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LONDON, 4:14 p.m.: Shock has set in in London.
A puffy-eyed Jordyn Wieber was led through the mixed zone by women’s program VP Kathy Kelly, who hovered over her protectively. She did not speak to the media. Usually the story in gymnastics is that an athlete falters, does less than expected. Jordyn Wieber did exactly what was expected of her: she went out onto the floor at the Olympic Games, the biggest event of them all, and she hit her routines. She hit them very, very well.
And while the debate will rage as to whether Aly Raisman and Gabrielle Douglas were both better than Wieber on this day in this subjective sport, the fact is that Rasiman and Douglas are headed to the all-around final and Wieber is not. It’s a stunning early exit for the 2011 World all-around champion, who has borne the pressure and expectations with remarkable grace throughout this Olympic season.
Should Aly Raisman win a medal in the all-around (and she very well may, having been fourth at the past two World Championships with falls) she will owe Jordyn Wieber one very big thank you for deflecting a lot of the media attention that allowed Raisman to put her head down in the gym and work to get herself to Wieber’s level.
Nobody saw a scenario — other than an injury — that would keep Jordyn Wieber out of the all-around. At one point during this afternoon’s women’s team prelims, we were joking in the media gallery about a Raisman/Douglas AA final. We laughed because we didn’t think it would happen. But the Olympic Games do that — you think you know what will happen going in, and somehow the story has completely changed by the time you leave the arena.
ROTATION ONE: Germany on bars, China on beam, Russia on floor.
Fashion notes! China in red and yellow (surprise), Russia in mostly red with one white sleeve and just a bit of blue, Germany in black, white and red.
The journalists next to me are talking. “So Aly is Jordyn’s roommate?” “Yeah.” “Put that in the lede — it’s going to be an awkward night.”
Barbara Gasser, vault: Didn’t see it.
Nadine Jarosch, bars: Hit routine with full twisting double tuck dismount.
Deng Linlin, beam: Didn’t see it. Sorry everybody.
Aliya Mustafina, floor: Arabian double front to single stag, well controlled. 2.5 to front layout full. That’s better than in the past — and in training. Split leap to switch half. Lovely expression. Nearly goes OOB on Memmel turn. That’s Mustafina for you — always on the line. Double tuck, stuck. So far this is very good! Long prep for triple full, messy legs but well landed. The Russians like it. Very strong start for Mustafina. 14.433.
Jessica Gil, vault: Handspring front pike half.
Kim Bui, bars: Toe Khorkina II. Toe full to Gienger. Jaeger to Pak. Maloney — did her feet brush the mat? — to bail to Ray, giants to full twisting double tuck, STUCK. Nice!
Sui Lu, beam: The World champion goes second? Front pike to Korbut. Front aerial, bhs, back pike. Switch ring. Full turn with leg up. Switch. Front tuck half. Double pike, small step back. Excellent routine.
Viktoria Komova, floor: 1.5 to Arabian double front. Double tuck, tiny step back. Triple full, small step out. Audience doesn’t quite get the music. Double pike, OOB.
Nastassia Marachkouskaya, vault: DTY! Impressive, small step back.
Elisabeth Seitz, bars: Maloney. Stalder uprise half. Giant to Geinger. Church…full twisting double tuck. Has actually taken out her move, the Seitz, because she gets deducted for it too much due to form.
Huang Qiushuang, beam: Front aerial. Long pause. Bhs, layout. Side aerial, lovely. She has looked the most prepared of anyone on her team. Onodi, terrific. Switch ring, small wobble, leg comes up.
Anastasia Grishina, floor: Very dramatic music. Double double tuck, OOB but not bad. 1.5 to triple full, excellent. You have to love the drama of this routine. Long wait in the corner before her double pike, and the music ends while she’s still in the air. Small deduction for that.
Jessica Lopez, vault: DTY, nice! 14.566.
Janine Berger, bars: Smooth pike Jaeger. Full twisting double tuck dismount. Smart routine, nicely done. The newcomer impresses!
Yao Jinnan, beam: Quite a bit taller than she was last year, and more mature looking. She struggled a bit in training. Falls on her standing full. Nearly comes off on her flight series — save of the day, I believe. Rough go for her in this first rotation.
Ksenia Afanasyeva, floor: Opening pose is just pure Russian drama. Double layout, small shuffle back. Two whips to tripel full, and the audience loves it. Wonderful playfulness and drama. Split to Tourjete half. 1.5 to front layout half to single stag, being a little conservative here in prelims. Eh, when you’re the World floor champ, you can get away with that. Double pike, and floor finals, here she comes! The crowd loved it.
ROTATION TWO: Russia on vault, Germany on beam, China on floor.
So, more mixed zone stuff. Martha Karolyi says that Aly has been the hardest worker all year and she’s always thought Aly was the hardest worker and she’s delighted to see it all pay off for her, though she is also very sad for Jordyn, who has also worked incredibly hard.
Neither Wieber nor John Geddert talked to the media at all, and USA Gymnastics may release some quotes a bit later.
Anastiasia Grishina, vault: DTY, low landing but makes it, step forward.
Jessica Gil, bars: Step on her dismount, didn’t really see the rest.
Nadine Jarosch, beam: Good 2.5 twist dismount.
Deng Linlin, floor: She struggled mightily with her first pass during training…two whips to 2.5 twist, better than in training, still steps to the side. Full in tuck, and somehow that one doesn’t look like it hurts as much. Memmel spin. Her new floor is very Spanish, and she has some playful choreo, which is cool. Double tuck to single stag.
Viktoria Komova, vault: Amanar, very, very good! Small hop. Rivaled any of the Americans. She smiles! 15.633.
Jessica Lopez, bars: 1.5 to front layout, nice. Tkatchev to Gienger, good! Jaeger. Giant to bail, toe hecht to high, overbalances high bar handstand, blind to double front with a step forward. Coach Nilson Savage coached her through this routine, but the two errors will keep her out of bar finals, unfortunately.
Kim Bui, beam: Off on something, didn’t see what.
Sui Lu, floor: 2.5 to front layout. Good solid double pike to end. Missed two of her passes, though.
Aliya Mustafina, vault: DTY, very nice.
Maria Paseka, vault: Amanar! And makes it! WOW. Well done Russia! Second vault: Roundoff, half on, front layout half off. Really not bad. That will probably make vault finals. SO MUCH BETTER than in training, my goodness. 15.533.
Oksana Chusovitina, beam: Front pike mount and crowd goes “ohhhh!” as her leg comes up and she stays like that for a long second trying to get her balance. And then she does and it’s like the world unfreezes. Front pike. The rest was solid. Double tuck dismount. Amazing woman, truly.
Huang Qiushuang, floor: Soft music, female vocals. Saves her 2.5 to front layout half after weirdly landing the 2.5. Triple full, fairly big step forward. Triple turn. Third pass is double pike, steps back. Absolutely enchanting piece of music. Switch ring. Double pike with a hop. Lovely, lovely routine.
Elisabeth Seitz, beam: Punch front. Side aerial, very solid. Side somie. Front aerial. Pause. And then off on bhs, layout! Oh, too bad! Tourjete, wobble. Now her confidence is shot. Double pike dismount.
Yao Jinnan, floor: Light, happy beat to this music. Triple full with a little hop. Double full second pass — conservative. 1.5 to 2.5 and takes several steps back and then realizes she has a backward roll in her choreography right there so just lets herself go back into the roll rather than taking another five steps back. I wonder what the judges will do with that. Double pike, a bit low.
ROTATION THREE: China vault, Russia on bars, Germany on floor.
Statement by Jordyn Wieber: “It is a bit of a disappointment. It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics, but I’m proud of Aly and Gabby and happy that they reached the all-around and that I was able to help the team get into finals. I think from the beginning we were all looking very strong. It was always going to be very close between the three of us doing all-around and in the end it is what it is.”
Anastasia Grishina, bars: Inbar blind to pike Jaeger and oh! Hits her feet on the high bar pretty hard and she keeps going, barely breaks form. Very impressive. The rest of the routine was clean.
He Kexin, vault: ! He Kexin vaulting! Well, OK. FTY with a step back.
Deng Linlin, vault: DTY. Begins her twist late but whatever.
Aliya Mustafina, bars: Stalder full to toe Khorkina II, Toe blind to pike Jaeger. Inbar full to Pak to toe Khorkina II. Toe full to 1.5 twisting double tuck, very well landed! Bar finals! High fives her coach. Yes, Aliya’s having a good day. And she may well beat out Grishina for AA finals.
Huang Qiushuang, vault: DTY, well done. Dunno if that one had the power to be an Amanar, but it’s only prelims.
Viktoria Komova, bars: Inbar Shaposh to Pak, inbar Shaposh half, her own skill, inbar blind to Jaeger. Tkatchev. The half pirouette that makes people sigh. Double double tuck, beautiful. 15.833. And she can do better is the thing!
Yao Jinnan, vault: DTY, very low landing, goes to her hands and knees. And she seems hurt. Gets up to salute, tries to put weight on it to walk off and finds she can’t. Limps off the mat. Although now, off the podium, she’s walking around. 13.133.
Nadine Jarosch, floor: Nice triple twist to end her routine, but took about five steps back after underrotating her 1.5 to front layout full, the pass before. Nice powerful electric violins piece.
Love Jessica Gil’s mount: Jump to splits without using her hands. Just caught the end of the routine: Punch front. Roundoff, double tuck with a large step forward, a little underrotated.
Elisabeth Seitz, floor: Full in pike, large step back. 1.5 to 2.5. Nice triple turn. Music, mostly a snare drum beat, is the sort of music that doesn’t actually suggest any choreography, you just do what you want to it, which is basically what Seitz is doing. Double pike. Female vocals at the beginning and end.
Maria Paseka gets a huge kick out of doing a touch on bars. She even put on her grips to do it! She’s laughing with her coaches off the podium. Everyone’s in a good mood if two Russians stand up their Amanars.
ROTATION FOUR: China on bars, Russia on beam, Germany on vault.
Nadine Jarosch, vault: Crashes Yurchenko 1.5.
Huang Qiushuang, bars: Blind to two full spins to Jaeger pike. Pak. Ray. Blind to Ino to inside 1.5. Double layout, STUCK. Nice routine!
Aliya Mustafina, beam: Swing through mount. Double turn, well done. Standing Arabian. Switch ring. Onodi, holds leg up but pauses. Front aerial, pauses again, bhs, back tuck. Side aerial. STUCK roundoff, double tuck though.
Jessica Lopez, floor: Has made Nilson Savage very happy by hitting her floor routine.
Janine Berger, vault: And she crashes her Rudi! Oh dear…that’s why she was on the team, too…although her tumbling is also quite good. Her second vault is an excellent Tsuk double full. Haven’t seen one of those yet.
He Kexin, bars: Hop change to tow full spins to Jaeger half to Jaeger. Pirouettes to layout Jaeger to Pak to toe hecht to high, clear hip to giant to full twisting double tuck. She makes it! He Kexin looks like she’s going to cry. Bar finals at the Olympics, I think so. It’s been a long four years.
Anastasia Grishina, beam: Roundoff, layout to two feet. Switch ring? Side somie. Lovely illusion to full turn, beautifully connected! Onodi, bhs. So far, this is really good…Double pike with a step back.
Barbara Gasser, floor: Didn’t see it. Beautiful piece of music, fwiw.
Oksana Chusovitina, vault: Rudi, well done, a bounce and a step back, however. Still, who cares? Very nice Tsuk 1.5.
Yao Jinnan, bars: Hit routine! Stuck double layout dismount! Happy Yao!
Viktoria Komova, beam: Full turn with leg up to front aerial to back tuck. Sheep. No connection. Bhs, layout. Nice standing Arabian! Jumps. She looks on for once. Wobble on punch front, leg comes up. And again on side somie. Bhs, bhs, Patterson, small hop! WOW Komova. Here comes Komova!
Jessica Gil, floor: OOB on first tumbling pass.
Awww, Aliya and Vika are having a moment! They are quite adorable.
Elisabeth Seitz, vault: DTY, hop back.
Deng Linlin, bars: Jump to high, blind, front stalder, front stalder half to Tkatchev. Inverts to Jaeger. Pak. Full twisting double layout with a small step.
Ksenia Afanasyeva, beam: Roll on mount. Barani. Front aerial, bhs, layout to two feet. Tourjete half. Switch to scissone. The Russians look on today. Onodi to side somie, really nicely done. Full turn with leg up to full turn going the other way. Double tuck with a small hop and the Russians are happy!
Ksenia’s expression doesn’t change much, but they all gather for a group hug. Mustafina and Komova especially look delighted, but the Russians are really just all grins. They wave to the camera, wave to the crowd. They trail the U.S. by 1.8 points going into finals. Lovely moments for them!
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