Monday, August 5, 2013


Shawn Johnson vs Nastia Liukin

Vault: This was the apparatus in which Shawn had a huge advantage over Nastia.  Shawn performs a 2.5 twist compared to Nastia’s 1.5 twist.  Shawn’s start value was a full point higher than Nastia.  Therefore, unless Shawn fell on her butt she was pretty much guaranteed a higher score than Nastia.

Nastia’s Vault: Hands down the best vault Nastia’s ever done.  She definitely made the most out of her less difficult vault with a stuck landing and lovely form to boot.  She really lacks a good block off the vaulting table to perform a harder vault but performs her less difficult vault here with the utmost perfection.

Judge’s score: 15.025

D: 5.5
E: 9.525

My score: 15.1

D: 5.5
E: 9.6

[Deductions: 0.4]
0.1 lack of height
0.1 lack of distance
0.1 did not land in the middle of the mat
0.1 low landing (deviation from ideal position)

Shawn’s Vault: In warmups, Shawn performed possibly one of the best Amanars I’ve ever seen her do, just like Tim Dagget said.  She’s no Mckalya Maroney on vault but her power, short stature, and good form make this a good scoring event for her.  In terms of deductions, she had a large step on the landing.  Even more importantly though, Shawn’s vault was quite under rotated.  It was really more like a 2.25 twisting yurchenko.  Regardless of how under rotated a salto is, the CoP states that the highest deduction for being under rotated (without a fall) is 0.1.

Judge’s score: 15.875

D: 6.5
E: 9.375

My Score: 15.8

D: 6.5
E: 9.3

[Deductions: 0.7]
0.1 lack of height
0.1 lack of distance
0.1 under rotated
0.1 low landing (deviation from ideal position)
0.3 step on landing
0.1 did not land in middle of the matt

Uneven Bars: Just like Shawn had the advantage on Vault, Nastia had the advantage on the Uneven Bars.  She shared the highest start value in the world at the time, a 7.7, with 2 Chinese gymnasts: He Kexin and Yang Yilin.  Her long lines, high release moves, and difficult pirouettes make this a good scoring apparatus for her. On the other hand, Shawn is not as strong on the bars so she needed to rely on getting a huge execution score to combine with her lower difficulty score.

Nastia’s Bars:  A nice clean routine from Nastia sans the dismount.  Most of her deductions came from her handstands and the dismount.

Judge’s Score: 16.650

D: 7.7
E: 8.950

My Score: 16.5

D: 7.7
E: 8.8

[Deductions: 1.2]
0.5 Insufficient extension in kips or casts/lack of handstand in kips and casts (x5)
0.1 late handstand on ono ½ pirouette
0.1 leg separation on pak salto
0.1 cowboyed double front
0.1 low landing
0.3 step on landing

Shawn’s Bars: This is without a doubt Shawn’s weakest event but she’s definitely not a bad bars worker.  She’s ‘spectacular’ on beam and floor but is just ‘good’ on bars.  The important thing here was to try to execute everything as perfectly as she could, which she managed to do with her ‘G’ rated dismount. 

Judge’s Score: 15.733

D: 6.6
E: 9.133

My Score: 15.8

D: 6.6
E: 9.2

[Deductions: 0.8]
0.4 Insufficient extension in kips or casts/lack of handstand in kips and casts (x4)
0.1 bent arms when catching the bar on Ginger
0.3 late handstand on pirouette

Balance Beam: Nastia was the reigning world champion on this event while Shawn got last place in the beam finals at the 2007 worlds.  However, Shawn has a 0.3 advantage in terms of difficult over Nastia.  However, when you do the bigger and harder skills (such as the standing full and the full in dismount that Shawn does) it leaves more room for the judges to deduct on low landings and possible steps.  While Nastia lacks the acrobatic prowess that Shawn possesses, she still manages to bring accumulate a large D score with her difficult leaps that require her to lose complete sight of the beam momentarily.

Nastia’s Beam: What frustrated me was that the judges gave her connection bonus for her supposed Onodi + Wolf Jump 1/1 combination when she clearly did not connect the skills.  I mean even Tim freakin Dagget, who is an idiot, was blabbing on about how she didn’t deserve the connection.  Regardless, this was a clean set from the world champion and she certainly deserved that high execution score.

Judge’s score: 16.125

D: 6.7
E: 9.425

My Score: 16.0

D: 6.6
E: 9.4

[Deductions: 0.6]
0.1 heel dropped prematurely on full turn
0.1 slight shuffle on side somersault
0.1 arm movements used for balance ‘Liukin’
0.1 head not held long enough on switch ring leap
0.1 slight balance check on switch ring leap
0.1 crossed legs on 2.5 twist

Shawn’s Beam: This routine had something I’ve never seen Shawn do, a balance check.  She also had quite a few low landings on some of her acrobatic elements because they are so difficult to perform.

Judge’s Score: 16.0

D: 7.0
E: 9.0

My score: 16.0

D: 7.0
E: 9.0

[Deductions: 1.0]
0.1 leg separation on layout
0.1 bent legs on piked front
0.1 low landing on piked front
0.3 low landing on standing tucked full (chest touching knees)
0.1 balance check on standing full
0.1 lack flexibility on switch split leap
0.1 legs not parallel to beam on Johnson
0.1 low landing on full in (chest at hip level)
0.1 step on full in

Floor Exercise: Shawn was the reigning world champion on floor and technically had a more difficult routine than Nastia.  Just like on balance beam, even though Nastia’s routine doesn’t seem as hard as Shawn’s, Nastia was only 0.2 lower than Shawn’s potential D score.  Nevertheless, the judges didn’t always credit her switch ring leap and her straddle jump 1.5 so she didn’t get her difficulty advantage over Nastia. 

Nastia’s Floor: She’s had to rework her entire routine so that she’s pretty much only doing front tumbling due to an ankle injury, which prevents her from doing back handsprings.  Nastia also has some form issues (crossed legs on her twists and an EXTREMELY cowboyed double front) however the code only allows 0.1 deduction no matter how cowboyed a salto is or how badly a gymnast crosses his or her legs during twists.  Despite her form issues, Nastia does not suffer from low landing deductions like most gymnasts because it is easier to land upright when doing a front tumble (even though it has a blind landing)

Judge’s Score: 15.525

D: 6.2
E: 9.325

My Score: 15.3

D: 6.2
E: 9.1

[Deductions: 0.9]
0.1 crossed legs on double twist
0.1 cowboyed legs on double front
0.1 hop on split leap 1/1
0.1 crossed legs on 1.5
0.1 crossed legs on 1.5 punch front
0.1 hop on 1.5 punch front
0.1 leg not held at horizontal on turn
0.1 hop on switch leap ½
0.1 crossed legs on 2.5

Shawn’s Floor: At this point, Nastia was leading Shawn by an enormous 0.6.  In gymnastics terms, where the line between gold and silver can be differentiated by a thousandth of a point, Nastia was light years away from Shawn.  She needed a number in the 16’s to catch up to Nastia, something that just wasn’t possible on floor exercise.  Shawn knew that but still gave a huge and powerful floor routine that was certainly worthy of a medal.  Shawn performed one of the best double doubles I’ve ever seen her do and finally competed her front 1/1 + front rudi combination.  However, she had the usual big uncontrolled step on her whip to triple twist combination and the lack of rotation in her straddle jump 1.5.

Judge’s score: 15.525

D: 6.1
E: 8.933

My Score: 15.5

D: 6.3
E: 9.2

[Deductions: 0.8]
0.1 hop on double double
0.1 early rotation on triple twist
0.1 uncontrolled step on triple twist
0.1 lack of flexibility on switch ring leap
0.1 legs not parallel to floor on Johnson ½
0.1 lack of precision on straddle leap 1.5
0.1 step on straddle leap 1.5
0.1 uncontrolled step on full in

- Verdict –


Nastia Liukin’s AA score: 15.025 + 16.650 + 16.125 + 15.525 = 63.325
Shawn Johnson’s AA score: 15.875 + 15.733 + 16.0 + 15.525 = 62.725


Nastia Liukin’s AA score: 15.1 + 16.5 + 16.0 + 15.3 = 62.9
Shawn Johnson’s AA score: 15.8 + 15.8 + 16.0 + 15.5 = 63.1

It wasn’t so much that Shawn was under scored but that Nastia was over scored. Personally, I have a feeling the judge’s preferred Nastia’s graceful and elegant style over Shawn’s powerful gymnastics.  The fact that Nastia won by over 0.6 is absolutely ridiculous and totally sounds fishy to me.   Granted, people complain about Nastia's form issues like her crossed legs during twists and cowboyed saltos but each one of those is only a 0.1 deduction.  No matter how bad form errors may look they're only just 0.1 in deductions.  

Regardless of who won it was already too late.  Shawn was already considered America’s sweetheart with her perky attitude and pixie like stature.  She was reminiscent of America’s first sweetheart, Mary Lou Rhetton.  Even though Shawn didn’t have the gold medal on her neck, from the endorsements and media attention she was getting, it seemd like she had actually won.  (Infact, I didn’t watch the 2008 Olympics but I remember hearing about and seeing Shawn Johnson everywhere.  It wasn’t until I actually started watching gymnastics that I knew who Nastia was and that she actually had actually won the all around and not Shawn.  So in a way, I do think Shawn did win...