Tag Archives: Jana Bieger

USA Women’s Olympic Team

So congratulations to the following girls-

Shawn Johnson

Nastia Liukin

Alicia Sacramone

Chellsie Memmel

Samantha Peszek

Bridget Sloan

Alternates- Jana Bieger, Ivana Hong, Corrie Lothrop

Go to NBCOLYMPICS.COM or GYMNAST.COM for commentary and info. I can’t blog right now, I want to go out and I have been sitting here for hours waiting.

Congrats girls!

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Selection Camp Information! Shayla Worley Will Not Go to the Olympics and Other updates

There are a sort of ‘quick hits’ being done by NBCOlympics.com Click here to receive the updates.

Word is that Shayla Worley has pulled out due to a lower leg problem. This is NOT AT ALL GOOD FOR HER. Plus, if it is a leg problem, DO BARS ONLY. After all, this is all that will buy Shayla a spot anyway.

Actually, I just refreshed the page, Shayla has left, leg in a boot and with crutches. She is extremely upset. Wow, I feel so bad for her! Poor girl!

I may just keep editing this page as I await the quick hits.

Chellsie Memmel stopped her floor routine and didn’t compete vault because she ‘felt something in her back’ during the floor routine. I am awaiting patiently, I hope she at least competes bars. A US Team without Memmel can go ahead and kiss the gold goodbye….we need Memmel and especially her bar routine.

Update- Chellsie has her grips on, swinging her arms. Looks like she will do bars…whew. But I am still not satisfied yet.

Update- Chellsie pulled out of the bars lineup as well. I am crushed.

SEVERAL HOURS LATER-

Chellsie ended up competing beam and getting a 15.9. I am confident that she will be fine, but I don’t want this to take away from her upgrades! I want her to be the second AAer in Beijing darn it.

It’s all over the internet- Shayla indeed broke her leg.

Jana Bieger fell off bars. Bridget Sloan performed a great bar routine and was nailed by the B-panel to receive a 15.200.

And of course we already know-

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are ready to take on the world.

Everyone says that Bridget will now be in due to what happened between Worley/Bieger. I keep flip-flopping on the issue, but I am back to thinking that Jana will be on the team. Of course, Bridget outscoring Samantha Peszek on vault is a big deal. And she could be a vault backup. But I just have this feeling Jana will be on the team. I really don’t want Shawn doing AA in TF. She needs to be at her best.

So much to think about. We will have to see what happens tomorrow!

For now, here’s to Shayla Worley. For being an awesome competitor, for being a great gymnast, for working so hard in her life. My heart goes out to that girl. I can only hope now that she becomes a Gator, so that I can love her even more.

You did everything you could Shayla. You should be so proud of how strong you are.

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WHO WILL GET THE LAST SPOTS? A Look at the US and China

So a few of the Olympic teams have been announced. And I know everyone in the gymnastics community is debating over the “who will be number six” for the US. I am also checking everywhere constantly looking for information on the Chinese squad. So one spot for the US Team and in my opinion, two spots left on the Chinese team, I thought I would again take a look at who I think will be in these spots…

BTW- gymnast.com has a great rundown and a “virtual meet” which is definitely worth looking at.

First the US team:

In addition to Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone, Chellsie Memmel, and Samantha Peszek, here is each athlete in the running:

Jana Bieger

Positives- Outside of her routines, Jana has everything you want out of an athlete on the Olympic Team; she is consistent and handles the pressure well. She also is known on the international scene and is a triple silver medalist.

Negatives- She has a lower start value than others do that are competing for this very coveted spot. And she also is questionable in the B-score area in the opinion of many. (Which is the main reason some of that scoring drama irked me, we don’t really know where she stands internationally)

My Overall Opinion- I don’t know if I am being sentimental over my recent encounter with her, but I think she will get the spot if Shayla Worley is still too injured. I think Jana can be counted on to do her very best, which is really important because I believe the US can’t count major mistakes to beat China. (Unless the Chinese count like three falls but that is another story). Furthermore, if Jana were to eek out just two more tenths on her A-score (making it a 6.8) I think she has the spot without a doubt.

Shayla Worley

Postives- Shayla has World Championship experience and we know she can score well internationally. She can also bring in an A-score as high as 7.0. (At least I want to say I heard that).

Negatives- Others have said it and so will I; Shayla may be the Hollie Vise of 2008. Taking a chance with an injured athlete is NOT what the US wants to be doing that this point. Better to have a 15.6ish score from Jana than to count a fall.

My Overall Opinion- If Shayla’s health is in much better condition and she HITS at the Selection Camp, I think she will be taken over Jana. Every tenth counts, and Shayla has the potential to bring in bigger numbers than Jana.

Ivana Hong

Positives- Ivana has very pretty form and extension.

Negatives- Unfortunately, the negatives really outweigh the positives here. Ivana hasn’t been incredibly consistent (when compared to Jana, and has a lower A-score. More importantly though, after her bar routine being ripped to pieces in Stuttgart last year, we don’t want to take those chances again in Beijing with her new routine.

My Overall Opinion- I think Ivana may be an alternate, but I do not see her as part of this team.

Bridget Sloan

Postives- Bridget has a very decent A-score, and when she hits she scores quite well.

Negatives- She doesn’t have a lot of international experience in my opinion. She was the alternate and didn’t compete in Stuttgart. She also had a poorer showing at Trials, scoring lower both nights than she did at Nationals.

My Overall Opinion- She only has a tenth more in A-score than Jana, and her performance I think is a bigger risk than Jana’s will be. However, I think that she is absolutely going to be at least a traveling alternate.

Keep in mind that I believe that this 6th spot is solely based on bars. Whichever athlete gets this spot will only be going to count a good bars score in the Team Final. I really think it all depends on performances between Jana and Shayla at the Camp.

Why I believe Spot #5 is taken by Samantha Peszek:

With super strong floor showings from Chellsie, Samantha, and even Nastia on Floor at Trials, I think this spot is for the 3rd best vaulter. Peszek has that sealed. She is consistent and I really believe the best overall. Although I have heard that Corrie Lothrop is working on an Amanar, I don’t think The Powers That Be want to take that chance. Shawn is one of the most consistent athletes in the world and look how long she has been working to get that vault right. And Lothrop is an unknown and has little experience internationally. Although Ivana and Sloan have DTY’s Peszek is the most consistent. One more note, although I love Mattie Larson, I think she may be a good alternate for her vault and especially floor status. But I just don’t see her getting the spot over Peszek.

And now onto China…

It is assumed that the locks for the Chinese Team are Cheng Fei, He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin, which leaves two spots open. Let’s look at their gaps:

Vault- Cheng, Jiang, Yang/He.

Bars- He, Yang, Jiang

Beam- Cheng (I really think she will be used here), GAP, GAP.

Floor- Cheng, Jiang, Yang

Overall Analysis: Look familiar? China’s got almost the same problem on beam that the US has on bars. So with two spots open, I think it is quite likely that these spots will be determined by beam. Here are the possibilities:

Li Shanshan

Postives- Li has the highest start value in the world on beam (or at least as far as I know!) She was on the World Championship Team last year and is won the silver medal in Event Finals WITH A FALL. That is when you know you are good on an apparatus; although there have been AA wins with a fall, she is the only one to medal in EF with a fall.

Negatives- Li is not known for her consistency. A fall is is bad for the morale of the team and with no major errors China will win the Team Final.

My Overall Opinion- They have to take her. Even with a fall she can post one of the highest scores in the world. At this point, I would put her on my team.

Xiao Sha

Postives- She has international experience and has a 6.9 or 7.0 A-score.

Negatives- She is also known to have consistency issues.

My overall Opinion- She is the other athlete I would add. A fall would still put her above a 15 I think.

Sui Lu

Postives- Very high A-score on beam (6.9).

Negatives- Very little international experience and has not been consistent in international competitions.

My Overall Opinion- I wouldn’t take her. Good alternate because she has a great SV on Floor as well.

Deng Linlin

Positives- Deng has a high A-score on beam (6.9-7.1) and she recently did quite well at the Moscow World Cup in May, winning both beam and floor showing that she can be a reasonable backup on floor as well.

Negatives- Doesn’t have as much international experience as some, and isn’t known for her consistency either.

My Overall Opinion- I think this spot is between her and Xiao Sha. I also don’t know whom to pick between the two.

With Pang Panpan and Zhang Nan I am not even sure what their A-scores are on beam right now. Anyone? I really like Zhang because she is a sentimental favorite and she has more international experience for everyone in the running for these two spots. I also think beam is her best event. And overall, I think China just needs decent A-scores and a solid score to stay ahead of the US.

So what does everyone else think? Who would you put in these spots?

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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: 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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