2019 World Championships AA Finals

All-around finals is my favorite competition to watch at Worlds or Olympics. There’s just something special about seeing who can put together the best four routines and win the prestigious all-around title. And after the excitement of team finals, along with all the mishaps, I’ve been anxiously anticipating this meet to see who will be able to hit and come in 2nd to Simone. Simone has been so amazingly dominant, and as she continues to upgrade her difficulty, she is virtually unbeatable. But there are at least half a dozen gymnasts who have a legitimate shot at the medals. Coming in behind Simone in prelims were the following gymnasts: Sunisa Lee (USA), Melanie de Jesus dos Santos (FRA), Angelina Melnikova (RUS), Liu Tingting (CHN), Li Shijia (CHN), Nina Derwael (BEL), Ellie Black (CAN), Elisabeth Seitz (GER), Flavia Saraiva (BRA), and Lilia Akhaimova (RUS) all within about 2 points of each other. It could be anyone’s day! So how did they do? Here’s a breakdown by rotation.


Rotation 1:


The top group starts on vault in Rotation 1, so we have Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, Tang Xijing (a last-minute replacement for Li Tingting), Angelina Melnikova, and Li Shijia. Sunisa Lee starts with a good double twisting Yurchenko with small form breaks before her landing (14.466). Biles hits her Cheng, steps out of bounds but the vault itself is great for a 9.333 E score (15.233 score). Nina Derwael hits her incredible bars set, including a Nabieva (toe-on layout Tkatchev), and a 4-release combination (15.2). Elizabeth Seitz, who is also known for a very strong bar routine, hits her set and scores a 14.866. Sarah Voss from Germany hits a solid beam routine. Not too much difficulty, but she finishes with a nice 2 ½ twist dismount and a good landing (13.866). Tang Xijing gets a 14.166 on her vault, a double twisting Yurchenko (DTY). Melnikova’s form and landing could have been better on her DTY, but she still gets a 14.433. Dos Santos hits her DTY as well for a 14.633. Her form is always so clean. Lilia Akhaimova falls off bars and only scores a 12.066. Brooklyn Moors’ beautiful floor routine scored 13.566.


Standings/thoughts after Rotation 1:


  1. Simone Biles 15.233
  2. Nina Derwael 15.200
  3. Elisabeth Seitz 14.866
  4. Melanie de Jesus dos Santos 14.633
  5. Sunisa Lee 14.466
  6. Angelina Melnikova 14.433

Li Shijia 14.433

  1. Giorgia Villa 14.333
  2. Tang Xijing 14.166
  3. Ellie Black 14.133


Rotation 2:

Ellie Black’s beam was very confident including a BHS layout to 2 feet, side somi, and 2 ½ twist dismount (14.0). Suni Lee was off on her Pak salto following the Nabieva and fell, shockingly (13.133). That score was almost 2 points lower than she scored in qualification, and dropped her significantly in the standings. Simone Biles hit her bar routine as she normally does for a 14.733. Giorgia Villa fell on her double wolf turn on beam. Li Shijia had some errors toward the end of her bar routine as she was very archy in her giant (13.366). Tang Xijing followed her on bars and did a very nice routine with no major errors and a stuck double layout (14.533). Flavia Saraiva from Brazil completed a solid beam set for a 14.033. She had a big balance error on her switch-ring, but her leap positions and dynamics were excellent. Melnikova looked fatigued toward the end of her bar routine, almost getting stuck in the middle of her giant-full, and landing a bit short on her full-in dismount as a result. No major errors, though, and she scored a 13.9. Elisabeth Seitz hit her beam routine (13.233) with only some minor balance checks. Her double turn was beautiful! Melanie de Jesus dos Santos had a disastrous bars performance to drop her out of the running, falling on her Tkatchev from Stalder position and later falling on a Pak-full (11.933).


Standings after Rotation 2:

  1. Simone Biles 29.966
  2. Nina Derwael 28.933
  3. Tang Xijing 28.699
  4. Angelina Melnikova 28.333
  5. Ellie Black 28.133
  6. Elisabeth Seitz 28.099
  7. Li Shijia 27.799
  8. Brooklyn Moors 27.732
  9. Suni Lee 27.599
  10. Flavia Saraiva 27.333

Melanie de Jesus dos Santos slipped to 16th place after her two bars falls.


Rotation 3:


Simone starts on beam and does her usual solid, aggressive routine, with the full-in at the end instead of the double-double (14.633). Nina Derwael performed her floor routine as well as she can do it, scoring a 13.5. She only does 2 passes: double back, and 2 ½ punch front layout full, but she includes plenty of difficult dance skills to build up her score. Li Shijia was next on beam and did a very nice routine but took 3 steps back on her double pike dismount for a 14.0. Tang Xijing performed an absolutely beautiful beam routine with only one slight balance break. All of her head positions, arm positions, toe point, etc was just perfection (14.6). Brooklyn Moors did a nice bar routine, not super difficult but executed cleanly (13.266). Alice Kinsella (GBR) vaulted a DTY for 14.266. Angelina Melnikova, after a LONG wait, completed a very solid beam routine for a 14.0. Flavia Saraiva hit her whip-double layout first pass and made it look easy. She took a big bounce back after her full-in second pass, but managed to stay in bounds (13.933). Elisabeth Seitz scored a 13.3 for an energetic floor routine that included an Arabian double front and 1 ½ through to double tuck. Ellie Black did her dynamic floor routine very nicely with two great combinations: front-full through to triple full (wow!) and 1 ½ through to double pike (13.533.


Standings after Rotation 3:

  1. Simone Biles 44.599
  2. Tang Xijing 43.299
  3. Nina Derwael 42.433
  4. Angelina Melnikova 42.333
  5. Li Shijia 41.799
  6. Ellie Black 41.666
  7. Suni Lee 41.432
  8. Elisabeth Seitz 41.399
  9. Giulia Steingruber 41.366
  10. Flavia Saraiva 41.266


Rotation 4:


Li Shijia performed a very nicely presented floor routine that started with a triple full. She almost went out of bounds on her 2 ½-front pike combo, and scored a 13.3. Tang Xijing’s floor routine was very clean and started with a beautiful triple full punch front. Her routine was very nicely performed for a 13.6. Elisabeth Seitz hit a clean DTY (14.6). Angelina Melnikova hit her floor routine including a double layout for a 14.066. Ellie Black landed a little short on her Rudi, stood it up for a 14.566, but appeared to have an injured right ankle afterward. I hope she’s ok! Nina Derwael needed a 13.9 and change to get onto the podium, but her Yurchenko-full only starts from a 14.6 and she took a big bounce back on the landing, scoring a 13.6. If she can upgrade her vault, she will definitely challenge for an all-around spot in Tokyo! Suni Lee hit all of her tumbling passes with good landings for a 14.2. Simone Biles stepped out of bounds on her triple-double (big jump back with both feet OOB), her Biles (double layout-1/2), and on her double-double dismount, but still scored a 14.4 to seal the victory.


Final Standings:

  1. Simone Biles 58.999
  2. Tang Xijing 56.899
  3. Angelina Melnikova 56.399
  4. Ellie Black 56.232
  5. Nina Derwael 56.033
  6. Elisabeth Seitz 55.999
  7. Flavia Saraiva 55.732
  8. Suni Lee 55.632
  9. Li Shijia 55.099
  10. Sarah Voss 54.898


As expected, Simone won the AA title, and she won big, by 2.1. But look at how close spots 2-8 are! Ellie Black was less than 0.2 away from the bronze, and Nina Derwael is just a vault upgrade from making the podium. Suni Lee would have been solidly in bronze-medal position (possibly silver!) without her bars fall. Tang Xijing had a fantastic day to secure the silver medal, after initially not even making the AA final. And let’s not forget Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, who was 3rd in qualifying and is definitely a contender if she hits. The competition will be even tighter at next year’s Olympics, with the addition of newly age-eligible 16-year-olds.