History has already been written in Glasgow, with USA winning their fourth team title in a row and Great Britain earning a world team medal. Now, after the athletes have all done their best for their teams, it’s time for them to concentrate on their individual goals, heading into the All Around and the event finals. Lots of people seem to think that these All Around finals will be boring, because we all already know who will be on top of the podium. I disagree. A fight for gold is certainly exciting, but getting to watch the best gymnasts of the world putting their heart and soul into their performance under tremendous pressure is what makes a competition worth watching and those finals are going to feature amazing athletes from all over the world. We have veterans, we have first year seniors, we have athletes making their comebacks, athletes seeking redemption and athletes from smaller gymnastics countries who actually have a realistic chance to fight for a medal and I can’t wait to watch them all competing against each other. So, let’s take a look at the gymnasts who will be fighting for medals tomorrow.
Simone Biles (USA)
biggest achievement: 2 times world All Around champion
qualifying score: 61.598
start values: 6.3 + 6.1 + 6.5 + 6.9 = 25.8
ranking in qualifications: 1st
What can we even say about this girl, who came out of nowhere to take over the world in 2013? She really is one of the best gymnasts this world has ever seen and it seems like she’s untouchable. She is the only gymnast at those world championships who has qualified into every single event finals. She won’t get to compete on bars finals due to the two per country rule but she still was on the top 8 on this apparatus as well as finishing first on vault, beam and floor. During team finals, she once again had the highest score of the day on the three events she competed and she was one of the main reasons why USA won their fourth team title in a row. There’s nobody in the world right now who can perform an amanar, a silivas or a full in dismount off beam quite as well as she does! There’s nobody who comes even close to her level of difficulty and there’s nobody who combines incredible power and clean execution on every event as well as she does. In addition to that, Simone is extremely consistent and she hasn’t put a foot wrong during the entire competition. She’s also a crowd pleaser, who knows who to sell a routine and she’s innovative since she performs some skills that we don’t see every day, like her original double layout half out on floor and her grigoras and full in dismount on beam. It seems like Biles comes from the future. She’s just so much ahead of everyone else competing right now. If she wins gold tomorrow, she will be the only athlete besides Khorkina to have three All Around world gold medals and she will be the first woman in the history of the sport to win three All Around titles in a row, and it doesn’t look like anyone can prevent her from achieving that. I don’t want to say that Simone is a lock for the All Around title, especially not after seeing Russia losing a bronze medal to Great Britain yesterday, but the truth is she is competing against her self. As long as she does not have a meltdown she will be a three times world All Around champion.
Other medal contenders
Giulia Steingruber (SUI)
biggest achievement: 2015 European All Around champion and European Games All Around silver medalist
qualifying score: 57.640, counting a fall on balance beam
start values: 6.2 + 5.7 + 6.2 + 6.0 = 24.1
ranking in qualifications: 2nd
2015 has been the best year in the career of Giulia Steingruber, who continues to write history for Switzerland in gymnastics every single time she competes. After winning the European All Around title and the silver medal at the European Games, she has proven herself as one of the best athletes in her continent. Now, it’s time to show that she is one of the best in the entire world. She already accomplished an amazing achievement when she placed second All Around during qualifications, beating the reigning Olympic All Around champion. And she actually did that with a fall on balance beam. I never really considered Giulia an All Around contender for worlds, but after how she performed during her first day of competition, there’s no doubt that she has a good chance to end up on this podium. She is one of only three All Around finalists who are capable of a 6 + vault and her powerful rudi should be enough to put her in the top 3 after the first rotation. She is a bit weaker than most of her competitors on the uneven bars, where she struggles hitting her handstands, but she has a good level of difficulty on balance beam, where she performs a back handsrping into a layout and a front pike, and on floor exercise, where she mounts with a fabulous full twisting double layout. Qualifying second into the finals does not guarantee you a medal, doing your absolute best during the finals also does not guarantee you a medal, especially when you’re competing against athletes like Douglas and Iordache, but if Giulia hits her routines with no mistakes, she has a chance to write history for her country once again.
Gabby Douglas (USA)
biggest achievement: 2012 Olympics All Around champion
start values: 5.8 + 6.4 + 6.4 + 5.9 = 24.5
qualifying score: 57.516 counting a fall and several wobbles on balance beam and a missed connection on the uneven bars
ranking in qualifications: 3rd
Remember when people said that Gabby’s comeback was just for attention and that she would not achieve anything without Chow as her coach? Remember when they said she would never make the team? And when she did make the team, remember when people even said that she should be an alternate and that she would never make it to the All Around or any event finals? Well, the 2012 Olympic All Around champion, proved everyone who doubted her wrong for one more time. During qualifications, she actually had an excellent performance on what are supposed to be her two weakest events. She stuck her double twisting yurchenko on vault cold and she had the best floor routine of her comeback, sticking every single landing. She was also successful on the uneven bars, where she hit her routine with only one missed combination but unfortunately, she fell on her standing full on beam. During the team finals, she delivered one more stuck double twisting yurchenko and she received a massive 15.333 for her bars routine. I’d by lying if I said that I’m not worried about Gabby’s beam routine. She has been consistent on this event during her comeback, but in the past, we have seen her falling over and over on this apparatus so I’m hoping that her fall at her first day of competition will not affect her. Douglas has never won an All Around medal, simply because she has never competed in a worlds All Around finals during her career but if she does what she’s capable of tomorrow, this is very likely to change.
Larisa Iordache (ROM)
biggest achievement: 2014 Worlds silver medalist
qualifying score: 55.698, counting two falls and a downgraded floor routine
start values: 5.8 + 6.3 + 6.7 + 6.3 = 25.1
ranking in qualifications: 16th
Even the absolute best gymnasts in the world have their bad days, but that doesn’t make them any less great. Larisa fell twice during qualifications and only qualified into those finals in 16th place but she still has the talent and the scoring potential to fight for the podium. She has one of the best double twisting yurchenkos being done in the world right now and she has received scores in the 15s for it in the past. Her uneven bars routine is much improved and it actually scored as high as a 14.8 last year. Now she has upgraded her difficulty even more so she should be able to at least repeat that score if she hits. She is also among the world’s strongest balance beam workers and her back handspring + tucked full and triple twist dismount are among the most difficult elements being done on this event. Her floor routine has won her world silver medals in the past and she could definitely improve the low score she received at qualifications if she does her full difficulty and clean up her landings. This doesn’t mean much, but if Larisa had not fallen twice, she would have been second in the All Around. Of course, Steingruber and Douglas had falls as well but I’m just trying to say that this is not over for her and it’s not over for Romania. In the past, she has saved the face of Romanian gymnastics over and over again, but now, her country is counting on her more than ever. They did not qualify into the team finals, they did not make it straight to the Olympics and they do no have any event finalists. The All Around is their only chance to prove that they are actually one of the strongest teams in the world and Iordache is their only medal contender. She needs to recover from a huge disappointment and she is under tremendous pressure to deliver for her country and as if this was not enough, she’ll have to start her competition on balance beam. However, she has been under huge pressure before and she has delivered so I’m hoping that she will come back and show to the world how magnificent she is.
Ellie Black (CAN)
biggest accomplishment: 2015 pan-american Games All Around champion
qualifying score: 57.299
start values: 5.8 + 5.8 + 6.4 + 5.8 = 23.8
ranking in qualifications: 4th
Ellie is one of the gymnasts who have impressed me the most during this quad. In 2012 she was the dark horse of her team but after her Olympic teammates retired, she found herself as the super star of Canadian gymnastics. We saw this underdog turning into a leader right in front of our eyes and now, she is suddenly fourth in the world during qualifications. Unfortunately, she has downgraded her vault and has not competed her rudi during this year. However, her front layout full is very unusual and exciting to watch and it has the same start value as a double twisting yurchenko. Her bars have improved a lot since last year and she’s capable of fantastic skills, like a shang, a jaeger into pak and a van leeuwen. She still needs to work on her execution, but I’m hoping that if she hits her handstands and sticks her dismount, she will be able to break 14. Ellie was known as a vault and floor specialist in 2012, but now, her best event is the balance beam, where she performs a back handspring into a tucked full, a gorgeous front pike and an impressive back handspring + layout. This is the event where she’ll need to capitalize on in order to maximise her medal chances. During qualifications, she scored a 14.6 after a very shaky routine. Now, she will have to stuck every single element and avoid wobbles in order to post a number above 15. She is also very strong on floor, where she has shown excellent control during her difficult and unusual combinations. Ellie is a unique gymnast. Her layout front full on vault, her jaeger + pak combination and her moors dismount on bars and her 2.5 + double tuck and front full + double pike on floor are skills and combinations that we rarely see and this makes her stand out. She was fourth during qualifications but she hit all her routines there while other athletes like Steingruber, Douglas, Iordache and Shang had falls. They can improve their All Around totals for over a point while Ellie can only work on some details and wobbles in order to save some tenths. This is why I consider her and underdog and not a top contender. I’m not saying that she has no chance. In fact, I believe that a medal is within her reach but she will have to stick every landing and nail every element, and even then, she could still not be in the top 3.
Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS):
biggest achievement: 2nd All Around at qualifications at the European Games, Four nations Trophy All Around champion, 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion
start values: 5.8 + 5.8 + 6.3 + 6.1 = 24
qualifying score: 56.599 counting a messy floor routine with 0.4 in penalties
ranking during qualifications: 7th
With Aliya Mustafina not competing in those world championships and Viktoria Komova not being ready on floor, it was clear that Russia’s medal chances in the All Around would not be great. Then, it was decided that European silver medalist Maria Kharenkova would not compete All Around either and Daria Spiridonova, who showed routines on all events did not manage to advance into the finals. This means that right now, there is only one person who can keep Russia in contention and this is first year senior Seda Tutkhalyan. She is a talented gymnast, with fantastic All Around potential and she’s capable of world class routines on every event but she hasn’t quite acquired the ability to control her power or her nerves yet. She often makes mistakes, she has messy landings, she wobbles and falls and she rarely gets her dance elements on floor fully around. Some of her most notable skills are her van leeuwen on bars, her round of + layout full on beam and her double layout on floor. I think that if she had the competition of her life and actually nailed every single routine, she could have an outside chance for the podium if others make mistakes but I don’t think she’s ready to do that. However, i believe she is extremely promising and I’m hoping to see her living up to her potential in the future.
Shang Chunsong (CHN)
biggest accomplishment: 2014 Asian Games silver medalist
qualifying score: 56.332, counting a fall on balance beam and a rather messy bars set
start values: 5.0 + 6.7 + 6.6 + 6.4 = 24.7
rank in qualifications: 12th
Shang Chunsong has always been a promising athlete who could never get it together during a competition. However, she actually did a brilliant job during team finals, leading her team into a well deserved silver medal. The highly anticipated double twisting yurchenko she’s supposedly been training since 2013 is most likely not going to happen, but even without it, Shang has one of the highest start values of the competition. The problem is, that she is capable of a massive number only if she hits all her combinations and actually land on her feet on all four events and this is something she rarely does. Her full twisting yurchenko is a major disadvantage, but she has huge routines on bars, beam and floor that could potentially make up for it. Some of her most notable skills and combinations are her shang + pak and maloney + gienger on bars, her back handsprings + layout and triple twist dismount on beam and he 3.5 + front pike and 1.5 + triple full + front tuck on floor. Her twisting passes are underrotated and scary and she is terribly inconsistent but if she hit, it would actually be possible for her to end up on the podium. During team finals, she had a three event total of 44.199. This means that a simple 13.9 on vault would be enough for her to score over 58 and fight for the podium. Shang has had tons of mistakes during the 2013 and the 2014 world championships and the Olympics are only one year away so this is a great chance of her to actually prove herself as a valuable and strong athlete. Regardless of whether she manages to get close to the podium or not, I hope she at least does that.
Lieke Wevers (NED)
biggest achievement: 2015 European Games bronze medalist
qualifying score: 56.733
start values: 5.0 + 6.0 + 5.7 + 5.6 = 22.3
rank in qualifications: 6th
The European All Around bronze medalist proved that she is also competitive in the sport’s highest level by placing in an impressive 6th place during qualifications. I absolutely adore Lieke for several reasons. She is an athlete who has struggled with injuries for years but never stopped fighting so now, she is finally having the best year of her career at the age of 24, proving that it’s never too late to live up to your full potential. She is also an elegant gymnast, with gorgeous lines and toe point and a lovely presence on every event but most importantly, in an era where lots of gymnasts attempt skills they can barely land, Lieke’s strategy is to maximize her execution scores. That does not mean that her routines are not difficult. Her vault is only a full twisting yurchenko but she is a world class bars and beam specialist, capable of hard and unusual skills and combinations on both events. However, she does not quite have the same level of difficulty as some of her competitors. The truth is that I included it in this list because she was 6th in qualifications and because I freaking love her but she’s not really a contender for an All Around medal. The 56.773 All Around total we saw from her during qualifications was impressive but it really was her absolute best. She nailed every routine, gaining some of the highest execution scores of the competitions and there’s not much more she can do to score higher. I don’t think that Lieke’s main goal was to be on the All Around podium. Her goal was to help her team qualify into the Olympics and to do as well as she possibly could and so far, she has done that. Maybe, if everyone else ends up falling she could have an outside chance for a medal but this is unlikely, but just qualifying in the top group must be an incredibly achievement for her.
Wang Yan (CHN)
biggest achievement: 2015 Asian championships silver medalist
qualifying score: 55.566, counting a fall and a major break on uneven bars
start values: 6.0 + 5.5 + 6.5 + 6.3 = 24.3
rank in qualifications: 19th
Wang Yan was one of the main reasons why China has managed to be so succesful during the team finals. The talented junior we watched at the Youth Olympic Games, has grown into a strong senior gymnast, capable of extremely difficult skills. She is an other athlete with a 6+ start value on vault, she is fabulous on balance beam, where she shows the most beautiful grigoras and the highest layout you will ever see and she’s strong on floor, showing a silivas and a 1.5 + triple + front tuck combination. Unfortunately, her bars are not nearly as impressive. She doesn’t have much difficulty, her execution is not perfect and she even struggles hitting this routine. If Wang had a stronger bars set, she would be right up there with the best in the world but unfortunately this is not the case. Maybe, if she upgrades and cleans up her floor routine, so she can get a 15+ score there, she will manage to be competitive in the All Around but for the time being, she does not have the scoring potential we’ve seen from others. You never know what can happen in a final, and maybe, if multiple athletes have falls, she will place higher than anyone expected her to but a medal is definitely a long shot for her.
In my opinion, those are the gymnasts who could potentially get on the podium. Some of them, have great chances to achieve that while others are underdogs who will have to rely not only on their own performances but on other people’s mistakes too. At this point, Simone is untouchable and she would need to have multiple mistakes before anyone else comes even close to her. Larisa Iordache was not too far behind last year, but back then, Simone had downgraded her bars routine due to shoulder problems and Larisa was in a much better shape, so I expect Simone to have a more comfortable lead than she did in 2014. Then, in my opinion Douglas, Iordache and surprisingly Steingruber have an excellent chance to finish on the podium if they do what they’re capable of. Shang Chunsong has the difficulty to challenge too but I’m not sure if she will be able to handle all her skills and stay clean during the competition while Ellie Black would be one of the first athletes to take advantage of other’s potential mistakes. Seda Tutkhalyan and Wang Yan are both underdogs, who are very unlikely to reach the podium unless multiple people make mistakes while Lieke Wevers, who is one of my favorite candidates for the Longiness Prize for elegance, has a smaller scoring potential.
It’s needless to say that the medal contenders are not the only world class gymnasts competing in those finals. In fact, this is an incredibly strong field, full of fantastic competitors. The fact that the last qualifier, Isabela Onyshko of Canada, who is actually a world class gymnast with great skills on three events, barely made the finals is enough to prove that the level of the competition is very high.
Lorrane Oliveira of Brazil is having the competition of her life so far. After falling over and over again during the year, she delivered amazing routines during qualifications to earn her country’s highest All Around total. She has an impressive double twisting yurchenko on vault, a strong floor routine that includes a 2.5 + front full combination, a full in and a double arabian and she’s very promising on bars, where she shows a van leeuwen and a piked jaeger and beam, where she performs a front tuck mount. Her teammate Flavia Saraiva is a ray of sunshine, who can brighten the competition with her smile. She also has incredible difficulty on floor and especially on beam. She didn’t manage to qualify into the beam finals so I’m hoping to see her nailing her routine and posting a score above 15, just to prove that she is one to watch in the future. The British ladies, Amy Tinkler and Ruby Harrold will have to calm down from yesterday’s excitement and give one more excellent show for their home crowd. You should watch out for Amy’s double twisting yurchenko on vault and silivas and double layout on floor, and Ruby’s fabulous bars set, which includes a maloney + bhardwaj and a van leeuwen + zuchold combinations. She’s also fan to watch on floor and she’s capable of a double twisting yurchenko on vault.
The two Japanese gymnasts are also absolutely world class. Mai Murakami almost did not travel to Glasgow, but after her teammates struggled with injuries she ended up competing and she did a fabulous job. So far, she has stuck all her double twisting yurchenkos on vault and she has shown fabulous tumbling on floor exercise. She is also much improved on bars, where she now performs a maloney + gienger combination and she’s capable of two back handsprings into a layout and a double turn on balance beam. Asuka Teramoto is very impressive on every event. I’m really looking forward to watching her on balance beam, where she shows a beautiful onodi and a triple twist dismount, and on the uneven bars, where she performs a fabulously high gienger. It will also be interesting to see if she will attempt her rudi on vault. She crashed it during qualifications and she downgraded it during team finals but maybe she will want to take a risk now, that her team’s chances are not at risk. You should also keep an eye for the lovely Noemi Makra of Hungary, who performed a gorgeous maloney + hindorff combination during qualifications. She also has a fantastic beam routine, which includes an onodi + front aerial + side aerial combination and some strong tumbling passes, like a piked full in and a triple twist. Germany’s Pauline Schaefer is also one to watch on beam. She has a skill named after her on this event and she has qualified into the finals so it will be interesting to see how she scores. She’s also strong on floor, where she shows a powerful double layout and she’s capable of a lovely front layout half out on vault.
The Italians are also capable of some fantastic work. Vanessa Ferrari withdrew after qualifications so the beautiful Tea Ugrin will get to compete. She is a young gymnast who finally got her chance to shine after struggling with injuries last year. Some of her most notable skills are her inbar full + gienger on bars, her switch ring on beam and her full in and triple twist on floor. She has gorgeous lines and toe point, she’s ridiculously flexible and her choreography is just delightful. Carlotta Ferlito is also capable of some fantastic skills, like a maloney + bail and a double arabian on bars, a yurchenko 1.5 on vault, a layout and a double pike on beam and a full in and a triple twist on floor. Her beam routine is particularly impressive and she has sassy and entertaining choreography on floor. Belgium has also qualified two athletes into the All Around finals and they’re both absolutely fabulous. Lisa Verschueren is an incredibly clean athlete, capable of a maloney + bail and a double front dismount on bars, a double wolf turn and a double spin on beam and a double pike on floor. Rune Hermans performs a toe on full + maloney + bail combination on bars, a double wolf turn on beam and a fabulous full twisting yurchenko on floor. Both girls have fantastic presence and choreography on floor and I’m very excited to see what they can do on this event.
Laura Jurca, who was Romania’s most consistent athlete during qualifications, will have to prove that she can hit under pressure once more. She is capable of a double twisting yurchenko on vault, a hindorff on bars, a layout on beam and a triple twist and full in on floor. Elisabeth Seitz was disappointed after not qualifying into the uneven bars finals, but she will have a chance to show that she really is one of the worlds best on this event so I’m hoping she can hit. The beautiful Isabela Onyshko of Canada, manged to grab the last spot in qualifications. She shows a maloney + clear hip full + tkatcev, a hindorff and a van leeuwen on bars, a layout and a front aerial + illusion on beam and a tucked full in on floor. She’s a bit messy but she’s also incredibly flexible, elegant and artistic and she’s actually one of my favorite athletes to watch.
* Please note that I tried to use the potential start values of every athlete and not the ones they received during the competition. If there are any mistakes feel free to let me know
You can find the qualifications results here and the start list here