Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Things to look forward to in 2015

New year's resolution is...blog more often. I can't really do a 'year in review' since a lot of it is blurry, and only worlds received my undivided attention.

Anyway, the new year is just a few hours away now here in GMT, with lots to hopefully look forward to.


NEW SENIORS

First and foremost, we will get a bumper crop of new seniors. Of the entire quad, 2015 has long shown itself to be the year. There are more exhaustive lists, but here is mine. YOG this year offered a good look at some of these, but of course, only one per country and the US were missing. There are plenty of exciting names here, like the trio of Ellie Downie, Tyesha Matthis and Amy Tinkler who are going to inject team GB with much needed depth and difficulty to boost their programme higher, particularly since Rebecca Tunney is having difficulty after injury after difficulty and Hannah Whelan seems to be fading away. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade has been anticipated for years, and Flavia Saraiva has definitely made a more recent name for herself too.

Romania will get Laura Jurca and Andreea Iridon amongst others, while the exciting Seda Tutkhalyan and Daria Mikhailova will swell Russia's much depleted ranks.

One name stands out of course, and that is...

BAILIE KEY

Finally. FINALLY. Not only does she have 'it', Bailie is 'it'. Form, execution, much improved choreography/dance, oodles of difficulty, no weak event, textbook gymnastics. Very ready for an amanar, already has a beam in the mid 6's, floor is over 6 with room to grow, bars have enormous potential and are getting there with steady upgrades. I can almost forgive the really shoddy layout on beam (PLEASE rework her acro line!) because of that glorious Pak on bars. It's just stunning, like much of her work. She'll never be as exciting as for instance, Simone Biles, yet there is something very exciting about how good she is at ticking almost every box. Bailie is a better Kyla, a gymnast worthy of Simone. Her main source of criticism tends to be robotic, dead inside performances. This really improved last year with a much-needed overhaul of her floor routine. Hopefully her expression continues to improve.

Her explosion in height and injury in the last year caused some concern, but she really seems to be paced extraordinarily well. She is clearly not doing anything she's not capable of, everything looks very easy and it's good to focus on the long-term goals to minimise burnout, particularly when the gymnast adds several inches to their height in a short period of time and skills need to go reworked to accommodate that safely.

Bailie can absolutely give Simone a run for her money, and I'm really looking forward to seeing that in action all season. Some people seem to think that the latter may as well give up since she stands no chance now, an attitude which is downright bizarre, with the information we have now as regards difficulty, and certainly in terms of experience, our double world champion has the advantage.

LESS SHITTY TEAM FINAL

One can always hope? The crop of new seniors will have a big hand to play in this. Of course, the US are getting excellent gymnasts like Bailie, Nia Dennis, Alexis Vasquez and others, but the gymnasts other programmes can now count in their ranks should still lessen the gap. Hopefully, Laura Jurca will show improvement on her 2014 performances. Andreea Iridon's bars and beam will be very valuable to Romania, and the lesser known Dora Vulcan should boost the programme too. The premature fizzling out of Madalina Blendea is a big loss though, if only for the beauty of her work.  

For Russia, Maria Bondareva and Anastasia Dmitrieva have been fading for years, so I don't really count them. Seda and Daria will be very welcome, especially if the former bucks up her consistency. It looks like Ksenia Afanasyeva will be back and ready to go for Russia, and there's always the possibility Vika can stay healthy long enough to deliver on bars and beam (NOT AA, that ship has sailed), who knows. Along with Aliya Mustafina and Maria Kharenkova that's a good, strong core for 2015 teams. It would be nice if Evgeniya Shelgunova emerged too..

GB could definitely be in the mix with their new seniors, I expect them to keep building. Chin a on the other hand, don't get their big guns until 2016 but they will get Wang Yan and also Deng Yalan, who is also a much-needed vaulter. Yuan Xiaoyang who should be turning senior also...her status is unclear, and a retirement would not be surprising, unfortunately. An injection of power on their weak events is exactly what will help them.

Can any of the above chase the US? No. But hopefully they can look better while doing so and narrow the massive gap a bit.

THE PRETTY ONES

There's always the gymnasts who aren't exactly going to shine in the medal stakes, but who are just fantastic or highly interesting to watch. Previous examples this quad are Eythora Thorsdottir and Ilaria Kaeslin. Case in point is Sae Miyakawa of Japan who has some seriously floaty work and the seriously elegant Mara Titarsolej of the Netherlands. Also stunning Fan Yilin of China who looks set to make a comeback of sorts after an earlier retreat from the national team, but I'm hoping she can also be successful.

THE UNKNOWN

There will always be surprises. My money is on Lauren Navarro of the US, I have my eye on her and have done since she singlehandedly inspired Marta to bring in hair rules last year. Her routines were fairly average, but brimming with potential to me. I don't see big massive all-around hope, but her beam in particular looks really good. This year's routine was much improved, perhaps cutting off half her hair had an impact. Elements of it are really, really nice, like her toepoint, general ease, and the dismount. There's something about her. I wouldn't be surprised if she surprised, basically.

THE COMEBACKS

Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas have both attended camp and released tempting footage of themselves. I hope we don't have to wait until Classics to see where they're at in terms of full routines, maybe Jesolo? That would be great. I don't really want to see them exhibition at SCAM...I'd prefer a new senior in that particular role. Both gymnasts are immensely talented and seem to be very, very serious. Gabby never reached her peak, and Aly looks like she could get back to hers with ease. Hmmm. As well as that, I'm looking forward to seeing Afan back in action, and hopefully Didi Bulimar.

WORLDS

Ooooo the year before Rio, where we can expect to see gymnasts really showcasing Olympic routines and solidifying new skills. Not to mention what will hopefully be a killer showdown between super-duper gymnasts Simone Biles and Bailie Key, though hopefully with some international input too.

And....I have tickets because it's in my back garden as far as flights are concerned :D Good thing too, since the next major competition in Europe won't be until 2019! It will be extremely interesting to compare against Antwerp. That had a great atmosphere, but I expect bigger numbers of course at this since it's more important. Shiny new arena will be very interesting too, it's huge..


What and who are you looking forward to? How much faith do you have in much-anticipated comebacks? Will SCAM still be a SCAM? Will anyone understand the announcers and locals in Glasgow? CAN Simone triple it? Will Mykayla Skinner do the half-on two and a half off one-handed and live to tell the tale?


129 comments:

  1. Yes! 2015 will be a great year! I'm hoping for a more exciting team final and deeper event finals!

    Team USA will dominate all the way to the Olympics. The only thing that'll hinder them is injuries, but even then they'll form a great team because of their depth. They have consistency, depth, talent, and great coaching. I don't know why, I've just never been a Bailie Key fan. Her execution is perfect and her difficulty is great, but I just can't seem to like her gymnastics (ever felt that way about a gymnast?). I like Nia Dennis more. She's a mix of Biles and Douglas to me. I'm not really familiar with Alexis Vazquez, though...Can you tell me about her? Their Worlds team will be stacked! Biles, Ross, Raisman, Kocian, Dennis, Key, Baumann, Locklear, Skinner (and Maroney and Douglas if they return).

    Romania will look so much better in 2015 than this year. I really hope Bulimar will be back. Apparently, she got injured doing vault again, so I don't think she'll perform vault anymore. But her and Iridon's bars will be essential for them in team finals. A team with Iordache, Bulimar, Iridon, Jurca, and improved and consistent Stanila and Ocolisan will actually be a decent team that's podium worthy in my opinion. What are your thoughts of Romania going into next year?

    I'm not too confident about Russia next year though. If you look at their history, Russia has a track record of producing strong juniors that fade away at the senior level. At the 2006 Junior Euros, Russian juniors Daria Elizarova and Karina Myasnikova dominated the junior ranks but never made a World or Olympic team. At the 2010 Euros, Grishina and Sidorova never accomplished much outside the junior ranks. Not to mention Shelgunova, Baturina, Tipaeva, and Kuzmina are pretty much gone after 2012 Euros. The only time they really had successful juniors turn into successful seniors was from the 2008 Euros (Mustafina, Nabieva, and Dementyeva). So that's why I'm worried about Seda. It would be nice if she transitioned nicely so Russia wouldn't have to rely on their 2008 and 2012 Olympians. By the way, Bondareva, for me, will be kind of useless for Russia because they already have Kharenkova. What do you think of Mustafina's new personal coach? Do you think she'll have a better year? Do you think Afan, Komova, and Grishina will come back?

    I'm really excited for Wang Yan! And I hope that the current Chinese seniors from this year improve. I think Chen Siyi, Tan Jiaxin, and Xie Yufen have so much more potential. I also hope that Chunsong and Jinnan will have a better Worlds (specifically AA wise). Even though their most talented gymnasts will come in 2016, I kind of feel like they wouldn't be picked for the Olympics. China isn't really known for its consistency and having a bunch a first year seniors on the Olympic team is worrying. What are your thoughts?

    I think by next year, GB will break into the Big 4 and establish a Big 5. They have great juniors (like the ones you mentioned). Plus, Hannah Whelan is of no use anymore and Tunney can only give a good bars set and a DTY, but many of the juniors have DTYs so I'm not too confident about her chances. I'm also really hoping Gabby Jupp improves. Her beam and bars will be great for the team. Plus, she's a good AAer. I also think Italy will kind of break into the top groups and make a tighter competition. I really want Enus Mariani to make a comeback. She'll help Italy's bars and AA weakness. But I feel that once Ferrari retires after Rio, Italy will fall as a team. Thought about GB and ITA?

    Sorry this comment is too long!

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    1. I thought event finals were very deep, with the glaring exception of beam which gets worse every year. Hopefully that will perk up this year...

      Yeah, I can understand that. For me, while she is not exciting..her mastery is, if that makes sense. For sure her expression is coming on. I did like Nia more but Nia has stagnated somewhat, helped by injuries. I'm concerned about those, she's had a few. I'd love to see her burst onto the scene, with better beam and bars to match her great floor and vault. That arabian!

      Alexis is a Chow's girl, she's just coming back from injury so she wasn't at her best during the 2014 season, holding back. She's strong on floor and beam, could potentially be AA. I see her as the quiet one, she could be important I feel.

      I feel like Maroney doesn't have much left. SO much struggle and injury! I do see Raisman and Douglas competing AA this year, but not sure how well, how fulfilling to their potential. Very very interesting that pair. Locklear is still valuable on bars and won't be overtaken just yet, although I think Biles will improve hers and boost her value in a team final. Ross...is a bit of a mystery. I'd nearly see her go back to level 10 as easily as I'd see her continuing AA? Skinner needs to focus on execution.

      Bondareva already spectacularly faded of her own accord with no help from the other Maria. I feel Dmitrieva has also. Seda is a wildcard! Her power on vault alone can be relied on, not so sure about beam since she's wild there, though great. It's an interesting match-up, Mustafina and her new coach, but I know nothing about him. Having a MAG coach brings Mukhina immediately to mind although I don't suspect him of being a psycho or anything like that at all. I'm definitely keen to see how they get on with her routines. I see Afan back, Komova possibly but only as a specialist...and Grishina, not.

      Chen Siyi struggled with injuries last year. Tan Jiaxin has a lot to give also, and maybe Huang Huidan can upgrade her beam and make it more valuable. So much uncertainty with this lot! If the 2016 girls continue to improve, then they will be picked. 2008 had a young inexperienced team and it won't hold them back doing the same this time. The younger they are, the less pressure they feel which can only be a good thing.

      Not sure about big 5, but definitely closer! The new girls are not brilliant with execution and will need to show improvement there. Yes, would love to see Gabby Jupp right in the mix. Italy...still don't have the depth to do that I don't think. I'm not too sure, they can be surprising!

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    2. For some reason you have some strange opinions on Kyla! (Please don't take that comment the wrong way - I do love your blog, thoughts and comments - it's just that I'm always surprised about your comments on her.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with level 10, but it's a totally different path - Kyla is an olympic gold medalist and has something like 3 world silvers, 1 world gold and 1 world silver, not to mention tons of pan american, jeslo and national medals. She's been an elite since she was tiny - I don't think she'd go to level 10 at this point b/c it is a totally different experience. I see her aiming to be a bars and beam specialist if she can get that spot and then retiring to college, but either way she's had a really successful career as an elite.

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    3. Haha yeah, I never know what to make of her. A very successful elite and I suppose I do expect her to be around until Rio BUT I am very conscious that she has an uphill battle to stay healthy and that she's set on NCAA, so on the other hand it would make total sense to step back and preserve herself for that.

      With her height and the injuries she's had, she's downgraded and always looks laboured off season, and sometimes in season. It's why I'm never certain that she'll stick around.

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    4. I am someone who loves Kyla too, but I am with Catherine in that she has benefited from the lucky breaks and a very low quality of competitors. her situation is similar to when Bridget Sloan was the baby Olympian. then what's the girl that shined during 2009/2010. but by the time the 2 most important years came by she had peak or whats injured and never recovered. quite frankly the similarities are uncanny. and I am afraid that Kyla is going to get pass this year. the pool is too deep and the talents are greater than her. I cannot frankly find a apparatus in which she will be top 3 if everyone is healthy and hitting. She will have to depend on injuries and inconsistency.

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    5. I don't disagree that it won't be tough competition for Kyla to make it to Rio (I'm the original anon who posted 4:39), but I definitely disagree with Catherine's comment that she could see Kyla going to level 10. No way - can you think of any Olympic champion (or even World Champion?) that drops back to level 10 competition? That seemed somewhat belittling to Kyla's career (again, not b/c there is anything wrong with level 10 - those gymnasts are amazing, but b/c it is a much different experience). That's mostly what I meant in my opinion that Catherine's comment was strange, though I admit that I am more optimistic that Kyla will make the 2015 World's Team as a bar/beam specialist if she's healthy. I do think she has the skills, the competitive mentality and the wisdom of Jenny/Howie who are pacing/protecting her. But I don't think it's a given either! There are so many possible gymnasts going for the 2015 team and they will be bringing their A game!

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    6. Oh sorry, that's not what I meant. That does make me sound a bit crazy! I don't mean for Kyla to compete at Level 10 ever, but just to drop to that level - drop elite competition that is, just to conserve herself. Not a year in advance or anything for when she is going to enter college (and if it is Stanford, it's been made clear from Ebee's entry that it's september only, no January enrollment) but just a few months, to give her body a bit of a rest from the pressure. I say this because of the issues she's been having over the last 2 years, massive growth, back issue, hip issue, general laboured routines, even when they're made easier still from what they were.

      I hate to see gymnasts who are so excited for college get burned out/injured at the wrong time. Lexie Priessman is just upsetting. Such promise, but no elite career to speak of, and since she's still having issues, she could end up just like Cassie Whitcomb who was so broken (CGA girl too!) that she injured out of NCAA completely. Not that I see Kyla like Cassie or Lexie, I just think it's smart to conserve for college if it's a major goal. I don't see Kyla getting mobbed just yet by new seniors, because look at her record, but it is a concern....go all out for Rio and then not compete?

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    7. Original Anon again here - a year of training but resting makes much more sense Catherine! If that's what she decides to do, I'd be bummed that she didn't go for it, but I agree that that wouldn't be bad and could make sense.

      Lexie is a sad situation - I feel badly for her. And actually for Jordyn too - even though she had an amazing elite career, I'm sad that Jordyn went pro and is missing the college competition even though she is loving UCLA. It is what it is, but it would have been great to see her competing there (silly NCAA rules).

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    8. Can someone tell me why Jordyn can't compete in college but Bridget Sloan can?

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    9. Jordyn turned pro in 2011 after worlds - so did Raisman (previously committed to Florida) and Maroney, so it's nothing to do with being a world champion.

      NCAA rules are particularly cruel for gymnasts...in other sports, they can turn pro after college and get the best of both worlds.

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    10. Catherine do you think that there is a problem with the way Mary Lee Tracy trains her gymnast. I am sorry but one broken girl is understandable is a hard sports. 2 becomes worrisome. but she just seems to have a pattern of gymnast that are completely injured most of the time. even Amanda Borden and Phelps spoke about some serious injuries that affect them even today. But Lexie just had me starting questioning like what is going on in that gym.

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    11. I saw on Lexies instagram that she needs another surgery, this time on her shoulder. i dont know when it was posted but she is one gymnast who needs too retire from elite amd get ready for LSU next fall.

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    12. On the one hand, yes I think even when injuries seem to be prevalent now, CGA's track record with them still stands out. On the other hand, I feel woefully unqualified to say such a thing when I know nothing about coaching. So there's that!

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  2. Is anyone doing fantasy gymnastics? I signed up, despite not being able to watch the meets or knowing the lesser known gymnasts.

    I'm in the eastern conference and I got Danusia Francis, Sadiqua Bynum, Bri Guy, Erica Brewer, Keeley Kmeciak, Samantha Partyka, Ashley Lambert, Bianca DG and some compete mystery freshmen and unknown gymnasts. Interesting research today!

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    1. I am, for the first time! And same, know very little and can't watch. I'm in the Atlantic conference I think? I got... Jessie DeZiel, Ivana Hong, Jenny Covers, Nicole Artz, six girls from Ohio! Someone in my conference has like... the entire Illinois team. Which is pretty fun! I've been making notes. Eep.

      I'm excited for this year. I'm thinking if we only get to see half of these newers, and only a handful of the people back from injury etc... that's still good going. I'm hoping for the return of Maggie Nichols as well (total soft spot) and Noel van Klaveren as well as Eythora. I'm pretty excited for Germany, Netherlands and Japan this year. And Enus and Meneghini for Italy. OOOH and Brazil! Just all of Brazil. I just generally love Romania, faults and all. Hope Didi gets back.

      I am a total Gabby Jupp fan girl. I was so so happy she went to Worlds and did so well in TF (although I would like to see her TF performances at some point! Not found them yet...) Agree with you about Whelan and Tunney... I hope some of the non-Liverpool girls get a better chance now. Or even a Welsh girl!! Imagine.

      Very happy to read your thoughts again :)

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    2. Someone in mine has half of Georgia. It's a bit dodgy if they're your core for when there's off weeks. Especially a college like Georgia. I made a dodgy spreadsheet..I don't seem to have very many at all who can score over 9.75. Oh well, Danusia can get a few 10's and bump it up a bit.

      Eythora has been looking good lately, how I love her. Noel is training bhs-tuck full, it looks good. I kinda like Maggie too, there's something about her alright. Enus in particular, yes I'm excited. And Andrade...and Flavia..and Kim Janas...so many!

      Yes, Gabby moves like a dream. I hope she can really shine this year. Yeah like Romaeo, what even happened to her?

      Thanks!

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    3. Romaeo had problems with injury and keeping up difficulty I think. I loooove Georgina Hockenhull.

      Just realised half my fantasy roster is freshmen. Helllllp.

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    4. My first lineup is not doing so well...did not expect Ashley Lambert to do the AA, or Shannon Shockho and M'rcy Matsunami to score decently. I'm going to be counting at least one zero, pffff.

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    5. Lost my reply dammit! I had Jessie DeZiel in the AA and she's missing. Welp. (Hopefully she's okay. For herself, I mean.) I wanted M'rcy! My plethora of freshmen were v hard to predict. I'm expecting to count a zero or two unless my Saturday roster is miraculously more accurate than Friday. I'll be crossing my fingers for Oregon come Monday I think! Welp. Guess it's all part of the fun!

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  3. I can't waite for bailie; but I do like lordache. I believe they'll both be ready for Simone. I actually like lordache worlds better than Simone. But I belie bailie has it all and will do it

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    1. The big difference is that Larisa has peaked. She can certainly maintain her phenomenal performances from Nanning and hopefully does, but that's her limit. She doesn't have a harder vault or tumbles in her. Simone on the other hand, was on a slight off year due to her shoulder, and can upgrade with ease and will do so, she can add tenths everywhere. When she's already ahead of Larisa, this will widen the gap.

      Bailie by contrast is a bit unknown as of yet, I think she's definitely up with those two anyway.

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    2. Hi Catherine. I think that 2015 has the potential to be huge in terms of competitions because so many of the new seniors have the talent to help a lot of teams. in particular Brazil, China, Great Britain, Romania, Germany, and Italy. these countries to me have the potential to build solid teams that can put up a big challenge to the US. The ? is Russia who to me can build a team of specialist but are abysmal in terms of All around ( Mustafina is broken) but they have a Leadership situation that leaves me completely disgusted and confuse.
      Now the USA is where is going to be so interesting not only because of the depth, but the possibilities that exist to build a team. to me is clear that Martha loves a all around gymnast who can excel on all 4 apparatus so to me 3 all around will be the key for her then 3 specialist with the potential for finals for worlds and 2 for the Olympics. I got Biles, Keys, Dennis, Gowey, Douglas, Raisman, Erns as the potential all arounds. to me these girls have the best ability to score 15 or higher in all apparatus. the others are too deficient in the some form or another in 1 or 2 key piece.
      Biles is still the one to beat and to me she can be beaten and the only two that can do that if they come truly prepared to fight is Douglas and Keys. the key is knowing that Biles is going to put up big scores on floor and vault, but they have to beat her on bars and beam. Biles is never going to be a good bar worker just like Raisman and Weiber. and her beam is wonky and can cause her issues.

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    3. I'd very much query Ernst and Gowey. Ernst is I think on the way out, and Gowey has never been tested. She has no experience. She definitely has lots of potential but she was doing skills that were a bit beyond her, which makes me nervous, and dealt with significant injuries right on top of each other.

      We need Scam and Jesolo to happen to really assess the US. Raisman, Douglas and Dennis could make a massive impact.

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    4. "Along with Aliya Mustafina and Maria Bondareva that's a good, strong core for 2015 teams."

      I think you mean Maria Kharenkova here instead of Maria Bondareva, right?

      I'm excited for 2015, but it will also be difficult to see so many US favorites edged out for the Worlds team. I'm sure that there will be some injuries by then to remove some of the ladies, but this may be the most competitive and deep group of American seniors we've ever had.

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    5. Lol yes, Kharenkova was the one I meant. Scam is the American cup, which is certainly less scammy than it used to be, but it's full name is just so much longer.

      It's going to be a fascinating year for the US for sure.

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    6. My problem with Russia is not that they don't have the talent is that there is a sad situation from a coaching and organization point. too much nepotism, unprofessional behavior, and lack of planning and vision. The team completely lack any kind of physical training or stamina, floor and vault are abysmal, they are seriously inconsistent and depend on excuses both the athletes and the coaches, and are not cohesive or competitive. They some how think that being aesthetically pleasing is enough to overcome their weakness. I can name 3 teams who can pass them this year if they form a strategic team ( Romania, Britain, Italy, Germany) and maybe even Brazil if everything works out with the veterans and the 2 new girls who are amazing.

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  4. What are the hair rules? I missed that. And, AHHHHHHH, Bailie Key is finally a senior! YES! This is going to be such an exciting year. :) Rio approaches...

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    1. They have to have the neat buns or tight ponytails, no more messy bun because Marta hated them. You'll notice the difference after the Olympics. They can get deducted at US meets.

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  5. Can you do world predictions this January like you did last year. I think.

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  6. Thanks for the update Catherine. I am only mostly aware of the US and GB athletes. Anyway, I am hoping that team GB will at least be on the podium in Glasgow. This year, I think Bailie can challenge Simone but not enough to dethrone her. The scores might be close but if both perform cleanly my money is on Biles. Biles' all around d-score should still be higher than Bailey. I can only see Bailey with Bars of a 6.0-6.1 start value, her beam will be about 6.7, Floor should be about 6.2 and a 6.3 VT. She is most likely going to debut her double arabian piked on floor, amanar and her beam wouldn't change a lot for now but due to recent shoulder injury it is unlikely that Bailie can drastically upgrade her bar set from 2013.

    On the other hand if Simone brings back her 2013 bar sets and add some simple upgrades to her floor (tumbles + leaps & triple W-turn). This should be enough for her to remain untouchable. However, God knows what upgrades Simone will unveil! She can have her layout back and maybe add a full twisting backtuck on beam, TTY on Vault, 1/1 DLO on Floor. Her Moors shows some form breaks, I'd rather see her do a 1/1 DLO + leap. Im sure she should be able to upgrade her bar dismount easily to a double double.
    That being said, Biles should be able to deliver this lower tariff d score with ease : 6.3, 6.1, 6.5, 6.7 which is still higher than what Key can perform for now. However, if Simone pushes the envelope a bit more we might be looking at around 6.3,6.3,6.6,6.8.

    I doubt anyone in the World can surpass these 2 this year and I do not think that Simone is ready with the TTY yet. My only wish for the US team is to finally have at least 2 high calibre bar workers that can challenge for the gold medal in Glasgow. For now, my Team USA 2015 prediction is:
    Biles,Key, Ross,Locklear,Douglas,Skinner + Kocian(alternate)

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    1. I honesty think baile will not only have enough to challenge Simone; but can beat her by the end of year. If she keeps working on her upgrades and gets the armarar down. Her bars are only getting better. Plus she has scored well internationally. She has power and the Russian finesse. I believe this girl has it. As long as she paces and stays healthy

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    2. I don't see why Ross is in this list. As we don't know much yet and we are only predicting things assuming no injuries occur, I see the team as Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Key, Locklear and Skinner maybe kayla as alternate. Raisman and Douglas look ready to go. They have been back for sometime now and so I doubt they can be bested by Kyla. Lockler is a bars specialist and thus essential to this team and Skinner has the potential to medal on Floor and Vault and contribute on those events in finals. However injury free, the only locks are Key and biles and if Raisman and Douglas do what they are expected then I see them in as well. I see the last 2 spots open for the fighting. Kyla could make this team but unless she can get a 6.6+ on bars and 6.4+ on beam and be consistent, I doubt she will Make Rio. As far as Maroney, she just don't fit into this team anymore. Eveyone is going to be preforming Amanar, she is of no use since the USA has so much depth, I think even with multiple injuries they will still dominate. Sucks for Maroney, I believe in her comeback but with this team, she has no chance honestly, she is only strong where the USA is strong and on Floor, she probably wouldn't even be an alternate to the alternate with Biles, Skinner, Key's, Rasman and Douglas.

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    3. Ross is hard to knock out of a team, even with easy routines. She's so consistent, an absolute rock and has loads of experience. Gymnasts like Dennis, Gowey, Vasquez are not going to outclass her the way things currently stand. Raisman and Douglas are the real threats to her, and Key, and even then there could possibly be room for them all.

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    4. I really do hope to see Ross get healthy and in top form again and she does have the experience above the rest of juniors. We have yet to see how Raisman, Douglas and Key look in a senior competition and we still don't know how injury will show up but if Raisman, Douglas, Key perform like they should along with Biles, Locklear and Skinner, Ross's chance does look unfavorable as you can only have 6 on a team. Just don't see how she can replace any of the other 6 if they are all healthy and perform like they should... she might end up being just the traveling alternate, which is kinda crazy because just about any other team would be more than ecstatic to have her.

      Then again as we saw in World AA final, we can't count her out sometimes. But really though, she really need to get healthy and upgrade if she wants to be included on her own merits and not because of someone else being injured.

      So much depth in the US team. There is definitely no question that they can field two medal winning teams if thats allowed. having too much of a good thing sometimes is hard i guess. would be interesting if other teams can "borrow" some of the talents from the US. That might even out the field and make it a little interesting and allow more of the talented US girl to compete ;)....

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    5. We will all find out after the January camp. I seriously think Martha will always have Ross as she is so reliable. I think Kyla should only focus on beam and bars and her amanar for now whilst she trains floor as a sideline. I reckon Kyla is capable of a 6.6 beam, I think she can perform a double arabian dismount and introduce the bhs + arabian combination, I also reckon that she can do a double spin. Her bars is a bit more difficult to upgrade, she will have to reconstruct it and add new elements if she wants to have a higher SV than her 2013 set, otherwise it will never go higher than a 6.4.
      I do not trust Douglas and Raisman just yet, until I see a complete set of performances. I know they are able to do skills separately but stamina might be still be an issue. I agree Maroney might not be needed anymore unless she suprisingly comes out with the TTY and Cheng. Seriously, I hope they all stay healthy and wont turn out to be like Ohashi. The depth within the US squad could be its own destruction. I hope the coaches wouldn't push the atheletes too much.

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    6. It seems like your predictions of Biles' D-score might be right! I just saw a video from the USA Gymnastics’ YouTube account about Simone's plans for 2015. I also think that she is not ready yet with her TTY and her Moors. She said that the only thing that's changing in her BB is the wolf punch front combination upgrade. So most likely she will be starting from a 6.6 on beam. With floor, if she changes her third pass with full in double layout and ends with a full in tuck, her d-score should be 6.7 but if she finishes with double layout then her d-score will be 6.8, I think. Now with bars, she is training a Mustafina but won't use it yet but I'm sure she will slightly upgrade her bars from last year but not dramatically. Overall, my guess is that her all around SV will be VT- 6.3, UB-6.1, BB-6.6 & FX- 6.7.

      I’m sure both Amy and Simone know that Simone’s shoulders are a bit dodgy so they will protect and slowly add skills on bars. I have no high expectations for a high start value on this event.

      If she remains healthy until the Olympics and adds all the skills from the recent video, her 2016 AA SV can reach an easy (minimum) VT- 6.3, UB-6.5, BB-6.8 & FX-7.1 that can still be upgraded with skills such as the TTY, layout and full twisting back on beam, full weiler on bars(which she submitted in 2013) and what ever upgrades she can do, maybe a double double layout dismount on bars like Shawn Johnson.

      I so excited for her more than anyone else!

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    7. I agree, but I believe by the time worlds rolls around her start values can get higher, because she only mentioned upgrades in time for SCAM in the video. So the barani and wolf punch front would be upgrades on beam. And the extra weiler and mustafina dismount could raise her bars to 6.3 if she adds the upgrades to her 2013 routine. And the Cheng should be ready by worlds as well, especially since she's been working on that for a year now. Floor can go in a lot of directions depending on which pass she replaces.

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    8. The impression I got from the video, is that she has very little changed for scam. I expect her to have more upgrades ready for summer, she'll need them then to be allowed them for worlds.

      This year I think we can expect to see the piked Tkachev-Pak, Mustafina dismount, Cheng, and some of the beam upgrades mentioned, including the barani. The TTY and Moors I would be less certain of. I do think though, that of anyone, she can handle a floor with a Silivas-scissone, Biles, Moors and full-in or DLO, or even a Dos Santos. Sky's the limit. Dance element wise, a straddle variation would be nice, and yeah the triple wolf seems doable.

      The Ray is a bars dismount she seems capable of. I wonder if they're considering it, or even the tucked version- Fabrichnova, in time for Rio.

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    9. I think Biles can easily get a more difficult dismount. I know she has the shoulder injury, but I can see her replacing one of her two C elements (ray transfer LB to HB, toe-on/sole circle) for something bigger as well. Perhapks the Khorkina or another shaposh element, if not a shaposh 1/2 element.

      In term's of Ross's routines above - someone below posted a link to arabian punch front's interview with Ross and Hano. I think Ross can upgrade bars and beam, but maybe not in time this year. If in-bar elements are out, she can easily get back up to 6.4 on bars by getting the bahardwaj, learning to pirouette or hecht release after a stalder element (to be able to rearrange her skills or connect them) and maybe getting a 3/2 pirouette in combination with the jaeger to get back another D element and connection with release (+0.2). It's definitely feasible if she plans to delay school for one full year in 2016, but maybe not for 2015.

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  7. Thanks for great post and comments:-)
    But what is fantasy gymnastics?

    H.

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    1. Ever heard of fantasy football? Same idea.....

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    2. Thanks,:-) and I found this link if anyone else are wondering:
      http://www.collegefantasygymnastics.com/

      H.

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    3. The video there will explain it better than me. It seems very random this year apparently compared to previous years...many more signed up, so it's much harder to get the really strong gymnasts. I have a basic understanding of the top teams and their gymnasts, and outstanding gymnasts from lesser teams....but there are so many I haven't a clue, so choosing names in the first place was hard. As a result, I have a lot of randomers I never picked.

      Out of your 20 gymnasts, 5 scores count each week, you can have up to 8 per event. It's hard though, since you don't know if 1st years will be chosen and injuries, recovering girls and falls can mess up your scores.

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  8. So hopefully we've left behind the mid-quad funk that was 2013-2014 and we'll finally be able to get a glimpse of the best of the best showing their best! It seems a foregone conclusion that the US will remain at the head of the pack, so what will be most interesting, aside from all the new seniors, will be how everyone stacks up in comparison. I don't follow juniors as closely as you, but I agree that Bondareva and Dimitrieva aren't exactly making compelling cases for themselves. They've reached their peak or lost their way it seems, so I can't see them as huge assets for Russia. Seda is their best hope and even she is uncertain. I'm wondering where you see Daria fitting into the picture? I do see potential, but execution and difficulty wise she just isn't up there. At least her personality is adorable.XD Interesting that you see Komova doing bars and beam; I would rather see her do floor, where she looks (slightly) better prepared. Beam has always been a bit nervy for her and considering that she has a nervous disposition I thought floor would be a better fit. But I could just be thinking that because Russia needs a solid floor worker. Their beams are inconsistent though, so I don't know... her future is kind of uncertain. You are right that the opportunity for AA has long passed. But try telling that to some of her most ardent fans, lol. Aliya will continue to be Russia's leader/savior/star provided severe injury does not occur (and even then, she might be). I am very happy that she now has a proper coach. I liked the sound of Starkin, he sounded...aggressive. Like he knew what was at stake and what he had to do and how to get there.

    I feel if Wang Yan or Deng Yalan are injured, it will be a tremendous blow to China. I wouldn't go so far to say they'd be screwed, but they really have no one in their ranks with their vaulting abilities. Add on to that Wang's amazing talent/potential across the board, and it would be a terrible loss indeed. Looks like floor will still be China's weakest event, since I don't know of any girls who are real masters on this piece. I don't think it will be quite as bad as it's been recently though.

    Romania I don't have much to say about other than I hope they improve their bars, work on consistency, and Larisa stays in top shape.

    Lauren was saying some interesting things about Bailie, namely that she may already be working close to her peak. That may or may not be true, I know Bailie has some planned upgrades, but I'm wondering how much farther she can really go. And as great as Bailie is she is not as charismatic as some of her contemporaries, like Simone. It's funny because in some ways Bailie is a more complete all arounder than Simone, in that she has no weak event and she is super clean on both bars and beam. And yet - I don't think of her as the more complete gymnast. She lacks style and personality. Like if I had to chose between her and say, Nia Dennis or Laurie Hernandez, I'd chose the latter two as they excite me more. Not that I'm writing Key off; I know she is the superior gymnast as of now and is going places and I'll enjoy watching her journey. I just think she lacks the special 'it' that I favor.

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    1. Even in Komova's peak, say 2012, she wasn't used on floor, and her 2012 D score is only 5.9 or so under the current code, who knows if she can get up there again. Afan looks comfortably able to do a 6.3 routine, possibly going up to 6.5 if she adds in another acro line, and Aliya has been doing a 6.0 or so. So I still think she's more a UB/BB girl though I agree she's always been shaky on beam.. but no worse than most of the other Russians.

      I totally agree with you about Bailie. I find it hard to root for her even though she's a very complete AA gymnast, and I absolutely adore Simone so it's not the fact that she's dominated things. Ditto I find Kyla boring too. If Bailie wasn't so good she would be very boring lol

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    2. She was used on floor in team finals at the Tokyo Worlds. But I get what you mean, she's not balls to wall amazing on floor. But her D-score, though not spectacular, was decent and when she hits she can put up a good score (if she hits). I think under more felicitous circumstances for Russia I would not think of her doing floor, but they are in a bit of desperate situation. But I suppose with the return of Afan and the hopeful progress of Sosni and Aliya's continued AA abilities, they won't need Vika on floor. I do agree she fits more of the bar/beam mold, but she's a nervous beam worker and she had breaks at the Hungarian meet. Floor, on the hand, looked stronger despite low difficulty. Eh, who knows? Worst comes to worse she may not come back at all. The Russians are being so coy and protective with Vika...

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    3. To Catherine and others:
      If I have understood you correctly, why do you think that Komova is done as a AA?

      H.

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    4. Because there is pretty much only a year and 1/2 left for Rio. She could come back as an AAer BUT never as strong as 2012 meaning she won't even challenge for a medal so their is no point. That's why everyone is counting her out because there isn't enough time to prepare 4 AA medal worthy routines at this point. It's asking for way too much and unfortunately, time and apparently health are both still not in her favor so even her coming back as a specialist is in question and even if she does come back as a specialist, she still needs to have those routines be Olympic routines to contend for medals in EF, otherwise all she will be used for is TF

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    5. Komova's chances of competing competitively in the AA again are extremely bleak. She's had so many long breaks, so many injuries and grown so much. Too much time has gone by, in my estimation, and she's too fragile.

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  9. I checked out Navarro and I can kind of see what you mean. There are always surprises in the sport so who knows! She looks like she has room to grow.

    I am very, very much anticipating Gabby&Aly's comebacks. Part of it is because I want them to prove their naysayers wrong. Have you ever noticed that a lot of American gymnasts tend to get flak when they want to come back? Plus, I'm just excited since they look all business, in great shape and have been very smart in pacing themselves. I think whether they comeback as all around contenders, specialists trying for individual success, or only as team players, I'd consider their comebacks a success. It can be so hard to return. Maroney, I concur, has faded away. At the beginning of the quad I thought she might have the best chance of making it to Rio because she, like Sacramone, felt the need for redemption. She was, and by all accounts still is, immensely driven to get to Rio. But we haven't heard a peep from her in a while and her status is questionable. On the flip side it appears Afan was able to fight back! I wasn't expecting that with her age and how severely injured she was. Russia needs her strong floor work.

    What I'm most excited about:
    1. Seeing how the influx of new recruits will affect the team finals
    2. The individual careers of Key, Dennis, Saraiva, Seda, Andrade, Iridon, Wang and the Brit trio and how they'll pan out
    3. Simone, Simone, Simone
    4. How a new coach will affect Aliya's career. Will she rise to the top where she belongs?
    5. Gabby and Aly showing the fruits of their training and returning to competition. Rather not see them as SCAM either. Both look healthy and ready.
    6. What the hell is happening with Vika.
    7. How Kyla will fare this year.
    8. Whether Russia continue to run itself into the ground with its bad management.
    9. New and improved routines!
    10. A real fight amongst multiple gymnasts for the top honors.

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    1. Yes, Gabby and Aly are going to be the real surprises. I can anticipate that Bailie, Lari and Mustafina will be strong forces to be reckoned with in the AA with Simone ahead, but it's impossible to say where the other two will slot in.

      As time goes on, Maroney's chances are fading, definitely agree. Her experience, amanar and floor if she gets them back will never be sneezed at, but can she? And if there are girls who fit better...

      Definitely looking forward to routines gearing up for Rio.

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  10. You're back! I agree it will be US domination in 2015, with the other three of the big 4 still quite up for grabs. Romania will probably do better than last year but frankly it is difficult for them to do worse! I still see them in the fighting-for-bronze at Worlds category simply because they are still so weak on bars, even with Iridon (not always the most consistent). Jurca is very Iordache like in terms of strengths and weaknesses, I would've preferred another Didi, just because Didi is so much more consistent and has oodles better form :p They're not out of the picture at all but it's definitely not all smooth going.

    China is another dodgy one, possibly even worse than Russia at producing promising juniors who then fade out with injury and growth. What has happened to Deng Yalan? No news seems to have come of her after she was doing well in 2012/13. I love Wang Yan though and she'll be a real boost if she can keep progressing.

    Russia, oh Russia. I'm seriously impressed with how Afan managed to come back so strong and so quickly (hopefully not too quickly). She seems to bounce back from injury very well. Lots of people wrote her off but I always thought she'd be back. I do see Grishina coming back too though most don't, though I have very very low hopes for Komova. Aliya getting a coach made my Christmas! Mikhailova is quite surprising, having appeared out of obscurity, but with Russia that seems to happen... she has good coaches and looks like she could be quite powerful though she really needs to upgrade. I see her being a bit like Sosnitskaya - not making a huge bang at the start but improving slowly, and I think there's potential there. Seda will be very useful too and she's very hard not to root for. At least another DTY and a somewhat respectable floor will be useful for the team and she'd probably end up as the 2nd AA for Russia I think if Komova doesn't return. I lost hope with Bondereva ages ago, but Dmitrieva will be a good alternate for the team. At least better than Federova!!!!! It is a mark of how depleted the Russian team is that Federova was still being sent to competitions.

    US - love Simone, not a fan of Bailie because of the Kyla-robot factor though she IS pretty much the complete package. The AA fight at Worlds will be interesting, I think. Kyla's spot is definitely less secure with the return of Gabby and Aly, especially Aly, who is looking really strong, has loads of experience, can lead the team, and is never injured. I think Ernst, Nichols, Gowey , Hundley, Priessman are not going to factor, they're just not good enough and/or too injured - if they were going to feature it would've been 2014. For AA, the US has Simone, Bailie, Aly, Kyla, Gabby, Nia, Skinner, and even if Marta wouldn't put most of them up on AA at Worlds, competing AA makes them a good backup option on other pieces. Skinner and Simone have FX/VT EFs sealed up which makes Maroney much less useful. BB will probably be dealt with by Bailie/Simone/Aly, with Nia as backup. There's still space for a good UB/BB specialist, but no one who fits that mould perfectly, so I say Locklear can take the UB specialist role. Much less of a need for a pure BB specialist with AA-ers who are solid beamers, so I think Desch and Baumann have very little hope for 2015 too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Deng Yalan is still doing well. Last year she was training a 2.5 Tsuk into a pit and she's currently training a quintuple turn http://www.meipai.com/media/191755276

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    2. Lol the Kyla robot factor! Bailie transcends this for me, as she is just so good. I can't WAIT to see how Gabby and Aly are looking, I'm sure I said it previously, but anyway I want to see them at Jesolo. Scam is a little early, with spots so limited.

      At this stage, I am going to count out Priessman, Desch, Baumann, Hundley and Ernst. Not totally sold on Nichols, but she could be very useful, especially if others who are stronger are injured etc. Gowey is too unknown...stranger things have happened, but she could be outranked even in her own gym as the others turn senior.

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  11. Let's also not forget about consistency. We saw how China being inconsistent on UB bars allowing the US to even take the lead there in TF, which again shouldn't have happened. The US did have a little inconsistency also in BB though not as bad. At the end of the day, US is still definitely the most consistent out there.

    As far as AA goes, not sure if I would count Aly in the running at Worlds as her amanar was a bit dodgy and I don't think she ever had a great UB routine. I guess she could do AA if it was a domestic meet if she wants to, but really BB and FX is her ticket.

    Really can't wait to see how this will all work out. I hope we don't have to wait all the way till SCAM or Classic....

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    1. Yes, a formidable consistency record. Aly will I think focus on those events, but not drop AA. To do so is dangerous in the US. Yeah, videos would be nice before scam.

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  12. I really cant wait to see what 2015 brings us. It should be the most exciting! The ones I'm most excited about are Flavia, Bailie, Wang, Iridon, Ellie and Nia. Oh and Seda. I feel like Seda can help the russian team only if she gets more consistent. I hope Russia sends her to SCAM or if not her Daria or Alla would be great choices. They need to have more international experience. I doubt they'll send anyone though.

    China, I feel like having Wang Yan on the Worlds team will be a huge improvement for them. She can vault and is pretty powerful so I see her upgrading her floor. So with her on the team and with Yao, Huang, Tan Jiaxin (who hopefully will have an amanar by worlds), maybe Shang or Chen Siyi (who is rumored to have an amanar), I see a stronge enough team for China. Of course they just need to be consistent which we all know can be a huge problem for them. Anyone know how Deng Yalan's doing? She has a lot of potential on floor where China struggles the most.

    Somehow, I just dont see GB making the podium yet. Unless Romania, China or Russia have meltdowns, they might have a chance but looking at Nanning they seemed to struggle. However, I do see Ellie making an impact on the team. I see her as a much better AA'er than Claudia. To me, Claudia's just only really good on floor. The rest of the events are not so good, while Ellie has 3 good events and 1 (bars) not so good. I'm excited for what GB will bring us this year.

    Russia...I only see Seda as the only good new senior addition to the team. Bondareva and Dmitrieva just aren't strong enough. I dont know what happened to them especially Maria. She was so hyped up as a junior. I see them as the team struggling the most out of all the big 4. If Mustafina's back still bothers her by worlds and is unable to compete all four events, I dont see them making a podium finish. Komova's done imo. And even if she isnt, I only see her competing on bars, and maybe even beam (doubt it though). Afan is the biggest hope and I reaallyy hope she stays healthy.

    Romania, I feel like they're pretty much the same kind of team as last year with only Iridon as their best ub worker. I see them improving and probably will have a chance for a podium finish but only with Larisa. I dont know much about Romania, but I hope Bulimar finally gets to go to Worlds.

    The US is unbeatable from Worlds to Rio. I just dont see anyone beating them. Simone's just getting stronger, and they have a lot of depth to the point where they can send a 'B' team and still win. I can totally see Simone winning AA in Glasgow and Rio. Would be amazing if she did!

    I really hope 2015 brings exciting competitions!

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  13. What is Komova's current situation? And why is everybody counting her out?

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    1. She competed recently in Hungary where she won a few top prizes, but had watered down vault, floor and beam. Her bars have some form issues, but she had high difficulty. She later suffered an injury before Voronin cup. The program seems to be preserving her, but as she has been chronically injured since 2011 and now unable to compete, her place as an AA gymnast is in question. Time will tell. Even if she doesn't get back to top form for AA, she could still be useful to the team if she becomes steady on her events. I'm holding out that she'll make an attempt at AA, she still looked fantastic at Hungary to me

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    2. I think counting her in is fanciful, in the AA that is. Up until recently, she hadn't competed in years, and none of the recent routines were particularly inspiring. Hesitant, weak, low difficulty. She's been off for too long, is too fragile, and had had a LOT of injuries, which she gets at the drop of a hat.

      She could be a specialist if she stays healthy. AA is not out of the question, but at a competitive level it is.

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    3. I see what you're saying - maybe she wont be a top AA contender, but I think she has the goods to be the second Russian in the AA final and she could easily be the third gymnast on any piece, especially on a smaller team that requires additional utility players.

      All of Russia's competitive routines come from Mustafina or a specialist, but on a 6/5 person squad - you need an AA gymnast like Grishina, Komova, Kramarenko or Seda T.

      I think Komova's potentially high bar and beam sets will land her over these gymnasts who are steady on each event, but maybe only have one stand out event to offer plus AA. Seda with a little consistency and upgrades over the next two years could squash Komova's comeback, but I don't think Grishina or Kramarenko will be able to develop a program to outcompete a utility AA gymnast or a specialist. Melnikova could also threaten Komova's spot when she arrives on the senior scene, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for Komova's return.

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  14. Hello all, just a hypothetical question for everyone.what will be Simone potential floor difficulty score if her tumbling passes will be: Moors, Chusovitina, Biles, Grigoras and have the triple and double low spins in addition to her leaps from 2014. Will it be a 7.4? Do you think that she will have the endurance for this entire set? She is just so exciting.

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    1. I am not sure if Simone will add that many new elements to her FX. As noted by someone above, it doesn't look like she will add too many things for 2015. Her FX score is way ahead of just about anyone so unless she is pressed by anyone else, don't think it will get above 7 anytime soon. But i do like to see her doing the moors though. I am fairly certain that she can do a 7+ FX if she wants to, though maybe not with everything above.

      If she does a cheng real well, she will likely be able to win the vault. Even if Hong busts out a TTY or if Skinner busts out a half on 2 1/2 off she might still win due to E score if those other two vaulters are dodgy with their new vaults. That is the sad fact of lack of competition though and probably also because she doesn't want to risk any big injury before Rio. But I do really like to have her debuting the TTY and Skinner the half on 2 1/2 off because i think we really do need to progress beyond amanar and we do need something big beside produnova.

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    2. I have been keeping up with the seniors more. I didn't know much about the juniors. Anyway, I looked up Key's beam and FX routines. Definitely see Catherine's point about how she does not seem to be as an exciting gymnast as say Simone or even Skinner (even though she has a potential to score higher than Skinner on FX due to better execution). I actually had to look up a few videos breaking down her routines to see how she has those D-scores because it seems like she doesn't have any huge "exciting" skills but I guess you don't need any huge skills if you have such nice executions with the medium hard skills. Very excited to see if she can progressively add a few new skills and keep the great execution and improve on expression.

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    3. I am no coach but this is what I think:

      I am sure that Key can outscore Skinner on floor. Skinner should minimise her use of split skills as she never fulfils them. Forget about dreaming that her Moors will be straight. If she can perform a straight Chusovitina, id rather see her do that and add a wolf jump out of it. According to her coach she has a good spacial awareness and moves very fast, maybe she can do a 2.5 twisting double tuck and have it named after her. I hope she can preserve her body until NCAA.

      I think Key would be better of learning harder dance elements on floor. She seems to be able to spin really fast. She isn't as powerful as Simone so maybe forcing her to do harder tumbling passes might injure her. Maybe hiring a rhythmic gymnastics coach might help as I think she can learn the Mitchell, Mustafina, and she can add a double spin to her Memmel. The reason why the Russians are good in spinning is because of their ballet training. Then she should only do three tumbling runs with the new double arabian pike to it. This can still give her a high SV. If we work her D score with this program it can be:
      Dance Elements: E,E,D,D,D (2.2) - [Mitchell, Mustafina,Memmel, 3/2 Tourjete, Ferrari]
      Tumbling: F,E,E (1.6) [Double Arabian Pike, Double Arabian, Triple Twist]
      Connection Bonus (0.4) [memmel +d.spin, 1.5 to triple twist, arabian +stag]
      Requirements (2.5)
      D score: 6.7
      She can probably add a punch front after the triple and leaps out of her arabian pike (+0.3) in connection

      Technically speaking, she can do the piked double arabian so the only "new" element that she has to learn is the Mitchell and just add one more spin to her memmel which she over rotates sometimes. Hence, I think this is doable.

      Her current beam set is already excellent all she needs is to fix that layout and perform it like the chinese and sometimes she sits her arabian. If she cleans those two elements she can definitely challenge for gold at this years worlds. Im sure her coach Kim, have planned something new for Bailie to learn on beam that she will use to upgrade for next year.

      There is no doubt that she will overtake Ross this year but will still be behind Biles.

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    4. I do agree Skinner's Moors won't ever be completely straight. But i have a feeling she won't drop that pass. It's almost like a skill she's known for. She was really probably the first one to perform it in competition before Moors though it was not at an FIG event. As far as 2.5 twist double tuck, I think it's definitely doable for her and I am sure she loves to have a big skill named after her (even if it might not be the best executed one). Given her high D-score, i do really hope that she can improve on E-score to get to 15 if possible. Doable?

      Key's layout on beam does need work. and I do see the point also about the arabian. If she improves on this a little more, she can definitely be the best beam worker in US and possibly even have a shot at gold at world. Would love to see her improved and go head to head with Larisa. Simone will keep at it and possibly upgrade slightly so even if she might not have the best E-score, she is still a definite threat. Anyone knows how Aly Raisman beam is going? If everyone performs like they should, hopefully this yr beam final will be the best one.

      As far as UB goes, Ashton Locklear will probably be the best the US has for now. I can see her going back to World again. I hope she can improve on both D and E-score to medal because I think she really has a good shot at it. Not sure if it can exceed the chinese if they don't make any mistake but a third place is definitely doable.

      I think the main unknowns at this point that would be a major factor is the Gabby/Alys comeback. If they are back to where they are, there is a very good chance that they will feature at Worlds. But we have to see....

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    5. Of course, it is doable for Skinner to reach the low 15s but I cannot imagine her being in the mid 15s for now. I know that she is still upgrading but hopefully she can execute those new skills cleanly and improve her execution. The skills she is training are out of this world insane and I am sincerely hoping that her body will be able to hold it together and not get injured as her coach pointed out that Skinner has been playing with triple double and Cheng with an extra twist.

      Gymnasts who perform big skills uncleanly are scaring me and Skinner is one of those. It seems like she wants to leave a legacy being remembered as the girl with the eye popping skills but Biles is on her way and Simone even already performs the Moors cleaner than Skinner and Simone already has a G skill named after her. Her drive to deliver those big skills is very impressive but she never executes them cleanly and thus scares me sometime that she will end up busting her knees or her ankles. If she chooses to perform the Moors with bent knees and piked she will always be remembered as it is.

      With regards to execution, hitting splits without any sort of deductions will be almost impossible for Skinner. Her knees are slightly soft in her 2.5 twist and now that she is planning on upgrading it to a triple the imperfection will be more visible. Tucked positions will suit her well. The only way I imagine which can improve her dscore is to minimise using skills that require flexibility & amplitude and straight body position with a lot of twists. With her vault, she should learn how to block properly to gain height.

      I agree that Locklear will still be a lock for this years team and she just keeps on improving her bars. If she adds her Ricna this year she should be working on a 6.6 min start value. For the future if she changes her shoot to lowbar to a Bharwaj and immediately connect it to a 0.5 shaposh back to the highbar that should and do a mustafina it should be enough to give her a 7.0 starting value. Kyla can still be a good bar worker but she has to do a leap frog if she wants to challenge the ones on top now.

      A major threat to Kyla's place in the team is someone who is a consistent and world class bars & beam specialist and as for now there is none. Otherwise her mediocre starting values suffice to convince Marta. Gabby can challenge her but we still have to see her endurance and consistency.

      Skinner's challenge will come from a Vault/Floor specialist. So far there is no one yet, maybe Maroney.

      So my US team for now will be: Biles, Key, Ross, Locklear, Skinner ,+1

      VT- Biles,Skinner, ?
      UB- Ross, Locklear, ?
      BB- Ross, Key, Biles
      FX- Biles, Skinner, Key

      There is a space for one more who preferably should be a good vault &bars worker, maybe that is where Gabby can contribute if she is good enough but those 5 can still be enough to win gold if they all hit. It might even be possible for them to reach 180 points this year.

      US can most likely win gold in team, all around, vault and a good shot in beam but getting a bronze in bars will be amazing.

      Larisa's chances of winning a gold medal will be harder now. I wish she can at least win this world's beam title.

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    6. If US has 2 solid beam qualifiers (and not to mention the Chinese in the mix), Larisa's chance of a gold is definitely harder. 2014 was probably her best chance. But beam being beam, you can unfortunately almost always count on a fall from someone, even a top worker ;(.

      With Biles, the US probably has FX gold locked up for now as there's not anyone in sight outside US right now that seems to be getting above 15 on FX consistently. US might also got the silver locked up if Skinner improves on execution and Key getting more upgrades with consistent great execution enabling them to get 15+.

      As for vault, if Simones shows up with a Cheng and Amanar, I don't think Hong will be able to beat her. Even Skinner's Chengs already beats Hong's. For this reason, Simones might have a little less incentive to do TTY to protect herself before the all important 2016 year. As far as Skinner's vaults, it would be real interesting to see what she will do. Her amanar the last time I check doesn't look as good as the cheng. So the question would be if she will try to get a better amanar and keep the cheng or upgrade to cheng +1 twist and keep the DTY. I could see her also doing amanar + cheng since that's probably the easiest route, and that might be good enough to get her a silver. But who knows, maybe she will decide to show up with both an amanar and a cheng + 1 twist? Even a cheng +0.5 twist would be good enough to get a new skill named for her.

      Ashton with a 7.0 bars routine would be insane. I remember seeing 2012 UB with all the medalists having 7+ d-score. And that is the name of the game. A 6.5 bars d-score might get you a bronze in mid quad (which for the US is great since this is their weakest event) but 6.8- 7 is what you probably need for gold at a year before Olympic or an Olympic year not counting on a fall from someone else, If Ashton can get a 7 d-score and keep up her execution, then her chance of gold is very real.

      With Key having a great beam and FX routine, Alys position is threatened. I don't think Alys amanar is as good as Key's. The question would be if Alys beam and FX would better Key's.

      If Gabby can nail UB and BB, she has a real good shot of making Worlds again. She did have a decent amanar which is always useful too if she's still can do it. I don't want to see the US not doing at least 3 amanar or better (otherwise it would be a step backward on their best event). If both Gabby and Alys hit, Gabby seems to be more useful than Alys. Theoretically if Gabby can be back to where she was in 2012 she would threaten both Ross and Alys as she can do vault, UB, and BB. Then you can even have two UB specialists. So the question remains, how much can we expect from the Gabby, Alys comeback....

      I do thing also US has excellent chance of gold in team and all around. They also have very good chance not only winning AA gold but also either silver or bronze. FX gold is probably locked up also with very good chance of also silver or bronze. Beam is little less certain due to the always precarious nature but with 2 solid workers, anything less than at least 1 medal would be a complete disaster. As for bars, a bronze is certainly within reach.

      As for the rest of TF, I think Romania being as they are bronze might be within reach but silver is a tall order. Silver will be fought over between Russia and China again. It's possible that we might see the same podium finish as in 2014 TF, possibly with Russia and China switching position.

      Thinking about it, even though the US did win 2014 TF by a landslide, they actually did have a little of a mid quad slump and step back slightly from the Code with a score of "only" 179 compared to 183 in 2012. They also didn't have as many amanar or cheng. I know there are different in scoring and COP, etc, but I think the Fierce Five Team was still the better team and they definitely got some work to do still to meet or beat the Fierce Five.

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    7. I'm quite curious about Simone's floor composition.

      She looks well capable of a routine with a Silivas-scissone, Biles, Moors and anything for the 4th...choose from full-in layout/pike/tuck, 1.5-2.5-straddle/stag or even passes she has thrown for fun, like a double arabian tucked or piked. I don't see this as beyond her at all, though certainly not ready to go in a few months.

      She might just replace the Silivas with the Moors, and the full-in with a Chusovitina...although that would be a tad boring, with 3 versions of a double layout.

      While they didn't have the same calibre of a team in 2014 as they did in 2012, the scoring is irrelevant since Olympic scoring is crazy, I'd discount the difference there.

      I'm not convinced on Locklear. This year maybe, but next year in a 5 member team with one event? I don't see her beam surpassing others enough for this.

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    8. "Olympic scoring is crazy": does this mean that the scoring was inflated? Guess US isn't the only one guilty of this at their Nationals....

      Fierce Five is still the better team as they did have 3 of the best 5 AA in the world at that time. Can't exactly say the same thing about 2014 team. Simones is consistently able to score 60+ total in AA. Good chance that Key get also get near 60 or 60. Kyla got 60+ on day 2 of her P&G before her injury. Would we see Gabby or Alys be able to repeat their 60+ performance? Does any of the other US seniors have a 60+ AA potential? For me, 60 is the magic cut off line separating a great AA from good (58-59). I know Marta formula for Olympics seems to be 3 AA and 2 specialists able to do at least 2 events. Speaking of which, if there's not any non-US AA that can do 60, then AA gold is pretty much locked barely any huge upset/injury.

      Also problem right now is that US doesn't have a great AA with also great UB, unless Gabby shows that she's back to her old form. Simone's UB can get higher but I find it hard that it would ever be above 15. I guess this is where Kyla can still be relevant if she can get her UB to 15. I agree Marta doesn't like any one-event hitter esp on a 5 member team, but if Ashton can make it a really special and impressive case for herself, I do see a possibility of her being a one event hitter like in the case of Maroney. The only other UB/BB worker I could think of is Kocian, who does seem to better in BB than Locklear but her UB potential might not be as great or as consistent.

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    9. Someone asked about Raisman. In her USAG video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAO8vivdLc) she shows a front tuck+leap, front pike+leap, bhs+layout to two feet+leap, switch leap to switch leap 1/2, side aerial and patterson dismount. If you throw in a C dance element (her turn w/ leg at horizontal from last quad) she has a 6.4 possible SV.

      Gowey wasn't mentioned in more recent comment, but her bar routine is well constructed with plenty of room to grow. Yes, she is plenty untested, but she was also named to the national team last month along with Raisman and Douglas, who each renewed their FIG licenses. She is one of the top AA's with a strong beam and may find a place in a team line-up.

      Ross can improve her bars, but it will be difficult and not enough to be a specialist. Her problem is that she has mainly trained toe-on elements with progression to in-bar work - she doesn't have any stalder or free-hip skills as a base to pick up new elements to overhaul her bar routine (she rapidly developed her bars from 4.9 to 6.4 using those skill sets), so it will be very difficult for her to get back on top on bars. This leaves room for gymnasts like Kocian and Locklear, who are still flexible enough for the inbar work and actually have more diverse basics to build routines. Ross will continue to compete AA - I'm wondering if she's more likely to make a team as the third vaulter and beam in the future. I think her best bet to is to improve there.

      Also, the comment on Biles' bars - she's building all of her pieces and her bars could easily rise above 15. Her bars were 6.1 in 2013 scoring 14.7-14.8. She has khorkina (E) which fits neatly in place of a ray transfer (C) which gets 0.2. Any improvement on her very easy dismount (including the mustafina dismount in her training video) will probably get her to break 15. I think she's aiming for weiler kip 1/2 to maloney, kip, toe 1/1 to tkatchev, kip, piked tkatchev to pak, kip, khorkina, kip, toe-on to mustafina/fabrichinova for 6.4/6.5 bars.

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    10. Regarding Biles' floor routine, I can see her competing her passes as follows:
      1st pass, Moors or Chusovitina (I/H)
      2nd pass, Silivas (H)
      3rd pass, Biles (G)
      4th pass, 3/2 twist indirect to full-in tucked (C+E, CV 0.2).

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    11. I guess if Simones upgrades her bars she does have potential for 15+. It just seems like she kinda really not into bars and even seems avoidance of it. Which could lead to not training as much in it or upgrading much. I could see her feeling really relieved if she doesn't have to do bars in TF at all again. She could get another form break again like in qualification. My point is that that is the last apparatus she wants to touch. So we will have to see if she will do anything to consistently score above 15 in that....

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    12. To Anon at 6:12 - I'm surprised that you'd say Key's amanar is better than Aly's - Key has never competed the amasser so how do you know? The practice videos look fine, but that's practice. We don't know anything abt Aly's recent competition level either, but same with Key.

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    13. Ok I will agree to that we will have to see how Key's amanar looks in competition first but seems to me she does have good emphasis on execution and her technique so far seems good. and she might just end up doing DTY. But I do think if she does the 2.5 it will look better than Alys since Alys 2.5 was even worse than Wieber's. Who knows, maybe Alys has been practicing 2.5 and improves on it?

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    14. Simone will be adding more and more upgrades as the year goes on, we're aren't going to see most of them at Scam. The Chusovitina seems like it might be a temporary thing that she will use until she upgrades fully to the Moors. That sounds like her intent as she is clearly training the Moors. I see it eventually as Moors, Silivas, Biles, and a full in. Three variations of double layouts might be a little too much, but who knows. Is there evidence of Simone thinking to use a combination pass in her routine?

      As for the other events, she's talked about a adding another Weiler and intends do the Musty dismount. Again, is there evidence that she may use the Fabrichnova? It's a more of a rumor/speculation at this point, but she may be able to do it. I just want to know if that's the actual plan. Beam I'm excited for, I love that wolf-punch front combo, it adds even more style. And the Grigoras is an underutilized skill. I know she has a nifty Cheng that she'll whip out at some point, but there hasn't been further mention on the TTY. Probably still very much in the works and she won't debut it until she truly needs to. Still, I would like to hear about what progress she's made on it.

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  15. Im sure Simone will upgrade her bars to a competitive starting value just to put her on the safe side. I wonder whether she will be able to swing or will just muscle the elements like Wieber which wasn't well received by the judges in 2012.

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    1. My guess is more muscling than swinging... She doesn't like bars and that doesn't seem to change anytime soon. Which is why I am wondering if she will consistently score above 15 in that. Same like Wieber who never really consistently score above 15 in bars if she even did once. As long as she gets 14.5+ though and stay on beam, her vaults and FX will see her through AA for now. Would be nice to see her get 15 in bars but I will have to see it first to believe it.

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    2. Her E score would suggest that she swings just fine...

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  16. I have just gone through all the comments and it seems like most of them are about the US and specifically about Simone Biles.

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    1. Feel free to add comments about Russia, China, Romania, or anyone else. I actually swinged by http://rewritingrussiangymnastics.blogspot.com/ a lot just to see what they are up to also...

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    2. We don't have much to go on for other countries other than who's injured. What do we know about Deng Yalan or Fan Yilin's prospects for this year? Even Canada is mysterious. The US is the only one where we get any sort of idea or planned progress out of competition. Biles in particular is the most exciting gymnast with huge potential still...why wouldn't she be talked about?

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  17. I think we all comment on the USA because we can see what the girls are doing when they post videos showing progress. the rest of the world we can only guess from what we have seeing in the pass or what we would guess will be upgrade. But i will say that Team finals will better this year because a lot of Countries are getting dome more depth than they had last year. the ones that have the ability o close the gap on USA (but they are still no able to beat them unless there are major mistakes) are still China, Russia, Romania.
    China would get improvement on Vault and maybe floor. but their main issue is that they are inconsistent on the beam and bars were they should be bale to beat the US to make it possible to beat them.
    Romania would get improvement on bars and floor. but their bars are still just quite basic and i don't see any scoring 15 or above at the moment. they have to be great on beam and floor to make it interesting.
    Russia is a enigma that I have been trying to comprehend from the new cycle begun. they have the pieces, but quite frankly I cannot put them together to save my life LOL. they are strong on bars. beam is a potential, but try getting them to have 3 hit routines in any competition. vault is amazingly weak and their technique is just scary and their form atrocious ( even Mustafina with the wrap and bend knees). and floor is a mess from a country with a strong tradition of unique choreography and artistry ( and having pretty fingers and hands, posture, and balletic position is not choreography no matter how hard some try to lie to themselves that it is).
    in terms of trying to break into the top 4. I got Italy, Germany, Great Britain, and Brazil has me really intrigue with what they can do with those 2 new girls and the old seniors.
    The US is just so exciting because the potential is astronomical if every one is in good health and at the right level. Simone still leads the pack mainly because in 3 of the apparatus she can easily score a 15 or more ( with floor and Vault being out of this world). but bars to me is always going to be a struggle, and beam can be nervy for her and not as fluid.
    For All Around to be strong in all four apparatus to me Keys, Dennis, Douglas, and to a certain extent Nichols. all the others have one or two events in which they are not too good at.

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  18. I do pity Russia that they don't have any new seniors that can look to take over the lead of Mustafina. It is quite amazing that she may still win medals even 4 yrs out from her peak and I won't be surprised if she keeps getting medals even after 2016, because unless someone in Russia can rise up, they won't let Mustafina resign. We know of a few new Russian names, but the real question is who is a real potential Russian AA rather than names that can only do a few events. Vika came close but that was the past now. Can someone names a good new potential Russian AA? Also we might all say that they are kinda stuck on the past but really 2012 was their dream team.

    In a way the Fierce Five was US dream team. And if the Fierce Five are all healthy and working right now, they would still be a force to be reckon with. If anything, the high turn over may be slowing down a bit in the US team also. We can see how Italy's Ferrari is still going almost 10 years out from her zenith. She is still one of their strongest contenders. In some way, the high turn over rate (such as in US team) of top tier in a program means that the program is actually turning out new better competitors as long as it's not due to excessive injury taking out the top competitors. For 2015 the US got Key as the top upcomer. I do hope that they will have strong upcomers also in 2016 because you will have to plan on the day Biles, Key, and the rest of the Fierce Five retire.

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  19. 2016 Seniors are arguably just as good if not better in the US. Victoria Nyguen, Norah Flatley, Ragan Smith, and Laurie Hernandez just to name a few. That's not including the girls fighting now

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    1. Yeah I love those girls too. but they are not complete packages. Nyguen being the one that have the most potential to be a true All Around athlete. Flatley is a great beam worker and her floor is ok, but the other 2 apparatus are not strong. Ragan Smith has potential but is she available for 2016. and finally Hernandez is just so fragile when it comes to injuries

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  20. I see Russia has Seda as upcoming 2015 AA but her total is nowhere near Mustafina (55) .. Any other strong potential AA for them?

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  21. Just thinking about Mykyla Skinner. I have a feeling that she is the darkest of dark horses within the national team. She might even make it to Rio. She is really impressing me on bars with her new skills. They are still messy but she should be able to clean them within 1.5 years before the Olympics. Her double spin on beam is as exquisite as her double double dismount from bars. I can't wait too see her this season and see how much she has improved execution wise.

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    1. I like her too because big gymnastics excites me. that's the thing with her and Biles is like they are doing what the men program does which is to push the bar little more every year. and to me that is great for women gymnastics. But Skinner to me should focus on floor, bars, and vault to me that is her ticket to Rio. beam is not going to do nothing for her.

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    2. I think that is what her coach is doing. Last year they only focused on floor and vault mainly, her bars was just there and her beam was watered down from 2013. She will still be an all arounder and I do not think she will give up being one given that she placed sixth during the preliminaries. However, I agree that strong vault, bars and floor will be her ticket to Rio. But I doubt her bars will be as strong as her vault/floor.

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    3. I hope I am not casting any sort of mystical jinxes but I think, she never gets injured. Her drive is really admirable. I really hope that her coach can come up with routines that will minimise deductions from form. She should be doing more tucked elements and avoid split elements as much as she can on beam. On beam if her main elements are composed of: Arabian(F), 1/1 Tuck back (F), Front Tuck(D), 1/2 Front Tuck (F), Full in dismount (G), Double turn (D), double W turn (D), switch leap (C) this routine can give her a 6.5 start value without any connections and she wont get penalised on flexibility as much (assuming that she fulfils the entire requirements by the relevant skills and connections). She can easily upgrade this by adding non-split leaps out of her jumps such as the wolf and pike, or doing and acrobatic series with backhand springs. This shouldn't be too hard for her as she has done most of the elements in the past the only new thing here is the 1/2 front tuck.

      For floor, I agree with someone who posted here that if possible she should downgrade her moors if she can perform a clean full in DLO instead. Maybe she can learn the double double pike and get it named after her.


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    4. twisting in a piked position is very hard if not near impossible on floor. I don't think DD pike will happen.

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  22. Skinner did sort of carved out a niche for herself. She has two strong events. Even if Bailie can beat her on the floor, Skinner's floor would still be one of the higher scoring routine, if she keeps on improving it just a bit more. And of course Bailie can't replace her for vault final. I think given what happened in 2012, it's safe to say Marta will bring two vaulters to Rio to ensure the gold if possible because the US is so close of grabbing that elusive Olympic gold on vault that they never got even though that one of their best events. Baring injury, I can see Skinner going back to Worlds in 2015 and very possible also in 2016 unless we see someone strong in vault and FX comes up (Maroney comeback?).

    That is another thing that make the US exciting. A girl might not make it big this year but you can't never count out a possibility she will make it big the next. I don't think many people would've saw this coming when she missed out on 2012 Olympic Trial. Correct me if i am wrong but this sort of things doesn't seem to happen as much on other national teams.

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    1. In 2016, I think Marta's priorities will be focused on the team and the top 2 all arounders. I doubt Marta will bring two vaulters just for the sake of getting a gold vault if an all arounder like Simone can already challenge for it. Assuming that Biles and Key are part of the Olympic team and that Key will have an Amanar and she will outscore Skinner on floor then Marta will probably find 2 people who are primarily good in bars. If either of those is a decent all arounder and can vault an Amana then Mykyla's chances will be slimmer as the fifth person will be most likely be a reliable beam specialist like Norah Flatley, who is starting to have a decent floor set and can definitely challenge for a gold medal on beam. If no one can consistently outscore Mykyla on Floor then she may have a chance of being part of team and medal on vault and floor in the olympics.

      VT: Key, Biles, Person A/B
      UB: Biles/Key, Person A, Person B
      BB: Biles, Key, Flatley?
      FX: Flatley?, Key, Biles

      or
      VT: Key, Biles, Skinner
      UB: Biles/Key, Person A, Person B
      BB: Biles, Key, Person A/B
      FX: Skinner, Key, Biles

      In this hypothetical model if persons A and B are amazing in bars then US will have two finalists in each event that are all within medal contention. USA should be able to send a better team than the Fierce 5 with Biles and Key spearheading the team.

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    2. Problem is there is yet a person who is Amazing in both UB and BB. Ashton is right now the best hope for an UB medal followed by Kocian. We will have to see if both can step up their BB. Gabby would be a good one to fill in if her UB and BB is back. She does also have a useful amanar if she can get that back. Kyla could also fill this if she significantly step up....

      It's not easy for US to have 2 finalist in UB as you need someone with consistent score of 15+ and Ashton is the only US currently getting consistent 15+. Can pretty much count on having 2 from China and Russia. Cant also never count out other countries like GB and GER both of which can put up 15+ routines sometimes. I actually like the above 2nd scenario as more probable as we already know the performers. All you need then is 2 more persons for 2016 or 3 more for 2015. I find it hard to replace Ashton in 2015 even if she only does UB.

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    3. SCAM roster just been announced. Biles and Skinner, Black, Fasana, Ferrari, Fragapane, Harrold, Little, Lopez. No Larisa :(. What is the problem? Why can't Larisa be there? Would have like to see Key and Larisa there even more so than Biles and Skinner!!

      Barring surprise I think we can already predict the outcome. But why can't Key and Larisa be there...... Sigh.....

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    4. SCAM is still a SCAM I guess.....

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    5. You cannot just go with 2 All Arounders in a 5 man team because you risk one of them being injured or having a bad competetition and not qualifying to finals. so the plan that was used for London is still the best. 3 All Around and two specialist. Also i would not used Biles on Bars for a team final because her bars is not that good and never will be. The 2008 Olympics should be used as a warning. they got kill on bars by the Chinese and it will happen again if they don't put up strong bars routines. The Chinese already have two 7.0 routines and they will had another one for this year worlds. If everything works out Keys and Biles will be in as All around, and there is a spot for someone who can be that 3rd and who can excel on Bars. that's where Dennis, Douglas, Ross, Nichols enter.
      I got this way for qualifying round:

      VT: Keys, Biles, Skinner, ?
      UB: Keys, Biles, ? ?
      BB: Keys, Biles, ? ?
      F: Biles, Skinner, Keys, ?

      For Finals:
      VT: Biles, Skinner, ?
      UB: ? ? ?
      BB: Biles, Keys, ?
      Floor: Biles, Skinner, ?

      The key for the other girls who want to be on that team is that they have to be a All Arounder with a bar and beam routine that can win a medal, that's what is needed at the point. and the field is wide open.
      Also we are all assuming that Keys is the same girl. we have not seeing her compete in almost a year in which she has grown and probably upgraded to harder routines. so as I said at this point other then Biles is wide open.

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    6. US for now will unfortunately not going to be in the #1 or 2 position if China and Russia play their cards right and have no fall. They will be most likely #3 unless other 2 mess up. They will capitalize again on vault and FX and try to do really well on BB. The strategy is same as 2012. Hopefully this time there's at least 1 real UB contender. The result could be very similar again except I don't think that Russia will be able to have 2 on podium in AA this time. US has good shot at gold in vault and FX and medal in BB. UB bronze will be quite a fight for US but doable. Gabby was good but I never thought she could have really medaled given how the UB was insanely deep in 2012 anyway even if she didn't mess up.

      Btw, how are SCAM invites made? The competition field is kinda ridiculously lobsided on the women. Did Larisa and Musty decline the invite or did they not even get invited? The men side is much more balanced.

      If Biles and Skinner show up with nothing new then it will be a complete total disappointment....

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    7. Anon 1:21 - Really? Are you saying that the US will likely go #3 in team? Why??

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    8. Anon 2:56 - I think they are talking about the US being third in bars, not team. The way things are now the US couldn't be third in teams even if they purposely sabotaged themselves.

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    9. Personnally, I could see the US team be:

      VT- Biles, Skinner(?), Raisman/Key
      UB- Locklear, Ross(?) (if upgrade), Biles/Key
      BB-Ross(?), Key, Biles/Raisman
      FX-Biles, Raisman, Key/Skinner(?)

      I think between Skinner and Ross, Ross has the edge just because of what Marta is looking for.

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    10. sorry, I meant #3 for UB, left out a few words....

      kinda disappointing to see the SCAM start up list. I guess SCAM is still a SCAM and will always be a SCAM....

      Greatest threat to Ross is another good all arounder that can score 58-59+. or someone great in BOTH UB and BB.....

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    11. SCAM this year is actually for me a good star up list for both MAG and WAG.
      you really think anyone can actually beat Biles, not even Iordache. unless she upgraded her vault. so it will actually not be a scam at all LOL.

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    12. Ahh - thanks November for the explanation on 3rd in bars. On Kyla - I just read this great interview with her from Arabian Punch Front blog! http://arabianpunchfront.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-gym-max-family.html It's exciting to hear her plans!

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    13. That's a great interview. Kyla is definitely a "perfectionist". It would also be so great to see her with an amanar back, though that's unlikely....Good to hear that she's reworking her bars because she will need that to stay competitive. She hasn't had much any injury til lately. I do hope she can get over them soon...

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    14. I just read Kyla's interview script from that link. Thanks anon 13:33. Well, it sound like Kyla and her coach are playing it safe this year again. It sounds like she is only focusing more on bars rather than anything else. Hopefully her back will be healed by the end of this year so she can start training inbars and increase her d score. I am quite excited to see her rearranged bar routine with the full twising Pak Salto in it. Her balance beam is most likely going to be the same, I wonder whether there will be any upgrades for this season. Having said that, barring any injuries she will still be part of this world championship team. I don't see her competing in the all around however... Maybe Skinner will overtake Kyla in the all around standings at this years national and Marta is giving Mykayla the momentum to do it by sending her to the American Cup.

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  23. This is why I hate that people still call it SCAM. It perpetuates the myth among less well informed fans that the US is doing something wrong.

    The American Cup is an FIG event. The US was required to invite the top gymnasts. It is not their fault that they declined. Don't you think they would want as many stars as possible at their event? Besides, it is not like the US needs to set up an event for their gymnasts to win, they destroy the competition everywhere they compete!

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  24. I could only hope that they did sent out invite to romania, russia, and china and that those invites were declined. From what I read here, the reputation of this event precedes itself:

    http://deadspin.com/5891051/the-scam-cup-how-a-very-american-tv-event-gives-us-gymnasts-a-leg-up-on-the-olympic-competition

    I guess you can't blame the competition for not sending their best although they did have some good competition in 2010 and 2011. US still won anyway.

    From what I read is it true that invitation is supposed to be from 2014 top performers so is that why they can't exactly put in new seniors like key? I read that the Russians got pissed off when Wieber was sent in as a replacement because she wasn't a senior the year before? If that's the reason then I guess you can't blame them for not seeing the new seniors...

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    1. They did send out invites to Romania, Russia and China. China did not send it's guaranteed spot (Yao Jinnan - 5th) to either Stuggart or Glasgow. Sosnitskaya and Mustafina declined after losing at Stuggart to Iordache, Lopez and Kim Bui. The athletes go if they are ready - Mustafina just started training in Penza, Sosnitskaya is training at Round Lake. I'm sure Iordache is working hard back in Romania for her season that includes events like Qatar and Euros.

      After the top 8 or 10, countries (not athletes) receive invites to field any athlete from their country based on where their best athletes finished in the AA. That is why Mai Murakami showed up to Glasgow despite not even competing in the AA at worlds: Japan is eighth to receive an invite because of Teramoto's 18th finish at Worlds. Similarly, Fasana has been sent for Italy - she secured her very own spot for finishing 17th at Worlds.

      Key could have been fielded. The 9th spot at these competitions can be fielded by any athlete from the host nation. Germany fielded Bui at Stuggart. Great Britain fielded Hoeknell at Glasgow.

      Marta probably picked Skinner because she is actually a top athlete and she was probably ready.

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    2. thanks for the explanation. That makes a little sense now. Come to think of it seems like china almost never send theirs to any euro or America events either. And US doesn't go to Glasgow or Stuggart much. I do see why a lot of nations also don't send their top tier if it conflicts with their set schedule. I do hope we will see some new routines...

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    3. I can see how it's unappealing to other countries. Early in the season, extremely far away for most and no event finals to pick up money in, and always going to carry two top US gymnasts to almost certainly Hoover up the top two medals. The invites go out, it's not the fault of the US if they're not taken up.

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    4. Yeah the distance is such a good point, it's not something I think about - but in sports like tennis where the top athletes essentially travel non-stop for 8-9 months out of the year, they say it can be very draining.

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    5. So how is it that in 2008 there were 4 US in American cup out of 8 competitors? Is the 1 reserve + 1 wildcard a relatively new rule?

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    6. It became an FIG world cup event in 2011. Until then, they could do as they wanted, such as Jordyn competing in 2009.

      Now it follows the formal process of top 8 aa placements from worlds, then iirc opens up to top 4 gym federations from team finals, then further opens up to those who placed in the AA. I think that's the order of it?

      Last year the wildcard was Sophie Scheder. I'm curious if a US girl will exhibit.

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  25. When can we expect to see these in real competitions? The forms already looking real good....can't wait!!!!

    http://youtu.be/YOkVNfN9ru8

    http://youtu.be/Rv9tMTIzCIo

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  26. Onto another addition to the possible comeback: Ponor and Izbasa for Romania. On one hand if the current crops of new seniors can't cut it, bringing back the older ones could motivate them but what does that do to development if you are going to rely on old seniors to win? It's sad to see how this will play out. Romania team's funding is depending on results they get so they might have to bring out the old ones that can win to get funding but then that would just worsen your development problem in the long term. They should have sent someone to AmCup this yr like say Stanila...

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    1. If anything, they should have sent Iordache. She's leading the series with 100 pts. Only Lopez (85), Black (65) and Ferrari (60) can catch her. Lopez needs to finish 7th get 105 pts, so the pot is likely hers. Black needs to be 3rd to win, Ferrari needs to finish 2nd. However, for Black or Ferrari to win, Lopez has to finish 8th or 9th, respectively.

      Perhaps to Romania being a top 3 finisher and collecting some of the purse was enough and they are now preparing for Qatar, where Iordache can win medals on all four events - very likely. I'm sure the other girls are training to be sent be part of a smaller squad that goes (2-3 gymnasts?)

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    2. But yeah - this conversation was all over the gymter.net

      I think it's fine that Ponor and Izbasa are coming - same way I feel about both Douglas and Raisman. As far as who gets to compete, it should be the best of the best.

      If I were a Romanian gymnast, I would now live on the bars and the beam to find a place in this line-up that is strong on vault and floor, also maybe 2/3 TF BB spots are covered.

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    3. Would be nice to see Lopez finally rewarded with winning the series. She's been doing world cup for a while.

      Douglas and Raisman seem to be of a different setting than Ponor and Izbasa in that it seems like the romania is actually hoping to bring them back as they might not trust the new seniors can cut it in 2016 as compared to Douglas and Raisman just want to come back against the odds and see if they can make a 2nd run at Olympics.

      The situation for anyone else aside US is sad because it seems to no one else can field more than 1 decent all-arounder. Looking at 2014 World qualification, US has the 3 of 6 best AA. In 2015 with Key it would be like US having 4 of best 7 AA with the other 3 AA being divided 1 each among the other big 3. Even with the new seniors those other 3 just don't have anyone that really approach their 1 anchor person.

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    4. I think there's a big difference between Gabby and Aly making comebacks and what's happening in Romania. Gabby and Aly are just choosing to return into an already large field. It seems as though Catalina and Sandra are being approached by the federation to try and drag up the program.
      However, I love Sandra sosososo much and want to see her back in competition, so I don't really care how it's done.

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    5. I love Izbasa - she's a tremendous athlete - comforting Maroney and Komova in their disappointments in London and cheering loudly for other gymnasts, so much so that Diana Bulimar shushed her.

      She has been thinking about how to plan her return and is interviewed in Romania all the time. Here are some transcripts: http://wogymnast.com/?p=2370 (December) and http://wogymnast.com/?p=647 (March).

      She knows the outline of her return and seemed to be planning on it before. She also mentions that the younger ones are training harder skills now as well, and frankly - they are better than Izbasa on beam and perhaps they'll catch her on bars. Nothing is certain, but I'm wishing Izbasa the best of luck. I feel like her return and Ponor's as well will be good for the program, overall.

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    6. I read one of the transcripts that says Izbasa trained for the Cheng but didn't do it after Maroney fell. Wow.... Guess we didn't get to see that but that would have been nice. I think the Cheng definitely has the potential to upend the amanar now as the go-to vault for top vaulter as amanar has been devalued more than cheng and only 1 1/2 twist off after 1/2 on maybe easier than trying to do a whole 2 1/2 twist off. I think the US needs to upgrade to above amanar or cheng to stay ahead sooner or later. We will have to see if the US will be able to field a combination of only cheng and amanar in 2015-2016 and maybe at least 1 TTY or cheng+1 twist. Otherwise would be a step backward. I hope we are not going to see even a DTY in qualification. As someone said, Kocian's FTY looks out of place in a US vault lineup..

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  27. Hello Catherine! A lot of people are mentioning Yao Jinnan requires shoulder surgery :(

    Without her - probably China's most consistent gymnast (ignoring Huang Huidan who only contributes 1-2 events) - do you think Russia, Romania and even Great Britain will surpass them?

    I'm also wondering if you think there are any other potential shake ups. Do you think a team like Brazil or even the Netherlands can beat out Japan, Australia or Germany for the a spot in the team final and a bid to the Olympics? The more I think about Glasgow the more excited I'm getting, already. Too bad it's months away, I'm certainly jealous about your tickets.

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    1. its still many months away from worlds so I won't count Yao out yet if she can make a quick recovery... still with her being china's few consistent AA that would really hurts if she s not fully back with a high bars routine.... she's their best AA... chunsong is not quite as good

      a non top 8 beating out Germany is hard to imagine, but Japan or whoever the 8th is could be in danger. we talk about top 4 most of the time but I do wonder sometimes too how static the next 4 are .

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    2. Looks like she will b out now for 2015 season according to gymternet.... sad:(. But hopefully she can be bk in full force for rio...

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    ReplyDelete