For several weeks now, I’ve cherished the possibility of the US sending their most attractive lineup ever to London. The raw material is there. It doesn’t have to be all about the flexed feet.
I like to think my dream team combines a dose of realism (picking Wieber) with aesthetics (Wieber sticking to her two most watchable events, everyone else lovely). Here it is:
VT- Douglas, Wieber, Maroney (utterly unbeatable)
UB- Vega, Douglas, Liukin
BB- Vega, Douglas, Liukin
FX- Douglas, Maroney, Wieber
Now, I’m not suggesting this is a likely lineup. We should all have learned by now that nothing can be ruled out, the way Marta breaks them. But this is still one of the less plausible scenarios. Vega is barely in the mix, though that was also true this time in 2011. We’ve seen nothing tangible from Nastia since mid 2009, occasional TV craptaculars aside. And yes, I have heard of Kyla Ross.
However, what Saturday did teach us is that the Gabby Douglas doing AA part of this lineup works. She was magnificent.
We always knew vault and bars would be good, even without the upgrades. Bronwyn has already covered these in depth, so I won’t revisit that.
I found her beam to be particularly impressive – US Nationals wasn’t all that long ago, after all. It can take some time to put a meltdown like that behind you.
Although the ingredients were always there for a big score. She got 14.4 in worlds prelims for a set with several wobbles, a couple of them major. Take two of the 0.3 deductions away and that’s 15 routine.
Her floor choreography is still pretty awful.
But this set will still go down very well in London. The music was a huge club hit in Europe, and people will love it. As they did at Scam. It works, it worked, it will work again. It’s hardly Baraksanova. But neither are most of the routines that have scored well this quad. If it’s no bar for Tweddle and Raisman, it shouldn’t be one for Douglas either.
This leads me to my conclusion: another lesson I learned this weekend is that the Douglas doing AA part of my dream team actually works. I had thought that the lineup focused too much on vault and bars (although show me a US lineup that doesn’t kick arse on vault right now) and was left weak on floor and beam. Maybe not. All it would take is Nastia getting her arse into gear, and this team would actually be good!