There’s been some questions and thoughts on the comments of this blog (which I love, love, love!) and since I have nothing particular to share I thought I would elaborate and what not.
- First off, why Jana Bieger has a limited chance on making the Olympic Team. The wide consensus among gymnastics fans and experts is that Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, and Alicia Sacramone are locks for the Olympic Team. Since the main priority is the Team Final where 3 up 3 count, the selection will cater to those 12 routines needed. Among the first half of the squad we have:
Vault- Sacramone, Jonhson, GAP
Bars- Liukin, GAP, GAP
Beam- Johnson, Liukin, Sacramone
Floor- Jonhson, Sacramone, GAP
For the 3 remaining spots on the team, we need to fill 2 gaps on bars, and one gap apiece on vault and floor. So our weakest showing is coming on uneven bars, which unfortunately is not good since that is China’s strongest event and they will gain at least a point on us based off their difficulty in comparison to the US.
The best solution is to put on power event gymnast, a floor and vault worker, for one spot, and fill the two remaining gaps with two bar workers. Samantha Peszek is the best choice for spot #4 in my opinion, because she is the 3rd best on vault and now holds the highest difficulty (along with Johnson) on floor. As another person pointed out, Peszek has had some consistency issues, but I would say Nationals/Trials will pretty much let us know.
Bieger simply does not fill any of these spots. She is a great vaulter, but not difficult enough. Same with floor, if she had her 2006 form back I would say she has a better shot. Her bars difficulty is not enough either. I do think that she is a good choice as an alternate. I would put Chellsie Memmel in the same boat if it weren’t for the fact that she just showed a 6.9 and 16.0 scoring routine on bars.
With regards to Chelsea Davis, Darling Hill, and Mattie Larson, I would say the same thing. Larson has a 6.0 on floor, Hill a 6.1 (I am basing these off the most recent Friendly Meet) and we have 6.2’s and higher from more experienced athletes. Hill stil has only a yurchenko 1.5 which we need doubles at bare minimum. For bars, we really need nothing less than a 6.7 and realistically 7.0+ is what we REALLY need. None of these athletes can match this. (Or can they? Does anyone know?) But there is also the experience factor, experienced athletes that prove themselves have a bigger shot, though that does not have anywhere near as much pull in the decisions as the difficulty/consistency factor in my opnion. Regardless of anything though, gymnasts may add more difficulty by Nationals. High difficulty performed consistently throughout June is going to be what matters.
- The selection procedures allow for more than just the top 12 from Nationals to advance to trials. Sacarmone will have no problem proceeding to trials. Remember in 2004, Chellsie Memmel and Hollie Vise only did two events in Trials, and neither competed at Nationals and petitioned their way in.
- In regards to the Nastia winning the AA. So many thoughts. But here is where I am coming from. I like gymnastics that are “wow” skills. I like huge tricks performed cleanly. Whereas Nastia’s bar routine is loaded, even her beam routine I think isn’t so much. She has no “F” or “G” skill anywhere in her routines. She mostly loads with “D”‘s. “D”s are the very middle skill. Not one of the easiest, not one of the hardest. But good respectable skills. (and of course, the triple off beam will add in an “F”) This is why I like He Kexin, she does amazing releases that nearly no one does. But she does do some pirouettes. (Li Ya had an amazing combination of both) Mo Huilan and Kim Gwang-Suk type routines were what really would thrill me, stuff no one tends to do. This is why I respect Johnson so much. Her bar routine isn’t the best, but even there she is capable of something NO ONE else can perform consistently in their repertoire.
With regards to the twisting only elements on floor, it is not that I don’t like twisting combinations, but again, I think to be really good at an event you should show variety. Nastia does not hold enough variety for me to think she is great at that event.
In regards to the old code, you could get away with scoring too high much easier. Let’s first establish that regardless of the code, gymnasts with the reputation so very often get the benefit of the doubt. This applies to a lot of gymnasts. In the old code you could also get away with only twisting elements on floor. I realize Nastia had won numerous competitions, but in 2005 Nationals remember her floor on one day was overscored because she was given difficulty not in her routine. The only competitions I can think of her winning under the new code, were SCAM 08′ and Nationals 06′, which caused a lot of debate because many thought Natasha Kelley should have won.
I am not saying anyone is right or wrong, I just wanted to explain where I was coming from. I like Nastia, I just don’t think she is the best at the All-Around. Top Ten, but not top three. And yes, I do agree, Nastia is better at floor than Sacramone and Cheng Fei appear to be on bars.
- Lastly, Lilia Podkopayeva was the last triple crown winner: 1995 Worlds, 1996 European and Olympic Champion. I did think at one time that Shawn would be that if she won in Beijing, (counting 07′ Worlds and Pan Am’s) but when I think about it the Pan Am’s can’t hold a candle to the Europeans 🙂
I wrote this in a few sections and ran away from the computer a LOT. So if there are mad grammatical errors or totally incomplete thoughts I apologize. I don’t have time really to blog, but I really wanted to write a new post.
Thank you everyone for all your comments and opinions. It’s so nice to hear it all and know it’s all out there. I think we should make a huge petition to send to NBC that we want more gymnastics coverage, and if you broadcast Beijing even close to the way you did Sydney…a lot of angry gym fans are going to come storm NBC Studios! 🙂