Tuesday 12 June 2012

My Olympic AA podium

It has to be remembered that scores that top US gymnasts are getting now cannot and will not happen in London, with the exception of McKayla Maroney's vaulting, which can expect extremely similar scoring if she makes the team (she better be on it!!).

I am going to count  Aliya Mustafina out of the gold. I just do not think that her superior bars set will make up for her other routines. Her twisting ability really has gone badly downhill even from what it was, and that will hurt her badly. I don't think she'll screw up floor like she did in Euro quals, but I don't see it as particularly high scoring compared to others. Her beam and vault are a bit more up in the air. I do not see her completing an amanar that would top Jordyn's. In fact I see her competing a sloppy not fully around one. DTY could work out better and safer for her. I hope she can regain all of her old difficulty on beam, that is difficult to call as she did not compete it at euros. I see her being edged out of the gold, but she is on my podium. Bronze

Larissa Iordache has come out of nowhere to prove herself as a top AAer. Her floor and beam are her high points and will score extremely well. She looks to be capable of an amanar also. Bars are not surprisingly a weak point, as we all know Romania tend to have bar workers in very short supply and have done so for quite a long time. Similar to Raducan's weak bars, her other events will make up for it, but not enough to take the gold. Silver

Jordyn Wieber is THE one to beat. Sure her bars are a weak point, but she has gotten much more consistent on them and the SV is not to be sneezed at. I am confident she can fix those beam connections. Her amanar is really well done and her floor will get a high score. She will have a fight on her hands, but I believe she will just narrowly take it. Gold

At this point it is hard to call USA's second AAer. Aly Raisman deserves it yet her form will take huge hits on bars, and also to a lesser extent on floor. Her amanar is fine, but not great. Gabby Douglas CAN outscore her (Nationals aside, Gabby overinflated to the skies) especially on bars of course, which make up for her weaker floor. Inconsistency is Gabby's middle name, her amanar was great at Nationals, yet this year alone she has missed and sat that thing numerous times. Her beam also tends to have legs up and big wobbles. A fall is not out of the question either. Yet it is not just a two-horse race, Kyla Ross has proved herself as a beautifully clean AAer. Her bars are great and place her far ahead of Aly, her beam is substantially better than Gabby's and she also has an amanar. Unfortunately it is the lowest scoring of the three because her landings are dangerous with huge steps (steps plural) and her floor has a much much lower SV. It WILL be Gabby if she can stay on in Olympic prelims, but the other two could easily steal a march on her if she has to count a mistake or a fall. Regardless of who takes that spot, they will struggle bigtime to make the podium. It is not impossible, especially if Mustafina has lower SV than expected at this point.

Edit: I don't think it will be as clear cut as this, Vika will be tough to beat! It also wasn't clear at this point that Kyla will not qualify for AA, she won't be used on vault and floor in prelims, so she can't. 


  1. Except for Musty, this podium is ridiculous (I'm not criticizing your choices, I think everyone expected something like this). There was so much hype surrounding Wieber and Iordache and they both failed to deliver miserably, while not nearly as much was expected from Raisman or Mustafina, and they were very good.

    Everyone expected Jordyn Wieber to win the AA, but honestly she has been overscored and to be fair, she peaked too early. The stress fracture thing was an excuse for a poor showing IMO, but make of it what you will. Many considered her the frontrunner, but even if she had made the AA final, the highest she could have achieved was bronze. Douglas and Komova were pretty much a lock for the top two spots.

    All the hype was partially due to her being world champion (whether or not she deserved the title), but a reigning world champion has not won the AA since Lilypod in 96 (much to the chagrin of Olaru, Khorkina, Johnson, and now Wieber.) I just realized that Wieber broke the trend of the reigning WC champ taking silver at the Olympics, if you take into account the whole 2000 Raducan disqualification thing.

    I think that it should have been Wieber and Raisman in the all-around, and that Gabby was overscored throughout the games, especially on her AA vault and beam, and on floor in quals and TF. In that scenario, the podium would most likely have gone Komova, Wieber, Mustafina/Raisman, or any variation with Komova first and two of Wieber, Raisman, and Mustafina in second and third. This was pretty much what I wanted to happen.

    My ideal podium would have been Komova, Yao, Mustafina, (well technically it would include Izbasa as well, but her bars are just too weak), but poor Yao was out for the count. I really hope that she becomes the first Chinese girl to win the AA at Worlds/Olympics, after poor Komova gets what she has been robbed of twice in a row.

    As for Larisa, I do not really understand her appeal. She seems overrated to me. Yes, she dominated at Euros, but her only real competition was her teammates since Russia were awful on everything but bars. Her injury was unfortunate, but, once again, i think it may have been exaggerated by B and B, since she did have a few good performances, such as her TF beam. She has the difficulty, but so do other gymnasts, such as Mai Murakami who was doing internationally-competitive routines as a twelve year old. Let's hope Larisa can deliver before people refer to her as the new Nadia. Honestly she seems more like the next Moceanu to me, but what do I know.

    1. Yes doesn't it, though I at least got bronze correct. I got very excited about Larisa because of the upgrades she had/had planned before the injury forced downgrades. Her floor was supposed to be 6.7, her beam 7.0, her bars 6.5 and her vault 6.5. That propelled her to the top for me.

      Gabby to me always had the potential after seeing her at scam and other meets last year but I was dwelling on her crashing so many amanars in training, when she missed her hand at pac rims and her beam, she either fell or had major wobbles in most routines. So I did count her out, I thought the AA would for sure be Aly and Jordyn. I also thought there was no way Jordyn would be allowed go to the Olympics with that beam, and that her connections would be fixed. I didn't predict her floor would be penalised for the leaps there too.

      I'm not sure where Komova is or what my rationing was for that. Probably Larisa edging her out with the difficulty and pre-injury consistency, but I still would have thought her a stronger AA-er than Mustafina at that point.

    2. Larisa has the potential for a great career ahead of her if she can deliver. I think that Jordyn will at least attempt to come back since her Olympics were pretty much a failure (team gold definitely doesn't make up for individual disappointment). I predict that Gabby and Aly are done, no matter what they say about continuing.

      Pity there were so many injuries at this Olympics, I would have loved to see full-strength versions of Komova, Yao, Mustafina, Wieber, and Iordache duke it out for the AA. Douglas was ludicrously overscored throughout the Olympics so I won't include her, though I suppose she was always a challenger.

    3. Absolutely, Romania is having their usual depth problem and it's especially bad this year. Slew of retirements too, though Chelaru has returned.

      She was a challenger for her difficulty- trying to remember but 6.5 vault, 6.2 floor, 6.5/6 bars and 6.5 beam meant she was vying with Komova for highest difficulty and with a lead on the rest. I totally agree with the overscores though all the same.

      I'm really trying to stay away from fierce 5 comeback speculation. I would tend to agree and I think Kyla/McKayla have the most unfulfilled potential- but then McKayla has had injuries to deal with. Sigh..

    4. I'm glad to see Chelaru back! She's not the most elegant or precise, but I like her floor routines. Now if only Porgras would return as well, they really need her on bars. And 6.5 d score for Larisa on bars!?! For Romania, that's like an 8.0...

      Looking back I'm surprised that B and B let Larisa do AA at all. They should have had her do as few routines as possible. With such a weak Larisa they were only in contention for bronze in team finals, and China basically handed it to them with a ton of mistakes from DLL and HQS. Bellu should have used her as little as possible during team finals. They could have used Izbasa on bars instead of her (her AA bars score was .133 higher than Larisa TF), and Chelaru on vault (only .133 lower in QF) instead. Obviously she had a good beam performance in team finals, unfortunately she couldn't do it in beam EF. I still think that they shouldn't have taken out Bulimar, who was a bit down on difficulty but could've challenged for bronze considering how weakly everyone but Sui and Deng performed.

      McKayla... oh lord...I know you're a fan so I won't say anything mean about her behavior as of late, but have you seen the things she posts on her social media?
      remember, she is only seventeen years old, and many of her fans are 12-year-old gymnasts.

    5. Oh I just realized that you meant Gabby's bars not Larisa's...Silly me...It would be great if Larisa had 6.5 bars though!

    6. Porgras looks happy to be 'normal'. Maybe she'll get fed up and return, but I wouldn't be expecting it by any means. Iridon is very good on bars and some others hold a bit of hope too.

      I got the impression from B&B interviews that they kind of looked to Larisa to dictate how much she could/would do. It was heartbreaking though. As for EF, it was stated that Bulimar had gotten a cold or stomach bug or something like that. Maybe not, but she herself did say she was thrilled to see her best friend get another chance or something along those lines. However it happened, I hope there's no animosity about it. Chelaru would certainly be a valuable team player but I'd question how valuable she is in her own right. Certainly they need depth though.

      Haha yes I have. It makes me think of how ridiculously attention-seeking most girls her age are, and experimenting with new figure-showing off clothes. Most wear a lot less. In a way I can't blame her- but I do think her parents need to keep an eye on the image she portrays. Luckily that's totally calmed down in the last while- she seems much more focused on her keek videos. I've only watched a few but they are a brilliant way for her young fans to connect with her- good move.

      No, I mean Larisa's bars! She hovered between a 6.1 and 6.3 set before the Olympics and competed the latter at least once. There was an 0.2 upgrade cited that she was going to have for the Olympics- a stalder full or some variation is coming to mind. But her endurance was definitely suffering and it never materialised. The upgrades were hypothetical, though she did try out one or two upgrades at the SUI-ROM-GER meet. And there is a video of the amanar in training.

    7. Well, I'm around McKayla's age, and neither I nor my friends dress like that, so not every American teenager does it. Hopefully Larisa and the rest of the Romanians can improve and bring their bars up, at least to the level of the USA if not equal to China and Russia. They're wearing grips now, should help.

      That brings me to the question of, which two teams do you think will be dominant and fighting for gold this quad? In '97-00 it was Russia vs Romania, '01-04 Romania vs USA, '05-08 USA vs China, and '09-12 USA vs Russia. I would love to see all four teams fighting for gold but realistically I can't see that happening. It would also be great if another team could break into the top four and make it the top five-maybe GB?

    8. Oh I don't mean it as a generalisation- just that it's not uncommon at all amongst girls McKayla's age..especially with her personality. Normally it's younger here and only really prevalent at teenage discos. But then we all start drinking at 13.

      Anyway. Yes I really hope Romania can round out their bars. Under the open-ended code they cannot fight for gold until they drag their scores up. Didi said she found it very hard to get used to grips, but it seems they're sticking with it so that's great. Blendea, Iridon, Peng and maybe Jurca seems half decent or better on bars. I don't see much hope from their new seniors, or even their 2014 seniors so it will be a slow road to Rio for them.

      I don't know- but it won't be China. The new bars code hurts them and will drag their scores back down. They are incorporating release combinations etc.- Mei Jie, Shang Chunsgong are two that come to mind but they just don't have the advantage anymore..they have to play catch up there too. As for beam, certainly they have nobody capable of Ohashi's d-score just yet. Floor seems okay-ish and vault- I don't think they could even field 3 DTY's if worlds was a team event. They need more Cheng Fei types and they need more bars and beam upgrades. It will be interesting to see how their all-arounders fare in Antwerp.

      Russia don't have Komova and she would be lucky to be at her 2010 self in Antwerp. Mustafina is her usual excellent self. Demy is inconsistent, Shelgunova is still displaying woeful form, Afan doesn't have stellar difficulty anymore and Grishina looks to be doing a lot better so that's great- but there's no depth. Paseka is reliable for vault and that's it. Inshina and Sidorova are injured. So is Rodionova. Baturina is having problems. Sigh. At this point I'd give it to Romania- though both Russia and Romania have their best seniors 2014-2015.

    9. Oh yeah and as for breaking into the top 4- my money is on GB. They need to buck up on vault, they have very strong bars sets, great beam now Gabby and Angel are senior, and strong floors. I know Canada beam them in London but GB had falls. And Canada have lost Lee, Rogers and Vaculik. Shallon Olsen is Shelgunova with higher difficulty, and she is deteriorating. Victoria Moors is a star but she needs more backup. I really like Heaven Latimer but she's quite inconsistent just at the moment. Sabrina Gill seems like a good team player. I just think GB have more of the whole package whereas Canada are scrappy on more events..

    10. Yes, Pinches only scored in the elevens on beam in TF so that's what sunk them. A bit of a shame really. I would like to see Romania vs USA again but it looks like it'll be the US dominating until maybe 2014 when the new seniors kick in. It seems like the best gymnasts usually come of age in the middle of the quad or later.

      Ohashi has that huge beam d score, but honestly I don't think some of her connections/elements would be credited internationally. US has plenty of good/decent beamers, if her beam is her only really strong event then she won't make WC or Olympic teams.

      I think one of the reasons that GB is catching up to the top four is that they have copped on to codewhoring. Using the code to their advantage sets the top four above the rest, helping to boos their difficulty scores. Other countries do not do this nearly as much. For example, take Mai Murakami's floor routine. She has huge skills and this gives her a 6.0, but it could easily be much higher if she just used the code in her favor. You see the GB doing 1.5 to triples and leaps out of passes, and just upping their d scores in general. I'll agree that they need work on vault.

    11. Looking back on team GB I think it made more sense to bring Danusia Francis in place of Imogen Cairns. They so needed a good beam routine, so Francis made more sense than the other hopefuls- a not fully recovered Downie and Ruby Harrold. I have a total soft spot for Romania, really hoping they can surge forward from 2014 on.

      The really troublesome one is the Onodi-aerial-aerial-sheep one. She missed the onodi-aerial and and aerial-sheep. If she fixes one of those she can claw back and the other connctions in the routine look more solid. I don't hold out much hope for the onodi-aerial though. But out of her 7.3 total she can afford to knock off a few tenths and still win. I would tend to agree at this point, that she cannot be brought unless she becomes a stronger AA-er or brings one other event up to EF medal-worthy. But winning American Cup and having the most difficult beam in the world by far are definite brownie points for Marta.

      Mai Murakami's low floor d-score is kind of infuriating. However, her third pass which I absolutely love isn't that difficult so hopefully that can be improved. Unfortunately her first two passes are monstrously hard to leap out of, she has landed those passes a little short the last times she has competed so I don't see those being feasible just yet. She's amazing at turns, she should totally work on them and add some more in.

    12. Oh, I definitely think Katelyn will be headed to Worlds this year because it is individual, but she needs to work a lot more on bars if she wants to make any teams after that. I doubt that she'll make it as an AAer because of her vault. The American Cup wasn't really much of a stretch for her to win after Biles fell off the beam but she'll have a lot more competition if she's up against Mustafina and Iordache at Worlds.

      Mai needs to upgrade that third pass now! Her other tumbling is so huge that I can't understand why she's doing a C+C as one of her passes. It's not lack of stamina, because she finishes with a triple twist. If she doesn't upgrade that pass, she should at least add a stag leap to her triple, or maybe do a 1.5 to triple if she can manage it.

      Looking back at the video, I've realized that she may not be doing her full difficulty there. She didn't really need it since it was nationals, and no one else in Japan comes close to her difficulty on floor. She may be able to throw a full-twisting DLO and upgraded third pass when she needs to.

    13. I'm a bit torn about her really. I do think she'll be on the worlds team, and her beam is certainly worthy- it just doesn't seem enough? I think I am more positive about her some days than others ha.Simone, Lexie, Katelyn, Kyla is a very strong team though.

      I seriously love her third pass, it just looks so great. I know it's too weak though. I wonder how she is at arabians?