Sunday 2 March 2014

They want the Brazillian good stuff: American Cup

Thank you, Al Trautwig, for that quote- referencing Ebee. Always reliable for that kind of thing.

I can't deny that the withdrawal of Simone Biles and Larisa Iordache sucked a lot of the excitement out of this competition for me. I was also a little miffed that there were no new seniors. It's a great competition to make a debut, up against the Americans who don't compete much internationally, and in time to make adjustments for competitions like Euros or for national competitions. Last year saw the triumphant unveiling of Simone Biles herself, Katelyn Ohashi and Gabby Jupp. Nevertheless, this year's competition still had a very decent lineup, despite snubbing by three of the big four.

The competition itself was a bit scrappy, but that's to be expected at this time of year, I tell myself.


The scoring! Notice that only five e-scores, vault aside, were higher than 8.5. We can of course attribute that to falls and mishaps, but it also points to logical scoring. This also happened last year but still a bit out of kilter then. It's refreshing. Long live the not-so-Scam.

Ebee Wow! Phenomenal routines from her, really her best ever bars and beam I think. An utterly deserving American Cup champion who left no room either for her competition or for any 'if only' about the placing. Untouchable. Not to mention sticking her bars and beam dismounts and her double double - Chellsie Memmel '08 Trials style. Loving how her amplitude on her layout on beam has improved especially. She looks so ready to storm onto the Nanning team and be incredibly useful there.

Bars look to be getting more interesting in general with more people taking advantage of cool connections. You've got Ebee's Church-Bail, Brenna Dowell's Tweddle-Ezhova, Roxana Popa's Maloney-between bars Gienger and Ray-Pak, Victoria Moors' Ricna-Pak and Sophie Scheder's inbar-fest. Also liking the rejuvenation of lesser used releases like the previously mentioned Ricna and Giulia Steingruber's Khorkina.

Brenna Dowell's bars in general. Better handstands than she had been showing recently and she managed the Ezhova very well, not letting it throw her off course. Really strong routine and the composition is tough, leaves her open for deductions but even with that, I think she could have been given a tenth or so higher and it would have been reasonable.

Victoria Moors' floor. Showing everyone not just what great choreography looks like but fluidity. It flows so beautifully and that's so rare to see these days. Very good job on her eponymous skill too but I still wish she'd dump it to score higher with a beautiful tucked version.

Roxana Popa's second pass. YES. I drool over this thing and the crowd went wild, appropriately.

Sophie Scheder's bars. Beautiful, quite different to others in its composition and such a gorgeous line to show off with.

Floor was strong for almost everyone, with some nice tumbling on display. A piked double front here, two tucked and one laidout double double, several flighty double layouts...awesome.

Not-so highlights

Falls. Sophie Scheder sitting her vault and crashing her 2.5 twist. In general, she showed herself as a specialist yesterday, but it's a little early to say that for sure. Roxana Popa having to jump off bars after slamming her feet into the ground on her Pak after such glorious bars work right before - so upsetting. I was really hoping she could edge into the medals. Carlotta Ferlito falling off beam.

The broadcast. I couldn't get my way around the geoblock to watch the Youtube broadcast, so I was stuck with NBC. Minimal gymnastics, far too much faffing around watching gymnasts drink water. Bleughh. Or my favourite, back after an ad break to see someone drink water, then another ad break. STAHHHP.

Good/Mixed/Bad Day For:

Ebee of course. Stellar routines.
Brenna Dowell Some mishaps, a non-steady beam and a big OOB on floor but overall she fought very well and got silver for good reason.
Victoria Moors Stayed on beam, showed off her upgrades and dazzled everyone on floor.
Giulia Steingruber So solid, and a well-earned bronze.

Mixed Day For:
Vanessa Ferrari Vault is not her friend and beam didn't go her way, yet such a great floor. It's amazing that she can still tumble and perform like that at the end of a competition.
Roxana Popa Great routines but huge mistakes on bars dragged her right down, though she recovered so well afterwards. She also missed her Memmel on floor.

Bad Day For:
Carlotta Ferlito had weak and mediocre routines, AND a fall. So thankful that NBC reined themselves in with no mention of previous controversy.
Sophie Scheder: Super disappointing vault and floor from her, despite bars being so great.


Actual best score: Vanessa Ferrari
Favourite: Roxana Popa even though her expression was a bit lacking
Second favourite: Victoria Moors

Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Sophie Scheder
Second favourite: Brenna Dowell

Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Victoria Moors
Second favourite: Giulia Steingruber

Actual best score: Ebee
Favourite: Ebee/Roxana Popa
Second favourite: Giulia Steingruber


1st- Roxana. Source- Kindly provided by Carmen Popa :)
It just rocks- deep purple bodice colour, white accents, the neckline, the back, use of mesh. 
2nd- Giulia. Copyright- USAG/John Cheng

Classy, and so suited to her- elegant design, but also a bit badass just like her.

3rd- Ebee. Copyright- USAG/John Cheng
Love the colour of this, and the design is nicely balanced.

I wrote this in a comment in the last post, but I'll stick with a general summation of: It wasn't a very exciting competition, but it was interesting.

Who was your favourite? How awesome are Sophie Scheder's and Giulia Steingruber's beam dismounts? Can you believe there actually wasn't a gross leotard?


  1. Hi Catherine - I have to agree - not the most thrilling of competitions, but a better cup than previous ones in terms of fairness (perhaps). On scoring, I have to agree with you, the E scores were pretty appropriate. However, ATTAC (is this what we're supposed to call it?) turned FIG sponsored, so perhaps there was some cracking down by international (non-American) judges. I asked my friend who is a code genius to help me with D scores because I think there was a problem or two on BB. Although the E scores were good and I'm sure no one achieves full difficulty on beam, Steingruber, Moors and Ferrari were under by what I calculated on excel. I'll get back to you if I discover a D score conspiracy or not.

    In other scores, I noticed Dowell's bars didn't score high enough at this meet to have qualified to UB finals at Antwerp over Biles... Just throwing that out there. In podium training she managed to connect a toe-on 1/1 pirouette to the shaposh element (D+D, CV 0.1). If she hits it in future events she'll match Price's 6.5 difficulty on UB (it would also replace a C element).

    Also, I'm glad that Scheder finally got an E score she 150% deserved in Antwerp on her amazing UB set. 8.666 in E! I think it could still be higher!

    Other stuff, Ferlito's music! I think the American crowd liked Ferlito's music more than any piece of gymnastics at the American Cup. Honestly, I liked it too though. I also liked the clapping cue - to force the audience to clap for her. You could tell when everyone was clapping for her, she started to enjoy the routine too.

    Love Steingruber's eponymous beam dismount. Love Steingruber in general.

    1. Yes, I think it becoming a world cup has really helped with the scoring. 2011, 12 scoring is sort of hilarious.

      Interesting about d-scores.

      Yes, Simone scored so well in Antwerp that it'd be tough for someone to knock her out of a TF lineup. Kyla, Ebee, Simone is my lineup.

      Scheder has some issues with handstands and one or two tiny issues, it was much more noticeable than it ever has been in the youtube video angle. They really are glorious bars she has though.

      Yes, they enjoyed that! Her tumbling wasn't the best but she really sold it.

    2. Brenna stil has some room for upgrades on bars. The toe-on 1/1 as you pointed out, maybe a shaposh 1/2 and the church is screaming connection since she caches it so well.

    3. Yep although I'd hope ironing out handstand issues and the Ezhova would take priority.

    4. The D differences on beam are reasonable, in my opinion, except for Ferrari's where after days I can't figure it out. Popa Nedelcu was the only athlete awarded full difficulty.

      Price and Scheder missed 0.1. Steingruber lost 0.3. Moors, Ferlito and Dowell missed 0.4. Ferrari lost 0.5 (she initially lost 0.7 in D but then got 0.2 added to her score).

      Price lost either the switch+switch 1/2 connection (most likely) or the front aerial+johnson connection. This also means she was awarded full difficulty on the layout to two feet.

      Scheder lost front aerial+A leap connection

      Steingruber likely suffered a downgrade of the layout to two feet (E->D) which also loses the 0.1 B+E connection for -0.2 total. She also lost either switch mount+front aerial or the switch + side somi connection.

      Moors I'm still confused on, so I'd welcome opinions. She competed split leap+1/2 switch (A+D); bhs+layout (B+E CV 0.1); switch ring (E), side aerial (D), front aerial+split leap (D+A CV 0.1); wolf turn x 2 (D); side somi (D); 1/1 double back (G), Base 3.7, CV 0.2, Comp 2.5, D = 6.4

      To get 6.0, she could have suffered a down graded layout (B+D no CV, -0.2), a downgraded switch ring (E -> C, -0.2). Or she missed the D+A salto combo and the switch ring only lost 1 in DV. I can't make another -0.4 out of her routine. Thoughts?

      Ferlito may also suffered a switch ring downgrade, she definitely lost 0.1 for the sissone+side aerial. If she lost the switch ring leap, it would have become a switch leap - which cannot be counted twice. A bhs or round off would then be counted (E -> B, -0.3). Another possibility is that she did not receive any of her connections, but I thought the bhs+bhs+LOSO (SB 0.1) and front aerial+sheep were fluid.

      Dowell missed her connections (front tuck mount+sissone, switch leap+kochetkova; -0.1 each) and suffered a downgraded layout (-0.2). She honestly needs to learn another dance element on beam - she counted an A leap towards her score.

      Ferrari's score is the most confusing. She competed jump to planche (C); bhs+bhs+back tuck (B+B+C, SB 0.1); sissone+front aerial+sheep (A+D+D, CV 0.3); switch leap+split ring leap (C+D, CV 0.1); full turn (A); switch ring leap (E); and double pike dismount (E). Acro E D C, Dance E D D C, Other (Planche) C. Base 3.1, CV 0.5, Comp 2.5 for 6.1. She got 5.6 which is a difference of 0.5 - she definitely missed the sissone to front aerial (put foot down), so I was looking for -0.4. These are possible downgrades that the D panel could make:

      - Missed front aerial+sheep, -0.2 CV (looks fluid)
      - slow bhs+bhs connection, breaking series bonus -0.1 SB (I thought hers was very fluid)
      - switch ring, if leg below horizontal -1DV, if ring position problems in addition, downgrade to switch. The second down grade costs more, as Ferrari counts a switch already, so E for B (bhs) is -0.3 total.
      - Insufficient ring or lead leg below horizontal, -1 DV (she retains 0.1 for C+C dance). If there were no ring, she would lose the skill, but she definitely had that.

      Anyway, I'm not sure what they took in the end on Ferrari's beam. My best guess is -1 DV on each split leap with ring and the sheep connection.

    5. Thank you! Very interesting. Not the greatest of competitions for Ferrari, she was doing a layout the whole time and then whipped out that tuck at the last minute.

  2. I thought Moors looked lacking, to be honest. She had a rough time on bars between the Pak (where she might have hit her feet on the ground? I'm not sure) and the dismount, which was most definitely piked and deserved to be downgraded.

    Ebee hada great day and I'm really happy for her. Watching Brenna nail her bars set was also really nice, but I think her e-score was completely justified - she had some missed handstands and quite a few leg separations. I hope she improves tremendously and makes the Nanning team! Also, I really hope she changes her floor music...I literally have to mute the video when I watch it, which is a shame as she's a solid tumbler.

    It's a shame Scheder didn't hit more of her other routines outside of bars, but oh how I LOVE her bar work. Seriously. She's the bomb. I'm liking all of the varied routines as well. Also, I love Guilia Steingruber and I want her to win more medals. That is all.

    1. She's normally more off off-season. I thought all things considered she looked pretty good for the time of year and has improved a good bit over the last year. Hopefully she's even better at Pac Rims.

      Well, Sophie and Ebee have their fair share of small form issues, so I thought by contrast Brenna deserved a small bit more. A fair score, yes, but could have been slightly higher and it still would have been fair. I also thought they were a bit conservative with Ebee's floor score.

    2. Oh yeah, really agree about Brenna's music. It's far, far too fast.

  3. I just have to point out that my jaw dropped after Moors' beam dismount.

    1. Yes, really nicely done and higher chest position!

  4. Catherine, I got an idea for a post. How about making one with the top 'something' most WTF scores per year.

    1. Haha I considered this last year but it required more research than I had time for. Something to keep track of during this year, but this competition was so moderate. I'll have to wait for Romanian Nationals for the truly bizarre.

  5. Ebee looked great, what a storming performance for her. Lovely aggressive but very precise bars work with great swing and flight, sky high Amanar no problem, and love her floor routine. She's not a natural dancer but great cheoro and music and she really gets into it and sells the heck out of it. Beam is still her weakest and wouldn't be used in a TF situation I think but she has good difficulty on it and is very solid on landings, just tends to be short on the leaps.

    If anything I'd say not-so-SCAM did Brenna no favours. She really needed to prove herself and really what is letting her down now is her beam - 5.2 is a pretty crap D-score. She's actually reasonably solid on her landings but seems to drop connections, why?? I do like her guts at doing the Tweddle-Ezhova and it certainly looked much better there than in podium training but it's still not enough to make me feel very confident about it. And it has a lower D score and is far less clean than Ebee's bars.. if she's trying to eye the bars spot, she's not my top pick especially with all the other bars/beam specialist wannabes in the US now. And as AA, she's still at least only third or fourth in the US at this point, even without Aly or Jordyn back.

    Agree with you on pretty much everything else. I still like Roxana, she recovers well and it's such a pity about the Pak, storming floor routine as always. I feel like Sophie could do more, I agree she seems like a one eventer now but I feel like she could at least try for a bars and beam specialist role, her lines look lovely on beam and clever connections etc could really bump up her D-score. It still amazes me how Mustafina manages to get her beam D score as high as she does even though she seems to do so little up on it haha.

    I've booked my plane and competition tickets for Euros!! Didn't realise there wasn't a separate team final day for juniors and that it's just quals, because I won't be there in time. Scheduled to arrive on the 15th, which is the day of seniors quals (though I might not go for that and explore the city a bit instead)... but getting really excited!

    1. I would agree that Brenna has not further advanced her cause from this meet. However I thought she did well to get through her bars without mishap and banish other issues from podium training too. No, her beam would never be used. I do love her Kotchetkova though. I think she has a fantastic bars routine in her but isn't there yet obviously.

      Woohoo! Ah, well you'll see their EF at least, not sure about AA. Yeah or even watch a good subdivision for senior quals and skip the rest.

    2. I think American Cup did Dowell a lot of favors - Dowell hit a good vault and a good bar set, which will only hopefully improve from here. Her floor is honestly useable too (so long as she doesn't explode out of bounds).

      As Catherine discussed in an earlier post, the core of USA's Nanning's team is likely to be Biles, Ross and Price. This core easily fills 2 VT, 3 UB, 3 BB* and 2 FX. However, there are three more spots on the team. I would take Dowell here to use on some events to allow Price and Biles to rest some. Similarly (and I expect), the other specialists could be brought on to help the gymnasts rest a bit.

      *Price got 14.566 for beam at American Cup - a huge improvement from Glasglow (13.8ish) and Stuggart (13.5). I think this elevates her to more than useful in TF on BB. Among the other potential beamers from the USA, Bauman, Kocian, Ernst, Hults, Shchennikova, Desch and Finnegan have yet to hit a beam set worth as much**.

      **Finnegan in 2012, but not recently at least. Baumann topped 14.566 at the WOGA classic on BB, but she had big checks on two elements, so I don't think she would achieve 14.850 with FIG judges.

    3. The only events Brenna would be chosen to would be FX and UB. Right now she can't beat Lexie for FX, and bars are already full, the only way she could be a factor in this team would be cleaning up on UB big time so she can challenge for a spot in EF or if Mckayla does not make the team for vault. It would take a miracle to make her a factor on floor, she is not consistent enough on it.

    4. I understand what you're saying - I didn't mean to say Dowell gets picked over a VT or FX specialist in TF, but she is useable on both events (amanar, 6-ish SV on FX) needed and a great back up on UB which puts her on the team in my book. This year's team is for 6 gymnasts - 5 are allowed to compete in qualifications for events, so I believe Dowell makes a strong case for herself especially now with Price's improvement on beam, an UB/BB specialist really isn't as required. If they decide to rest any of the gymnasts, I'm sure they would put in Dowell, or as you said, Maroney or Priessman.

    5. It depends where Maroney and Priessman are at. And how any UB/BB specialists that could outscore Simone's UB are coming along. Neither Lexie, Ebee, Maroney or Dowell should do beam so that's a gap there.

    6. I thought only 4 gymnasts would compete in qualificaton. That gives Brenna a chance of making the team. How many gymnasts compete in team final?

    7. 6 in the team, 5 up in qualifications, 4 scores count. In team final, regular 3 up 3 count.

  6. First of all... no more calling it SCAM anymore... No matter the bobbles (Except a fall), an american wouldn't have scored a 13 on beam to years ago...

    Ok, I am in love with Sophie's double twist on floor. I really love her and she does have potential on everything. Except vault. I don't want her to become a specialist.

    Ebee is the kind of gymnast that never makes you feel nervous before you see a routine. Her vault is just so impressive. And her bars make me feel she could actually get to the Worlds final.

    Whie I do get nervous before I see Brenna compete, she has this attitude that just makes you wanna hug her. I will die if she doesn't make the worlds team. Front tumbling is my obsession.

    I actually don't think Tori should remove the Moors from her routine. She just has to keep working on it and finally make the Worlds final.

    I met Giulia after the Mexican gala a few months ago. She is literally the sweetest gymnast ever. I want to see the amanar from her. Imagine her d-score. No way she wouldn't get a medal then.

    I really enjoyed the American Cup but having one of my top 5 current gymnast (Iordache) drop out days before was heartbreaking.

    1. I'm fairly sure Tori will drop the Moors at worlds, but this is just a world cup, she's experimenting with the skill. It was such a stupid decision to do it in the qualifying in antwerp, I think she's learned her lesson.
      The thing would change if she could improve her endurance and replaced one of her D acro elements with the tucked double double, that would bring her D score up 4 tenths and would tie her with Simone on difficulty.

    2. I didn't follow your reasoning regarding Moors' routine, but I am intrigued because I may be thinking the same thing. Do you want her to compete the Moors, a Silivas, the 3/2 indirect to triple and a D tumble in her exercise?

      I've been thinking she probably has the stamina to make three big passes: Chusovitina, Silivas, and 3/2 indirect to triple. I wouldn't risk the Moors in case it gets downgraded to Silivas by the D panel judges. Then use the rest of her time for her lovely dance and count four C leaps/spins or even a D dance element if she can manage it. Assuming she does 4 C elements for dance, she would get (H H E C C C C C, 3.6 base, 0.2 CV, for 6.3). She could really only go up from there. A lot of people say to add spins, but I think they're too much risk.

    3. Yes you got it. Do you think her Moors could be downgraded? It's not exactly straight, but not tucked, it's really piked actually. Maybe she should submit the double double pike ..

    4. Since we're already talking about her, have you seen this?

    5. Whoa that would be really cool up on the beam! I like Moors a lot. She already has two skills named for her in the code, she obviously works hard on (and exceeds at) the artistry aspect and her difficulty is fantastic. I hope she has more success in the coming year.

    6. I don't believe she will drop the Moors. She's even competing it off-season. Hopefully she can straighten her bodyline in time as until she does, I will half-wish for the tucked version since the extra 0.1 really isn't worth it.

      YES, love the 1/4 arabian. It look me a good while from descriptions to understand what it was (couldn't watch PT) but when the video went up it all became clear. I presume that is a skill for later in the year since she only practiced it on floor.

  7. I was just so relieved that Brenna was able to do her new release on the bars. I think I was able to enjoy the rest of the competition so much more, despite other bobbles, just because Brenna was able to do her bars so well! Sweet relief. Catherine, I just love Chow and his gymnasts and was so excited to see that Rachel Gowey got an international assignment right off the bat! Do you have any thoughts on her gymnastics? Really I don't suppose we've seen too much to comment on but she had to have had a great camp to get an assignment from Marta so quickly! I don't even think she's on the national team.

    1. Exactly, I was so happy she successfully nailed that bars routine. I thought Gowey was moreso BB/FX but her video says different. Indeed she is not on the national team as of yet. Jesolo is nominative, but check my new post for more on that and Gowey.

  8. Catherine, did you see anything from the Welsh Championships? susanw1984 's channel on youtube has some videos including really promising stuff from Whelan, Tunney and Harrold. Whelan competed side aerial+LOSO+LOSO on beam! AMAZING

    1. Hannah also did that at a world cup last year. Doha? Maybe a later one. I LOVE that series, and it's so valuable- worth 0.4. Awesome. I'm loving Tunney's Church-Bhardwaj, have not seen Harrold's floor yet.

    2. The same channel has Harrold's Floor. It's a bummer she a rough time hitting her tumbles, but I enjoyed the music and her interpretation of it.

      I didn't know Whelan competed the series before! It's incredibly hard and well worth all the bonus CV points she'll get for it. If she adds a D dismount, she'll receive 6.3 for her routine - well deserved.

    3. Must watch that, she can hopefully improve for British Championships and moreso for Euros, plenty of time :)

      There is another series worth 0.5 I heard recently, front aerial- something-Ruflova I believe?

    4. side aerial+LOSO+ruflova is worth 0.5 (0.4 CV, 0.1 SB), but I don't know if this was ever competed. It seems a side salto into any kind of swing down would be very dangerous, let alone 1/1 swing down. Yang Bo competed a BHS+LOSO+ruflova and made it look easy, so perhaps it's possible.

      I would also love to see a side aerial+kochetkova+onodi some day - or even just the kochetkova+onodi - but I imagine that would be near impossible and too much risk for a difficult combination so long as D+D saltos are equivalent to slow D Acro + D Dance combinations in CV.

      (I find the mixed connections to be beautiful sometimes, but they are seemingly easier with rebound or just keeping the foot off the beam).

  9. Hey Catherine - I saw your comment on GTT's blog about healthcare and I didn't really want to post this there and face the overwhelmingly negative backlash I'd get, but I just wanted to let you know that there is a lot more to the healthcare bill than Ashkay added - it's tremendously helped my family and me and I think it is a step in the right direction. Didn't want to write that over there, though, because I don't think the main few posters would have been happy. :)

    1. It is very hard for me to understand the American healthcare system. Thank you for your input! Hopefully it can be added to/reformed/fixed as needed to really go about overhauling the whole system and making it affordable for everyone, and I'm glad it has helped you and your family.

  10. I actually got to go to Greensboro to watch the American Cup this year, and I think everything you said was spot on. I absolutely LOVED Victoria Moors floor music, and her routine in general. During Carlotta Ferlito's floor routine, the whole arena was so energetic, it was so exciting! Brenna Dowell's bars were fantastic, and the audience went CRAZY when Elizabeth Price finished her beam routine. I love love love Giulia Steingruber, and I think she performed very well. I know it has been months since you posted this, but I've been looking through your blog and I was thrilled to see an entry on the American Cup, so thank you very much!