EMMA: 40 cents. Outrageous. It’s outrageous. Because for all qualification, you could pee for free.
EMMA: And then suddenly finals day there’s attendants on the door and you had to pay 40 cents.
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]
JESSICA: We are back in Belgium with Blythe, Bea, Michelle, and Emma and all of their insights being there at Worlds. The last day of Worlds. It was event finals. And they’re going to tell us all about it.
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JESSICA: This is episode 54 for October 6, 2013. I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner
MICHELLE: I’m Michelle, photographer and fan
BEA: I’m Bea and I’m on suicide watch
EMMA: And I’m Emma, and I’m so sad that it’s all over
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I’m sorry [LAUGHS] laugh at that, ok. This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you all the news from World Championships. And today we’re going to talk all about event finals. I want to remind you guys to follow Blythe and Bea. Bea is on the Couch Gymnast, Blythe is on the Gymnastics Examiner. Their fabulous insights, interviews, quick hits, all from Belgium at the World Championships. If you missed anything, you can read their sites or you can watch the competition in full archives at USAGymWorlds.com or USAG’s YouTube channel. And also, the NBC will have Worlds on later this month. And if you’re in Canada, you can watch Kyle Shewfelt and Laurie Strong will be covering Worlds on Canadian TV on October 19th. And if you liked being able to watch all of this, if you liked live podium training and live and archives of everything and all this incredible coverage, let USAG know. Let the FIG know. Your opinion matters. You make a difference as a fan. So let them know if you like what you have been seeing.
JESSICA: This special World Championships coverage is brought to you by Tumbl Trak. Right now Tumbl Trak is having a sale. All of Tumbl Traks 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 Tumbl Trak. Check them out at tumbltrak.com. That’s tumbltrak.com. Tumbl Trak, do it again.
JESSICA: Let’s talk about the meet. Ok. First of all. Emma has some very important news to get off of her chest. Emma?
EMMA: I really do. It’s been the best day ever. So this morning, myself and Blythe went to Starbucks and we just happened to have a little old coffee with Aly Raisman. So-
JESSICA: Oh my god
JESSICA: Tell us everything
EMMA: That was so much fun. So much fun indeed. And then later this afternoon, I met the legendary Andreea Raducan. Excuse me while I just scrape myself back up off the floor.
JESSICA: And we were saying earlier she really is like a princess. There’s something about her. She ports herself like royalty.
EMMA: She’s [inaudible]. She just floats around on her little wings flopping. She’s beautiful.
JESSICA: I love her. And how did they smell? Did they smell as good as the boys? [LAUGHS]
EMMA: Aly Raisman told us the secret of the US ladies’ lip- well it’s not lipstick, it’s lip stain. And it’s a brand called Steeler. And I’m going off to buy some as soon as I get home. [LAUGHS]
JESSICA: Alright let’s start with the first day of finals. It was men’s, started with men’s vault right?
BLYTHE: Oh sorry no no
JESSICA: What did it start with?
BLYTHE: Men’s floor
JESSICA: Men’s floor. Ok. So I mean I’m totally blown away. I mean ok so you guys, give me the low down because you were there. So just to tell you guys who competed. So it was, there was Scott Morgan from Canada, Hambuchen, Legendre, Mister I don’t have glue on my feet Legendre who we always think is going to do amazing and then always hippity hops on his landings, Diego Hypolito, Daniel Purvis from Great Britain, Daniel Purvis known famously for straddling the judge’s face on vault, Kohei Uchimura the king, Jake Dalton of the toe point, and Kenzo Shirai of the I can do so many twists you can’t even believe it with perfect form. Ok. Break it down.
BLYTHE: Well Kenzo Shirai was the leader going into the event finals. And although he does not do a routine with any double flips in it, not even any roll out skills which are basically 1.75 flips, he absolutely blew everyone else away with his twisting. Front triple full and quad full to end. And his start value was just so much higher. I think it was .6 higher than anybody else in the field. And his form was really impeccable on the twisting. And so he went up last in the event final and everybody including the announcer expected him to take it. And he delivered a really wonderful routine. He had this bright enthusiastic smiley reaction afterwards. And he took the gold medal. Props also to Jake Dalton, who came through with a wonderful routine on floor for the silver. And Kohei Uchimura who led off the event final in wonderful style and delivered his usual solid elegant difficult performance and ended up taking the bronze.
JESSICA: A lot of people talked about going into this Diego Hypolito and the crazy start value he was doing. And he always has beautiful form. And also Daniel Purvis, who as we know, Great Britain has brought in a special woman choreographer and great women’s coach Caroline Angela Orchard to work with them on their presentation and artistry. What did you guys think about those routines?
BLYTHE: Well Hypolito, he finished fifth in the final. And to me I kind of hate to say it but Hypolito is kind of on the down swing of his career. He is still an excellent gymnast, but he is not the gymnast the he once was. And he’s beginning to lose his form a little bit. He had a couple really interesting tumbling passes here. A double arabian through to a punch front full and I think a whip to double arabian pike. And he works a lot of interesting skills in the gym. He’s got something like three skills named after him on floor which are all kind of variations of arabian double fronts in various positions with different amounts of twists in them. And he’s not doing any of them anymore which is kind of odd. But really with Hypolito and also with Legendre, it’s a question of form. You know? The legs a little bit in twisting, the knees, the toes. Steven Legendre, his is his fourth World final on floor exercise. And he does a terrific routine with so much power and he’s the only guy who’s doing a two and a half twisting double back. Unfortunately when you compare his execution to the execution of somebody like Dalton, somebody like Uchimura, somebody like Purvis, even somebody like Kenzo Shirai, it’s not the same level of gymnastics. And this is why he kind of consistently is in the pack but fails to medal. And I hate to say that. And I feel like that’s being a little bit rough. But it’s not even the hops I feel like that’s keeping him back. It’s just the fact that his leg form and his foot form doesn’t look as nice. But that’s all in my opinion.
JESSICA: Yeah. No it’s true. Everyone wants so badly for Legendre to do well and he just never sort of totally- I mean not, that fifth on floor in the world is not bad at all. But yeah. What about Daniel Purvis? Did you guys notice the artistry? Did he stand out at all since they’ve been working on that?
MICHELLE: I mean all the routines- this floor final was one of my favorite competitions of the whole thing. Really impressive. Every routine had something special. Dan had his straight leg roll out of his thomas which he’s been doing for years and always gets the gasp. Even here it was nice to see him do so well because it has been a few years since that floor bronze. And you know his all around was good. So yeah, very happy for him. He couldn’t have done much better to be honest.
BLYTHE: I feel like he’s quite elegant on floor. And again, another guy who’s always in the event final or it feels like he’s always in the event final but doesn’t always medal. He’s got really excellent form. And he’s played with some new tumbling passes this year which is nice to see. He now opens up with a double double tuck on floor. And he dismounted with whip to arabian double pike which is extraordinarily hard as a sixth or seventh line. And he does it really really well. And so really, props to him. It was a bit of bad luck that he was in fourth place because he really could’ve been up there. Only one tenth separated him from Uchimura.
EMMA: No shame in coming forth to Kohei.
JESSICA: Seriously. Ok on to women’s vault. So this was the battle of kind of an unheard of- I mean she placed at Europeans but Natteb from the Netherlands. Then we had formerly trying to commit suicide by vault Yamilet Pena from Dominican Republic doing the produnova which has kind of gotten better. Then we had someone who’s usually has beautiful form, which is Phan Thi from Vietnam. And then we have of course no final is complete without Chusovitina. The standard. Then we had Guilia Steingruber who’s been doing really well internationally this whole year. Keeps sort of placing right outside of the medals except at Europeans where she did really well. And then we had of course 2008 Olympic champion on vault Hong Un Jong from North Korea. And then Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney. So. Give me the lowdown.
BLYTHE: And the winner was- it went to Maroney. She won gold on this event in Tokyo in 2011. She was able to defend her title here. She did a very nice amanar. Little bit of a hop step thing on the landing. She did go for the stick and she didn’t quite get it. But she did get a super high execution score. Simone Biles took second place as she should have with a really wonderful amanar of her own. But not quite as difficult second vault as Maroney did. And that was really the difference between them because Biles was second to Maroney even with this vault that the second vault that was not as difficult by 0.129. And so you can kind of think well if Biles had stuck her vault, she might have actually beaten Maroney. And Maroney at the top she’s got to be feeling the pressure. And I’m sure she’s very relieved to have won this set because of all the things that have happened in her life and her goals for the future. But Maroney is looking to step up her game really because she’s not quite alone at the top anymore. Whereas before this competition, every competition that McKayla Maroney has entered on vault, it’s like if she stands up she wins. It was like that in 2011 at Worlds. It was like that at the Olympics. And in spite of the results that she’s had, it’s been like that. But Biles is going to challenge her. There’s video of Biles doing a terrific cheng second vault, which is harder than Maroney’s second vault. And they really are neck and neck on the amanar. Sure Maroney gets more block, she gets more height, but Biles- it’s really not too shabby. And Biles has been scored better on her amanar here in Antwerp than Maroney has. And if Maroney does it perfectly as she’s capable of, she will get an enormous score. But that’s kind of been if if if situation. And as far as the rest of the final goes, Hong Un Jong, who had the most difficult vaults, the most difficult two of the finals, she was the only one to throw a cheng as a second vault. She doesn’t quite have the amplitude of Maroney. She doesn’t have the power of Biles. But she does have the ability to do these two incredibly hard vaults and put them to her feet. And so as a result she got bronze. But she got a bit less in execution then either Maroney or Biles and that’s what put her in third place. But what was interesting about the vault final, you really had these eight gymnasts and eight different stories. Guilia Steingruber who took fourth is European champion on vault. Nailed her first vault, the rudi. And stuck landing. Her second vault, she did only a double twisting yurchenko. She took a hop. And there’s been a bit of internet controversy saying Steingruber should have the bronze medal over Hong. Personally I don’t agree because Hong maybe she doesn’t quite have the form, but she had .7 more than Steingruber in start value. Steingruber’s form was better but I do not think it was .7 better than Jong. And that’s a lot to make up. And Steingruber’s a very capable vaulter. She’s a capable gymnast. I talked to her coach a little bit earlier this year, he said she has a terrific head for gymnastics. She knows where she’s going and what she wants to do. And she looks like she has the capability to upgrade. But if she wants to get in top three in World finals, she is probably going to need an amanar. An amanar and a rudi.
JESSICA: So afterward did Maroney say anything about- when you talked to her did she say I know I have to do the triple if I want to win? Or did she say she’s working on anything new?
BEA: I was at the mixed zone when McKayla came back after getting her medal. And she said that that was definitely her next goal, getting vault named after her. And she said that this [inaudible]. And she [inaudible] gymnastics until she has a vault named after her. And she was very excited about the winning the gold here. But also relieved.
EMMA: And also [inaudible] said today that she’s so [inaudible] the pressure to repeat the title after London. So hats off to McKayla I would say.
BLYTHE: Yeah she looked a little nervous starting that second vault. I don’t know if she really was, but it had to have been in her head that here you go and I better not sit this one down again.
JESSICA: Yeah really I feel like she and Uchimura have to have so much pressure on them Because they’re just expected to win. There’s no other option for them. And of course McKayla had an epic fail at the Olympics, whereas Uchimura has only had that in prelims and still qualified to everything and won. But the pressure on her must be enormous. And she has all these huge sponsors now. There’s so much more that’s going on just like there is for Uchimura. He’s giant star. He’s in every commercial on TV in Japan. And it’s just a totally different ballgame. I wanted to ask about, and I think this is correct, correct me if I’m wrong, but Yamilet Pena has now made all these vault finals without ever actually successfully completing the produnova.
BLYTHE: I want to say that she made the produnova to her feet in 2011 in the qualification round. Never done it in finals. But she did do one in 2011 in Tokyo that she did stand up.
JESSICA: This is debatable. So I was at World in Tokyo and she squatted so low her leotard touched the mat. But they counted that as making it. So that one is a debatable would you count- eh, you know. She didn’t put her weight on her butt, but yeah that would probably be the closest. But I’m glad it’s- I mean at least who is it, Turkey? Egypt? Didn’t make it. Her’s is terrifying.
BLYTHE: Fadwa Mohamed. And actually after seeing Fadwa Mohamed’s handspring double front, Pena’s frankly looks a lot less scary. She does get a very good block on it. And you don’t trust that she’ll get it to her feet, but you do trust that she won’t be put in the hospital from doing it. And that’s something.
BLYTHE: Yeah. Unfortunately there was an injury in the vault final to the Netherland’s Chantysha Netteb, who was the reigning European junior vault champion. And she won that title last year in Brussels. And she did a double twisting yurchenko first vault. It looked nice in the air. It looked like she had the landing and just landed a bit straight legged and went down and had to be carried off the mat. And she’s in Amsterdam right now undergoing a full evaluation on her knee. Given the way that she reacted, it was probably an ACL tear. But we’ll see.
JESSICA: That’s sad. Ok let’s go on to an event with usually less injuries and more hilarious falls. Pommel horse.
BLYTHE: Pommel horse
JESSICA: What happened there?
BLYTHE: Well pommel horse you know you had a really interesting lineup. You had the Russian pommel horse specialist Matvei Petrov. You had Prashanth Sellathurai of Australia who has been sort of a mainstay in pommel horse finals. He works pommel horse faster than anybody you’ve ever seen do it. It looks like a video that’s being played in fast forward to look at him. And pommel horse is kind of also the domain of these sort of tall, long, elegant men. And little Prashanth has to be about 4’10’’ tall and it’s quite amusing. Unfortunately for him, he fell. And it just- going a little too fast maybe. I don’t know. And the title went to a surprise actually, Kohei Kameyama of Japan who hit a really beautiful elegant set with a ton of variety. And in the silver medal position we got a tie between again the tall elegant Daniel Corral Barron who’s a young guy from Mexico. Great on pommel horse, great on parallel bars, and is really just now attracting attention and getting his due. And Daniel Corral qualified second into the final. And that was really nice to see him hit the routine and get some recognition for Mexico. He absolutely deserved it. He tied with Max Whitlock, the bronze medalist from the Olympic Games from Britain. And Max did a very hard routine. Very hard. I think the highest start value of everyone in the pommel horse final. Where he has fallen off a little bit, and Rick McCharles facts this up as well, is his form is not great. I was looking through the Getty images of this meet and there’s a picture of Max on pommel horse in the middle of a flair and his feet are completely flexed. Like his feet, his ankles, and his feet. And I thought eh you know. And he kind of came up as a great junior pommel worker and he’s got an extraordinarily hard routine. But it would be nice to see him go back to the gym a little bit and really work on the form.
MICHELLE: He knows this. He called it scruffy
MICHELLE: He knows he needs to work on it. And he just doesn’t have the same high hips as the Japanese and the Chinese. The same lines. So there are things he needs to improve.
BLYTHE: He’s not low to the horse either. Like you think about someone like Sergio Sasaki from Brazil. And unfortunately for him he’s just got that kind of body type where he’s not bad on pommel horse but he’s probably never going to make an event final just because he’s got the shorter stockier body type that doesn’t look as nice. But yeah Max has room for improvement but he’s also very young. And this is his first World Championships. He was an alternate in 2011, and so you think with all the Olympic experience that he’s got that he’s this seasoned competitor. But he’s really not. He’s very young. Got a lot of room to grow.
JESSICA: I’m so happy to see Great Britain continuing this fantastic tradition that has been started with the excitement around the London Olympics. And to still see them doing so well. It’s just great. I just love their style of gymnastics and just see the country is just still behind this great sport. It’s just I feel like there’s a total revolution going on.
BLYTHE: And there’s much more to come. The British juniors that we saw at the European Youth Olympic Festival this summer in Utrecht were incredible. The men were incredible, the women were incredible, and we’ve definitely got things to look forward to in the next few years.
JESSICA: Yay! That’s exactly what the Olympics is supposed to do. Oh go ahead.
EMMA: Yeah the public know about gymnastics now. They name gymnasts other than Beth Tweddle. And I remember watching when I started watching gymnastics in the 90s you’d be lucky to get an all around final to [inaudible]. And [inaudible] and Lisa Mason. But where they are now is just incredible. And I never thought I’d see it. And you’re right, you’re going to get no argument from me, it’s going to [inaudible].
JESSICA: So let’s talk about bars. This was a shocking final. Like I don’t think I’ve- I mean really I want to cry just talking about. It’s still so upsetting to me. Ok just to break it down. Ok it was Becky Downie, Ruby Harrold, Yao Jinnan who does the Mo, Sophie Scheider from Germany, Simone Biles- so this is like her worst event and she made bars finals, Mustafina who Olympic champion on bars, incredible on bars, and then Kyla Ross always very clean, and then Huang Huidan from China. So someone who won’t cry can talk about this. [LAUGHS] I’m so upset about bars. Blythe?
BLYTHE: Well in the media gallery before the bars final, I kind of went around and took a little poll. Who’s your top three? Who’s your top three? And a lot of people kind of said Mustafina, Yao, Kyla. You know or Yao, Mustafina, Huang. Nobody said Huang first, Ross second, Mustafina third. And that’s how it turned out. Simone Biles was fourth, and that was kind of a shocker because she’s not known as a bars specialist. She’s alright on bars. She’s got good combinations. But nobody sort of expected her to be in that fourth position. And she hit her routine and that’s where she was. There was some beautiful work. There were also some falls. Becky Downie unfortunately. Michelle is doing a very big facepalm right now. She had a wonderful set in qualifications after looking a bit out of sorts in the training. And she hit a routine in qualifying and she got in and that was fantastic. And she had a wonderful routine going in the finals, and then you know she overbalanced I think the last toe half before her dismount.
EMMA: Her routine is so long though.
BLYTHE: And it’s so cool. Yeah.
EMMA: It’s very cool. It’s very cool but oh god I wanted to cry.
BLYTHE: Yeah and she fell off and she looked devastated and all the British fans were just devastated with her. And she really had a shot at a medal and unfortunately that’s gymnastics. Things can be going so well. Mustafina, she hit her new routine. You know full twisting Maloney to mixed grip, and everything. And she did all of her combinations and she was good. She took a step on her dismount, and that didn’t help. And so the silver went to the cleaner Kyla Ross. And of course Yao Jinnan, she was maybe the big favorite going into this with the Mo salto, with having made the Mo salto in qualifications it was great. She attempted it in finals, and unfortunately she slipped off. And that’s a scary thing to watch somebody fall on.
JESSICA: Yeah how exactly- because it was hard to tell exactly. Can you describe for people that haven’t watched it yet exactly how she fell?
BLYTHE: Well you know coming out of the Mo salto of course you are going forward and down. And your elbows are out. And so when she falls, she got her hands around the bar and just couldn’t quite keep them around the bar. So she peeled off. And years and years ago, I saw somebody break both their arms kind of falling the way that she fell. And it’s just a terrifying sickening way to fall. And she was alright. But you really kind of think wow you could do some damage slipping off like that, falling on your stomach, falling onto your arms and your elbows. And the coach is there, but maybe the coach can’t get there in time to really catch you and break your fall. So she seems like she’s lucky she was alright, but it also seemed like she’s done that in training a time or 10. And they dealt with it. The rest of her routine she got right back up there and she was fine. But that took her out of contention of course. And then it fell to Huang who hit her routine and who has really been one of the best bar workers in the world since 2011. We haven’t seen her in big international meets. And the Chinese put her in. And she did a terrific routine. And she absolutely merited I think winning the World title. She was the cleanest. She has a nice original well composed routine. Really hard combinations. And overall really pleasing style on bars.
JESSICA: And so this is what I take away from this. I feel like I mean it’s nice to have a final where there isn’t much controversy. This pretty much- people who didn’t make it wiped out, and it seems like it’s pretty clean how this ended up. I feel like Becky Downie is probably going to cry for a week, and then she’s going to be so pissed off that she’s never going to let this happen again. Like she-
EMMA: I hope so. She did it in the all around though as well. So you know, it’s always like fists in mouth when you watch her compete sadly.
JESSICA: Ugh it’s so sad! I want her to win so bad. Ugh. Alright well we’re just going to have to- is she coached by Amanda Reddin?
EMMA: No she’s in Nottingham Club.
JESSICA: Well, perhaps just for bars, she should make a little change. Or Reddin could come visit.
EMMA: [inaudible] by Martha a two week stay at the Ranch like Simone Biles had.
BLYTHE: That’ll whip her into shape.
JESSICA: Too scared to fall. I’m happy that Ruby Harrold did a good job. That routine is so exciting. We love seeing something new and innovative. And bars is one of those opportunities for gymnasts to be so innovative and unusual. I’m just happy for Ruby Harrold that she made the final. So alright let’s talk about rings. There were some old names, old Van Gelder from the Netherlands. Now van Gelder is the one who had the cocaine problem.
BLYTHE: Yeah he tested positive for cocaine at the 2009 Dutch Nationals I believe. And if you’re going to test positive for cocaine, the Dutch National Championship is not the meet to do it at. But that’s what happened. And he got suspended for a year by his federation. And because he was suspended for a year by his federation- if you’re suspended that long, you are automatically ineligible for the next Olympic Games. So van Gelder was not even able to help the Dutch team as a specialist and try to make the Olympic team. But given the way that the test event was structured, it’s unlikely that he would’ve done that anyway. But yeah so he’s kind of holding out and waiting for 2016. I’m sure that it was a thrill for him to be kind of back on top and be able to make this final. And he’s not a young guy anymore. But he is a former World Champion on this event. And the crowd was really really supportive of him.
JESSICA: That’s so nice to hear because I remember there was- he was really upset when he felt like he had gone through rehab and was really working his program to not be an addict anymore. And he kind of confessed to I think his coaches the last we heard that he was feeling a lot of pressure. And he felt like instead of them giving him the support he needed, they were just like oh you’re about to do drugs again? Ok you can’t compete. So it’s just nice to see that all of that has sort of been whatever has happened it’s all blown over and he’s really back where he should be. And that he’s gone through his treatment and doing really well. And then, total shocker, Brandon Wynn takes the bronze.
BLYTHE: Brandon Wynn!
JESSICA: Look at him!
JESSICA: He has done all this special like he got nutrition certified and he’s all into making himself as strong as humanly possible. He’s on the cover of a men’s fitness magazine in the US. It’s so exciting to see he won. And I guess there was a petition put in because he didn’t get the same start value. And you can read Uncle Tim’s full analysis of this on his site. But basically his start value was a tenth lower than what it was in prelims. And it was because he was a little more piked, he should’ve been more extended, on one of his moves. But in the end, sounds like this was a fantastic final and really exciting for the US to have a bronze.
BLYTHE: Brandon Wynn is the first guy to win a medal for the US on still rings since 1994 when a guy named Paul O’Neill did it. And so it’s a really nice moment for the US. And Brandon’s been on the team. He’s been to Worlds before. He was a member of the 2010 team. And this is his first time making event finals. And so he had a terrific competition. Made event finals on rings, got a medal, made event finals on p bars. And he’s just got to be a really happy guy right now. Probably one of the happiest on the US team.
JESSICA: And how was- and for Brazil this is a huge deal. And this has got to be- he’s going to be an instant super famous I feel like in Brazil for Arthur Zanetti with a 15.8. One of the biggest scores. Was a 16? I think Kenzo’s 16 was the biggest score in the whole meet? Anything more? I just feel like it’s rings, I never feel that excited about rings. What can we say [LAUGHS] about rings?
BLYTHE: A huge score. And for Zanetti who was not expected to win the Olympic gold medal. He won silver in Tokyo, yes, in 2011, but he was behind Chen Yibin. And Chen Yibin came to London and really looked just unbeatable. And of course there’s still some controversy as to whether Zanetti should’ve had that gold or not. And Chen took silver in London. But Chen is not here. And it was sort of Zanetti’s to lose. And I thought going into it he looked quite nervous. And then he hit his routine and he stuck his dismount and it was like all of the pressure just dripped right off of him. And he was so ecstatic. The biggest podium celebration perhaps of the entire meet. And there were quite a lot of podium celebrations especially today. So for him I think it’s fantastic. I think he’s proven that London wasn’t a fluke. That he can be one of the leaders of this Brazilian team as they prepare for Rio. And just in general to kind of show the world and all of the other really strong men, rings specialists out there, that hey he is king of the jungle right now. And that was just a really nice moment for him. Gymnasts don’t always live up to their potential, but he has.
JESSICA: King of the jungle, I like that. I’m going to just call rings tarzan event now. That makes it more exciting.
BLYTHE: King of the amazon.
JESSICA: Ok now beam. So, we go from zero controversy so mega controversy with beam. People are just in there’s like all kinds of dissatisfaction with this. Carlotta Ferlito gave basically one of her MTV rants after this meet about how she’s furious about the Americans are always getting their petitions accepted. And she’s just not having it. And again, this is not against individuals. This is just in general. She’s talking about how this goes. I think that’s always important to point out that no one’s going to punch each other in the face. This is not the MMA. This is just gymnastics talking about how the code is and how judging is. But of course and Svetlana Boginskaya’s day she may have bit someone afterward, but in this case no. It is- so give us a rundown. We had Rodionova, Iordache, Shang Chunsong, Carlotta Ferlito, Vanessa Ferrari, Biles, Ross, and Mustafina. Where did the controversy start?
EMMA: It’s all about Mustafina.
BLYTHE: It is. Mustafina was first up, and she just hit simply the best beam routine of her career. And given the way that she’s kind of looked all week, starting very very slowly in the qualification round. And I think it’s in everybody’s heads as well what happened in the all around final in London. She kind of dropped off the beam on her standing arabian and gave away her chance to have the all around title with that. And so since then as a result it’s all like oh Mustafina’s inconsistent on beam. But here, you know she got into the event final with not the best routine. And she just she was first up and she nailed it.
EMMA: And in training today she did so many attempts at her double spin and they were all awful. Shocking. Huge .5 wobbes, .3 wobbles. So I was surprised. But I guess maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at the competitor Aliya pulled out her best double spin of the day when it really mattered.
BLYTHE: Yeah. And she probably took a small deduction because the double spin was really a 2.5 spin but it kind of looked like she meant to do that in sort of a way. And it really, the rest of it was flawless.
JESSICA: Now a lot of people are very upset that the code allows for her to do a routine with so little tumbling. Her only series of tumbling is a front aerial to a back handspring. What are your thoughts?
BLYTHE: A bit NCAA isn’t it?
JESSICA: Right, very NCAA. I mean she has a 6.0 difficulty. The highest difficulty was Iordache with a 6.3. I mean you know this is the code. I mean she’s just using the code to her advantage. But do you think there should’ve been a deduction for a lack of composition up to the standard of difficulty?
BLYTHE: No I’m not bothered because in London, I believe her combination was back handspring back tuck. And that’s a bit level 8. And so to me front aerial back handspring also is not the highest level. But you know she does a fantastic switch half onodi more or less combined to a double turn, a double tuck, and a million other elite skills. So it doesn’t bother me. What do you guys think?
MICHELLE: It bothers me a bit, but I guess it’s the same as on floor. People getting their front requirement by doing an aerial walkover, which I see them as the same. Both a bit annoying. But.
BEA: Yeah and I’m glad to see a beam that doesn’t have as the Americans have [LAUGHS] flic flac layout stepout as a series. So maybe for routine, yeah we can accept that. If we accept the flic flac layout stepout then we can also accept Mustafina’s lower level maybe combo.
JESSICA: Right? I hear you because seriously everyone’s like it’s so NCAA it’s so low. And I’m like a flip flop back handspring, are you kidding me? That’s also super low level. Hello 92 we were seeing three and four layouts in a row. That’s like you know same thing, level 8 level 9. That is just as bad. I feel like an aerial back handspring if you actually do it connected could be even harder than that. So yeah haters pfft gonna hate. Alright. So Aliya goes, she sets the stage, and then what happens?
BLYTHE: You know and then it’s sort of well, who can beat that. And that’s always nice to see in the first routine because you’ve got to wait for seven other gymnasts and you think well certainly one of these people can beat my score. Certainly when you qualify in the eighth position, which is what Aliya did, it’s a nervewracking wait. And she looked very nervous. She kind of turned her back to the cameras and sat there and focused. And then the Italians went, Carlotta Ferlito, a nice routine. A hit routine. Not going to challenge in difficulty. And then Vanessa Ferrari hit a very nice routine but again, not quite to the standard that Mustafina had set. And so people kind of went through. And then early on there was an inquiry into Mustafina’s score. And then Kyla Ross hit her usual elegant solid set. Very nice. And that was the closest thing to challenge Mustafina. And then there was an inquiry into Ross’ score. And she got her total raised by .1. So she was within .1 and then some of Mustafina. And then and it was Ferrari in third place at that point. And Simone Biles, she did- well she didn’t fall. It wasn’t the best routine of her life. She didn’t fall, she had a couple of notable wobbles, she took a big step forward on her dismount, and she ended up initially in fourth place.
BEA: Behind both Ferrari and Ferlito after-
BLYTHE: Ah ok
BEA: So she got 14.1 something.
BLYTHE Yeah. Yeah. And the Americans filed an inquiry on her score. And that ended up getting raised as well which gave her the bronze medal over Ferrari. And the Italians were not happy about this. Carlotta Ferlito gave a very animated interview to the Italian Gymnastics Federation in which she appears quite pissed off frankly.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] That’s a good way to put it.
BLYTHE: Bea translated it and what did she say basically?
BEA: Well basically she said that they both felt that they had the coo coo beans and that Simone Biles, who had better routines before in this competition, didn’t have her best routine. But then she filed that protest and she got her mark raised. Asked why, she said she’s the all around champion and maybe that counts for something. And also it has to do with the power the Americans or something similar. I’m not fluent on Italian, I understand a little bit. But between the lines, that was the message.
JESSICA: It’s worth noting that in terms of what she’s saying it has merit in terms of the fact that Carlotta Ferlito, she has a start value of 5.9 and got a 14.283, whereas Simone has a start value of 6.1 and got a 14.1 before her petition was accepted. In terms of the difficulty compared to execution, Simone, sorry Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito, Vanessa had a 14.3 and a 5.7 difficulty, their execution was much much better. But Simone has this huge difficulty over them, two tenths over Ferlito and 4 for Ferrari. I would be totally furious if the petition was accepted too.
BEA: Can I say something?
JESSICA: Yes, yes!
BEA: I think that it was not necessarily what made a difference, or not necessarily what made a difference was the D score before. Actually where the Italians lost a lot of points was on execution and especially for Ferlito. She didn’t have wobbles but that does not equal flawless execution. We saw breaks on her dismount.
BLYTHE: Her knees are bent on her dismount. And they always are.
BEA: Her ring leaps, her switch ring leap and ring leap didn’t look very good, bent knees. I think she got heavily penalized for those too. But yeah she felt she didn’t wobble but maybe she should go back and look at her own leaps. Those are also execution deductions.
JESSICA: Very very good point. And I think one thing that just brings, it reminds everyone of what happened in London. Why can’t the judges get it right the first time? Why do we need to have, there should never be so many petitions accepted. Really. I feel like I’ve never, I feel like there’s more petitions accepted now than ever before even though they’ve raised the price of putting in an inquiry and all this stuff. Ok and tell us what happened with Iordache. We were so excited for her. She has a 6.3 start value, the highest. We know that she can hit this routine.
BEA: Well her difficulty score, the maximum she can get is 6.9. She actually has been throwing a 6.7 routine lately. When everything hits, she should get a 6.7 execution (inaudible.) Today what happened? I don’t know. I don’t she knows either. To me it was obvious it was American I think. Mental weakness maybe? She did not look very confident in her routine in warm up either. Gymnasts come to the arena before the meet starts and they prepare and do a warm up on the floor so we got to watch that. And I saw her. Her layout to two feet was not on all the time so it was not very consistent. She did have problems with the back full that she fell on. I asked her afterward what happened and she said I always take a step on this element and today I wanted to do it with more care and go slower in order not to take a step back because I feel my shoulders are back all the time so I wanted to do better and it ended up not having enough rotation probably. That’s the technical part. What happened for her not to be able to hit this routine in finals? She had this. She did this routine very well this year. She managed to win many, many event finals. She won Euros. She won World Cup medals, gold medals with 15.5 scores in international competitions this year. But she didn’t hit today. Probably the fact that she fell in the all-around affected her more than it should have. I’m sure they will have to work on the mental aspect from now on, not only physical training.
JESSICA: I agree. Okay so, I mean it is like my dream for her to do her to like somehow figure out to do a full turn or something out of one of her passes or a jump and get like a 7.1 on beam and actually make that routine. That would be the most awesome thing if she won by like a point.
BEA: She has a double spin in the Y turn. If she puts everything in that routine that she knows, she can have over a 17. So she could.
JESSICA: It would be so cool! I would love that. Let’s talk about p-bars. This, we had Fokin from Uzbekistan which apparently is really hilarious and sounds bad when you say it in English accent. Can you guys say his name for us?
[Laughter from the group]
JESSICA: The British media have been cracking up about this all week. Give us the lowdown here. We had a couple of surprises on this event.
BLYTHE: Yeah well to me the surprise was actually not so much who won. The first guy up Lin Chaopan of China, one of China’s two new kind of star all-arounders, he just ripped off the best parallel bars routine, the most perfect parallel bars routine that’s been done in like ten years. And you saw that routine and that perfect stuck dismount and you’re like well, that’s just going to be really hard to beat in spite of the talent of the rest of the field. So he won. And Uchimura stepped up and delivered also, just an excellent routine to tie him for the gold. And then late in the final, John Orozco came up and delivered sort of his sort of usual solidness on bars and he ended up winning the bronze. To me, what was interesting about this final is you had Vasileios Tsolakidis of Greece, the bronze medal winner from Tokyo on this event. He’s just a tall guy. He’s not even particularly thin but he works parallel bars wonderfully with a lot of lightness. So he made a mistake and he essentially fell off. And he gets up and he does the next element and he does a layout dismount, not even going to risk the double pike and layout dismount. And then Anton Fokin of Uzbekistan, bless his heart, kind of same thing. He takes what is a fall and Tsolakidis at least did a layout. Fokin goes up to handstand and just and lets himself just fall down as though this were a training or a warm up or something. He salutes the judges and he gets off the podium. And I thought, gosh this is a World Championship final, guys. But at the same time, both of these men are in their thirties. I believe Fokin is in his thirties. Maybe they don’t want to risk trying the double pike and get injured if there’s no medal on the line. And that was really kind of the story of parallel bars finals. Everybody else did well but the top three, especially the top two were the top two.
JESSICA: Man, and you know, I just want to point out to everyone that we are fantastic at making predictions, almost always right on this show. And like we said from the very beginning, long long time ago that Simone Biles was going to be world champion, I would just like to point out that Blythe said that Epke Zonderland is really really good on p-bars and she thinks he’s even better. And here he is, in the final, ended up placing fifth with a 6.5 difficulty and a 15.3, ain’t not too shabby.
BLYTHE: Yeah and after seeing Zonderland’s high bar today, I maintain that he’s better on parallel bars than he is on high bar.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Alright let’s move over to floor. So a lot of people are talking about Mai Murakami’s routine. Did something happen, something stand out in that routine?
EMMA: The quad turn was pretty good. Her routine in general I thought was really good. I was quite surprised that it didn’t score so great.
BEA: She had a few errors on landings and I think she always gets severely deducted for her artistry because yeah they tend to take more deductions (inaudible.) But they have specific requirements like you’re not allowed to stand in the corner for too long and Mai didn’t care about that. I saw she was taking her time there (laughter) with all of the passes. So probably there goes one point.
JESSICA: So how about now, Ellie Black has been like killing it all year. She only ended up with a 13.5 in this final. And also Izbasa ugh. I mean it’s just like Bea told us earlier this week, she just focused on doing floor, she’s been doing great. She has a 6.1 difficulty. She even added some pizzazz to her dance, getting a little more sexy, turning it on, even though she killed me with that standing still in the prelims when she did a turn prep for like five seconds and then did a single full turn. I almost died. Are you kidding me? The tease, the teasing. Ok. So what happened?
BEA: She was teasing us all with a full turn because she has a planned connection of L turn with something else. I don’t know what. She has a spin combination there that she’s been practicing all week but never showed it in actual competition. She did a combo of two simple spins at nationals that didn’t get her any extra points in terms of difficulty. But yeah she was probably trying to decide whether to do her hard combo or not and she decided against it and we saw only a simple spin.
MICHELLE: But at least she stylizes with her spin. She has a cool hand position and it is interesting unlike Kyla’s full spin.
JESSICA: True! True dat. Ok Kyla, so everybody gets…I think she’s made improvements on her floor. It’s really beautiful. She has good form. Her artistry has improved. Her presentation, but you know, she does not have the difficulty on floor to make it in the top. And then we have Giulia Steingruber, she’s always so close! She’s always so close but not making it in there. We had Mai Murakami and then we have the top three. So it ended up being Simone, then Vanessa Ferrari yes!
[Cheers from the group]
JESSICA: And finally Iordache comes in the medal stand! So exciting! So tell me about those top three routines.
EMMA: I was sitting in an area that was Italian fans only and they just went crazy. I just got covered in flags and stuff. They had been watching the event finals for the last two days sitting by me and obviously Ferrari was fourth on beam, Busnari didn’t do as well as they thought he would so they sat there and were like ohhhh the whole time. And then when Ferrari got the silver, they went crazy. And I have to agree, she deserved it.
BEA: She totally deserved it. She had her chest low on her double double but it’s already such a difficult skill. But then she nailed all her other passes. She looked great on everything. No nerves like we saw from Izbasa for instance. She was prepared and finally she made it. We were all excited for her.
JESSICA: I’m so thrilled to just see her after so many years. She’s been world champion, she went through a terrible injury, some weird injuries. She gained weight, she looked so depressed. And she really got back into shape. She overcame these injuries. She seems really happy. She’s engaged now. Life seems great for her. I’m just so excited to see her doing well at her age and with everything she’s gone through. To have a world champion come back at this level so many years later, it’s just such a great thing for gymnastics. I’m so happy for Italy and for her.
BLYTHE: Yeah this is Ferrari’s first world medal since 2007. And so she’s had a long time to wait to get this medal. And it’s so nice that it came on floor which was an event that in 2010, a lot of people thought she was absolutely robbed on. You can’t help but be really pleased for Ferrari.
MICHELLE: Yeah she came fourth in 2010 and then she added new skills. She started doing the tuck back out and full in. She came fourth again, the tiebreaker, she’s got a leap named after her. Finally all the little things that she’s done to get better made a difference. She went first and I know she was worried that oh it’s going to happen again. Oh it’s going to happen again.
JESSICA: And before we talk about Simone, how about Iordache’s floor. She’s so fun to watch on floor. I really enjoy her.
EMMA: I think we should get Bea to talk about Iordache.
BEA: Why? I was on suicide watch.
[Laughter from the group]
BEA: Yeah she looked the best and you see that. She’s a very musical person and she loves to bring it on floor. I was really worried for today honestly because after the beam mishap. I know that she was not very consistent with her double double and I thought if she’s really really upset about her beam, she might kneel her double double down because maybe she just gave up. She’d maybe give up this performance. But then she took a small step, a small hop on the double double, a very small hop on the full in. Good passes, she can do them a bit better maybe but really minor deductions actually. And then the others looked very nice, the other passes, the other two passes. The triple full was much better than in qualification and in all around and the pike double back to finish. And so yeah, I asked her afterwards do you think this is consolation for what happened on beam and she basically said no. I’m happy to have a medal on floor but no. Beam is my event. Beam is what I love to do and yeah floor is something else. So that pretty much sums up Larisa Iordache.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about Biles. I don’t know if you guys, I don’t know if it comes across on TV how she lights up when she does floor and how just ballistic her tumbling is out of super long stretched beautiful, not a lot of people have pretty back handsprings anymore. But I feel like she does. And it looks like she could just stand still, not even bother running into tumbling passes. Plus she just lights it up. She reminds me of how Mary Lou Retton, I was thinking about this this morning. Who else electrified an audience like this? I just feel like more than any American in a very very long time, she really lights up when she performs on floor. And I just love watching her. Aside from the fact that her tumbling is ridiculous, she started with a 6.5, 3 tenths above anybody else in the field. What did it look like in person to you guys?
BEA: You know, we’ve seen her do better on floor but actually, she did exactly what she needed to do. She was so consistent throughout. I was talking to Blythe after floor finals and I told her, she’s so consistent. You have to admire that. Even the small mistakes are always the same. But the good things are more important here and they are always the same too. Even if she says, yesterday she told me she was tired, it didn’t matter to her. You have to admire that. Honestly we don’t, we agreed that maybe it’s not the most artistic floor routine
JESSICA: Oh yeah pshh, like an American with an artistic floor routine, when’s the last time that happened? As a country, we just suck when it comes to artistry.
EMMA: The music is terrible. I like crowd participation music and it was just awful. That’s my opinion.
BEA: Yeah probably with a really really good choreographer, even if Simone is not the most conventionally artistic gymnast on floor, this event in particular, I think something can be done for her to engage the crowd more with her floor. But her tumbling was spot on. Yeah and she had the difficulty and she did it really really well. (inaudible)
JESSICA: So do you guys, I totally agree. I feel like if Simone had a choreographer to match her personality and her performance level and her smile, she could be one of the greatest floor workers of all time. Because she has everything else. So who would your dream choreographer be for Simone?
BLYTHE: Val Kondos-Field, no kidding. Kidding!
[Laughter from the group]
BEA: Actually I think that Adriana Popa might be an interesting choice because she tends to study her pupils a little bit before working with them and bringing their personal style on floor. So if Simone has some personal style, and actually she does, that would be a much better fit.
JESSICA: I would love to see Sonya Tayeh, who does, I think it’s Tayeh is her last name. She’s on So You Think You Can Dance and she does these very like military tribal female superhero style dances. They’re very, I don’t know how else to describe them. But she’s so unique and I don’t know. I’ll have to put up an example of her choreography up on the website so you guys can see. Simone’s kind of like F U attitude. Simone’s like super nice but she’s also like pshh please I’ve got this. This is no problem for me. I will walk all over these bitches. She just knows she can do it. She’s badass. I feel like someone like Sonya Tayeh would create something so unique that goes with her personality. I think that would be really really cool.
MICHELLE: I’ll tell you who I’d like to choreograph her routine, my good friend Svetlana Boginskaya. Because you know, Biles has everything but the dance. (inaudible, audio messes up).
JESSICA: Oh and who has more of a FU attitude than Boginskaya?
BLYTHE: I’d like to see what Dominic Zito can do with her. Because it feels like what we were saying about Biles is the same thing that people were saying about Jordyn Wieber like in 2010. A fantastically capable gymnast and a huge talent and great tumbling but not quite there with the dance. And Dominic Zito came in there and choreographed an extraordinary routine for Wieber that just did whatever you would want a floor routine to do. It emphasized all of her good points and hid all of her weaknesses. It was a great piece of music, interesting choreography and it totally worked. So I think the talented Mr. Zito could definitely do something with Simone. But, and I feel like I’ve been defending Simone’s choreography all week. It’s not that bad as it is! It could be a lot worse. She’s not a ballerina. She’s a power gymnast. She’s incredibly bouncy. And I like the routine. It’s got a strong beat. She gets to smile a bit. It’s very engaging. It’s crowd pleasing. It emphasizes her tumbling. There’s nothing horrible about it. She’s not trying to be cute.
BEA: There is something horrible about it, sorry. There is a moment when the beat goes down and she does something with her arm
BLYTHE: Like a chicken dance. Bea’s doing a chicken dance.
BEA: It’s not fast enough. She looks as if she stands there and waits for the music to start again. She doesn’t do anything there. That’s horrible. I think that’s where most people lose her.
BLYTHE: I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad. I can be really critical of floor routines.
JESSICA: Yeah I feel like, that’s the thing. I just accept that in general, my dreams for what floor choreography should be will never come true in the US. I just feel like I give up. So anybody that even has an ounce of performance, who actually looks into the crowd, who actually smiles from the inside instead of smiling as a mask on their (car alarm goes off). Oh excuse me I’m doing a podcast here! We can’t be having car alarms going on in the background.
[Laughter from the group]
JESSICA: Hello?! Ugh how rude! [LAUGHS] There’s a little kid trapped in the minivan next to me because I am traveling to a wedding and he is knocking on the window and now the dad is coming out. Okay thank God. Now the dad’s also looking at him like are you kidding me? You’re supposed to stay in there and die of heat exhaustion. Who locks their little kid in the car? Now the little boy’s getting out and looking really pissed at his dad and yelling at each other. And he’s pointing at the car. Okay so now back to this. I have given up on my dreams of choreography ever being Svetlana Boginskaya-esque or Soviet-esque but what I want to say and I know that sometimes Simone’s coach listens to the podcast. Thank you Aimee for listening! Is that I feel like we know as fans, like in our hearts, how incredible and amazing Simone could, even more incredible and amazing she could be if there was even more of an investment in her choreography and artistry. And because we love gymnastics so much and we know that potential is there, that we have this dream, this fantasy of this incredibly powerful, electric performer being, you know the marriage of the gymnastics and the artistry and the dance coming together would just fulfill all of our gymnastics dreams and be the ultimate gym nerd fantasy. So you know, if anyone wants to contact Sonya Tayeh or Popa or any of these people, we’d be happy to help that happen because we would love to see it. Okay.
MICHELLE: You’re right. She’s not diabolical or anything but I guess we expect more from the world all-around champion and world floor champion.
BLYTHE: I don’t!
BEA: Why are you sad Blythe?
[Laughter from the group]
JESSICA: I mean when was the last time you guys, honestly when was the last time there was a floor champion in the last 10-12 years who was actually a beautiful dancer?
BLYTHE: Ok well other than Afanasyeva
JESSICA: Eh. She’s okay.
MICHELLE: Oh I had a soft spot for Lauren Mitchell’s floor.
JESSICA: (makes puking noises)
EMMA: I hated it!
JESSICA: Me too! It was the worst floor ever! And I really like that choreographer too.
EMMA: It really was!
JESSICA: It was horrible!
EMMA: Yeah it was horrible.
BEA: Sorry it was better than Biles
MICHELLE: Biles is better.
BEA: Shawn Johnson’s floor in 2007 was better.
JESSICA: Eh. She is a good performer, not good artistry or choreography.
MICHELLE: That was a terrible routine.
EMMA: Not the nicest music, granted. Not much dance, granted. But the girl could sell it.
JESSICA: That’s what we’re talking about. She could sell it. That is the thing. We’re going to have a whole separate podcast on this thing. Okay let’s move on to high bar. The grand dame of the world championships, saved until last, where men tried to hurl themselves into space and then grab the bar again without flinging themselves into the audience or onto the judges. We had China’s Lin Chaopan. We had Kato was back, the man who was second in the all-around. We had Germany’s Bretschneider. We had Colombia’s Jossimar who I enjoyed very much, his p-bar routine where he flings himself off the end and does a full-in instead of off the side. And then we had Sam Mikulak, his chance for redemption from the all-around where tried to do a press-up in the middle of his routine like four times and lost second place. And then we had Hambuechen of the I like to show my cleavage and have huge biceps. Uchimura, king of Japan and of course the Olympic champion and Mr. surfer hair and I also go to medical school Epke Zonderland. How did it go?
EMMA: I’m also a god Epke Zonderland.
EMMA: And also there was several people in the crowd wearing Zonderland masks.
JESSICA: What?! Seriously?
EMMA: I saw it! I saw it! And they were all having their photographs taken with Zonderland’s brother.
BLYTHE: His twin brother. Yeah there’s two people who look like Epke.
[Laughter form the group]
JESSICA: Now when you say typisch Zonderland, is this like typical he’s going to win everything. He wears Orange. What does it mean typical Zonderland?
BEA: I said typisch Netherlands which means that he’s like a typical Dutch boy. They are all gorgeous.
JESSICA: Oh like blonde, tall, gorgeous, okay. Got it! Hot blondies, got it!
EMMA: He looks his nationality.
BLYTHE: He does. He’s a prototype of the Netherlands.
JESSICA: Ah very good. Okay so well you know someone’s a huge gigantic star when people have, when they have masks of your head. Oh my God! I can’t believe Brazil hasn’t come up with that yet for Carnivale. That’s going to be next.
MICHELLE: In warm ups, he got applause for just mounting the bar.
BEA: He did. We are in Antwerp so we are 50 kilometers from the Dutch border. Everyone from the Netherlands who knows something about gymnastics was here today to cheer for him.
BLYTHE: Yeah it was like a home meet.
BEA: Yeah it was like a home meet for him.
BLYTHE: And so far Zonderland has dominated our conversation about high bar finals. He pretty much dominated the high bar final as well. 7.7 start value. Is that correct for that routine that he did today?
BLYTHE: And that was just a D score that overcame everybody. His form, as we’ve kind of remarked before, is not the best. And in fact, he usually cleans himself up a bit more for finals than he does in qualifications. Today I thought he didn’t even do that. But he did make a Cassina to a tucked Kovacs and a Kolman to a Gaylord II and that was really what mattered along with the fact that he basically stuck his dismount and that was all anybody was looking for, you know here Epke. Have the world title! It’s cool because Zonderland, he’s been fourth and he’s been second and this was his first time winning the world high bar title. And it’s pretty special for him, to have missed out on it by so little three years ago in Rotterdam, to get it here in Antwerp, not too bad. Like you said, it’s like a home meet and there were a lot of people, a lot of Dutch people here in the crowd that got to see him do that so pretty special.
JESSICA: And let’s talk about men’s vault now. Men’s vault you know, sometimes people are like oh it’s so much better than women’s because they have so much better form. But then sometimes you go to a world final and half of the field is carried off on a stretcher like in 2003. This seemed like a great men’s vault final with a lot of surprises, a lot of validation, I’m thinking of you Great Britain and your choices for putting Kristian Thomas on the team, for who you chose for the team. Tell us about vault final.
BLYTHE: Well I think it first has to be mentioned, and certainly you know, they didn’t qualify for vault final but when you think about Ukraine’s Igor Radivlov and Russia’s Denis Ablyazin, the bronze and silver medalists respectively on vault from the 2012 Olympic Games, both of them had big problems in the qualifying round and didn’t make it to this. And so to me, there was a bit of a dearth of gentlemen with two vaults that began from a 6.0.
EMMA: A North Korean didn’t make it
BLYTHE: A North Korean, Rie Sie Gwang, he did a fantastic full twisting Tsuk double back with a little step forward but it was really well landed. And then he went for a piked Dragulescu and that didn’t happen. So three of really the world’s top vaulters weren’t in this final. But it was still a pretty awesome final. To me the highlight, in spite of Yang Hak Seon, the Olympic champion defending his world title from 2011 here and his Olympic gold medal and doing just two fantastic really hard vaults really well. I was really pleased for Kristian Thomas who did the best vaults that has been done here in competition. It’s on par with that Amanar that Maroney did in podium training. It was a Yurchenko double pike. He did the same thing in Olympic team finals, kind of akin to what Maroney did in team finals at the Olympic Games and it was perfectly done. It was perfectly stuck. And it was the single best piece of gymnastics at this World Championships.
MICHELLE: Stunning and only a 9.5
BLYTHE: It was wonderful. And it was great because really the last time we saw Thomas compete internationally was the French International and he fell on his handspring double tuck double front second vault and had to get kind carried off the mat. I thought oh my God it’s his ACL. But this time, the handspring double front was really really good and he just did a wonderful job. And like Michelle says, I don’t understand the 9.5. I don’t see where there were any deductions on that vault.
MICHELLE: And he looked like he could do that Yurchenko double pike anytime. He came out with ten minutes to go on the warm up on podium and he just did two timers and that’s it. And that’s all he needed. And then he pulls out two vaults like that. Magnificent. I think Great Britain got bronze on vault at Euros in 2002, Cameron Jackson. But this is our first world vault medal and I’m really happy for him because a lot of the other guys on the team, Louis, Dan, Max, they’ve all had their shining moment. Now here’s his.
BLYTHE: And props also to Steven Legendre of the United States taking the silver with a really good Dragulescu and a really good Tsuk double pike. Steve’s a power guy and that’s where he shines and this was just really his day.
JESSICA: Honestly that guy, it seems like in competition, he only actually stands up, literally stands up landings on his feet without falling over his vaults like one out of ten times. So for him bringing it in this competition and finally doing the vault that we all know he’s capable of and also overcoming a gnarly knee injury that he had earlier in the year. It’s great to see him finally live up to his potential and really do what we all know he’s capable of doing. It’s really exciting for him. I’m so glad to see him. And I’m glad that no one was carried away on a stretcher right?
BLYTHE: Right! That’s always a plus!
JESSICA: Yay! Everybody wins! Okay so before we wrap this up really quickly, we have had a request for another Martha impression please.
EMMA: Oh my God! Well I can do one. And it’s when Shawn Johnson attempted a comeback and Martha was interviewed and they’re all pulling faces. They’ve heard it a hundred times. And she was attempting a comeback and Martha, the classic line is “We want the same Shawn” meaning they wanted the old Shawn.
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 sports with a Z and save $5 on your next purchase with the code gymcast.
JESSICA: Next week, we’ll be back with our regular scheduled show. We’ll be back on the 16th. Between now and then, we’ll be taking a long nap and we’ll be drowning our sorrows because Worlds are over. But if you enjoyed the show and you enjoyed our fabulous guests, let them know by following them on their respective sites, Gymnastics Examiner and Couch Gymnast. And hopefully Michelle will someday put a website together of all her gymnastics pictures, not to put the pressure on you.
MICHELLE: I will be putting a website together. Absolutely.
JESSICA: And Emma, you can follow her on Twitter at @moonwhiskey, what is your Twitter?
JESSICA: moomin, sorry.
MICHELLE: I think I’m going to make a blog with all of my photographs because I’ve got hundreds.
JESSICA: Yay! Oh people will love that. Awesome!
EMMA: Can I just mention one thing Jess?
EMMA: I have to talk to you about Peggy-gate.
[Laughter from the group]
JESSICA: That’s right! Oh my God, and tell people about the bathroom too! Peggy-gate and the bathroom!
EMMA: Ok today I snuck into the bathroom without paying because the guy wasn’t looking. Peggy-gate was just at the end of the competition yesterday, there was like two people left to go on rings. Like who’s watching that anyway? Yeah it’s true. I wasn’t. So there’s two guys left to go. She tries to sit in the delegation seating which is like the highest seating right at the back of the arena. And there’s nobody sitting there. There’s about three seats taken. The guy stops her from going down there and sitting down. I’m like what? That’s like Dame Peggy. How can you do that? Some guy came to her rescue and said it’s the end of the competition. She can sit there. But he was having none of it. He said I’m doing my job and I’ve been told to be really strict and she has the wrong pass. So she wasn’t allowed in. So then I thought well you know (inaudible). This is a great opportunity for a photograph. She was perfectly lovely and has very white and beautiful teeth.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] That is good! I’m glad that you made her day after that. Because Shannon Miller’s beam coach should be allowed to sit wherever she wants forever for the rest of her life.
MICHELLE: I should have given her my ticket in the lower tier. She could’ve had my seat.
JESSICA: Honestly, I mean come on now. Yes very good. Well done. So all of a sudden when it turns into finals, you have to pay 50 cents to go to the bathroom?
EMMA: 40 cents
EMMA: It’s outrageous because for all of qualifications, you could pee for free. And then suddenly finals day, there’s attendants at the door and you have to pay 40 cents. And one of my gym friends has to use the toilet quite a lot. As we say in England, that’s a (cut off)
JESSICA: That’s outrageous. I will have you know that tweeted directly to the FIG and to the organizing committee and I let them know that we at Gymcastic think of that, just it’s outrageous. Totally unacceptable. And that is going to go in my note to Grandi at the end of the year because I’d like to write him a letter and tell him what I think. I’m sure he reads them, puts them on his wall, makes a checklist. I’ve taken care of all of Jessica’s wishes this year. Before we go, if you have enjoyed, follow everybody. Make sure you subscribe to us on iTunes. You can subscribe to us on email on our website. Write a review of us on iTunes. We love reviews. And we like to know what you guys like about the show, what you guys dislike, what your wish lists are. So you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what you think. You can also support the show by donating or shopping in our Amazon store. And of course always follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, whatever you prefer to get your news, Google Plus for you Europeans. And of course, make sure to follow, no I’ve said everything I wanted to say. Okay so follow everyone. Okay done. So until next week when we will be back with our regular scheduled show, where we will break down the best/worst of World Championships, the issues with the code, the things the meet organizers need to address like bathroom issues and of course the moths, the things that fashion designers need to take note of, we will see you then on the 16th. I’m Jessica from Masters- Gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner
MICHELLE: Michelle, photographer and fan
BEA: Bea from the Couch Gymnast
EMMA: And I’m Emma, very very sad that it’s all over
JESSICA: Alright see you guys next week and thank you so so much to our special guests for joining us.
BEA: So much fun!
BLYTHE: Round of applause!
JESSICA: Yay it’s been so fun!