A few thoughts on event finals

He Kexins uneven bars win was controversial, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

He Kexin's uneven bars win was controversial, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Belatedly posted due to post-Olympic hangover, I think.

It was an improvement over 2004 (almost anything would be), but in this blogger’s opinion only, the judges still got a few things wrong during the three nights of Olympic event finals.


Women’s Vault: It was blatant partisanship, giving Cheng Fei the bronze after she fell on the vault named after her. Or that’s what I thought at first. One has to remember, however, that the Cheng vault has a much higher start value than Sacramone’s double-twisting Yurchenko; high enough that Cheng can fall and still place higher than Sacramone. Add in the fact that Cheng’s start value on her first vault, which was beautiful, was 0.2 higher than Sacramone’s.

So although I don’t think a gymnast should fall and get a medal, the judges didn’t mess that one up — the code of points is to blame.

Women’s Uneven Bars: Some will say Nastia Liukin should have won it. Some will defend He Kexin’s gold. I say this: Bronze medalist Yang Yilin should have won. It’s gymnastics scoring 101: If all routines are valued as having equal difficulty, the one that has the least visible errors should win. He went over on one of her handstand pirouettes and took a step on her dismount.

Liukin went over on one of her low bar handstands and had the perennial form issues, as always, on her dismount. Yang’s routine, though less spectacular than either Liukin’s or He’s, had none of those errors. Andrew Thornton on Gymnast.com agrees.

Balance Beam: This one I agree with. Shawn Johnson was cleanest and performed her tons of difficulty flawlessly, even if Liukin has the artistry and extension. She deserves a gold medal for consistency alone, for having performed that routine virtually flawlessly in every competition since the 2007 American Cup (2007 Worlds event finals notwithstanding.)

Might have been different had not Liukin had the big hop on her dismount. Too bad Li Shanshan had another meltdown — I’d like to see her win a World Championship. When she’s on, she deserves it.

Women’s Floor Exercise:The multitalented Sandra Izbaza, a championship handball player before she dedicated herself to gymnastics, proved that tradition dies hard. So, consequently, did Gabriela Dragoi on balance beam.

The Romanians really need to embrace the artistic component of this code, and perhaps add some more ballet to their training, which was obviously a component of their gymnastics regimens during the 1980s but seemed to disappear during the mid-90s.

Zou Kai displays form that could be improved on floor exercise.

Zou Kai displays form that could be improved on floor exercise.

Men’s High Bar: This one actually made me kind of mad. Seems like overnight Jonathan Horton has turned from an amateur into a professional gymnast — the sort who points his toes at all times, who can deliver in the clutch and whose extension has improved dramatically. In the space of literally one Olympics, he’s matured from the X Games kid to an adult gymnast. From here on out, it could be a whole new world for him.

Which brings me to the point: He should have been the Trent Dimas of Beijing. He had the tricks and he had the form. Nice as his laid-out Jaeger full was, Zou Kai’s extension and swing were a lot poorer than Horton’s, and he wasn’t penalized for it. If a gymnast from France or Italy or the U.S. had done the same routine as Zou, I can’t help feeling that his B score would have been much lower. Horton deserved the gold here.

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4 Responses to “A few thoughts on event finals”

  1. Angela Says:

    Agree soo much on Zou Kai, I was astounded at the scores he got on high bar. His execution should have knocked him down to bronze in my mind, it was abysmal.

  2. Katrina Says:

    I agree with the HB results… it was ridiculous! Kai should have won bronze.

  3. bored Says:

    I agree with you on Yilin. She was robbed.

    Nastia had a lot more form problems in the UB routine then the dismount and they were virtually ignored byu the judges. The scores Nastia received on bars, floor and beam when she missed connections is what the IOC should be looking at. This competition was clearly fixed for Nastia

  4. SP Says:

    You are completely right! Personally, I thougth this Olympic’s uneven bar competition was one of the best that I’ve ever seen especially considering that three good gymnasts (He Kexin, Liukin, Yang Yilin) were competing with the same difficulty level. It was a competition that everyone had to watch!

    As for Yang Yilin, she should’ve have won GOLD in the uneven bar competition and it’s unfortunate that people were still complaining about the tie-breaker especially since that rule has been applied for years.

    Yang Yilin was underscored and based on her reaction after her routine, it seemed that she also thought she had done enough to win the gold. Everyone I knew were shocked at her obvious score that did not seem fair. As I see it, maybe the judges were still thinking about the tiebreaker that they didn’t quite expect much from Yang Yilin.

    It’s truly sad because I thought one of the most touching moment was after Yang Yilin’s routine when another Chinese gymnast, He Kexin, picked her up from the back.

    The Beijing Olympics highlight that I will remember for years is Yang Yilin’s performance and the Chinese gymnastics team winning the gold against the favored USA gymnastics team. It was a battle of the best!

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