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Predicting the US Team Finals Lineup

October 9, 2011
Interesting line up decisions tonight… can you pick the USA line up for Team Finals? If you can, you have better intuition than I.

Team USA. Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics on Facebook

I’m pretty sure about some things related to the lineup.

  • Jordyn Wieber will do the all around
  • Gabrielle Douglas will compete on bars
  • Alexandra Raisman will compete on vault, beam and floor
  • McKayla Maroney will compete on vault
And I’m unsure about the rest of it. What’s left in the lineup above is a bars spot, a beam spot and a floor spot.
Anna Li’s blog today:
I had a great workout today! Hit my routines in a row and even twisted a dismount! Then on my last routine I just did a double lay and stuck it!
I’ve trained so much and I know that my routine is ready. I do wish I got to compete last night, for a shot in individual events, but owell.
Im very happy with how my routine is now as well, with a few small changes, but I feel extremely confident in it now.
It looks like she might be a possibility again, and she is the only gymnast who is trying for that third spot on bars who can in the high 14-low 15 range. Otherwise, it looks like Sabrina Vega, who is capable of a mid-14 at best, might be the best pick. She has been quite inconsistent on bars this year, though. Then, you have Alexandra Raisman, who is really not strong on bars at all, but might be the one that Marta can trust to hit for the team. She really came through for them yesterday and was the leader of the team. I do not think that McKayla Maroney is in contention.
Prediction: Anna Li, if she is ready. Sabrina Vega, if she isn’t
*Li is the official alternate, but the rules allow the alternate to be substituted in if a gymnast on the team is injured and evaluated by a doctor. I don’t think that anybody’s evaluating Alicia because she isn’t in the country anymore, but I do not think that this will be an issue. If Li is on the team, then Alicia doesn’t get a medal.
I’m 99% sure that the beam spot is going to go to Vega (I’m 99.999999999% sure about the things in bold at the beginning, except for maybe Raisman on vault). There is a very, very small chance that Marta is thinking about using Douglas, who scored higher than Vega in prelims, but I doubt it. Douglas was great yesterday, but I would still consider her very unreliable on beam.
Prediction: Sabrina Vega
The last three floor workers for team USA had virtually the same score yesterday, but McKayla Maroney had the most mistakes. Everybody has been saying, literally since US nationals, that the last floor spot was between Maroney and Sacramone, so this should be an easy choice, but it really isn’t. Maroney must have given Marta Larson flashbacks when she tucked her front layout full yesterday, and I worry about her landing her third pass every single time she does it. Yesterday, she went out of bounds.
Marta went with the floor worker with higher scoring potential who screwed up in prelims last year, and she wished she hadn’t. Now, she has the choice to use Sabrina Vega or Gabrielle Douglas. Vega seems to make sense. She had the third highest score here, and beat both Douglas and Maroney at nationals and classics (for Maroney). Maroney has high scoring potential, but we haven’t seen that potential in competition.
Prediction: Sabrina Vega
So yes, I am predicting that Vega will do 2-3 events during team finals. Who knew that she was so valuable to this team?
Edit: Okay, after I posted this, I saw on The Couch Gymnast that Vega is having issues on bars and beam. I would not have expected Marta to consider McKayla for beam, though. What? And she is still in contention on floor as well. Raisman didn’t practice bars, aparently, but Maroney did.
Just for fun, here’s a mockup US 6-3-3 score. I averaged prelims scores and the gymnast’s average scores for the years, using The-All-Around’s EF predictions to find scores when possible (I don’t know how they did this for so many gymnasts. It’s a ton of work and we’re all grateful). Basically, this is a) how they are doing right now plus b) how consistently they are doing it. And guess what? I got the same result as above! Without the Anna Li part, of course, because she didn’t compete in prelims, but she would have needed only a 12.984 to beat Vega in this scenario, which would have probably been 1 fall and 1 major handstand error.

United States Vault Bars Beam Floor  Total
Gabrielle Douglas 14.658 14.658
Sabrina Vega 13.854 14.4205 14.1 42.3745
McKayla Maroney 15.733 15.733
Alexandra Raisman 14.8546 14.825 14.693 44.3726
Jordyn Wieber 15.651875 14.789 15.0055 14.483 59.929375
Total 46.239475 43.301 44.251 43.276 177.067475
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