Russian National Championships All Around Wrap Up and Videos


Alla Sosnitskaya, Aliya Mustafina and Anastasia Grishina sweep the podium at the 2014 Russian National Championships. Photo by E. Mikhailova/sportgymrus.ru

The Russian National Championships are in full swing, with the first day of competition in the books. The all-around and team qualifications took place today in Penza, where World and Olympic gold medalist  Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) walked away with her fourth national title.  Mustafina scored a 59.566, nearly a point and a half higher than her fellow Moscow teammate in the silver position, Alla Sosnitskaya (58.067). 2012 Olympian Anastasia Grishina (56.467) rounded out the podium in bronze for a Moscow sweep of the medals.

Aliya Mustafina takes her fourth Russian National Title. Photo by E. Mikhailova/sportgymrus.ru

Mustafina had the highest scores on balance beam and floor. Maintaining her reputation as the reigning world champion on beam, she delivered a solid beam set earning her a 15.4, the highest beam score of the year at any of the major international events. Mustafina earned a deduction on bars for hitting her feet on the mat, which took her out of the top three on what is usually her best event.

Alla Sosnitskaya in silver. Photo by E. Mikhailova/sportgymrus.ru

Sosnitskaya is a second year senior, and has not represented Russia on the world stage. She had a solid meet, hitting four for four routines. Her best event is floor, where she had the second highest score of the competition with a 14.833.

Anastasia Grishina wins the bronze. Photo by E. Mikhailova/sportgymrus.ru

There were high hopes in the Russian camp that Grishina would really shine at this competition. While she managed to get on to the podium, her performance was not one that gives any confidence that 2014 will be a stronger year for her than she has shown in the past. Grishina has long been viewed as a talented gymnast who could really help round out Russia’s all-arounders for serious medal contention on the world stage. She has not yet been able to deliver that kind of performance, and many are hoping that this will be her year.

Viktoria Komova returns to competition. Photo by E. Mikhailova/sportgymrus.ru

One of the most anticipated aspect of the championships was Olympic silver medalist Viktoria Komova’s return to competition after a year and a half absence. Komova competed on three events. Her best event was no surprise, scoring 14.900 on bars which put her as the third highest score on the event. She competed a simple and low valued vault, did not compete on floor, and had a rough beam routine earning only an 11.6.

Surprising everyone, World and Olympic team medalist Ksenia Afanasyeva decided to compete at the last moment to help her team qualify. She came out with the second highest vault score despite heavily taped ankles due to her lingering ankle injury. World and Olympic teammate Tatiana Nabieva, and reigning Russian National Champion was also a surprise in the competition as she had declared her retirement from gymnastics over social media at the end of 2013.

Other notable routines included Russia’s vaulting specialist 2012 Olympian Maria Paseka, who had the highest vault score of the competition, scoring a 15.033. First year senior Daria Spiridonova put up the highest bar’s score with a 15.133, while 2013 World team member Anna Rodionova came away with the second highest score at 15.06. Second year senior Polina Fedorova scored the second highest of the day on beam with a 14.500.

Tune in to Russian gymnastics on their website at sportgymrus.ru, where the remainder of the competition will be livestreamed. Available videos from today’s competition are linked or shown below.

All Around

Aliya Mustafina 59.566  (3 14.733 9 14.333 1 15.400 1 15.100)
Alla Sosnitskaya  58.067 (4 14.700 6 14.467 4 14.067 2 14.833)
Anastasia Grishina 156.467 (10 13.867 11 13.900 3 14.400 3 14.300)

Top Scores on:

Vault

Maria Paseka: 15.033

Ksenia Afanasyeva: 14.933
Aliya Mustafina: 14.733

Bars

Daria Spiridonova: 15.133

Anna Rodionova: 15.067 (routine not available, but here she is a few weeks ago at Cottbus)

Viktoria Komova: 14.900

Balance Beam

Aliya Mustafina: 15.400

Polina Fedorova: 14.500
Anastasia Grishina:14.400

 

Floor

Aliya Mustafina:15.100

Alla Sosnitskaya:14.833

Anastasia Grishina:14.300

 

2014 City of Jesolo Wrap up and Results


The results are in from the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. It was an extremely successful meet for the USA. They came out strong to win the team and sweep the all around in both the junior and senior competitions yesterday. Today they added 13 out of a possible 15 medals in the junior and senior event finals.

Bailie Key put in an amazing performance winning gold in the junior team, all around, vault, bars and floor and a silver on beam (to USA teammate Norah Flatley). Kyla Ross did not have quite the meet that everyone anticipated. She came in with a downgraded routine on bars, and then had two totally uncharacteristic mistakes. Ross balked her first attempt on vault in the all around (the same deduction as a fall) and fell on beam in event finals. Even so, what is an “off” meet for Ross is still better than most people’s best, walking away with team and all around gold medals and silver medals on bars and floor.

The USA dominated in the all around in both the junior and senior divisions, taking 1st -6th in the seniors and 1st-3rd in the juniors. All of the girls who competed all around finished in the top ten.

In the senior all around, Peyton Ernst took the silver with a strong performance, followed closely by Maggie Nichols with the bronze. MyKayla Skinner was in close contention for the all around gold until a fall on floor left here in fourth. Had she stayed on her feet, she would have won! Nia Dennis had a solid competition, taking the silver in the juniors, followed closely by Norah Flatley for bronze.

Skinner also made a big splash in the senior event finals, winning the gold on vault and floor with her incredible difficulty. Madison Kocian strengthened her bid as a bars specialist for team USA by winning a gold on bars over US teammate Ross. Alyssa Bauman rounded out the medals with a silver on beam.

In the junior event finals, Jordan Chiles came away from her junior international debut with a silver on vault. Nia Dennis added to her all around and team medals with a silver on bars; while Norah Flatley, the celebrated beam worker, did not disappoint and did a fabulous routine to add a gold on beam.

Emily Gaskins had a rough event final on floor, as a fall and a big out of bounds took her beautiful floor routine to score at the bottom of the pack.

Andreea Munteanu and Laura Jurca both came out strong for Romania. Munteanu won beam finals and took the bronze on floor. Jurca was right behind the American’s at every turn, taking fourth in the all around, bronze on vault and a silver with her charming floor routine.

Italy did well on their home turf, and even without their top two gymnasts, took silver in the team event and bronze on vault, bars and beam in the senior division.

Complete results are listed below, or you can watch the team and all around competition and the event finals competition to see all the action for yourself. Individual routines are linked below and more will be added as they become available.

Seniors

All Around Top 10

1) Kyla Ross – USA – 58.00
2) Peyton Ernst – USA – 57.650
3) Maggie Nichols – USA – 57.450
4) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 57.20
5) Rachel Gowey – Mix Group (USA) – 56.750
6t) Alyssa Baumann – USA – 55.70
6t) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 55.79
8) Maddie Desch – USA – 55.650 
9) Erika Fasana – Italy – 55.550
10) Natsumi Sasada – Japan – 55.150

Team Results

1) USA – 231.650
60.60 VT, 58.30 UB, 55.60 BB, 57.150 FX
2) Italy – 221.50
57.35 VT, 56.65 UB, 54.95 BB, 54.55 FX
3) Japan – 217.800
55.60 VT, 54.80 UB, 53.70 BB, 53.70 FX
4) Australia – 206.70
55.55 VT, 49.85 UB, 48.15 BB, 53.150 FX

Senior Vault

1) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 15.634 average –
2) Alesia Leolini – Italy – 13.617 average

There were only two competitors in the senior vault final.

Senior Bars

1) Madison Kocian – USA – 15.033 (6.10/8.933) – watch here
2) Kyla Ross – USA – 14.967 (5.90/9.067) – watch here
3) Giorgia Campana – Italy – 14.00 (5.30/8.70)
4) Kiara Munteanu – Australia – 13.933 (5.70/8.233)
5) Georgia-Rose Brown – Australia – 13.767 (5.80/7.967)
6) Marina Rizzeli – Italy – 13.367 (5.60/7.767)
7) Chinami Otaki – Japan – 13.333 (5.50/7.833)
8) Yuki Uchiyama – Japan – 13.167 (5.70/7.467)

Senior Beam

1) Andreea Munteanu – Romania – 14.833 (6.40/8.433) – watch here
2) Alyssa Baumann – USA – 14.20 (5.80/8.40) – watch here
3) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 14.20 (5.90/8.30)
4) Natsumi Sasada – Japan – 14.00 (5.70/8.30)
5) Stefania Stanila – Romania – 13.70 (5.50/8.20)
6) Kyla Ross – USA – 13.433 (5.60/7.833) – watch here
7) Yuki Uchiyama – Japan – 13.40 (5.50/7.90)
8) Giorgia Campana – Italy – 13.133 (5.80/7.333)

Senior Floor

1) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 14.533 – watch here
2) Kyla Ross – USA – 14.233 – watch here
3) Andreea Munteanu – Romania – 13.967 – watch here
4) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 13.933
5) Stefania Stanila – Romania – 13.633
6) Wakana Ionue – Japan – 12.667
7) Erika Fasana – Italy – 11.6333
8) Kiara Munteanu – Australia – 11.567

Juniors

Team Results

1. USA – 228.00
2. Romania – 212.9
3. Italy – 211.4
4. Japan – 218.45
5. Australia – 200.70

All Around Top 10

1. Bailie Key – USA – 58.25
2. Nia Dennis – USA – 56.3
3. Norah Flatley – USA – 56.1
4. Laura Jurca – Romania – 55.5
5. Emily Gaskins – USA – 55.2
6. Jordan Chiles – USA – 54.9 
7. Sae Myakawa – Japan – 53.2
8. Josra Abdelaziz – Italy – 53.1
9. Ragan Smith – USA – 52.65
10. Sofia Busato – Italy – 52.55

Junior Vault

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.934 – watch here
2) Jordan Chiles – USA – 14.350 – watch here
3) Laura Jurca – Romania – 14.234
4) Aya Megga – Australia – 14.084
5) Sofia Busato – Italy – 13.60
6) Alysha Djuric – Australia – 13.551
7) Desiree Carofiglio – Italy – 13.00

Junior Bars

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.267 (5.60/8.667) – watch here
2) Nia Dennis – USA – 13.933 (5.40/8.53) – watch here
3) Marina Kawasaki – Japan – 13.367 (5.40/8.533)
4) Anda Butuc – Romania – 13.20 (5.10/8.10)
5) Josra Abdelaziz – Italy – 13.20 (5.30/7.90)
6) Darcy Norman – Australia – 13.067 (5.50/7.567)
7) Alice Linguerri – Italy – 11.667 (4.90/6.767)
8) Laura Jurca – Romania – 11.267 (5.0/6.267)

Junior Beam

1) Norah Flatley – USA – 14.667 (6.10/8.667/-0.10) –watch here
2) Bailie Key – USA – 14.533 (6.10/8.433) – watch here
3) Andreea Iridon – Romania – 14.30 (5.80/8.50)
4) Yuku Momiyama – Japan – 14.067 (5.50/8.567)
5) Laura Jurca – Romania – 13.667 (5.50/8.267/-0.10)
6) Desiree Carofiglio – Italy – 12.60 (4.80/7.80)
7) Sae Miyakawa – Japan – 11.033 (5.0/6.033)
8) Alica Linguerri – Italy – 10.167 (5.0/5.167)

Junior Floor

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.533 (5.90/8.633) – watch here
2) Laura Jurca – Romania – 13.733 (5.40/8.333)
3) Yuka Momiyama – Japan – 13.633 (5.30/8.433/-0.10)
4) Pilar Rubagotti – Italy – 13.333 (5.30/8.333/-0.30)
5) Sofia Busato – Italy – 13.233 (4.90/8.333)
6) Ayu Koike – Japan – 13.133 (5.20/7.933)
7) Andra Stoica – Romania – 13.00 (5.20/8.10/-0.30)
8) Emily Gaskins – USA – 11.067 (5.30/6.367/-0.60) – watch here

Kyla Ross Sparkles in Silver


Kyla Ross joins the distinguished company of gymnasts Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Jana Bieger and Rebecca Bross as World Championships All Around Silver medalists. Kyla put in an incredible all around performance, counting only small, tiny mistakes in her performance.

Kyla has put a great deal of time and effort into her artistic and dance performance aspects of beam and floor. Not only did this pay off in the scores on these event, but in winning the Longiness Prize for Elegance. This is an incredibly prestigious award that goes to the athlete who demonstrates the most remarkable elegance during the all-around final of an international competition at the world level.  Winning over gymnasts such as Mustafina is quite a feat, and shows just how much Kyla has improved in this area.

Kyla started off the competition with an almost flawlessly executed vault. She didn’t stick it, but it hardly gets better than this. She has a lower difficulty vault than only Simone, but scored the highest execution score of the competition.

She moved on to bars where she once again scored higher than anyone else on the execution score, and posted the third highest bars score of the competition. It was a beautiful, typical Kyla, bar set.

Kyla moved into beam just barely trailing Simone. Simone put up a good set, but not her best. Then two gymnasts before her fell. I was glad to see Kyla turning away from it all, not watching! Kyla went up and did a beautiful beam routine, earning her third consecutive highest E score of the competition, and the highest beam score of the night.

Kyla pulled into the lead heading into floor. She did a beautiful floor routine with an E score beat only by simone. However her difficulty led her to the 7th highest floor score of the night, and ultimately to the silver.

Kyla, like Simone showed incredible sportsmanship and from this unemotional girl, you could really see that she was just enjoying the experience. She was all smiles. What an incredible, consistent all around performance she put on! WHEN she upgrades back to her amanar, she will undoubtedly be in the hunt for the gold.

Kyla Ross has moved from the event specialist to solid USA All Arounder in her second senior year. She has moved from the youngest to the team leader. She is an incredible friend, incredible cheer leader, and incredible gymnast. It is hard not to be impressed with her.

All Photos by John Cheng and Videos by USA Gymnastics

Simone Biles – The Queen of Springs


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Photo by John Cheng

Simone Biles is USA’s Queen of Springs. I really think there are springs in her legs! The way she tumbles is just amazing. She is doing some of the hardest floor passes in the world and yet it seems like she is just getting started. She does these high flying skills that should take everything she’s got and instead she has power to spare. And she punches off the beam like she is tumbling on the floor.

Simone has such a sweet personality, and the joy of gymnastics just shines through everything she does. I used to coach a gymnast who would be barrelling down the vault runway and just break into a huge grin. Every single time. She just loved it so much. Simone does that as well. You can tell her smiles on floor are as more from her love of doing what she is doing than putting on a performance.

Simone had an incredible day of qualifications. She just hit everywhere! She started out on bars, where she earned a higher execution score than even Aliya Mustafina!

6.000 (D) + 8.800 (E) = 14.800

Simones presentation and poise on beam has improved so very much this year.  She really hit her skills with precision and attacked the beam.

6.100 (D) + 8.300 (E) = 14.400

Simone completely rocked floor. Her tumbling passes were sky high and mostly stuck. She performed her little hear out and was a joy to watch on floor.

6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033

Simone gave McKayla a run for her money on vault! She put up two awesome vaults.

You can tell she is just having the time of her life. Love the quote “Actually, I was telling Brenna [Dowell] before I was getting ready to march out, Martha [Karolyi] scares me more than the judges, so I saw the judges and I was fine!”

Simone is going into the All Around finals as the leader of the pack. She also qualified for every event finals. She is the first American to do that since Shannon Miller!

2013 Secret U.S. Classic Senior All-Around Champions


The Queen of Clean Reigns at Classics – Kyla Ross

Kyla just gets better with age. As you would expect, her time at the Olympics has given her maturity and depth that shows in her gymnastics. Especially in her floor routine. She used to just go from pose to pose. At Classics, she seemed to FEEL the music and danced beautifully. With a watered down beam routine and an uncharacteristic fall on floor, she still took the title.

Beauty and Elegance Win the Day – Peyton Ernst

Peyton was a bit of a surprise, but she came through with four solid routines all done with beauty and elegance. She is a joy to watch perform and will be one to watch for sure at Nationals.

Taking Risks has Rewards – Brenna Dowell

Brenna has upgraded everywhere, and it was really fun to see her compete everything. She has some cleaning up to do to make her execution match her difficulty, but she did great for her first debut of so many difficult skills.

2013 U.S. Secret Classic Junior All-Around Champions


The Junior Competition was exciting as many different people were showing strong performances. The balance beam took many of the possible champions down, but overall it was a really great competition. Thanks to USA Gymnastics, we have videos of every routine!

Third Time’s a Charm for Bailie Key – All-Around Champion.

Bailie has been on the elite scene since 2010 – qualifying Junior Elite at just 11 years old. A member of the Junior US National Team since 2011, she already has a significant amount of international experience.  At 14, She carries herself like a veteran, with two years to go until her senior debut!  She won with an all-around score of 58.250 in her third US Classics.  She had a beautiful meet, and what is more amazing is that rumor has it that she did it with the stomach flu.

Going it Alone and Still Going Strong. Amelia Hundley – Silver Medalist

Amelia and Lexie Priessman are two names that always go together. We haven’t seen one without the other in training videos much less competition in their elite careers. One year older, Lexie moved on to the senior ranks. But Amelia did just fine and took the silver medal with a 57.950.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race for Nica Hultz – Bronze Medalist

Nica has been slowly, but surely climbing her way through the ranks over the past few years. She took the bronze medal with a 56.800 her final year as a Junior.

All videos from USA Gymnastics.

2012 Visa National Championships Sr. Women’s Prelims


What a night! After last year’s disastrous prelims, I wasn’t sure what tonight would bring. What it brought was a real competition. Things are heating up in the USA and these girls mean business. Make it easier on the selection committee? No thank you.

Jordyn Wieber Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics

Let’s Start At the End

Gone are the days of Jordyn Wieber’s easy wins. Jordyn had a decent vault and a solid bar routine, but wobbled quite a bit on beam. Gabby had an awesome bars set, and put up mostly solid performances on the other events. It came down to the last routine where Jordyn needed over a 15.25 to win. She went out and hit a solid floor routine. The announcer announced the end of night and people began to file out while the rest of us sat with baited breath waiting for the score.  And they TIED! I don’t know why it shocked me so much, but it did. What a finish. Gabby and Jordyn both had decent nights, but they both can do better. Things are getting interesting.

Things that make you go Hmmm…

Nastia did a bar routine. Her swing is still there. It is still beautiful. But she didn’t do a dismount and it was definitely not a “hit” routine. Then she went and nailed beam. Hmmm…

Rebecca Bross hit a GREAT bar routine! Looked just like her old self. She went to beam, looked strong and agressive, and then sat down her dismount. Again. She has not made that dismount in competition in over a year. Hmmm…

Our Amanar factory seems to have a hold on production. Jordyn and McKayla seem to be the only ones who consistently land their amanar well. And most of the girls are scoring in the mid/low 15.0’s. Not much higher than they would with a DTY with a lot more risk. Hmmmm….

Alicia Sacramone's New Sheep Jump. Photo Credit Heather Maynex

Standout Gymnasts

Well, there is the obvious Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman (who finished third). Then there’s Alicia Sacramone. What injury? She looks just like she always did, and came back with an awesome vault and the most solid beam routine of the night. Elizabeth Price quietly came out and did her job with little fanfare. But she definitely made her bid.

Standout Routines

Douglas on bars. Maroney on vault. Raisman on floor. Nuff said. But can you really ever say enough about those awesome pieces of gymnastics? Sarah Finnegan on beam. WOW. She came out and hit her skills. It was a delight to watch. In my opinion, she does the wolf turn better than anyone has ever done it.

Some of My Favorites

I loved seeing Sacramone go out and nail it. I loved Sarah Finnegan’s floor routine. And her beam routine. I loved Jordyn’s floor routine and waiting for the score. I loved watching Bridget compete again. I loved watching Nastia do bars. I loved the energy in the arena.

Women’s All-Around:

1. Jordyn Wieber, DeWitt, Mich., 60.650
1. Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va., 60.650
3. Alexandra Raisman, Needham, Mass., 60.200
4. Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 59.750
5. Elizabeth Price, Coopersburg, Pa., 59.600
6. Sarah Finnegan, St. Louis, Mo., 59.150
7. McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, Calif., 58.700
8. Kennedy Baker, Flower Mound, Texas, 58.050

Women’s Vault:

1. McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, Calif., 15.925
2. Alicia Sacramone, Winchester, Mass., 15.025
3. Brandie Jay, Ft Collins, Colo., 14.750

Women’s Bars:

1. Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 15.500
2. Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va., 15.450
3. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas, 15.200
4. Anna Li, Aurora, Ill., 15.150
5. Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind., 15.100
6. Jordyn Wieber, DeWitt, Mich., 15.050

Women’s Beam:

1. Sarah Finnegan, St. Louis, Mo., 15.350
2. Alicia Sacramone, Winchester, Mass., 15.200
2. Alexandra Raisman, Needham, Mass., 15.200
4. Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 15.100
4. Nastia Liukin, Parker, Texas, 15.100
6. Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va., 14.800

Women’s Floor:

1. Alexandra Raisman, Needham, Mass., 15.450
2. Jordyn Wieber, DeWitt, Mich., 15.250
3. Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va., 15.050
4. Sarah Finnegan, St. Louis, Mo., 14.800
5. McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, Calif., 14.600
6. Elizabeth Price, Coopersburg, Pa., 14.550

 

Current Considerations for Choosing the Olympic Team


May is almost over and it is time for everyone to do another round of who would I choose for the Olympic team at this juncture. Here are my current thoughts – my team choice (s) is at the end.

Our Amanar Club isn’t as consistent as we would hope.

My stock for McKayla Maroney or Alicia Sacramone making the team has gone up. Though we do have many other girls that can do Amanars, they don’t yet look solid. The scoring differences between Maroney and the others at this point are much greater than I was thinking. Aly Raisman has competed the Amanar 3 times and was awarded a 16.1,15.5 and 15.6; Kyla Ross received 14.85 , 15.5 and 15.3 on her vaults and Gabby Douglas received a 15.8 at the American Cup but has not managed to compete it since. Apart from Raisman’s 16.1, these scores are a far cry from Maroney’s CONSISTENT 16+ score. Though we keep saying that we “Have plenty of Amanars, we don’t need a vaulting specialist,” that .5 advantage or more is a big deal. A much bigger deal than I had been letting myself remember. Maroney’s spot is definitely looking better. And depending on how everyone else’s beam shapes up, so does Sacramone’s.

We are looking better on bars than I ever would have believed to be possible.

Gabby Douglas’ bars have basically made her a lock for the team. Even a definite possibility for a medal. Sure, everyone is hoping she will be a great all-arounder as well, but even if she is not, Douglas can make the team easily as the top bars specialist. Ross continues to put in some great routines as well. Nastia Liukin showed that she has the mental game of competing well under control (which most people say is harder to regain than the physical) and shows promise of a great bar routine to come. Anna Li and others also show definite potential. This hardly adds up to a killer bars rotation, but it definitely doesn’t look as bleak as it did this time last year for the USA on bars.

Beam might be a deciding factor between many bubble gymnasts.

Ahhh, the ever formidable event. We know we have two solid beam workers in Wieber and Raisman. As we are still waiting to see what Liukin, Sacramone and Johnson might really bring to the table on beam, who might fill the third spot is definitely a mystery. Ross and Douglas have shown beautiful routines before but haven’t been totally consistent up to this point on beam. In fact, Douglas still has a ways to go to prove that she could handle the pressure of team finals on beam. Sarah Finnegan has an incredibly beautiful and difficult routine as well but has yet to compete it without a lot of wobbles. I think that in the end when deciding between two bars specialists or vaulters, beam will definitely be a deciding factor.

Oh yeah, What about Floor?

Wieber, Raisman, Bross, Sacramone, Memmel, Liukin, Johnson, have all been incredible on floor in the past. Surely between them all we will have many floor routines to choose between. But wait! Only two of those routines – Wieber and Raisman- are for sure now, and Johnson looks like a slim possibility. Bross, Sacramone and Liukin have all stopped training floor and Memmel is no longer in the running for the team (Oh the travesty of that sentence!).  All of a sudden, we need some great floor routines. This reality has greatly strengthened our need for Raisman and all but locked her on the team in my mind (which has never been the case for me before). It also greatly strengthens Sarah Finnegan’s chances of possibly beating a third bars specialist or a vault specialist on to the team. As I see it right now, we absolutely have to have Raisman’s score on floor. In addition, the hit we would take on floor putting in someone like Ross or even Douglas/Maroney instead of Finnegan on floor is greater than the hit we would take putting on a third bars specialist over Wieber.

So what does all this add up to you might ask? Here is how I see our team choice(s) shaping up.

Here is my most likely team:

Jordyn Wieber: V/BB/FX/UB
Aly Raisman: V/BB/FX (UB in prelims)
Gabby Douglas: UB (V/BB/FX in prelims)
McKayla Maroney: V/FX
Ross/Bross/Liukin: BB/UB

I was actually surprise that this team pick hasn’t changed since last month, though my reasoning is different. This team still leaves us a bit vulnerable on FX but gives us huge advantage on vault, a decent score on bars and a great score/great consistency on beam. The only way to shore up our floor score at this point is to sub Finnegan for Maroney. I only think that would be wise if Ross is our BB/UB specialist and she is showing a consistent Amanar, if Douglas is showing a consistent Amanar, or if Finnegan herself is showing a consisten Amanar.

As we saw with Chellsie Memmel, the first of many heartbreaks and many controversies has just begun. The next few months will be full of more. But they will also be full of incredible gymnastics, and the answers we have all been waiting for.

What I am “Secretly” Looking Forward To


I wonder how many play on words we can use around the Secret U.S. Classics? Corny puns aside, I cannot wait for the competition to begin. Here are some stories to watch and what I am looking forward to.

Debuts

Anna Li will be debuting two new events and competing in the all around. Nastia Liukin will be competing for the first time in three years and will be debuting her beam. Jordyn Wieber will be debuting another upgrade, this time on bars. We will see many gymnasts compete for the first time this year, including Sabrina Vega, Chellsie Memmel and McKenzie Wofford.

Proving Consistency

Gabby Douglas is out to show that she is a serious all around contender for London. She is out to show that her performance at the American Cup was not a fluke and that she can be consistent and hit all four events. Rebecca Bross is out to prove that she can be counted on for bars and beam despite a shaky start at Jesolo. Sarah Finnegan will be out to show that she can seriously contribute on floor and beam. And McKayla Maroney wants to make her contribution on vault hard to ignore with her practically Olympic gold medal lock vaulting.

My Highlights

I very much want Gabby to go out and prove herself! I can’t wait to see Sarah Finnegan’s floor and beam and am hoping that she will have all of her upgrades. I desperately want Rebecca Bross to show who she is on beam and bars and am looking forward to the fierceness of Chellsie Memmel.Regardless of where it takes her, I can’t wait to see Nastia on beam again. And I am really hoping for a good all around battle between Douglas, Raisman, Ross, Li, Memmel, Finnegan and Maroney.

Don’t miss it on Universal Sports or livestreamed on universalsports.com at 5:00 pm!

 

 

Rumors and Previews of the Secret U.S. Classic


There is nothing secret about the Secret US Classic (so named for it’s sponsor). Plenty of bloggers are on site, Gym Examiner is giving live updates, USA Gymnastics and Gymnastike are posting podium training videos and the seniors will be live-streamed and broadcast on Universal Sports. It’s enough to make a gymnastics fan do cartwheels of joy! As we gear up for the competition tomorrow, here are the rumors and things we can expect from the U.S. Secret Classic.

All Around Competitors

After so many gymnasts announcing that they would just be doing a few events, I began to despair about the all around for this meet. But it is looking like it might e a great competition after all. In fact, it might give us a preview of that coveted second all around spot for the Olympic team. Gabby Douglas is apparently doing the all around after all according to an article in the Des Moines Register. Aly Raisman will be competing all around, as will Kyla Ross and Anna Li. Chellsie Memmel still has to qualify to nationals so she will be competing all-around as well. Many others may join in the fray, but we will have to wait and see. Either way, it should be be a great competition!

Upgrades

According to camp videos and podium training videos, we have upgrades galore – and not surprisingly most of them are on bars. Anna Li, Brandie Jay, McKenzie Wofford and Wieber all have upgrades on bars from the last time we have seen them. Sabrina Vega has upgrades on beam, McKayla Maroney has upgraded her second vault and has minor upgrades other places.

Beautiful  Routines

Despite a US reputation, we might be in for a real treat on floor. Sarah Finnegan is absolutely delightful to watch on floor – her poise and style are light, elegant and refreshing to see. Anna Li will be debuting her new routine as well. Is it a floor routine or a heart pulling, dramatic and breathtaking dance piece? I am not sure! It is incredible though and a treat to watch. And of course we will be treated to the beautiful lines of Nastia Liukin as she returns to competition on beam and Kyla Ross.

We will finally see a few more pieces toward completing the puzzle of our US Olympic team. It should be a great weekend!