Shannon Miller won gold in 1996. Shawn Johnson did it in 2008. They won the Olympic gold medal on the balance beam. I can’t judge a beam routine by their start value alone. They may start with a difficulty score of 6.5, but in the routine the gymnast could miss any number of connections. That could bring her score down 2 or even 3 points. The beam medals go to the gymnast who can stay on , make her connections, and show a high execution throughout the routine. The gymnasts must preform a backward, forward, and side element. They must show a 180 degree split and a full turn. The gymnast that sticks the dismount might be on her way to podium.
In 2012 Deng Linlin from China won the gold medal, Sui Lu also from China took home the silver, and Aly Raisman rounded things out with the bronze. This year China is sending a team who are strong on this event, and Aly is returning with a new routine that I am hoping will put her back on the podium. There is talent coming from Netherlands, Russia, and Great Britain also. Lets take a look at who I think will make the event finals in Rio on the balance beam. My top five…
- Simone Biles from the Unites States
With a difficulty score of 6.7/6.8 Simone Biles ranks #1 on the beam. She has the highest score recorded on this event in the past two years a 15.700. She took the gold at the World Championships last year by a full point with a 15.358. She scores high because of her difficulty and her execution. Starting with the punch front half to her full twisting double back dismount Simone show height on every element. She has seldom let her nerves get the best of her in past competitions, so it will be hers to win, or hers to lose.
2. Lauren Hernandez from the United States/ Aly Raisman from United States
I have both gymnasts listed here because we know in the event final only two girls per country can go on. I am still unsure about who will score higher in the qualifications. Both of these gymnasts can score in the 15’s, but Lauren edged out Aly by scoring a huge 15.700 the second night of the Olympic Trials. Aly’s routine can have a maximum difficulty of 6.5/6.6, but she has never earned more than a 15.35. Lauren has a difficulty score of 6.5/6.6 depending on her dismount, but has put up big numbers in the Pacific Rims, at Classics, and the Trials ranging from 15.2 to 15.7
3. Sanne Weaver from Netherlands
Sanne Weavers made a huge mark for herself last year at the World Championships coming in second to Simone with a 14.33. I fast forward to the Netherlands Championship this year where she scored a 15.65 with a difficulty score of 6.6. What is fun about this gymnast is that she gets her difficulty from her dance elements. She used turns and leaps and danced her way to a 15.4/15.5 in the IAG sports event and Cottbus Challenge. Again, if she can nail all of her connections she will be looking to earn the first medal for a female gymnast from the Netherlands in the Olympics.
4. Shang Chunsong from China
During the 2016 Chinese National Championship Shang Chunsong had a difficulty score of 6.7, and received a 15.500. In the event finals she scored a 15.467. The Chinese gymnasts are known for their gorgeous leaps and high tumbling and Shang does both. She starts her routine with a huge back handspring, back handspring, layout and connects it to two jumps. If she can get her execution score into the nines she could become the Olympic gold medalist.
5. Angelina Melnikova from Russia
Angelina rounds out my top 5 because of her 15.4 she scored this year at the Russian Cup event finals. She has a difficulty score of a low 6.2/6.3, but can have an execution score in the nines. At the 2016 Russian Championships she put up two solid scores of 15.333 and 15.300. Angelina also connects her tumbling to her jumps, like Shang Chunsong. She may be a first year senior, but she is already showing the world her class and maturity like a veteran on the team. Russia has been known to have a few falls in the three up three count system. I am hoping she can stay calm and rely on her junior international experience.
I have chosen who I think will be in the top 5 in the event finals but I do have a few more gymnasts who could round up the 8 spots. Aliya Mustifina from Russia can put up a high score when it counts. She put up a 15.100 at the European Championship to win the beam gold medal with a difficulty score of 6.3. She is known to change her routines and its been said she can put up a different beam routine in each competition. Let’s hope she picks a good one this year. Marine Boyer from France has a difficulty score of 6.3 and won the silver medal at the European Championships. She also put up a 14.85 in Jeslo, and a 15.000 at the recent championships in France. Last, Seda Tutkhalyan from Russia is looking to mirror her qualification score of 15.333 from the Russian Championships this year.
There is so much talent on the balance beam and it is going to be an exciting final to watch. It always comes down to who can stay on and who can stick the landing. Anything can happen at an Olympic Final and any one of these gymnasts could be the 2016 Olympic Champ! I end still having a few lingering questions though…
There are three top beam workers on this US team and only two go! Which two will it be? Can China win another gold? Will Russia finally get the Olympic medal on this event? Will Simone Biles sweep this event and every other to win them all?
Stay tuned as I look at the top 5 Floor routines I hope to make it the event finals in Rio…