For Beth Tweddle and Amanda Kirby the ultimate authority of respect, an Olympic top 8 Final. Beth is also reserve for Floor and in a week anything can happen. Becky Downie has qualified for the All Around top 24 Final with Imogen Cairns the 1st reserve.
For British Gymnastics in Beijing an historic result - 4 Olympic Finalists and 3 Reservists.
Congratulations to the Olympic Finalists their Coaches and Clubs-
Beth Tweddle and Coach Amanda Kirby at Liverpool
Becky Downie and Coach Claire Starkey at Nottingham
Daniel Keatings, Louis Smith and Coach Paul Hall at Huntingdon
Congratulations Olympic reservist Imogen Cairns and coach Liz Kincaid at the Academy.
China was in the first session but surprisingly The National Indoor Stadium was barely 50% full as the gymnasts marched in. It picked up to 80% or so. Joining China were Romania and 2 groups of individuals representing 10 countries.
China led the first session, 248.275 with Romania 238.425. Were China so good or were Romania weak? Probably a bit of both but with China making errors what might have been if they all hit 4 for 4?
CHINA Were beautiful to watch, great difficulty and with artistry.
Beam, beautiful. 15.5 to start from Yang Yilin began an escalating difficulty through the team.
Floor, so much to see, Deng double Arabian, Yang triple twist. All were beautifully choreographed with Cheng a masterpiece of theatre
The saddest moment. He Kexin, amazing and sad, Jager half turn to Jager, Straight Jager, Tkachev Pak and ….fell.
ROMANIA A very ordinary start at Vault but they just needed time to settle.
Floor and at last Romania were motoring, good scoring and that spark of excitement and drama.
VENEZUELA Bars. Arocha Lopez, Jager, Tkachev, Mercer dismount all technically pure and well designed. She was elegant and well performed.
SWITZERLAND Bars. Ariella Kaslin, Geinger, Khorkina, and full in back out with very good exchanges and style.
Great Britain left old rivals behind in Sydney. We passed great nations in Athens. Today in Beijing we stand amongst the legends of gymnastics. Olympic Finals and an Olympic medal are within reach. 6 gymnasts lived the dream today.
But sometimes dreams can be unsettling. Todays competition saw a British team perform under their best. What they produced in the training halls to attract attention and admiration slipped away.
Coach Colin Still was trying to work out what brought so many difficult moments to the team. “This is an experienced team. Nerves maybe” he suggested,” perhaps not driving themselves hard enough into the routines. It’s very disappointing. Looking at who is to come there is a chance of team 8th and another chance to show what we can do”
The team go back to the hotel to rest then return to watch their fate unfold. It will be a tortuous few hours.
“They (Bars and Floor) were not my best” stated Beth, “but that’s what happened”.
After Vault GBR was 4th, 59.325 just behind Romania then USA and China.
After Bars GBR was 5th 117.2 behind Japan, Romania, USA and China.
After Beam the rankings were unchanged.
After Floor the rankings were unchanged.
The British performance was not the best, this team can do far better. 5th with 2 sessions remaining the top 8 team final is still just possible. The top 24 is still possible for British gymnasts. For Beth Tweddle, 5th on bars after the second session and 7th on Floor it is going to be a long and tense wait. In all probability the Floor final is gone but Bars, because of the enormous scores already posted may still be achieved.
Vault 14.55 Yurchenko 1 1/2
Bars 14.1 Stalder, Tkachev Pak, double pike
Beam 14.575 flip full, tuck back,
Vault 13.5 Yurchenko 1 1/2 down
Beam 14.325 free tuck back, ariel, side, flip layout, half turn handspring,
Floor 14.125 full in back out, double Arabian, 1 1/2 through to 1 1/2, double pike. Excellent tumbling and very entertaining.
Vault 14.85 Yurchenko 1 1/2
Bars 13.475 Geinger and double pike, a good anchor for the team.
Beam 14.175 half turn handspring, free walkover flip layout, tucked free, flip full, double tuck dismount.
Floor 14.55 double Arabian, double twist, 1 1/2 front full, 2 1/2 twist, well expressed choreography.
Vault 14.875 Tsukahara 1 1/2 twist
Bars 13.475 Khorkina, giant full, half in double front.
Beam 14.325 Arabian, free walkover, side, free to 2 feet, round off double tuck dismount.
Floor 13.75 full in back out , double Arabian, 2 1/2 punch front, double twist, double pike.
Vault 15.05 Yurchenko double twist
Bars 14.65 a small problem well covered, Stalder hald Endo hald, toe on Tkachev, Stalder full, Stalder Tkachev, half in half out.
Beam 14.225 none too steady. Free walkover, side, ariel, ariel to 2 feet , tuck back, tuck front, round off double pike.
Floor 14.15 a great routine, full in back out, triple twist, 1 1/2 through to double twist, double pike.
Bars 15.65 Well held through a difficult passage, Khorkina Geinger, Tkachev, toe on Tkachev half turn to (back straddle half), half in half out. From a massive 7.6 difficulty. With a B jury given such an opportunity the true worth of the exercise is yet to be tested. There was a small misalignment after the initial Healy and Beth did well to hold the routine together. But the B jury had their opportunity.
Floor 14.95 1 1/2 through to double Arabian (out of area), double Arabian piked, double twist, 1 1/2 punch front full.
ITALY They looked the part on Beam but not always well balanced.
USA A superb balance of tricks, choreography and drama, the occasional step out the area but some very special gymnastics. Alicia Sacramone, exciting and evocative.
Liukin Bars, from Stalder half Endo half so many turns and a handstands, 1 1/2 turns to geinger, Tkachev, Pak, Mercer half and down, 15.95 from a 7.7 difficulty rating.
JAPAN Very good Bars with a odd errors but a fine line and technical appreciation. Minobe, Tkachev, giant full Jaeger the a tucked exchange of bars.
Germany, Ukraine, Russia and Great Britain.
With the opening rotation all 4 teams went ahead of GBR on the split scoring but after the second rotation there was relief with Ukraine suffering very badly on floor. Germany let is slip away. At the end of the third session, GBR were 7th. So now it needs both France and Brazil to beat the GBR total in the final session.
With Great Britain in team 7th position and Beth 8th in Floor and Bars there was little space left. In the first rotation Daiane Santos knocked Beth out of the Floor final. Brazil and France pushed GBR into 9th on split score.
The Peoples Republic of Korea brought a relatively unknown to the event in Cha Yong Hwa certainly capable of a big Bars score. Stalder full, giant hop full, then Def but missed; Jaeger, Pak and double straight were of no consequence, 15.175 and just a guess at what might have been. Beth was comfortable again in 8th with the last known threat past.
After 2 rounds Beth was still holding 8th for the Bars final but France and Brazil remained ahead of GBR on split scores.
3 rounds past and Beth was looking straight in the front door of the Bars Final. But for GBR the door of the Team Final was closing rapidly as France and Brazil warmed up their last apparatus.
With double straight full dismount from Rose Bellemare France was elevated to 6th and Britain dropped to 8th. Even as Ana Silva staggered around after her 1 1/2 twist from Beam, Brazil was elevated to 7th and GBR to 9th. The Team Final for Great Britain was gone.
(AUTHORS NOTE. This brief review is done live and at speed with 4 events competing together. There will be some inaccuracies. Please accept that this is provided to give a broad account of what took place rather than to write a coaches textbook. Descriptions are simplified to help a wider audience.)