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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?