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Session III: Porgras Leads, Big Names Struggle
(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

IG Editor Dwight Normile is blogging from the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships at the O2 Arena in London, where the women's competition began Wednesday.

Romania's Ana Porgras took over the top all-around qualifying spot with a 57.30, while some big names struggled. American Bridget Sloan fell off beam in the first rotation and had landing issues on floor. She finished strong on the remaining events to sit in third place (56.075), behind China's Deng Linlin (56.35), with two subdivisions to go. Russia's Ksenia Semyonova also was looking strong until she fell on floor. Hometown favorite Beth Tweddle did two events only, floor and bars, and had problems on both. She nearly fell on her floor mount but came off completely on bars, thus ending her chances of double gold here.

Ksenia Semyonova (RUS): Got through bars by saving a few handstand imbalances, especially after a Pak immediate free hip on the low bar. She did a toe-on-1.5 pirouette to Jaeger and Stalder-full to Deltchev (14.20). Beam was fairly solid but she had to save a side aerial landing (14.075). Piked full-in mount on floor, followed by 2.5 twist punch barani. Then fell flat on her back on a 1.5 twist punch front-full.

Yana Demyanchuk (UKR): Tucked full-in mount, tucked double back second pass. Her energetic routine looks like a clown circus act (in a good way). Vault was a Yurchenko-full with a bounce forward. Interesting toe-on (one foot at a time) to Tkatchev on bars, but then a stomach drop on a toe-on, shoot to the high bar.

Ana Porgras (ROM): Strong bars with an overshoot half to low, immediate inside Stalder-full pirouette. Stuck her double layout. Solid beam aside from a major wobble after a switch ring leap. Tucked full-in mount on floor, then she waltzed through the rest of the routine, which ended with a double tuck (14.175). It's hard to believe she outscored Kayla Williams (USA), whose dimsount was harder than Porgras' mount, regardless of any dance comparison. Porgras finished with a Yurchenko-full (13.70).

Sui Lu (CHN): Step-on mount, piked front on beam, wobble, consecutive full turns in different positions. Missed a connection between her front aerial to back tuck, but ended with a high roundoff double pike (14.325). Clean tumbling on floor, opening with a whip immediate triple twist and ending with a double pike.

Marissa King (GBR): Started on beam, but the crowd cheering each successful skill. Good standing Arabian but near fall after a front. Clean vaults of Tsukahara-1.5 and handspring-piked barani.

Bridget Sloan (USA): Sloan began on beam and fell on a front somi early in the routine. The rest was steady (13.325). On floor her 1.5 twist through to triple twist was landed short. Clean piked full-in second pass and handspring-randi third. Nearly stepped out after a double pike. Not her best effort in terms of landings (13.60, 5.7 D-score). Excellent double-twisting Yurchenko with just a small hop forward (14.55). Sloan finished with a strong bars set that ended with a full-twisting double layout (14.60).

Beth Tweddle (GBR): Crowd went nuts for Tweddle...when she mounted the podium, then let out a huge gasp after her first pass came up short (1.5 twist through to Arabian double front, which she nearly sat down). High piked Arabian double second pass and a 2.5 twist-front-full ending. Will have to wait to see if she advances to the final (14.075, 6.1 D-score). Perhaps the pressure of performing at home was too much for Tweddle, or her uneven bars set is just too difficult, because she came off on her toe-on Tkatchev to mixed grip. Then she scraped the ground on her barani to the low bar (13.850). It will be a sad day for British gymnastics if she fails to make a final.

Pauline Morel (FRA): Cautious beam that seemed to build confidence. Clean lines and form. Snappy choreography on floor.

Jana Komrskova (CZE): Komrskova has been a talented vaulter for a long time but just needs a stronger second vault. She did a high roundoff half-on to piked barani for a first vault, followed by a Yurchenko-full.

Fieke Willems (NED): Scary start to her bars when she peeled off after catching a Shaposhnikova. The result was a front flip to her back. She repeated the mount and caught it, then threw a Gienger between the bars on the forward swing.

He Kexin (CHN): As the last competitor in this session, He was a fitting closing act. Nearly an impeccable routine from the Olympic champion. Just a slight step on her tucked full-in dismount, but the rest showed amplitude and great form (15.975).

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