Liu, Sun Win China’s All-Around Titles

Liu Tingting

World champion Liu Tingting maintained her lead from qualifications despite a fall in the all-around final to fight back against several young senior challengers and win the second gold of her career.

She started with a lovely, albeit slightly low, Yurchenko full to post a 13.1, a weak score compared to an otherwise solid vault field, but she was far enough ahead that she was easily able to climb back up on her other three events, even though not everything went exactly as planned.

On bars, Liu caught her Chow to Pak to Maloney to Gienger with slight leg separation on two of the skills, and she had just a slight hop back on her double layout to earn a 14.55. She came off almost instantly on her front front series on beam, but the rest was good and fluid, especially on her front aerial to split ring jump to Korbut and on her leap to aerial to jump series, getting a 13.85 there. Wrapping things up as the last to go on floor, Liu hit a clean triple full, excellent double tuck, and front full to stag for a 13.6, ending her day with a 55.100 total and a 111.100 two-day combined score, putting her half a point ahead of the rest of the competition to secure her title.

First-year senior Wei Xiaoyuan came closest to getting the upset, and her second day all-around total of 55.150 was actually just a smidge higher than Liu’s, but with a lower day one total, she came out with a 110.600 combined score to win the silver.

Wei also isn’t one of the stronger vaulters, though her Yurchenko full was slightly better than Liu’s, with just a slight pike down and a decent landing for a 13.35. On bars, she hit a lovely inbar full to Komova II to Pak to toe-on to van Leeuwen, a toe half to one-armed pirouette to piked Jaeger, and a full-twisting double layout with just a step to the side for a 14.6. It’s not the typical Chinese bars set, but she’s pretty fabulous there in her own right, and is definitely a bit underrated.

Unfortunately, she also ended up having a fall on beam, on her flight series, and she also had a couple of rushed elements and bobbles, but her huge switch ring to ring jump to Korbut series was lovely, and she picked up a 13.8 there. She then finished up on floor with a triple full to punch front, a double tuck that landed slightly low, a 2½ with a step forward, and a clean, stuck double full, earning a 13.4.

Qi Qi ended up surprising for bronze, edging out a couple of gymnasts who finished ahead of her in qualifications, but made mistakes in the final. This was a fantastic day for Qi, who hit a very nice Yurchenko double to start for a 14.050, made it through bars for a respectable 13.0, not bad for her weak event, and then really impressed on beam, which can be hit or miss for her, getting a 13.9 for a standing full, solid flight series showing great extension, and a stuck dismount.

Of course, floor is where it’s at for Qi, and she absolutely did not disappoint, putting up a brilliant performance that included a stuck double double, 1½ through to triple full with a small step, 2½ to front pike, and a solid double tuck to finish. She got a 14.2 for this routine, helping her to a 55.150 total, which was the highest of the day along with Wei’s matching score, and combined with her qualifications score, she was able to secure the bronze with a 109.950, putting her on the podium just over a tenth ahead of Lu Yufei.

Lu also had an excellent day, though, and it was great seeing her have back-to-back consistent all-around performances after a career with many ups and downs. She hit both vault and beam, getting scores of 13.3 and 13.6, though we didn’t see either routine. On bars, her best event, she got a 14.2, showing a Tkachev to Gienger, huge Jaeger to Pak, and a full-in with a step back, and she went 13.5 on floor for a tucked full-in with a hop back, a triple full with a step to the side, a 2½ to stuck front pike, and a clean stuck double tuck. Her day ended with a 54.600 all-around total, while her meet concluded with a 109.800 combined score, and though I would have loved to see her make the podium, I think fourth place was much more than I could have possibly expected for her here, and hope she’s proud of what she did to make that happen.

Though Tang Xijing struggled a bit at this competition, her beam routine put her just over a 55 in the final, so despite mistakes elsewhere, she finished fifth with a 109.450 total. Her vault and bars were especially weak, with her Yurchenko double showing very little power, causing her to lose form, especially close to the landing, which was rough, and she got just a 13.8 there, while her bars brought in just a 12.9.

Her beam was lovely, though her score was probably a bit higher than she would have received internationally. She hit a nice layout stepout mount, a switch leap to split ring leap to back handspring, clean layout series, front aerial to split ring jump to Korbut, switch ring with a wobble, and a double pike with a step back, getting a 14.85. She then finished her day with a 13.5 on floor, hitting a low tucked full-in, short triple full to punch front, good 2½ to front pike, and a step out of her double full.

Sadly, the little queen Guan Chenchen, who was second coming into the final, had a pretty bad day, with her all-around score dropping more than four points from a 55.900 in qualifications to a 51.500 here after multiple mistakes across nearly all of her routines, causing her to finish sixth with a two-day total of 107.400.

Guan started with a Yurchenko double, which actually wasn’t bad, but she did have some directional issues coming off of the table, and her form wasn’t super tight throughout, getting a 13.95. Bars were rough from the start, though, as she struggled to get her Weiler kip to handstand, and then peeled wildly off the bar into her coach’s arms. She got the rest well enough, with a hop full, Tkachev, Pak, and then just a step back on her full-twisting double layout, but with the early mistakes and her overall weaker performance here, she managed just an 11.35.

Normally, her beam could save a bad day on bars, and she got a 15.4 on the event in qualifications, but she came up a bit short after falling on her front front series. The rest was nice, though, including a switch to switch half to back handspring mount series, roundoff layout to split jump with just minor form issues, switch to switch side to straddle jump half to split jump half (she was quite short on the last jump, but the connections were impressive), and a strong double pike, getting a 14.05 even with the fall. She also counted another fall on floor, putting her hands down on her opening tucked full-in, and she came in a little low on her arabian double front as well, though was clean on the double tuck to finish, getting a 12.15.

Rounding out the top ten were Zhang Jin in seventh with a 53.450 in the final and a 107.100 total (she landed a tsuk double well, and was mostly good on the rest of the routines we saw), Liu Jieyu in eighth with a 52.900 in the final and a 106.250 total (her best score came on bars, where she had a Maloney to Pak, shaposh to Gienger, and full-in for a 13.4), first-year senior He Licheng in ninth with a 52.950 in the final and a 105.950 total, and junior Yue Yue in 10th with a 53.3 in the final and a 105.750 total.

Wang Jingying was also notable for her bars, where she earned a 14.2 for her lovely form on a Maloney to Pak, beautiful van Leeuwen, blind change to one-armed front pirouettes to piked Jaeger, and a double layout. The rest of her routines were a bit weaker, so she had only a 51.450 in the all-around and a 105.150 total to finish 13th, but she has a lot of potential and I’m hoping we can see her continue to grow on this event while adding more difficulty elsewhere.

2016 Olympian Shang Chunsong also competed in the final, finishing 16th after posting a 50.100 for a combined total of 101.450, with beam her strongest event. She hit her layout stepout mount, a roundoff tuck full with no problems, and a triple full with a hop, but unfortunately had a fall on her transverse straight jump full, earning a 13.25 for her effort.

In the apparatus finals, Qi won the vault title with a 14.566 average as well as the floor title with a 14.2 total, looking clean and sharp in both performances, while Fan Yilin won bars with a 15.233, and Guan won beam with a hit routine for a 14.933.

Liu won a pair of bronze medals on bars and beam, Yu Linmin won the silver on vault while Liu Jinru won the bronze, Cheng Shiyi won the silver on bars with an impressive 14.866, Wei won the silver on beam, Wu Ran won the silver on floor, and Lu finally got a medal of her own with the bronze on floor, putting up a great routine for a 13.733.

In the men’s competition, Sun Wei got the upset of the decade over 2017 world all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng, who had a miss on high bar and a downgraded vault to lose the nearly eight-tenth lead he came in with from qualifications.

Sun actually started his final performance with a miss on floor, getting just a 13.05, but he came back with an excellent pommels routine, getting a little stuck in his scissors to handstand, but quickly gaining control and moving quickly and fiercely throughout the rest of the set to get a 14.9. His rings were fine for him, getting a 14.15 for mostly steady work and no major breaks, and he even stuck the double double at the end, clicking his heels together to cap it off.

Vault was also good, earning a 14.4, and despite a few unsteady transitions early in the p-bars routine, he fought back well enough to hit some great salto skills, and he had just a small hop on his double front half-out to finish for a 14.8. Finally, on high bar, he got a 14.1 after catching a layout Tkachev to straddle Tkachev to mixed grip, a layout Tkachev to mixed grip, a Yamawaki to Endo half, and a double double layout with just a slight slide back, ending his day with an 85.4, slightly down from his qualifications score to reach a 172.300 total.

Xiao started out well on floor, hitting a Randi, 3½ to barani with a wild hop, double double with a small hop, 1½ to front double full, clean and stuck double full side pass, and a triple full with a small step for a 14.1. He looked a little rushed early in his pommels routines, and then was labored and sloppy going into his flairs near the end, so his score there was a little weaker than he’s used to, at a 14.25. He was fine on rings, just showing a few minor form issues to get a 13.85.

Vault was where we saw the first error from Xiao, as he performed a kaz double instead of his usual 2½, but I think he put a bit too much power into it, as he had to run backwards out of the landing, getting just a 14.3 there. He came back nicely on p-bars, getting a 14.6 for a hit routine, but then on his layout Tkachev to straddle Tkachev half, he couldn’t quite get his hands around as he went to change grips to mixed, and he slipped off to the ground. The rest was good, including a stuck double double layout, but the damage was done, and he got only a 12.85 there, and just an 83.950 for the day, coming in at a 171.600 total, finishing seven tenths behind Sun.

Deng Shudi was third in qualifications and he held onto that spot to get the bronze in the final, earning an 84.500 for a combined score of 170.650. On floor, he had a few hops and other small mistakes, like when he did a front full to double full that he tried to hop around another half turn, but overall he was strong, and earned a 13.9. His form on pommels was a little weak, though he hit, getting a 13.45, and he did mostly solid work on rings, where he is one of only a handful of gymnasts who does a double layout salto, earning a 13.95.

On vault, Deng had a low kaz double with a bit of a wobbly landing and a hop for a 14.2, but he came back to hit his best work on p-bars and high bar, earning a 14.7 for the p-bars set that featured great salto work, good transitions, and a stuck double pike, and then getting a 14.3 for a high bar routine that included a layout Tkachev to straddle Tkachev half, layout Tkachev half, and double double layout with a small step back.

These three were undeniably the strongest, but I was happy to see Lin Chaopan do some good work in finals to finish fourth, earning an 84.050 all-around on the second day of competition to total a 167.800. He had one of the best floor routines of the day, showing a piked double front half-out, 2½ to front double full, piked double front with a hop, front full to front 2½, double full, and triple full for a 14.35, and his kaz double was also awesome, getting a 14.65 as he nearly stuck the landing. He hit the other four events as well, finishing up with a 14.0 on high bar, where his Tkachevs were strong, his Kolman was caught nicely, and his double double layout was stuck.

Rounding out the top eight were Zhang Boheng with a 167.250, Lan Xingyu with a 166.950, Ma Yue with a 164.250, and Ta Yinga with a 161.200.

Deng won the floor title with a 14.666, Zou Jingyuan won pommels with a 15.1, Liu Yang won rings with a 15.4, Huang Mingqi won vault with a 14.933 average, Wu Xiaoming upset Zou on p-bars with a 15.066 to Zou’s 14.933, and Ji Lianshen was a surprise for high bar gold with a 14.233.

You can find all results as well as additional coverage from the competition here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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