Recap: 2019 World Championships Women’s Qualifications

It was a lot, I know I know. Let’s unpack everything that just happened in women’s qualifications.

Lets’s start with Belgium. Belgium competed in the second subdivision and did their job to qualify a full-team to Tokyo. Belgian star, Nina Derwael, qualified first into the bars final as expected with a spectacular routine featuring her Nabieva release and her eponymous Derwael-Fenton release in combination. To put a cherry on top she also grabbed the last spot for the floor final and qualified seventh into the all-around final where she could potentially be a bronze medal threat.

Elizabeth Seitz slaying the monsters and claiming her throne

In the third subdivision, Germany also did there job to qualify a full team to the Olympics, but not without some drama. Originally Sophie Scheder was on the German roster for bars and beam, but she pulled out of the competition due to a last minute injury which resulted in the alternate, Pauline Schäfer to step in and do beam. Although the team accomplished their Olympic qualification goal, they missed out on the team final in their home World Championships. In order for them to have qualified in the top 8, they had to capitalize on their best event, bars. But a fall from Emelie Petz diminished any hopes of them to finish in the top 8. Elisabeth Seitz however, had a tremendous day where she qualified ninth into the all-around final, and fourth into the bars final. She also busted out her Yurchenko double-full which looked so amazing! I didn’t ever think she would do that vault again, but she proved me wrong and nearly stuck it. During this subdivision we also had fan-favorite and seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina competing. Chuso had a rough competition and jeopardized her Olympic spot by falling on vault. Luckily she scored just high enough in the all-around to punch her ticket to Tokyo and save humanity from tragedy. The Germans also accomplished their priority to qualify a full team to the Olympics, but not without some drama. Originally Sophie Scheder was on the German roster for bars and beam, but she pulled out of the competition due to a last-minute injury which resulted in the alternate, Pauline Schäfer to step in and do beam. Although the team accomplished their Olympic qualification goal, they missed out on the team final in their home World Championships. For them to have qualified in the top 8, they had to capitalize on their best event, bars. But their mistakes accumulated and diminished any hopes for a spot in the team final. Elisabeth Seitz however, had a tremendous day where she qualified ninth into the all-around final, and fourth into the bars final. She also busted out her Yurchenko double-full which looked so amazing! I didn’t ever think she would do that vault again, but she proved me wrong and nearly stuck it. During this subdivision, we also saw fan-favorite and seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina competing. Chuso had a rough competition and jeopardized her Olympic spot by falling on vault. Luckily she scored just high enough in the all-around to punch her ticket to Tokyo and save humanity from tragedy.  In the third subdivision, Germany also did there job to qualify a full team to the Olympics, but not without some drama. Originally Sophie Scheder was on the German roster for bars and beam, but she pulled out of the competition due to a last minute injury which resulted in the alternate, Pauline Schäfer to step in and do beam. Although the team accomplished their Olympic qualification goal, they missed out on the team final in their home World Championships. In order for them to have qualified in the top 8, they had to capitalize on their best event, bars. But a fall from Emelie Petz diminished any hopes of them to finish in the top 8. Elisabeth Seitz however, had a tremendous day where she qualified ninth into the all-around final, and fourth into the bars final. She also busted out her Yurchenko double-full which looked so amazing! I didn’t ever think she would do that vault again, but she proved me wrong and nearly stuck it. During this subdivision we also had fan-favorite and seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina competing. Chuso had a rough competition and jeopardized her Olympic spot by falling on vault. Luckily she scored just high enough in the all-around to punch her ticket to Tokyo and save humanity from tragedy.

The big news coming from the fourth subdivision was Yeo Seo-Jeong. Although she didn’t compete her eponymous vault, the Yeo, she still did a beautiful Rudi that easily put her into the vault final. If she does the Yeo in finals, (which is likely) I would say she’s the favorite to win the silver medal. Her qualification to the vault finals also punched her ticket to Tokyo, along with her teammate, Lee Yunseo who qualified for the all-around final.

So this next subdivision left me with lots of mixed emotions. I was celebrating the success of France while also crying for the downfall of Romania. French star, Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos, lead the all-around standings after this subdivision putting up an impressive 56.782. The French team as of now is a potential bronze medal threat. They have difficult vaults, strong bars, solid beam, and powerful tumbling. Romania, on the other hand, didn’t have a great day. Denisa Golgota, the favorite for Romania’s individual Olympic spot, had mistakes on every event allowing Maria Holbura to take Romania’s individual Olympic spot. 

The next subdivision featured China and Canada. The Chinese surpassed many expectations going into the competition and was able to pass the French by a comfortable margin into first position. Rising star, Qi Qi helped the team by putting up a strong Rudi and Yurchenko double-full to grab a spot in the vault finals. 2018 world champion, Liu Tingting, posted the highest all-around score for the Chinese with a 55.865. The team posted the highest beam score in the competition averaging a 14.333. The Canadians had a good day securing their spot in the team final and grabbing a team spot for the Tokyo Olympics. Their top all-around score came from Elsabeth Black who posted a 55.199. However, I wouldn’t be able to mention this subdivision without bringing up the Brooklyn Moors floor inquiry drama. Moors was credited with a 13.666 and a 5.3 D-score for her floor routine, however her coaches submitted an inquiry to challenge the given score. Shockingly after reviewing the routine, the judges downgraded her D-score to a 5.2, resulting in her final score to be lowered by one tenth knocking her out of the floor final... and just wait till I get to the Americans… The next subdivision featured China and Canada. The Chinese surpassed many expectations going into the competition and was able to pass the French by a comfortable margin into the first position. Rising star, Qi Qi helped the team by putting up a strong Rudi and Yurchenko double-full to grab a spot in the vault finals. 2018 world champion, Liu Tingting, posted the highest all-around score for the Chinese with a 55.865. The team posted the highest beam score in the competition averaging a 14.333. The Canadians had a good day securing their spot in the team final and grabbing a team spot for the Tokyo Olympics. Their top all-around score came from Elsabeth Black who posted a 55.199. However, I wouldn’t be able to mention this subdivision without bringing up the Brooklyn Moors floor inquiry drama. Moors was credited with a 13.666 and a 5.3 D-score for her floor routine, however, her coaches submitted an inquiry to challenge the given score. Shockingly after reviewing the routine, the judges downgraded her D-score to a 5.2, resulting in her final score to be lowered by one-tenth knocking her out of the floor final... and just wait till I get to the Americans…

The British and Italians, in my opinion, had quite an underwhelming performance. Ellie Downie had a major break on floor by falling on her Silivas. However, she recomposed herself on vault performing an amazing Cheng followed with a victory screech. Rebecca Downie also had a great day qualifying to the bars final with a 14.8. The new army of Italian seniors made their world championships debut at this competition and started out very shaky on floor. Desiree Carofiglio was the only Italian who posted a score above 13 on floor, and was able to do so with a Dowell and a layout in immediate connection to a double-front. However, the team quickly recollected themselves for vault and were able to post the third-highest vault score thanks to three massive double-twisting Yurchenkos. 

In subdivision 8 the Dutch had a little bit of a rough time. 2016 Olympic Champion Sanna Wevers didn’t have the beam routine she was capable of and posted a 13.2. Floor, on the other hand, went very well for the Dutch. The Netherlands are known for their impeccable artistry and they put on quite a performance with beautiful choreography specifically from Lieke Wevers and Eythora Thorsdottir. The biggest surprise in the competition for me was the Spanish team. SPAIN QUALIFIED A FULL TEAM TO THE OLYMPICS. Roxana Popa not only helped the Spanish team grab an Olympic qualification spot but made qualified into the floor finals with a 13.8 after several years of devastating injuries which kept her out of the Rio Olympics. 

Image result for cries in spanish

The Japanese unfortunately didn’t have the day they were looking for. Leaving their star, Mai Murakami, at home resulted in a much weaker team performance. They still qualified for the Olympic Games, but barely.

The biggest question of the competition for me was Russia. As Valentina Rodionenko stated, “our team isn’t well-balanced”. The selection of this team left me with many questions like “who will be the fourth person to do floor in qualifications?” “What about beam?” But, as Russia does, they greatly surpassed my expectations and rose towards the top of the leader board, finishing about a point behind China. One of my favorite moments of the competition included Angelina Melnikova’s braid popping out on her double-layout. 

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The final subdivision included the United States and Brazil. For the United States, Simone Biles became the first woman to ever compete a triple-double in competition. As of now, it will now be referred to as the Biles and has a J-rating, meaning she broke the code. Simone is the first gymnast in history to ever do a J-rated skill in competition. She also did her double-double beam dismount, which will also be named the Biles and was given an H. However, there was a lot of drama about only assigning the beam dismount an H-rating considering the full-in off beam is a G. The FIG defended themselves with this pile of garbage. Another controversial moment occurred with Kara Eaker’s beam score. As I mentioned earlier with Moor’s floor score being devalued, an inquiry was submitted for Eaker’s beam score, and the judges devalued Eaker’s D-score not by just one-tenth, but by four-tenths knocking her out of the beam finals. Meanwhile, Brazil suffered an injury quite early into the competition with two-time Olympian Jade Barbosa injuring her ankle on a Yurchenko double-full. Because of this, she was not able to compete on bars, beam, and floor, leaving the Brazilians only with three gymnasts on each event. Unfortunately, with no cushions for mistakes, the Brazilians were forced to count several scores in the elevens on bars, beam, and floor which knocked them not only out of contention to qualify for the team final, but out of qualifying for the Olympics completely. The lone representative for Brazil next year at the Olympics will be 2016 Olympian, Flavia Saraiva, who qualified for the beam and floor finals.

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This was a very surprising qualification round. I would never have predicted Brazil to be knocked out of Olympic qualification, and for Spain to qualify. But surprises happen when teams are put under immense amounts of pressure. For some people, the pressure may be too much to handle. As the rest of the competition ensues, I look forward to seeing more positive surprises on the competition floor, but am mentally preparing for the worst-of-the-worst.

Published by Daniel Rothwell

Gymnastics aficionado

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