Simone Biles Leads D-Scores At 2018 Gymnastics World All-Around Final

Simone Biles won the 2018 women's all-around title at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, despite mistakes on three events, hurting her execution scores. What helped her finish the meet on top even with two falls was her difficulty score, which leads the entire women's all-around field by nearly three points. 

However, the top five difficulty scores from the women's all-around final don't come from the top five finishers.

1. Simone Biles (USA) | 25.4

Biles' difficulty scores are pretty consistent throughout all four events, as they are all in the 6.0 range. Unsurprisingly, her highest difficulty scores come on vault and floor with a 6.4 and 6.6, respectively. Her 6.4 D-score on vault leads the event during all-around finals with her eponymous Biles vault, a Yurchenko half-on double twist. Her 6.6 on floor also leads the all-around field on that apparatus. Most of her difficulty on floor comes from her big tumbling passes. A Moors is an I skill, the Biles is a G, and a Silivas is an H. Her forward tumbling pass is a layout front full step-out (a C) through to a tucked full-in (E), so connecting the two gets her 0.2 in connection value.


In all-around finals, Biles had the same D-score on bars and beam, a 6.2. Her 6.2 on bars did not lead the event, but it did on beam. Biles gets her big difficult on bars from difficult individual skills as well as combinations. She has two big combos that each get a CV of 0.3: a Weiler 1/2 (D) + Maloney (D) + straddled Tkatchev (D) and a toe-on 1/1 (D) + piked Tkatchev (D) + Pak salto (D). In addition, she ends her routine with a van Leewen (E) and a huge Fabrichnova (F) dismount. 

On beam, Biles has three combos that get her a connection value bonus on top of the difficulty she gets from the individual big skills she has, such as the triple wolf turn (E), Barani (F), and front pike (E). She has a triple series of a back handspring (B) layout step-out (C) layout step-out (C), gets a 0.2 CV. Her switch split leap (C) to switch split 1/2 (D) to back pike (C) combo is a 0.3 connection value. Lastly, her dismount series is two back handsprings (B) to a full-in double back (G) for a 0.3 bonus to end her beam routine.

2. Melanie de Jesus dos Santos (FRA) | 22.7

De Jesus dos Santos finished seventh in the all-around final in Doha but had the second-highest difficulty. Her vault is a double-twisting Yurchenko, so her difficulty score there is only a 5.4, but the rest of her D-scores are above that. Her highest one comes on bars with a score of 6.0. She has three combos, two of which receive a connection value bonus. Her stalder Tkatchev (E) to Pak salto (D) at the start of her routine receive 0.2 while the in-bar stalder 1/2 (D) to L-grip giant full (D) before her dismount receive 0.1 in CV. The remainder of her routine also includes some harder skills such as a stalder (C) to van Leeuwen (E) and her full-twisting double layout dismount (E).

Her next-highest difficulty score is on beam, where she competed a 5.7 routine. The French gymnast begins with a high difficulty combo right off the bat with her front tuck mount (D) connected to a split jump (B) and straddle jump (B) for a CV of 0.2. Following that is a high-value skill of a switch ring leap, which is an E. She also receives a 0.2 in connection value for the front aerial (B) to split ring jump (D) combo in the middle of her routine. De Jesus dos Santos' acro series is a back handspring (B) to layout step-out (C) and finishes with a round-off (B) to double pike (E) but does not get any bonus either connections. So to increase her difficulty, she does two D skills, a side somi and a split ring jump.

On floor, she has two big tumbling passes. She begins with a full-twisting double layout (H) and follows that with a tucked full-in (E). The remaining elements in her routine are B, C, or D skills. Her D-score on floor is a 5.6

3. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) | 22.6

The rising Russian leader has three D-scores in the 5.0 range and one above 6.0. Her all-around final vault was also a double-twisting Yurchenko, giving her a 5.4 D-score on vault. That isn't her lowest D-score, though. A 5.3 on beam is. Despite beam being her least difficult event in terms of numerical value, she begins the apparatus with a difficult combo that gives her a 0.2 in CV. Melnikova does a front tuck mount (D) immediately connected to a split jump (B) and straddle jump (B). She has a few rather difficult single skills in her routine, including a switch ring leap (E), a side somi (D), and a split ring jump (D). Only one other combo she does gets CV, which is a front aerial (B) to split ring jump (D) for a 0.2 in connection value. Her dismount, like de Jesus dos Santos, is a round-off (B) to double pike (E).

Her highest D-score is on uneven bars, where she competed a 6.1 routine in Doha. What made her bars start value one of the highest in the all-around is all of the connections she has. Her first combo is an in-bar stalder 1/1 (E) to Komova (E) straight into a Pak salto (D) to van Leeuwen (E). Doing those four skills in a row earn 0.3 in connection value. In fact, she gets CV for her entire routine. Her next combo is an in-bar stalder 1/2 (D) to piked Jaeger, and she finishes with a toe-on 1/1 (D) to full-in (D) dismount. Both of those combinations each receive a 0.1 bonus for connection value.

Last but not least is floor, where Melnikova has a 5.8 D-score. Only a few of the skills are below a D in value. She has two higher difficulty passes: a full-twisting double layout (H) and a double layout (F). Some of her dance elements are on the more difficult side, including a double L turn (D), switch ring 1/2 (D), double wolf turn (D), and Memmel turn (D). Her front tumbling pass is a front tuck (A) to back double tuck (D), and she finishes with a double pike (D).

4. Morgan Hurd (USA) | 22.3

Hurd is pretty consistent with her difficulty across the board with a 5.4 D-score on vault, beam, and floor. Her highest D-score is on bars with a 6.1. What makes Hurd's bars so difficult is her combinations and stalders. Almost her entire bar routine receives CV, starting with 0.3 for her Komova (E) to stalder 1/1 (D) to straddled Tkatchev (0.3). Next is 0.2 for her Ricna (E) to Pak salto (D). Before her dismount combo, she does an in-bar stalder 1/2 (D). Finally, her routine ends with 0.1 in CV for the in-bar stalder 1/1 (E) to full-in (D) dismount combo.


On vault, Hurd also does a double-twisting Yurchenko for a 5.4 D-score. On beam, she doesn't rely on connections to increase her start value and difficulty but rather several different skills of varying difficulty values. To start her beam set, she does a standing full (F) followed by — but not connected to — a side aerial (D). Next are two of her only combos, a back handspring (B) to layout step-out (C) and her only CV combo, a front aerial (D) to split jump (B) to straddle jump (B) for 0.2 bonus. The other notable individual skills that contribute to her D-score are a switch split leap (C), a split jump 1/2 (C), and switch ring leap (E). Her dismount is also a round-off (B) + double pike (E). 

Her 5.4 D-score on floor comes mostly from her tumbling passes, two of which are relatively difficult, the Silivas (H) and a double layout (F). She has two D dance elements, a split leap 1/1 and switch ring 1/1, and one D tumbling pass, a double pike, to help increase her difficulty.

5. Flavia Saraiva (BRA) | 22.2

Saraiva may not have any D-scores in the 6.0 range, but her consistent D-scores have put her in the top five highest difficulty scores in the 2019 women's all-around final. On vault, she also does a double-twisting Yurchenko for a 5.4 D-score. Bars is tied with vault for her lowest difficulty event, but she still has a solid amount of difficulty. Unlike Melnikova or Hurd, Saraiva's bars isn't full of connections to rack up CV and increase her start value. She competed just one combo that gave her bonus. In the middle of her routine, she has a toe-on (C) to Maloney (D) to straddled Tkatchev (D) for 0.2 in connection value. She gets the rest of her difficulty from individual skills ― including a piked Tkatchev (E), Pak salto (D), toe-on 1/1 (D) ― and one combo, a forward giant (B) into a double front (D) dismount.

Beam is the event where the Brazilian has her highest start value, 5.9. It's also the event she's known for. Although she begins her routine with a risky back handspring mount, it's only a B. Her CV comes from her two acro series ― a round-off (B) to layout two feet (E) for 0.1 and a back handspring (B) to layout step-out (C) layout step-out (C) for 0.2 ― and a front aerial (D) to ring jump (D) combo that earns 0.2. She keeps her dance elements and requirements simple with just a full turn (A) and split jump (A) to sissone (A) and keeps her D-score up with a switch ring leap (E) ad ring jump (D). She also has a round-off (B) to double pike (E) dismount.

On floor, Saraiva's start value in the all-around final was 5.5.  Her tumbling isn't as difficult as Biles' or Melnikova's but has a solid choice of tumbling passes and dance elements to keep her routine competitive and relatively difficult. Half of her tumbling passes are ones that actually connect valuable skills and receive a CV. Her whip (A) to tucked full-in (E) is worth 0.2 in connection value while her front layout 1.5 (C) to punch front 1/1 (C) is worth 0.1. The remaining tumbling passes are a rather difficult double layout (F) and the common double pike (D). Saraiva's dance elements aren't the hardest but aren't the easiest either. She does a switch split leap 1/1 (D), a Y turn (B), and a ring leap (C).

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