Nationals Overall Impressions and Recap

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure all of you have either watched or read billions of recaps about US Nationals. Well, here’s another one. (Also for your information, I did actually attend the Senior Women’s Finals, an amazing expierence)

US Nationals are a crazy time, for gymnasts, coaches, and of course gymnastics fans. Even other countries obsess over it, as its the first major stepping stone to solidify the beginning of the Olympic contention for many gymnasts.

Before the competition even started, an injury occured to Mckayla Maroney . And unfortently I know this is only one of many that will occur within the next 6 weeks or so. Luckily, Mckayla’s wasn’t too serious. Before the competition starts, each rotation group has 15 minutes on each event. Mckayla was on her last one, floor, where she was warming up her 3.5(which looked absolutley gorgeous on Day 1 by the way) and while twisting, it almost looked like she baulked or something and came out after only about 2 twist…while still being a couple feet in the air. I think she probably whipped herself in the nose, causing the nasal fracture, and when you hit yourself hard enough, its very easy to just loose your air sense, thus causing the horrific fall, and a concussion. The arena went silent. She laid on her back for a few minutes, then sat up, and was able to walk off the podium by her self. She seemed to be doing good, and made the right choice(I think) by scratching the competition. The goal is to peak for the Olympics, not just Nationals. She was petitioned onto the National team, and the Olympic Trials (as she should have) By the way, I really like I could probably walk under her Amanar(and I’m 5’9″)

Alicia Sacramone. This girl is a freakin super human. Somehow in less than a year, she has every single one of her skills back, and is competiting as awesome as last year. Her skills are just as good, and she did water down her second vault, but it had no relation to her achilles. She had sustained an injury in training the day before prelims to her knee/calf area, and was trying to play it safe, which was a good bet.  Everything she did this weekend was hit. There is really nothing else to say about her, except that she is a beast.

And of course, the 2-time National Champion Jordyn Wieber, while she looked fantastic, she didn’t seem to be at her best. Which isn’t necissarly a bad thing, you don’t want her to peak too early. But really all year something has been different about her, I’m not sure what. I want her to succeed so badly, and while she is pretty much on the Olympic team, I’m not sure what will happen once she gets to London. She hit her bars both days, which is good. Its very obvious that she and Geddert, have put in the time and effort to fix those mistakes, and it payed off. I hope she is just trying not to peak too early.

I think the biggest surprise, Gabby Douglas, while many had faith in her, many doubted if she could hit. While she did fall off beam day 2, she and Martha knows that where Gabby is going to make this team is not for her beam. Her Amanar I truley think is one of the best, while its not up with Maroney’s (whose is?) its defintley right there below Jordyn’s. Her bars, well what can you really say except that they are fabulous. She defintley will be in London, and in bar finals. The question is if she can medal, which I think is a definet possibility for the Flying Squirrel. She is so charasmatic and fun on the podium and off. I was able to meet her at the Fan Fest, and she was just having so much fun and enjoy every single second of it. She is truley a remarkable person. (This sounds corny I’m aware, but I’m impressed with her down to earth spirit, and how much you can see her enjoy the sport)

I really don’t understand why people enjoy picking on Aly Raisman granted her form isn’t the best in the world, but within in the past year or so, people have enjoyed nit picking her skills and everything. I actually really enjoy her floor routine, and she is defintley the most solid and consistent gymnast in the US, and maybe even possibly the world. Since become senior, she has hit every single beam and floor routine(and only missed 1 vault) This gymnast is going to London as well, and I hope she succeedes. People need to chill. She will never be a ballerina, and you can easily tell she has been working hard to improve, and she will be a great asset to the team.

For years everyone has raved about junior sensation Kyla Ross and no matter how hard I tried, I was never able to enjoy her gymnastics. It was clean, yes. But something always seemed “safe” (yes I’m aware she has difficult skills and nothing in gymnastics is safe) or maybe it was just lackluster, I’m not sure. And even up until Sunday night, I still felt this way. But watching her gymnastics live, in person, really changed my mind. Her gymnastics is so much more beautiful and enjoyable in person. While she is a strong all-arounder, I very well think she can take the ‘bars and beam’ specalist away from some other gymnasts. She did water down to a DTY, but it was a beautiful one, and the right choice. Her Amanar’s looked a little scary in warm-ups, and while her floor will not be in team finals, its useable.

Making a huge splash on the senior stage this year was Sarah Finnegan, I am a major fan of her gymnastics. It’s so clean, with amazing lines and difficult skills. Her gymnastics is just beautiful. She does a really clean Amanar, and can hit bars, but where she will contribute is beam and floor. She very easily as some of the best beam and floor routines in the US, and possibly the world. The quesiton for many people about her is that she has very little international experience. Last year was her first year on the National team, and really her only international assignment was the Jesolo cup this year, where she did have mistakes. And while Nationals wasn’t her best competition, she certainly raised some eyebrows. She did touch the beam on Day 2, but still scored a 15.05, which is a huge beam score, with a mistake. And it was certainly a deserved score(and she still finished 2nd overall on beam, and without her mistake she would have won) Her floor, she had a mistake on Day 1, but Day 2, it was on, but still with some room for improvement. Her gymnastics will be well recieved out on the international stage. Its clean and beautiful.

Rebecca Bross, I absolutley want to route for this gymnast so much, I think everyone wants to see her succeed. But unfortently her injury came untimley, and I think she ran out of time. When she was hurt in 2011, she wasn’t in her peak physical shape, making this ‘comeback’ even more difficult. As everyone else I want to see that dismount changed! Unfortently I don’t think she is going to make the team, and that makes me soo sad, because she is/was such an amazing gymnast, and unfortently the Olympics have come at a bad time for her. Strangley enough, I would love to see her take a year to get completley recovered, and healthy, and maybe come back for another Worlds or something.

The training videos raised some huge excitment for Nastia Liukin‘s bars, but unfortently she disapointed both days. Her bars are only scoring a 13. I don’t care if she hits both days at Trials, she should not be in London. First off she was only training bar sets for a week? She did it to herself, while I do feel bad for her, it was her mistake and you can’t sideline that for anything. Plus she only hit 1 beam routine, and the US has better beamers than that.

The final and last veteren, Bridget Sloan, is defintley a dark horse, but she always has been. I don’t think I would pick her for the Olympic team, her bars are ok, but I don’t even think they are that spectacular(sorry…) Some of her releases are kind of low. And no other events are standouts. But I do commend her. This was her first all-around competition in 3 years. And she hit. She didn’t have major mistakes, and has comeback from injury after injury.

Now finally, for the gymnasts not shown on the broadcast. The gymnasts that nobody has really paid much attention to. But the gymnasts that can, and probably will sneak onto those alternate spots.

Anna Li for some reason did not get any air time. Her bars are gorgeous and I’m very glad she hit both days. But 1 event probably isn’t going to make it, and I don’t think her beam is strong enough for her to fill that void of a ‘beam and bars’ specalist.
Brenna Dowell, who trains with Sarah Finnegan, her gymnastics is much more powerfull. And her floor is awesome. She does a whip double front pike, that is fabulous!
Elizabeth Price is defintley the strongest “dark horse” gymanst. She finished 5th in the all-around, which is a tremendous acomplishment. She has good bar sets, and a strong Amanar. Which is a combination I don’t think many people would expect. I certainly wouldn’t. Once again she didn’t have her strongest competiton at Nationals. But I can defintley see her getting an alternate spot, she can fill in on bars and vault. Her beam and floor are pretty decent also.
Sabrina Vega this gymnast is very similar to Finnegan, she has clean lines and hit routines. She has a gorgeous floor routine, but without a stand out event, I don’t think there is a spot for her on the Olympic team. But again she will be a great alternate. She can step in and hit on any event needed. Again something looked very off with her at Nationals. She didn’t look as good as she did at the 2011 World Championships.
Kennedy Baker, the Texas Dreams girl, first off I want to say I am a huge fan of this gym, and everything they stand for, making gymnastics fun, but working hard at the same time. She is super powerfull, with some awesome tumbling. She also has a really strong bar set, with scores in the high 14s.

My team Wieber, Douglas, Raisman, Ross, and Finengan (although I’m not couting out Maroney!)

Vault: Raisman, Douglas, Wieber
Bars: Wieber, Ross, Douglas
Beam: Raisman, Finnegan, Wieber
Floor: Finnegan/Douglas, Wieber, Raisman

That is a super strong team, that can defintley win gold. Those routines should all score a 15+ on all events.

Good Night! And I’ll be back after Trials! 🙂

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A Closer Look At The Veterans

The Veterans:
Well, the topic has been talked to death and everything is speculation. There will be no real answer until July, when the Olympic Team is announced.
But it doesn’t hurt to try and figure out what is going on in Martha’s mind, the gymnasts mind, and well even the coaches.

Alicia Sacramone:
The first of the ’08 veterans to make a ‘comeback’ And out of all the veterans, probably has the largest chance of making the team.
Alicia’s Mind: She’s become such a calm, cool and collected gymnast on the floor. When she comes off the podium that’s a different story. But Alicia has not shown us any reason in this quad to believe that she can’t do it. Obviously the only thing keeping her from that team , is the Achilles injury. In 2005 she had tendon problems, that she quickly overcame. While this is a whole new ball game of an injury than before, Alicia is no stranger to pushing through injuries, she was severely beat up in 2008, and while not her best performance, she helped the team tremendously. In 2010 at the World Championships she gave superb performances, and finally earned another World Championship. She’s defintley the sentimental card. But if I know anything about her mind, it’s defintley that she’s not giving up, she knows exactly what she needs to do to get on that team. Perform and upgraded vault, be consistent, have a solid and spectacular beam, and a solid floor that scores in the high 14s or low 15s.  


Mihahi’s Mind: Mihahi has always been fond of Alicia, and why shouldn’t he? She’s the gymnast that put him on the map. In 2004 and even early 2005-2006 he said how Alicia would sometimes get antsy and rush her moves. On the bright side, by now, she’s older, she’s matured and in this case, that’s a good case for her.  He needs to pace her well, but get her skills back to exactly how they were, and improve her vault difficulty along with beam. And with that, she should be just fine.


Martha’s Mind: Well ze obvious zhought here, is zat Martha has concerns about Alicia’s 2008 performance. Martha wants ze gold, zere is no trying to hide zat. Heck, everyone wants gold. And Martha is going to do every single thing she can to get gold. If a gymnast falls at trials, or falls in her presence, zey might not be on ze team; especially being a bubble gymnast. For Martha, Alicia needs to come back just as strong, if not stronger, zan Kupets did in 2004, and needs to have a spectacular vault zat can score just as well if not outscore Maroney/Raisman. Along with a solid beam and floor performance.

Bridget Sloan:

Probably the hardest to judge. Never took a break after the Olympics, and went on to win a National Championship, then a World Title. But then; she disappeared. Came back at Nationals, with a pectoral injury, and only competed beam…wasn’t consistent. And then shocked everyone by making the World Team. Performed ok. Was M.I.A. again in 2011 with another injury.


Bridget’s Mind: Can she stay healthy? That should be her number one priorty. And well I’m not really sure what’s going on in her mind…she needs to be a super solid all-arounder who can deliver great, solid scores on all 4 events…or she’s not worth taking. She should know that.


Marvin’s Mind: Pace this girl, pace her carefully. To have any shot, she needs to be healthy first. She needs difficulty, and execution. It’s going to take a lot for her to make this team.


Martha’s Mind: Dis gymnast hasn’t competed. Can she be in shape for ze games? Or will she get hurt again. 2009 was her year, but dis is 3 years later. I haven’t seen much from her.

Shawn Johnson:
Considered by many the Olympian who has the most potential to make the team. The only weakness she has is time. Her upgrades have come fast, and great.


Shawn’s Mind: While yes she fell on my new skills at Pan Ams, but she knows how to hit when it counts, and she was probably just nervous. Every skill she’s  attempting she can do. But she knows her weakness. She knows that its vault. While in 2008 it was her strong point, now with the depth of team US, it’s Amanar club…or the highway. To even be considered for a vault spot she needs a clean solid Amanar. And this is going to be tough, but she showed a tremendous amount of progress on vault at PanAms. She needs to be solid on bars and beam, along with floor.


Chow’s Mind: Shawn has an incredible talent, and an incredible persistence. Her knee surgery after Pan Ams was a set back, but she spent the time getting in shape and getting stronger. Her upgrades are coming along, but we need to pace her, along with her body. She’s not the young 16-year old anymore. She needs to progress back to an Amanar, and soon.


Martha’s Mind: Zis girl needs to show me zat she can be zee best. She needs to show everyone. I zink her beam is very good. I need zis girl to propel herself on zee vault and zee floor.

Chellsie Memmel:
Had shoulder surgery after Visa’s and well no one knows where she is now. Chellsie has consistently been known for staying out of the spotlight, and coming back strong after an injury. It’s happened at least twice already, can it happen again?


Chellsie’s Mind:  She needs to come back very strong if she wants to make the team. She love’s the sport, and that’s obvious. She has surprised people time and time again. She’s had plenty of experiences, and so many people want to see her have a good Olympics. But its going to take major  upgrades, and a healthy Chellsie for a shot at the team.


Andy’s Mind: He’s got to be thinking they’ve been down this road before. Twice. He knows how to pace her, and he knows what’s best for his daughter.


Martha’s Mind: Zis gymnast is very good…but I want to win zis gold. She needs to be healthy. She needs strong events. Its going to be very tough for her.
Nastia Liukin:
Surprised many by announcing she would come back to try for the Olympics. If she can get in top form, she’d be a great asset to the team on bars and beam. But just bars isn’t going to get her there. A strong 2 or 3 event will bring her on the team. But does she have enough time?


Nastia’s Mind: I’m the Olympic champion. I should be able to get back in shape. I’ve been in the gym for hours a day. And well-

HELL WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS CHAMP IS THINKING?

What if…
All 5 veterans made the team? Its radical thinking and it won’t happen. But let’s play the number game and see what happens.

Vault:
Sloan (14.8)
Johnson (14.925)
Sacramone (15.8)

Bars:
Sloan (14.7)
Memmel/Johnson (14.4)
Liukin (15)

Beam:
Liukin (14.7)
Johnson (14.9)
Sacramone (15.2)

Floor:
Memmel (14.3)
Sloan (13.025) (Can score up to around a 14.5)
Sacramone (14.550)

Total: 176.25
*I used scores from any competitions this quad. For Nastia’s bars, I just estimated a 15, considering she needs to at least be able to score this.

Obviously these scores could go up…but this team would have finished 2nd at 2011 worlds. Granted Russia didn’t have their strongest team. The only one that would have beaten this team was the original US team. And teams were not at their strongest.
So while this does look good for the veterans. It also becomes obvious that the top scoring veteran is obviously Sacramone, followed by Johnson.
I believe at least 1 veteran will make the team, and it will probably be Sacramone or Johnson.