2013 American Cup Recap
As we all know at this point, Katelyn Ohashi won the American Cup yesterday followed by her teammate Simone Biles and Canadian Victoria Moors. I actually thought that the competition overall was very good. We pretty much knew that one of the Americans was going to win it from the beginning, but the international athletes actually almost all went 4/4 and gave great performances. The scoring wasn’t horrendous and there were no big scandals this year. USAG was fantastic in providing coverage of both podium training and the competition, and hopefully has set a standard for themselves that will continue throughout the quadrennium.
Ohashi was consistent throughout and looked fairly calm. Her vault looks 1000x better than it did last summer when it looked like a serious knee injury was in her future. Her bars still need some work. I’m almost tempted to say that she should ditch her E pirouettes and try working on something else. They no longer earn her .2 connection bonus when connected to each other or releases, and she is losing tenths for leg separations and handstands on them every single time. Her beam and floor looked good- both had small errors, but still scored well and showed that she is an athlete who is not afraid to downgrade in the moment to avoid a fall, even if she loses a few tenths. This was all we could have asked for in her senior international debut.
It was the first international competition for Biles, and it sort of showed. She looked fantastic on vault and bars, winning both events, but fell apart a bit on beam and floor. Her Amanar is gorgeous and could legitimately be a triple by the end of the year. This amount of power makes her a prime-candidate for huge floor scores, but it won’t happen if she can’t gain some control over her landings. She gets a huge amount of air on her tumbling passes, but she consistently has .3+ landing deductions on them. Her bars have significantly improved since 2012, and are not going to be a problem for her all around hopes if she continues on her upward trajectory. Beam was her downfall last night, but I hope to see that improve. She looked great in training, and her full-in dismount is top notch. Simone obviously has tons of potential, but we’ll have to see how she can harness it. Hopefully we’ll see her compete later this month in Europe.
Third place finisher Victoria Moors has long been a fan favorite for her floor routines, but has emerged over the past year as a solid all around competitor. Her double twisting yurchenko looked great yesterday, and her bars and beam, while not huge in difficulty, are very steady. Floor is obviously where she shines with her double double, 1 1/2 to 3/1 and double tuck, paired with fabulous expression. I am hoping for a floor medal for her at this year’s worlds, and it is certainly a possibility.
Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz, a mainstay on the world cup circuit since her senior debut in 2010, finished fourth. Seitz has always been a bit of a trickster, but performed clean, safe routines Saturday. She looks to be in good shape after the Olympics, although she will be skipping the European Championships to finish up her high school exams. By the time worlds come around, I expect her to once again be in shape to fight for a spot in the top 10 all around and bars finals.
Vanessa Ferrari finished fifth, and has retained most of her skills from the Olympics. She still has a strong presence on the Italian team, which is getting better and better every year. Her most impressive event, of course, is floor. Compositionally, I’m not totally impressed with her routine this year. She has taken advantage of the lack of combination pass requirement in this code and is doing four double back variations, one with a sort of connected back tuck (I absolutely hate this trend). It is still impressive, however, to see her compete year after year, improving her form and completely changing her style.
Great Britain’s Gabrielle Jupp was also making her senior debut, and looked great all around. She doesn’t quite have the difficulty to compete with the top gymnasts in the world in the all around yet, but she has clean, upgradable routines on all of the events and in my opinion should be a lock for Euros this year. She is especially impressive on beam, where she performs a gorgeous layout steopout layout stepout series and a double turn. Her bars set is highlighted by a clean full twisting double layout dismount.
Japanese Olympian Asuka Teramoto competed better than you would assume considering her 7th place finish. She looked great on bars, and generally pretty solid on bars and beam. Her acro series, front aerial-side somi, impressed me because it was incredibly fluid. I wouldn’t say that she was “screwed over” on floor, but she did lose over .5 in difficulty on an under-rotated 3/1 dismount. Honestly, I think that it might not be a bad idea for her to try switching her 3rd and 4th passes to be safe.
It was a bit of a rough senior international debut for Canada’s Maegan Chant, but hopefully she can view it as a learning experience. She has some built-in deductions, especially on bars, that need fixing, but she certainly has the potential, especially on vault and floor. She competed a beautiful double twisting tsukahara a few years ago, and that with her layout barani could take her to vault finals at the world level.
Kyla Ross did not compete, but her beam exhibition was solid as ever and she looked very good in training. Hopefully we’ll see some upgrades from her in Europe later this month!