ANTWERP, 2:29 p.m.: The judges are marching out for the final day of finals at the 2013 Worlds. Let’s get the party started.
Marius Berbecar, Romania: Handspring doubel front, really goes for the stick and takes a small hop forward. Lands a bit low, and his strong quads save him. This is his first World final, I believe. 14.8/6.6/9.2. Second vault: Tsuk 2.5 with a step forward. Nice start to this vault final. We’ll see harder vaults, but his were decently well done, and it was a nice start to the meet. 14.9/5.6/9.3. 14.85 average.
Diego Hypolito, Brazil: Tsuk 2.5 with a small hop forward. Tidy, well controlled vault, a bit better than the one we just saw from Berbecar. 14.966/5.6/9.366. Second vault is roundoff, half on, front layout double full off, again a hop forward, but that’s a good hard jump to do well, and he did do it well. 15.133/5.8/9.333 for 15.049 average.
Kristian Thomas, Great Britain: Sort of amazing that he’s here in vault finals after injuring himself at the French International earlier this year and being carried out of the arena…Yurchenko double pike, STUCK. Like he did at the Olympics. But this one might have been better. Scott Bregman of USA Gymnastics is sitting nearby with his mouth wide open. That was amazing. Is he the male McKayla Maroney? That deserved a 10 in execution…15.5/6.0/9.5. Too low! Second vault is handspring double front, another great landing, just a little hop forward. 14.966/5.6/9.366. 15.233 average.
Oleg Verniaiev, Ukraine: Dragulescu with a step forward, a tad low on landing. 15.133/6.0/9.133. Second vault is Tsuk triple, legs a bit messy on the twist and he falls backwards and to the side on landing. He never fails to go for hard stuff, Oleg, but his success rate is not the best. 13.766/6.0/8.066. 14.449 average.
Sergio Sasaki, Brazil: Lovely Dragulescu, great form, just a small hop on landing. He’s been on the international circuit for four years (his first Worlds was in 2009, when he was 17), but the age of Sergio may just be beginning. 15.333/6.0/9.333. Second vault is Tsuk 2.5 with a decent hop forward. Could have been better, could have been worse. That shouldn’t challenge Thomas’s lead. 14.866/5.6/9.266 for 15.099 average and second right now.
Kenzo Shirai, Japan: He salutes, bows, says something and begins. Yurchenko triple full, excellent, just a small hop to the side. Incredible that he’s only 17. 15.366/6.0/9.466. Second vault: Tsuk 2.5, excellent form again, small hop to the side. Thomas should keep the lead, though that was very impressive. 14.9/5.6/9.3 for 15.133 average and second.
Steven Legendre, USA: Dragulescu, very well done, small hop back at the end. This is where Steve is at his best — all power. Very impressive. 15.266/6.0/9.266. Second vault: Tsuk double pike, step back! Well! Steve is the first guy in this final to do two 6.0 vaults. Really good form in the air on that. We’ll see — 0.4 in difficulty more than Thomas…and he takes over first place! 15.233/6.0/9.233 for 15.249 average! Thomas is nodding politely, and his coach is clapping. But here comes….
Yang Hak Seon, South Korea: The Olympic champion and still the greatest? Handspring front triple full, small step forward, and of course they play “Gangnam Style” as he goes back down the runway for his second vault…15.733/6.4/9.333. Well! Second vault should be Tsuk triple — it is, done with a small hop back. Not the perfection we saw at the Olympics, but he gets a great cushion because his first vault is so hard…Yang hugs his coach and shakes hands with the other gymnasts. Someone comes over with the Korean flag for him to put around his shoulders. And he does it! 15.533/6.0/9.333. 15.533 average puts him in first!
GOLD: Yang Hak Seon, KOR
SILVER: Steven Legendre, USA
BRONZE: Kristian Thomas, GBR
Aliya Mustafina, Russia: In blue today. Jumps to side somie, well done. Switch half to Onodi. Double turn, actually a 2.5 turn but very calm. Front aerial to bhs. Switch ring. This is by far the best set Mustafina’s done in awhile. Side aerial. Double tuck, STUCK, and she smiles! That was the best, cleanest, most well executed routine of her career. Very impressive. 14.9/6.0/8.9.
Carlotta Ferlito, Italy: My friend Emma told Ferlito that the pink and green leo she wore earlier this week was her best ever, and I’d like to think that’s why she’s chosen it again for this final. Front aerial to sheep, small wobble. Bhs, bhs, layout to two feet, good. Switch to back tuck. Jumps. Switch ring. Split ring leap. 2.5 twist to end — legs a bit tucked in the air, but good landing, just a small hop.
Vanessa Ferrari, Italy: Roundoff, layout to two feet, perfect. Front aerial, tiny check, sheep. Switch to split ring. Switch ring. Encouragement from the Italian pocket in the arena before her dismount. Roundoff, double pike dismount, a bit out of line and has to take a step back. Gets a big hug from Carlotta Ferlito as she comes off the podium. 14.3/5.7/8.6.
Ooh, and Mustafina has filed an inquiry! But it goes nowhere.
Shang Chunsong, China: Front walkover mount. Switch ring, very good. Bhs, bhs, layout to two feet, perfect! Punch front, sizeable wobble. Double turn. Switch to back tuck, another small wobble. Front aerial to double stag, pretty. Side aerial to scissone. Roundoff, double pike with a step back. Hm. It was a great routine, but scorewise I’m wondering if with those wobbles she will challenge Mustafina. Her flight series alone was medalworthy, however. 14.133/6.2/7.933. That seems fair.
Mustafina looks a bit nervous.
Simone Biles, USA: 2.5 turn in wolf position. Front aerial to split jump. Bhs, layout, small wobble, nothing serious. Switch to switch half to back tuck. Punch front, bigger wobble. That will cost her. Bhs, bhs, full twisting double tuck with a step forward. The evolution of Simone Biles: In March at the American Cup she would have been delighted with a routine like that. Now, you can see it on her face — she’s not happy. She’s grown a lot this year, and not in height. 14.133/5.9/8.233.
The judges are still working on Mustafina’s routine, adding up elements.
Kyla Ross, USA: Really the only gymnast in the final who can challenge Mustafina in terms of elegance..switch ring. Bhs, layout, flawless. Full turn. Jumps. Front aerial to sheep. Side somie. Switch to back tuck. Side aerial, intense concentration. Punch front to wolf jump. Well, this has been perfect so far. Roundoff, double tuck, small hop. Will that be the difference? 14.733/5.9/8.833 puts her second and guarentees Musatfina a medal.
By the way, you can hear Aly Raisman cheering and yelling Kyla on throughout this routine, even all the way up here in the media gallery.
Larisa Iordache, Romania: Drops off on her back tuck full after a fight. Roundoff, layout to two feet, perfect. Poor Larisa! She looks very disappointed. The rest was excellent. Roundoff, bhs, triple full to step to the side. Camera pans to Octavian Bellu’s reaction as she falls — he bows his head. 13.933/6.3/7.633.
Oh, and now the Americans have filed an inquiry for Simone Biles’s score. Her score is raised to 14.333, good enough for third place right now..
Anna Rodionova, Russia: Full turn with leg at head to inside full turn, good. Off on bhs, Arabian. She was concentrating hard, perhaps a little too ard. Switch to split leap. Front aerial to split jump. Side aerial. Side somie. Full turn with leg at horizontal. Roundoff, double tuck, stuck again. 13.1/5.7/7.4.
Ross’s score is upped 0.1 to 14.833, but it doesn’t change the result! Mustafina wins beam!
GOLD: Aliya Mustafina, RUS
SILVER: Kyla Ross, USA
BRONZE: Simone Biles, USA
Lin Chaopan, China: Front flip. Beautful peach half. Peach. Diamadov to double tuck, very light touch on this event, which is lovely. Front straddle somie. Bhavsar. Tippelt. Inside Diamadov. STUCK double pike. He may be first up, but that is going to be pretty hard to beat. 15.666/6.7/8.966
Marius Berbecar, Romania: Peach half, peach to English handstand, misses and has to swing down to cover. Nice double tuck between the bars, nice Bhavsar and Tippelt. I kind of feel like I’m seeig Lin’s routine all over again, but it’s not as good. Double pike is nice and high, landed with a step. 15.0/6.5/8.5.
Kohei Uchimura, Japan: Inside Diamadov. Double tuck. Peach. Double pike between the rails. Giant. Dalton. Belle (double tuck between the rings). Double pike dismount, holds on for the stick (armswing)! That was one good routine! Personally I didn’t think it had quite the perfection of Lin’s (he took one small step in handstand early on), but that was quite nice. Kohei pumps his fist to the crowd. 15.666/6.7/8.966 ties him for the lead!
Epke Zonderland, Netherlands: The crowd is wild for the best hair in gymnastics. Wild. Clear hip mount. Peach to English handstand. Tippelt. Complicated piroutting thing, but I’m not quite sure that was what he intended to do…does something similar later in the routine — like a back toss 1/4 with an extra pirouette before he swings down and kips off. Double pike, small hop back. “If you want to marry him ladies, you can take your place in the back of the queue,” the announcer says. 15.3/6.5/8.8 puts him third right now.
Vasileios Tsolakidis, Greece: Really wonderful rhythm here, quick pirouettes and peach style elements. And then falls out of English handstand, kips off and immediately does a layout dismount. Not even going to risk the double pike. He looks annoyed with himself. And they start playing “Zorba the Greek,” something every Greek gymnast has to endure. 13.433/5.6/7.833.
Anton Fokin, Uzbekistan: Clear hip mount. English handstand and he too comes off! With this new code, it’s the “it” element on p-bars, but it ain’t easy. Many of the gymnasts here have been doing it, and a fair number have missed it. Everything else in this routine was excellent, especially his flightly front straddle somie and Tippelt. And he too doesn’t do a dismount, doesn’t even try! Shocking to see two gymansts in a World final do that. Even Tsolakidis did a layout off — Fokin just dropped down from handstand. 12.466/5.5/6.966.
Brandon Wynn, USA: He was sixth in qualifications, and if he just does his whole routine he should finish at least that. Little hesitation/struggle on the peach half to begin, but the crowd loves his “Gaylord II” move. Second struggle in handstand towards the end. Double pike with a step back. OK, so it may be sixth, but he did finish…14.266/6.3/7.966.
John Orozco, USA: Double tuck between the rails. Double pike between the rails, very good. Peach half, small leg separation. Great uprise to front straddle somie, making it look easy. Tippelt. Double pike, small shuffle. Given where he was in January (recovering from ACL surgery), it’s an incredible achievement that Orozco is even here at Worlds, let alone in a world final. 15.533/6.8/8.733 put him in third with one gymnast left to perform.
You Hao, China: Double tuck. Peach half. Peach. Giant. Double pike between the rails. Tippelt. Dalton. Hesitation in handstand before inside Diamadov. Uprise to double front half out dismount, very cool. But I think the hesitation in handstand will take him out of it as far as medals are concerned. 15.5/6.9/8.6.
GOLD: Kohei Uchimura, JPN AND Lin Chopan, CHN
BRONZE: John Orozco, USA
Vanessa Ferrari, Italy: Her new tango. Double double tuck, hop forward. Full in tuck to back tuck. This might be her best ever floor in terms of choreography and how the audience gets into it. Switch full. Ends with stuck double pike, crowd clapping along. Vanessa throws her head back and smiles in delight. Takes a nice bow, waving to the crowd. Very, very nice set. Runs off the podium into the arms of her coach Enrico Casella. 14.633/6.2/8.433.
Mai Murakami, Japan: Feels like this moment has been coming for her a long time. Traditional Japanese music. Double layout, STUCK. Nice Mai! Double double tuck, well done, just a small hop back. Switch ring to switch full. She’s got the crowd clapping to her music as well. 1.5 to front layout full, small hop out of it that she kind of makes part of her choreo. Quad turn, and there’s a little smile on her face as she goes to the corner for her last pass. Triple full, small hop. Love the smile on her face, the way she clenches her fists in delight as she runs off the podium. Good for her! 14.466/6.2/8.266.
Simone Biles, USA: Double double, rather big bounce back, 0.3 tenths. Good music for her, lots of drums, strong beat. Double layout half out, well landed. Double turn in wolf position a la Lauren Mitchell. Switch side half. 2.5 to front layout with a hop. Full in tuck, again a bounce, but what a wonderful performer she is, and what talent! It will be interesting to see what the judges do with this. Her tumbling is the hardest, but the judges can take landing deductions if they want to…15.0/6.5/8.5. Difficulty wins the day. Good for Simone!
Larisa Iordache, Romania: Getting a big ovation after her disappointment on beam…Double double tuck, small hop forward. Full in, same thing. 3.5 turn, will be credted as a triple. Switch to switch full. Triple full with another tiny hop forward. Swtch side half. Double pike, small step back as well. Again, huge applause as she comes off the floor. 14.6/6.1/8.5 gets some whistles from the Romanian contingent in the crowd.
Giulia Steingruber, Switzerland: Tourjete full to open. Full twisting double layout, bounces forward. Double layout, small bounce back. Lovely epic piece of music, the sort of thing you want to listen to while regarding the majesty of the Alps. Double tuck. Double pike, step forward. Not her best. She must be qute disappointed following her fourth place finish on vault yesterday for two incredible vaults…14.333/6.1/8.233.
Sandra Izbasa, Romania: “Good Feeling.” Full in pike, tiny slide back. 1.5 to triple to big single stag jump that becomes a bit of a karate kick at the end. Izbasa’s got more energy than usual, and the floor is reponding. Full in tuck, stuck. Switch side half. Switch to switch full. 2.5 to front tuck full — she goes for it — and falls again! Oh no. Her goal here — her only goal — was to finish a routine on her feet. Now she might have to continue…13.733/6.1/7.633. Lovely moment where Sandra smiles and makes a heart shape with her hands, thanking the crowd.
Kyla Ross, USA: And what plays out here is not just whether Ross will get a medal, but whether Romania will be shut out of the medals for the second Worlds in a row. Ross’s routine is lovely, as usual — Arabian double front to single stag, stuck full in tuck, double pike and double tuck with small hop forward just at the end. 14.333/5.7/8.633, so Iordache remains in bronze medal position with just Ellie Black to perform…
Ellie Black, Canada: 2.5 walkout to triple full, a little short. Switch ring. Unusual, original choreo that’s very modern and sets her apart. Front layout full to double tuck, little shuffle on landing. Front double full and takes a big step forward, OOB.
GOLD: Simone Biles, USA
SILVER: Vanessa Ferrari, ITA
BRONZE: Larisa Iordache, ROM
Sam Mikulak, USA: This event cost him an all-around medal three days ago, and now he has a chance for redemption. What drama! Cassina, well done. Kolman, very nice also. Hop 1.5, not really in handstand. Tak half to Tkatchev half. Tak full to Yama. Stalder. Hop full. Double double layout, tiny hop forward. Huge smile on his face. Must be great to go out and nail that routine. Throws some chalk in the air and gives coach Kurt Golder a big hug on the podium. Awww, Sam! 15.566/6.9/8.666.
Kohei Uchimura, Japan: Cassina, wonderful. Stalder hop 1.5. Tak half to excellent Kolman. Tak full, small hesitation, Yama. Hmmmm…Hop full. Double double layout, STUCK. Oh, Kohei…15.633/6.9/8.733. Mikulak hopped the dismount, Kohei had his hesitation in handstand.
Andreas Bretschneider, Germany: This man does a double twisting Kovacs in training, FYI…Cassina, very nice. And just a Kolman for today, but lovely. Tak full to Yama. Weiler.Tak half. Hop full. Double double layout with a hop forward. 15.158/6.9/8.258.
Epke Zonderland, Netherlands: Biggest ovation of the day for Belgian “neighbor” Epke Zonderland, the reigning Olympic champion on this event…Rybalko. Cassina to Kovacs. Kolman to Gaylord II. But form — there are deductions there to be taken. And double double layout, basically stuck! He landed with his legs a little apart, but no doubt that was the funnest, most high flying routine of the funnest, most high flying event. 16.0/7.7/8.3. Haven’t heard the crowd this animated in quite awhile. Epke is waving and smiling and delighted.
Ryohei Kato, Japan: Tak half. Layout Tkatchev. Kolman. Hop stalder 1.5. Tak full to Yama. Not a whole lot of amplitude on his releases compared to the other guys in this final, but a tidy routine. Very clean double double layout with a small hop forward. You always pity the guy that has to go up after Zonderland in a high bar final…15.025/6.4/8.625 puts him fifth right now…
Lin Chaopan, China: Rybalko. Tak half to layout Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev half. Stalder Rybalko to layout Jaeger. Stalder full to inverts not in handstand (crowd goes “ohhhhh…” thinking it’s a mistake). Double double layout with a step. 14.9/6.9/8.0.
Fabian Hambuechen, Germany: Big ovation and some drumming for him as well…Cassina, excellent. Really high Kolman. Layout Tkatchev, hop 1.5 to layout Jaeger full, a huge and important combo for him. Tak full. Tak half. Double double layout with a small hop back. Fabian closes his eyes and roars in delight, a typical Fabi reaction to a hit routine. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun, and the crowd loves him. “Fabian Hambuechen: What a man, what a gymnast,” the announcer says. 15.933/7.4. He came very close!
Jossimar Calvo, Colombia: Tak half to Liukin, very cool and the crowd loves it. Kolman. Stalder hop 1.5. Tak full to Yama, Tak part not in handstand. Kovacs tucked, yeah! Hop 1.5. Front stalder Rybalko. Double double layout, STUCK! I think his coach is crying…what a routine from the 19-year-old, the hope of Colombian gymnastics. He’s awesome, and what an experience a World final on high bar must be for him! 15.466/7.2/8.266 puts him fifth, but what a routine (and quite the SV too). Calvo is standing by Hambuechen and Zonderland, hanging out with the cool kids.
GOLD: Epke Zonderland, NED
SILVER: Fabian Hambuechen, GER
BRONZE: Kohei Uchimura, JPN