Lauren Mitchell Makes History. The first ever world championship gold for an Australian female gymnast! Congrats to this wonderful gymnast, but unfortunately this final was a perfect example of the problem in women’s judging today. If we take out Afanasyeva, every other E-score of the final was between 8.883 and 9.1 – not nearly enough to reflect the true differences in the landings (Izbasa’s 0.8 penalty is in a different category). There’s a whole lot of arguments that could be made here…Vanessa Ferrari’s execution score should probably have been higher than 9.1 – the highest E-score of the final, but still nine tenths in deduction when every single pass was stuck cold? Raisman also received a full point in deductions…where? I believe the judges are being far too conservative on these execution scores, failing to truly reward the most flawless performances. And although Sui Lu took out her front layout after the 2 ½, her routine seemed better than the 8.966 E-score. Mustafina was magnificent, and her 8.966 was a little more understandable given a couple of errors. Great to see her cap off her royal world championships with a gorgeous hit routine. Chelaru was scored generously compared to the others; I wouldn’t have put her on the podium. I don’t think anyone was disappointed to see the delightful Lauren Mitchell win this gold medal, though, especially after coming short of a medal in the equally controversial beam final. What an emotional victory for Australia!
Zonderland’s High Bar Routine. In front of a roaring home crowd, Epke Zonderland delivered the routine of his life, with the most spectacular release sequences of the final (Kovacs to immediate Kolmann, Takamoto-half to Gaylord 2) and topped off with a stuck laid out double double. It was such a shame that he was eclipsed for gold at the last minute by a routine that was far less exciting but with a two-tenth advantage in start value. Many will argue for years to come that Zonderland rightfully won that title; it won’t change that fact that his clutch, thrilling performance was one of the highlights of the entire world championships.
Who Really Won Women’s Beam? This beam final was also not lacking in controversy. As with women’s floor, I feel the judges are failing to separate the execution scores properly, and too much of the results are being based on the difficulty scores. Of all the gymnasts who hit, the E-scores ranged from 8.6 to 8.966. Sacramone’s E-score was the highest, but was it by enough? Certainly not…there’s no way that routine had over a point in deductions! I miss the good old days when that routine would have scored a 9.9. I felt her routine was so incredibly sharp and crisp that it should have medaled. Would it kill the judges to throw out a 9.5 when it is well earned? Had Sacramone medaled, she would have eclipsed Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin for the most world medals ever be an American female. As for the true winner, very tough to call, but Lauren Mitchell’s 8.6 sure seemed harsh.
Incredible Men’s Vault Final. Have we ever seen all eight finalists stand up BOTH vaults – and with such incredible difficulty? I completely agree with the BBC commentators that this was probably the best vault final ever, considering the astounding number of 7.0 difficulty vaults and the fact that they weren’t all just stood up on two feet…many were nearly stuck! I do think Bouhail was the rightful winner, as his Dragulescu opened out a little more nicely than Golotsutskov’s.
Stay tuned for some final wrap-up thoughts!