By Popular Demand- US team selection

“Well, I cried when Rebecca fell off bars twice. I cried again when Nastia finished beam. I cried when the team was announced. I cried when they announced Aly Raisman. I ate an entire bag of pizza rolls. Shit, you’d think I was pregnant!”– Bronwyn, on Night 2 of the US Olympic Trials

Everyone in the world has known full well who’d be chosen for the US Olympic team for months now, so the drama had to come from elsewhere at the Olympic Trials. And so it did. I have yet to view the whole broadcast, and Bronwyn is apparently too emotional to blog. But I’ve seen all the key routines, and our readership are getting restless. So let’s do this.

The curveball this time came with the alternate selection. Specifically, the dropping of Alicia Sacramone. Astonishing. Never saw that one coming.

Anna Li is something of a surprise, in that none of us would have predicted this just a few short months ago. Marta hates her, or certainly behaved like she did in Tokyo. When she fucked up bars at Classic just 8 weeks ago, her chances seemed dead and buried.

However, if you think about it, Anna’s got the spot because no other fucker was eligible. It makes sense to have a good bars worker available just in case. I like Price, and am thrilled to see her make the eight, but she isn’t it.

So there weren’t really a lot of options. For all that the US bars situation is infinitely better than it was a year ago, the pickings are still slim. Sloan got injured, the Caquattos weren’t there, and Nastia couldn’t get through a set, when push came to shove.

(Incidentally, nobody else liked Nastia’s hair. But I did. If you think that do is a mess, you should see what the average British adolescent is sporting).

We had predicted Bross, but she couldn’t possibly be chosen after this utter fiasco of a set.

It’s one thing to fall: like Anna Li, she has hit 4 of 5 bars sets in the Olympic selection competitions, so a miss is clearly forgiveable. It’s quite another to not even finish. After this, it was utterly impossible to select her, even if she’s still arguably a less risky choice than Li. Poor Becca.

I was thrilled to see her finally land the Patterson dismount, though. For all her dejected appearance recently, she was always a fighter, and clearly that hasn’t quite died. Good for her. My one sorrow is that St Barry Davies has yet to give us his take on it. This moment was made for him.

Anyways, the failure to select Sacramone is unjustified. She ought to be there instead of Finnegan: I much prefer Sarah, but alas Olympic teams are not chosen based on who I like best. They should be though, and then we’d have Finnegan instead of Raisman.

Alicia may be doing the same, increasingly tired sets she’s been doing since Bronwyn was a virgin. But she did them well. While she is no longer the best vaulter in the US, if I had to bet my life on a vault I’d choose her rudi over most of the Amanars.

Not Maroney’s, obviously. Or Price. But certainly Raisman, Douglas and Ross.

That vault is a reliable 15.6 internationally, and the same can’t be said for those three. She’s also one of the more solid beamers the US has.

When it comes down to it, Finnegan just isn’t needed. While her DTY is lovely, as an alternate she only provides cover on beam and floor. Well, she’s by no means preferable to Alicia on beam. And if one of the floor workers goes down, the best replacement would be from within the team. They just don’t need her.

Oh yeah, in other news Gabby Douglas finally beat Jordyn Wieber. But this is not particularly noteworthy. Gabby is just plain better than Jordyn, and will always beat her when she hits. It’s like a Shawn and Nastia situation in 2008: the issue isn’t who’ll win if they go 4 for 4, it’s whether Gabby will actually hit- because Jordyn will.

We’ll finish by hoping against hope that the rumours about the dreadful John Geddert being given the lead Olympic coach position are false. All our readership are cordially invited to join us: not because we’re not particularly big fans of Jordyn, but because everything that stems from him suggests he’s a massive wanker.

By Clara

10 responses to “By Popular Demand- US team selection

  • WW

    Although I would have been happy to see her make the team, I can’t be too sorry for Nastia: she just didn’t start training far enough in advance. Bad choices come back to haunt us all. Even Olympians.

    I *was* really upset about Sacramone and agree with everything you’ve said. What I saw of Finnegan I liked, but she didn’t seem ready for this one.

    As I’ve never cared for Bross (always seemed so robotic and colorless) I wasn’t crushed she didn’t make it. I know that will get me drummed out of many forums but I won’t mince worse. I’ve also gotta confess that there’s a bunch on this team I either don’t like or could care less about. Ross, Maroney, Douglas (it’s the hype). So I’m in the minority because I actually like Weiber and Raisman. And Elizabeth Price. She grew on me 🙂

  • christina

    Personally I think it makes sense to choose Finnegan even if Alicia propably did a better job because she’s the perfect replacement of Raisman. If Raisman kills her legs while landing that tucked amanar sb will have to replace her. If that sb is Alicia then Maroney and Douglas would have to do floor while Sarah would do beam and floor. Also if Marta breaks everyone Sarah has a usable vault bars set, she’s not anywhere close to being a bars queen but her bars are ok, and obs better than what Alicia has to offer on bars. However I’m devastated not to see Alicia gettin that redemption

  • emmasrandomthoughts

    My heart broke for Bross to have such a humiliating outing.

    And in a way, it was tough to watch Nastia struggle with her bar routine.

    Congrats to Gabby Douglas! I do think that this result for the Olympic trials was the best result possible, with Douglas winning. 🙂

  • Kristal

    I really thought Sacramone was a lock as an alternate. Watching everyone perform at Trials, though, made me wonder where her place on the team was. The US is deepest on beam and vault, making a beam/vault specialist unnecessary. If she had her floor back, she’d be an alternate for sure.

    Part of me wonders if Marta has ever forgiven her for Beijing…

  • Christiane

    I completely agree with you about Alicia not being on the team. Big mistake. You didn’t mention the importance of this team having a leader (I know, but it is! Even Komova was saying the other day how much Ksenia helps them because she has been in a Olympic Games) and Alicia could do that beautifully and so could Nastia too. My ideal alternates team would be: Price, Nastia and Sacramone. Of course considering that Nastia would have shown up better prepared… I am still not over her comeback. She has probably moved on by now. I haven’t. She is my favorite American gymnast (okay, maybe because of her Russian blood and everything Russian in her gymnastics but still) so I entitle myself the right of being angry at her. Why would you come back if you are not fully ready?? Why didn’t she start training 2 years ago?? Running out of gas in the middle of a bar routine, an Olympic gold (okay, silver) medalist at the event?? No. No. No. Why couldn’t she do what she is capable of??? Alicia did! Why, why, why. Even if she hit her 2008 routine still that wouldn’t be the best out there anymore considering all the crazy bar routines we have now (Komova, Mustafa) but it would be good enough to be an alternate for the team! Instead, she falls flat on a chalked mat like a pancake after bending her legs in a basic mistake. This is unacceptable and it hurts. Okay, I said it. Thank you ladies for this opportunity to vent. But yeah, of course, let’s focus on the standing ovation… Sure. And the fact that she didn’t give up half way through it… great. Come on!!! Was there any planning on this comeback?? I am not even talking about a reputation here, I am talking about not doing what she is capable of. I feel bad for Rebecca too but frankly I don’t care much about her gymnastics and she looks to me like an upset overgrown baby. Really, looking upset and tight all the time will come back to you in some sort of bad energy. Such as… falling 3 times from bars. There we go, let’s blame it on the Universal law of whatever you fear most is what you will get. I need to give Nastia a call.

    • Catherine

      I agree, Nastia should have started her comeback far earlier- Alicia, Bridget, Shawn and Chellsie all did. Nastia herself said she couldn’t bear the thought of there being another Olympics and her at home wondering ‘what if’. Likely a combination of that and the sponsorships etc. that she clearly loves. Apparently a shoulder injury hindered her training, she got beam back pretty quick though.

      However, I don’t agree with anything else you’ve said. Nastia DID do what she is capable of, things change in 4 years. If she was capable of knocking out a routine of the 2008 era, don’t you think she would have done so? She doesn’t have the capability anymore, her swing is laboured, she’s wrecked and she donesn’t have the stamina. It’s not a question of ‘why didn’t she do what’s she’s capable of?’ because that IS it for her. If she DID hit her 2008 routine, it would be the best out there because it has a D score of 7.7, Komova’s and Mustafina’s starts from a 7.0, He Kexin is said to have a 7.4. But Nastia’s is counting two more elements, only 8 are counted this quad. Even taking two out, it would still be up there D score wise. Alicia did what’s she capable of because she wasn’t sitting around for 3 years. It’s unacceptable that Nastia fell? Do you think she wanted to fall? I think she was far more hurt by it, physically too. That’s a ridiculous statement to make.

      As for Rebecca, criticise her style of gymnastics all you want but she hit her bar routine every other time with no glaring errors. Slating her appearance is way over the line. She looks focused before competing, and obviously she was going to be upset after that bar routine, who wouldn’t be? Rebecca was a lock for this team two years ago and is probably the fiercest competitor of them all. She has had a tough recovery after dislocating her knee last year- but she started her comeback in time. Give the girl her due.

      • Christiane

        Oh please… Unacceptable that Nastia didn’t do what she was capable of because she didn’t have enough time to practice not because she fell, of course, gee. Even the commentators were saying (several times) that if she had 3 more months she would have hit it; even Nastia said she didn’t have enough time to practice bars. I do not agree at all that she was done and that was it for her. Not even for a minute. I sustain everything I said.

  • Catherine

    I think Finnegan might have been ill. She looked tired, and clearly underperformed. Both live blogs mentioned that she seemed sluggish and tired in podium training. I hope she sticks around for the next quad, but I think she’s a good alternate. I really don’t like Sacramone not being chosen, but I kind of get it..Price has a better score on vault than her, beam is deep enough, and no bars or floor really devastated her chances.

  • M

    Lol, great write up. Poor Bronwyn, you did her bad in this write up, lol.

    I don’t know much about Finnegan and when you watch NBC, you mainly only get the “important” ones so ones like Finnegan are rarely shown. However, I guess she could have been substituted out and Sacramone in. However, what’s done is done. I like what you wrote about Li because it is really true, they don’t have any other good bar workers.

    It is a strong lineup for the US though.

    Just have to say – damn NBC coverage sucks, I hope to catch the BBC’s coverage for Olympics.

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