The EXPECTED from the Rio Olympics:
The USA dominance in the qualification and team final. The United States’ 10 point lead over China in the qualification round and their eventual win by an 8 point difference ahead of Russia was no surprise as they have won every major Team Final since 2011. At the 2015 World Championships they won gold over China by a 5.174 difference.
Simone Biles crowned as Olympic All-around Champion. The ability of Simone Biles to stick an Amanar and her amazing difficulty on Floor makes her invincible in an All-Around competition. At the 2015 World Championships during the all-around competition she grabbed the beam with her hands to avoid a fall and then went out of bounds on Floor and still won gold by a full point difference. So it was clear that she would be all-around Olympic Champion even if she fell, which didn’t happen. She placed ahead of Alexandra Raisman by a 2 point difference.
Simone Biles’ and Alexandra Raisman’s dominance of the Floor Exercise. Simone is a three time World Champion while Alexandra Raisman was the defending Olympic Champion from London 2012. So it was no surprise when they qualified first and second and easily repeated the result at the Final.
Aliya Mustafina delivering when it counts. Despite Russia’s disastrous qualification round that included a fall from Mustafina on beam, gymnastics fans can be sure of one thing: when it counts Mustafina will fight till the end. At the team final she delivered a high 15.933 on bars and then went on to score a 14.958 on beam that could easily won her beam bronze if she had qualified to the final. For herself she made the quick decision to stop after a missed connection on beam during the all-around final and while it was costly as she did not count an acrobatic series on beam, her wise decision to avoid a fall was rewarded with a bronze medal. And on the uneven bars she gave the routine of her life to defend her title from four years ago.
The HALF-EXPECTED from the Rio Olympics:
The U.S. second all-arounder. In a situation that resembled London 2012 too much and even included two of their participants, the qualification round was to decide who between Gabrielle Douglas and Alexandra Raisman would advance as the United States’ second all-arounder. Previous competitions favored Raisman since she was the silver medalist in the all-around at the US Nationals. However Raisman’s inconsistent performances on bars seriously endangered her chances of qualifying ahead of Douglas but in the qualification round she did surpass her teammate by a 0.476. However if Raisman had scored as she did in the actual all-around final Douglas would have advanced instead of her as Raisman scored a 60.098 and Douglas had scored a 60.131 in qualification.
Mao Yi’s floor routine. Mao Yi only recently surfaced into the gymnastics scene thanks to her Floor Routine however going into the Olympics she was also noted by her inconsistency and the qualifications showed it. After a performance that scored only 11.700, the Chinese coaches should have re-considered putting her in the Team Final line-up since a score that low could potentially bump them out of the podium. And Yes Mao Yi struggled rather heavily during the team final and her score while not 11.700 it was not much better with a 12.633 effectively loosing the silver medal the Chinese team had held for 11 out of 12 routines. Had the coaches chosen to put Fan Yilin instead of Mao and if Yilin had scored the same as she had in qualifications (13.500) China would have won silver by a 0.182 difference
The Triple Twisting Yurchenko. Hong Un Jong had submitted the Triple Twisting Yurchenko multiple times before at World Championships but had never performed it. Could it be, the grand stage of the Olympics, the place of the so much anticipated debut? Yes it was but it didn’t go as expected for Hong as she fell and did not get credit for the vault so she did not get it named after her.
The UN-EXPECTED from the Rio Olympics:
Fan Yilin not qualifying to the Uneven Bars Final. As one of the four reigning World Champions on Uneven Bars Fan Yilin was expected at the final but she qualified 9th to a final where only the top 8 advance.
Daria Spiridinova’s fall from the uneven bars. As one of the reigning four World Champions on bars her unexpected fall meant that Germany would win bronze. At the time of Daria’s fall Sophie Scheder was holding to third place with teammate Elisabeth Seitz still to compete. In the end Scheder was the one who won bronze for Germany.
Sanne Wever’s turning into gold. Simone Biles grabbing the beam to avoid a fall was relatively unexpected as it had happened at the all-around final at the 2015 World Championships. But unfortunately for Simone in Rio it happened at a time when no other score could cushion her mistake so from that moment on the road for gold was open for any of the remaining competitors. What a pleasant surprise was to see Sanne Wevers, who performed immediately after Biles, turning her tricky beam routine into gold.
Amy Tinkler’s bronze medal on floor. As the youngest and most inexperienced member of the British Team the attention was focused on her more famous teammates. Unfortunately the Downie sisters and Claudia Fragapane finished just outside every final with Rebecca being second reserve to bars, Elissa Downie first reserve to the beam final and Claudia Fragapane first reserve on Floor. Amy was the only one of the team to advance to a final and surprisingly scored a high 14.933 to hold on to the bronze medal.