Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Quick breakdown of USA's team

I don't pretend to be any kind of expert, you'll find better than this elsewhere! This is more informal good/bad points rather than a deep analysis or biography.

Team USA

Jordyn Wieber

Jordyn does a great 'come at me bro!'. The 2011 World AA champion has been a lock for this team for years now. A tough competitor, she doesn't get as much credit as she should because perfection is just expected from her as a given.

Age: Jordyn turns 17 on the 12th, happy birthday!
Best apparatus: Tough one. Floor
Weakest apparatus: Bars. She's no Yang Yilin but she's very solid on this and it's out of 6.4
Known for: An excellent floor which makes the most of her abilities. Hitting when it counts. Jordyn is incredibly focused and determined.
Needs to: Fix her beam connections. Once so solid, her new connections are troubling her. These are slated to be fixed at camp and will affect her d-score.
Likely to qualify for: TF, like duh. AA a certainty. Will make beam and floor EF. Outside chance at bars if there are major screw-ups there.
Chances of medalling: High in the all-around. Possible in floor EF. High in TF.

Gabby Douglas
Gabby was dismissed totally after a fairly disastrous 2011. What a year she has had since! She won Olympic Trials and beat Jordyn at SCAM (exhibition!!).When she gets her head together, she is really tough to beat.

Age: 16
Best apparatus: Bars
Weakest apparatus: Tough one. I'll go with beam as she can be so headcasey on that, it can and will drag her down though it's always fabulous in training
Known for: Her incredibly high releases on bars- think Courtney Kupets, Dominique Dawes, Liz Tricase. They are actually scary...keep thinking of a Jennifer Sey incident happening. Unfortunately she is also known for being jittery under pressure and messing up, especially on beam.
Needs to: Steady her nerves and absolutely nail that beam without headcasing.
Likely to qualify for: TF. AA, if she hits everything that spot is hers. Bars EF
Chances of medalling: High in the all-around and TF. Outside chance at bars, the toughest EF with the current line-up.

Aly Raisman

Aly is another long-time lock for this team. You have to go back quite a long way to see a big error from her, she's the most solid and consistent member by far. Her first tumbling pass is up there with the most difficult ever performed.

Age: At 18, Aly is the oldest and the only one who can legally drink in London!
Best apparatus: Floor
Weakest apparatus: Bars
Known for: Her incredible consistency, leadership skills and great difficulty on floor and beam. Unfortunately she is also known for having poor form and a lack of toepoint. Recently known for one of the scariest amanars currently being performed.
Needs to: Work on form, fluidity of movement and toepoint. She HAS improved, but still a long way to go.
Likely to qualify for: TF. She can only qualify to the AA if Gabby messes up as her bars drag her down. Floor and beam EF
Chances of medalling: High in TF. High in floor EF, outside chance at beam EF.

Kyla Ross

Kyla is a new senior, and therefore the only member of the team not at Worlds last year. The baby of the team has very valuable beam and bars, with gorgeous leaps in particular. While her teammates bawled their eyes out after the team announcement at Trials, Kyla grinned from ear to ear!

Age: 15. She will turn 16 in October, therefore elegible
Best apparatus: Bars
Weakest apparatus: Floor. It's great, but the SV is probably the lowest we will see out of the top teams and therefore unusable
Known for: Beautiful and consistent bars and she is lovely on beam. Unfortunately she does not as of yet show a strong personality and because of this and the fact that her gymnastics is clean and unexciting, she is seen as boring. Hopefully we will see her develop
Needs to: Not throw an amanar as it is unsafe for her. Work on being that little bit more solid on beam and ensuring every single connection
Likely to qualify for: TF. AA only an outside chance, impossible for her to beat Aly and Gabby at this stage. Outside chance at qualifying for bars and beam EF
Chances of medalling: High in TF. Unfortunately very slim elsewhere, Kyla is one of those gymnasts who are great at contributing but not at standing out in deep fields of talent in their own right.

McKayla Maroney

McKayla is fast becoming a favourite with fans looking forward to these Olympics, due to her absolute excellence on vault and her sassy personality. She marries power with excellent form and artistry and is the most interesting to interview by far.

Age: 16
Best apparatus: Vault
Weakest apparatus: Bars
Known for: Her refreshing attitude in interviews, being the best vaulter in the world, THAT 3.5 twist, being 'the prettiest one', being the best vaulter in the world, weakness on bars, landing her third pass with half a milimetre to spare, non-straight LOSO's
Needs to: Work at sticking her amanar to maximise the tenths on it. Fix her third pass. Continue being very solid on beam as a back-up
Likely to qualify for: TF. Certain to qualify number one to vault EF.
Chances of medalling: Unless the other vault finalists gang up on her and break her legs, she WILL take gold on vault. It is that certain, by far the most assured of any medal in these excitingly close Olympics.

Most valuable beam: Aly
Most valuable vault: McKayla
Most valuable floor: Aly
Most valuable bars: Gabby

Most artistic beam: Kyla
Most artistic (best form) vault: McKayla
Most artistic floor: McKayla
Most artistic bars: Kyla

I don't really have enough insight to do this for other teams. I plan to nerd up more on them while I patiently count down to the Olympics. It looks like I am American with all I write about them. I am as I said, actually neutral- my country is not sending any female gymnasts, and never has. I am very very interested in what the other top teams have to bring but USA gymnasts get a lot of exposure and there's no language barrier, it's very easy to write about them. In case anyone thinks I am a rabid 'I ONLY like USA!!' fan!

EDIT Wow, some things that seem set in stone are just unpredictable in the end. Jordyn showed up in London with the same dodgy beam- a huge error of judgement on Geddert's part. Her floor was also downgraded. This prevented her from beating Gabby qualifying first from the US into the AA- AND it meant that Aly who had the day of her life in prelims beat her also. So Jordyn qualified 4th and yet did not qualify. The unchanged beam routine also meant she did not qualify for beam finals- and Gabby being solid meant she did. McKayla as we all know, messed up her block on her second vault and fell. That was of course, a total fluke. She DID qualify first anyway. Aside from that this is accurate :)


  1. i love mckayla on floor, i really hope they use her in team finals over gabby and even kyla. like everyone else, i reeeeeeally hope she fixes her third pass, i hold my breath every time she does it just willing her to stay in bounds. impressive when she does, but really not worth the risk!

  2. Me too, everyone just cringes when she starts that third pass...the tension! I highly doubt she'll be allowed leave camp if it's still dodgy, my guess is just a double tuck to a leap which means she doesn't lose any SV. I think it's there so that if she messes up her second pass, the third pass is an insurance- especially after what happened to Mattie, so that she still fulfills the requirement. But it's so not worth it and the second pass looks really stable.

  3. mckayla isn't pretty

    1. Yeah she's hideously ugly. I didn't even say she was pretty, I said she was regarded as being so- which she was and is. And she is actually gorgeous.

    2. Whatever you say. I find Kyla, Aly and even Jordyn to be prettier than her. Gabby needs to get her teeth fixed, and then she will be prettier, since they are quite large and overbearing.

      The internet seems divided on whether McKayla is pretty or not. Either you find her incredibly beautiful or think she looks like a pig. (I am not making this up). It is your opinion.

    3. The majority opinion is that she is stunning. There are always people who will run someone's looks down for the sake of it, and of course there are people whose looks divide opinion. This isn't one of them, I've never seen any negative criticism of McKayla for hers- it really is the majority opinion.

    4. what a lovely young lady


      and so modest

      even she doesn't think so

      (just skip to the last link)

      What other gymnasts are beautiful to you?

    5. I never said anything about her being modest, and I don't think some of her instagram photos are appropriate. The vast majority are, and she concentrates more on keek videos for her younger fans anyway. That changes absolutely nothing about whether she is ugly or not.

      Ehh, Rie Tanaka and Vasilliki Millousi come to mind. It's not something I consciously judge them on or rate or whatever.