Finally we’re able to get to the all-around preview for the women at worlds now that we have at least some of the start lists and can get an idea as to who we’ll actually see in the all-around.
So, to start off, a few gymnasts expected to be in the top eight are no longer going to be competing all four events, including Liu Tingting of China, Eythora Thorsdottir of the Netherlands, and Rebeca Andrade of Brazil.
Both Liu and Thorsdottir have strong enough all-around programs that in this field with so many possibilities, it was possible that both could end up at least close to the podium, if they weren’t exactly frontrunners.
Liu is unfortunately dealing with a foot injury, and while she warmed up a little bit on vault and floor, it was just run-throughs and not actual skills. It’s a bummer, but I’m glad they’re being smart with her and not risking further injury when she has a legitimate shot at beam gold.
As for Thorsdottir, she had a bad catch on her Bhardwaj in training, badly bruising her ribs and making it hard for her to train. Like Liu, she’s focusing on her best events — beam and floor, the events on which she medaled at European Championships this year — with the hopes of making finals in both, so while we’ll miss her in the all-around, it’s probably for the best.
Andrade has been forced to withdraw from the competition entirely due to yet another ACL injury. She has looked great in training this week, but then showed up to podium training and abruptly left without doing a single event. It was super bizarre, but a rep from Brazil later said she was being examined by a trainer to see if she’d be able to perform this week. The trainer determined that the injury was too serious for her to risk competing, and so because we live in a horrifying fever dream, Andrade again will not get to compete at worlds.
What about those who are here? We obviously have to start off with the Americans. No pressure, but Ragan Smith and Morgan Hurd have a legacy to defend, as U.S. gymnasts have won every world and Olympic all-around title since 2011, and in the last quad, were known for getting two women on the podium in every year.
Things don’t seem so absolute for Smith and Hurd this year, though Smith has generally been super consistent in her all-around performances this year, and has a strong enough balance of difficulty and execution to keep her in a good spot under pressure, which is when everyone else tends to melt down.
Hurd lacks experience and has had some issues with consistency this year, but showed major improvement at camp, winning the all-around to prove herself as a major contender for a worlds medal. If she hits in competition, she’s capable of big scores on all of her events, but it’s hitting that will need to happen. I hope it can because Hurd is fabulous and I love seeing the underdog that no one expected to come out and win end up having a breakthrough meet.
The Americans are always the favorites, but the fan favorite this year is Larisa Iordache, who has tried and tried and tried to win a gold medal at worlds, but last quad she had Simone Biles as her biggest competition and could never get close enough to challenge, nor could anyone else. But this year, she comes in with top difficulty and a newfound confidence, so if she hits, she’s going to be almost impossible to beat.
I wouldn’t count either of the Russians out. While Angelina Melnikova looked a little rough in podium training, the Russians never compete full-out in training the way the Americans do. She is nursing a bit of a foot injury, and her form can be a bit rough, but I wouldn’t count her out for the podium if she hits.
Elena Eremina has an even better shot, as she’s generally more consistent and she’s a bit cleaner overall. She struggled with some of her bars skills in the training gyms, but if she just shows up and hits in the final, she has a very strong shot at getting a medal here. What I like about Eremina is that while bars is a great event for her, she’s generally well-balanced across all four and is capable of scores around a 14 or better on everything, which could really help her survive over others who depend mostly on one or two events to get by.
I’m also super into what Mai Murakami can do in the all-around, and hope that she ends up factoring into the equation. The Japanese gymnast looked very serious after podium training, where she was very strong and made only minor mistakes. She’s banking on big vault and floor scores to help her through, but her bars and beam when hit could score well enough to at least carry her through.
Ellie Black is kind of an outside hopeful for a medal compared to the rest of these if everyone hits, but when Black is on fire, she is super capable. Her form could be an issue, but as the home country favorite, Black will feed off of the amazing crowd’s energy, as the Canadian men did when their boys — none of whom is a star the way Black is — competed yesterday. Black excels on beam, but also has strong difficulty on vault and bars, and I think while not a frontrunner, she’s in a great position to take advantage of the stronger gymnasts who tend to get a bit nervous.
Another favorite of mine is Hungary’s Zsofia Kovacs, who got the silver medal at Euros this year after a fantastic week of nonstop fabulous routines. She’s kind of like Eremina in that she doesn’t have any huge scores, but she’s generally consistent enough and balanced enough to make every score look good. Floor has been a weakness for her due to a lack of dance elements, which drag her D score way down in comparison to others, but she’s been working hard on perfecting her elements on bars and beam and she also has a lovely DTY, so on a good day, just hitting floor could be enough.
From France, Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos doesn’t have a single bad event, is clean on every skill, and is so excited to finally get the chance to challenge at a major competition. I’m also hoping Wang Yan of China, the country’s sole all-arounder, has a strong meet after not originally being expected to compete all four events, and my other favorites include Nina Derwael of Belgium, Tabea Alt of Germany, Ana Perez of Spain, Lara Mori of Italy, and Thais Fidelis of Brazil.
Finally, we can’t forget about Amy Tinkler of Great Britain, who hasn’t been at top strength this year, but who can put together a really strong day when she needs to, and she just might do that this week.
By the Numbers | Best All-Around Score
|1||Larisa Iordache||Romania||Romanian Championships AA||58.466|
|2||Elena Eremina||Russia||Russian Cup QF||57.900|
|3||Ragan Smith||United States||U.S. Championships D2||57.850|
|4||Angelina Melnikova||Russia||Russian Cup AA||57.650|
|5||Mai Murakami||Japan||NHK Trophy||56.450|
|6||Zsofia Kovacs||Hungary||Elek Matolay Memorial AA||56.202|
|7||Ellie Black||Canada||Universiade QF||56.050|
|8||Morgan Hurd||United States||U.S. Championships AA||55.650|
|9||Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos||France||French Championships AA||55.450|
|10||Wang Yan||China||Chinese National Games QF||55.399|
|11||Tabea Alt||Germany||European Championships QF||54.866|
|12||Aiko Sugihara||Japan||All-Japan Championships AA||54.450|
|13||Thais Fidelis||Brazil||Brazilian Championships AA||54.400|
|14||Marine Boyer||France||French Championships AA||54.050|
|15||Elisabeth Seitz||Germany||German Championships AA||54.000|
|16||Georgia-Rose Brown||Australia||Australian Championships AA||53.625|
|17||Lara Mori||Italy||3rd Italian Serie A||53.500|
|18||Ana Perez||Spain||Spanish Championships||53.450|
|19||Amy Tinkler||Great Britain||London World Cup||53.433|
|20||Barbora Mokosova||Slovakia||Gym Festival Trnava AA||53.333|
|21||Georgia Godwin||Australia||Australian Championships QF||53.300|
|22||Rune Hermans||Belgium||FIT Challenge AA||53.265|
|23||Lorette Charpy||France||French Championships AA||53.250|
|24||Nina Derwael||Belgium||City of Jesolo Trophy AA||53.200|
|25||Maellyse Brassart||Belgium||FIT Challenge AA||53.099|
By the Numbers | Average Score in 2017
|1||Ragan Smith||United States||57.116|
|9||Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos||France||54.379|
|10||Morgan Hurd||United States||54.229|
|15||Amy Tinkler||Great Britain||53.433|
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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