Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Jessica Lopez and the Elixir of Youth

Ah, American Cup. The first international competition of the season, and always an interesting one. I'd have to say that the interest lies mainly in the fact that it showcases the top American gymnasts, the fact they they are there and will almost automatically take the top 2 of the 3 medals and prize money available (except a lot won't, since they aren't pro), the earliness of the season and the distance tends to put a lot of federations off. It's a huge factor in why the rest of the top 4 don't bother with it. To say it's moreso to do with the scoring and old butthurt from Aliya Mustafina losing to Jordyn Wieber is well, wishful thinking. It probably doesn't help, but I'd be very surprised if it was a major contributory factor.

In totally shocking news, Simone Biles dominated, as expected. We are seeing the most powerful gymnast ever, who will go down as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest. She certainly has quite a lot of people who do not appreciate her style of gymnastics, but she doesn't have to be the favourite to be the best.

As I was saying in the comments of my last post, I do not feel that she is beatable. She's on a different level and she's also on a trajectory...she showed upgrades here, and she so clearly has a lot more to give. The TTY alone would of course boost her phenomenal difficulty into the stratosphere, but even if she doesn't do that, it's the little things here and there..the Mustafina on bars, with maybe a Fabrichnova possible, the introduction of the Khorkina transition hopefully and a more valuable dance skill on floor, and even a bigger tumble for her last pass because hey, she looks capable of a double layout or similar there.

It all just puts her out of reach. Nanning Simone was already beyond everyone else, the American Cup one yet more so, and she's got plenty left in the tank as she gears up for the summer season heading into Glasgow, and the longer goal of Rio. Bailie Key is a magnificent gymnast and I am REALLY looking forward to seeing the two compete, but I just don't see Bailie being victorious. Especially because as mentioned, Simone still is not at her peak.

Back to the actual competition....watching her almost, almost stick that huge vault was just incredible. We've gotten so used to the big hop, but it just makes it so much more impressive. Would love to see her continue to land it like this, or with reduced movement on landing. She really has equalled McKayla Maroney with this vault and matching The Great One's Olympic score was I felt justified. It's good to see her bars routine progress from last year, where it was quite cookie-cutter, it was solid and the dismount was fantastic although I was disappointed we didn't see that extra half-turn, albeit knowing already she wasn't going to debut it there. I'm seriously in love with her BHS-LOSO-LOSO on beam, the highlight of the routine. A pity she was wobbly but it's very early in the season, I expect jittery beams in March. Floor blew me away with the competitive debut of the full-twisting double layout and the leap added to the Biles. They look fabulous, and while moving the Silivas to the third pass means it's a bit less explosive, the fact that it is third makes up for that.  Considering the big hops on some of her landings, it was a bit overscored, and so were beam and bars, but not by much. A bit more than half a point altogether. And that's nothing, when it still means you can and will legitimately score over 61 internationally.

Considering how Mykayla Skinner looked in podium training, I'm glad she was able to keep it together in competition. I do love her DTY also. When she's 'on', I really enjoy some of her skills, and her power and enthusiasm. This Mykayla is just not there yet, and wasn't exactly the easiest to watch. It's hard not to think that her training seems to focus on skill acquisition, rather than honing and improving her form.

Not doing the AA isn't the wisest idea in the US National team, limiting the events you can bring in even a prelims score in. But, I think it would be a wise decision for Mykayla to focus on vault and floor. I'd love to see her be schooled on blocking, and really work on her leaps on floor, when she cannot be used on either beam or bars it seems like a waste to detract from time that could go to her star events. Jessica Lopez with her low difficulty but super form beating her for 2nd would have been a good wake-up call perhaps.

It was a bit of a disappointing competition with a few falls, Jessica Lopez threw away a medal on beam, Ellie Black fell on her ambitious clear hip-Shang and Claudia Fragapane had a heartbreaking complete meltdown on floor. That coupled with gymnasts like Mykayla Skinner and the ever-competing Vanessa Ferrari just seeming off...not the most thrilling world cup, and that's coming from a gigantic Simone Biles fan. I'm still trying to catch up on quite a few routines, not having been able to watch the competition live...it's a long one to sit through otherwise, and it's hampered by the fact that a good bit of my free time is going towards WWF/WWE videos on youtube, an old interest recently rekindled into basically an obsession. Just. So. Entertaining.

On that note, other than the falls and ill-preparedness forming the negatives along with the weak-ish field and Simone's awesomeness, new skills and great combinations from people like Ellie Black being the positives...it's a little difficult to sum up this competition.

What were your highlights? Do you see Bailie besting Simone? Can she legit do an 8.0 floor routine? How fun was Mykayla Skinner's hair? Is Jessica Lopez actually 12? 
















53 comments:

  1. A Healthy simone that continues to Upgrade and keep the same current Consistency is unbeatable until one of the three cap words is false. If simone stands still it would not hard to imagine someone can overtake her esp someone with a very strong bars set. The problem for everyone else is that she's not done upgrading even as she already got probably the highest total D score.

    As for mykayla's hair dressing, I guess last quad we had gabby's hair to talk about so I guess mykayla's hair will be the one for this quad. she's not the only one that has the ribbon at scam simone did too. at world ashton has the white ribbons. Hmm I guess somehow it just stands out more on her head?

    Jlo def does not look 29 at all. She can be chuso's successor.... She only need to keep going for another decade. Then she would look 29...

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    1. Exactly, she would be human and beatable if she stayed as she was last year, or stagnated slightly. Still an extremely tough ask for someone else to match though.

      Mykayla's ribbons seem to be bigger, or more elaborate? Cheerleader-y, in a way. I don't like or dislike it, and her hair is neat. Sure beats the slop the US have shown hair-wise during the last 2 quads.

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  2. 8.0 FX routine for simone:

    Acro: I, H, H, G. Needs to leap out of all 4 passes.
    Dance: D, E, E, E

    It's not completely beyond her reach. She lands her passes with a bounce at the end a lot of times so could definitely connect to a leap. As for dance element, she just needs to train the other two E element turns again not completely out of reach.

    Execution will likely suffer but even with 8.5 e score would still score 16.5...

    She WOULD be out of breath with the routine. Guaranteed... A very busy routine for 90 sec. Time could also be a real factor.


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    1. Hehe yeah it's not totally crazy. She could probably do it the odd time, but a bit much to have all the time.

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    2. Simone could also upgrade her bars routine to a 6.8 with a few tweaks. She could jump to the high bar, kip cast to piked tkatchev (E) to pak (D) to immediate Maloney (D) to overshoot (D) to weiler (D) to weiler half (D) to Khorkina (E). Kip cast to toe on full (D) to straddled tkatchev (D) and dismount with the Mustafina (E).

      E+E+E+D+D+D+D+D= 3.5
      Connection Value= 0.8
      Requirements=2.5
      SV= 6.8

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    3. That's a lot of consecutive connections. Unless she can become a "natural" swinger, that would not happen. On the US team, ashton and Madison are the ones that can handle the multiple consecutive connections.... I do actually hope that ashton would also upgrade her dismount but I think her priority seems to be more difficult element upgrades to be incorporated into her transition-fest. Maybe we'll see a harder dismount from ashton and Madison next year...

      Simone is a natural tumbler so adding harder dismount to her routine is exactly why it was planned. Maybe she can upgrade some more of the individual elements?

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  3. With Simone's upgrades, Bailie's entry into seniors, Mckayla's strong vault, and possibly, valuable contributions from Gabby and Ali, the US is all set to defend its title in Glasgow. Of course, there's still the ever reliable Kyla and the beautiful bars work of Ashton. Truly, no country in the world comes close to how deep the talent pool of the US

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    1. Which is why marta rightly thought the new proposal to reduce team size is crap.... The smaller the team is the less gap will be for US. They would still win though since they have overall more AA gymnasts with better consistency than most. The gymnastic world would have missed out so much if we didn't see mckayla or locklear in action.

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    2. Nia's constant injuries are depressing. I really want her to be in the mix. She's been watched for such a long time, and what she has shown is a lot of injury downtime and inconsistency and it sucks. She could be so great. Grrrr.

      Seeing what Bailie, Gabby and Aly are up to is going to be great though.

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  4. JLo's floor exercise was marvelous. How I wish she hit had a hit beam routine to take the second place away from Skinner. Skinner is just not yet there. I was also enthralled by Erika Fasana's floor. Such power from that woman. On the downside, I was heartbroken seeing Claudia's meltdown in floor. I just love her, but just like Skinner, she's not yet ready.

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  5. Simone is the best. You know a gymnast is great when all detractors can do is complain she is all tumble, no artistry, rail about how overscored she is, bemoan her lack of grace and try desperately to convince themselves that others have a chance of beating her at her best. The latest trend is amongst such people is the belief that Afan, who has launched a very strong comeback, and Iordache can actually beat Simone on floor. I find that borderline laughable, since there is nothing, and I mean nothing, to support that claim.

    I saw another person who was convinced her dance elements should not be credited and stated Simone is getting constant help from the judges in this regard. I'd like to say I replied politely, but sadly I did not. I guess I'm just getting tired of people bent on undermining the success and abilities of this gymnast with stupid, untrue reasons. Cause they still are a vocal group that hasn't gone away even after Simone has proved herself time and again. Sorry for the rant, it's just a little disheartening that there will always be small, but loud sections of fans who can't quite bring themselves to accept Biles, or when they do it's always passive-aggressively - but like you said, she doesn't need their recognition to be the best.

    Mykayla pulled off an impressive showing considering how things were going in podium. I will never be a fan of her gymnastics as a whole, but she did about as well as she can do. Some of her skills are breath-taking like her high releases on bar and her flick to full back. As a safety net it makes sense for her to continue training all around, but let's face it, she is not an all around gymnast. I would love to see her dedicate herself to improving floor and vault, just as you said.

    It was gutting to see Fragapane fall apart on floor like that. She and Jessica Lopez were the only other two gymnasts I was looking forward to besides Simone, but it was clear that she was ill-prepared that day. Speaking of Jessica, damn, I wanted her to medal but I can't begrudge Fasana her placement as she was Aly Raisman solid (like Aly, I hate her bars). Very impressive.

    The competition wasn't disappointing to me because I never expect strong showings at Scam except from the Americans. On the other hand, can you believe there are still people who whine about the overscoring?? It's like, duh, it's the American Cup. Of course there is overscoring. Accept it and pay attention to the placings not the scores.

    At least Oleg won on the men's side followed by Kato and only then an American.

    In other news Cat, how do you feel about Gabby and Aly's recent interviews? The Russian Championships and all that? You've been gone a long time, I wish you would update more. :(

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    1. I think there are just nasties everywhere. People are being pretty harsh on the Russian Champ videos that are coming out as well, so the phenomenon isn't strictly anti-Biles. When you are at the top, you also happen to be the most critiqued. I'd have to say, Catherine did make a smart point that she doesn't have to be the world's favorite to be the world's best. It's probably super helpful to see a sports psychologist.

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    2. I've just managed to reclaim my laptop-it was in constant use while another computer was being fixed. And it is difficult enough to post comments on mobile, blogging was just an impossible task on it! Things have been a bit hectic too, but I definitely should be able to blog more now.

      I couldn't really watch Gabby's, I know I'm terrible...but it was just too irritating. I do not like 'media!!!' coming across in interviews, I'd much rather listen to 'I just want to go out there and hit 4 for 4' several times over. Give me a refreshing 100% genuine interviewee like Biles any day. Aly's monotone lives on! Both girls look 'on track'.

      The highlight of the Russian championships was Kharenkova's relative consistency, and Afan's great return to floor. I feel the competition is too early to really get a good feel for what they'll be like as a team. Komova seems to have stagnated entirely, I really fail to see where the high hopes for her are coming from. Still catching up videos and so on.

      On the subject of Afan, yes indeed she is nowhere near beating Simone with that floor. Nor is anyone. It's quite beyond strong floors we've seen in the last quad, super-powerful ones even like Aly and Jordyn. Some people seem to lose perspective of the level she is at, but when you look back at the difficulty of the floor powerhouses from even the last few years...

      As for her dance elements, they are just offended by the leading dead foot and her muscles 'ruining' the line. Never mind that still photos and the evidence of the eye proves she gets the split, in fact, she oversplits on regular split leaps. It seems that dance skills need to look very pretty and graceful as opposed to just executed properly and cleanly to be credited in the eyes of some.

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    3. Gym Bot, you are certainly right that there are nasties everywhere; I've had to deal with my fair share of USA stans. But in my experience no group quite goes out of their way to tear down gymnasts like some of the Russia or anti-American crowd do. They tend to be the most aggressive what with purposefully going to videos of American gymnasts with the sole intent to undermine. I'm not saying they have to like a Biles or anyone personally since I have no control over that nor am I saying Biles is perfect in every way, but there is fine line between that and sexism, jingoism and just making shit up - which seem stuck on doing.

      Honestly, I think if someone look at an amazing gymnast like Biles and all they manage is to whine about how overscored she is and how she lacks the aesthetics, then I question if they are true gym fan.

      You do strike upon the truth when you say those at the top receive more scrutiny. America is the strongest right now in WAG, and I can't imagine that sits too well with some who plug for a particular nation or a particular type of gymnast. It can be hard to admit the girls you like aren't the best - more comforting to think their rivals are only winning because they are handed gifts by judges and the like.

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    4. Ugh, tech problems. Always a hassel.

      Cat, I know what you mean about the conspicuous insertion of the media, but the interviews were really just the girls talking about their motivations and progress. I found them satisfying and on point, and they offered a tantalizing glance into their routines. What's most important is that they're fit, prepared and dead serious.

      The questioning of Simone's dance elements was because, in this particular person's mind, they were not complete at all. Having somehow managed to pause the video myself the moment Simone's feet hit the ground, I can say positively that she was 80-90 percent round. Not completely square but unquestionably square enough to be credited. Smh, some people...

      I'm thrilled to see Afan back even if she is being overhyped.

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    5. is it just me or did skinner only turn like 1.8/2 turns on her double tuck turn? not nitpicking but I hope she will improve as season goes... can't wait til jesolo in 2 wk to see almost all top us girls in action...

      russia appears to be in somewhat better shape this yr. they definitely have the difficulty on beam in Maria but she disappointed in consistency so far in worlds last yr and again at their nationals this yr... consistency seems to be their main problem

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  6. On highlights: I think Fasana outperforming Ferrari was good. She was getting close last year and has beaten Ferrari the last couple of Serie A competitions. Perhaps they will develop a friendly rivalry and enhance Italy's competitiveness in the team competition too.

    I also liked Black's Tsukahara on vault, although I suspect all Tsuks and handspring vaults are automatically deducted for height and length - but that is the physics of the vaulting table and not necessarily what the gymnast is doing.

    Lopez was great, a well deserved overall win in the series. I'm glad she got to showcase her gymnastics as she has been working very hard to climb the ranks.

    So my lowlights were probably the falls and Skinner's terrifying podium training.

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  7. Great to see Fasana getting better score than Ferrari... I understanding Ferrari downgraded a little so this may not be as valid, but this is a good indication that they are having some success with new gymnast development. Italy can't count on Ferrari competing forever. The reason why the US program is a beast is that they have been able to keep turning out new highly competitive seniors. So it may be somewhat disappointing that there's not many repeat US gymnast olympians but that is actually the strength of the program....

    I saw Afan fx routine. Not bad. Does need some clean up with her landing though. She does have nice dance elements but her d score as well as execution just can't stand up to simone at this point. she can give larisa a run for the money though. Critics can say what they want but the problem is that there is no dance element higher than E so you are not going to be able to get a real high d score with the current dance elements. Maybe if they can invent some new dance and leap elements above E? Til then, high difficult fx will have to have hard tumbling... And let face it, simone can do a triple tuck turn, one of the highest rated dance element...

    I actually enjoyed seeing lopez ub routine as well as fasana fx. Fasana was appropriately rewarded with the bronze for her consistency in all 4 routines.

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  8. Hey Catherine, sorry that this is totally unrelated to your post, but is the FIG seriously considering making 4 person teams a rule for the 2020 Olympics. If so, then why?? Or is this just a rumor??? I understand lowering the team to 5 members, but why 4??

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    1. It was good, and I'm really looking forward to some of the new crew like Enus Mariani improving steadily all the time and making a name for themselves. However, I do find Erika a little bit sloppy so while I appreciate her work, I can't love it.

      That's more than a rumour, it's something that's being considered. Here's a link: http://gymnasticscoaching.com/new/2015/03/proposed-reduce-team-size-for-2020-olympics/

      Same old, same old...'opportunities for specialists'. It has the opposite effect, small teams squeeze out specialists since they're by definition of more limited use in a team setting. It was reduced to 5 previously to create spots for more sports to enter the Olympics, which was done...it's how trampolining entered. If they need to reduce spots, they should either a) not take them from one of THE most-watched Olympic sports full stop or b) reduce the number of teams that can attempt to qualify for the team final, and therefore the number of total gymnasts. 4 is a joke.

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    2. I agree with your thoughts on limiting the number of teams that are allowed to qualify. It would be much better to limit the number of teams qualifying from the test meet from 4 to 2, so that only the top 10 teams make it to the Olympics.

      But in a way I can't really blame the IOC for reducing the number of people on a team from 6 to 5, at least on the WAG side. Ever since the end of compulsories, there has been at least one team that had a gymnast sit out in the finals competing with only 5 members.

      2000: China-Bronze
      2004: Romania-Gold
      US-Silver
      Russia-Bronze
      Spain-5th
      2008: US-Silver
      Romania-Bronze (they actually only used 4 gymnasts)
      Japan-5th

      All of these teams made a case for the fact that they do not need six members to win, or do well. And even this past Olympics, all of the top four teams along with Italy and Japan, had one member only performing just the one event.

      From the prospective of the IOC I'd have to wonder, how much would the team scores have changed if that person had been left behind? Would the rankings have changed? And if not, why have one more person on a team performing one event, when you could include one more person from underrepresented country, or intro a new sport.

      I say all this to say not that I agree with a possible reduction in team size, because I don't, I mean imagine not being able to see that amazing vault from Maroney. But the federations do make it difficult to justify keeping team sizes the way they are.

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    3. I guess I will have to wait for the minute on the next official discussion from fig/ioc but this bs decision I am wondering what is the real truth that no one wants to answer: are they trying to get spots for another sport? Or is it a conspiracy to decrease the edge of US depth (I sound paranoid I know). I think if you need more spots for another sport, should cut the number of independent gymnasts not on a team. I know that sounds harsh and exclusive to the "underrepresented" but guess what, they have no hope of ever winning anything anyway. And the independents that are good enough to make it would still make it regardless.... All the top 8 teams have high caliber gymnasts that deserve to have a spot to show their talents and these girls would've made it on their own merits as no national team would ever put crappy members in. There is absolutely no one on any national team that wouldn't beat any of the bottom 8 independents....

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    4. Hey thanks for all your responses (I'm the Anon who asked)! I always thought it was a rumor, but I hope it's not definitive and still being considered.

      I always thought this whole "underrepresentation" of gymnasts from unknown gymnastics countries was stupid. The crowd doesn't want to see the gymnasts from, for example, Singapore or Greece. They want to see the usual top 8 teams compete, especially the Big 4.

      Also, I'm just curious...how would qualifications work if they used 4 person teams? Would everyone have to compete? If so, then no one would be a specialist anymore...

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  9. Anon at 00:25

    It's not about how much team score change leaving that one event specialist behind, it's that that one event specialist can't make it on the team and is left behind and the world wont get to see them if you cut team size.. meanwhile some crappy gymnasts that have no business being in the Olympics gets to be there. If they want to change the rule in the name of more spots for specialists then they should let the specialists from any country enter and not being counted as a team members.... I think limit to top 10 team in qual instead of 12 is an excellent idea. Also if a nation that don't have a good enough team to qualify in top 12 or not enough depth to field a whole team, there should be a way for those nations to be able to try to qualify specialists that deserve to be there on their own merits and not under the guise of "being there because I am an underrepresented"

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  10. The latest result for Russian championship is good new for Russian team. I have a feeling they will be able to overtake china in team final. It's good to see them have at least one excellent specialist for each event, though I think vault is where they might be the weakest because of inability to have a good amanar or cheng but still probably outscore china here. But they definitely have enough difficulty to challenge for gold in beam. This year's beam final field should be stacked. I don't think they can unseat china on ub but they will definitely give the US a run for the money on this event. Afan can challenge larisa for 2nd place on FX.

    With Yao out, china would be hurting at 2015 worlds.... Romania maybe able to overtake china for bronze this yr.

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    1. I agree with you, China will hurt without Yao so I think Romania has a shot at beating them. Russia's gymnastics isn't looking impeccable execution wise but it's very early on and have a lot of time to clean it. Afanseyva can challenge Iordache for the 2nd spot on floor no question, Afan is likely to have less deductions since aside form her double pike, all her tumbles are with the chest completely up and she has a higher SV that Iordache. Beam; that will depend on who hits. This passed year it was supposed to be stacked to the roof with contenders but then people failed in qualifications and failed in finals and then it was possibly the worse final in Nanning so we'll see how that goes this year.

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    2. Even simone and kyla as consistent as they are, had their moments on beam.. we have larisa beats simone here when she hits before.. hopefully bailie can contribute her as shes the only other one on us w greater than 6.5 here..

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  11. Catherine, funnily enough I was actually in Ireland for the American Cup! I was struck by how lovely all the people were, it was wonderful!
    I'm thinking I may possibly end up liking this year's floor routine more than last year's from Fragapane. I'll have to wait until she's doing more than trying not to die to be sure.

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    1. I'm glad you had a good time! And also glad it wasn't now...it really turns into a huge drunken mess for Paddy's day unfortunately.

      At English Championships, she was okay. But that horrific Lopez vault...please no.

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  12. Looks like it's official that ponor and isbaza will both try to stage comeback according to some Romanian sports page.. wonder if they will make it for worlds this year. might be too early for that... It would be interesting to see if all 4 top teams will have some veterans in rio. Most likely to return are Yao for china, Larisa for Romania, Aliya for Russia. I guess we will wont know about US til next year.

    Simone's 18th birthday today. It looks like the average age of top 4 teams in rio might be higher than that in London? That might be an interesting trend of top WAG gymnasts now slightly older than it used to be?

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    1. I completely agree. I feel that the big four have realized that promising juniors do not always make the best seniors (Ohashi USA, Kutzmina Russia, Wang China, etc) and that they are making athletes that progress better with age. I think Sosnitskaya will be a huge threat after Rio but I do not see her in these Olympics unless someone has an injury. Lets hope that does not happen though.

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  13. Am I the only one that sees if Nia becomes more consistent and healthy that she will be huge competition for Mykayla and maybe even have her spot. She's cleaner Has enough power for an amanar and it was rumored that she was training a second vault. Also she has power for a awesome floor routine. I heard she is also training the Patterson dismount on beam. Let's not forget her bars abilities. Too bad she is being hindered by minor injuries. I hope she makes it over the hurdles.

    Also does anyone else see a better version of Sarah Finnegan in Ragan Smith.

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    1. Yeah, it Is a little depressing that some of US's best are still sitting out. We still haven't seen Bailie proven as a senior yet. Hopefully that will happen in 2 wks. Hope to see how they all look at jesolo...

      Skinner's execution and forms has a lot of problem and she did have some inconsistency issue as seen in AC podium training. But she did mostly come through at the end even if she's not completely in her worlds form. (Although I actually thought that her AC bars set were better than worlds).....

      Anyway, marta values proven ability times after times.... all the new seniors (even Bailie) are at this point unproven. They do have a lot of potentials but are still unproven as of now....

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    2. Nia has always had massive potential and still does, unfortunately she really has had a bad run of injuries and is inconsistent anyway...her prospects don't seem amazing as a result.

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  14. At this point Simone could probably beat Iordache on floor with a fall. It's great to have Afan back, she scores slightly higher than Iordache and could beat Simone if she fell.

    How much do you think Simone would score internationally for a hit routine on her new FX?

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    1. 15.8+? I am betting by worlds she will reach 7.0. Problem for afan is that simone just doesn't fall... US is extremely consistent. It sucks that Russia team is not as consistent bc khorenkova didnt qualify but when she hits she would definitely give simone and larisa run for the money in beam... key also has 6.6+ beam but we haven't seen her in action as senior yet. simone's consistency is what got her thr at worlds but I am sure that she knows that there are a few other girls that can give her real trouble or even beat her in this event if they all hit. The ideal beam final would be consisting of two from each of the big 4 w everyone having 6+ d-score....

      She doesn't have the invincibility on beam even though she is the defending beam champ like in fx or (arguably vault)....

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    2. (I posted the original post)
      I was thinking something like 15.7-15.9. I would be awesome if she scored 16. I'm not sure about 7.0 though, she REALLY doesn't need it right now, but I could see it for Rio, the only upgrade that would make sense for Glasgow would be maybe a triple wolf turn.

      I could see Simone doing some crazy upgrades for event finals in rio, like her double double on beam. And she probably will have a 7.0+ FX 6.6+ beam under her belt soon, she hasn't been the most consistent on bars, imagine she made some mistake on her UB routine, she could over compensate on BB and FX and win the AA with a fall.

      On other note, Aly Raisman has been training a double lay, she could potentially have a 6.7-6.8 FX D-score, that could scare Simone to upgrade, since Aly is more consistent and usually has better landings than Simone. If Aly can make it to Glasgow on top form, that could push Simone to get a 7.0 routine, but I can't see Aly at this point by worlds.

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    3. Simone does need to continue paced upgrading bc as soon as you stand still yr opponents will start catching up. If you can have margin of 1 fall then should take advantage of it by all mean to have it. She definitely see that if she makes a mistake on bars she can get a 13 range there.... The great thing about her FX routine is that it's already over 7+ with just a few small minor changes that we know she can already easily do (adding in a triple wolf turn and DLO as dismount brings it to 7.1). She doesn't even need a DDLO to even reach 7+.

      I am almost certain we will see upgrade on beam because she knows that her opponents do have the potential to beat her in this event. But upgrade here need to be a lot more cautious. Wieber keeps adding new elements to her beam I think cause her to start to unravel. Of course wieber didn't have the fx margin like simone so more pressure to upgrade in beam maybe beyond her threshold....

      I saw aly did her crazy first pass in the training vid. She still has it but do still have problem with keeping it in bound so just have to perfect that....

      I don't see the US will stop trying to get huge margin win anytime bc they know that they have to build a buffer against the inevitable fall.

      Part of me actually wants her to do 2017 worlds (or scam if she doesn't want to delay college a whole yr) as her last competition going out with a BANG with max upgrades on everything that she can do since she would have already seal herself as the BEST US gymnast at that time and can afford to take some risks.....I actually can see her holding back a little even for 2016 to play safe.....

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    4. Yeah, it's a shame that we may never see Simone on full capacity since she doesn't need to be at it to win.

      A correction, the triple wolf and double lay dismount get her a 7.0 dismount.

      For some reason though, I'm a little skeptical about the triple wolf. I know she can do it on the beam, but hers on floor isn't exactly perfect.

      I think there's no way Simone will delay her college career, she seems really excited about it. I do think we could see her make a comeback after she graduates. She could compete on the internacional scene for Belize, since she's now a citizen.

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    5. I thought triple wolf turn would allow her to not count the B element dance so dance element goes from B, D, D, D to D, D, D, E so that's actually a huge +0.3 (providing that she also keep double tuck turn). DLO dismount is F replacing a full-in (E) so that's another 0.1 so new sv is actually 7.2!

      Yeah I don't see her delay college either but what would be the chance of her trying to be the first to repeat AA Olympics?

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    6. I'm not sure about 2 wolf turns on floor. Not least because they're not pretty and take time to set up, but because she seems to just about get the double...it doesn't look like a triple would come naturally on floor.

      I don't believe she will delay college a whole lot, 2017 if not 2016..

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  15. This has been a great quad for the US. After rio, there will be retirements of several major players on the us team. Basically the biggest threat to US program is retirement and injury. . Maybe next quad is when the rest of the world can have a better shot at catching US?

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  16. New article on rewritingrussiangymnastics. Proving again that even if the russian camp might still not like the artistry taste of simone, they pretty much agree that she is the favorite to win rio gold AA... Article also made a few other interesting points.. It is true that we haven't seen any of the us girls yet to come back to olympics strength after they got the olympic AA gold and that us girls move on as they are not absolutely needed back on the national team to keep the team competitive. Its still over a yr to rio and although it's kinda exciting to see upcomers and yet i actually feel a little sad that we are probably seeing the last of the remaining fierce five as well as simone, key, locklear, etc...

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    1. I read it on theliukin, I'd love if it had more quotes about her though. I'd imagine most former gymnasts and other federations wouldn't be able to help but admire her skill, whatever they are thinking about her artistry/lines.

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  17. After watching Simone's floor at the American Cup. I do not think it is a good idea, as a lot of people suggest, to have the double layout as her final tumbling. I can just see her sitting or falling with it in long competitions like worlds. For the first time in ages, I noticed that her chest is perpendicular to the floor when she landed after the double double in her third pass. I think she should keep the full in as her final pass. She always lands upright and it won't be hard for her to add a simple leap out of it or a back tuck. Which is so much easier than doing the double layout at the end.

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  18. Well maybe she should do more leaps out of the tumbling pass since she seems to have room to spare after each pass anyway...

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  19. Ashton said on instagram that she just a shoulder surgery if she doesn't come back by worlds it will be a huge loss for team USA. Gold anyway just not by as much. With bailies upgraded potentially we could see her on bars during team final.

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    1. Kocian will have to step it up....Hopefully kyla and gabby and key can fill in. But it still wont be the same without ashton..

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    2. Well today she posted a video of her training a 7/2 twist on floor maybe that's good news.

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    3. yeah but is that a new video just made today or before surgery? probably before surgery. I don't expect any use of that shoulder for at least a months.... ;( at least she doesn't hate to do conditioning.

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  20. That explained why she isn't at jesolo since it appears the US is probably testing out a potential worlds team..... I wonder how serious it is compared to Yao who's out the whole year.

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  21. US Jesolo 2015 official team list is out today. It would be interesting to see aly and gabby again as well as new names like skaggs and schild.

    Skinner is not. I wonder if that's bc marta losing a little confidence in her after AC or if its redundant for her to compete in another just wks after AC.. Either way hope she can really work on execution and consistency and be back strong for classics

    I almost wish they didn't send simone also so they can send another gymnast that needs some experience.

    All the top juniors are there.... will be interesting to see who will win junior aa.

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    1. Really excited for Jesolo after hearing Kyla placed 2nd AA and Maggie 3rd. Obviously Simone will win, but the race for 2nd and 3rd is on. With Alyssa and Aly rounding out the top 3 last month and now Kyla and Maggie, it will be such a fun competition to watch. Also, curious how much Key is struggling with her growth spurt. Hopefully she will still have a strong debut.

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