Road to Rio

Rio Preview – Floor Exercise

The final event final to go over!  This weekend I’ll be going over the all-around competition and really that’s it.  Then we wait for the Olympics to happen.  I cannot believe how close it is, we’ll have podium training videos to go over in less than a week and the opening ceremony starts in one week exactly!

D-Scores

 Gymnast  Difficulty Score
 Simone Biles (USA)  6.9
 Shang Chunsong (CHN)  6.7
 Aly Raisman (USA)  6.6
 Sae Miyakawa (JPN)  6.6
 Mai Murakami (JPN)  6.5
 Claudia Fragapane (GBR)  6.5
 Giulia Steingruber (SUI)  6.4
 Mao Yi (CHN)  6.4
 Wang Yan (CHN)  6.3
 Angelina Melnikova (RUS)  6.3
 Vanessa Ferrari (ITA)  6.2
 Amy Tinkler (GBR)  6.2
 Laurie Hernandez (USA)  6.1
 Aiko Sugihara (JPN)  6.1
 Shallon Olsen (CAN)  6.1
 Ellie Downie (GBR)  6.1
 Catalina Ponor (ROU)  6.0
 Gabby Douglas (USA)  6.0
 Larissa Miller (AUS)  6.0

Simone Biles is at the top of the pack, and I believe out of all the gold medals she could win in Rio; between all-around, team, vault, and beam, this is her most secure chance of winning.  She won Worlds by almost a full point last year and regularly has the highest execution score on top of difficulty.

A surprising second is Shang Chunsong.  She’s relying on a tricky Gomez turn to illusion that’s worth 0.3.  If she just rotates a triple turn, she’ll go down to a 6.4, so that combination is crucial to her success on this event.

Next in rank are two gymnasts, the reigning Olympic champion Aly Raisman and then the fourth place finisher at Worlds last year, Sae Miyakawa.  Aly has shown great consistency on the event throughout the trials process, and should be an easy guess for the silver medal if she hits.  However like she proved last year, she has to be able to control her nerves in order for this to happen.  Sae Miyakawa is counting on BIG tumbling and almost no dance difficulty, but throughout the Japanese trials process showed some inconsistency due to a minor ankle injury.  Reports have her at 100% healthy now, but time will tell if she’s had enough time since that injury to get all her tumbling as consistent as it was at Worlds last year.

Two more gymnasts at 6.5 – Mai Murakami and Claudia Fragapane.  Mai Murakami placed fourth at worlds in 2013, and has struggled on the event off and on throughout the quad.  But this year she’s dominated the Japanese trial process, placing first at every competition on the event.  She’s also capable of a 6.7 routine, if she can just fully rotate her Gomez turn.  Claudia Fragapane has been a force on floor throughout the quad as well, and qualified first into European finals but lacks some polish in her execution that might hold her back from getting to the medals.

Another favorite for a medal is at 6.4 with Giulia Steingruber.  She’s the reigning European champion on the event and has shown consistency throughout the year, thanks partly to her choice to only perform three tumbling passes.  She will most likely be at a 6.5 in Rio, as she dismounted with a double layout at the recent Chemnitz competition instead of the full-in she did at Euros.  Also at 6.4 is Chinese specialist Mao Yi who will competing the same exact tumbling passes as Shang Chunsong, but lacks a bit in the dance difficulty than her teammate.

Then there is Wang Yan and Angelina Melnikova at 6.3.  Wang Yan suffers from some consistency issues and Melnikova has a hamstring issue but it’s unknown how serious it is so it’s unsure if either of these athletes will factor into the final.

Vanessa Ferrari has recently overcame some injuries from the past year and has started to include the double double back into her routine, so with that she’s at a 6.2 .  She has some luck in the past on the event and that might be enough to get her into finals.  Amy Tinkler is also at 6.2 but like her teammate Claudia Fragapane, she lacks some polish and that might hold her back.

Four gymnasts at 6.1.  First there is Laurie Hernandez who could sneak into finals if Aly Raisman makes a mistake in prelims.  Then there is Aiko Sugihara who is planning a 6.4 routine if she can fully rotate her Gomez and her Mustafina turns and overtake Sae Miyakawa if she makes a mistake in prelims too.  Canadian floor specialist Shallon Olsen is included here as is Ellie Downie.  Ellie is unlike both Tinkler and Fragapane, and she does have more polish on the event and that might help her to become the strongest British gymnast on the event in Rio.

Then at 6.0 is the final three gymnasts.  2004 Olympic Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Catalina Ponor is looking to make her third Olympic final here.  She might be upgraded her first pass to a full twisting double layout to increase her difficulty 0.2 as well.  Then there is Gabby Douglas, but with her inconsistent dance elements wouldn’t look to be a factor here unless both Hernandez and Raisman make mistakes in prelims.  And finally the sole representative for Australia, Larissa Miller is here.  She made finals in 2014 and could sneak in here as well.

Nothing beyond a 6.0 D-Score originally qualified into floor finals in Glasgow last year, though after both Fasana who has yet to do a 6.0 routine this year and Steingruber dropped out, Lieke Wevers 5.6 routine made it to the final round.

2016 Best Scores

Gymnast   Highest Score
 Simone Biles (USA)  16.100
 Aly Raisman (USA)  15.700
 Laurie Hernandez (USA) 15.300
 Giulia Steingruber (SUI)  15.200
 Angelina Melnikova (RUS)  15.200
 Mai Murakami (JPN)  15.100
 Claudia Fragapane (GBR)  15.000
 Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS)  15.000
 Catalina Ponor (ROU)  15.000
 Shang Chunsong (CHN)  14.933
 Sae Miyakawa (JPN)  14.933
 Gabby Douglas (USA)  14.833
 Ellie Downie (GBR)  14.733
 Wang Yan (CHN)  14.633
 Erika Fasana (ITA)  14.500
 Elisa Meneghini (ITA)  14.450
 Amy Tinkler (GBR)  14.433
 Ellie Black (CAN )  14.425

There are a few new names here.  First is Russian Seda Tutkhalyan, who is going into Rio as Russia’s healthiest gymnast.  She has potential to upgrade here, and if Melnikova’s hamstring issue efforts her a lot, Seda could be their best gymnast on this event.  Next is Erika Fasana who as I said before, did qualify into finals last year but pulled out due to injury.  Her teammate Meneghini is also here and is relying on execution since her routine only starts at a 5.7.  And then there is Ellie Black who also doesn’t have the difficulty like some of the other contenders but has polished her set after not upgraded for several years.

Other than the gymnasts named in this list, it’s always important to keep an eye out for Aliya Mustafina.  She has a habit of pulling skills and routines out of thin air to get herself medals and finals placements.  She has a bronze on the event from London as well as Nanning so we won’t know what she does or how she’ll perform until qualifying itself.

Also look for effort from the Brazilian athletes, especially Flavia Saraiva and Daniele Hypolito who have both upgraded their first pass to a double layout.

Predictions

This was my favorite event to predict, mostly because I seem to follow it the most and it’s the easiest to think about in my opinion.  Here are my predictions.

  1. Simone Biles
  2. Aly Raisman
  3. Mai Murakami
  4. Giulia Steingruber
  5. Shang Chunsong
  6. Sae Miyakawa
  7. Catalina Ponor
  8. Ellie Downie
Featured Image (C) Darron Cummings
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