Gabby Jupp WOW! I knew she was going to be a treat on beam and floor as I've had my eye on her for quite a while now, but her bars and her confidence were unexpected. You would think she was the seasoned Vanessa Ferrari and not a brand new unknown senior at her first big assignment. She absolutely attacked her beam and bars though never sacrificing finesse or polish. Beautiful lines, fabulous toepoint, astonishing elegance. And SO underscored. The best part of the whole competition was that there were no overscores except one- Ohashi's vault- but there were underscores. Gabby's vault got nearly three tenths below the decent but quite flawed effort of Ohashi's, which was mind boggling. Certainly the dynamics of it were not brilliant; too low and too short a distance travelled. But it was truly beautiful, floaty and light with a great landing. So while it did have deductions built into it, it didn't deserve THAT much compared to vaults with other obvious problems. Her vault knocked her out of medal contention straight away but hopefully she can crank out a DTY in the future when she grows a bit. I can't get enough of her beautiful bars and her gorgeous BHS-LOSO-LOSO on beam which was fresh from the 90's and rightfully earned appreciation from the crowd. Floor was another treat, nice dance with such a lightness to her work and she already has substantial difficulty with her first two passes. She will need to work on her leaps and increase her difficulty, but it's great to see a gymnast excelling at her own pace instead of fighting to beat the code too early. Lovely elegant gymnast who is on her way to excelling outside of the Euros field, and I'm glad to see her gaining a lot of new fans.
Simone Biles I don't think we've ever seen anyone this powerful? Except Daiane Dos Santos whom she absolutely channelled on floor. It's not that we haven't seen these skills before, it's that it's very rare to see someone do them with such ease and extra power. First up, the amanar with a large extra hop. It's improved on last year's explosive effort, it's now getting more height and distance. It gets about the same height as McKayla Maroney's, but she gets more distance. I haven't seen it from enough angles yet to really examine Simone's leg form on entry etc. but I do think her legs are straighter and her hip angle is better than McKayla's, but her foot form is pretty loose with maybe a bit of crossing going on. What is obvious is that a TTY is just around the corner for this girl. Onto bars, where she surprised everyone by catching both of her difficult new releases and her Maloney with ease- skills she fell on over and over in training and warm-ups. Her form looks much better though could still be tightened up and I'm not sold on her Wieler kip. Her dismount is so high above the bar, incredible to watch. She had much less trouble with her beam in training, but it's where she came to grief in the end, on her new layout pass. In a post-meet interview she stated that she was nervous and her legs were buckling a bit. Her face was heartbreaking to see but she came back strong, nailed her incredibly hard dismount and managed to smile widely. Great recovery. And fascinating to see her land her dismount with her chest higher than everyone else with their double pikes.
Floor was where I most excited to see her- and she didn't dissapoint tumbling wise, with an enormous double double, great easy double layout, a very unusual 1 and a half into double pike and lovely twisting. Her floor music has really grown on me, and she sells it very well- nice choreography. Sadly she gave away numerous tenths with every pass on her landings, short on the second and way over on the others- just like Dos Santos who lost plenty of floor titles for the same problem. Hopefully Simone can rein in her power, or else upgrade her passes. All in all a wonderful debut for her, with what looks like a fluke fall. She has definitely made her mark as one to watch in the US.
Upgrades I'd like to see for Simone- Bars: Double double- either tucked (Fabrichnova) or laidout (Ray). Would love to see a video of her doing a triple back into a pit, the only person I would confidently say could nail that. Floor: Triple twisting double back, DLO- punchfront-stag (Atler style!), 1 and a half into full in pike and a triple full. Overkill? If she could do that it would greatly help her landing errors though..Vault: TTY Beam: Chuck the Strug, not working. I'd have her doing straddle leaps and wolf jumps since they're so achievable for her- with a much more convincing straddle split than side split- and for a more difficult one, a switch ring leap- they look much easier to achieve now. More connections, something out of her layout.
Katelyn Ohashi Great to see her hit 4/4, especially after all the doubt surrounding her last year. Her beam was another high point, her layout full was improved on what she showed in training (I'm going to harp on and still advocate it being scrapped though) and the routine flowed really well- although there's incredible difficulty present it never felt like skill-skill. She missed the connection on her lovely Onodi-aerial-aerial-sheep, but still great to watch. Always nice to see her land the more difficult vault totally safely, I'm just hoping her technique will improve on it as it's still quite messy- and undeserving of a 9.1 e-score... Nice to see her back in the hunt for AA though, she really proved herself capable. Bars were a let-down, she leaves herself open for massive deductions on every pirouette but especially the Healy, and it looked like quite a struggle for her to get through the routine. I'd advise cutting it down a bit until she has more of a hold on her skills and better form and precision. As for floor- I love it! Fabulous music, nice choreography. Her tumbling is a little untidy I think but it's solid, her Memmel turn is beautiful and she had the quick twitch reaction to water down her punchfront on the last pass. It will never be amazing or her main strength, but she has definitely improved here. A convincing win, though I would have liked to have seen more fight for it!
Victoria Moors Victoria really paced herself brilliantly for this event, she wasn't looking great at Canadian Nationals and she was having quite a few issues in training but no worries, she had a stellar meet. Decent DTY from her, and looks like something she could easily improve. I don't see her making it into an amanar but she's one who will benefit from its downgrading. Her beam was an utter delight, floaty but so confident. Lovely smooth movements, so fun to watch. There's enormous potential in the routine as she doesn't really connect anything yet, looking forward to seeing it develop this quad. Her bars too have improved, nice and precise and even though she released too early on the dismount it was still great, lovely in the air. Onto the important bit- that floor. Everybody had big expectations for it and Victoria went above and beyond. Kept it to three passes and showed off her dance. Absolutely love the dramatic bit in the middle when the music quietens, and her turn near the corner is just fabulous. I'm running out of adjectives here! She will need another pass to contend for floor medals, and some upgrades but for the moment we should just rejoice at the perfection of this routine. A really confident start for Victoria who is still only 16.
1. Victoria Moors- floor
2. Gabby Jupp- beam
3. Simone Biles- floor (flawed of course- but the potential!)
- Underscores. There was, as previously mentioned, only one overscore- a welcome change for American Cup, known for insanely high American scores. Gabby Jupp and Victoria Moors were in comparison to others, screwed a bit. I understand Gabby's vault score to an extent as she had less height than most and little distance, but it was still slightly too low- following the usual trend of scoring more difficult vaults higher in execution (not cool.) Her beam had a three tenth step, but had no business being only at 8.1- when Katelyn's had 8.533 with more errors. Similarly, Victoria's beam execution was too low. And again stories for both gymnasts on bars and floor- especially Victoria's floor, only one tenth higher than Katelyn's execution.
- Simone falling off beam. That was a real 'nooooo!' moment.
- Maegan Chant's debut, hopefully she comes away from this competition with a lot of determination and more confidence.
- The fact that Simone would not have been the leader after three rotations without the fall. Sorry, what?
- Really surprised to see Vanessa Ferrari push for high difficulty on floor- great double double and full-in to back tuck- one of the fastest connections she's had on that. Amazing, and a great routine. I'd also like to add that her leotard choices are entertaining, not disgusting. She has her own style and she couldn't care less about what the fans think. Good for her.
- I am still not a fan of the new switch ring rule. In my woeful physical gymnastics ignorance it looks easier now, since it's now easier to get your back leg as high or higher than your head. I'm predicting a little surge in these.
- Katelyn Ohashi is struggling to keep up with her difficulty. Either she's at an endurance low point as far as the year goes or it needs to calm down a little- all of her routines look very hard for her, she does not portray anything as easy. This is something that struck me afresh in podium training and the actual meet confirmed it.
- Simone Biles has made a strong claim as USA's number 1 powerhouse. She doesn't have the difficulty of the others (Ebee and Lexie) yet- but more ease, height and better choreography and form.
- I'm really liking the workarounds for not pausing in the corner before passes on floor. They are still cheating the pause but it looks way better and lots of the little dance bits near the corner are pretty dainty. Asuka Teramoto had a very zippy one I thought.
- That thing Chellsie Memmel did- straddled toe-rise from floor (name..?) appeared in two routines. Loving it. Simone Biles also had interesting toe-rises- especially the beam one. It's the little things.
- I liked Jon Horton and Shannon Miller commentating on the first half. Kept it interesting, good chemistry and knowledge was imparted without snark. The summer baby twinsies thing was cute. My second half was commentated by Phillip Boy and Marie-Sophie Hindermann who may have spent the whole time viciously slandering all non-German gymnasts and I would not have noticed.
- The MAG splatfest was a bit heartbreaking. Lots of new upgrades being ambitiously added which will hopefully be smoother later on- and obviously, Danell Leyva won't be sick forever. Poor guy.
- Even with the moaning about the underscoring above, I was really impressed with its general sensibility. No crazy 9.5's handed out for Americans etc. So I will continue not calling it SCAM.
Best leotard: Gabby Jupp. It's not new (none of them were except USA) but it's a classic with great incorporation of the flag.
And a bonus:
What/who was your highlight? I also really enjoyed Maegan Chant on vault, Asuka Teramoto on floor, bars and beam, Elizabeth Seitz on bars and Vanessa Ferrari on floor, bars and beam but you can't fit everything in!
Edit- Ugh, apologies for my sentence structure. It's really gone downhill, I think I'm too tired when writing posts. I was much better at formal writing such as essays but I'm still relatively new to blogging...err yeah, less than a year so that still counts.