Ziert’s top 10 from the women’s team final

Here’s International Gymnast Magazine publisher Paul Ziert’s take on the women’s team final in Stuttgart:

Wednesday, September 5

10. The Romanians is not quite where they want to be, but they are showing their usual signs of gaining momentum toward the Olympics. It seems bars will not be the Achilles heal for them in Beijing because Nistor and Patrascu are excellent, and I’m sure they will find another bar worker, or find some way to remotivate Izbasa, who was just not herself here.

Cerasela Petrascu on bars during the team final:

9. The British team smartly rested Beth Tweddle today. Beth will compete again in the all-around and two apparatus finals, so resting her gave some of her very young teammates a few extra chances to proudly represent Britain at the world championships. The team had already accomplished its primary goal of Olympic team qualification, so team finals was a chance to put more girls in the spotlight.

Beth Tweddle on floor exercise during the preliminaries:

8. Ksenia Semyonova, the lone bright spot in Russia’s unfortunate team final, reminds of what this program is still capable of. The youngest member of the Russian team at just 14 years old, Semyonova nailed her extremely lengthy and exciting bars routine again today for a 16.325. Too many of Semyonova’s compatriots from the spectacular Russian junior team are currently injured or have been forced to retire from injuries over the past two years. I think she will be a very big factor in Beijing!

7. The B-Panel judges must be drug tested. If our athletes are drug tested, why not the judges? They have taken a very bad Code and made it worse. If they can’t see how much we need to reward the Chinese on bars, they are enemies of our sport. ow I understand politics and I understand power ego trips, but what I don’t understand is stupidity. We can only survive this Code if the people putting it into play ie the judges use it to direct gymnastics in the right direction. The Chinese set an unbelievable standard for the direction bars should go, so please, to those four B Panel judges, get a very big stick and spank yourself!

Chinese on bars during prelims:

6. Yelena Zamolodchikova who gave her all here like she always does for Russia, but this time Kramarenko made a very silly error that threw away a bronze medal. She ran up to the table and instead of running around it or stopping without touching it, put her hands on the table to stop herself. As the rules state, she received a zero. Poor Zamo had to vault next knowing that no matter how well she did her Yurchenko double twist, her team would finish dead last. She charged down the runway with tears running down her face. This might be the last major competition we see her, and, I sure, she didn’t want to end this way. She has “the heart of a real champion.” How trite, but really true in her case.

Zamo on vault during team finals. knowing it didn’t matter:

5. Coordinators Marta Karolyi and Kathy Kelly for staying in the background and allowing the girls’ personal coaches do the coaching. This team looked much happier that the one in Aarhus, and, of course, they got the job done. I personally think than by the competition, all the coordinating and managing should be done. It’s time to execute, and the girls do better with their own coaches pushing their buttons.

4. Brazilian Jade Barbosa who turned in the highest All Around score today, 61.225. I wasn’t able to watch any of her routines because I was totally focused on the American/Chinese battle, but you can count on my watching her in the All Around finals.

Barbosa on beam during qualifying:

3. Newcomer Li Shanshan who after standing on the podium for more than 7 minutes while the judges argued over Cheng Fei’s score, stepped up and nailed her routine for the highest score on Beam and the third highest score of the entire Team Final – 16.275.

The third highest score of the entire Team Final:

2. The Italian team that quietly ended in 4th place using their star, Vanessa Ferrari in only vault(15.1) and bars(14.775). Although she usually scores higher on bars, it was remarkable that she was able to finish this routine considering that her cloth hand guard came loose near the end of her routine. She is really something to marvel at!

Ferrari loses her grip (and then really loses her grip!):

1. Alicia Sacramone was the star of the team finals. What a tough young lady she is! She did the best vault she has done so far here in Stuttgart (15.75), led off beam with a very solid routine under these conditions (15.60) and nailed her floor routine(15.325) with a little extra spice after leap series when her choreography has her rubbing her leg in the corner.

Alicia caps off team finals with a marvelous performance on floor:

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