Saturday, October 16, 2010
Eyes of the Prize: Prelims
China leads prelims thus far with a strong showing from its sweet sixteen-year-olds.
From the official site:
China did a good job on bars, hitting all their routines. Yang Yilin had some very muscled kips after her piked Jaeger and a low-to-high transition, plus one step on the dismount (14.863). Jiang Yuyuan had some leg separations in her handstand half turn on the low bar after the Pak, a skill with which she has been struggling all week. She also had a substantial leg separation in the first somersault of her layout full-in dismount. Huang Qiushuang (a potential medallist on this event) hit her routine beautifully, but was a bit more cautious on her casts than in training, and so ended up a bit short on some handstands (15.666). For her part, Olympic champion He Kexin arched her back a in handstand on the low bar, but continued the routine for a cool 16.066. The discerning crowd gasped as she did her first sky-high Jaeger, and again as she did her layout Jaeger. The last gymnast up, Sui Lu, hesitated in a handstand on low bar and had some rather late turns. She also conceded a small step on the dismount for 13.633. 61.615 for China on bars – not bad.
In Rotation 2 it was China’s turn to negotiate the beam. The opening gymnast was Jiang Yuyuan, who would have copped a deduction on her leap-on mount, which was tiny and definitely not landed in a scale. She also showed a weird high hurdle before her punch front and lost connection value on her Rulfova series. However, her 2.5 twist dismount was the highest she has done all week, and she landed it safely, but for a small step on the landing (14.333).
Reigning world champion Deng Linlin, who has one of the most difficult routines in the world, lost her balance on her turn combination, with which she has struggled all week. She also landed her side somi with her legs extremely wide apart and suffered low landings on her back saltos and dismount. She bit her lip when she exited the podium, clearly not happy with her routine, but still managed the highest score of the subdivision (15.10).
Sui Lu started well with a good, high piked front. She also stuck her tucked (but rather open) Grigoras salto before giving in to nerves, conceding a big wobble on a switch ring leap as well as small wobbles on her pike back and side somi. To make matters worse, she went overtime, thus incurring another deduction. All in all, it was a disappointing effort for Sui, who was a serious medal prospect. It took the judges several minutes to come up with her score: 14.40 (6.5 difficulty).
Fourth up, Huang Qiushuang had a big wobble on the pike back at the end of her three-part series, the only skill which has given her any trouble in training this week. She hit the piked back salto in her mixed series, though. She was a bit short of split on one split jump and had a very small wobble on the full turn as well as a big step on the double pike dismount, but other than that, it was a very confident routine (14.466, 6.1 difficulty). Huang seems to be in great form at the moment.
Yang Yilin touched the beam, but didn’t do a routine. She left the podium with a big grin on her face, obviously realising just how unusual her ‘routine’ had been. Apparently China was happy enough with its four previous scores not to need Yang’s score.
He Kexin was first up on floor for the Chinese. Performing to Ravel’s Bolero, she had a big grin on her face after landing her 2.5 twist to layout punch front, and continued smiling throughout the routine. She had good landings on each pass and great presentation which was rightly appreciated by the crowd. Sadly, she lacked a little difficulty (13.933).
Huang Qiushuang stepped out of the floor (with a rather big step) on her 2.5 twist to front layout full twist. The front full was an odd choice, considering that Huang has struggled to land her regular layout front (sans twist) all week. Her third pass was a double twist, and she also had a small stumble on her double pike dismount. Her presentation was excellent, though. (13.333: 5.4 difficulty, 8.223 execution)
Jiang Yuyuan suffered a small step on her opening 1.5 twist through to triple twist, keeping it just within bounds. Her second pass, a double tuck, was sky high; she looked like she could have easily done a full-in. She stuck the 2.5 twist to layout front which has given her trouble all week, with just a tiny step on the landing. Sadly, she couldn’t quite keep it up until the very end, stepping out of bounds on her closing double pike and taking three steps backwards (13.833).
Sui Lu made up for her jitters on beam by contributing China’s highest-scoring floor exercise, with stuck landings on all her passes (a slight step on the last pass) and a stuck double L turn. It was a very solid routine, but not very lively. It did bring in 14.633, though.
Yang Yilin showed a beautifully elegant and lyrical routine featuring, among other things, a double pike, 1.5 twist to front layout full and an absolutely gorgeous tour jete-half. She seemed to have a slightly painful landing on her last pass, and was awarded a 13.666 for her efforts.
China finished its competition on vault. Deng Linlin opened with a big 1.5-twisting Yurchenko with a very late twist and a reasonably solid landing (13.900). Yang Yilin followed with a very good double-twisting Yurchenko with excellent form in the air and an upright landing, albeit a little close to the table. It took the judges absolute ages to come up with her score (5.8, 14.566). Jiang Yuyuan then did the best double-twisting Yurchenko she has done all week, with nearly straight legs in the air and a solid landing (14.733). China’s last gymnast was Huang Qiushuang, who performed two vaults with an eye on qualifying to the event final. Her first vault was a very high and straight double-twisting Yurchenko which floated in the air but was landed a little close to the table. Her second vault, a piked Podkopayeva, was not quite as successful. Her chest was very low on the landing and one foot seemed to slip (14.600 score). She should be in with a good chance of making the final with that score. As on beam, China refrained from sending its fifth gymnast up. He Kexin did not vault.
Koko Tsurumi struggled during prelims. It does not appear that she will repeat last year's success.
The Romanians are currently in second after prelims.