US Classic is coming up, and the roster is exciting. We’ll see comebacks from Memmel and Johnson- and plenty of us never thought Shawn would get even this far- and a smorgasbord of new talent. Plus the stunning Katelyn Ohashi, probably the best AAer in the world at the moment. Sadly she’ll be confined to the junior category, but it will be interesting to see if any of her domestic AA performances this year are better than whoever wins the world AA title. In what will be quite a depleted field for worlds, I’m going to go with yes. YES, actually. She justifies the capital letters.
But there is just one thing worrying me.
The prospect of some truly hideous dance on floor.
Now, there’s a lot of good in US gymnastics at the present time. As a vault lover, I absolutely adore what they’re doing there. One of Sacramone, Wieber, Maroney and Raisman (with new actually decent Amanar, apparently) won’t make the US vault lineup at worlds this year. That’s ludicrous. The 91 worlds USSR lineup tends to be seen as the gold standard for a team vault rotation, and rightly so, but I think this lot have the potential to be the best since.
That’s without even mentioning good quality, solid DTYs such as those from Larson, Caquatto and Douglas- and let’s not forget that Shawn Johnson had a decent DTY herself back in the day. There are plenty of teams who would kill for the US’s 5th, 6th and 7th best vaulters.
Let’s take a look at Maroney’s Amanar, just because we can, and it makes me happy.
But the problem is, they’ve had some truly horrific floor choreography recently.
Oh, there’s some good stuff alright. Mattie Larson was stunning at worlds last year. Her routine is generally considered to have been a disaster, but whatever, to me it was a lovely set with an unfortunate fall at the end (fuck EGRs, or whatever they’re called now).
And there are others- Liukin was gorgeous, whatever you think of the posing and prancing. Anna Li has worked some beautiful floor in her time, though her elite comeback unfortunately will be limited to bars and beam for the moment. The aforementioned Miss Ohashi is great to watch. Not for one second would I suggest that there aren’t some very well balanced floor routines available for Team USA.
Unfortunately though, the US also do a good line in howling choreography on floor. And unfortunately, they tend to be the ones that score highest and therefore get sent out at worlds and Olympics. (Note to anyone who thinks Russia get held up- the US would be absolutely fucked if the judges actually applied artistry deductions, which are no more optional than those for any other non-neutral deduction. Raisman alone would probably have taken them down to bronze in Rotterdam, although fuck that because it’s not like the team in 3rd were exactly on a level playing field themselves).
The ones that particularly worry me are Raisman, Bross, Memmel and Johnson. They’ve all served up some absolutely hideous attempts at dance and choreography in the recent past. Each of these four has done floor in TFs for the US at least once, and they’ve all qualified to major finals. Which says as much about the Code as anything else, certainly.
All four will be competing at Classic. Bross is injured and not doing AA at the moment, so I don’t know if we’ll see whatever treat she has for us on floor this time. I suspect she’ll do AA at some point during the season though, so am including her anyway. Shawn is going to go for AA- good for her, and I confess I’m dying to see what, if anything DWTS taught her. Still though, there’s the potential for some massive insults to the memory of Baraksanova, if she were dead.
Stoi! readers, whose attempts at dance and choreo do you think will be the worst?
Honestly, for these four, a six pass routine would be a colossal improvement. It should be compulsory in the case of some gymnasts.
On the eve of Classics, Chellsie Memmel is the winner.
And interestingly, dance through videos from podium training suggest that both Raisman and Johnson have raised their game a bit. There are some parts of Aly’s routine where the music isn’t completely background, and Shawn’s performing in time. Neither of them is a natural mover, but still, improvement is improvement is improvement. Alicia’s new routine is better than the last one as well. Don’t quote me on this, but I think she’s not quite as reliant on the arse wiggling as she used to be. It’s a shame to see someone who is so obviously a good dancer do the bare minimum, but she’s hit on a winning formula (literally, sometimes). Dramatic music, lots of posing and wiggling, and fool people who should know better into thinking this is sassy. Can’t blame her for sticking to it.
Incidentally, the US are going to win worlds this year. I’m calling it now.