The 2014 Commonwealth Games finished up team competition today in the second day of qualifications with a gold for England, silver for last quad’s champions from Australia, and a historic bronze for Wales, who edged out Canada by half a point.
In addition to the team final medal race, today’s qualification also set the fields for the balance beam and floor exercise apparatus finals, as well as for the all-around finals.
1. England – 167.555
The English ladies easily beat their opponents through a show of steady routines during the second qualification day.
Ruby Harrold was a solid opener; aside from several steps on her double tuck dismount, she showed a calmness in her work. Hannah Whelan, whose routine has showed promise this year and had a strong chance at the event final, unfortunately had a sizable wobble on her Onodi and took two large steps on her 2.5 dismount. She did have a smooth opening wolf + front aerial + sheep jump combo followed by a side aerial to LOSO, and received a 13.033.
Becky Downie continued to build on England’s beam scores, earning a 13.2 for a routine that included a perfect side aerial to LOSO combo, but also some wobbles throughout. She stepped back on her double pike dismount and hobbled off the podium. Claudia Fragapane, the absolute superstar of this entire competition so far, wrapped things up with an incredible effort. Her bhs + layout had fantastic height, her standing full was rock solid, and she finished with a double pike, coming away with a 14.033.
Whelan got things started on floor, showing a nice 2.5 to punch layout, a double pike, and a lovely Ferrari to finish, earning a 13.7 and a spot in the finals. Kelly Simm followed, opening with a 1.5 to tucked full, which landed OOB and caused her to put her hand down. She followed with a nice stuck double layout, double tuck, and double pike, but the opening mistake brought her just a 12.466. Harrold earned a 13.466 for a routine that opened with a double arabian and had nice tumbling throughout, though she took lots of steps on landings. Fragapane once again was a rockstar, beginning her routine with a full-twisting DLO, a stuck DLO, a double arabian, and a double pike. It was a stunning performance, and she put loads of effort into her dance, earning a 14.733 for what could be a very competitive routine at this year’s World Championships.
Downie- 1st UB, 5th BB
Fragapane- 1st VT, 1st BB, 1st FX, 1st AA
Harrold- 5th UB, 3rd AA
Simms- 4th VT
Whelan- 3rd FX, 5th AA
2. Australia – 161.646
Such a rough day for the Aussies, sadly, though I commend them for remaining in good spirits straight to the end, especially Olivia Vivian who fell twice on beam. Her attitude was positive all night, and when the cameras cut to her reaction when her score appeared, she shook her head and quipped “whoever invented beam…” while making a fist. She later tweeted “my beam skills are clearly too amazing for finals.”
Obviously this team is in a somewhat precarious position after being denied Worlds last year, so they will have to improve on their consistency if they want to help the program; but if you’re going to fall, you may as well do it with class. It’s certainly a refreshing and welcome change from the stereotypical photos of little girls crying after earning silver.
Georgia Rose Brown got things started on floor with a fall immediately on her opening double arabian pass and then again on her front double full, though otherwise it was a fabulous routine, in terms of her dance, 2.5, and breathtaking Memmel to illusion turn. Larrissa Miller showed an incredible double arabian to stag, but fell on her double pike at the end of the routine. Lauren Mitchell‘s routine was very strong, from the full-in pike, double arabian + stag, 2.5 + punch tuck, and a double pike with a perfect landing. I definitely do not miss the leaps out of her passes, a la the last quad!! She earned a 14.1 for her effort. Vivian finished things off with a decent routine, though had some steps here and there; her 13.166 was exactly one tenth away from making finals, showing how much landings matter!
Beam wasn’t much better than floor, sadly, though Mary Anne Monckton did give them a decent start, some checks and wobbles aside. Brown unfortunately fell on her flight series and then almost fell again on her front tuck, but she fought hard to stay on. Her leaps were stunning, however, and her lines are very nice in general. Mitchell proved that she still has “it” here; it wasn’t her best routine ever (her leaps were not all that close to 180 and she was super deep in her low double tuck dismount landing), but that bhs + bhs + layout series was great and overall, she looked like the experienced Olympian that she is, earning a 13.966.
Vivian’s routine ended up being a bit of a comedy routine, as she was off from the start, as if her mind went completely elsewhere, but at least she has a sense of humor about it. She fell on her first series, a bhs + layout, and then had an odd moment on what should have been a switch to switch half; she stopped after the switch leap, did some bizarre choreo while regaining her focus, and then went into the switch half. She then fell again on her free roundoff and took a step on her double full dismount. She did look a bit frustrated after her second fall (she fought REALLY hard to stay on and seemed really disappointed that she couldn’t get it), but this seems like one of those fluke routines where you really just can’t get anything right no matter how hard you try. I’m sure she can redeem in the AA final.
Brown- 3rd UB, 14th AA
Miller- 2nd UB
Mitchell- 2nd BB, 2nd FX
Monckton- 8th BB
Vivian- 11th AA
3. Wales – 160.095
Unfortunately, because the Welsh team was in the earlier session, I was unable to watch any of their performance. Whoever put the subdivisions together clearly underestimated this team! The broadcast did show the girls watching from the stands, and when Canada’s Maegan Chant‘s floor score was revealed, the cameras cut to the Welsh team crying and cheering when they realized they’d won bronze. A truly wonderful moment for the team, and really too bad they weren’t featured in the main broadcast.
In podium training, one of the team’s stars, Raer Theaker, sustained a “minor injury” and had to pull out of the competition. She watched her teammates from the stands, which she said was “so hard.” It is unknown whether or not she will compete in uneven bar finals on Thursday.
The team pulled together, however, and counted three scores 13.066 and above on beam; though floor was a bit of a rough outing, Elizabeth Beddoe and Jessica Hogg put up a 13.166 and 13.266, respectively. Georgina Hockenhull and Angel Romaeo also competed.
Beddoe- 4th UB, 6th BB, 4th AA
Hockenhull- 4th BB, 8th AA
Hogg- 7th FX
Theaker- 7th UB
4. Canada – 159.563
This was a big disappointment to me. It’s not as though they sent a team of amateurs – the team is young but pretty experienced internationally, and features Canada’s best, minus Victoria Moors and the injured Aleeza Yu. There’s no way Moors’ departure alone was responsible for their implosion…while I don’t think they could have challenged England, a team of this caliber should have been battling Australia for silver, not falling behind Wales and leaving empty-handed.
I just hope this can ignite some fire for the future, because it was a very sad day watching a nation that looked poised to break into the Big 4 in 2012 take several large steps backwards two years later. It mostly had to do with their bars yesterday, which happens, though three falls out of four beam routines is something I’d be very frustrated with as a member of that team.
The young Isabela Onyshko has lovely lines on beam, though she is a bit hesitant on some of her skills. Her bhs + bhs + layout series is very nice, as is her Y-turn, gainer loso, and double tuck dismount. Not a bad start, actually, and it got her into the finals. Ellie Black fell straight away on her double turn, which looked perfect until the very end. Unfortunate, because the rest of the routine was golden – her front pike and bhs + layout were stunning, and she had just a small step on he roundoff 2.5. Despite the fall, she ended up with a 13.966 and qualified into finals, thanks to her 6.4 SV. Maegan Chant also fell on her aerial roundoff, though she had a nice landing on her double pike, and Stephanie Merkle fell I believe twice, though I missed her routine.
They did come back nicely on floor, though I do expect more from them in terms of execution here. Merkle was pretty strong as the leadoff, getting over her beam trauma and opening with a lovely full-in; she also had a 2.5 + punch front, triple full, and a double tuck, and despite some steps on landings, she was pretty solid, earning a 13.633 and a trip to finals. Onyshko has some fabulous music and dances beautifully…she bounced OOB on her 1.5 to double tuck, but looked good on her full-in and double pike. Black tends to get hammered on her execution and tonight was no different; her DLO was stuck, and her 2.5 into the double pike is INSANE but she staggered it forward. She earned a 13.966 for the routine, same as Lauren Mitchell but one spot behind her due to lower execution. Chant finished things up nicely, though also received a lot of deductions and went OOB on her double back – she just had way too much power going into it and bounced what looked like a full four feet backwards. Her DLO and full-in pike were fabulous under pressure, though.
Black- 2nd VT, 6th UB, 3rd BB, 5th FX, 2nd AA
Chant- 5th VT, 7th AA
Merkle- 4th FX
Onyshko- 7th BB, 10th AA
We obviously need to talk about Kirsten Beckett of South Africa again, because this girl qualified into every apparatus final but beam in addition to a 6th place all-around spot. She is on fire and is doing magical work for her nation, which also qualified Claudia Cummins in 18th and Bianca Mann in 20th into the all-around final. This team of only three athletes going 3-up, 3-count came within about two-tenths of finishing above the Scottish team, using a full team of five, so they are basically rockstars and should be so proud of themselves.
With the injuries to Courtney McGregor, Mackenzie Slee, and Anna Tempero, New Zealand sadly could not field three athletes today, taking them out of the team final race. Still, both Brittany Robertson and Charlotte Sullivan had great performances. Robertson floats through her tumbling and her dance was very dramatic; she stuck her double tuck and also had stunning leaps. Sullivan was on fire with her tumbling, nailing her triple full and double pike to start, followed by a 2.5 + stag and a double tuck. Her 13.466 on this event helped her to the floor final. Both Robertson and Sullivan also hit beam, albeit with a few wobbles.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia had another strong day, competing well on beam and floor. With her 12th place qualifying spot into the all-around, she has shown incredible improvement over the past couple of years.
Scotland’s Emma White unfortunately had some issues on beam tonight, though she still managed the all-around final, as did teammate Amy Regan, who had a brilliant floor routine which included a stunning DLO and nice 1.5 to 2.5.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins
With a big thank you for help from Ryan O’Connell