So I have been moving for the last few days with no time to blog, but on my LONG drive I was really thinking about the score inflating at Nationals, and after reading a wonderful article that I am sure everyone has read on International Gymnast (click here for it) I have a few concerns for the US Team…
First off, I am concerned because of the obvious; what if the gymnasts are receiving false hopes about their routines? For instance, in 2006 Alicia Sacramone went to Worlds with a floor routine that was docked for missing one of her Element Groups Requirements which kept her out of Event Finals. This sucked for her! And it was unfair. Now I can’t say this happened due to score inflation at Nationals because really I don’t know. The code was SO new at that point. There were a couple of scores at 2006 Nationals that were questionable, but again I feel that maybe the problem was the newness of the code. But the point is that we don’t want this to happen to any of our favorite gymnasts! Here is a look at what I have been thinking about individually:
1. Nastia Liukin
Overscoring at Nationals: She performs bars Night One and receives a 17.050. Okay. But Night Two she perfroms a routine with a dismount ending with a near hands down and gets a 17.100. Futhermore, Night Two on Floor was a inflated as well. Nastia is not going to get a 15.850 on floor in Beijing unless she brings a beefed up A-score of like, 6.5. I don’t think anyone under that score will receive a total of 15.850. I think Nastia’s score will max out in the 15.200ish range.
In a way, I am least concerned about Nastia. I think she is one of the best prepared gymnasts ever, and YOU KNOW she is doing everything she can to prepare for Beijing! She always states how there is always something to improve on, she strives for perfection, and I don’t think too big of a score will stop her from clean up her dismount on bars, or perfecting floor.
Why inflated? I can understand wanting to keep her up with the Chinese on bars, we needed the world to know she can score a 17. But why floor? So that the Nationals AA competition can be closer? To boost Nastia’s confidence on the event? I have know idea but I think it is wrong though to give a gymnast false hopes.
2. Shawn Johnson
Overscoring at Nationals: Well, vault was one thing. A couple of tenths there. But what was up with floor? She performs Night One and gets an inflated score, then Night Two, again like Nastia, gets a HIGHER score for a worse performance. WTF? I think it is really, really, unlikely that we will see a 16 on floor in Beijing. Maybe, but I really think you have to have a 6.6 or greater. And I think Cheng Fei is the only one that will be able to do that. (We will see though, depends what she and Sandra Izbasa bring to the table in difficulty, and how Shawn hits her routine.) But what I am concerned about is why they are telling Shawn she is going to get a 6.6 with incomplete passes. That whip-triple IS NOT completed. Surely her and her coach must be aware that the pass is incomplete.
Why Inflated? With vault, I can sort of understand. Maybe they just want to encourage her on a skill she has nerves with. But I don’t feel the same with floor. That was brutally overscored, but maybe they did that to encourage the high amount of difficulty. Whatever the case is, I think it again is giving a gymnast false hopes if she performs her routine that way.
3. Alicia Sacramone
Overscoring at Nationals: Beam on day two was overscored by only a couple of tenths. I felt a little that way over floor as well. She stepped out of bounds, but I have seen that not get docked before. (Hollie Vise 2003 Nationals.)
Why Inflated? No idea.
4. Bridget Sloan
Overscoring at Nationals: I can’t actually say if there was any! I haven’t seen her Day Two performance on bars, so I don’t know. But my only concern would be IF she was overscored. We need the best possible bars team, and right now I REALLY think that Bridget and Shayla Worley are fighting over that last spot on the Olympic Team. And let’s hypothetically say that come Trials Bridget is overscored and Shalya is not, and Bridget gets a place on the team. Then say the international judges score her much harsher come Beijing, and the US Team is out of a few very valuable tenths that they can’t afford to lose.
Why Inflated? I have no idea again.
Jana Bieger was hammered by the judges. I had heard rumors prior to Nationals that this was going to happen to her, and obviously it did. I realize Jana has some form issues, but I think it is so awful what they did to her and Natasha Kelley last year. If you don’t want people on the team, DON’T SELECT THEM. Don’t bash their scores. Same thing with Ivana Hong. (Who I think has the most beautiful double front on floor that I have ever seen.) I feel like it sends the wrong message to gymnasts, and furthermore makes an even worse mockery of the new code. The new code is supposed to eliminate favortism and subjective scoring, and harshly underscoring tells me that nothing is changed. So if you are in the “IN” Club, (Nastia and Shawn) we will give you phenomenal execution scores whether or not you deserved them. But if you are in the “OUT” Club, we tell you that you did poorly. It’s just not right.