Chellsie Memmel is training again, according to her dad’s twitter this week:
The old girl did her first bar on bar in a long long time and of course it was like old times 7.0 is on the way!
This is an interesting development. 5 of the 6 members of the last US Olympic team are now training, allegedly. 6 if you count Peszek in the NCAA, and I seem to recall hearing she’s not ruled out a return to elite either? Her body is not going to back her up on that, but whatever.
Regarding Ms Memmel, I’ll believe the 7.0 routine when we see it and not before. But whatever her other faults, Memmel is a phenomenal talent who’s had a lot of her potential wasted by injury. One has to look back at 2008 and wonder whether she could have been more than a 2 routine athlete in Beijing if she’d been managed better. This was a solid enough contribution in TFs:
And fuck knows it’s much more than anyone thought she’d achieve after watching her heinous performance at the Test Event only 8 months earlier. Floor was a particular low:
Still though, she was delivering high quality performances on three events only weeks before the Olympics in 2008. Memmel isn’t someone I enjoy watching unless she’s tumbling or doing bars. But it’s hard to disagree with the proposition that these routines would have scored very well for the US in Beijing.
In fact I’ll go one step further and say that with a healthy Chellsie, the US could have won gold. She had the big skills, she had the mental toughness and consistency. What she didn’t have was four fully working limbs. It still astonishes me that she wasn’t prevented from vaulting at the pre Olympic camp when she had whiplash, for fuck’s sake. Whiplash! I’ve had it. It hurts. I certainly wasn’t throwing any DTYs on it, that’s for damn sure.
But anyway, what’s past is past. But I for one am certainly interested to see how this comeback pans out. If Chellsie is clever and has enough self restraint to be realistic and sensible, she’ll specialise and ensure she paces herself very carefully. She can probably still get away with this because the US have a big gap on her strong event. Nastia is, after all, hardly guaranteed to return. Memmel might end up being the best bars worker the US have, if she can stay healthy. Certainly she should think very carefully about whether it’s ever necessary for her to go near a vault again. Her DTY was never very nice anyway, and she certainly couldn’t compare to the talent the US has on the event now.
On the other hand though, Chellsie doesn’t exactly have a great record for sensible choices and keeping herself healthy. The last time she got through a major competition uninjured was in 2005. Even in 2009, she got the worst of both possible worlds: she trained hard for the US team for London, attended camps and only pulled out with a couple of weeks to go. So her body didn’t really get the benefit of a rest then and she put herself through yet another gruelling selection process. Perhaps that suggests that her ability to understand when to sit one out is not very strong. But she’s had 16 months off now. Maybe that’s long enough to heal? So who knows?