The 2022 women's artistic gymnastics championships, held in Liverpool, United Kingdom, left us with some predicted results but also, some refreshing surprises.
With or without Russia, or the Russian Olympic Committee (the name they had to compete since at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and since the 2021 world championships) the USA women were the favorite to win the team title, so the big question was who else was going to take not just medals home but also, the three top teams at the final, were guaranteed a spot at the Paris 2014 Olympics, so there was a lot a stake.
Since the last quad, the way competition is organized, the 8 teams competing at the final, are split into 4 groups, with the top 2 teams competing in the same apparatus, alternating 1 gymnast from each country which makes the event much more exciting for the viewer, the 3rd and 4th teams with the highest qualification scores compete in the same apparatus and so on. Each team has 5 members of which 3 compete in each event; coaches and team coordinators, select the best 3 performers in each event to make sure that they get the best possible scores for their teams. The
Team USA started on what is arguably their best event and the highest-scoring event for women, producing high-flying vault after high-flying vault, culminating with Jade Carey's difficult vault (the Cheng), which put the American women about 0.5 points ahead of the British squad. Brazil was in 3rd place just over a point behind the silver medal spot. Some uncharacteristic falls had left the current European champions, Italy, in 4th place. To everyone's surprise, Every single athlete from China had a fall or major fail on beam, one of their best events, with one of the gymnasts scoring just over 10.000 points (the average score for China on this apparatus was around 14.000 points), so they were last after the 1st rotation.
At the start of the 2nd rotation, we learnt that Flavia Saraiva, from Brazil, a beam specialist, and Olympic beam finalist, was injured so she wouldn't be competing for the rest of the meet, so, when Rebeca Andrade, the best gymnast from the Brazilian team, and possibly, in the world, took to the beam, the pressure was on, and, unfortunately, she fell on her side aerial, which complicated things for Brazil.
By the start of rotation 3, team USA had an advantage of 2 points over Great Britain. When Jade Carey took to the beam, she was performing her exercise at a slower pace than she normally did, so there was a risk of running over time, just as she was doing the choreography in preparation for her dismount, we hear the bell warning that she had just 10 seconds left to dismount, unfortunately, she wasn't able to take off some of the superficial moves that would have saved the time she needed to finish the exercise, so as she went into her dismount, a double pike backward, the second bell came on, warning that she had exceeded the maximum time allowed to finish the exercise, which would cost her a 0.1 deduction. The competition went on, providing great performances by the Japanese and Canadian athletes (we could see Canada's Ellie Black compete her new skill, named after her, on uneven bars), and then Skye Blakely, the best beam worker from the US team, started her exercise, as she landed her standing full-in back tuck, she couldn't stay on the beam, so she fell, but due to her high difficulty, she still received a pretty decent score, keeping the US ahead on the points table. The following athlete on beam was Alice Kinsella, from the UK, who also fell, allowing the US gymnast to get further away.
The final rotation starts, and it looks like, unless every single gymnast from the USA team made big mistakes, they had a gap large enough to lead all the way to the gold medal, however, there were a few teams that could still get to the podium, but in the end, Great Britain managed to keep the 2nd spot, and a surprising Canada managed to finished in a historical 3rd position. Brazil managed to climb up to the 4th position, followed by Italy, China, Japan, and France in the last position.