So I have been thinking heavily about the gaps that the defending world champion team is having for the Olympics. I have been sorting out who should fill in the gaps….
First we have our locks. (Please keep in mind when I talk about locks I am not considering the fact that injuries could happen.) Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, and Alicia Sacramone make up half of the Olympic Team. Let’s consider the team final with the certain US gymnasts…
Shawn- VT, BB, FX
Nastia- UB, BB
Alcia- VT, BB,FX
Beam is set. If someone emerges very consistent and who can top Sacramone’s 6.6 A-score, then maybe they will take her place. With hit routines, Shawn and Nastia will score over 16’s.
The biggest problem comes on the uneven bars, where we still need two solid and high scores. With hit routines, China will probably score all 16+’s. He Kexin and Nastia will pretty much cross each other out, but China’s other key players will score very close or over 16. The USA has no other gymnasts consistently able to match China here. Another thing to consider is that bars seems to pull in the highest scores.
Vault we only need one more competitor. I feel we have the edge over China on this event, but you never know with all these Amanar upgrade rumors. Regardless of what I hear, my ultimate prediction is that we will come out over China on this event.
Floor. Again only one more solid routine is needed. I feel that if Johnson does all her upgrades and does have that 6.5 A-score, then her and Cheng Fei will cancel each other out pretty much. Jiang Yuyuan and Alicia are nearly matched though I think Sacramone does have the higher score of the two. Not as much as vault, but I do feel that the USA again will come out with a higher total.
Overall- Bars is an event we need to be matched on. We need the highest possible scores here (well on every event!) especially if each team counts no major errors. With hit routines, China will probably score slightly ahead of the US on beam. A lot depends on what they bring to the table in vault and floor. But bar scores too far under 16 when Kexin is scoring nearly a 17, they could pull ahead.
Who is the best fit for the gaps:
Shayla Worley is the next highest score on uneven bars in the USA. A hit routine for her I think would score in the 15.7 range which is not enough. She could be on the team for this one reason though. She does not fill the gap on floor and vault though. All in all, with no developments on uneven bars, I would have to see the Olympic Team needs her.
Chellsie Memmel could help out on bars IF she gets her difficulty back up. But she needs her A-score much higher than we’ve seen with a healthy Chellsie. If she does upgrade very well (and even if she can get say a 6.6 and NO one else can match) she could also easily make the team. Also, remember Chellsie DOES fill in very nicely for the 3rd floor spot. She scored a 15.5 In December at the Toyota Cup. If she gets her DTY back, she can also take the last vault spot. All in all, scoring more than 15.6 and keeping that high A-score on floor will put Chellsie on the team.
Samantha Peszek does not help the bar score at all. Possible rumor upgrades, but consistency is going to be the key here. What she does do really well is fill in the 3rd vault spot….in fact better than any other National Team member does. She also might have an Amanar and that would be an evener bigger plus. She also can fill in the 3rd spot on floor quite well. All in all, most likely will make the team if floor stays upgraded and clean. The Amanar doesn’t hurt. A difficult and consistent Sam throughout Nationals and Trials will be on the Olympic Team.
Ivana Hong CAN fill the bars gap a bit. She gets hit so very hard by the B-panel, and if the routine stays the same her bar routine is barely worth a 15. Johnson will be in the lineup before that is even considered. Although she could help out on vault, her DTY can be inconsistent. She also does not contribute to the final floor spot. All in all, only a really strong and cleaned up bars set will put Hong on the team. There really is no use for her otherwise.
Jana Bieger also doesn’t help out much. Her bars form is too weak, she does not have a DTY, and her floor lacks the difficulty it held nearly two years ago. She needs to get her floor start score back up to a 6.4. All in all, I can’t envision a way Jana is on the team other than in an alternate position.
Darlene Hill in my opinion doesn’t have a high enough A-score on bars. I love her floor but I think international judges are not going to give the routine the same kind of scores the Pacific Rim gave her. All in all, if her difficulty were over a 6.6 on bars I would say maybe she has a chance.
Bridget Sloan….what IS her current A-score on bars? Still, we need 16’s or very close and I don;t think she is capable.
What’s going on with Ashley Priess? She has the form, what is her A-score like these days on bars?
So as of now, aside from the three locks, two of the remaining spots are going to Peszek and Worley. And honestly I think if Chellsie holds up on bars she is also there.