Simone Biles

Simone Biles says Tokyo Olympics will be her last

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Next summer is likely to be the last time we’ll see Simone Biles compete at an Olympic Games — the quadruple Olympic gold medalist gave an interview to Britain’s Press Association Thursday in which she said Tokyo 2020 will to be her final Games.

“I definitely plan for the Tokyo Olympics to be my last,” Biles said in the morning interview in London, where she is headlining the Superstars of Gymnastics show this weekend at the O2 Arena. “I feel like my body’s gone through a lot and it’s kind of just falling apart -- not that you can actually tell but I really feel it a lot of the time. I am in pain most of the time but it kind of feels right because if you are not in pain, it is almost like you could be doing more.”

Biles could retire tomorrow and still have had the greatest career in modern gymnastics history. Her four Olympic gold medals from Rio and unprecedented four world all-around titles have made her a living legend in women’s gymnastics, and she’s likely to add on to those totals before she’s through.

The past year hasn’t been easy, though, even for the GOAT. She braved the aches and pains of getting her body back in competition shape when she returned to training in November 2017 after a year-long layoff following the Rio Games. Then, the night before women’s prelims at the 2018 Worlds last October, stomach pain sent her to the emergency room, where doctors discovered a kidney stone. Biles opted to compete anyway, and won four more world titles, bringing her total to 14.

She performed very well in her first competition of 2019, easily taking the title at the Stuttgart World Cup last weekend with 58.8 points, more than three and a half points over second place. In media interviews in Germany, she was professional but appeared a bit fatigued by the travel, which she confirmed on Instagram after her arrival in London. Earlier today, she tweeted about anxiety so bad it kept her from sleeping.

Though almost universally proclaimed as the greatest female gymnast of all time, Biles also admitted to feeling some anxiousness. In Stuttgart last weekend and at October’s World Championships in Doha, she occasionally struggled in her warmups and has in the past admitted to feeling fear on balance beam. “I stress myself out really bad and then I get really bad anxiety and then I have to tell myself, ‘It’s fine, just to take things skill by skill,’” she said in Stuttgart.

The Gymnastics Weekend in Review

What happened in gymnastics this weekend? A lot — let’s recap, shall we?

Biles blazes to Stuttgart World Cup win

Simone Biles may be wondering if it’s time to panic because we’re less than 500 days to Tokyo, but she didn’t show it on the competition floor Sunday at the Stuttgart World Cup. On the second leg of her European business trip, Biles totaled a 58.8 to cruise ahead of dancing queen Ana Padurariu and German veteran Elisabeth Seitz, who brought her double-twisting Yurchenko out of storage to thrill the Stuttgart crowd. It was Biles’s first world cup start since 2015 and her first ever outside the United States, and she killed it despite downgrading slightly on all four events. Here are Quick Hits of the Event, from start to finish.

The matchup was also notable for Aliya Mustafina’s presence, though Mustafina finished fifth due to an unfortunate 11.6 on beam. “Burn it,” Mustafina wrote on Instagram afterward, but Russia’s goddess of the gym was extremely impressive on the other three events, proving yet again that podium training has nothing to do with what you can expect from her in competition. Of that great-looking double-twisting Yurchenko vault that came out of nowhere: “I didn’t believe I could,” she wrote. But she did.

‘King Arthur’ reigns supreme in Germany

There were questions about the state of world all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan since he finished 17th in prelims at the Russian Championships last week and promptly withdrew from the all-around final, but he answered them all on the floor in Stuttgart, where he was nothing short of brilliant through five events to win the men’s crown. Not even two falls off high bar in the last rotation could spoil his victory parade. Quick Hits of the Men’s All-around.

Dalaloyan controlled the meet from start to finish, though China’s Sun Wei rebounded from a poor beginning to earn the silver medal. Nobody in the arena was happier than Ukraine’s Petro Pakhniuk, however, who had a career day to finish third, pushing German star Marcel Nguyen off the podium.

The men’s podium selfie. Photo courtesy: EnBW DTB Pokal.

The men’s podium selfie. Photo courtesy: EnBW DTB Pokal.

Brazilian women, Russian men take DTB Pokal Team Challenge

It was clear last October in Doha that the Brazilian women’s team was on the make, and Stuttgart confirmed it. Rebeca Andrade, Flavia Saraiva, Carolyne Pedro, Jade Barbosa and Thais Fidelis (with Valeri Liukin in the background) appeared stronger than ever. Saraiva debuted a new whip to double layout on floor, and Andrade was brilliant everywhere as Russia ran away with the title by almost five points (five points!).

Russia, led by Angelina Melnikova and new national champion Angelina Simakova, had plenty of bright moments, but couldn’t match the Brazilians without their big guns. Melnikova had a nice day, but Simakova, who has been tapped for the upcoming European Championships, was less convincing in her all-around turn than Aliya Mustafina was in hers (balance beam aside). Eythora Thorsdottir and the Dutch women were third, followed by an undisputedly talented French team that, apart from Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, is still getting its bearings in senior competition. Play-by-Play from the Women’s Team Final.

Russia is still deciding on its men’s team for the upcoming European Championships, and this weekend’s DTB Pokal Team Challenge, a companion meet to the World Cup, likely played a deciding role. One routine stood out above the rest: Dmitry Lankin on floor, whose routine included a triple back, 3.5 to front half and quad twist. Here it is at the Russian Championships ten days ago. Quick Hits from the Men’s Team Final.

A strong German team (Nick Klessing, Niels Dunkel, Felix Remuta, Andreas Toba and Lukas Dauser) finished second, 2.833 points back. Dauser as usual was brilliant on parallel bars, and has potential to challenge for the European title on the event in Poland next month. Japan’s B-team, including Kenta Chiba, Shogo Nonomura and Kakeru Tanegawa, looked good but had mistakes here and there and were forced to settle for third. Brazil, strong on vault and floor as always, a wonderfully artistic Italian team and Spain rounded out the field. Here’s a photo that sums up how the Germans felt about it all:

The Best of Baku

It was a good weekend for Jade Carey: In her second Olympic qualifying World Cup appearance, she won vault with a hot new Cheng, and took floor for good measure, gaining valuable ranking points on both apparatus. Carey only needs to win vault to seal her place at the Games, and after finishing second to Rebeca Andrade in Cottbus (who will likely compete for Brazil’s world team in the fall and thus be ineligible for an individual Olympic spot), Carey has set herself in good stead.

Similar results in Doha this weekend will make it all but official for Carey, who would be the first gymnast in history to officially cement an Olympic spot more than a year before the Games. Assuming she wins in Baku, the only thing that could potentially spoil things for her is if someone like Oksana Chusovitina pulls out three first place finishes on vault at other world cup events. And even then Carey could still qualify via floor.

Around the gym, China’s Lyu Jiaqi was victorious on uneven bars, strengthening her case as China’s potential Olympic specialist on the event, and Australia’s Emma Nedov, fresh from Gymnix, topped the field on beam for the first world cup victory of her career at age 24. Nedov, who was always an elegant competitor, seems to be finally coming into her own and may be one of the surprises of the year. Who said gymnasts peak before age 16 again?

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The men’s competition in Baku was a celebration of international diversity, with six gymnasts from six different nations winning the titles. Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat, who has won floor in the last three world cups he’s entered (that’s significant, since one of them was Cottbus), continued the streak in Baku, while newcomer Vladyslav Polyashov, second all-around at the Russian Championships, took the title on parallel bars. Britain’s Courtney Tulloch, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion on rings, got his first world cup win on the event.

Other champions included Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Epke Zonderland on high bar, 2013 world pommel horse titlist Kohei Kameyama of Japan. 2012 Olympic vault champion Yang Hak-seon of Korea, whose torn Achilles kept him out of Rio, made a big “I’m back” statement by winning vault with his signature handspring front triple twist. All results from Baku are here.

Ellie Downie, James Hall best in Britain

Ellie Downie proved her mettle in 2017, becoming the first ever British woman to walk off with the European all-around title, but since then, the 19-year-old has struggled with one injury after another. Finally healthy, she claimed the British Championships in Liverpool, compiling a healthy 56.0 all-around score with room for improvement, which should make her very competitive in Poland.

I couldn’t be happier! I started on the bars and my training on bars hasn’t been the best this week so I was pretty nervous but I managed to get through it. After that I relaxed and I let my hard work take over.

I’ve worked really hard to get back and this is the first time that I have managed to bring all my skills together at a competition, so I am just chuffed it went so well.
— Ellie Downie to British Gymnastics


Kelly Simm, the 2018 British champ, finished second with 55.05, followed by first year senior sensation Amelie Morgan at 54.8. Sadly we won’t see Simm in Poland -- the 23-year-old withdrew from the British team this morning due to a fracture in her foot and will be replaced by Claudia Fragapane. The injury seems to have come during beam warmup in the all-around final — Simm did not compete in event finals as a precaution.

Downie (vault, floor) and Georgia Mae-Fenton (bars, beam) split the individual apparatus titles in finals. Among the juniors, Ondine Achampong took the all-around title with 52.9 and added bars and beam titles in event finals.

Workhorse James Hall took the senior men’s title with 84.45, a solid score that should see him up there in the European all-around final as well. 2014 Youth Olympic champion Giarnni Regini-Moran, who like Downie has struggled with one injury after another, competed all-around for the first time since 2016 and took silver with 81.65, ahead of first year senior Jamie Lewis, third with 80.95.

It’s been a long time coming but I am just over the moon!” Hall said. “This year I wanted to put new routines out and so I had a revamp and I tried different things. Almost every routine has got new skills in there. I told myself that I wouldn’t look at the scores but sometimes you can’t help yourself. I had a silly mistake on floor which annoyed me but I did a great routine on pommel. After that I thought I could do this and I just needed to keep my head and do my rings routine.
— British Gymnastics

 2016 Olympian Brinn Bevan was fourth, followed by Pavel Karnejenko and Joe Fraser. 2012 Olympian Sam Oldham finished eighth. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock came out of paternity leave for the day to win pommel horse.

Photo courtesy British Gymnastics.

Photo courtesy British Gymnastics.

Nikolchenko, Salos, Ukraine big winners at the Deriugina Cup in Kiev 

Here’s a picture of the new generation Ukrainian star Vlada Nikolchenko looking fierce during her gala performance after her Grand Prix season debut at home in Kiev. Nikolchenko was pretty fierce on the carpet during the actual competition as well, winning the title for the home country with 77.95, ahead of Bulgaria’s Katrin Taseva (76.65) and Ekaterina Selezneva of Russia (75.8). Every one of the big guns came away with something from event finals, where winners included Nikolchenko (Hoop), Selezneva (Ball), Salome Pazhava (Clubs) and Taseva (Ribbon). Ukraine’s group came up golden as well.

The amazing scores of the weekend came not from the Grand Prix event, but the accompanying Deriugina Cup, and not from a Ukrainian but from Belarus’s quickly rising star Anastastia Salos, who tallied a very impressive 79.5, including a 21.8 with the Clubs. Ukaine’s Olena Diachenko, a 2017 Worlds competitor, finished a distant second with 74.65 (including 21.1 with the Hoop). Russia’s Maria Sergeeva was third with 73.7. Full results from everything here.

The Deriugina Cup, named after 1970s great Irina Deriugina and her 87-year-old mom Albina, both of whom coach the Ukrainian team, is as much rhythmic gymnastics show as it is a competition. (Have a look at Ulrich Fassbender’s photos from the competition gala and you’ll get an idea...)

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Gymnastics’s “Miss Val” says goodbye to UCLA

Finally, in Los Angeles, after more than three decades as the heart and soul of the UCLA program, a gymnastics legend of a different kind took her final bow in Pauley Pavilion.


Quick hits: Stuttgart World Cup, Women's All-around final

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You’ve got to hand it to the organizers of the Stuttgart World Cup for their rockstar introductions of the gymnasts. The lights in the Porsche Arena are dimmed and the gymnasts presented one by one, making their appearance by running through a corridor formed by local gymnasts waving blue pom-poms while strobe lights flash and a steam machine shoots off smoke. The effect is totally cool.

Results:

1 - Simone Biles, USA,
2 - Ana Padurariu, Canada,
3 - Elisabeth Seitz, Germany,

Rotation 4:

Carolyne Pedro (BRA), FX: Arabian double front, small steps out of it. Double turn with leg at head. Switch ring. 1.5 to double tuck, keeps it in bounds. The sort of music you’d hear in a heist movie. Double full. Double pike, step back. 12.333.

Kim Bui (GER), FX: Split jump full. Lovely double layout. Tourjete full. Double tuck. A great piece of music for Kim, something the crowd can clap and bop along to. 2.5 to front pike, stuck. Double pike. Small bounces back on three of those passes, but whatever. A thoroughly enjoyable routine from start to finish. Fun fact: Kim Bui’s first Stuttgart World Cup was back in 2005.

Zsofia Kovacs (HUN), FX: Music is The Piano Guys’s “Michael Meets Mozart.” Hands down on double double tuck, but the audience recognizes it as a hard skill and applauds her. Full in to a Melnikova style landing. Same on double tuck to end. Well, it hasn’t been a horrible day for her, but she might have expected better of herself. She’s capable of better. 11.333.

Aliya Mustafina (RUS), FX: Arabian double front, stuck cold. Triple turn. Double tuck. Double turn with leg at head. Wonderful expression in this routine. She has the crowd positively hanging on her every move. 1.5 to front layout full, essentially stuck. Double full. Well, that was as well as she’s currently capable of doing that routine. Good for her! 13.2.

Hitomi Hatakeda (JPN), FX: Techno mix that gets the crowd clapping. Wolf turn double that she doesn’t complete, but that seems to be part of her choreography. Full in tuck, bounces out of bounds with both feet. Double turn with leg at head. 2.5 to punch front. Tourjete full. Double pike. 12.3. Hatakeda receives her score with a shrug.

Lorette Charpy (FRA), FX: Double turn with leg at head. Running double front tuck, stuck. Double tuck second pass, well landed. A very flowy, graceful exercise despite the wolf double turn snuck in before her double pike to finish. Great day for Lorette. 12.566.

Elisabeth Seitz (GER), FX: Another great music selection by the German team, this clappable, kind of 1920s swing piece that’s been infused with a little modern day techno. Also fun is how she draws a heart in the air before her first pass. Arabian double front, small hop forward. 1.5 to double tuck. Double pike. Everyone loves it. 13.2 moves her into the lead right now.

Ana Padurariu (CAN), FX: A rumba, I believe, and she pulls it off extremely well. Double pike. Tourjete half to switch ring. 2.5 to to punch front. Double full. Excellent finish! 13.2, and she takes the lead! Guaranteed second at least…

Simone Biles (USA), FX: Full twisting double layout, excellent. Comes very close to going OOB on her Biles, but just stays in. Front layout full walkout to full in. Finally does go OOB on her double double closing pass, but I think she can be forgiven. 14.9.

Rotation 3:

Carolyne Pedro (BRA), BB: Split leap mount. Switch to Tourjete. Split half. Bhs, layout (fall). Punch front (fall). Supportive applause from the crowd. Front aerial to split to bhs. Back tuck. Double tuck with a hop back. 9.866.

Zsofia Kovacs (HUN), BB: Switch mount to switch half. Wobble on side aerial. Split leap to front aerial. Bhs, layout. Double turn. Side somie. Double tuck, hop forward. She doesn’t look terribly pleased with that. 13.0.

Kim Bui (GER), BB: Roundoff, layout to two feet mount. Steps back but doesn’t come off. Bhs, layout, balance break where her leg comes up, but stays on. Switch to switch half, another step back. Crowd gasps with the suspense. Nice 540 degree jump. Side aerial. Gainer layout off the end, just under the buzzer, stuck. 11.8.

Hitomi Hatakeda (JPN), BB: Switch mount. Punch front. Front aerial, straddle, wolf jumps. Side somie. Switch. Switch half. Bhs, layout. Double pike, step forward. Sound routine. 12.9.

Lorette Charpy (FRA), BB: Roundoff, layout stepout mount, great. Bhs, layout, perfect. Wolf triple, nice! Charpy is on in this routine so far. Smooth side aerial. Switch, split, Korbut. The eponymous split half. Front aerial, split. And a stuck double pike dismount! Wow. 13.666 feels a little low.

Ana Padurariu (CAN), BB: Back dive mount, Triple wolf turn, excellent. Switch ring, tidy. Side aerial, layout, layout. Switch half. Front aerial, split, bhs. Switch to sheep jump. Double pike dismount with just a step. Excellent routine from the world silver medalist on this event. She sighs with relief as she takes a seat in the kiss and cry. 14.333.

Aliya Musatfina (RUS), BB: Switch half to Onodi and comes off. Bhs, layout. Double turn, small check. Split leap to side aerial, slight check. Front aerial, has to fight to save it. Switch to wolf, balance break. Double tuck, chest low, step forward. Well. 11.6.

Elisabeth Seitz (GER), BB: Punch front. Bhs, layout to two feet, solid. Side somie. Double turn not completed, has to step back and save it. Small wobble on side aerial. Front layout full dismount with a step. 12.466.

Simone Biles (USA), BB: Stands up too quickly midst wold turn full but doesn’t fall. Bhs, layout, layout, excellent. Switch to switch half to back pike, leg comes up but again, no fall. Side aerial. Split jump half. Front aerial, split jump, straddle jump. Bhs, bhs, full in tuck, solid. 14.2.

Rotation 2:

Kim Bui (GER), UB: Hop change to pike Jaeger to Pak. Maloney to Bhardwaj to toe Shaposh half, toe 1/1 to Hgienger. Full twisting double tuck, small hop back. Control and ease all the way through. 13.8.

Ana Padurariu (CAN), UB: Inbar blind to pike Jaeger. Inbar pike Tkatchev. Bail to stalder full. Ray. Full twisting double tuck with a step forward. 14.066.

Lorette Charpy (FRA), UB: Stalder Shaposh half, toe blind to pike Jaeger. Ricna to Pak. Toe Shaposh half. Toe full to full twisting double tuck, stuck. Bravo! 13.933. Lorette looks delighted, as she should.

Carolyne Pedro (BRA), UB: Shaposh to Pak, legs apart. Toe full. Maloney to bail to Ray. Blind to Jaeger. Toe half. Double tuck. Some form here and there, but she got through. 11.833.

Hitomi Hatakeda (JPN), UB: Inbar to inbar full to toe Shaposh half, inbar blind to pike Jaeger. Ricna. Bail to stalder to Ray. Full twisting double tuck, stuck! Well done. Hatakeda sure loves inbar elements. She was one who had problems in warmups today, but it certainly didn’t show in the competition. 13.566.

Zsofia Kovacs (HUN), UB: Stalder full to Maloney to stalder uprise to Ricna to Pak. Toe Shaposh half. Toe blind to pike Jaeger. Open double tuck dismount. You can tell where her Hungarian teammates are sitting because the rest of the arena is dead silent while she performs except for this little patch of voices screaming encouragement at her. 12.9.

Aliya Mustafina (RUS), UB: Stalder full to Maloney to Pak to toe Shaposh half. Stalder blind to pike Jaeger. Toe full to full twisting double tuck, stuck. My goodness! Sheer excellence. 14.2.

Elisabeth Seitz (GER), UB: Dead silence as she mounts. Maloney to stalder uprise RIcha. Hop to change to pike Jaeger. Stalder pike Tkatchev to Pak. Toe Shaposh half. Toe full to full twisting double tuck with a step back. 14.233.

Simone Biles (USA), UB: Wieler kip, half yurm tp Maloney to uprise Tkatchev. Toe full to pike Tkatchev to Pak. Toe Shaposh half (a bit of a fingertip catch, but she caught it) to immediate full twisting double tuck with a hop. Biles looks relieved, I think. 14.3.

Rotation 1:

Carolyne Pedro (BRA), VT: FTY, clean, small hop back. 13.733.

Aliya Mustafina (RUS), VT: DTY, amazing. Just a step back. Wow. Mustafina’s ability to do things when she needs to never ceases to boggle the mind. 14.4.

Hitomi Hatakeda (JPN), VT: Yurchenko 1.5, well done, small hop to the side. 13.933.

Elisabeth Seitz (GER), VT: Really nice DTY with a step back. Great lift on that, efficient twist. Camera shows Seitz’s vault in slo-mo, then pans to German head coach Ulla Koch in the background high-fiving someone as Seitz turns to salute the judges. 14.5.

Zsofia Kovacs (HUN), VT: DTY, just excellent in the air, but stumbles back on the landing and has to take two big steps backward to save it. But great in the air! 13.933.

Kim Bui (GER), VT: FTY, clean, hop back. 13.533.

Ana Padurariu (CAN), VT: FTY, small bounce more upwards than back. 13.533.

Simone Biles (USA), VT: Cheng, excellent, small bounce backward. 15.4.

Lorette Charpy (FRA), VT: FTY, hop backwards. 13.566.

Quick hits: Stuttgart World Cup, Women's Podium Training

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9:00 p.m.: One of the nicest things about gymnastics, I’ve always thought, is that there’s more than one way to be successful. Routines vary in style and skill selection, gymnasts vary in age and height and proclivity, and the sport and the code of points, especially in recent years, allows them to choose the things that work for them. Biles and Mustafina have completely different styles and training methods, yet both are lions of the sport, and every gymnast who chooses to compete at the elite level is a legend in her own time. The diversity, which was evident tonight, will be on display tomorrow, and it promises to be a memorable show.

8:55 p.m.: Mustafina and Hatakeda are the last ones in the gym, staying after everyone else has had their media moment. Mustafina does a dance through on floor: quad turn, great, double turn with leg at head, also great, and those very Ksenia Afanasyeva-like hand gestures in the corner before her third pass. (Yes, part of her music is a sleekly spun out cut of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” Now she just needs to add in the tumbling and she’ll be good.

8:34 p.m.: Charpy bars: Stalder Shaposh half, toe blind to pike Jaeger. Ricna to Pak. Toe Shaposh half to high. Toe full to full twisting double tuck, slightly low landing, step forward.

Kovacs bars: Stalder full to Maloney. Stalder uprise to timer for Ricna, I’d say. Hatakeda on bars: Maloney and inbar blind to pike Jaeger.

8:28 p.m.: Nice Arabian double front on floor from Seitz! Over on beam, Mustafina is working. But it’s not easy, nor does she make it look so right now. Gymnastics is hard, guys.

8:23 p.m.: Biles on floor is working a full twisting double layout, the Biles, and full ins. At the moment, however, another conference with Landi at the edge of the floor before her dance through.

8:18 p.m.: Bui, beam: a roundoff, layout to two feet beam mount. Bhs, layout. Switch to switch half. Side aerial. Gainer layout off the end. Such clean work — far cleaner than earlier in her career, frankly. Not that she was ever messy in her skills, but there’s just kind of a gloss to her moves and choreo, a polish, a quality, that only seems to come with maturity. Thirty is the new 20 in women’s gymnastics.

For so many years, Mustafina’s flight series on beam was either questionable or, in the case of one memorable Olympic final, non-existent. But tonight she gets up and the first thing she does is a bhs, layout, perfect, like she’s been doing it all her life.

8:13 p.m.: Hitomi Hatakeda, floor: Sits wolf turn 2/1 and goes on like nothing happened. As one does. Full in tuck, low landing. 2.5 to punch front. Double pike?

Postscript: Bui just nailed a bhs, layout combo on beam.

Over on vault, Kovacs shows a nice DTY.

8:11 p.m.: Second full set for Biles on beam, with bhs, bhs to full in tuck dismount. One reason the Americans have been so successful for the past twenty years is that they are so prepared for every competition. Of everyone here, Biles is the only one who looks like she could get up at 3 a.m. and knock out her routines if she had to.

8:08 p.m.: Bui doesn’t like tumbling backwards on beam, I think, which explains why she trains bhs, jump into the air when in competition she’ll do a bhs, layout. She does do a killer 540 degree jump toward the end of the beam, however, which is a whole lot harder than she makes it look.

8:05 p.m.: Biles beam: Wolf turn 3/1. Bhs, layout, layout, wonderful. Switch to switch half to back pike, also extremely assured. Side aerial. Split jump half. Front aerial. Timer dismount. There are about 15 people around the beam watching her.

Yes, everyone thinks wolf turns should go away, but Biles’s is quite tolerable, especially when you consider that it’s a triple and you’ve spent the afternoon watching people fall on doubles.

On about her fourth try, Mustafina manages to do her Pak to toe Shaposh half. Victory!

8:00 p.m.: Mustafina is struggling with getting her feet on the bar and then shooting them up the way she’s going to have to after her Pak salto on bars if she wants to connect it to the toe Shaposh half back up to high.

7:56 p.m.: Second half of a bar routine for Biles is just about maintenance — making sure she sticks her full twisting double tuck, and that the toe Shaposh transition is under control. It’s all fine.

Zsofia Kovacs floor: The Piano Guys’s “Michael Meets Mozart.” Runs through her first pass, full in second pass.

Hatakeda beam: Lovely graceful movements. Bhs, layout series and a double pike dismount.

7:52 p.m.: Charpy on vault: Very clean FTYs. Over on floor, Hungary’s Zsofia Kovacs is doing some big tumbling — double layout, and also a double twisting double tuck. We haven’t heard much from her lately, but Kovacs had a great 2017, complete with the European all-around silver medal.

Biles’s second full routine on bars goes very well indeed. Full twisting double tuck dismount. In the grand tradition of Russians in training, Mustafina gets up, does a Maloney and jumps off the bars.

7:46 p.m.: Ana Padurariu, floor: Double pike. 2.5 to punch front, stuck. The tumbling is clean, but it’s the dance and the music that makes this routine so much fun.

Over on bars, Laurent Landi is watching Elisabeth Seitz with great interest as she does her routine. He does every element with her, inclining his head as he watches. Biles gets up and does a clean first half on bars, then misses her toe shoot after her Pak salto, kips off and misses the toe Shaposh half. Landi gives her a lecture, complete with big sweeping arm movements.

7:43 p.m.: Mustafina warming up on vault: Yurchenko with no flip and a series of Yurchenko layouts, each one higher than the last. Over on bars, Kim Bui looks just fantastic, perhaps the best she has on bars in her entire career, which has been rather successful on that event. She had the highest score at the American Cup two weeks ago on bars, of course.

7:39 p.m.: Lorette Charpy, floor: First pass is running double front tuck. Dances through the rest. A very pretty, classical piece, the same as she used in Doha last fall, I believe.

7:31 p.m.: Biles and Mustafina aren’t the only ones here, of course. Canadian star Ana Padurariu and Japan’s Hitomi Hatakeda are presently with them on vault (monster timers from Biles, followed by a casual DTY, while Hatakeda is training a Yurchenko 1.5.) Over on bars, meanwhile, Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui are getting into the swing of things (I know, I know.)

7:26 p.m.: Love them or hate them, cast handstands are a healthy part of any gymnast’s workout. Supervised closely by coach Laurent Landi, Biles gets hers out of the way early. Mustafina, meanwhile, sits on the floor having a conference with coach Pavel Pavlov. Her own cast handstands will come later, no doubt.

7:17 p.m.: It is extremely rare that a competition ends and the first thing you feel is a happy flutter of anticipation. Then again, it’s also extremely rare that the queens of gymnastics, Simone Biles and Aliya Mustafina, are in the same building at the same time. So. Podium training for the women’s all-around final at the Stuttgart World Cup begins just as the women’s team final at the DTB Pokal ends, and a healthy number of spectators have stayed to watch. “OHMIGOD IT’S SIMONE BILES!” shrieks one little girl in the upper deck when she spots Biles, in a white turtleneck top and black leggings, casually stretching on the floor. Exactly.