The highest qualifier of those finals was USA’s Rachel Gowey who is coached by Liang Chow. This is actually Rachel’s third year as a senior but unfortunately we haven’t seen a lot from her because she has struggled with injuries for the last couple of years. She has competed at Jesolo and at the 2014 Secret Classics so she doesn’t have much international experience. However, that doesn’t seem to have affected her much since she gave an excellent performance during qualifications. She’s coming back from an injury so she is only competing bars and beam and she qualified in both event finals. It looks like her leg injuries have given her time to upgrade on bars, and she showed a new weiler kip 1/2 into an inbar full and a very impressive Komova 2 into immediate giant 1/1. Her routine also includes a ricna, a van leeuwen and a beautiful double layout dismount. She still needs to perfect her form, but she has lovely lines and her handstands have improved a lot since last year. If she cleans up a bit and adds more connections in her routine, she could be team final worthy on this event.
start value: 6.3
The athlete who qualified in second place is also from USA. This time, it’s 17-years old Amelia Hundley, who was the junior national uneven bars champion back in 2013. Just like her teammate, Amelia hasn’t really had the chance to shine as a senior until now because she has been through a couple of injuries. She showed a fantastic routine during qualifications, hitting her weiler 1/2 + maloney, her ricna to pak and her van leeuwen. Unfortunately she wasn’t equally succesful during AA finals, where she had a fall that cost her a medal. After this disappointment I’m sure she really wants to prove herself on this event now. She also gives away some tenths on execution, she has small leg separations in a couple of skills, she doesn’t keep her toes pointed and her pirouette is usually quite late. However, none of those problems are major and she should be able to challenge for the gold medal.
start value: 6.1
My favorite contender for the title is Venezuela’s Jessica Lopez. The two times Olympian chose to take it easy and not compete AA in those Games so the uneven bars are definitely her and her country’s best chance for a medal. She probably has the most exciting routine we’ve seen on this event. She starts with a piked tkatcev into a rather messy pak and she continues with a maloney into a beautiful full pirouette into a high tkatcev. She also has a fantastic jaeger and the prettiest double front dismount you’ll see in Toronto. If she connects her tkatcev to a gienger, like she normally does, she will have the highest start value of the competition and a great chance to be on the top spot of the podium.
start value: 6.1 (potential 6.5)
An other athlete who will be looking for redemption after a rough routine during AA finals is Isabela Onyshko of Canada. She has a fantastic level of difficulty. She performs a maloney + clear hip 1/1 + tkatcev, a hindorff + pak and a van leewen. Unfortunately, her execution is not nearly as impressive, since she has big legs separation and flexed feet in lots of her skills. This really hurts her E score so she doesn’t score quite as high as some of her competitors. Isabela is of course representing the host nation and I am sure the crowd’s support is going to help her get through her routine.
start value: 6.3 (CAN)
Guatemala’s Ana Sofia Gomez Porras is in a similar situation. She was brilliant during qualifications but everything went wrong during AA finals, where she had a scary fall during her jaeger. Ana was never known as a bars worker. In fact, this is by far her weakest event. However, she came to Toronto with an upgraded routine and revealed a spectacular ray + gienger combination. She has lots of cleaning up to do, but she has nice body lines, she hits her handstands and she has a good start value so she could end up on the podium if others make mistakes.
start value: 5.9
The most unexpected bars finalist was Canadian Madison Copiak. Madison, who is in her second year as a senior,. She performs a maloney + pak combination, an excellent piked jaeger and she’s capable of a full in dismount. The routines we’ve seen from her in the past had plenty of execution errors but during qualifications she got one of the highest E scores, an impressive 8.4 E score, so I’m eager to see if she has improved. She is not really a medal contender because of her low start value but Canada is really lacking depth on uneven bars, so a solid UB set could make her a major contender for the world team.
start value: 5.4
On the 7th place, we have Ahtziri Sandoval from Mexico. The 19-years-old athlete was part of the Nanning world team and helped her country qualify a full team to this year’s world championships. During qualifications, she contributed to Mexico’s 5th place finish by posting the highest score on bars and a solid score on vault. On bars she performs a shaposh + pak and a maloney + bail combinations. Her release is a gienger and her dismount is a full in.
start value: 5.9
Mexico is also represented by the lovely Elsa Garcia. The 2012 Olympian would be one of the top All Arounder but she only competed two events. Things didn’t go her way on beam but thankfully she managed to grab the very last spot for bars finals. She has a world class routine which includes a stalder full + van leeuwen combination, and 1.5 pirouette into a jaeger, a ray and a double front dismount. During qualifications she struggled a bit with her pirouettes and she finished them all quite late before having problems to control her dismount. If she manages to improve those mistakes and perform as well as she did at Sao Paulo she is definitely a top medal contender.
start value 6.0
USA’s Maddie Desch and Megan Skaggs both finished in the top 8 but won’t get to compete because of the two per country rule. This really is a shame, especially for Desch who had the third highest score of the competition and would be a strong medal contender. Thankfully, she has qualified to floor finals, while Megan will participate in beam finals, so both of them will have their chance to shine.