Monthly Archives: June 2008

So I Met Jana Bieger Today…

Wow. So where I just moved (back to) is very close to Jana Bieger’s gym. I went there today to inquire about adult classes and to maybe see her training at bit. I walk in, and along with two others behind the desk, THERE SHE WAS! It was so cool to me and I was so starstruck because elite gymnasts are celebrities to me.

I found out the info I wanted about adult classes and talked for a minute. I asked if I could come again to watch her practice and she smiled and shrugged looking at the other two people there. Does anyone know if that is frowned upon? Any suggestions would be cool because I would LOVE to go watch her train.

I got her autograph and wished her good luck. She was extremely sweet, and now I want her in that sixth spot. I am such a nerd. It was so funny. They all laughed politely over my excitement. It was so cool. Gosh I really want to go watch her train!

BTW, there were comments on the page recently about her size. That girl is very healthy and toned, and quite thin! She is actually quite pretty in person as well, extremely blue eyes.

So I am reveled in these happenings today. Totally made my summer.

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Thoughts About What Scoring Will Do in Beijing

So there has been a lot of talk lately about over/under scoring going on in the US, plus claims of this and that person won’t score blah, blah, blah internationally.  But I wonder what will really happen.  Because when I think about it, there have been instances where people actually got higher scores at the Olympics.  Let’s take a look at some examples.  (By the way, I am absolutely excluding the American Cup from this discussion, that is the most extreme case of over scoring and I don’t care to include it).

Terin Humphrey–  In Athens, Terin got her highest scores EVER on bars, thus she did win a silver medal.  During 03′ and 04′ Nationals I always thought she was underscored, getting like 9.3’s and during the Olympics she scored a 9.625, 9.575, and a 9.662.

Oana Ban– I think she was underscored A LOT during international competition.  In the 2003 World Championships she received a 9.400 during AA on floor.   I thought that should have been more in the 9.6 range.  Low and behold during the Athens prelims she does in fact score a 9.6.

Carly Patterson–  Carly’s highest score on beam in the 2003 Worlds was a 9.612 for a pretty flawless routine and the only visible deduction came from a hop on the landing.  Whereas in Athens she scored two 9.725’s, 9.612 (including a couple of bobbles) and a 9.775 (prefect routine, small hop on the landing).

It is important to note that each competition seems to have their own range.  In the 2003 Worlds I thought the scores were generally a bit lower.  There were very few scores above a 9.6 until finals.  For the 2007 Worlds we have to consider the B-Panel scores.  And very few people hit above a 9.3 B-score.

A good example is the difference of B-scores on floor between the 2006 and 2007 Worlds.  For 2006 here are some examples:

Cheng Fei– 9.475 (15.875) (6.4)- FX Finals

Beth Tweddle– 9.425 (15.450) (6.0) – FX Finals

Jana Bieger– 9.250 (15.550) (6.3)- FX Finals

Vanessa Ferrari– 9.350 (15.450) (6.1)- FX Finals

So now here are some of the highest scores on floor for 2007 Stuttgart…

Now as far as B-scores go, Shawn Johnson received a  9.225 (6.2)  during  AA, and a  9.150 during Finals.  Alicia Sacramone scored a 9.125 during finals, 9.175 during prelims.  Even the awesome Cheng Fei scored only a 8.975 during prelims (uhhh, what did she do wrong?  Am I blind?)

For the entire 2007 Worlds, B-scores were pretty low.  Nastia Liukin got the highest B-score for uneven bars final of a 9.2.  And really none of the events scored much higher than that at all.  a 9.1 or 9.2 was a really good score.

So I have to wonder what the Olympics are going to do.  Where will their B-panel lie?

And what about the A-panel?  Shawn is going to have a hard time getting credit for the Amanar, and the whip to triple (based on Trials and Nationals).  On Day 2 of Trials that Amanar was not all the way round.   And what about the connections for Nastia’s uneven bar set?  Her botch on the Lin (I think it is a Lin) should have lost connection value.  And I can’t see her double turn on floor getting credit when she hardly does a 1.5.  I am not here to attack, and don’t want to start up more heat, but seriously everyone, what is going to happen to America’s top two gymnasts in Beijing?  Because we can’t take Nationals/Trials scores as what to expect in Beijing!!

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Olympic Trials Conclude With Lots of Surprises

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:

Prelims-

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

Team Finals:

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!

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Olympic Trials: The Happenings of Night One

Things happened last night, both good and bad. For all those with a shot at the Olympic Team here is what happened:

Shawn Johnson simply told us that even a flood will not keep her from doing her best. I think the most importnat routine of the night was floor. A huge improvement from Nationals, but I still think she is JUST barely getting that triple all the way round. One of the most surprising things to me was that she came in 3rd on bars! An improved A-score (6.4) made me incredibly excited as she needs this so bad for AA Finals in Beijing. With a 15.700 I am not sure if that is inflated as I have yet to see the actually routine. But one thing is for sure: I do not want Shawn doing bars in Team Finals because that would make her have to do three full AA competitions in Beijing and I don’t want her to get worn out.  EDIT:  I just saw Shawn’s vault and it was under rotated.  Pretty bad.  Cheng Fei was devalued during the 2006 Team Finals in Aarhus and this vault I actually think was way more questionable.  Stupid judges.

Nastia Liukin performed very well. I think the most important routine for her was floor. Because now she has two in a row hit, something I feel we haven’t seen from her since like, 2005. So that is very good for her cause. I have yet to see her bars routine and the near fall, but honestly as much as I don’t think the form will be fixed, I think Nastia will go home and do enough conditioning so that her tank does not read ’empty’ by the time she gets to the dismount in Beijing. She’ll get it. Beam looked solid.

Alicia Sacramone was beat on floor by NASTIA. Did Hell just freeze over? I think that is crazy and that Alicia really needs to step it up here. Supposedly she is upgrading, and I hope that is true. Her beam was also shaky with missed connections, however she completely stuck her vault, which was awesome.

Chellsie Memmel is so awesome. She is actually my favorite person to watch due to the excitment I feel over watching her succeed after I thought she was done. (In fact, watching Day 2 Nationals live, when she stuck her vault I like, YELLED, and my cat freaked out who and jumped off me leaving a big gas on my thigh. haha.) She again stuck her vault. She did well on floor and beam. But most importantly, she again scored over a 16 on bars and that makes her as sure a bet as anyone for that team.

Samantha Peszek did what she needed to do and if she repeats this performance, I think she will be on that team. Vault and floor were solid (although I think she took a step back on vault and must compare her vault to Brittany Ranzy who scored the exact same, 15.100).

Shayla Worley did not do so hot. Competing only bars and beam she received a 15.400 on UB with is not good enough to compete against China with. Beam was less than spectacular with a 14.800. Ouch. She is playing tug-of-war with Bridget Sloan over that last spot on the team and right now Bridget is winning. Bridget scored a 15.600 on bars which isn’t that much better but she who scores the 3rd highest in the country will be on that team in my opinion.

Ivana Hong has really great beam and floor sets tonight. Not too shabby on vault either. I think she will be an alternate to the team. But really nothing more.

Look at Mattie Larson in 7th place! She performed well on floor and tied for Ivana with vault. I just don’t think it is her time, but we shall see. Who knows what could happen.

That is all for now.

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Olympics Trials: Videos

Too late to write but click here for videos of trials.  This is the first person to get videos up on youtube.

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Olympic Trials: Pondering, Predicting, Hoping

So I was really pleased with NBC’s live trials coverage for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics and am wondering if they are airing Women’s live tomorrow night.  More fun than awating the live scores on USAG.  But here is what I am thinking about coming into Trials…

How Performance is Effecting Each Spot for the Olympic Team:

With spots one two and three occupied by Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, and Alicia Sacramone first we need to consider that we are using the three remaining spots to fill four gaps in the Team Final; 1 VT, 2 UB, and 1 FX.

Which next brings us to Chellsie Memmel, who is also in my opinion a lock now.  Chellsie’s first priority is filling in one spot on UB.  And next, I think she may be the 3rd spot on floor.  I would put her in over everyone available.  She is capable of a high SV, and can bring a high score.  So Chellsie with this I believe Chellsie makes hte VT/FX team member to simply a vault specialist position.  Even if Chellsie has a reliable DTY, we can have one that is cleaner via Samantha Peszek, Ivana Hong, Bridget Sloan, Mattie Larson and a few other key names we all know of.  Chellsie is also capable of taking the 3rd beam spot away from Sacramone; she has a high SV (granted she makes all the connections) and who else has landed a punch front with one foot off the beam and doesn’t wobble? (Aarhus 2006, Team Final).  But all of that won’t be decided until prelims Beijing, as Chellsie will definitely preform beam in Qualifications.

So Memmel’s addition to the team now leaves (again in my opinion) 1 VT and 1UB Gap, and two spots left to fill.

Spot number one is between Bridget Sloan and Shayla Worley.  There are pros and cons to both.  Bridget is healthier than Shayla currently.  Shayla however, has world championship experience and we know that she can score decently in the international field.   Shayla REALLY needs to NOT WITHDRAW and compete this whole weekend.  Though she only may do bars and beam, her spot on the team is based soley on bars and nothing else.  Same with Bridget.  I do not believe Bridget’s DTY on vault is a factor; that is the final spot to be established on the team and that is for the remaining vault position.  If Shayla stays healty enough to compete only bars, and performs GREAT during Trials then I think she will get the spot over Bridget.

The final spot is for vault only, though I think this position is also the offical backup on floor as well.  Peszek and Larson I believe are the two this spot comes down to.  POSSIBLY Hong.  Peszek is the one with international experience and I think she will prevail.  Going clean and consistent on floor I think would lock her in place on that team.  But she has endurance/consistency issues with floor.  IF and only IF Peszek bombs vault then do I see one of the super dark horses being included.  This is where gymnasts like Brittany Ranzy and Amber Trani come in.  We can’t forget Mohini Bhardwaj‘s performance at Trials in 04’!

This is what I predict, and the alternates will follow this pattern:  Whoever doesn’t make it in the Worley/Sloan and Peszek/Larson spot is who will be the alternates…maybe Jana Bieger but I don’t know.

On another note, Chellsie is filling in the awesome spot of sentimental faves that make the competitions so exciting.  I am really hoping she will do AA in Beijing.  I would love to see her and Shawn in it.  I am wondering if she would purposely be sat out of vault in prelims to keep the AA Shawn/Nastia.  Even if either of them fell, they would still qualify, but with Chellsie in there a mistake could put her in.  It would be so cool though.  Would that happen?  In my opinion that would be an awful thing to do to her.  First off, even if Chellsie has only a 1.5 yurchenko it shouldn’t matter for prelims.  And Chellsie has been around the longest.  She has the best story to tell and has come back from the most issues (injuries).  She very well may not qualify to AA Finals but she has earned her right to be able to try.

Well that is all for now with the random thoughts.

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Olympic Trials: More Podium Training Reports

There is more detailed information available from an Anonymous Source on what is going on with our favorite gymnasts. I have a feeling this report is from last night’s training. Here is what is going on….

Shawn Johnson is reported to be very,very solid. She supposedly stuck three Amanars, and is the only one throwing them. (Meaning Alicia Sacramone and Brittany Ranzy upgrades are not happening quite yet, though I think Sacramone will save hers until later.)

Nastia Liukin looked a lot better tonight. She did about 4 beam sets and was SOLID. Including the dismount. On floor she only did a dance through. Vault she stuck like three 1.5ers. Bars was also very solid.

Shayla Worley looks good on bars and beam, floor is VERY shaky and no one is sure if she did any vaulting. I think Shayla should ditch FX/VT because they aren’t necessary for her. We all know that bars is really the only thing that matters. I would say do beam too because it looks better to be competing half the events instead of one.

Alicia was just doing some timers on floor. Looks good but wobbly on beam. Then Martha Karolyi came over to watch a set and she didn’t wobble.

Speaking of Martha, she supposedly had private meetings with Valeri Liukin and Liang Chow, no one else.

Ivana Hong is having trouble. Sat down a few double fronts, misses handstands on bars, etc. The outlook just doesn’t seem good for her.

No word on Bridget Sloan, though I want to say I read she was doing okay, I think she is still on only bars/beam but I am not sure.

Chellsie Memmel looks good. Beam is a little more consistent.

That is all for now, I will update later!

Also, for more GREAT commentary please visit this blog.

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