A few thoughts from yesterday’s broadcast that Clara may not have touched on…
- Shawn Johnson. 99% of the lead-up to this competition was about Shawn’s return. She looked nervous, and understandably so. Her bars routine looked good up until the dismount, where I was only expecting a double layout. Good handstands, high releases. This is a girl who can score a mid-14 with only a 5.5 d-score.
Beam was nerve-wracking. I was more surprised by the wobble on the L-turn than the actual fall. The wobble on the turn seemed like a nervous mistake. As Clara pointed out, her tumbling (besides the layout) is still scarily low (lower), and I won’t make a screen cap of her sheep jump as to not scare anyone.
She didn’t have the best day, but the skill level is (almost) there. To be honest, she looks a little out of shape to me – or perhaps I just have visions of stick figures (Jetter/Maroney) avoiding food, err I mean dancing in my head. Some conditioning and simply putting in the #’s will do her some good. At this point, Tokyo is a long shot, but she’s on the right track.
- Bridgette Caquatto. I can deal without her “choreography” – why wasn’t she included in Clara’s poll? – and that piss-poor attempt at a Memmel turn. Nasty.
- McKayla Maroney. She is lovely, albeit awkward – charmingly so. Chelle Stack was judging the meet, and must have been delighted by Maroney’s swastika-like layout step-outs on beam. Stack wrote the book on those lovelies:
Her 3 ½ twist on floor was pretty damn cool, but I hope her back problems abate enough so that we can see her where we really need her – vaulting that fabulous Amanar.
- Alicia Sacramone was the star of the meet to me. I saw some nervousness behind her eyes throughout the evening, but she hit all of her routines – more or less. Probably the best beam routine she’s done since her comeback, I just wish she’d ditch that non-sensical (and fugly) chest/chin stand. I wouldn’t mind it if it were held in over-split, but it’s not, so it’s gots to go. She was credited with a 6.0 d, which would go up if she could connect the front tuck to her flight series, and add a layout step-out to the front pike. I think that’s the eventual plan.
I was impressed by her new floor – I wasn’t as gaga about the music as everyone else, and it doesn’t really veer all that far from her former choreography, but it’s suitable. We all know that Alicia isn’t the best at sticking landings, but out of bounds 3 times? Really? And it’s not just the out of bounds, it’s the huge steps and the out of bounds. As Clara pointed out, she’s someone who really needs to take advantage of the leaping out of passes – on the double arabian at least, or get some super glue for them tootsies. But a 5.8 d-score (I’m assuming they credited her Gogean) for your first time out isn’t anything to scoff at.
- Sophina Dejesus’s beam dismount was gross. Thud, thud, double tuck. The noises she made coming off the beam were oddly reminiscent of my overly sexually active neighbors headboard banging off the wall all hours of the night. But done with far less effort.
- Amanda Jetter. I could die happy if I never had to see her beam routine again. She needs an emergency meeting with a Reno hooker to show her how to spread them legs. Those leaps were so VILE that not even Kim Kelly would approve. There’s no video of her beam yet, so we’ll just use the one from last year. Not much has changed.
- Aly Raisman. Her night was really up and down, but she managed to come out on top with a depleted all-around field. After a rather embarrassing (yet hilarious) mistake on bars, she rallied to win the meet.
Her 15.2 on beam was a little generous.
But her first pass on floor was the talk of the town. Shades of Karpenko’s whip through to arabian double, punch front, only harder. Maybe the most difficult combo pass ever? I’m even warming up to her new music and choreography. It’s a step in the right direction. Let’s face it – Raisman is never going to be grace in motion, so I’m going to accept her for what she is – a powerhouse who can’t dance for shit. One out of 2 ain’t bad. To many peoples dismay, it’s more than possible that Raisman could end up our new World Champion on floor. Her biggest challenger would most likely be Sandra Izbasa, which is kind of appropriate seeing how she’s recycled Sandy’s short-lived muzack.
Our last 2 World floor champs were Tweddle & Mitchell, so let’s just go for 3 years of fug in a row, ok?
Aly’s Amanar was SCARY. Per Breystan’s orders (if you believe Tim), she was ordered to “Just get it to your feet!”
This is a dangerous vault we’re talking about. We all know what happened to our current World Champion going by that kind of advice. This isn’t the kind of vault one should just be hoping to land. Though Aly did, through pure luck.
- Gabi Douglas. A lot of people are in a frenzy about Shawn’s teeny teammate. I haven’t followed her career – thus far – closely enough to wage in except for what I saw last night. A good bars routine. There could be a place for her on the Worlds team for bars alone, but I’m gonna wait to see her at Nationals to place judgement. I didn’t think her bars routine was as good as Li’s (even with a fall), and not much better than (M) Caquatto’s, so I’m not completely sold yet. I can’t form an opinion based solely on rumor and potential.
- Chellsie Memmel. While the media’s attention focused mainly on Johnson, gym-fansies were frantic about Chellsie Memmel’s return.
I’ve never been a huge fan of her gymnastics. Her form can be almost as ugly as Nabieva’s at times, and I find her wrists distracting. But I admire her for her sheer determination and ability to bounce back. She’s a tough cookie.
I thought that next to Raisman’s, her beam score was the most generous of the evening – a 14.7, 8.6 execution score. The bend-at-the-hips wobble on the arabian was a -.5, so that woulda/coulda got a 9.1? In a hen’s heinie.
For once in her career, I thought she got the floor choreography and music right. I didn’t actually like the choreography, and I didn’t like the music either. But somehow they work. I guess it’s that 2 negatives make a positive rule : the amount of sheer fugliness cancels each other out. The Gogean was short, and her namesake turn was shorter, but the tumbling (especially her first pass) was impressive.
Bars were her standout event of the evening, even if it was watered down. I expect her opening sequence of Hindorf to Pak to make a comeback for Nationals, which would up her d-score, and possibly solidify her a place on the Tokyo team. At this point, I see her making the Worlds team before Johnson, especially with her proposed upgrades. A 56.95 isn’t a bad all-around tally for your first meet back.