It has been a fabulous week of gymnastics and now that it's over I don't know what to do with my life. I think I know exactly how Aly Raisman must feel. Well, not quite! I haven't had the time to watch many other sports besides gymnastics so I'll start with that. I have to mention how much I loved all of Team USA's leotards. Talk about bling bling. Those sparkly leotards cost anywhere between $700 and $1200 each and are covered in as many as 5,000 Swarovski crystals. They were so pretty and every single one of them were patriotic red, white and blue. It was nice not to have to hear anyone complain about them wearing Pink. Click here for 9 fascinating facts about Team USA leotards.
Anyway, here is my last Gymnastic recap. The US kicked some serious butt at these Olympic games and it was so exciting to watch.
There were a lot of tumbles in Vault, and not the good kind. High difficulty is rewarded, so a few did vaults they can't do very well hoping the high start value alone will be enough to get them a good score. All they have to do is put their feet on the mat before their butt and they get credit. Oksana Chusovitina and Dipa Karmakar performed the handspring double front vault called the Produnova also known as the death vault. The only person to ever do it well is the person who got it named after her. That strategy did not pay off, and the ones who performed vaults they could land came out on top. Finally, another country gets to medal.
1. Simone Biles 15.966 USA
2. Maria Paseka 15.253 Russia
3. Giulia Steingruber 15.216 Switzerland
So, we come to an event that does not include Simone Biles. Gabby Douglas fell out of a handstand and had to muscle her way back up. 15.066 is a pretty decent score, but the competition is so tight and the gymnasts on bars so good, that it was pretty certain it wouldn't hold up. Madison Kocian's routine was so beautiful. I love her style of gymnastics on all events and I wish we could have seen her on more in Rio, but she made the team for bars and she hit that routine every single time. She was short on a few handstands, but she stuck her dismount and took home a silver. It wasn't Gold, but she is such a team player and so consistent with that routine I was really happy to see her have a chance to shine individually. Aliya's routine was well done and had a high difficulty. Interestingly enough, Aliya the queen won the exact same medals that she did in 2012. Silver in team, bronze in the all around and Gold on bars. She also got a bronze on floor in 2012, but did not qualify in Rio.
1. Aliya Mustafina 15.9 Russia
2. Madison Kocian 15.833 USA
3. Sophi Sheder 15.566 Germany
Beam was really anyone's game just because it's so unpredictable and precarious. If there is one event that Simone might give someone else an inch this is it, and give an inch she did. Her foot slid in front of her on her front tuck and she put her hands down on the beam to hang on which counts as a fall. Laurie's routine was beautiful. Perfectly pointed toes, and dynamic execution. She has equally as much power in her tumbling as her leaps. She did a beautiful routine, but it wasn't enough to top Sanne Wever. Her routine was gorgeous and had a lot of unique elements that you don't see from other gymnasts like s triple turn and a full twisting back handspring mount. She connects three very difficult turns and does a split leap out of it. She does the double full with her leg up at 90 degrees better than some do it on the floor. On the beam; it's named after her. I was really glad to the gold go to such an artistic and creative routine. Even with that mistake Simone still got a bronze, so she basically gave it away. Sanne and Laurie not only got Olympic medals, but they can also say they beat Simone the great. Not many people can say that.
The lone Romanian for the entire Olympic games was 28 year old Catalina Ponor, and her selection was very controversial. She came out of retirement to help the Romanian team on Beam and Floor, but then they didn't qualify a team to the Olympics. They got one spot and they chose Catalina over Larisa Iordache who does all four events and has been the backbone of the team over the last four years. It was Larisa who earned Romania that one spot by finishing 3rd All-Around at the 2015 World Championships. She injured her hand and they didn't think she was making enough progress in her recovery so Larisa was the alternate. Catalina won bronze on Beam and Floor at the 2016 European Championships, and had already been to two Olympics so they decided she had a better chance at a medal competing on two events than Larisa did competing on four. She did not qualify into Floor finals so this was the one single chance for Romania to win a medal at this Olympics and she couldn't deliver finishing in 7th. Maybe it was that awful flesh colored and black high neck dominatrix leotard! It was a lot of pressure and she had a lot of wobbles and missed connections.
1. Sanne Wever 15.466 Netherlands
2. Laurie Hernandez 15.333 USA
3. Simone Biles 14.733 USA
I love it that Aly and Simone wore the same leo for floor finals. It was expected that they would go 1-2 just like the all around and that is exactly what they did. What a perfect last event for them at the Olympic games. Simone had a bit of a bouncy routine. Her landings were not perfect, but her high level of difficulty and tumbling execution means that she can get away with it and still win. I would have to say that Aly's routine was better in that she stuck every single landing, but some of her leaps aren't fully extended and she doesn't have the start value that Simone does. It's so interesting to see how the reactions to bronze will vary depending on who you are. For Simone, it was kind of like what is this thing but Amy Tinkler was so happy she was in tears and it was the best moment ever for her and Great Britain Gymnastics.
1. Simone Biles 15.966 USA
2. Aly Raisman 15.500 USA
3. Amy Tinkler 14.933 Great Britain
Madison Kocian interview
Bob Costas Interview with Aly & Simone. I think they were on an oh my gosh we just had the best Olympics ever high.
Some 2016 Rio Olympics Gymnastics firsts:
- Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan) who made event finals for Vault finishing 7th is the first gymnast to compete in seven Olympic Games. She is 41 years old and plans to keep going. That is insane.
- The first Indian gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games is Dipa Karmakar who placed 4th on Vault
- This is the first time Romania doesn't medal at the Olympic Games since 1976.
- Giulia Steingruber brought home the first ever Olympic medal in gymnastics for the Swiss with her bronze on Vault. Her 10th place finish was also the highest ever for Switzerland.
- Sanne Wevers brought home the first Olympic medal in gymnastics for Netherlands ever with her Gold on Beam. Her twin sister Lieke Wevers finished 20th in the All-Around. They have never been without injury at the same time so this is the first time they've competed on the same team.
- Simone won the first ever Olympic Vault Gold for team USA and she is the first gymnast to win three golds in a single Olympic Games.
- I haven't fact checked this, but I think this is the first time that every single member of Team USA qualified for an event final. Four out of five won medals. Team USA was on fire.