EMMA: Let me just point out today I hugged Louis Smith and he smelled mmmmm.
JESSICA: Louis Smith, oh my God! Oh, how I love him!
BEA: He looks good doesn’t he?
EMMA: He does look good! And he smells good!
BLYTHE: More importantly!
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]
JESSICA: Blythe and Bea and special guests are here with us live from Belgium to talk about the heartbreaks and triumphs in the qualifying rounds at Worlds.
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JESSICA: This is episode 52 for October 2, 2013. I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from The Gymnastics Examiner
BEA: I’m Bea from The Couch Gymnast
MICHELLE: I’m Michelle, I’m a photographer
EMMA: I’m Emma and I’m a fangirl
JESSICA: And this is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you all the news from the World Championships. Blythe and very special guest Bea from the Couch Gymnast are reporting from Antwerp, Belgium, site of the 44th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships which go through October 6. If you don’t already follow The Couch Gymnast, you definitely should. Bea is the special reporter on Romania and if you have not been following Blythe and her fantastic quick hits and her interviews and full Worlds coverage, you can do so over at Gymnastics Examiner. To watch Worlds, all you have to do to watch live and for free, is go to usagymworlds.com. That’s usagymworlds.com. And but what about the people who aren’t in the US? How can you watch? Well there’s a solution for that. You can still watch live and for free if you go to tunnelbear.com, that’s tunnelbear.com and follow their directions and you will be able to watch. And then the live feed will get even more hits and will show broadcasters how much interest there is in watching live gymnastics around the world. And then maybe we will get more of this kind of coverage. So tunnelbear.com if you are outside of the US, you can still watch. So if you still missed all this and you can’t watch live, don’t worry. It is all archived and the FIG is doing a fantastic job of putting almost every single routine up on their YouTube site. So go to Official FIG on YouTube and you can watch all of the routines there in hi-def. it’s absolutely fantastic. USAG is also putting up all of their routines and they have them all there on usagymworlds video tab on that site. But if you’ve missed all this and you can’t watch any of this and you only like to watch things on TV, you can watch on Universal Sports or on October 12 and 13th, Worlds will be on NBC so you can watch them then. And if you are loving what USAG is doing and what the FIG is doing putting up all these videos, make sure you tell them on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. And especially, go and watch the videos so they can see how much the fans love it because data doesn’t lie. So let’s start our chat with Blythe and her posse of gym nerds. This special World Championships coverage is brought to you by TumblTrak. Right now TumblTrak is having a sale. All of TumblTrak’s in ground traks, porta traks, and rec traks are 10% off. If you’re getting inspired to try new things during Worlds, maybe it’s time for a TumblTrak. Check them out at tumbltrak.com. That’s tumbltrak.com. TumblTrak. Do it again.
BLYTHE: I have a goody for you right off the bat.
BLYTHE: Emma is a real English person, as is Michelle.
BLYTHE: As opposed to us who talk about Beth Tweddle in fake English accents. They thought that those British accents were amazing.
EMMA: Can we just point out today that I hugged Louis Smith and he smelt hmmm.
JESSICA: Oh Louis Smith. Oh my God! How I love him!
BEA: He looks good doesn’t he?
EMMA: He does look good. And he smells good too.
BLYTHE: More importantly!
BEA: Louis should totally have his own fragrance.
EMMA: He probably will soon.
JESSICA: He should. I would buy that. I’m not going to wear it but I’m going to like sniff it every once in a while.
JESSICA: Before I start my day, a little Louis Smith.
BLYTHE: Right well anyway, Emma had an encounter with Martha Karolyi.
EMMA: I did. I don’t know. Something has happened to me over the past couple of years where I love to get photographs with coaches and gymnasts and autographs. So I’m sitting directly opposite Martha Karolyi who’s on the other side of the arena. And every so often I see people going up to her and getting photographs and autographs and stuff. I think, now it’s my golden opportunity. I’ve never had one before. So I make my way to the other side of the arena, saw that there was nobody else to compete. There was only like rubbish people left, so I knew she wasn’t watching anybody. So I go stand I said “Excuse me Mrs. Karolyi” and she put her hands up and went “I’m watching the competition” and I felt like I’d been told off, sent to the headmaster’s office and got the cane all in one go. Oh it was horrible.
JESSICA: That’s awful.
EMMA: “I’m watching the competition.”
JESSICA: I’m so sorry. And now we know why Simone Biles said that she thinks that Martha is scarier than the judges.
EMMA: She’s frightening.
JESSICA: So how are the moth attacks going? Are those done? Have they burned them all, caught them with nets?
BLYTHE: I don’t know. I didn’t see anybody.
MICHELLE: I think they’re pretending not to notice that they’re there. I saw a few today but there were no netting. Mustafina: “I did bad because of the moths”
BLYTHE: She didn’t actually say that did she?
JESSICA: Like looking at Nabieva’s head, it just looks like she landed and then slid across the floor on her forehead.
BLYTHE: Oh you know what, so I saw Nabieva up close in the mixed zone and her face looks normal but when you look closer, she has the size of a 50 cent piece just covered in foundation. They put a lot of makeup to cover that up.
JESSICA: Right, I saw her at a, like I watched her bars video and I was like oh my God. They must have put a sticker on her forehead to cover that up or something. I can’t believe they covered that.
BLYTHE: Yep, it’s just a lot of concealer and foundation.
JESSICA: That’s some movie makeup right there. I’m just dying to know what she did for that rug burn scab.
EMMA: I think it was Valentina’s boots.
BLYTHE: Grace Chu said 2.5 to front layout half, that’s what she did it on. Like she hit her face. She must have done a front half to her face. She over rotated a 2.5 and you know.
JESSICA: That would explain the sliding or the twisting on the forehead. The thing I cannot keep off of my mind right now which is that Australia with their ridiculous rules, set the bar way way way too high and with their 6.3 requirement that the girls have on beam to even qualify. I’m looking at who qualified on beam and I cannot believe that they did not send the two Australian gymnasts to Worlds.
BLYTHE: Yeah it’s a shame for the Australian team. But Peggy Liddick is here and she’s being very attentive to the competition. But certainly, it would be better if there were Australian athletes out on the floor.
JESSICA: I mean really there’s only I think three people in the top 20 that have above a 6.3. 2 people above a 6.3, 6.3 or above. There’s one and there’s a 6.4. I mean ugh, it drives me nuts. And the score? Are you kidding me? Everybody’s in the 14s. Ugh, I’m outraged. Let’s talk about the US team and how they did. Let’s talk about Miss Simone Biles, who we’ve said from the very beginning is going to kill, kill, kill it. How did she look in person?
BLYTHE: I mean the US team was very happy. Biles was very happy. The thing that’s maybe most notable about the performance, and it was a pretty dominating performance. She really could have done a little bit better on uneven bars and on balance beam. Floor was fantastic. Vault was fantastic. She looked a little bit nervous starting out the competition, first World Championships, competing without her teammates. But she got through it and she killed it. I mean that was awesome. So they are super pleased with Simone and with Kyla as well, who just put on one of the best, most consistent, most elegant performances that she’s ever done, and of the competition. There’s the Longines Prize for Elegance and the voting that’s going on and I’m betting you that Kyla’s going to get that.
EMMA: She has to win it for lipstick alone.
BLYTHE: She did look good.
BEA: She looked really good. Regal in comparison, I’d say.
BLYTHE: Absolutely regal. It’s the perfect word for her performance.
JESSICA: Biles is right now 2.16 points I think ahead of the third place gymnast in the all-around which is Yao Jinnan of China and Kyla with her just beautiful execution scores is in second with a 59.198. And what did you guys think? You know Martha was complaining that she thought her execution scores were too low. And there have been some grumbling about the scores? What did you guys think about Kyla’s execution scores?
BEA: Well at first I thought her beam routine was underscored. But then again, I was quite far away so I couldn’t see her form very well. Yeah, it did look surprising at first. But then, after the second day I was convinced that it was on par with what we’d seen throughout mostly with a few exceptions.
JESSICA: So what are the exceptions? Tell us!
BEA: Well that’s debatable. A lot of people can say that Aliya for instance had quite big execution scores compared to others. One of them for instance was Vasiliki Millousi who had a 7.9.
JESSICA: (gasps) They gave Vasiliki a 7.9? Ugh! That’s an outrage.
EMMA: It is an outrage.
BEA: By comparison, it’s stingy, Vasiliki’s score and Aliya’s a bit generous maybe. But also Larisa Iordache for instance, you could argue that she had some form breaks that other people, that Aliya didn’t have. But maybe if you watched the routines back and from up close, you can see that actually the scoring was quite fair.
MICHELLE: Yeah it wasn’t as bad as people were thinking it was going to be after the first day. People thought scores would get a lot more laxed. But it wasn’t too bad.
JESSICA: And what about, so looking at beam. Little Shang Chungsong, who we have talked about on the show before for her beautiful beam and for other reasons. Do you think her scored was deserved? I mean the E scores on beam are really low so that makes sense. But did she sort of blow everybody out of the way like we sort of thought she would? I mean she’s ranked second right now going into finals for beam.
BEA: She had a good routine, a deserving routine, no major breaks, pretty clean form throughout.
MICHELLE: It’s pretty clean but it’s not as Chinese as you might expect. There’s little knees, little foot things that you wouldn’t have seen in previous years from a Chinese gymnast on beam.
JESSICA: And everybody’s kind of freaking out about Rodionova, Anna Rodionova from Russia, like she was a great addition and she seems to be. She qualified well. She’s fourth on beam. Watching her video, I was kind of like eh. There’s a lot of arm waving. I mean she’s good but I wasn’t like blown away. Is there something more to it in person that I’m missing?
EMMA: The thing is, I think on day one, there was only about five people who actually stayed on the beam and she was one of them and it was a late point in the day. And it was like oh my God, someone stayed on.
BLYTHE: Yeah oh my God, someone stuck their dismount.
JESSICA: That’s so bad. Okay, speaking of sticking the dismount, so Maroney I think surprised everybody by placing sixth all around. Of course she lost the tie breaker to her teammate Kyla Ross. But she did really well. I mean she fell on beam on her aerial but she’s been falling in practice so I don’t really think that was a big surprise to anybody. But she really did well. How did she look to you guys?
EMMA: I thought she looked good on all three and then when she got to beam she looked different, nervy.
BLYTHE: Her bars were better in competition than they have been in in the training and that was a little bit surprising. I thought that bars would actually be where she would lose it and not beam as much. But yeah she’s gotten on the teams that she’s gotten on because of her incredible vaulting ability and she’s got a wonderful floor routine especially this year. It got one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. And I just love when she came down off the podium, she was coming down the steps, Artur Akopian took her hand, just like let me help you down madam. And it was so queenly and that was really cool. And it was a really beautiful routine. As for beam, well oops. As I said before, she’s been missing it in the practice and she didn’t think about taking it out. In the mixed zone, she just kind of said hey it’s such a privilege to compete all-around. It’s so nice to be back here. And that was it you know, just kind of I love gymnastics and it was awesome. And she didn’t seem bothered by it at all. And to be quite honest, in hindsight, it was always a long shot that she would really even beat Kyla or Simone. And it was kind of all over for her after vault when she didn’t break 16.
MICHELLE: I think at that point, she needed a 14.7 on beam which wasn’t going to happen.
BLYTHE: Right, I mean there were only two beam scores in the entire competition above 14.7. So yeah.
JESSICA: So Maroney got a neutral deduction on floor and there’s some speculation that she was given that deduction, because since she didn’t go out of bounds, that it was because her music was too long. Is there any confirmation about this?
EMMA: I’ve read that as well. I’m not sure if the source is correct but I’ve read that as well, that it was due to the length of the music which seems really bizarre.
BLYTHE: If it was due to the length of the music, you would think that somebody would have figured that out before because this is like the fifth time she’s competed this routine. So I don’t know.
JESSICA: Oh you know what, I just got confirmation. Yes, it was one second over time, one second.
EMMA: That’s ridiculous.
BEA: That just totally put her out then.
JESSICA: That just totally reminds me of what happened with, what did it put her out, let me see. Oh my God it would have. That would totally put her ahead of Kyla, that one tenth, oh my God. But this totally reminds me of Sacramone, the same thing had happened. No one had noticed that she didn’t have the right composition in her dance when she didn’t make floor finals that year at Worlds, the year that Nellie Kim ran over to the judges to be like what the hell. Her dance is wrong. It’s just how did this happen? Oh my God! That’s really sad. That’s just one of those things. Shouldn’t you always make sure your music is four seconds, five seconds short just in case something like this happens? Ugh, I don’t know. Floor, Izbasa. She definitely looked like she was a little sassier. She put a little more flair in her dance. She was rocking her electric green scrunchie with the master leo. Wait what was that?
EMMA: She had the green eye shadow as well.
JESSICA: The green eye shadow, I thought was a fantastic touch. I mean if you’re going to do the day-glo green, you have to go all the way.
JESSICA: Like if you’re going to do it, just totally do it. I would’ve done the nails too, maybe a little green lipstick, just go for it completely. So I think she brought it. She actually had better form on some of her tumbling than a lot of people like Mustafina oh my God. Her form, I just could not believe her form on floor. But Izbasa looked pretty good.
MICHELLE: I think Mustafina must’ve left Mustafina at home and an imposter competed today. But Izbasa looked amazing I thought.
BEA: You have to understand also that Izbasa has only trained floor for the last probably month or two months so she kept refining the same moves over and over. Actually, I’d seen her in training and she worked performance, she worked her tumbling, one by one with Octavian Bellu over and over, refining everything. She worked her leaps. Her approach to this was super professional, just because she has only one event. So this event has to be perfection for her. And from that point, maybe it was not that perfect today because she only got an 8.53 I think for execution, so I don’t think she’s quite ecstatic with that. She might be relieved that she’s in finals and that she’s in second at the moment. So she’s qualified in second for finals. But she was aiming for a higher execution score I think and she will try to bring it on Sunday. She has only one event, unlike others so she has a lot of time to work for that.
JESSICA: So she’s saving a little difficulty for the finals huh?
BEA: I don’t know if she’s saving it or whether maybe she was playing it a little bit safe because she was able to always stick the punch front, whereas with the layout full, it was always a problem for her, not always but it has caused her some problems in the past. So maybe she didn’t want to throw it in order risk not to qualify for finals because of the layout full.
JESSICA: And why isn’t she doing vault? I mean she’s the Olympic champion on vault but she’s not even trying for vault. Is there something going on? Does it bother her Achilles? Does she just want to do one?
BEA: From what I understood from media, from watching, and from what she stated before was that they didn’t train for the whole year because of school and maybe she needed some time off. She started training both vault and floor, but then at one point when she saw what other people were doing on vault, she realized from her point of view, she was not at the same level as others so maybe she was not a competitor for the finals for the top three spots probably. So she decided not to train it anymore and just focus on floor because actually, that’s what she wants. She wants that. So floor final and not necessarily a gold medal but just a good finish on floor.
JESSICA: Mustafina, let’s just move on to the heartbreaking part. Let’s get this out of the way. Mustafina, no. It was too much for me. My heart is still broken. I don’t know what’s going on. Is it because Alexandrov left? Is this what happens? Her form on floor, so she fell on her first pass. Her first pass was awesome, whip to Arabian and then she fell. And then she didn’t make her triple Memmel turn. I mean she did it into another turn but it wasn’t a Memmel turn. And then she just looked like she’s out of gas. And her form on her triple full, literally she does a figure four with her legs, like she’s trying to choke someone out or when you’re trying to stretch your butt muscles so you cross one leg over the other. That’s what it looked like to me. And that’s just not like her. That was like worse than Ponor’s triple full, what she was doing with her legs right there. Way worse. Like I feel bad for ever saying that Ponor had bad twisting form after that. What do you guys think happened? How did she look overall? Invasion of the body snatchers
EMMA: I don’t think it was the real Mustafina today. I think like she sent her evil twin or something. She just right from the start on beam, she just didn’t look confident. I don’t know. She just looked like a shell of herself really, not like the confident like I am the queen Mustafina.
BLYTHE: But you know, you don’t need to be queen when you’re Mustafina in qualifications. She has a world title and she has four Olympic medals and she doesn’t have that much left to prove. And I think in the all-around final, we will see a different Mustafina. Like we’ve talked before about Epke Zonderland, he knows very well on high bar the difference between what he’s competing in qualifications and what he’s competing in finals. And I am sure that Mustafina over the next two days will do whatever she needs to do. Whether it’s taking a hot bath or sitting in a tub of ice for a while or whatever, she’s a very fierce competitor and always has been. I don’t think the desire has disappeared at all for her. And when she needs to do it, I think that she will be able to do it. Now Bea, you watched the training a couple of days ago and you came back and said, Mustafina, she looks tired. She looks like her knees are hurting.
BEA: Yeah it was pretty difficult to watch. It was her birthday. This was on the 30th. So it was her birthday that day. She came to training and she was the only one training and she started on floor. She did a little bit of warm up and then she (inaudible) just a little bit. She asked for the music. The organizer started the music. She tried to do the Arabian. She stopped, she started crying. And then she repeated this. So she needed a ten minute break and then after the break, she tried again. Another ten minute break, she tried again. The same result, over and over and over. After about four times, 45 minutes, she managed to continue her floor routine. But she also needed to take some time to think past it and (inaudible). It was really painful to watch. I don’t know. I haven’t watched her in training before so I don’t know if this is what she does all the time, if this is normal but I thought that she was in pain, truly in pain. I think floor was her weakest event that day.
JESSICA: While we’re on the subject of heartbreak, Sanne Wevers on beam.
JESSICA: Did you guys- oh my god and it wasn’t even like she just fell, it was like she crashed, hit her ribs, and missed her hand was all wacky on her mount. I was so sad.
EMMA: I don’t know if you saw the interview she did after. It’s really sad. She said she was super prepared. She really wanted to come here. She’s been training really hard. And all the competitions leading up to this she’s been great. And it’s heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. And the majority of the audience obviously supports the Belgians and the Dutch. And I think it was the biggest gasp of the whole Championships when she fell.
JESSICA: What happened with Jessica from Venezuela had her fall? She had two right?
BLYTHE: Yeah. She didn’t have a very good day. She said afterwards that her achilles has been hurting her a bit. And gymnastics, it’s gymnastics of course. And just on bars kind of a flukey thing. The routine was going great. She casted out a little bit too hard for the tkatchev and just was a little bit over and then went to beam and sometimes you make that, sometimes you don’t. It was just unfortunate. It looks like a meltdown. We haven’t really seen that from Jessica in international competition. But yeah just really unfortunate. Especially when she was doing her double twisting yurchenko vault, has a beautiful new floor routine, and those events were really good. So she ended the day on floor and she did a very very nice routine. But unfortunately, damage had been done. And a lot of people were kind of wondering if this might be her year. Might this be the year she gets a medal on bars, a medal on beam, maybe. And sadly no.
JESSICA: And then the moment that I just wanted to stop time and get in a time machine and go back because I couldn’t believe it, it was so horrific. I can’t even bear to talk about it. The Moors is not to be.
EMMA: They made a big thing about it. It was very near the end of the session and the announcer was talking about the fact she was trying a new element. It was the only new element the announcer mentioned. She did it with a spot in the touch warm up and it was fine. And yeah, heartbreaking. Sucks.
BLYTHE: Now we’ll see if she does it again in all around finals. Because to get the element named after her, she just has to compete it and successfully do it at some point during the competition. So she does have a second chance. And for the Canadians, they’re not even so much after medals at this Championship. But they really wanted Victoria Moors’ name in the history books for doing that. And I don’t know about you guys but it never actually even occurred to me that she might fail at it. It’s just it’s such a hard skill, she always looks so focused, she always manages to get it around to her feet. And she did it and it was a really good one, more stretched in the air than we’ve seen in podium training and better form overall, and it just- her hands and her knees didn’t have quite the height to get it around and it was really said. Unfortunately we won’t be seeing her in floor finals because of that. And she really deserves to be in. So it’s a big shame. But she will have another chance to get that skill named after her. Now, if floor is going to be her last event, she’s going to be tired, she might not do it. But she might. It depends about her own level of desire, how much she wants to see that skill become the Moors. And hey if I were her I’d really really want to see that skill become the skill with my name on it because it’s so freakin hard.
MICHELLE: We were hoping she’d just chuck it in at the end.
EMMA: Have a second go.
MICHELLE: Have a second go at it.
JESSICA: Be like ice skating. Just totally change your routine. Like walk over to the corner, be like forget this, and just do it.
MICHELLE: Be like ice princess. She deviated, no!
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Love that. Ok now let’s talk about the triumphs, the things that made us so incredibly happy. Let’s talk about for the English ladies, your girls on bars.
EMMA AND MICHELLE: Wooooo two in bar finals!
EMMA: It’s never happened before I don’t think. I was so nervous watching Becky’s routine. It’s quite tense watching her with all the troubles she’s had lately. But yeah so proud.
MICHELLE: I actually set by Amanda Reddin to watch Ruby, and she was going nuts. She was “strong! stick it! do it! Ruby! aahhhh!” It was brilliant. It was brilliant.
JESSICA: And Reddin is Tweddles’s coach right?
MICHELLE: She is, yeah
JESSICA: And she’s now the coach for.
EMMA: The British women’s gymnastics, yeah
JESSICA: Which is the greatest thing ever because she’s genius.
MICHELLE: She’s the British Martha
JESSICA: I love that everyone’s- I mean we’ve been talking about Ruby Harrold all year. Becky Downie has always had the ability but it’s like is she going to hit? Is she going to be healthy? She’s had so many injuries. And then Ruby Harrold, so it’s like we knew she could do it but Ruby Harrold is untested but she’s been killing it all year. And everyone loves the zuchold. Everyone goes nuts. I heard Ali from BBC talking about it a ton.
EMMA: [inaudible] had a good reaction to that skill. So lots of gasps when [inaudible]
JESSICA: You could hear it on the video and I was like wow. It’s just great. Something unique being recognized and done well. How about, what other events do we have exciting surprises and triumphs?
BLYTHE: Looking down the list, it’s kind of a funny event finals lineup. You have Simone Biles in uneven bars finals. You have Aliya Mustafina in beam finals. And I think nobody really going in saw either of those people in those two finals. And so that’s a surprise.
EMMA: Can we just mention for a second Carlotta Ferlito who is in beam final, because she had the best outfit and best eyeshadow I’ve ever seen. She had her green and pink leo that was beautiful, and then matching eye shadow. And she made beam finals.
MICHELLE: And Biles is in all four?
BLYTHE: Biles is
JESSICA: Yes the first woman since Shannon Miller, American since Shannon Miller, 91 in Texas I think, Indianapolis, to make it. All four finals. Huge deal.
EMMA: Major kudos. That is incredible.
JESSICA: Everything just comes so freaking easy for her.
MICHELLE: [inaudible] for her, she really deserved it. She did a good job today.
JESSICA: It looks like she could seriously skip or just walk into her tumbling passes. I mean it’s just ridiculous. Who else am I totally- oh, did we already talk about Mai Murakami and her little quad turn on floor? I think I already mentioned that. The rest of her routine I was like meh. Except for her legs man, she looks like she could take one of those legs off and kill somebody with it. They’re just like boom. Her little quad turn was pretty good. But on floor there wasn’t anybody except for Biles that totally blew me away. Although I didn’t watch Vanessa Ferrari.
EMMA: She was good.
BLYTHE: She was good. And right now she is sitting in fourth place behind Biles, Izbasa, and Iordache. And then there’s Ferrari. And so the unhappy four. Oh by the way, gossip. Ferrari is engaged.
JESSICA: Oh to her longtime boyfriend the gymnast?
BLYTHE: That is what Enrico Cossallo said in the mixed zone. However, there was a bit of translation problem because after he said she’s engaged, somebody said to him well have they set the date yet, and Enrico Cossallo’s reply was yes very good.
JESSICA: Oh that’s awesome. I remember there were some Twitter pictures but I couldn’t remember if it was one of the other Italians or if it was Ferrari. Was it Preziosa who also got engaged? I’m confusing my Italians. And their love affairs are documented seriously on Instagram.
MICHELLE: Preziosa has a very active posting of photos on Instagram. Love life.
JESSICA: It’s so Italian of them. I just love that they live up to a good stereotype like that. I love a good stereotype. Is there anybody else, ok on vault. So of course, pfft, as usual, we were completely right about all the vault predictions. Anybody that totally blew you away on vault? I mean I thought that North Korea lookin a little rough. Good but a little rough.
MICHELLE: Yeah a little rough. I thought Chuso looked well today.
JESSICA: She had a 9.1 on her second vault. I was like damn. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they just, she let Boginskaya come down and be her coach for finals?
JESSICA: I would love to see that. Anybody else that we didn’t get to see? Not big names. Somebody that didn’t make finals but who made an impression on you? Or even somebody that did like the girl from Hungary, Makra. She’s looking nice.
EMMA: Oh Marka’s beautiful. I really liked Noel van Klaveren today. The Dutch girl. She was really good. And also Steingruber.
MICHELLE: Yeah Steingruber was good.
EMMA: And the new Swiss girl Kaeslin’s very good
BLYTHE: Yeah absolutely stunning. Kaeslin would have been mine. She’s 25th in the all around final right now, so she qualified because Maroney doesn’t get to go. So she’s dead last in the all around final. But she made a wonderful impression. She hit her beam set and it was fantastic. She went to floor and performed this soft elegant elegant routine. And it was just very very nice to see. You don’t expect her to make finals. You don’t expect fantastic results. But she was really beautiful to watch.
JESSICA: So let’s move on to the boys. And some of the not so surprising and the surprising. Little baby Japan mister Kenzo with his quad on floor and his insane vaults, did everybody just go nuts? Were they like oh my god it’s Uchimura part two?
BLYTHE: As far as Kenzo Shirai’s floor routine, I guess 200,000 YouTube watches and counting, all those people can’t be wrong. He really is a force of nature. And every once in a while an athlete comes along who really pushes the boundary back a little bit further that was humanly possible to do on floor. And you just look at him and he makes it look so easy and it’s so not easy that you’re just like how did you do that. And you realize he’s a very special athlete. I’m impressed by his quad full, but I’m actually maybe more impressed by his front triple full which looks just out of this world difficult. We’ve seen quads before. They’ve been very few, very far between. Kent Caldwell was the NCAA gymnast who did one in the US for quite a long time. His was incredible. And Shirai’s is incredible. But yeah just that whole routine. So many twists and so fast.
JESSICA: And Uchimura was perfection.
BLYTHE: Yes. It was stunning. Yes. I loved how International Gymnast Magazine called him untouchable. And that’s the best adjective for him. He’s so zen. I was talking to the Associate Press correspondent here who said that it was like watching an old fashion samurai movie. He’s calm, he’s silent, and then he just does something very quickly and it’s so fast and five people fall down dead around him.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I love that analogy oh my god I have to make a tshirt out of that.
BLYTHE: It was the best analogy.
JESSICA: Ok and then we have little Sam dance party Mikulak kicking ass and ending up in second.
BLYTHE: Sam dance party Mikulak!
EMMA: I’m not buying this hype. He’s got to do it in the all around to get me on board with his dancing.
JESSICA: Ok the surprise for the American, it was that- ok so Dalton has an avulsion fracture in his thumb but it’s not his ligament it’s his tendon, which is really weird. He said it’s not bothering him, it’s just painful. But he’s going to have to have surgery to attach the bone chip back. But he said he played it safe on vault because he was watching the other vaults and was like oh I don’t need to do my hardest vaults, and then he didn’t make vault finals.
BLYTHE: You looked at Jake’s handspring double front, because you don’t get a deduction for flashing the wrong vault number. So if you say here I am going to do a handspring double front and you do a Dragulescu, you are not going to receive a deduction for saying you’re going to do just a handspring double front. And when you watch that second vault in the air, you’re kind of like yeah I can see how you’re training a Dragulescu. It was very high, it was very well done. I almost wonder if he thought for a split second hey, I’ve got a really good block out of this, I could maybe. But then he thought no no no I’ll just stick to the plan. And then he didn’t make vault finals. But there’s next year I suppose. And yeah, I think he can be satisfied. I don’t think he is satisfied. He even said he’s not particularly satisfied. But it’s not the end of the world for him right now.
JESSICA: And then Brandon Wynn actually made- is he still qualified first on rings to finals?
BLYTHE: No. Wynn was first after three out of the four men’s subdivisions. And then he got beaten by Arthur Zanetti and Yang Liu of China, who are- Yang Liu, you’ve never seen him before. He’s a carbon copy in a sort of Chen Yibin. And of course we all know how amazing Chen Yibin is on the rings. And Yang Liu is just incredible strength holds, incredible positions, and a full twisting double layout that really does look exactly like Chen Yibin’s. Zanetti is the Olympic champion. He’s been training hard. He- and I wouldn’t say he still has something to prove, but he certainly wants to go out and win another gold medal on rings. And set up the Brazilian team as well as [inaudible] for Rio. And the Brazilian team, by the way, the men’s team and the women’s team too, but the men’s team looks better and better and better. Sergio Sasaki qualified fifth all around finals, definitely going for a medal, doing wonderful gymnastics. And Arthur Mariano who’s the new young kid who is just extremely elegant, you know. Sasaki’s kind of a power guy he looks like. Mariano I think could surpass that and be the great Brazilian all arounder the next four years.
JESSICA: So the big shocker on pommel horse is that Berki, king of Hungary, fell.
MICHELLE: Not only that, our own Dan fell as well.
JESSICA: And this was like the return of Dan Keatings. And then
MICHELLE: Was going to be a Dan/Berki faceoff and it’s failed
JESSICA: It’s so sad.
MICHELLE: So sad. In fact I’m not over it yet.
JESSICA: But then of course we have little Purvis I straddled the face of the judge made finals.
BLYTHE: Poor Dan Purvis. He never really quite gets his due. He’s very consistent except for that one time when he straddled the face of the judge on vault. But other than that, he’s just he’s very consistent. But he’s also kind of a guy who’s been in the middle of the pack. He makes finals and finishes fifth, finishes sixth. And he’s never quite had a moment where he’s really come up and challenged for the gold medal. And it seems like more of the same. Props to him for getting back in shape after the post Olympic run. But he’s- and he’s trying out different things. He’s got some new tumbling passes on floor. And he’s doing what he can to get himself back up there to the point where he could challenge for a medal. And he certainly had a better day in all around qualifications than Max Whitlock did. And Max is the new Louis Smith plus more events. And unfortunately he just kind of had a learning session the day.
JESSICA: Oh that’s kind.
BLYTHE: Yeah he had an off day. But not every day can be like your best day.
EMMA: And Dan has a bronze medal on floor in 2010 in Rotterdam but I think he’d be pushed to repeat that here. He has changed his tumbles a bit, but the floor final is really stacked. So hopefully he can do a good all around.
JESSICA: And Epke Zonderland who gave us a heart attack with his warm up meet in Croatia earlier in the month looks like he put it together on high bar. Looked cleaner.
BLYTHE: Yeah he was cleaner. I’ll give him that. Especially for a qualification. He didn’t do all of his difficulty. But then again, neither did a lot of the guys who are going to be in high bar finals. Fabian Hambuchen left out his layout yaeger full. Zonderland, he connected his cassina to a kovacs but no kolman. And that was probably the smarter thing to do. There’s no sense in falling in prelims and not qualifying. Just play it safe, do a slightly easier variation, get into the final, and then put it all out in the final. And that seemed to be his strategy. And maybe he’s gotten a little bit more confidence from being Olympic champion. It seems like it. And there’s maybe a bit more calmness, more maturity, in his work on high bar. And a little bit more taking it easier and taking the time to point your toes and not rushing quite so much. And yeah, he’s certainly a medal threat. And we’ll see if he can do everything he can do and do it with decent form in the final.
JESSICA: So, I think that’s pretty much it. Is there anything else we should- any other good gossip? Any other good stories?
BEA: Did you know that Larisa Iordache had to wait for about 10 minutes before she started her beam routine on the podium?
BEA: She was stopped-
BEA: It was not just the long wait for three minutes, it was 10 minutes. Ten full minutes. She was not allowed to warm up then wait. She was there just thinking about how she was going to do that beam routine. So the fact that she managed to actually hit and hit that well even though she didn’t connect everything she planned, but she still she was thinking through and she was stopping before [inaudible] before having the big wobble. So yeah I think we should appreciate the fact that she managed to pull it off like that after 10 minutes of waiting.
BLYTHE: She stepped up and she nailed it. It was like hey judges, you want to try to play mind games with me, no no no. I don’t go in for that. I’m going to show you guys this is how you do a beam routine. And she did.
JESSICA: Any other stars in the audience? Anything else we should discuss? Who?
EMMA: Bogi of course, the beautiful Svetlana Boginskaya. And there’s Courtney Kupets was here. Alicia Sacramone. The queen Beth Tweddle and the king Louis Smith.
ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. Elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: Visit elitesportzband.com, that’s sportz with a Z, and save $5 on your next purchase with the code GymCast.
JESSICA: If you’re enjoying this special coverage of Worlds or our in depth interviews we do on a regular basis with your favorite gymnastics personalities, please write a review of the show on iTunes. Also please subscribe on iTunes. Or you can even subscribe via email on our website. If you’re an android user you can subscribe on the Stitcher app. Of course you can also support the show by donating by shopping in our Amazon store. You can get the fabulous smelling Louis Smith’s biography in our Amazon store and a little portion of what you spend will go to the show. We also post all the routines that we talk about on the site. Everyone that we can. I tried something new and put up a playlist this time so let me know if you guys like that better. You can follow along with what we’re talking about while you watch the playlist. So follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook for all the most important news and burning gymternet questions and most important routines to watch. I want to send out a really special thank you. It was our birthday episode two episodes ago and I completely forgot to thank our transcribers and I feel like the biggest ass. So for everybody that loves the transcripts and for those people that aren’t able to listen so they have the transcripts and for the hours and hours that they spend typing and making the transcripts even possible, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you guys. And if you love them, tweet at us with like #transcribersareawesome or something. Let them know if you love those transcripts. I also want to thank Ivan for all his help with remastering our episodes this week. It’s been awesome. See you next episode where we will be talking about men’s and women’s all around finals. Have fun watching Worlds!
JESSICA: I seriously thought there were birds, they’re so huge. And I feel terrible now that I was so outraged about all the giant moths and butterflies and everything that were going on at the Commonwealth Games a couple years ago in India. And now the same thing is happening. We had bats at our National Championships and now there’s giant moths here. Now I feel like I should’ve never said anything badly. It had nothing to do with India. It’s just igant buildings they can’t keep the wildlife out of. Now what is going on with the Tandoori Poulet being kidnapped? I don’t care for this whole thing. I think it’s a distraction. I want the chicken there the entire time to be taking pictures with people. I don’t like this at all.
BLYTHE: You know what? You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to do a quinesentially American thing here and blame Canada.
BLYTHE: Eric Cartmen or whoever says it says it
JESSICA: [singing] Blame Canada
BLYTHE: Blame Canada. The Canadians are all staying in the hotel. And I don’t know Grace has had the chicken, a chip or something put in the chicken so she can tell where the chicken is even if she can’t find the actual chicken. Anyway. The technology is helpful with the chicken.
JESSICA: She has GPS in her stuffed chicken?
BLYTHE: Or something. Or there’s an app for that. Where’s my chicken.