JESSICA: Today Blythe, Bea, Michelle, and Emma are back with us to talk about Worlds up close and in person.
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JESSICA: So this is Episode 53 for October 4, 2013. I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from The Gymnastics Examiner
EMMA: I’m Emma, Martha Karolyi impersonator
BEA: I’m Bea from The Couch Gymnast
MICHELLE: I’m Michelle and I’m a photographer and fan
JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the entire world bringing you the top news stories from World Championships. And today we are going to talk about men’s all around and women’s all around which just happened. If you guys didn’t get a chance to follow along, you can check out The Couch Gymnast. And you can check out Blythe’s awesome quick hits on Gymnastics Examiner or you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook. And if you didn’t get to watch the competition, you can watch it free at usagymworlds.com. If you’re not in the US, just use a fabulous VPN to watch it. TunnelBear is what I like to use, so you can watch it wherever. And if you’re in the US, you can watch it on TV on Universal Sports or the whole thing will be broadcast on NBC on October 12 and 13 with I think Nastia commentating. And this could get more interesting with her commentating on this. I’m very excited. And I just want to do a shout out to the FIG for their ridiculous feeds the last two days. The slow motion, the replays, playing people’s routines instead of watching people warm up or like put their socks on on the sideline. It’s been better than any NBC broadcast I’ve ever seen in my life. So kudos to you FIG and whoever you’ve hired to do the production on the feed. I love them and the gymternet thanks you from the bottom of our heart.
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Ok let’s talk about women’s all around just ended. So let’s start from the beginning. Let’s start from the very beginning. First rotation, the top all arounders are on vault. I think Simone kicked ass on her vault. Was she the only one to do an Amanar today?
Blythe: She was.
JESSICA: And how was the vault rotation?
BEA: Very good. Very good. There were some big scores, maybe even bigger than qualifications which already has attracted a bit of controversy. But they were high for everyone and the vaults were good, uneventful but good rotation for everyone.
MICHELLE: I was sitting at the end of the vault runway and Mustafina, even on her straight Yurchenko timer, was really off direction so I’ll be interested to see a replay of her pre-flight because she’s got something funky going on there.
JESSICA: Oh my God. Let me just tell you. Her pre-flight looks like, I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve never quite seen anything like this. I think Spanny’s website has a screen cap of her pre-flight, her Tumblr does. It looks like she’s trying to hop over, like doing a Hecht almost. Her head is sticking out so far, it’s just all wack-a-doodle. All I can think of is when you’re hurting or you’re in pain and so you’re just trying to do everything you can to just make your skill without it hurting and you’re just clenching to get it over with, that’s what it looked like to me. Were there any other signs of her today, she looked just way better to me today in general. It looked like the Mustafina was back. Except for vault, she seemed to be her usual self.
BLYTHE: Oh yeah definitely. And you know, as we’ve sort of said before, Mustafina, she certainly knows the difference between qualifications and finals. She has a remarkable ability to be able to do it under pressure when it counts, with the medals on the line, and she certainly delivered on that today.
JESSICA: I was thinking about what you said about her the entire competition, Blythe. I was like Blythe is totally right. She has gears, just like the Chinese and the Japanese men. She’s like eh it’s qualifying, I don’t need to straighten my legs too much. I mean, because even in her floor routine her triple twist was actually better. She still did the little figure 4 but it was better than it was originally. She made her fantastic whip-whip-double Arabian-jump pass, fantastic. So let’s go on to vault bars. Bars, I’m always a little bit worried for Biles on this event but she did well. And then can we just talk about little Shang Chungsong and her crazy ass makeup?
EMMA: Can we just talk about Shang Chungsong, however you say it and the fact that she must be eight years old?
[Ohhhhs from everybody]
EMMA: She’s so small!
JESSICA: You’re not the only one to comment on that. And actually Rick from Gymnastics Coaching also brought that up and was like I can’t believe more people haven’t commented on it. I was like man they are all thinking it. She really looks like she’s 10. I mean you know, it’s not like the communist countries don’t have a long, long, long history of faking people’s ages. I mean how does Daniela Silivas still have her medals? I can’t believe the Romanians have gotten away with this for as long as they have. So yeah. In person, does she still, she must look even younger in person I bet.
BLYTHE: She’s very small. Today she was wearing a lot of hair glitter and a lot, a lot of golden eye liner.
JESSICA: It looked like it was hard for her to open her eyes under all that gold eye liner. Like when she fell off beam, I was like well that’s what happened. She probably told her coaches I can’t see with this stuff on. It was so much. I felt so ugh yeah.
MICHELLE: I had some Americans behind me today and they were talking about I think her specifically saying that the Chinese don’t learn and that she still has baby teeth, etc etc.
BLYTHE: And the thing is Shang was a senior in 2012. She was eligible to go to the Olympics and she wasn’t selected for the team for various reasons, probably inexperience is one of them. But so she is a second year senior so she’s going to be turning 17 this year if she’s not 17 already.
JESSICA: According to the documents. Ok so bars rotation, what was going on with Yao Jinnan? It looked like, I mean her routine was fantastic. Her coach was coaching her the whole time, which first of all, I thought that totally wasn’t allowed. I remember Ponor at the Athens Olympics. Maybe they changed that rule. But then, it looked like she didn’t go for her last Tkatchev because her coach was doing like a whole freaking comedy routine at the bar while he was watching her go. What’s up with the rules and do you think she left that out because she was like I don’t need it? What do you think?
MICHELLE: I saw someone posted on a message board a little bit from the Code of Points about speaking to athletes and it was .5 I think for first deduction if they speak or coach or cheer. I don’t know if that’s ever been taken.
JESSICA: Interesting because that’s the thing. A bunch of people are saying it should have been taken in Athens when it seemed that Bellu was yelling at Ponor to go for her full-in off beam. But I’ve never seen a coach coach as much as he coached her. And it didn’t look like they took a deduction from what her score was like so
MICHELLE: Could you hear it on the broadcast?
JESSICA: Oh totally! Yeah it was really clear. It wasn’t just once or twice. It was like every single move he was saying something to her. Any other highlights on bars for you guys? Mustafina, whew.
BLYTHE: Oh Mustafina was wonderful. But you know, to go back to Yao Jinnan, I can forgive the coach for talking. This is just my personal opinion, because if you’re going to do a Mo salto in competition and you’re going to do it and make it look like that, I can forgive it if it the coach is kind of saying hey c’mon and whatever other words of encouragement he’s giving her. But the bars rotation over all you know was just very very strong, like the leaders group for everything except beam was just very very strong and very nice to watch.
JESSICA: I agree. I mean that’s the thing. It’s like do I have any problem with people getting coached? It’s like eh I could really care less. And if they’ve never taken a deduction then that’s fine with me. Because if they never take it, then at least they’ve never taken it on any gymnast ever. If they took it now and hadn’t taken it for Ponor then you know, it would be an issue. But yeah her Mo salto, it’s scary as hell but it’s freaking cool. It’s really really cool. Ok, bars. Anybody else? Did Mustafina change her dismount? That was new. She hadn’t done that dismount yet right?
BEA: I have some snarky comments about the Americans because I feel that this is too much of a pro American commentary. It’s fine. We like the Americans.
BLYTHE: [LAUGHS] She’s looking right at me.
JESSICA: Blythe it’s your fault.
BEA: My impression that compared to qualifications, both of them had two stops in their routines and they got basically the same scores or higher scores maybe? Oh no, it was the same score.
BLYTHE: On bars?
BEA: Yeah, they stopped, both of them.
BLYTHE: Oh yeah. Kyla nearly over balanced on a handstand at one point. And Simone also. But the deduction has got to be minimal because it was so right on the edge of like is that a deduction or isn’t that a deduction. And Kyla had a couple of places on beam as well where I thought she you know, it was a little bit suspect.
BEA: Also, I thought that during the, I’m not against the Americans
BLYTHE: And we love Romanians
BEA: I’m just asking. I just thought that after, when she turned on the high bar, Kyla, her routine didn’t flow as well as it had in qualification. Was that just my vision? Was everything just slow in my head or was she struggling to get it? And she fought for it a bit too much to go for the dismount. She went her giant three times. So she was kind of struggling. I didn’t see her score at all which usually is perfect as well.
JESSICA: I agree actually. I felt that about both of them, that that was not their strongest bars for either American. And you can see it in Kyla’s face after she came off the bar, she was kind of like eh I could’ve done better. But is it enough that it would have made a difference really in the placement in the end? Were they ranked correctly?
BEA: We’re not talking about that. Shang’s glitter didn’t make any difference at all. If we’re going to be snarky, I want to be snarky about everyone. Is this a positive podcast or a negative one?
BLYTHE: It’s an honest podcast. An honest podcast.
MICHELLE: So I don’t know if you guys saw touch warm ups on the broadcast but Larisa her [inaudible]
BEA: It was completely off
MICHELLE: Yeah and that’s what she messed up in prelims so major props to her for getting it in competition.
JESSICA: Who is this?
JESSICA: Oh Larisa ok. Iordache yes. Her bars, I swear you guys, this is going to sound really bad. But I was watching her do bars and I was like oh who’s this? Oh that’s pretty good. And then I was like oh my God, it’s a Romanian. Good for her! She did a nice job on bars!
BLYTHE: I had the exact same reaction during podium training. I thought that it was a Belgian up on bars. And I don’t know where I got that impression
EMMA: Her leo wasn’t very
BLYTHE: Romanian yeah. And the coach was also wearing a t-shirt that said Romania on the back of it but I don’t know. The blue was a little dark and so I thought it was black and so the red, yellow, and black to my knowledge, I thought that it was the Belgian flag. So I thought wow this Belgian girl is really doing well on bars. And it wasn’t until the next rotation when they all went to beam and I was like wait a minute. This Belgian girl is Larisa Iordache.
BEA: But she did have a couple of problems. [inaudible] She also changed her transition from low to high, instead of a Maloney she did a Ray I think. She also did not keep that handstand there. So she could have had a much higher bars score. It was just an okay routine for her compared to what she’s done this year on bars. But she’s improving. She will be even better I think next spring.
BLYTHE: When you talked to her Bea, did she talk about next year I plan to do this and these are my goals for the future?
BEA: No. I think for now, she just didn’t really expect to be at this competition after the back problems she’s had. She said I didn’t expect to be here and I’m going to try my best to face everything as it comes here and then I’ll see what comes because honestly I don’t know how I ended up here. I’m so glad to see you guys.
JESSICA: Did she say anything about beam? Because of course then she went to beam and I was shocked that she fell. I mean she had been doing such a hard routine. She didn’t even throw her hardest routine and she fell. I was heartbroken for her. What did she say about that?
BEA: She said, I asked her if the problem was it was a little bit loud right when she went up and I know that she doesn’t like that. I’ve heard that she doesn’t like to be coached during beam. She doesn’t like to hear her teammates. She prefers silence. And so I thought ah here goes the crowd for a Belgian gymnast. Poor Larisa. And then she went for the layout to two feet and fell. I asked her afterwards. I asked her did you hear the crowd? And she said no. That was the element I was most confident about and I missed it. It sometimes happens. When you’re most confident about something, you’re not paying attention to it that much and then you fall. But I think it’s a little bit of both. And I also think that it’s her technique on the layout to two feet. She throws herself to the end of the beam and she doesn’t have time to land properly, she just hits her feet on the beam. Sometimes they stay there, sometimes she has a little bit of a fall. So maybe what happened today to make her fall won’t happen in the final because she’ll probably work more toward that and correct that. But she was heartbroken. She was. You saw that probably live during the medal ceremony.
JESSICA: She did. I felt so bad for her. I mean beam was a mess. I couldn’t believe it. I just have to say, I loved the fact that you put it like she throws herself against the beam because that is exactly how I feel when I watch Maroney do beam. She does not absorb the beam. She doesn’t land with the beam which is something I heard Sam Peszek say and Sam Peszek is amazing on beam, that you land with the beam, you want to be in the beam, where she just sort of like you know, it’s such a hard landing on it. And so and that brings me to the two Chinese gymnasts, Yao and Shang on beam who both fell. Oh my God! I felt so bad for them! I mean it’s beam, it’s China! That’s not supposed to happen!
EMMA: I know it was a mess. It was so sad! You just want everybody in the top group, everybody to go clean and it to be a real fight for the medals. You know it’s just sad that they couldn’t come through and just hit.
JESSICA: Now the two people that did hit who I thought were going to sneak into the medal rounds were Ferlito and Ferrari. They were killing it the whole meet right? They hit every single routine.
EMMA: Yeah and they were both competing at exactly the same time for the first couple of…because I was like oh I want to watch them both. It was like one eye on one and one eye on the other. Yeah they really did great and I had a big Italian group behind me who were going nuts.
JESSICA: And what did we think of Ferrari bringing back her signature cutout shoulders look on her leo?
EMMA: Oh she can do it. She can do it.
MICHELLE: It’s funny. I’ve never been a fan of those and they look terrible in pictures but in an arena situation, I didn’t even notice to be honest. I was watching her gymnastics and it looked good.
BEA: Yeah very many of the leotards looked much better. For instance, the leotards the Americans wore in qualifications in the arena were much nicer than on the screen. The patterns on the chest were not as obvious in the arena and it was a nice touch of sparkle for it not to be plain red. But then on the screen, it was obvious the pattern, I don’t know. So yeah it’s different how you see it in the arena.
JESSICA: I did appreciate that she matched her lipstick to her leotard, which now it’s like it has to be done like that. If Kyla had pink lipstick today because she was wearing her pink leo, this is now the standard, I have decided. This is the way everyone has to do it.
EMMA: I even wore lipstick today
JESSICA: Ha! Perfect!
EMMA: in support
BLYTHE: in honor
EMMA: Yeah! I rocked out the lipstick.
JESSICA: That’s fantastic! Oh there are going to be so many great Halloween costumes. Oh I just cannot wait for this. It’s going to be fabulous! So moving on to floor. So now, when we went to floor, Kyla was, it was Mustafina in the lead and then Biles.
BLYTHE: No, no.
JESSICA: No am I totally wrong?
BLYTHE: Biles led throughout the competition.
BLYTHE: Kyla was in the lead?
EMMA: It was really close.
BLYTHE: That I didn’t know.
JESSICA: Even my husband is over here giving me a look like hello it was Kyla! How could you forget her moment of glory?
BLYTHE: Well trained!
BEA: They showed on the screen that she needed a 14.517 and she got the 14.533 for the best beam in the competition by a long way and then she got her score and she was leading.
BLYTHE: Wow, ok!
JESSICA: Kyla’s beam, can we just talk about how you guys have watched her in the training hall and seen her in competition, it is the same routine. She is like a rock on beam. She always does exactly how she does in practice. I just love seeing her consistency especially on that event. She’s so badass.
EMMA: There was no danger that she would fall. You know, with everyone else, you’re kind of a bit hands on mouth ahhh. But with her, no. We knew she would hit it.
MICHELLE: Her switch ring is gorgeous. It’s so high and lovely position.
BEA: Everything is gorgeous. [Inaudible] The way she lands her layout step out with her feet really far apart, she doesn’t really need that. But maybe it’s just a habit she has now.
MICHELLE: She lands her aerial cartwheel like that as well.
BEA: Yeah so maybe it’s her technique or something. But yeah gorgeous, gorgeous. Very elegant.
JESSICA: So Kyla’s in first going to floor. And of course this is Simone’s event with her double layout half out, redonkulous. So it is Mustafina who went first or Ferrari? Both of them hit. Would you say, Ferrari, were they both better than they were in prelims?
BLYTHE: Ferrari wasn’t in the leaders group.
BEA: It was Shang Chungsong was first, then Mustafina, and the Iordache. Then Yao, then Kyla, and then Simone. So Shang Chungsong did an okay routine. But we don’t like her choreography that much maybe.
JESSICA: So I have to ask you guys? Do you think it’s supposed to be a comedy thing or do you think it’s supposed to be serious? I think it’s supposed to be like a comedy routine. Am I the only one that thinks that? Like it’s supposed to be funny?
MICHELLE: I think it’s supposed to be a cute, funny idea.
BEA: They probably wanted it to be cute and have a story.
EMMA: It’s a bit like Mo Huilan’s typewriter isn’t it? Typewriter, gunshots
[Laughter from the group]
BEA: Then Mustafina finally did a floor routine that we are all in love with.
EMMA: Even with the legs
BEA: No those were not that bad. She did her Memmel. She added her stag jump. She did everything she needed to and she did quite well execution wise.
BLYTHE: For that first pass, a lot can be forgiven.
JESSICA: That first pass is sick! And hello, Larisa Iordache killed it! Oh my God, her floor was fantastic! I was so happy that after her fall on beam, she just knocked it out of the park with floor.
MICHELLE: Yeah all three of the gymnasts who fell on beam did good floors which was nice to see.
BEA: Yeah Larisa stuck her double double, stuck her full in, had a little step on her triple twist and then stuck her double back. She was really motivated. She told me she was really motivated to continue and have a good competition. She told me that Octavian Bellu told her chin up, don’t cry now. You still have one more routine to go and you never know what will happen so just do everything. And she did everything that she can do.
JESSICA: And was it just me or did Bellu emerge from a cloud of smoke out of the ground or down from the ceiling after her floor routine? I hadn’t seen him the whole time and then all of a sudden, he was on the floor and not her regular coaches. Was he there the whole time?
BEA: Yeah he was in the back so he was with her in the warm up hall. So for the first two events, Coach Sangu was with her because she’s allowed to have one coach and one medical staff so she had her physiotherapist with her and her Coach Sangu. And then for floor, Octavian Bellu personally [inaudible]. He came out for her warm up for floor, for her double double.
JESSICA: Oh so he was there for all of floor. Ok. So then it was Kyla Ross’s turn. And floor has been what she has struggled with all year. Not that she’s ever struggled with floor. It’s just been her endurance, getting that last pass in. And what did you guys think?
BEA: She was gorgeous.
MICHELLE: Yeah her floor gets better every time. And again, I think it’s one of those floors that does look better live than on TV.
JESSICA: I was stoked for her. I feel like her beam becomes more, she has more flourish, more not really artistry but more polish and more pizzazz I think. And the same with her floor. I was so excited. And then of course Simone. This is her event. Just walk me through her first pass. What was the arena like?
BEA: They wanted her to hit and they wanted her to do well and take that medal. Everyone was prepared for the final crowning.
BLYTHE: Yeah she was the last competitor to go. And it was, you know sometimes it just seems like it’s perfect for it to end that way where you’re going to close out the night with an extraordinary, incredible performance and that’s exactly what she delivered. I do have to say when she went for second pass, the double layout half out, I thought for a split second when she was in the air, she’s not going to be able to land that. I mean she was just perfectly on and you expect maybe a little bit of over-rotation, a step or whatever. And she just turned her body in the air and I thought she’s going to fall on her bottom. And she didn’t. Just somehow she didn’t. It was a perfect landing. And after that, it was just like well, she’s got this. Obviously, she’s so got this.
BEA: But I do have a problem. Sorry to ruin the moment [LAUGHS]. We want honesty. If you compared her floor routine that she did in qualifications to the floor routine that she did today, I thought that the floor routine that she did in qualifications was a little bit better. The first and lass passes were controlled and today they were not really controlled. But that really didn’t matter. She would have won by a margin anyway. But just maybe the score, eh you know.
EMMA: Winner’s bonus
BEA: She won fair and square and she was pleased. I’d never seen her fall. Maybe once in practice. Maybe but I’m not sure.
EMMA: You’re making it up.
[Laughter from the group.]
JESSICA: I agree. I thought the same thing when she went for her double layout half out, I was like oh my god she’s going to land right on her butt. And then she stuck it. And then yeah I agree that her tumbling was not as controlled as it was. She had a lot more steps and little bobbles. But yeah I agree. But in the end holy crap. So when she- this is kind of the weird thing to me. One thing I thought was totally adorable first is that she kept looking at Kyla to see what to do. Like where do we go? Where do I stand? It was just ugh, I just love that she was looking up literally to Kyla during the whole podium award process. But also it looked like she was on the stands that she was kind of like on the podium she had a look like pfft, like almost like Nadia- and I’m not comparing Simone to Nadia, but I’m just comparing the attitude of Simone looking like the way Nadia said when she one in Montreal. She was like what is the big deal, this is what I do at practice every day. This is just, this is easy for me. I don’t understand what the big deal is. Kind of like she was just like yeah no biggie. I don’t know did it seem like that to you? Was I just overanalyzing?
JESSICA: That happens.
BEA: I spoke with her in the mixed zone.
BLYTHE: She said it twice. She said I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet. And it seemed like in spite of just having been through the medal ceremony and she’s got the medal around her neck, she was very- I don’t know maybe just a little bit dazed that all that had happened. And throughout the meet she looked so focused. She was quite often with her back sort of turned away from the cameras, kind of almost in a corner as much as she could be. Not concentrating on the crowd or the scoreboard, even looking out at the field of play. And she just seemed incredibly focused the whole way. And when she came back to the mixed zone and she has this hoard of reporters waiting for her, well what’s it like to be world champion, and she was like I don’t know. Am I world champion? I need a little bit of time to digest this. And that was what she was like when she was questioned by the reporters.
JESSICA: That totally makes sense now. That definitely makes sense. What was the atmosphere like just for Aimee? You know Aimee’s been on the show before and we talked to her when it was kind of the beginning of this whole process. And also Simone’s parents, her biological grandparents but her adoptive parents looked like they were just over the moon. Everyone was giving them kisses from what I could see on the feed. What did you guys see from them after she won?
MICHELLE: I saw nothing
MICHELLE: I didn’t see any of it.
EMMA: They were on the big screen cheering, crying. Yeah it was very very happy. They were also on our tram on the way back and they had a crowd of people around them like applauding them, saying well done. It was very [inaudible].
BEA: Touched and shaken by everything
JESSICA: The gymternet is pissed. Pissed pissed pissed. Because they did not show Moors making her double double layout on floor. We never saw the routine.
EMMA: There is a video now of this on YouTube so have a look at that
JESSICA: Thank god. Ok so tell us. How was it? What did it look like? How was her routine?
MICHELLE: I think I squealed
EMMA: Yeah I jumped up out of my seat and fist pumped when she landed her double double straight.
MICHELLE: She did a bit of a Bela Karolyi
EMMA: Yeah it’s the best I’ve ever seen her do it. She stuck the thing. A bit soft knees, but well in trampoline it would count as straight. The hip angle was fine, it was just a bit bent knees. But I’m so chuffed for her, awesome.
JESSICA: Chuffed! Chuffed! We learned that word when Jenni Pinches was on! We’re all very chuffed, yes.
EMMA: Let’s hand around the sandwiches!
JESSICA: Ok, so the other two that I want to talk about is Elisabeth Seitz of Germany who just seems like she’s also on fire, just always hits, has her ridiculous def and her full twisting shaposh on bars. What’d you guys think of her today?
MICHELLE: To be honest I saw about half her around and about half of bars and that was it. So no comment from me.
BLYTHE: You know, Ellie Seitz is a wonderful gymnast, but she gives away quite a lot in form on almost every event. And she qualified to the all around in 23rd place, which was a bit surprising given her very high placements during the last quad and how well she really did at the American Cup earlier this year. And she’s a good trickster, but she does need if she wants to sort of remount in the standings to go back and kind of fine tune a lot of her events.
JESSICA: I’m not going to just preface this with anything, I’m just going to say Vasiliki Millousi and you just- did I just say her name wrong again? Ok. Vasiliki Millousi. Your thoughts?
EMMA: White swan
MICHELLE: Pink swan
EMMA: She was the white swan today. She didn’t have a very good time of it. She had a few errors and stuff. But you can’t knock her elegance and her style. She’s great.
BLYTHE: Yeah she’s really just liquid elegance. I felt pretty badly for her because she gets sort of inserted into the all around final at the last minute. I’m sure that she was not expecting to compete. And she goes out there and like the first 10 seconds of her bar routine she has a mistake. And it’s a mistake that’s going to drop her in the standings quite a bit. And then she has to go through the rest of the competition not having planned to do all around all again anyway. Knowing that she’s made this mistake. But she seemed really really happy. She sent out a Facebook status at the end of the competition and said finally I got to compete in the all around final at Worlds, what a pleasure that is. She’s 29 years old. And to be in a competition like this in a final like that has got to be a thrill.
JESSICA: What’d you guys think of her floor routine? It’s very different.
BLYTHE: It’s wonderful.
JESSICA: That’s what I think too. It’s totally unique, it’s totally downplayed, it’s very slow, it captures your attention because you’re like what is this music that isn’t trying to scream at you. It’s just trying to get you to notice. Totally different. I just love her floor.
EMMA: Yeah it suits her and it’s magical to watch.
BLYTHE: The showmanship in that routine, she gives a clinic to the rest of the world about how to perform on floor when she does that routine.
JESSICA: Well put. Ok anything else before we talk about the men?
BEA: Yeah Blythe and I had an encounter.
BLYTHE: Oh! This is a good segue to talking about the men.
BEA: So we were walking back to the press area and then we saw Louis Smith. And we passed by Louis Smith and we sniffed him.
BEA: Because we were curious. So result, he smells like fruit. It’s a bit-
BLYTHE: It’s a bit citrusy. It’s a bit flowery. It’s a bit fruity. Yeah no that was the first thing that Bea said. But it was really good. Really really good.
BEA: You have to imagine something
BLYTHE: Oh and by the way the back story on this of course if you didn’t listen to the show a couple days ago is Emma got a photo with him. And she came back and she says man he smells so good. And so when we pass by him and he was being prepped for British television we thought we’re not actually going to go up and talk to him or anything, but we kind of tried to get a bit near and then we’d kind of had a whiff of the aura of Louis Smith. And it was quite palpable. Really really good.
EMMA: Can I do second [inaudible]. Last night I met Philipp Boy. Oh my goodness.
BLYTHE: We’re all terribly jealous.
EMMA: This guy is like a piece of art.
EMMA: He has the most beautiful face, not to mention everything else is beautiful. But Philipp Boy in a suit looking like a beautiful statue.
BEA: And you got a picture with him. And actually it was [inaudible] pictures and I [inaudible] the camera didn’t work properly
EMMA: I had to [inaudible] him for a little bit longer than planned.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] And what did he smell like?
BEA: He was [inaudible] and he said come on!
EMMA: I was so in a gym coma that I couldn’t sniff.
EMMA: So I don’t know. I didn’t smell.
MICHELLE: Can I say one more thing about the women’s before we go on then?
JESSICA: Oh please please do
MICHELLE: Yeah I was so impressed with the number of school skills we saw today. We have the Mo salto on bars and Sasada from Japan did her round off back full onto beam and made it. We had Moors which is awesome. And Steingruber who had a really good day did her full twisting double layout. And the other one that caught my eye was Popa, the Spanish gymnast, she did two whips into a full in and nailed it. And so many cool skills. And the Biles. And the second best Amanar. Such a good meet. I’m still buzzing.
JESSICA: Did you guys- is Popa- no I may be totally imagining this, but there was some American gymnast who moved to Spain and then did gymnastics in Spain and competed for them. Is that her? Or am I totally making that up.
MICHELLE: No that’s Colussi
BLYTHE: And she’s Canadian. She trained in Ontario and has trained in Ontario. And now she’s a freshman at the University of Florida actually. She’s got a really nice new floor routine that was obviously choreographed by the Florida choreographer. And if you get a chance to check that out on YouTube it’s really worth seeing. Beautiful choreography, beautiful dance.
BEA: Yeah. [Inaudible] Romanian origin. She started gymnastics in Romania. She trained in Romania for a few years. And when she was seven she moved with her parents to Spain. So she’s the product of Spanish gymnastics all the way when [inaudible] from Romania.
JESSICA: Credit where credit is due, that’s right. Romanian roots, love it. Bea is there anything else that you want to get off your chest? I want to make sure that we’re making this a very honest podcast.
JESSICA: Is there anything else you can think of?
BEA: Everything is [inaudible] Jess.
BEA: Shang Chunsong’s vault. Shang Chunsong’s vault. No I was saying way back that maybe judges on vault were a bit generous. And [inaudible] for Shang Chunsong’s full twisting yurchenko. She was a bit piked and messy form. She got a 9 for that, and normally you never see a 9 for that full twisting yurchenko. But it seemed that everyone was in a really good mood
BEA: It was not just Shang Chunsong. It was everything. Everything was maybe a tenth or two tenths higher and it was level. It was not for only special occasions. Yeah. It’s fine.
JESSICA: Ok good. Glad. Right so let’s talk about the men. Uchimura of course has now been compared to the DuckTales uncle who just lives in a pile of gold. And there’s a fantastic meme going around that Spanny and Team Orozco Fans came up with of him as a duck jumping into the pile of gold like on DuckTales. Did you guys have that show in Romania or in England? DuckTales?
EMMA: We have DuckTales yeah. Now you’ve got the theme in my head.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Yes, awesome. So yeah I just, he’s, it’s just ridiculous. The thing I was most impressed with with the men’s competition is the level of consistency and hitting. There were a couple of- I mean it was when we got to high bar, then a couple people fell apart at the end. But I mean overall people were hitting every routine.
MICHELLE: Oh yeah it was so exciting.
JESSICA: It made the competition to see everyone hit hit hit. Like that’s what we wanted from the women from beam. The other thing that totally stood out, and Rick from Gymnastics Coaching is making this point is that the men’s form is so much better than the women. And I only assume this is the fault of the code that they’re not hard enough on the women. You did not see people twisting with figure 4 legs in the men’s competition. Their twisting form, all the form except for cowboying double tucks on vault, which is fine with me because I want everyone to live.
EMMA: Ok I’ll go. I thought the competition was amazing. You’re right, the consistency was awesome. Just tiny little mistakes were making the difference between third/fourth, fourth/fifth, and that was really great to see. Great skills, some meltdowns. I think you’re right about the twisting form. I’m trying to think of a male gymnast who has bad twists and I can’t.
BLYTHE: No. When everybody ends up with a round off triple full or at least half of the competitors are doing. And not bad round off triple fulls. Good round off triple fulls. Yeah their form is pretty impeccable.
EMMA: I think people need to start taking note of men’s gymnastics. Because the arena had half the amount of people in last night as tonight. And it was really good last night.
MICHELLE: Yeah it was sad to see empty seats because it was a brilliant competition.
BLYTHE: And you know like Rick has been saying, even if you go to the world cup meets the men’s competition is far more competitive than the women’s competition.
MICHELLE: Really and there’s more personality. They really want to win and they really want to hit.
EMMA: Fabian, how many fist pumps did he do last night?
BLYTHE: Roaring like a lion, getting more and more excited everything that he landed.
BEA: Yeah five after each event
EMMA: It was so great to see. Then when he got his medal at the end he was like it’s a dream come true. And you’re like it’s a dream come true for me as well!
BLYTHE: My favorite was his high bar dismount where he landed it and he mouthed yeah baby.
JESSICA: I thought that was so- I love that he yells in English. Just like so I decided that when I do anything well in life in general, I’m just going to do a stick position then just yell something in Japanese. So I have to learn the equivalent of yeah baby in Japanese because I think that would be-
BLYTHE: Yippee ki yay
JESSICA: There we go. Like I just, it’s just so funny that he did it in English. But then again he wants everyone to know what he’s saying so there you go. But yeah he ok and also did you guys notice Uncle Tim has started calling him Fabian Hambiceps now because-
JESSICA: Because biceps is a competition. But also his singlet was like way lower. Like he was showing a lot more cleavage than the other guys.
BLYTHE: It always is. It always is.
EMMA: Can we just point out that Bea was very distressed at the bagginess of Whitlock’s shorts.
JESSICA: They were way too big! I thought they were going to fly off when he tumbled!
BEA: I don’t know much about men’s [inaudible]. Because I’m good with Fabian Hambuchen. Then I said Emma look at Max! Emma is that normal? And she said Max usually [inaudible]
JESSICA: Seriously they look like he was wearing his big brother’s shorts. Yeah I don’t appreciate that. Sam Mikulak, now his shorts fit very well. And we would like to say hat’s off to the men’s American team for those.
EMMA: Sam, we should try to sniff him out.
MICHELLE: I’d rather dance with Sam. He was dancing when he got his flowers. It was hilarious.
BLYTHE: The US men have gone for a bit more of a constricted shorts look over the last few years than they have in the past. I think that Danell Leyva and John Orozco and yeah, it’s a different style.
JESSICA: Oh they know what’s up. Fitted. That’s what we like.
BLYTHE: Fitted. Fitted.
JESSICA: Now Emma, you were not having it with Mikulak and his dancing. You were not going to be convinced.
EMMA: I felt bad that he had his mishap on bar because he was great yesterday. He was really great. And I was really rooting for him. And you know you want everybody to hit. You want it to be a great big fight. And he did this weird thing where he kind of, I’m going to pull off saving it, no I’m going to fall off, no I’m going to save it. And it lasted about five minutes. But yeah, he can dance now. I think he’s great. And such a good sport.
JESSICA: He so looked like he wanted to cry. Like he was trying to be a good sport but he just looked gutted. Then did you see that he gave his flowers to his mom in the stands?
JESSICA: Aw what-
MICHELLE: I think she was actually on our tram ride home with the flowers.
EMMA: She was yeah. Yeah. The tram is a very good place to be.
BLYTHE: The tram was the social place.
JESSICA: So the other person who really really stood out to me was mister Brazil, Sergio.
JESSICA: First of all, I could look at him all day long. And second of all, gorgeous incredibly difficult gymnastics. I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed him before. What was wrong with me. He’s fantastic.
EMMA: I hadn’t noticed him either, so you know you’re not the only one.
JESSICA: He’s definitely on my radar now. Ok the one weird thing that happened, and I don’t really know from the feed exactly what the rules are or if we actually saw things in real time. But there’s a guy whose grip broke on high bar and thank god he wasn’t doing anything hard and he wasn’t injured. And he jumped off and ran directly to his gym bag to get his grips. And then they didn’t let him go because he didn’t get back in time. And I was like isn’t that a special- don’t you get some extra time if your grip breaks?
BLYTHE: Well the rule is generally 30 seconds. You have to remount the apparatus within 30 seconds after a fall. And this is not the first time it happened. Remember Alexei Nemov at the 1997 World Championships on rings. His grip snaps in two and so he jumps down and he doesn’t have another grip in his gym bag ready. And he knows that he’s not going to be able to make it in 30 seconds. And so he just stood there on the podium, saluted the judges, and that was the end of his routine. He got like a 7.7. And that was the end of his all around competition. And it was a shame. Now I was doing quick hits so I was trying to look at everything and I saw that something went wrong and it was the Swiss man Oliver Hegi who’s really quite a good gymnast. He was in the top 10 in qualifications. And he had such wonderful very light work on high bar before. And so and then all the sudden he was off the bar. And I didn’t see why. And then he got off the podium. And it was like obvious he was not going to get back on the podium. And the crowd began booing. He thought maybe he’d just given up. And that was the only time really that the crowd has booed. And I don’t think they understood. And yeah, it was just a shame. Really too bad for him because he’d been having a great competition up to that point.
JESSICA: Now speaking of a crowd there’s one other thing I think people were very confused about. A lot of people on twitter were talking about- maybe you guys can clarify what was going on. Some people thought that when- so from the feed it looked like when some of the Japanese gymnasts went the people were playing drums either to try to distract the Japanese gymnasts or along with their routines. Some people were totally offended that that was happening. But my understanding is these were actually people who were supporting another gymnast that had nothing to do with trying to damage the routines of other gymnasts.
EMMA: Partly they were Fabian Hambuchen’s bundesliga teammates.
BEA: And they were also the other guy [inaudible] from Germany and the other guy from Spain and the guy from Belarus I think.
BEA: So they were cheering for both Fabian and-
BLYTHE: Oh it was like a bundesliga gang because both Gonzalez and Lichovitsky compete in the German bundesliga for different teams. And yeah I did notice especially it was during Kohei Uchimura’s pommel horse routine. And Kohei was sort of going alone. There was nobody else on the equipment at the time. And this very rhythmic, very loud drumming started happening from sort of one pocket in the arena. And I thought maybe it was the Japanese fans. Maybe this is what they do during Japanese Nationals or something like that. And it wasn’t. But props to Kohei. He’s so great that it didn’t even faze him at all. I did think that it bucked off one of the Chinese gymnasts when he went to do his pommel horse routine later in the competition. He seemed distracted by it and he fell.
JESSICA: Now Kohei is now, as if he already wasn’t, he already has been, but now he’s even more the best gymnast ever of all time ever. Male or female. Because he’s now broken- he’s even broken Larisa Latynina’s record I think. Right because didn’t she win- she won like seven right? But that was the medals, not the competitions in a row. So I’ll have to look that up. I feel like he did.
BLYTHE: No man had ever won three world titles back to back to back. And Kohei broke that record in 2011. So really he’s done it five times if you count the Olympic year as kind of substituting for the World Championships. He’s been untouchable since 2009. And we’ll never really know because he was 19 at the 2008 Olympics but you have to remember he won the all around silver medal and he fell twice on pommel horse in that men’s all around final. And so you can’t say what if, but it’s pretty amazing that you finish second in the Olympic all around final at the age of 19 after falling twice on the pommel horse. He is the best gymnast, the best male gymnast who ever lived. No question.
JESSICA: So my question for you guys is, do you think he will make it through to Tokyo since he looks as good as he ever has? And then outlier like, who would have done this. Like could he actually make it to Tokyo in 2020?
EMMA: I think it’s possible. Maybe not all around. But certainly look at Jordan Jovtchev. People like that just who have been to Olympics after Olympics you know? I don’t think maybe he will get a gold medal in the all around in 2020, but I can see him being there.
BLYTHE: Yeah, same. I think that it’s going to depend on Kohei himself. And he certainly looks capable of just carrying on and carrying on. He’s never really shown any weakness whatsoever. And the only time that you could say well that wasn’t a very good performance was in all around prelims at the Olympic Games when he had two big mistakes he just never made before. Then he came back and he had sort of his usual performance in the all around final except for his yeah, his one tumbling pass on floor. But yeah I mean he’s got such good technique and he is so technically superior to almost everybody else out there on the floor. He’s so consistent and he just kind of gets into the zone and is able to come up with these amazing performances. And as long as he’s able to do that, I think the Japanese will have him.
JESSICA: He is just fantastic. Anything else you guys want to talk about? Any other encounters? Special sniffing episodes that you had before we sign off?
EMMA: One more encounter. No sniffing. But yesterday I went- I’m just a big photo person. I like to get photos. And I went to see Svetlana and Oksana, who, they need their own show. They are like a comedy double act. They are so funny. So we need to campaign to start get them their own TV show.
JESSICA: I’m totally all for that. So Oksana’s english is good? Like you can-
EMMA: Yeah. Yeah.
JESSICA: Oh my god
EMMA: We had a little chat.
JESSICA: Oh my god I can totally see a Bravo show with the two of them. Oh my god.
EMMA: The names even rhyme. Svetlana, Oksana, you know?
JESSICA: Would be hilarious.
EMMA: They were on this stool for the gym cam stuff so they were doing photos and stuff with people. Yesterday we saw Aly Raisman as well. She’s here. Philipp Boy of course. We’re hoping to see Raducan tomorrow.
JESSICA: I will expect a full report after Sunday of all the encounters you’ve had.
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: Ok until next time after all around finals and Worlds is over, I want to let you- so sad! Follow us on Stitcher. Review us on itunes. Donate to the podcast. And of course follow Bea on Couch Gymnast and Blythe on Gymnastics Examiner. And of course you can always email us and let us know what you think. Gymcastic@gmail.com or you can even call into the show, we’re on Skype at Gymcastic Podcast. And until Sunday at some point or Monday morning, I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner
EMMA: I’m Emma, Martha Karolyi impersonator
BEA: Bea from The Couch Gymnast
MICHELLE: Michelle, photographer and fan
JESSICA: Thanks you guys, see you after finals!