US Classic

Or ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same- Part 2’.

It isn’t that there was nothing of note at US Classic on Saturday- there was. If nothing else, the veterans saw to that. It’s just that the Olympic team before Saturday was very likely Wieber, Douglas, Raisman, Ross and Maroney. And for my money, it still is.

Let’s consider why, one by one.

1. Wieber

Not her best showing, but she can afford it. The missed bars routine should be no surprise to anyone, as she tends to screw up roughly 1 in 4. She remains a risk on the event, but one that the US are fairly likely to have to take anyway.

Unfortunately, the way her routine is designed means that one error tends to lead to more. Wieber’s lack of swing means she relies heavily on strength, speed and connections instead. When it works, it’s really a superb routine considering her modest ability on the event, but it’s hard for her to correct minor errors without being off for the next move.

This also means that there isn’t the option of making it a safer routine by just leaving out one problematic element, like eg Grishina’s shap transition. There’s nothing the US can really do to make this anything other than a risky set.

She looks to have grown a bit, too. Now is not the best time for the puberty fairy to bestow her blessings. But like Johnson in 08, she should be ok for the Olympics- just. (Although increasingly, my money is on Larisa Iordache for the AA. You heard it here).

2. Maroney

The Olympic vault champion in waiting, and useless on any other event. I can’t think of the last time anyone was such a guaranteed gold medallist. It would help the selectors a lot if she could look usable on floor, but life wasn’t meant to be easy.

3. Raisman

The big winner from the weekend. Four more extremely solid performances, and a big AA total. I could pick out the overscores, but why bother? International judges love her too. In all fairness, that first tumble on floor was sick hot. One of the best passes the world has seen in a long while. She also helped her case on vault. Still messy, but a lot safer looking than we saw from her in Jesolo.

It wasn’t quite fully rotated, but D panels this quad have consistently credited Amanar attempts that are more than 2.25 rotations. So this should be fine, 15.5 internationally no problem. Ross and Douglas are both better vaulters than her when they hit, but of course they didn’t. Miss Raisman is doing very well at making herself indispensable.

4. Douglas

Another stunning bars set from her, and it was good to see her compete the piked Tkatchev without the 0.3 feet deduction. If she can stay healthy, she’s a lock. The US need her, to the extent that she can get away with fucking up yet another beam set even though that’s usually the kiss of death in Marta’s eyes. Her floor wasn’t bad either: if the Olympics were tomorrow, she’d probably lead off in TFs. So the question remains not whether Douglas will be on the team, but how many events she’ll do. Anything between one and four, frankly.

5. Ross

Probably her worst performance this year. But she can get away with one underpar beam set, and she did herself a huge favour on bars. It looks more and more like she might be on the team for UB/BB only. But that’s fine. None of the other potential contenders for that spot can actually hit two routines (more on that later) and of course she’s usable on the other two events if needs be. An Amanar off the mat is still likely to break 15.

It would be prudent for her to bang out a couple of 15.5s on beam at some point during the next few weeks, though, and land an Amanar on the mat. Just in case.

For the supporting cast, I have the following to say:

Liukin was fine, and that beam routine will probably be usable. She’s not getting a 6 D score for that internationally, even with both leo and reigning champion bonus. Not that anybody needed us to tell them that. But without bars, everything is speculation.

Bross, too, has done the bare minimum to remain in contention. I’m now ruling her out of the running for beam. That’s not to say she won’t end up competing it in London- you never know with the US injury record- but there isn’t enough time left for her to end up in anything close to a first choice lineup. She remains in the running for bars, and bars only.

There’s still lots left to do, and this is only, what, the second bars set she’s hit since Rotterdam. However, she now has a 15.2 on the team’s worst event under her belt. If she does this four more times by the end of Trials, she can’t be ruled out. And if she does get on, she should send flowers to Wieber.

Price looked good on vault and bars, and something tells me not to rule her out entirely just yet. Sarah Finnegan was nice, but unfortunately Marta probably won’t want her and Raisman on the same team. They’re both too weak on bars. There’s no reason why it couldn’t work, if the other three were Wieber, Ross and Douglas. And I confidently expect Raisman to pull a 14.5 on the event in London, putting her only a couple of tenths behind Wieber.

But still, with these two it’s probably either/or. If so, Raisman’s not likely to be the one that misses out, is she?

Stoi! readers, what do you think? Not about Memmel, ideally.


21 responses to “US Classic

  • sandy

    What about Sabrina Vega?

  • Kristal

    I’m going with Maroney, Liukin, Wieber, Raisman, and Ross.
    Wieber is a lock. There’s no way, barring a serious injury, the reigning WC isn’t going to the Olympics. I’m not a huge Raisman fan, because apart from her awesome first floor pass, her gymnastics is usually so fugly. IF Liukin’s bars are up to par, she’s going. She’ll replace Douglas no problem, especially since she could also be used on beam.
    I always thought Bross was a lock, but now I really don’t think she’s going. I was at Classics, her Patterson is painful to watch. She could still be a contender for bars, but since she’s not even training vault and floor, she’s turned into a one event gymnast. If Bross is out, I’m going for Ross. Not really remarkable, but she’ll do. Maroney also a solid guarantee for a gold medal, the only one in the world right now. I really think if you are a gold medalist in worlds the preceding year, you should be guaranteed an Olympic spot.

  • TOOT

    Gabrielle Douglas 15.8 15.6 15.2 14.8 61.4
    Sarah Finnegan 15.8 14.2 15.6 15.2 60.8
    Kyla Ross 15.6 15.4 15.4 14.2 60.6
    Alexandra Raisman 15.7 14.3 15.0 15.4 60.4
    Nastia Liukin 15.8 15.4

    Elizabeth Price 15.8 14.8 14.4 15.0 60.0
    Jordyn Wieber 15.7 14.2 15.2 14.6 59.7
    Rebecca Bross 15.4 15.2

    Just my predictions for who I think is going to be on the team for London.
    Top five are the TEAM and Bottom 3 are ALTERNATES
    Jordyn’s gymnastics is going down fast ! ! ! Falling apart on her clear hip full turn, missing her connections on beam, and recently really low landings on floor with her triple twist, double double and her double pike. With a really sloppy 1.5 turning split leap as well…. UH…So I think she’ll only make it as one of the 3 alternates.
    Sarah Finnegan has an amanar on vault and a double double on floor and the highest start value on beam which I think she’ll clean up for Nationals and Trials to make the team.
    Nastia looked very good in podium training on bars and no doubt Marta is salivating at the mouth in anticipation of a team GOLD with that bar set.
    The US won gold at last years Worlds with crap bar routines and this year with Douglas, Ross, and Liukin it should be another easy win for them.
    Raisman’s rock solid and Kyla is SOO DAMN PRETTY on beam and bars…those execution scores CAN”T BE IGNORED, she’ll be on the team.
    Douglas is all of a sudden very valueable on bars and in the All Around!!! Who knew right?! Leave it to the Chinese to produce a great All Arounder!! Thank you Chow Liang.

    • Blake Smith (@bloksmit)

      A few flaws.
      1. Price has never scored in the 14’s on beam, even with hit routines.

      2. We can’t assume Nastia’s bars is going to score a 15.8, we don’t even know if she even can put the routine together or what it’s worth. Plus, her beam is at 6.3 with everything connected and credited. She was only given a 6.0 at Classics. The switch 1/2 to onodi is never going to be credited and the switch ring is too low to get full credit. Not a routine worth 15.4 most likely.

      3. Weiber may be under performing on bars as of late, but her amanar is better than ever and still useful on that event. Her beam is still good enough for team finals. The only connection she struggles with is the front walkover to full to bhs. She still scores high missing this connection. While I do believe she has already had her highest peak, she isn’t doing poorly enough to be left off. Her floor may have landing deductions but a 14.6 is not bad.

  • Stoi!

    Wieber will never be trustworthy on bars. Even if she hits every routine between now and the end of the Olympics, it’s still a risky set that she has trouble with because of her weakess on the event and the way the set is designed. That isn’t going to be solved in the next nine weeks. It might be patched over ok, but that’s it. I still don’t get why people find Douglas untrustworthy on bars, either. Everything else, yes.

    Joe- yes, Kyla is weak on floor. Earlier in the year people were expecting her to upgrade, but it hasn’t happened. I don’t see her as an AA champion, but anyone who can score 60+ is in the running for the podium. Which she can. Even her off mat Amanars would still break 15, and she can do them better. She can get about 15.4 for hit sets on bars and beam, so as long as she manages 14 on floor she’s in the zone. Of course, that probably won’t be enough to get past two of her teammates in prelims. Additionally, if the team does end up being the one I mentioned, Kyla might sit out floor in prelims.


  • Rachel

    I think one possibility is that Douglas is an alternate with Liukin in her place (assuming Liuking brings in a big bars score). This would depend upon Wieber being more consistent on bars at Visas and Trials and can be trusted in TF. Douglas can’t really be trusted on any event but bars, and I’m not sure I feel confident with her doing that in TF. We’d have 3 solid amanars, two nice bar scores (Ross upgrades have changed things a bit since she’s approaching Douglas in score). The question mark is floor where Ross hasn’t produced big scores (despite not making huge errors) and Maroney is unpredictable at best. Marta is going to definitely go for consistency and I think this set is the most consistent. Finnegan and Douglas are the perfect alternates. In one year Finnegan would be a lock on the team IMO.

    Vault: Raisman, Wieber, Maroney (Ross prelims)
    Bars: Wieber, Ross, Liukin (Raisman prelims)
    Beam: Raisman, Ross, Wieber (Liukin prelims)
    Floor: Ross, Wieber, Raisman (Maroney prelims)

  • Ashlyn

    Maroney is absolutely needed on vault. Ross is too inconsistent with that Amanar. If they aren’t taking another bar specialist, they need to make up those tenths somewhere. If so, Maroney needs to thank Jordyn and prays she hits bars. I think that’s the only way she makes the team–Marta deciding to use Jordyn on bars.

  • Joe Mota

    Being a Political Scientist by trade, I’ve ran a bunch of numbers and statistical scenarios. I wish I had a blog of my own to post them, but I ran about 4 different team scenarios, using their D Scores.

    I took the average D score for athletes who had competed in 2012.
    Athletes with no available D scores in 2012 Prior to classics, I went and took their score from last year’s Nationals. In the case of Liukin, I left her bars score blank.

    There is a standard deviation, and I made a couple choice decisions, but the goal was to remain as subjective as possible.

    Statistically, the 5 member team that would bring in the biggest D score is:


    I made a couple decisions based off this scenario.

    1- Weiber, Raisman, and Douglas are doing AA. There is NO way, bars score nonewithstanding, that Weiber and Raisman AREN’T doing AA in prelims.

    There is no doubt that USA will advance to team finals so AndrewC, I’m sorry, Raisman’s UB score will not keep her from the AA because she wont be used in TF.

    Plus she has a tendency of qualifying top 5.
    (4th in the AA with a 12.900 on UB at 2011 Worlds) (4th in prelims)
    13th in the AA 11.700 UB, she qualified in 3rd.

    Douglas has the potential to score big IF she hits. She will certantly qualify EF on bars, and has the D scores to qualify to EF in all other events. If she has a meltdown, pull her from TF and Finnegan, Price and Weiber can do bars in a pinch.

    Price – Amanar and 6.2 D score on UB. If she makes it on the team, I’m willing to bet her D score jumps up to 6.4.

    Finnegan – 6.6-6.8 potential BB and 6.2 on floor.

    So, 3 AAers and Price (VT/UB) with Finnegan (BB/FX)

    This is a largely untested team, but Marta seems to have better success with scenarios like the following.

    And for the record – this team has a 101.7 in D score, compared to a team of Raisman, Wieber, Maroney, Douglas, Ross who has a 101.2 in D score potential. Did anyone else notice that Kyla Ross ONLY has a 5.5 D score on Floor? She is NOT factoring in the AA with that kind of deficit.

    And for the record:

    22.9 – Brandie Jay
    23.3 – Sabrina Vega
    23.7 – Kennedy Baker
    24.2 – Elizabeth Price
    24.2 – McKayla Maroney
    24.6 – Kyla Ross
    24.9 – Jordyn Weiber
    25.4 – Alexandra Raisman
    25.7 – Gabby Douglas

    • AndrewC

      Sorry I think u misunderstood wat I meant … I agree aly deserves to be the 2nd all arounder … But if the have Liukin on the team wat I mean is she will use wieber in prelims and the the other 3 who will b iin tf ie douglas Ross and Liukin so. Y default raisman is out

      • Joe Mota

        Ohhh – Oops. Yeah I see what you mean. I’m going to run a scenario with Nastia on the team with a 6.8 UB D score.

  • BLAH

    after watching Classics it looks like Aly’s spot may be in jeopardy due to Sarah FInnegan. They should have very similar scores at Nationals once Sarah unveils her Amanar and her Double Double on floor.
    Both should score mid 15’s on vault and low 15’s on beam and floor with low 14’s on bars. I wonder who Marta would take?
    I’d go with Finnegan just because her form and toe point is so much better and i have a feeling that at the Olympic Games, Aly might get scored harshly on everything due to form. It happened to her in Italy at the Jesolo Trophy. She was solid on everything but scored low all over the place.

  • Jule

    Great article. I look forward for your predictions for TF and AA for the Olympics.

  • Stoi!

    Douglas is being taken for her bars, and isn’t at all inconsistent on that event. I can’t remember the last time she missed. The other events are simply extra. Marta will want to see her hit them, but even if she falls on everything else she’ll still be a lock. The US just can’t do without her bars.

    Not in love with the US floor lineup either…

  • Trent

    Douglas is too inconsistent, she will need to hit at VISAs to justify her spot. Liukin will probably make the team, unless her bars are significantly below expectations. Maroney is not really needed.

  • vanessa steck

    Obviously Chellie Memmels needs to be allowed to be petition thru to Nationals, get a 7.4 UB score, rock beam and floor, and then win the AA. DUH.

    I think at this point, my team is likely to be Maroney, Raisman, Douglas, Weiber…and then Ross IF Luikin doesn’t come up with a really high scoring bar routine.

  • AndrewC

    I Posted this comment on aanother website… so Im beign lazy and Im jsut going to copy and paste:

    “In my opinion after this competition nothing too dramatic has changed regarding the front-runners…
    Wieber – lets be honest unless she falls off of every apparatus between now and trials she will be on that team.. her not hitting bars only in my opinion solidifies both Ross and Douglas as near locks for the team as they are as of right now the best two bar workers the US has and they have both been consistent on this event as well. Also Wieber missing bars also means that Marta is really going to want to have another bars specialist on this team so she wont have to use Jordyn in TFs – so assuming Liukin can hit her bar routine combined with her beam she will be going! What this does however is essentially knock Maroney off the team as a hit bar routine from Nastia adds more tenths to the team total than Maroney vault score. For example if Nastia can hit a score of 15.8 thats about 8 tenths more than Wieber will prob score, whereas Maroney is usually about 5-6 tenths better than Raisman/Ross Amanar. Also unless Maroney really gets her act together on floor she really cant be used anywhere else. This leaves the final spot to Raisman who I also think is a lock due to her vault which seems to be the 3rd most consistent amanar the US has after Maroney and Wieber (and Moaroney liekly wont b going) also her floor while artistically finnegan may be more pleasing Aly has shown consistency and has scored big on a world stage. Also Aly hits beam consistently which is what Marta loves and she scored big at this event … I cannot see Marta chosing Finnegan for this team as while she does have a nice floor and beam – i dont see her considerably outscoring Raisman on both to justify taking the chance… also while she is supposedly training an amanar I also cant imagine Marta will risk putting up someone who will fist show it at nationals (unless its phenomenal but we will see)

    Also, I think Anna Li has now closed any chance she has of a place on this team as she only their for bars and she fell… Marta didnt use her at Worlds last yr when Sacramone was injured so theres no way she will use her here. … speaking of Sacramone even though we havent seen her here I think there isnt a chance for her either as I think without the upgrades she doesnt add anything to a 5 person team… and I don;t know if I am the only one who feels this way BUT in 2008 she was so consitent on floor and Beam and messed up both in TFs so imo she had her shot and blew it when it really counted!! And I would be nervous putting her up.
    I also think Bross chances are over … as her Bars score is not high enough to justify her on the team AND she has stood up that beam dismount about once in competitions in about her last 100 tries (exaggeration i know but still) Marta loves consistency and I cant see her or any1 risking putting bross up in TFs on beam.

    As of right now my team for the Olympics is as follows:-

    Vault: Ross, Raisman, Wieber, (Douglas pre-lims)
    Bars: Ross, Douglas, Liukin (Wieber pre-lims)
    Beam: Ross, Wieber, Raisman, Liukin (best 3 from prelims go in TF)
    Floor: Douglas, Raisman, Wieber (Ross in prelims)

    What will be interesting is that this format above leaves Wieber (obvious) and Ross as the 2 AA’s. Raisman has the worst bars so unfortunately shes out of the AA. The only foreseeable place where the above can be amended by Marta would be switch Ross for Douglas on Beam in prelims (very doubtful unless Gabby beats her in the AA at both Nationals and Trials).

    This is all of course assuming Nastia has her bars back WHICH IS A VERY BIG ASSUMPTION!! If not the 5th spot will be for Maroney.

  • christina

    Totally agree with everything but I still hope Finnegan will make it, she doesn’t have a strong UB set but she has sth that USA totally lacks: style. I know style doesn’t win anything today but the floor line-up: Douglas, Wieber (I like her choreography but it’s not the kind of routine that never gets old) – Raisman is not my ideal scenario, especially if USA competes at floor after Russia.
    and Iordache for AA gold? First time I hear sb say that, I really hope it happens

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