Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Case for (South) Korea

[I lied about Saturday!]

I decided to make a spreadsheet (found here) of all the scored for teams 9-16 from prelims at Worlds.  I added up the scores per event by score receive at Worlds and by difficulty awarded at Worlds.  While I was sitting in my room at 4AM reading updates and trying to find live feed during Worlds, lots of bloggers that were there fell in love with Korea during podium training but were disappointed with how they performed in qualifications.  Korea placed 15th and will have the opportunity in January to qualify for London 2012.

What surprised me about this list is that when I split it by difficulty, Korea (15th place) had the highest difficulty of all 8 teams with a difficulty of 68.4 in a 3-up, 3-count format.  Italy (9th place) was 2nd with a difficulty of an even 68 and France (10th) was 3rd with a total difficulty of 66.6.  They had the highest value on vault with a 16.9 (2 DTY (5.8) vaults and a 1.5TY (5.3)).  Their difficulty on uneven bars was an 18.1 (France was 2nd with a 18.0 largely due to Youna Dufournet's amazing 6.7 start value) which is no surprise based on the amazing routines that the bloggers were describing.  Italy had the highest balance beam start value with a 17.7 (Preziosa - 6.0, Ferrari 5.9, Ferlito 5.8) and Canada was second with a 3-up difficulty of 16.9.  Korea was tied in 3rd with Spain and the Netherlands (who have lost all-arounder Celine van Gerner) with a 16.8.  Korea's floor, as well as Canada's, was 3rd to Brazil's 17.0 and Italy's 16.8 at a value of 16.6.

In summary, Korea was 1st on VT and UB, 3rd on BB and FX.  I think their strength comes from not only UB but also VT.  Many of the nations in teams 9-16 are counting at least one full twisting Yurchenko.  Korea appears to have 2 double twists and 2 individuals with 1.5 twisting Yurchenko's.  Hyunjoo Jo and Ye Eun Kim both have DTY as well as second vaults.  Jo's 2nd vault at World's was a half twist on, half laid out twist off (or a Lopez) and has a SV of 5.6 (8.266/13.866) and can be found here (or better landing and video found here '08 Olympics).   Jo was a member of Korea's 08 Olympics Team and was also a vault finalist at Worlds last year where she placed 6th.  Kim's 2nd vault was given a 0 and according to Blythe the Gym Examiner, was "a tuck Rudi attempt that did not have the last half twist."  Here is Kyung Jim Park's 1.5TY from Worlds(13.9/5.3/8.6).

For uneven bars, the Koreans had 2 gymnasts with a D score of 6.2.  One was Kyung Jin Park [found here at the Youth Olympic Games (Markelov and Gienger)] and the other was Seon Mi Heo whose 18th place UB routine from Worlds (14.233/8.033) can be found here (or below this paragraph).  May I call her the Korean Beth Tweddle?  At the beginning of her routine, she has a series of non-stop release moves going between the high and low bar including a straddled Tkatchev + Pak and a Khorkina II (toe-on 1/2 to high bar) and a Markelov.  She missed a few handstands but I think if she fixes that and keeps her stuck dismount Korea might have a bars finalist on their hands!

Seon Mi Heo UB

On BB, Korea counted a 5.7, 5.6, and 5.5 routine.  Here is Ji Yeon Park's routine with a D-value of 5.5 (6.6/12.1 - one fall and dangerously low dismount).  She had the lowest E score for the Koreans on beam but 3rd highest D-value. Our UB star's balance beam had a difficulty of 5.1. The routine (found here) has a few spots where she can connect to up that difficulty. She had the highest E score of the Koreans and was the only one to score above 8.0 with an 8.166 (13.266).  Hyunjoo Jo has the highest D score, at 5.7, for the Koreans.  I couldn't find a recent routine so here is her beam routine from the '08 Olympics.  I'm sure she's grown since then (British commentators call her a baby. hmm...) but hopefully her prowess on the beam has not changed.  The only thing that bothers me about the Koreans on beam is how low they squat before their back handsprings.  I just get scared for the connecting move since they get so low.

On FX, Korea has a 5.6 from Hyunjoo Jo and a 5.5 from both Seon Mi Heo and Kyung Jin Park.  Based on this YOG video, Park seems to have lovely lines.  Hopefully, she can fully rotate her triple twist now.

Jo has a lovely triple turn in her routine.  Her music and choreography don't excite me but I do like her ending pose here at the 2011 Swiss Cup.

After doing this analysis, I think Korea has a decent chance of reaching the top 4 at the test event as long as the gymnasts keep their cool and perform to expectations.

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