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.

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The Age Of Gymnastics.

Gymnastics is a sport traditionally associated with young girls. Until now.

When you hear: Chellise Memmel, Alicia Sacramone,  Beth Tweddle,  and Oksana Chusovitina, You think ‘Talented gymnasts‘ (well, you should anyway.)

But, these women aged 24, 24, 27 and 36 are technically long past their gymnastics ‘peak’ years, but are still some of the most consistent gymnasts in the world. Although only one of them is still competing The All Around (Chellsie Memmel is a boss) Alicia, Beth, And Oksana each have their signature event

For Oksana its vault. Shes won 9 medals in World Championships between 1991 and 2011. She currently performs the handspring laid-out Rudi (which is named after her in the Code of Points) and a Tsukahara with a 1½ or a double twist. she is the only top female vaulter in the world that doesn’t preform a Yurchenko style vault. She is also the only female gymnast to compete in 5 Olympics. So, 30 years of competing, 18 international Medals and three different countrys to compete for! Oksana Chusovitina is a front runner for a medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics at the age of 36.

Alicia Sacramone, Also A Vault Specialist (Although she is more than capable of preforming well on Floor and Beam) Alicia is the 2010 world vault champion and has won a total of 11 medals in World Championships and Olympics (She’s the most decorated American Gymnast) After tearing her Achilles in the 2011 Worlds Alicia chances of making the Olympic team are dampened. Alicia’s been competing at the Elite level for over ten years. And has a total of 17 National Medals and 8 of them are Gold

Beth Tweddle is Floor and Uneven Bars specialist and at age 27 Beth has won 16 world and European Medals, 9 of them are gold and 10 are for the uneven bars. 13 of these medals have been won in her twenties. Beth is also the favorite to win gold in the London Olympics. She’s more than 10 years older than her biggest threat, Viktoria Komova.

Some of the strongest and most successful gymnasts in this generation are in their twenties, also including Shawn Johnson, Jade Barbosa, Vanessa Ferrari and Bridget Sloan.

This just proves that no matter what age you are, if you have the fight and determination it takes, you can be a successful gymnast.

Whats Their Chances? Part One: The Veterans

This is my new blog series where me and fellow gym bloggers: Bekah from getagripgymblog.blogspot.com andThe Girls From tripletwistgymblog.blogspot.com will talk about The USA contenders for London 2012.

This week were starting with the Olympic Veterans!

Alicia Sacramone

 Aoibhe From Flippin’ Olympics: Ah Alicia, why did you have to tear you achilles? WHY?

Before she tore her achilles at worlds, Alicia was considered a lock for London.  Shes a three event specialist (she doesn’t train bars) which holds her back a little bit. But, if Alicia gives a strong performance at Natonals and Trails, I wouldnt count her out.

Ashlee From Triple Twist BlogIf you would have asked me last year about Alicia’s chances I would have told you she was a lock for the team. But after tearing her achilles last year at Worlds, I don’t think its possible for her anymore. She would need to get in great shape AND upgrade her routines to be in the hunt for one of those 5 spots.

Bekah From Get A Grip Gymblog: To be honest, I was dubious about Alicia’s chances of making the Olympic team even prior to her injury. With McKayla Maroney possibly vying for vault gold, Alicia’s role from 2008 is occupied. She’s also without an Amanar, which seems almost necessary to compete on Vault in team finals for the USA. While Alicia would bring strong leadership skills to the team, I doubt that she’ll be able to reach Olympic shape AND upgrade before the Olympics.

Chellsie Memmel

AoibheShes not my favourite gymnast, but shes a like a rock! In the words of Tim And Elifie “This kid has mental toughness like no other” Who makes a comeback after 3 years and does what she did at nationals? Like it or not, shes a front runner for this team if she stays injury free.

Ashlee: As much as I wan’t to see Chellsie make the team, I don’t think she will. Her shoulder is has been giving her problems and she is only training lightly in the gym while she heals up. Chellsie is just too injured to give this a go!

Bekah: I adore Chellie Memmel but I worry if the girl who was too injured to go to the Olympics at 16 and was injured in Beijing at 20 will be able to stay healthy under Marta at 24. If she can somehow peak, the USA could use her bar set. I do have to give Chellsie credit though. She quietly arose last year and showed up at the US Classics in top form. She could surprise us all, and I hope she does, but this girl seems to have the worst timing of any gymnast on the planet

Bridget Sloan

AoibheThe 2009 world champion never really left the gymnastics scene like much of her teammates in Beijing  (she was on the 2009,2010 worlds team and 2011 Pan Am Captain.) but whats kinda sad is that even though she never left the scene for a while like the rest of her teammates and spent the last 4 years training yet she isint a ‘lock’ for this team. But even if she doesnt make this Olympic team, I hope she continues with gymnastics for as many years as she can!

AshleeBridget is good, but not good enough unfortunately. She has been dealing with some injury’s which have prevented her from competing at her full potential for almost 2 years. Her start values are not that high and she wouldn’t help the team out massively on any event.

BekahBridget Sloan has historically been consistent under pressure and solid on all four events. But that’s just it: she’s “just” solid. Frankly, I’m not sure if I’d place Bridget in the Top 5 girls in the US on any event. Barring injury, I think that Bridget has a solid shot as being an alternate. But without 4 or 5 major players going down, I’m unsure if I can realistically see Bridget on this team.


 Shawn Johnson

Aoibhedont get me wrong here, I love Shawn and i think she is a wonderful gymnast. but i think she had her day. I don’t really see a place for her in this team, when theres only 5 places and loads of girls fighting for it. I think she’ll be an alternate. but she should be happy with that, considering the the depth of talent in the USA right now.

AshleeOh I want Shawn to make this team so bad! She’s in the right position, she just needs to keep training and get consistent at her routines. She only has a few meets coming up to prove herself, but it sounds like she has some upgrades that could help her chances. It will be tough, but it is possible.

BekahI have to commend Shawn for coming back, but I worry that her shaky performances in 2011 will work against her. Perhaps her great reputation and strong performance at the US Championships will make up for her performances at Classics and Pan Ams. Shawn could realistically compete for the US on beam and floor, where they more than likely will not need a specialist. All in all, I think that if Shawn can stay healthy, she will more than likely be an alternate.

Nastia Liukin

AoibheNastia can swing bars. And lets face it, USA cant swing bars as good as we’d like.And being the olympic All-Around Champion cant hurt either.We still haven’t seen any of Nastia’s comeback yet, but you can nearly be garanteed her bars will bring in big scores.

Ashlee: For some reason, I only see Nastia being useful on bars. (Which we need!) I’m pretty positive she will make the team though. After all she has done for USA Gymnastics, I can’t imagine her not making it. I mean come on, she’s an Olympic Champion! She has a huge bar set that will be very helpful to the team score and overall I think she’d make a great leader to a much younger team.

BekahI’d like to remind you of a deep dark year in American Gymnastics: 2000. Veterans Kim Zmeskal, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Shannon Miller all attempted comebacks and didn’t make the team. Why? They jumped in the ring at the last minute, much like Nastia. Honestly, I HOPE Nastia can make a comeback and can peak at the right time. We NEED her bars. However, I’m not sure I’ll believe it until I see it.

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

Coming next week in Part 2 of ‘Whats Their Chances?’ We’ll be looking at the chances of the 2011 Gold Winning World Championship Team!

Best Gymnastics Smiles!

Best Gymnastics Smiles, The Nominees!

Amelia Hundley

Junior National Team Member

I mostly remember this exciting gymnast at PacRims for her awesome smile after every event! cant wait for 2013 for her to become senior! expect big things from this smiley gymnast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawn Johnson

2 Time Senior National Champion, 4 Time Olympic Gold Medalist.

Everyone remembers Shawns smile from Beijing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jiang Yuyuan

2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, Team.

This Chinese Gymnast made us all fall in love with her at the Beijing Olympics with her cute smile!

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia Sacramone

2008 USA Olympic Team Captain.

If you google ‘Smiling Gymnast’ Alicia is the first picture to come up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Bross

She keeps her game face on in competition, but smiles at every other moment! so many pictures of a smiling Rebecca out there, it was hard to pick just four!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now vote for your favourite! deadline for winners is April 12th (Next Thursday!) Get Voting!