Wieber Wins American Cup
Rising star Jordyn Wieber won the American Cup today ahead of World Champion Aliya Mustafina and teammate Alexandra Raisman.
Wieber nailed a gorgeous amanar on vault for a 15.833, but it looked as though she was out of it after a fall on her tkachev. She did, however, compete a new difficult combination of maloney+clear hip 1/1+bail to handstand. She came back to nail the best beam routine of her life, but still trailed Mustafina by over a point. It looked like she wasn’t going to win after her first two tumbling passes on floor with two large steps, one out of bounds, but she held on to win her second American Cup title by .068.
Mustafina and Alexandrov were incredibly angry that Wieber was competing, even complaining to Dagget in the hotel. Since she likely said yes to this competition in the first place because she knew she could win with a DTY and a fall unless Huang actually managed to hit, that is somewhat understandable. She wasn’t planning on competing an amanar, but after Wieber did a nearly perfect one, she went for it. It was sloppy but landed, which was what mattered. After struggling in training, she hit one of the best bars routines of her life for a gigantic 15.766. She was shaky on beam, but finally hit her entire acro series. However, attempting her triple full dismount in combination may have been a mistake; from the results, it seems like it was downgraded. She should master the triple before she tries this again. She also lost .1 for going overtime concentrating for it, which would have made up the difference. She could have easily won with a good floor routine, but decided, against the will of her coach, to go all out in difficulty and fell on a combination. If she had performed a simpler routine, she likely would have had more energy for that pass. Maybe she should listen to her coach next time.
Raisman hit all of her routines with some upgrades. She did not perform her amanar today after trouble with it prior to the competition, but landed a clean double twist. Her bars looked a little bit improved to me. They’re still her worst event by far, but her handstands looked better. She hit a lot of new connections on beam with some little wobbles and a step on her dismount for a 14.933. On floor, she competed a much improved dos santos, which ultimately upgrades her routine by .2. She looked like she was in very good shape and was impressive throughout.
Huang Qiushuang continued to be her frustrating self. She competed an easy double twist on vault, and hit her somewhat downgraded bars. She looked good on beam for the first 20 seconds, hitting a beautiful front pike, and looked like she was actually going to connect her acro series. But then, she fell on her series and on a leap later on in the routine. Half of floor was shown from a bad angle on the live feed, after they stopped showing us Mustafina’s face. There are conflicting reports on exactly what she competed. The USAG quick hits say “Triple, full in, 3/2 to double, 5/2,” and Gymnastics Examiner says “1.5 to triple full. Full in pike 1.5 to front full layout. 2.5 twist.” I remember seeing a 1 1/2 front 1/1 combination, so I’m going to guess that she performed that pass and the rest of the first routine that I mentioned. She is such a beautiful gymnast who has tons of potential, but she needs to learn how to hit four for four under pressure.
The competition as a whole was filled with mistakes and a bit of a let down. I think there were two gymnasts, Raisman and Kaeslin, who hit all of their routines. Everybody else had at least one fall. Whelan, who is actually in good shape, fell three times. Many of the gymnasts competed full twisting yurchenkos on vault when they are capable more, and Jessica Lopez who competed a good double twisting yurchenko at worlds fell on a full.
The scoring, as always, was questionable. Mustafina’s vault, for example, received the same execution score as Raisman’s. Mustafina’s difficulty score on floor seemed higher than it should have been. Wieber’s execution score on floor was huge, and just happened to be enough to allow her to win by less than a tenth. She deserves 9.0s when her tumbling is on, but today she had two huge steps.
Now that we have seen Wieber vs. Mustafina, it’s pretty clear that there is no definite winner. Mustafina’s fall, assuming she was supposed to (in her mind, not her coaches) do a 2 1/2+front 1/1 combination, cost her more, but neither of them had their best competition today. Hopefully they will both be in great shape for a rematch in Tokyo.