doesn’t encourage more gymnasts to strive to be as complete as he is.
  • Fabian Hambuchen would have been second all-around for sure, and he would have only added to the great high bar final. Maybe they’ll invite him to the American Cup again and we can see him there.
  • Kayla Williams absolutely rocks! What an incredible vault performance…that was completely worthy of the world title. It was so nice to actually see a STUCK yurchenko double full – and when it counted the most. You ever notice how no girls ever seem to stick that vault? I really don’t know why, but I think it may be because they don’t practice them on hard surfaces enough. It’s a shame no one could really challenge Kayla – just a really weak international vaulting field right now.
  • The beam final was pretty weak. It’s kind of sad that Ivana Hong could medal after wobbling on almost every skill and taking a big step forward on the dismount. She did show quite a bit of confidence though, and I’m happy she got a medal.
  • Did you see Rebecca Bross’s big knee bend on the glide after she caught her Yaeger in the event finals? I love her bar routine, but she does have some loose knees on her giants – very similar to what Nastia used to do.
  • I’m starting to think Nastia Liukin may not come back after all. She just doesn’t seem quite as excited about it as she did several months ago, and her body looked like it had matured A LOT. If you read some of her recent quotes, she talks a lot about how hard it was to come back after her time off. Retirement may start to seem more tempting to her now.
  • I was excited for Daniel Keatings. What a huge excitement for him and the British crowd, and great for their country leading into 2012. Hopefully we’ll see him in the pommel horse final next year.
  • Beth Tweddle’s floor routine is brilliant for this code. She gets her maximum 5 acro elements in just 3 tumbling passes and gets lots of points for them. The indirect connection of 1 ½ to double Arabian gives 0.2 in connection. The piked double Arabian is an F (worth 0.6), and the direct connection of 2 ½ to laid-out front full gives another 0.2 connection. That routine is really smart, which is the biggest reason why she won. She’s not the most powerful gymnast and is far from being graceful (I don’t care for her choreography), but she did nail it when it counted.
  • China has three new men’s world champions in Zhang Hongtao, Yan Mingyong, and Wang Guanyin. Very impressive and indicative of their continued domination. Thank goodness Dragulescu stole two events to provide at least a little diversity.
  • Bridget Sloan’s bar routine is poorly designed. I can’t believe she’s not connecting anything out of those release skills. She also started separating her feet again on her overshoot.
  • Youna Dufournet sure brought her A-game to London. What a shocker to not only see her in the vault final, but to see her win the BRONZE MEDAL on what used to be her weakest event! Her laid-out Podkopayeva was fantastic, and overall she looked like a completely different gymnast than we saw earlier this year.
  • Ana Porgras is definitely a new star. She has a lot more grace and elegance than most Romanians (along with better bars), and when she gets a strong vault she’ll be a top contender. In typical Romanian style, she also can’t keep her feet together on an overshoot on bars. Do they actually teach this skill with the feet apart? I was shocked she missed beam in both the all-around and event finals after looking so solid in prelims and at the recent Romanian nationals.
  • I think the USA men will be right in the medal mix at worlds next year…hopefully Horton will be back at his best, hopefully Artemev will be back, and we now have several new guys with world championship experience – three of whom have just made a name for themselves on the world stage!
  • It’s hard to predict where the USA will stand against China next year, because we don’t know whether Liukin and/or Johnson and/or Sacramone will actually return to competition. Sloan and Bross will obviously be the leaders, and perhaps now Hong will have a bit more confidence and can continue to improve. And of course new world champ Kayla Williams could be a powerful weapon again next year. I think Russia could actually be a surprise challenger for gold when some of their young stars become age eligible next year.
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts on these world championships.
Coming next…I’ve devised my own Code of Points that I think would solve many of the scoring problems our sport is suffering from. Stay tuned!