Jesolo 2015: The Importance of both Difficulty & Execution

The USA Senior & Junior teams performed exceptionally well in Jesolo this year, winning the team gold in both the senior and junior competitions and earning multiple spots on the podium in the all-around and event finals. While they competed against strong teams from Canada, Australia, Italy and France, the USA performed some of the most difficult routines in the competition. But they weren’t the only ones who showcased high D-scores - several members of the Canadian team, for instance, also performed some of the most difficult routines. What really set the USA apart was their top execution during competition. They performed routines with high difficulty, but they also performed them extremely well.

Check out our breakdown below of each event (looking at both the team/all-around finals and the event finals in the junior and senior competitions) to get a better idea of how the US managed to capture so many spots on the podium at Jesolo.

Vault

The USA has always been strong on vault, though you may be surprised to know that two Canadians actually performed harder vaults than most of the Americans. Simone Biles performed the most difficult vault - an Amanar, worth 6.3 in start value. All of the other US gymnasts performed vaults valued at 5.8 or lower. Ellie Black, a veteran on the Canadian team, performed a Tsukahara with a double twist in the team finals, worth a 6.0. Her junior teammate, Shallon Olsen, performed a unique Yurchenko with half turn onto the table, 1 ½ twisting tuck off, worth 5.9.

Although Black and Olsen performed tougher vaults than the other Americans, they had lower execution scores, with both having issues with their landings. Simone Biles had the highest execution with a 9.65 on her Amanar (she also scored a 9.55 on her Lopez in event finals). Following Simone, Kyla Ross had the second highest execution with a 9.6 on her double twisting Yurchenko, Alyssa Baumann tied for third in execution with a 9.55 on the same vault. As a result, the three highest vault scores throughout the entire competition were achieved by Simone, Kyla and Alyssa.

Uneven Bars

The gymnast with the highest difficulty score on bars was Isabela Onyshko from Canada, with a 6.3. Isabela performed several tough release moves, many of which were in connection, such as her opening series - a Maloney to uprise free hip full pirouette to a Tkatchev. Following Isabela, Bailie Key, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas all had the next highest difficulty with 6.1 D-scores.

Once again, although Isabela had the highest D-score on bars, it was three Americans who finished with the highest execution - Kyla Ross (9.25 in event finals), Bailie Key (9.05 in event finals) and Simone Biles (8.95 in team finals). Isabela unfortunately faltered in both the team and event finals, having an error on her pak salto on one day and falling from a release on the other. Kyla Ross had the highest score during the whole competition with a 15.25 during event finals, followed by Bailie Key (15.15) and Simone Biles (15.05).

Balance Beam

The US is very strong on beam, with several team members who perform routines at 6.0+ difficulty level. Simone Biles and Aly Raisman performed with the highest difficulty - Simone with a 6.5 in event finals and Aly with a 6.4 in team finals. Their higher D-scores can mostly be attributed to their dismounts, both of which are valued at a G (0.70).

In team finals, Ellie Black and Isabela Onyshko both performed 6.0+ routines, but had a few unfortunate bobbles, and Black fell on her difficult tumbling series (back handspring to back tuck with a full twist). As a result, the three highest execution scores went to the Americans - Kyla Ross with the highest (9.0) followed by Alyssa Bauman (8.8), and thirdly a tie between Norah Flatley (8.75) and Simone Biles (8.75). Combined with their high difficulty levels, the Americans also scored the highest throughout the entire competition - Simone scored highest with a 15.25, Alyssa Baumann was second with a 15.00, and Norah was third with a 14.95.

Floor Exercise

Once again, the US has several strong gymnasts on floor, notably Simone Biles, who competed with a 6.8 D-score thanks to her huge tumbling passes. Aly Raisman, in her first competition since 2012, had the second highest D-score at 6.3, followed by Bailie Key and Erika Fasana (Italy) who competed with 6.0 difficulty.

In execution, Biles, Raisman and Key also performed the highest - all three of them scored 9.0 or above during team or event finals. Erika Fasana was the only gymnast who came close to scoring as high - she achieved an 8.9 in execution during event finals, resulting in her claiming the silver medal. The highest scores throughout the entire competition still went to the Americans - Biles with an incredible 16.05, Raisman with a 15.2, and Key with a 15.0.

It is still early in the elite season, so it is understandable that some of the gymnasts had form issues, impacting their execution, and many are also probably not at their full difficulty potential. That being said, it makes the USA team seem even more impressive. In Jesolo, they showcased high difficulty on all four events as well as beautiful execution. With so many promising gymnasts, it will make it even more difficult to choose a team for Worlds and other international competitions going forward.

Related:
5 Headlines from Senior Competition
USA Sweeps Event Finals 
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