For starters, congratulations to Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin for earning their spots to Beijing. Like we all didn’t see that one coming hehe. But there were numerous surprises to me and here they go…
1. Jana Bieger. First off, Tim Daggett was talking about how the Olympic Team needs at least one female coach. Huh? I DID NOT know about this rule! How crazy is it that someone can get on the team based off the sex of their coach??? Hmmm, notice Jana’s bar scores were a bit higher here for Trials. But honestly, Jana was one of the bigger surprises to me. Before yesterday I had written her off completely. Now it appears as if she can get that final spot. I do really like her. I know she hasn’t got the best form but I still like her.
2. Chellsie Memmel rocks the house AGAIN. She actually beat Nastia’s AA score which was a huge accomplishment for her. Most importantly though, I think she has solidified her spot as the 3rd beam worker for the US, and at this point I would put her in the 3rd floor spot as well. I love how she sticks her landings these days! Bars dismount stuck two days in a row and beam stuck (and just a tiny hop the first day.) I mean, it’s not even that Chellsie finally made her comeback, but in some ways I think she is better than ever.
3. WHO IS GOING TO GET THE 6TH OLYMPIC SPOT? All of the front runners had huge errors. Both Bridget Sloan and Shayla Worley did a poor job today. Bridget’s full-in on floor scared the hell outta me. Is this what could put Jana on the team? Honestly, after Nationals I thought Sloan. Now I am not sure at all. Can hardly speculate.
4. I felt bad for Nastia. She looked sad a couple of times. But I still think she will be totally prepared by Beijing. I mean, she can FALL off bars in prelims and still qualify to finals. Also, I think she was scored completely fair minus floor. She got credit for that double turn again which she didn’t complete. Interesting note on over scoring: Last year before World’s Liukin and Johnson both took the double turns out of their floor routines (I can’t remember if this was BEFORE prelims though) because they weren’t getting the turn all the way round. So judges, please don’t give Shawn and Nastia credit for skills that are incomplete! I know both girls/coaches are smart enough to know if the skill is incomplete, but I still think it takes away from how important these skills are to overall scores when it comes to training. Maybe I am wrong.
5. Shawn was her usual awesome self. I love that kid.
6. Samantha Peszek is totally spot number 5 for Beijing. I really can’t see that not happening. Filling the vault gap is more important than the floor gap because I think we have that spot covered between Memmel or Liukin. And Sam shows the strongest DTY in the field.
7. Ouch Ivana Hong. You’re the alternate. You, Mattie Larson, and I think one of Bieger, Worley, or Sloan.
8. When NBC said that they might announce a third spot, I was so hoping for that! It would have been cool to see Alicia Sacramone get her moment. Her fluff piece totally made me cry yesterday.
So who is going to be in that last spot? Here is how I would shape up the team for Beijing:
VT- Johnson, Sacramone, Peszek, Liukin, Memmel
UB- Liukin, Memmel, ??????, Johnson, Pezsek
BB- Johnson, Liukin, Memmel, Sacramone, Peszek and or ?????
FX- Johnson, Sacramone, Memmel, Pezsek, Liukin
VT- Johnson, Sacramone, Peszek
UB- Liukin, Memmel, ??????
BB- Johnson, Liukin, Memmel
FX- Johnson, Sacramone, Memmel
We shall see what happens. I will listen out for the rumors on how Shayla, Bridget, Ivana, and Jana are doing at camp. By the way, NBC already has videos up of tonight.
Next stop Beijing!