December 14, 2008

World Cup Final Miscellanea

--- It's just been announced that Holland's Sanne Wevers, who might have gotten her double turn with leg at horizontal named for her if she'd successfully competed it in Madrid, has scratched from the beam final due to an elbow injury sustained on Saturday. Gympower reports that Wevers fell during training and heard something snap in her elbow, which immediately began to swell. It's unknown at this point whether the injury is serious. Wevers will undergo an MRI scan upon her return to Holland.

Sanne Wevers (photo: Jasmin Schneebeli-Wochner/Gymbox)

---- On the plus side, Ukraine's Daria Zgoba, who wasn't sure she was going to compete on beam prior to arriving in Madrid because she hasn't quite recovered yet from the knee surgery she had at the beginning of October, will reportedly do beam, albeit with reduced difficulty.

--- On Day 1 of the competition, ProSport once again quoted Sandra Izbasa, who stressed again that she wasn't at all nervous about her upcoming appearances on Day 2: "I'm not nervous, because I'm going there to do two events on which I believe in myself. Also, I want to get on the medal stand. Everything now depends on myself."

--- Ever since it was announced that the FIG would reduce team sizes in 2009, meaning that all-arounders would become increasingly important to teams, fans have been speculating whether UB specialist He Kexin, who is all right but not terribly exciting on the three other events, would remain a force on the Chinese team. According to this Sina article, He herself is aware of her predicament and working on becoming more of an all-arounder. "I've already begun working on it," she was quoted as saying by Sina. "I'll train on all four events from now on in an effort to become more of an all-arounder." However, she's not going to neglect her famous bars routine. "The way things are now, I can do that routine with relative ease. But in the next Olympic cycle the rules will change a bit, so I'll have to learn more difficult elements." More difficult elements? Yikes. By which we mean: WOW. He Kexin says she hopes to go to the London Olympics. We kind of hope so too!

He Kexin in Madrid (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)

--- Meanwhile, over in Brazil, Globoesporte reported that Diego Hypolito was over the moon with his gold medal on floor.

"I really needed this result," said the man who suffered a dramatic fall at the end of his Olympic floor routine. "I was psyched and eager to win when I walked onto the floor. I'm ending the year with the golden key and with one certainty: I'm on top again! I had to fight back the tears at the end of my performance. I'm very happy to be the first gymnast in the world to win a title in a grand final three times," said Hypolito, who also won the floor finals at the 2004 and 2006 World Cup Finals. He went on to say, "It was one of the best routines of my life, thanks to the degree of difficulty. I thought that I did the 'Hypolito' very well in my first pass. My second and third passes went well. On my fourth pass, I had a tiny mistake in my tumbling. But I succeeded in sticking the landing on my last pass, the one on which I fell at the Olympics."

Hypolito will have another chance of winning a World Cup medal in today's vault final.

Diego Hypolito celebrates his victory in Madrid (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)

--- According to Telegraaf, Dutch "Lord of the Rings" Yuri van Gelder was more disappointed with Olympic champion Chen Yibing's failure to show up in Madrid than with his own failure to win the gold medal on rings. "It's definitely a pity he [Chen] wasn't here. It would have been a great man-to-man fight," said Van Gelder, who didn't get to compete against Chen in Beijing and was looking forward to a friendly "revenge" in Madrid. He was philosophical about his third-place finish in the Spanish capital. "Sure, it's a pity, but you can't always be the best." He indicated that he was quite satisfied with the year 2008, despite the fact that he didn't make it to the Olympics.

--- Finally, the FIG is actually updating its World Cup Final photo galleries, and some of the photos, such as this picture of Anastasia Koval's badly botched Tkatchev on bars (the one that caused her to fall on her head), are very good. Check out the galleries here.

Anastasia Koval in Madrid (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)


  1. The thing about even more difficult moves needed is that the FIG decided to count the top 8 skill in the D score for 2009-2012 (the top 10 skills were counted for 2006-2008).

    And seriously, why did the FIG lower the team sizes again? It's not like their adding a new discipline to the Olympics this time!

    And IG stated that World Cups will be discontinued. That will free up gymnasts' schedules.

  2. We're aware of the changes in the 2009 Code, Joseph (we intend to write a nice article about them soon). We understand that many gymnasts will want their eight counting elements to be maximum difficulty to get a high D score, as it will be known from 2009 onward. What we meant by our remark about He Kexin was that, as far as we can tell, she doesn't really need to upgrade. She'll have one of the hardest UB sets in the world even if she drops two elements. Frankly we can't see a lot of room for improvement and/or upgrades. If He learns how to do proper kips, we expect she'll continue to be unbeatable on bars with or without new skills.

    As far as we know, the FIG is reducing team sizes in a bid to get more countries to be competitive. What they don't seem to realize is that many countries (especially the minor gymnastics countries the new rule is supposed to help) rely on specialists rather than all-arounders, meaning that things will only get harder for them. We welcome the change in that it will mean greater emphasis on all-around potential (which we think is a good thing), but we do prefer six-man teams to five five-man teams. It's a bit of a quandary, isn't it?

    As to the World Cup, yes, the Final will be discontinued (and good riddance too), but many if not all of the World Cup competitions will continue to exist, meaning the calendar will remain very full. The only improvement we can detect is that gymnasts won't have to worry about their rankings anymore, meaning they can skip competitions if they want or if they don't feel up to them. But we expect many gymnasts will remain very busy.