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2008 Gymnastic’s Womens All-Around Olympic Results

August 15, 2008

Last night proved to be one of the cloesest nail-biting competitions of the entire Olympics thus far.  The general gymnastics media pegged Nastia Luikin and Shawn Johnson as the main competitors for the womens all-around title, but as these Beijing Olympics have proven, nothing has set in stone, and nerves or other factors can take Gold away in the blink of an eye. 

As pointed out on the opening event, the vault, the Chinese women were definitely going to be a huge threat, along with the Russian, Skenia Semenova , and Romanian, Steliana Nistor.  As it were, after the first event the troubles began.  Nastia landed her vault perfectly and if looked at in slow motion, the execution was flawless, yet she scored in the low fifteens, because her start vaule was lower.  Still myself and the judges included were dumfounded by the amount of execution deductions they claimed existed.  It’s perfectly fine to have higher standards and not want to give enormous scores easily, but when they are earned and deserved, they certainly should be deemed, rather than the FIG’s political agenda.  Shawn Johnson, the reigning world all-around champion, and Yilin Yang the Chinese lead woman performed difficult vaults and recorded respectable scores.  After the first round Shawn Johnson was in second place and her companion and friend Nastia Liukin trailed in sixth on the way to uneven bars.  Romanian, Steliana Nistor, was in first place after an amazing Uneven Bars routine.

By the time the women had reached bars the tension was high.  Nastia turned out a very respectable score of 15.475 with the only visible mistake a small hop on the dismount.  Her routines start value was a 7.7, the highest in the competition along with Yilin Yangs Uneven Bar routine.  Almost an entire point of execution deductions were made.  The judges and the crowd were left wondering what happened to Nastia’s score.  Shawn Johnson was clearly underscored as well.  Her start value was much lower, but she turned out a nearly perfect routine with the most difficult dismount being done on the apparatus with a stuck landing.  Russia’s Ksenia Semenova received an enormous 16.475 to counter Nastia’s 16.650.  However, China burst out with Yilin’s routine, similar in structure and execution to Nastia with a 16.725.  Frankly, it was extremely high.  The Russian actually had the best bars performance overall.  In any case, disappointment and concern was in the air on the way to balance beam, with Nastia trailing in second and Shawn Johnson now in the 6th position.

The questionable scoring became evident again on beam.  There were some exquisite performances by the Russian girls, but Yilin’s routine was full of awkward bobbles and no fluid movement.  She was obviously uncomfortable on the appartus.  She still managed to pull out the huge score of 15.750, which shocked the commentators and myself.  While Shawn Johnson’s routine had a few errors in it and an even bigger score, it was executed 100% better still had little to do with the over-scoring of Yang.  Nastia made another seemingly perfect routine that did score big, but still left everyone wondering exactly what must be done to have a perfect routine.  Her lead was slight over Yang’s, and Johnson and Semenova trailed slightly after that by the time Floor Exercise was reached.

Semenova had an elegant and passionate performance on floor with extremely fluid choreography and dance.  Her score was lower because of her start value once again, which seemed a shame beside such beautiful execution.  Yilin Yang followewed with a routine that’s start value was much lower and execution almost clumsy.    She stuck her landings, no question, but her dance and actual form during tumbles were sloppy and awkward.  During the team competition she was not briliant here, but certainly better.  She scored a solid 15.000, which did seem fair and left the door wide open for Nastia, and the opportunity for Shawn, who is the reigning world champion on floor exercise to snub her.  Each did just that.  Both performed the best I have seen them all Olympics with beautiful and wonderfully executed routines.  Nastia was in #1, and Shawn in #2, while Yilin Yang managed to keep Semenova off of the podium with a #3 place finish.

After the Uneven Bars, I had felt nervous, but still exhausted as the competition was going past midnight on Eastern Time here.  But by the balance beam it had turned out to be one of the tightest and most exciting All-Arounds ever.  I was wide awake by the final Floor Routines.  Nastia was cleary the winner, with a near perfect night, though her scores didn’t entirely reflect that.  Shawn, Semenova and Yang all performed well to and have much to be proud of too, but none could catch Nastia’s quiet elegance and strength as she made herself Olympic Champion.  Her father, a former gold medal winning Russian gymnast and also her coach was full of proud tears watching Nastia on the podium and the American Anthem being played.  I joined both of them in pride and joy.  Some of the scores were questionable, but I think the results were fairly accurate.

The questions about scoring will continue throughout the mens inudivual apparatus finals tonight, along with the womens tomorrow.  Some people are complaining about a Chinese bias from last nights performance, but I don’t know if that’s the real issue.  The only thing clear is that there is enormous holes in the scoring system that creates inconsitancy in scores given, and isn’t clear on when deductions are and aren’t given.  If anything this gives off the impression that certain gymnasts are being favored while others not, and an investigation is both fair and worthy, especially when the Chinese government is already being fervently investigated for their competing women being underage.  Yuyuan Jiang undoubtably gives the appearance of a very young girl, but then so do many of the other women.  This is an issue of perception that will do no good arguing about if the FIG can’t prove their accusations, which I think regardless they will never have.

Ignoring the indescrepencies of the scoring issues last evening, and the ones before, last night was exhilarating and exciting.  It’s been the first time in many years gymnastic’s has been so much fun for me.  Most of the women really raised their own bar and made it a very competitive night.  Even Yang with her Bronze was brilliant for the most part.  Small mistakes that both she and Johnson made is what separated them from Nastia, who left no room for error.  It was great to see another American women win the Olympic All-Around since Mary-Lou and Carly. 

The men get to perform their event finals tonight and the women tomorrow.  Have a safe weekend and see you then.  Michael Phelps also races his 100 Meter Butterfly at 10:10 Eastern Time, and Track and Field begins.

Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure and if you scroll down the results of the Top 14 women:

 

Here are the official results thanks to  yahoo sports:

 

Gymnastics – Women’s Individual All-Round Final Ranking
Medal Country Athlete Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Score
Gold Flag of USA Nastia Liukin 15.025 16.650 16.125 15.525 63.325
Silver Flag of USA Shawn Johnson 15.875 15.275 16.050 15.525 62.725
Bronze Flag of CHN Yilin Yang 15.175 16.725 15.750 15.000 62.650
4th Flag of RUS Ksenia Semenova 14.750 16.475 15.925 14.775 61.925
5th Flag of ROU Steliana Nistor 15.025 15.975 15.550 14.500 61.050
6th Flag of CHN Yuyuan Jiang 14.825 15.875 15.425 14.775 60.900
7th Flag of RUS Anna Pavlova 15.275 14.525 15.975 15.050 60.825
8th Flag of ROU Sandra Izbasa 15.075 14.300 15.875 15.500 60.750
9th Flag of GER Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina 15.750 14.900 14.875 14.600 60.125
10th Flag of BRA Jade Barbosa 15.025 15.075 15.500 13.950 59.550
11th Flag of ITA Vanessa Ferrari 14.700 15.200 15.600 13.950 59.450
12th Flag of GBR Becky Downie 15.025 15.625 14.700 14.100 59.450
13th Flag of AUS Georgia Bonora 14.850 14.625 15.100 14.375 58.950
14th Flag of ITA Lia Parolari 13.950 15.350 15.125 14.500 58.925

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 15, 2008 10:12 am

    We watched that last last night, Makenna was loving it! Nastia and Shawn were amazing. I’m still a bit lost on how they even score the damng thing, but it was amazing they we got to finish 1 & 2!

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