Monday, 19 August 2013

More Nationals and other (updated) news

Juniors

Very disappointing that Nia Dennis retained her inconsistent streak, falling on both of her rafter-scraping releases. There was no stopping Bailie Key with four more stellar routines, and Laurie Hernandez cleaned up on floor with much better landings. I'm also liking her beam the more I see it, I hope she regains her BHS-LOSO-LOSO, because even if hers is flat..it's a cool series. Unfortunately, while there were plenty of clutch performances, there were a lot of meltdowns other than Nia's splat central on bars, both Ariana Agrapides and Alexis Vasquez completely fell apart on bars, damning their chances of making the National Team, which indeed- neither of them made, despite killer potential. But the reason is simple, the junior national team goes by AA placement, not potential. In the case of Ariana, I don't think they would have expected her to make it as she's not up to scratch on beam or bars yet, though incredibly strong on vault and floor. Still, she has a LOT of time, not turning senior until 2017. Alexis would have easily made it over Polina Shchennikova but that bars routine dragged her right down. Speaking of Polina, her day 2 did her no favours, compounded by a weak performance day 1. She has gorgeous lines and leaps, but not a whole lot else at this point and her bars routine was a but of a mess form-wise.

Norah Flatley and Vanasia Bradley also show a lot of potential, hoping for great development with these two. It would be great to see the WOGA girls, Nadia Cho especially, continue to build difficulty on their pet events because that is their ticket to teams and while WOGA remain unbelievably weak at vault with non-spectacular tumbling, they aren't going anywhere near the all-around.

Nia. Copyright- USAG- John Cheng

Bailie is an interesting gymnast. She doesn't have the spark, amplitude or dance of some of the other girls and you would think that would make her boring, because clean gymnastics alone are generally not enough. But somehow it is, and I think it's her mastery of all four events as well as the many upgrades she's planning- Bailie is NOT a 5.4 bars difficulty gymnast and her beam too has more skills in the works. Nia, hmm. She's a star in the making, but obviously needs more consistency as well as polish. I'm very happy that her form and her leaps are surprisingly good. Perhaps straightening her knees before letting go of the bar before a release will help her out- it looks to my non-technical eye as if her knee bend drives her too high and that's the problem, making them very difficult to catch. That said, I am in LOVE with her releases. But it's no good if catching them is 50/50 and I'd be very happy to see her more stable with them, even if a few inches of height has to be sacrificed. Laurie is incredible. She jumped about 20 places or so in the all-around from last year. Feisty, fantastic. She brings to mind another f too..frantic. Not on floor or at least, not in my opinion, but on bars where she's too rushed and doesn't allow enough time to be sure of her next move and hit handstand perfectly. This was more noticeable in her day 2 routine. It worked for her and she hit, it's just something I'd like to see toned down in the future.

Update- I've just seen that Laurie and Bailie will compete at Junior Japan! This meet traditionally attracts top juniors so it could be amazing and make up for the lack of USA at YOG, and the one spot per country for just one specific birth year YOG will have anyway.

Favourite leotards

I really like the MG elite one- they wore it at Parkettes and another meet too, though I don't like how high the collar is. But it's unusual and the design is Celtic, which is a win-win in my view. Nia Dennis' leotard was beautiful, so was Melissa Reinstadtler's and Chow's girls one was a beautiful colour. None of the rest were offensive as such- except CGA. Great colours, could have been lovely but way too much mesh ruined the whole thing and made it inappropriate. If there must be mesh, may it be black or anything not-nude, and only on arms/neck. Not torso, ugh.

Seniors

McKayla Maroney continues to impress, this time leaving no doubt about her tumbling on floor, where she definitely did not go out of bounds on the double layout and saved a slight bit of overrotation on the double pike pretty smoothly. If she can nail the stag leap out of the double arabian, then she has it made- she can challenge Larisa Iordache, equal Simone Biles and put pressure on Ksenia Afanasyeva. Awesome. Her vaults were also much better, it's obvious and she said it herself that she makes sure to really drive the Mustafina because the Olympics one plays in her head. Her knees are a little softer on her amanar than they were last year, I'd love to see her tighten up a bit, but make no mistake- she still utterly dominates that vault. Definitely a lock for the worlds team, though of course Marta has just startled everyone by saying she hopes McKayla will do the all-around there. For sure, there have been a lot of disappointments about girls in line for the 4th place, but I don't think anyone was expecting this. If Madison Kocian is not ready in time, then I fully support this. If she is ready, then I'm torn, because as great as it would be for McKayla to do the all-around, I'd really like for Madison to get the experience. She could be very valuable in a worlds team finals after all.

Simone again hit all her routines which was enouraging. I mean, not falling, I definitely spotted her missing her toe-on. Still, a great weak for our new National Champion and it will really help her gearing up for worlds with that title already under her belt. Her second vault, the Lopez, is incredible. And way too easy for her. Introducing a Cheng at this stage is probably not a risk Marta would want to take (I saw it into the pit on Gymnastike beyond the routine, and it did look amazing) but it would be great if she could verify it in time. I'd also really love if she could bring back the 1.5 to tucked full-in and the double layout-half out to boost her difficulty a little there. Hopefully the 5.7 beam is not permanent, as it's quite a drop on her routine earlier this year- six tenths. She went the safe route, nailed it, now hopefully she can build on it.

Kyla the vamp. Copyright- USAG- John Cheng

Kyla had another very good day, though she was again shaky on beam- still uncharacteristic! It was great to see her determination running into the double pike that gave her trouble on day 1, and nailing it. Hopefully she can get all four tumbles as good as the first two landing-wise. I'm happy her difficulty has increased there and on beam too (though her 6.0 day 2 is said to be a wrong calculation by some?) I know her growth has been an issue, and the heel injury earlier this year and we're all blue in the face from saying this..but one or two more upgrades to her beam and on bars would be so helpful!

It wasn't to be Brenna Dowell's day. She didn't seem 'on' like she has been, it's possible she's dealing with injury or just wasn't feeling the best. Regardless, she remains a very strong all-arounder, but not consistent enough or clean enough to really make her mark. In the future I'm wondering if she dropped beam and really focused on the other three if she'd be better off. She's an incredibly hard worker and has already made big strides in improvement..I'd never underestimate her. But it definitely was Mykayla Skinner's day! This girl, who showed up and crashed her way through Classics and who showed immense improvement but still fell off beam twice on day 1...hit. Everything. Out of the park. So, so impressive. No, we will never enjoy her form on backhandsprings or her block on the Cheng but WOW. Her floor was fantastic and I was so annoyed they didn't show it..until they showed my girl Laurie instead. Delighted for her making the national team, hopefully she can be sent to a world cup or Pac Rims and be pitted against external competition and international judging. And hopefully she moves gyms because despite her turnaround, she still needs a lot of work.

I'm gutted Madison Desch and Abigail Milliet didn't make the National team, but it does make sense...it wasnt to be going by their performances. I'm sure both girls will come back strong at camp and make a great case for their inclusion though.

Favourite leotards

GAGE, again. Simone's patriotic leo was nice and simple but still stunning. Not a fan of either Kyla's or McKayla's..the colour was nice on Kyla but too much mesh, and McKayla's was just dull or something, but again loved the colour.

And in other news....

- Well known by now, but Viktoria Komova was only released from hospital today, after suffering for a week from what has been described as both gastroenteritis and stomach flu. She posted a picture of an IV which supports the view that she was badly dehydrated, and presumably very weak. Something like that is not serious as such, just a setback...but when you don't have much weight to spare it can really suck and I know from experience. She's due to start training again next week. Let us hope she's sent to Osijek world cup for some competitive experience..it's very close to Antwerp but she could really do with competitive experience if they're going to send her to worlds regardless..either as an all-arounder or a bars/beam specialist.

- Russian Cup was the emptiest competition ever. No Viktoria Komova, Anastasia Grishina, Anna Dementyeva, Aliya Mustafina, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Ekaterina Baturina or Evgeniya Shelgunova. In some circumstances, fan favourite Tatiana Navieva won the all-around, followed by Alla Sosnitskaya and Anna Pavlova. Tatiana also qualified first to every event final, except bars which Maria Paseka managed. Event finals are due to be broadcast, but it's basically a webcam..don't expect USAG awesomeness.

- Tatiana Nabieva won bars and vault finals. Second and third place respectively in both were Maria Paseka and Alla Sosnitskaya. Anna Pavlova only did one vault and pulled out of bars finals. Maria Paseka put her hand down on her amanar. I think she's firmly closed the door on an Antwerp spot now. Rumour is Anastasia Grishina hurt her back so that's why she didn't compete and we know for sure that Anna Dementyeva is not training at the moment, whether it's a break or a move towards retirement is not yet known, though Anna Rodionova has basically said the latter.

- It looks like Jordyn Wieber's plan is to train at UCLA. She can train with the team, just not compete. She'd be in close proximity to Gabby Douglas who will be training at Chris Waller's gym in LA, though it doesn't sound like it will be either intensive or committed. 

- Canada's Gabriella Douglas is out of worlds contention with an injury :( Her pet events are beam and floor, and her strength is turns- really impressive work. She had a great shot at the team. Ellie Black was pulled from Pan-Ams at the last minute so let's hope she's not injured too. Their team is now likely to be Ellie Black, Victoria Moors, Maegan Chant and Kaitlyn Hofland.

- GB's Gabby Jupp has been cleared to start training on bars! Like fellow ACL-tear gymnast Aliya Mustafina, Gabby already has a very strong base on bars so it would be great if she could use her time off training on hard surfaces by really excelling on this event.

- Romania's Larisa Iordache, Diana Bulimar and Sandra Izbasa are going to compete (never rely on them not being pulled though) at Interland, a friendly competition in the Netherlands, starting on the 31st, which also has a large contingent from GB as well as the host country. An ideal opportunity for all involved to get some more competitive experience in. There will be quick hits from this and hopefully videos.

39 comments:

  1. I don't feel confident in Maroney doing AA and I think it would be a missed opportunity to get some experience for the other girls. I agree that if Kocian is healthy I would very much like to see her go.

    In an interview Simone said the only upgrade on beam Marta wanted to see before worlds was for her to get back the 2/1 wolf turn, which would give her 5.9 D-score. I think it's wise, if it will keep her on the beam. She was very inconsistent on her layout so putting it back in may not be such a good idea. Would love to see the DLO-half out back on floor though, it was amazing and saved her the landing deductions she gets from the DLO. Plus she could get it named the Biles!

    Also in an interview, Kyla mentioned that Marta wanted to see her more confident on beam and as you said it was obvious from her routines that she was uncharacteristically doubting herself. I calculated her difficulty and got 6.1 w/ sheep jump connection, 5.9 w/out. This obviously isn't right either so idk. Assuming I miscalculated somewhere.

    Yes, a shame about Madison Desch but she definitely doesn't seem back to top shape yet, so hopefully she can be added to the team at a later date. Do you think her and Milliet will be invited to selection camp though, or just national team? Speaking of Milliet, any idea why she downgraded her bars?

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    1. Ooo, and Kocian has been officially knocked out. So has Priessman- both were invited and declined because of their injuries. Ohashi was not invited so she's 100% out also. Now I'm thinking if Maroney isn't hitting all around..since that is obviously Marta's first preference, then it will be Ernst for experience. I think Price has a shot too, especially if she can add to her bars a little bit.

      Desch and Milliet have been invited too but I don't see their performances netting a place at this stage! I don't know about Milliet's bars..maybe just to be sure she'd hit?

      Ah I didn't hear that about Biles' beam. Hmm. It's a pity, but maybe they can even sneak in a connection or two to bring her over the 6 mark.

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  2. Yes I just saw USAG's statement! Did you hear the rumours going about that Ohashi may never compete again!! Finnegan too. It would be a great shame if they're true. Finnegan I can understand more - she's been out most of the year and I had a feeling that we might just see her heading off to college when the time comes. She's a beautiful gymnast, so what a shame if we never get to see her on a world stage. However, Ohashi surprises me, she's still young and has a long way to go before Rio, I don't understand why she would quit unless her injury was too severe to come back from.

    Agreed, it's Ernst or Price's now, if Ebee's bars are up to scratch, she could get the nod.

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    1. Yes I did, and they're also being lent weight to by more than just Will Graves. Very sad if true. I've got the impression as more time has gone on and Finnegan hasn't appeared that it would make more sense for her to concentrate on getting healthy for college, if that's the route she wants to take. It's true what they say- the artistic ones suffer more frequently with injuries, probably because they're generally not ripped or have as strong a frame as say Raisman or Biles.

      The fourth spot is between those two..if they take a fourth girl! Kocian being out makes me happier with the decision of just taking three, if that's why do. I doubt Marta would have said that if it was only a thought, and not a serious goal.

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    2. Very true. They were both favourites of mine, so very sad.

      If Marta really does want McKayla doing AA, she must see potential. This could give her the experience she needs for years to come. Just a thought but what if Marta is thinking that with TTY's Biles and Maroney could be the top AA's in the world for the next few years. Very possible if they both make sure their bars and beam are clean and consistent enough. Imagine if McKayla ended up going to Rio as an AAer!

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    3. Rio at this stage looks like Nia, Laurie, Bailie as the top all-arounders. But it's a looong 3 years away. Still, statistically at least one will make it right..hopefully. I'd like if Norah became a star all-arounder too.

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    4. I've said for months it seemed that Finnegan wouldn't return to elite. I'd bet good money on her dropping back to Lvl 10 and focusing on NCAA. She said in June that her elbow would probably never be the same which hinted she might not come back to compete.

      Shocked about katelyn though!!

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  3. Do you know what's going on with Rebecca Bross? Is she still training or did she retire?

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    1. She is coaching Level 4's at WOGA and does not know what she wants to do in the future yet. No formal retirement but I can't see her getting back to elite somehow.

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  4. I'm kind of indifferent about Maroney doing the all-around. If Marta sees potential then who am I to judge? Although, I really hope Ernst will be there. She has potential as well, and it will definitely boost her confidence just being there even if she doesn't make a final.

    I read the other comments about Ohashi. Even if it is just a rumor, why would she mention retirement so early? She just turned senior! She isn't my favorite new senior, but if she does retire, it'll be such a shame...

    Congrats to Jupp training bars! I first saw her at the American Cup and I immediately liked her. Then I saw her beam and floor which made me love her. I wish her luck in her gymnastics and a quick healing!

    I hope we see upgrades (everywhere) from Bulimar at Interland. Iordache, too! A more difficult bars routine scoring a 14.2-4 (at least), a hit 6.9 beam, and a new floor would be awesome. An Amanar is definitely pushing it, but she'll make up for it with that huge beam I think. As for Izbasa, I'm wondering if she has all her skills back...

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    1. I'm feeling that even if Maroney has little chance of getting to the all-around finals, I'm still rooting for her because I'm going to be at the AA finals but not prelims and Maroney just has IT so the more chances of seeing her live the better. That doesn't mean I don't think Ross (since in my head, Biles would be the other) doesn't deserve the spot..she really does. But yes, Marta must think it worthwhile and moreso than sending someone like Ernst for experience. Competition in prelims is always good, it would hopefully spur on the other two.

      It's moreso lack of motivation that's being mentioned now, not outright retirement/giving up. She moved to WOGA to be trained by Valeri and now she isn't, so she may feel that she doesn't know what to do with herself at the moment and might contemplate another move..who knows. She will be coached by Megan (I don't know anything about this coach) when and if she comes back and apparently has found this transition difficult. She could well get over it and be back properly by the end of the year..impossible to say really. What's definitely true is that Gabby has left Chow's..so much for the BTR episodes..and will be training in LA. And that John Geddert IS in the midst of trials and will likely be blackballed by USAG soon. Nothing sexual/predator based etc..assault and harassment I believe. Jordyn has the right to train (but not compete) with the team at UCLA given her status there- assistant manager.

      Yes! She's been THE name for beam for years now so I was so looking forward to her senior debut at American Cup and it was glorious. Hopefully there will be a silver lining though, that being sidelined now will help in the long run of keeping her going to Rio.

      Iordache and Bulimar do have new floors! Bulimar absolutely needs upgrades..5.9 beam too easy for her, her floor could do with a boost also. She looks more amanar-ready than Iordache but this year could be too soon. Iordache needs more difficulty on bars to offset the execution. 6.9 beam, 5.8 vault, 6.1-2 floor is a lot but if she cannot get a 14 on bars than it's Euros all over again. Hoping she can up the difficulty there to 6.1 ish.

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  5. While I love Maroney, I honestly feel that it would be a slap in the face to several other girls who have shown consistent hard work and improvements to send her to Worlds as a third AAer (and only taking a fourth girl along as an alternate). From what I understand she's not currently going to be a medal contender in the AA unless she has spectacular bars and beam sets that we just haven't seen yet and considering Team USA girls' already extremely limited opportunities for international experience I would think it makes far more sense to send a girl like Ernst or Dowell just to get them familiar with the international stage. Both Ernst and Dowell could be great team gymnasts and may need to step up in the coming years especially if injuries continue to be such a problem for some of our top girls.

    Also, I would be concerned about McKayla's endurance in the AA given that she's only competed her two pet events all year thus far that I've seen. Given that she's a favorite for the VT title again and a definite medal contender on FX I would think it would make more sense not to tire her out with warmups + 2 full routines on each apparatus before she even gets to EFs!

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    1. Well, so many have dropped out of the all-around race, like Lexie and Ebee. The girls who are left like Nichols and Ernst are not quite there for an all-around spot yet. Dowell has improved SO MUCH but did not show that she deserved to do the all-around, at this worlds at least. And her bars have not been that great.

      But very valid points! I myself feel a little torn because while I want the 4th spot to go to someone for experience..and was hoping for Kocian..I'm greedy and any more chances to see Maroney in person if she could possibly make it to finals are good news in my book.

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    2. but you could make the argument mckayla has worked just as hard to come back from injury to be competitive with them. it's hard to make those judgements because if you took girls to worlds based on effort rather than performance you might be hypothetically taking dowell instead of biles, nichols instead of ross.... it just wouldn't happen nor would you pick a team based on effort of training because that doesn't necessarily produce results.

      but I agree- don't take mckayla for AA unless she can deliver. maybe she can but doubtful.

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    3. Yeah you could, it's just that most of the others have competed in the AA 5 (6 Simone) times this year while McKayla hasn't at all. We'll see, Marta wouldn't say if if she wasn't looking very good on bars and beam.

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    4. OP here! I didn't mean to suggest McKayla hasn't worked as hard as other girls. Her work ethic is seriously impressive - she seems to me to be back in top form in the post-Olympic year following serious disappointment and several injuries. I just meant that I felt like it would be disrespectful to other team members to take McKayla as an AAer and leave everyone else at home when she has yet to show full bars/beam routines, especially considering Marta seems to like the girls to have verified their abilities/routines in competition prior to attending Worlds.

      Definitely don't want to be one of those fans who gets all "but [gymnast] works SO HARD!!11!!1!1! ;____;" any time someone isn't selected to a major team, haha.

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    5. Yeah, I suspect McKayla must have looked very good in camp on those events, and she was doing podium training for bars and beam as well. Plus she has the experience and generally (London EF aside) competes quite well and doesn't headcase, so I can see why Marta might be less concerned that she hasn't competed the routines than for say a first year senior

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    6. I'm liking McKayla's shap half! It looked very neat, and she got a lot of swing out of it. She could do a laidout gienger too with the height she gets. Her swing looked easier, not as much of a fight as it usually does- not amazing, but she could score maybe 14.4ish with it with no mistakes.

      Yes, I see both sides. She hasn't competed the AA when everyone else has 5-6 times, but then- she must be showing herself capable of beating or equalling their all-around performances, which coupled with her experience and mettle...

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  6. If there was a spot of experience, I believe it would go to Ernst.

    Dowell has improve so so so much, but something to keep in mind is Dowell is graduating this year and I believe she's committed Oklahoma so she may just decided to go to school next year. Ernst on the other hand is only going to be a junior so she still could help USA out in 2014. Especially since the USA is not getting some of their best juniors (Bailie,Nia) until 2015.

    Something else I noticed is that Maggie Nichols is only 15 and going to be a sophomore so she's a lot younger than some of the other juniors. She's actually closer in age to Amelia, so in that respect she is doing pretty well. I think if she improves she could also have a shot at 2014 worlds

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    1. Yes, that would be something to keep in mind- I myself have no idea of the ages and grades in high school, not being American. That said, I doubt she has worked so hard with so many upgrades so she can go to college that quickly!

      I'm thinking Maggie and Peyton could be dark horses who solidly help the team..

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  7. MG Elite gymnasts are inconsistent. They fall a lot. Look at their history. Every one of them were advanced to Elite at a fast rate by their reckless coach Maggie Haney. Her gymnasts fall a lot and have bad form and execution. She piles on the difficulties to absorb or hide the bad execution. I am iffy on this coach. Just look at her facial expression (the coach) when her gymnast falls. It says all. She always look pissed-off.

    Ariana Agrapides only practice Vault. She is terrible at the rest and constantly falls on Beam and Bars. She is not Elite-ready. Laurie Hernandez is inconsistent. She is sometimes ON and sometimes OFF. Very unpredictable. I think she is overrated. What do you do or what usually happens when you build a house on bad foundation? MG Elite gymnasts have very bad foundation. Just look at how each one of them got to Elite. All of them skip a lot of levels in a hurry. Their third elite gymnast (Jazmyn Foberg) falls a lot too. She's not Elite-ready. Maggie Haney is reckless.

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    1. I'd be very hesitant to write off gymnasts so young. I know that Laurie was inconsistent last year, but this year..she stormed the Parkettes Classic, fell on a new beam series at Classics..and hit everything else. 15/16 routines hit, don't write her off as inconsistent. Simone's record is substantially lower and she's the national champion. Laurie has years ahead of her to improve in every respect, and so do Jazmyn and Ariana..maybe they aren't cut out for elite, I haven't seen enough of them- especially not Jazmyn..but Ariana is a spectacular vaulter and very strong on floor, she could well be a viable specialist.

      I don't get any bad impression off Maggie at all. I'm not saying you're not right, perhaps they are being rushed...but Ariana is ready on two events, and Laurie certainly on floor. It's very very different from Mykayla Skinner and HER bad foundation. I don't notice bad form from the MG girls, they are not exquisite and perfect in every way..but they don't stand out in that regard.

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  8. The Russians are worrying me with their lack of endurance. Nabs looked like she was dying on floor in the Russia Cup though her form actually seemed OK. Not great, but not disgusting either. I don't like the music. Paseka also looked exhausted during floor. I agree, not getting the Amanar probably rules out a Worlds spot. Nabs has done herself a lot of favours by getting a reasonably decent floor though.

    I'm not worried about Mustafina, she always brings her A game when she has to, and Afan is inconsistent but appears to be in pretty good shape compared to the rest and has done pretty well this year except on bars. Grishina is sadly beautiful but so inconsistent, while Nabs and Paseka are not so beautiful but far less headcasey. Plus now it's not even sure if Komova will be mentally ready for competition. Ack!

    Without Komova in the mix I think I can see the team being Mustfina, Afan, Grishina and Nabs. But giving Afan an AA place is a bit of a waste of a bars spot, when Grishina and Nabs are both EF material. With Komova in then I think it will be Mustafina and Komova doing AA, Afan doing floor and vault, and Grishina probably gets the spot over Nabs because she beats Nabs on beam and has higher difficulty on bars.. unless Nabs has more.

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    1. Aaand, Komova is even more unlikely to be at worlds. Diagnosis now pretty much confirmed as viral meningitis.

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  9. Larisa Iordache's presence in Alphen aan den Rijn is uncertain, as the athlete "currently being under treatment".

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    1. Yeah I'm hoping she's okay in time, or at least goes to Osijek. She has competed 3 times this year, but it's such an ideal opportunity for upgrades- like her bars!

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  10. I am not sure what's going on with the Russians. They seriously lack depth and endurance is a problem. What have they changed so much since Alexandrov was let go as head coach as to why they lack endurance?

    Paseka needs to improve fast because she has had Afan and Nabs defeat her on her best event - the vault. Sure she is starting to do well on bars and occasionally floor; however, she is no way going to medal on those events with a strong field, so she has a lot of work ahead.

    With Komova and Grishina ill, and Afan can be hot and cold although she has been doing well this year, it puts pressure on Mustafina to perform and bring the medals.

    Poor Dementieva, her injuries just really took her out and plus I don't think she gets treated fairly but the Rodionenko's, so if she does retire, I wonder what she would do.

    So Gabby Douglas has left Chow's then and moved to LA? I guess doesn't surprise me, they are now more famous, so she probably wants to do some entertainment things than really hard training.

    With all the illness etc, we might as well wait until next year to really judge any of the athletes, esp Russians and Romanians.

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    1. The Russian and Romanian juniors look good, so I think this year (as with most post-Olympic years) will be a bit shaky. It is always difficult to tell about the Olympics at the start of a new cycle. I thought the Americans would be incredibly strong this Worlds but it hasn't really worked out that way with lots of injuries, inconsistency from Biles and the format of the Worlds, of course.

      But I definitely am a bit worried about the Russians - Svetlana Boginskaya had an interview awhile back where she was saying how politics within the coaching team is leading to lack of conditioning. Demy's probably is her inconsistency, Nabs has been quite solid lately which bodes well for her. Alla Sosnitskaya appears to be improving and I think she has potential on floor, maybe vault and beam in future.

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    2. In general, endurance and conditioning is a weak point with the Russians. They just haven't kept up with the rigours of gymnastics as much as other countries. They have the style, and often the skills, but for some of them more than others- it's as if it's built on a shallow base. Komova is the embodiment of this, and so too is Afan in her own way. It's not really something Alexandrov's leaving would have affected.

      Paseka has just been handed a lifeline by the news that Grishina will not go to worlds because of back pain (Valentina Rodionenko is the source here and despite how that paints a picture..that is pretty damning news and I highly doubt they'd retract it) and by Komova's break from training after illness. If Komova isn't ready in time, Afan would do the AA and Nabieva and Paseka would share the event finals between them. If Komova is ready but only for beam and bars, Paseka is the logical gap-filler there. But if she's fighting fit for the all-around, Nabieva will get the last spot I think. That's an awful lot more chances than she had before to get on this time.

      Gabby is following her family pretty much and has bought (or her money has bought, with the whole being a minor thing) a house there. She's thinking of staging a serious comeback with Chow in 2015 which is WAY TOO LATE. She'd be incredibly valuable for bars alone next year..sigh. There is more info about this but I can't divulge it yet.

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    3. Annnnd...2 minutes after I write this post, it is confirmed that Tatiana Nabieva, winning 5/6 golds at Russian Cup..has secured the third place on the Russian team! The last place is of course in reserve for Komova.

      ...I get to see her expressions...live! So excited!

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    4. I am happy for Nabieva, I always liked her. As for the Russians endurance, yeah they seemed to have it, but this year it is showing even more than usual. Last couple years it was understandable as they seemed to have injuries before big meets, but this year not as much, maybe they aren't getting enough rest..

      As for Gabby, 2015 is definitely too late, that can't cut it, too many people in America to try and overcome and she would have too much to do. Hmm interesting you said that, because I read an article where Chow's wife said, she doubts Gabby would call him again or something to that effect.

      http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130821/SPORTS/130821013/Gabrielle-Douglas-no-longer-living-training-Iowa

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    5. I'm definitely glad that Nabs gets a chance at Worlds, she has really staged quite a good comeback after being on the fringes of the team for awhile. To her credit she is usually quite consistent. Wonder if this means that Afan is definitely doing the AA, or whether it's still possible that Komova might do it. But if she is not really ready, might be best to split up the events with Nabs and let Afan do AA.

      So jealous that you get to see her live!! That sounds incredible! I'm back to the UK for the next few years to do a PhD so I'm hoping to be able to go for Glasgow Worlds.. I've never been to a comp before as I only really got into gymnastics last year.

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    6. I love that she's doing the Podkopayeva vault- it's basically the Lopez except piked. It's sooo pretty, my favourite vault. She looks bored and uninterested on floor but her tumbles are quite good- super high triple full for example. I'd love if she could make bars finals (with no Komova) but I'd think the rest are far too deep for her, even vault.

      Yes go! I'm going too. You can get a super cheap flight, probably cheaper than a train. Unless you drive yourself of course. And Antwerp will be my first meet, and Glasgow the second. I am a fan since 2011 only..kinda gutted that I could have gone to 2009 and 2010 worlds!

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  11. Hey Catherine, I heard from thecouchgymnast that Romania will be sending Izbasa and Chelaru to Interland, not Iordache and Bulimar. Are they injured? I thought Chelaru retired after the Olympics...

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    1. http://www.romgym.ro/?p=18750
      It's supposed to be Izbasa and Bulimar I think..

      What I've heard is that Chelaru retired but came back early this year.

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    2. That is odd, but as R. posted, the Romanian gymnastics federation themselves are saying Bulimar, and also have a reason why Iordache isn't going- so it was supposed to be a final test for all 3 before Antwerp. Iordache has had some minor issues with her back which is affecting how well she trains (this was said by Bellu around Doha/Euros) and of course, the plandular fasciitis last year which wrecked everything...I don't know if that has made a comeback or if it's about her back, but basically she's not going to be at this meet because she's having treatment and it's uncertain (about her appearance).

      Chelaru did come back after retiring, but I'm almost certain she's not at Izvorani training now and that she either left to her old gym or retired altogether. The seniors are Iordache, Bulimar, Izbasa, Stanila and Ocalisan. Dana Andrei has retired. Romania are dancing in the street that there isn't a team competition this year as they could not actually field a full worlds team of 6. It's sad, but they have awesome juniors coming up through the ranks!

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  12. Hi Catherine! I am pretty sure that just Diana and Sandra are competing at Interland. I am very excited to see Sandra again. Larisa told me that she was injured and hopes to be okay for Worlds. She also told me that she will not compete at Interland.

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    1. Larisa told you???? Eh what, more details please on you and your new bff!

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    2. BTW I got my comment thing to work by using Open ID instead WordPress.

      Well, yes, Larisa told me. Larisa and Diana had both woken up for training on Diana's birthday. They direct messaged me on twitter. I asked Larisa about her injury and that is what she said.

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