Seniors Day 1 2011 Visa Championships (Results, Videos and Analysis)
The first thing I have to say is that that was a mess. Then, I would like to congragulate the few gymnasts who did not fall, who I believe were Jordyn Wieber, Alexandra Raisman, Chellsie Memmel, Grace McLaughlin, Anna Li, Sophia Lee, Shawn Johnson, Jessie DeZiel (although she made a larger mistake) and Amanda Jetter. When I put it that way, it sounds a lot better than it would if I counted the amount of falls.
I think that a lot of people, including myself, have been pretty sure that team USA will be the team to beat at worlds. After this competition, I do still think that they should be the favorites, but I am also a bit worried about them. Hopefully Saturday’s competition will be much, much cleaner.
Jordyn Wieber looked good, but nervous on beam and bars. She missed a lot of handstands, and that dismount is clearly very difficult for her to land on her feet. Floor, however, was fantastic, as was vault, although if you watch it in slow motion you can see that it was slightly under-rotated. I will be shocked if Wieber does not become the new national champion on Saturday.
Rebecca Bross came in as reigning national champion, but she hasn’t competed in a year and it showed. She fell once on bars and twice on beam, arguably her two strongest events. She just did not seem quite ready for the competition. She didn’t fight the way she usually does on those two events. Floor, however, was good, and vault? She got it to her feet, which is more than I expected after the training reports. One thing that is very interesting is that Bross’s score, plus the three points that she lost from her falls, is higher than Wiebers. Of course, Wieber made some mistakes, but it shows how close they really can be. I do think that she will be at worlds, and hopefully she will be at or near full strength. Her position, at the moment, seems very similar to Viktoria Komova’s on the Russian team.
Chellsie Memmel wins the most impressive of the day award, once again. Okay, she messed up the first tumbling pass on floor a bit and she did not show all of her upgrades, but most of what she did do she did very well. If she can hit her upgraded bars routine, she is in a very good position. 5.6 is not enough for a bars specialist. If she does upgrade and go to worlds, I can see her doing beam in team finals as well as bars. To quote Tim (or was it John) “When they eat rocky road ice cream at the Memmel household, there are real rocks and road in it.” Yes, that is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard, but you get the idea.
Alexandra Raisman did what she needed to do. She finished top 3 on floor while her competitors crashed and burned on the event. She did not do the Amanar, which I see as a good thing because it would have probably put her in a situation similar to Kyla Ross’s: devalued Amanar, plus all of the execution deductions that she won’t get on a double full. She ended up tied for third on beam with other gymnasts whose chances at making worlds are lower than hers and did a mediocre bars routine. All in all, it as a successful day for her.
Gabrielle Douglas put herself into a very very bad position. The only thing keeping her in the picture right now is a third place finish on bars and her obvious talent, which will probably leave Marta with no option but to put her back on the national team. This girl should not be finishing last on beam, but she did. She needs to pull herself together for finals and prove that she deserves to compete for the USA. She has the potential to be in the top 6 on every event. This can be a learning experience, and really, competing at Pan Ams would be better for her than being an alternate at worlds. She needs the experience.
Alicia Sacramone had both negative and positive moments tonight. She had her first fall since the 2008 Olympics on floor, and scored a 12.8. Vault and beam looked like they usually do. Perhaps a few more wobbles on beam and a slightly bigger step on vault, but they were good enough. I still think that she is a lock for worlds, but I’m not sure if she will be competing three events there in team finals.
McKayla Maroney also had an up and down night. She landed a beautiful 3 ½ twist on floor, but then proceeded to fall on her dismount, which was, to be fair, a very difficult double Arabian. She has fallen on this at two competitions in a row. It may be smart, at this point, to change it to a double pike and get a hit routine in. Vault was unsurprisingly her high score, 15.8. Tim said he thought she was underscored. I wouldn’t know, since vault was the only event that Universal Sports did not show her on. I was pretty disappointed about that. She also made major mistakes on bars and beam. Fifth place, however, is not bad at all, and she is not far out of second. I think we can count on her hitting vault; now, her goal should be hitting floor. She could really use another strong event.
Shawn Johnson looked a lot like her old self today. Vault was pretty clean, as was bars, where she stuck the full twisting double layout that she struggled on at classics. Her 8.85 was the second highest execution score on bars. Beam was shaky, but she made it through and made a save on a skill that she “should have fallen on.” Today was a huge success for Shawn.
Mackenzie Caquatto hit every routine except for beam, which surprised me, as beam has been a strong event for her since worlds, execution wise. She still has one of the best double twisting yurchenkos and bars routines in the country. The problem is that she is not useful very anywhere except for bars, and depending on how others are doing, she could not even be useful there in team finals. Because of her lower start value compared to teammate Anna Li, it will be hard for her to make the team for bars.
Speaking of Anna Li, she performed a great bars routine tonight. She downgraded a little bit from the 6.7 routine she did in podium training (did not connect her jaeger, which was caught close to the bar, to her pak, and only did a double layout), but still picked up the highest score of the day on bars. With Bross’s fall, she has a very good shot at becoming national champion on bars. And honestly, I disagree that she needs a strong second event. Yes, if somebody had Anna’s bars and a strong second event, I would take them, but with four all arounders and Alicia, Anna is the perfect fit.
Bridgette Caquatto did not do as well as her teammates on bars, which could really hurt her chances at going to worlds. She is one of those gymnasts who is very strong on bars and decent on all of the other events. In terms of what she contributes to the team, she is in the same exact position as her sister.
Sabrina Vega did well on vault, beam and floor, but fell on bars. She is a beautiful gymnast, no doubt about it, but I do not see anywhere where she fits into the puzzle for the world championships team. I do, however, think that she will be selected for Pan Ams.
Videos are linked to the results below. Click here for results with difficulty and execution scores.