Now that we have consistency stats for every gymnast, I thought it was time to put some numbers to an interesting question: are the best gymnasts consistent?
Winning a medal in gymnastics is about hitting on the day of the competition. It stands to reason gymnasts who hit more are more likely to hit on the day that matters.
That said, winning a medal is also about building a difficult routine, and difficult routines are harder to execute consistently. So it's possible that the gymnasts who come out with medals are the less consistent ones - because they're throwing such high difficulty so often.
So I pulled the consistency scores for the event finalists at this year's worlds. I'm just going to look at consistency scores here, but remember: if you want to get a better sense of where these numbers come from, go to the individual gymnast's page and check out the full list of scores. And remember, a lower consistency score indicates a more consistent gymnast.
Let's start with vault.
|Gymnast||VT1 EF Score||VT2 EF Score||VT1 Consistency||VT2 Consistency|
|Pyon Rye Yong||14.166||13.066||0.166||0.612|
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of these numbers look pretty low. In fact, there are only two gymnasts who I'd say are really inconsistent: Yeo Seo-jeong and Pyon Rye Yong. Both of their Rudis - Yeo's first vault and Pyon's second - can be a bit of a mess. But overall, these numbers cohere with my overall impression of this vault final: it was surprisingly free from terrifying, you-are-so-not-ready-for-that vaults.
However, I wouldn't say that the gymnasts higher in the rankings here are necessarily the most consistent. Simone didn't have her most consistent season this year, what with her fall in the AA. And incredibly consistent gymnasts like Oksana Chusovitina and Ellie Black finished off the podium.
Next, here are the results for the uneven bars finalists.
I'll admit, this one surprised me. I knew that Nina Derwael was going to do very well, but I didn't realize Aliya "only-ready-when-a-medal-is-on-the-line" Mustafina would have such a low consistency stat. But looking at her full list of scores, the numbers are incredible: with the exception of one bars routine at Russian Championships that she was NOT in the mood for, every single post-baby bars routine has scored within about a two-tenth range. And I don't have a d-score for that one routine.
But this also highlights an important thing to keep in mind when thinking about consistency stats: the more you compete, the harder it is to keep your consistency stat low. Nina Derwael's 0.194 stat is remarkable given that there are sixteen scores feeding in to that number.
That said, it is certainly not the case that the gymnasts who came out on top here were the most consistent. Simone Biles and Becky Downie were almost equally consistent this year, but Biles won Silver while Downie ended up in 7th. And though Morgan Hurd was just as consistent as Derwael, she finished far further down the rankings.
Now, on to balance beam.
First, let's just take a second to appreciate how much higher these stats are across the board compared to, say, vault. Balance beam is hard.
Liu Tingting is actually the most consistent of the bunch, so perhaps it's not such a surprise that she ended up on top. But it's also worth noting that, because consistency stats are based on execution scores and neutral deductions, they don't record any inconsistency in getting your connections credited - which is really where the variation in Tingting's scores comes from. In fact, composing a routine where the risk of missing a connection is way way higher than the risk of falling off the beam is, in general, likely to lead to a good consistency stat.
But beam was, as always, so unpredictable. Sanne Wevers had a pretty consistent season up until Worlds, with most of the variation in her scores coming from the ever-changing composition of her routine. And Ana Padurariu is a great example of someone with a shaky, inconsistent season - largely due to a nagging injury - who hit when it counted.
|Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos||13.433||0.291|
All the gymnasts at the top of the floor final are more consistent than those at the bottom. You know exactly what you're going to get every time Biles, Hurd, or Murakami hits the floor. On the flip side, while both Moors and Akhaimova can be great when they hit, hits were few and far between this past year.
So are the best gymnasts consistent? The answer is a resounding "sort of." Sometimes, the medal goes to the crazy inconsistent gymnast who pulls out her best when it matters. Sometimes, it goes to the gymnast comes in with the confidence of hitting routine after routine after routine. There's no single recipe for success in gymnastics.
This time last year, there was one thing on everyone's mind: what in the world are the beam judges doing??
Okay, there might have been other things on people's minds. Iordache tore her Achilles, Uchimura hurt his ankle, everyone else hurt everything else, there was a literal hole in the Gymnova floor... but let's be real. The beam scores were the real story. Only one gymnast received an e-score above 8.0 the entire meet!
So in the lead-up to Doha, a lot of people were bracing themselves for beam scores to get slammed again. There seemed to be signs that the FIG was taking fluidity seriously on beam: for example, one of the example videos used to standardize judging emphasizes that deductions should be taken for pauses.
But in the past two days of qualification, we honestly haven't seen anywhere close to Montreal-level judging on beam. This really hit home for me when I saw Riley McCusker's score: she received a 13.1 after a fall. Last year, that score would have been just a tenth shy of qualifying her for the beam final.
So just how much looser has scoring been in Doha? I thought I would take a look at this more empirically, so I pulled the top 20 scores on beam from qualifications in Montreal and in Doha. Why just the top 20? I only want to look at gymnasts who performed well. I want to be sure that lower scores indicate stricter judging, not lots of falls.
Then, I pulled all the 2017 beam scores for the gymnasts in the top 20 in Montreal, and all the 2018 beam scores for the gymnasts in the top 20 in Doha. I took the mean of these scores for each gymnast in each year, so that we could compare each gymnast's average non-Worlds score to her Worlds score. However, these scores also include falls, etc. so I also took each gymnast's maximum non-Worlds score for comparison.
First, I compared the the average Worlds QF score for those 20 gymnasts in each year with the average of their mean scores at non-Worlds competitions.
|Year||Worlds QF Score||Mean Non-Worlds Score||Difference|
*** significant at p<0.01, ** significant at p<0.05, * significant at p<0.1
The average beam score in for the top beam workers in Montreal was significantly lower than the average score for those same gymnasts at all other meets that year - and I mean statistically significant, even though I'm only looking at 20 gymnasts. This is pretty surprising. In general, gymnasts try to peak at Worlds and they do better there then they've done all season. Plus, don't forget that we're only looking at hit world routines compared to all other routines.
The same cannot be said of Doha. Gymnasts actually scored slightly higher in Doha than they did at their average 2017, which is more in line with my expectations (see above). However, this difference isn't statistically significant.
I also wanted to try the same thing using gymnast's top scores at non-Worlds meets so that we're only comparing hit routines with hit routines.
|Year||Worlds QF Score||Max Non-Worlds Score||Difference|
*** significant at p<0.01, ** significant at p<0.05, * significant at p<0.1
Of course, the Montreal scores are way lower than the gymnasts' top scores at other meets that year. However, the Doha scores have also been significantly lower than the same gymnast's top scores at other 2018 meets. So the scoring in Doha is still a little tighter than it has been elsewhere -- just not to the same extent that we saw in Montreal.
To get a better sense of the full distribution, I've made a k-density plot of the mean non-Worlds scores versus the Montreal Worlds Scores, as well as the maximum non-Worlds scores versus the Montreal Worlds scores. Without getting into the statistics, the k-density plot just shows us a nice smooth distribution of the scores for all 20 gymnasts.
It's immediately obvious that scores were way lower in Montreal than they were during the rest of 2017: you can see that the blue distribution is well to the left of the red distribution in both plots.
Here's the same thing for Doha. The difference is much less extreme.
So at the end of the day, Doha is not Montreal. Even if Simone hadn't named her kidney stone the Doha Pearl, even if Aliya hadn't made bars finals after having a baby, we still wouldn't be talking about the crazy beam scores.
But, domestic judges, take note: even this year, the best beam scores at Worlds are coming in below the best beam scores elsewhere. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all agree to score the same way?
My Twitter feed is flooded with airport selfies, which can only mean one thing: Worlds is almost here!
So, let's talk team finals! There's a lot at stake this year. The top three teams will leave with more than just a medal: they also get a team spot in Tokyo. The top 24 teams will earn a spot to the 2019 World Championships, where nine more teams will earn a spot for Tokyo.
I'm going to use the Score for Score Team Tester to look at how each team could do if every gymnast got her best score from this season - that is, her best score since Montreal. For gymnasts who haven't competed since Worlds last year, I'll go back a bit further, but with a healthy dose of skepticism. I also don't have any secret knowledge about anyone's lineups: I'm just going by the scores.
Here we go.
Let's just get it out of the way: odds are that the US takes home the gold. This team could conceivably score an absolutely massive 178.200.
Knock a few points off their beam scores since US judges apparently haven't figured out how to E score, and they'll still be fine.
Let's talk about the rest of the Big
Four Three: Russia and China. Team Russia's best scores get them a 171.214, while the Chinese gymnasts could earn a 170.998.
Melnikova was always going to be the lynchpin of this team, but if she manages to pull out a Cheng at Worlds then she'll actually be contributing as much as six tenths more than her vault score above. Still, there are some question marks in the table above that suggest that Russia shouldn't take a silver for granted. Has Melnikova adjusted to the "concrete" floor in Doha? Will Simakova crash her Rudi? And of course, the biggest question of all: does Aliya have an acro series?
Keep in mind here that we don't have too many international scores for the Chinese gymnasts, and China is one of the few countries that systematically underscores its gymnasts at domestic meets, so we might expect these numbers to creep up a bit at Worlds.
This is an interesting team for China. They're one of the only teams in the world that's could conceivably do best on beam - but that's in large part because this team is uncharacteristically weak on bars. They're not going to like putting up Liu Jinru or Zhang Jin on bars in qualifications, but they'll have to. However, at least China can pull together three TF-worthy scores on bars. The same cannot be said of floor.
Consistency is also an issue for China's vaulters. While I feel pretty comfortable with Zhang Jin's double twisting Tuskahara, we've seen way too many ankle-crunching vaults to the knees in the past year from Liu Jinru. The pressure is on.
Japan, however, might just be my pick for bronze this year. Despite the unfortunate withdrawal of Sae Miyakawa, Team Japan could score a highly competitive 170.581.
While this team doesn't have a ton of routines that will take your breath away - the obvious exception being Murakami's floor - they also don't have much of a weakness. Teramoto and Sugihara can both be a bit hit or miss on beam, and they'll need to hit on the day. However, I would say that Japan is in the envious position of controlling their own fate. If they do their best, I think they can take bronze, even without major mistakes from anyone else. Whatever they're doing in the lead up to Tokyo, it's working.
There are couple other teams who will almost certainly make the final, but will almost certainly not make the podium.
Right up until the moment Coline Devillard injured her ankle, France was up there on the edge of bronze medal contention. Without Devillard's vaults, France should still safely make the team final, but they'd need to hit their best and get lucky with some falls from other teams in order to medal. The scores below would give them a 169.749.
|Melanie de Jesus dos Santos||FRA||14.666||14.650||13.933||14.200|
This team is heavily reliant on Melanie de Jesus Dos Santos's scores - she's bringing in the top number on three events. But for the French team as a whole, the real make-or-break event will be beam. Boyer, Charpy, and Melanie are exceptional when they hit - especially Boyer, who is arguably a contender for a beam medal this year. But Boyer fell during the Euros team final, and Charpy's score got slammed in Montreal last year.
Brazil should also be safely into the team final, and could potentially score up to a 168.049.
I don't have a ton to say about the Brazilian team, except that I am so, so excited to see Saraiva's beam. I really hope this is her year.
And then there's the exciting cases for which qualifications will be high stakes indeed. We'll see a couple of these teams in the final - but not most of them.
Canada should have the potential to score around 169.034, but I highly doubt we're going to see numbers that high from this team.
Between Shallon Olsen and Ellie Black, vault is the backbone of this team's score. Canada's other lineups are something of a question for me though. I honestly don't see Denommee going up in the team final - I put her up on bars because her top score is the same as Olsen's, but that 12.7 is a) low for team final score and b) unusually high for her, given her history of single-digit scores. I could see her filling out the lineup in qualification and sitting out the final.
Brooklyn Moors's floor should be a highlight for this team, but she's one of the gymnasts that appears to be having a hard time with this new floor. In podium training, she missed both her double front and her Podkopayeva. This meet is also Ana Padurariu's first major test at the senior level. She's just come back from injury and while she put up a strong showing at Pan Ams, she hasn't quite lived up to the hype that surrounded her as a junior. It'll be interesting to see how she does in Doha.
I'm also very worried about Team GB, who's top score right now is around 165.782.
A lot will depend on how much the Downies have improved since last time we saw them. Ellie Downie is hoping to vault, which we haven't seen her do since her injury. However, vault isn't where her score is most need -- floor is. She has the potential to be the best floor worker on this entire team, but we haven't even seen her crack 13 since coming back, and I'm sure the hard floor isn't helping her foot.
For Germany, we're looking at a potential score around 167.000. With not one but two World beam medalists injured at home, this team isn't as strong as we might have expected. They'll be relying on big bars scores from Seitz and Scheder to make up for a lackluster floor lineup.
Netherlands also has a shot at the final if they go clean, which is sort of what they're known for. I don't know if they've finalized the team yet, but if I were picking, I'd go with Veerman's bars over Polderman's... anything. That team could get a 164.382.
|Vera van Pol||NLD||14.067||13.400||12.666||12.900|
Hungary, Austria, Ukraine and Belgium also have an outside shot if some of these teams have a bad day. However, I have midterms to study for-- so if you're interested, head over to the Team Tester and check them out!
Tags: World Championships 2018
The FIG released the nominative roster for Doha 2020 today, and the US team was a bit of a surprise. It included Simone Biles, Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Grace McCallum, and Kara Eaker, with Shilese Jones as the alternate. It did not include Jade Carey.
Jade wasn't on the fall roster for Oregon State, and it's very clear that any US Worlds team with Jade would earn a higher team score and more individual medals than any US Worlds team without Jade. So her glaring absence from the nominative roster suggests that there's something else going on.
Now, this team isn't anywhere close to final, so it's not time to freak out yet. However, it's reignited conversations about whether Jade Carey should try to earn an individual nominative spot for Tokyo 2020. So let's be clear: there is absolutely no reason for the US to send Jade Carey to earn an individual nominative spot.
The only person who's better off if Jade has an individual spot is Jade herself: the spot would be locked up for her and her alone, and no one at USAG could take it away. I love Jade's gymnastics and I want to see her in Tokyo. But this is gymnastics, and anything can happen in the next two years. Letting Jade get a nominative spot would be bad for Team USA.
First, the US can almost certainly win the all-around title at the 2019 Pan American Games, even with all-arounders who didn't compete at Worlds. There's no other country in the Americas with all-arounders strong enough to win who 1) aren't needed to help their teams qualify (like Ellie Black or Flavia Saraiva) or 2) won't qualify through the all-around at 2019 Worlds if they try (like Alexa Moreno or Yesenia Ferrera). This spot is USAG's to lose.
Second, the US can easily send all-arounders to the World Cup series and win - again, even by sending all-arounders who were not on the 2018 or 2019 Worlds team. The US has easily won the all-around World Cup series for the past two years: this year, Trinity Thomas, Jordan Chiles, and Margzetta Frasier locked it up. None of those gymnasts are likely to make the Worlds team. This is where the US can really leverage its depth. With strong juniors in the ranks who aren't even eligible for Worlds this year, there's very little to worry about.
And, just to be very clear: if the US has two non-nominative individual spots, they can give one of those to Jade Carey. Yes, even if she just competes two or three events. That's why non-nominative spots are so great: you can give them to anyone!
Maria Paseka - who, don't forget, beat out Jade for the world vault title last year - is almost certainly taking the World Cup route to qualify for Tokyo, giving her some stiff competition. And while even Jade's DTY is very competitive internationally, her difficulties getting into Amanar shape this summer suggest that staying in peak form for three or more spread-out World Cups would be a challenge.
Now, as I said, getting a nominative spot would be best for Jade herself. But she can only go to the World Cups if USAG sends her - and if they send her and she does well, they can't stop her from earning that nominative spot, which comes with all the drawbacks listed above. (Gymcastic listeners, this is what Jessica keeps talking about: if Jade is at the World Cup, then USAG can't stop her from qualifying. But they don't have to let her go to the World Cups in the first place.)
US gymnasts haven't gone to event World Cups in recent history. Now's not the time to start.
We never really know what's going on in Valentina's head... but we can guess! Let's talk team selection for Russia.
Per Gymnovosti, seven gymnasts are in contention: the Euros squad of Angelina Melnikova, Irina Alexeeva, Angelina Simakova, Uliana Perebinosova, and Lilia Akhaimova as well as Aliya Mustafina and the surprise of the season, Daria Spiridonova. Anastasia Ilyankova, who I was shocked not to see at Euros, appears to have a mystery injury. And while interpreting cryptic social media posts and following the gymternet rumor mill have never been my strengths, it seems like Viktoria Komova is out of the sport for good and my heart has been shot into a million pieces.
Now, using past scores to predict the team is harder for Russia than it is for the US. American gymnasts are expected to show world-class routines publicly before they're selected. Russian gymnasts never really get their shit together until the day of the final (and, let's be real, sometimes not even then). That's why we love them. They keep things interesting.
But let's give it a try anyway. The way I see it, Melnikova is a lock. It's also hard to put together a team without Simakova's vault and floor, and she's the strongest young up-and-coming AA'er Russia has right now so I doubt she'll get left at home.
If Aliya is back to the level where she was in April, post-baby but pre-knee injury, then she's equally indispensable. In particular, she showed a solid-enough DTY at Russian championships that, together with her bars score, makes her a must.
With Melnikova, Simakova, and Mustafina on the team, Russia's still in need of a good floor score, and they'll probably want to put up someone stronger than Simakova on bars because Russia. In addition, they'll hope that whoever plugs in those holes is a nice sturdy beam worker. To my mind, Akhaimova has to make her case with consistency on floor and beam, while Perebinosova and Spiridonova are duking it out for the bars spot. Alexeeva provides useful but not enormous scores on all three.
Here's the highest-scoring team I could put together, using each gymnast's best score from the past year. The team gets a total score of 171.546.
But subbing in Alexeeva for Akhaimova, the team gets nearly the same score: 171.362. If Alexeeva is healthy, I'd put her in for consistency's sake over Akhaimova any day. You're trading out a strong vault score for the ability to get through beam without a heart attack.
If Mustafina isn't healthy enough to beat her performance in April, then things get a little more interesting and there's room for an extra bars specialist. But based on the scores we have so far, Spiridonova just hasn't demonstrated that that person should be her. She's only broken 14.5 once since Rio, and she hasn't scored above a 13.9 this year at all. Those aren't bad numbers, but they're not Russian bars numbers. And despite her years of experience, I wouldn't exactly take Spiridonova for her consistency.
So if Mustafina's not there yet and Spiridonova can't beat out Perebinosova on bars, then I'm guessing we're looking at a repeat of the Euros team.
Now, just indulge me for a minute with my dream team...
This team doesn't even score that well. But I would love it. Even I can admit that scores aren't everything.
If anyone has news on when we should expect the team to be announced, please comment below!
Tags: World Championships 2018