Friday, May 23, 2008

Quick Updates From the Gymnastics World

  • Paul Hamm has officially broken his hand and has withdrawn from day two from the U.S. Nationals. This is too bad, and Paul has also bailed out of the Olympic Trials. Night one proved that USAG NEEDS Paul, and also his twin brother Morgan, in Beijing. Paul had a 3.7 lead in the AA, which means he could have theoretically fallen four times in finals and could have still won. Individually, Paul placed first on high bar, floor (tie with Morgan), and pommel horse. Morgan also placed first on vault. Obviously Paul should still be a lock for the team even with his hand injury, and USAG IS SCREWED if he is not healthy for the Games. I would have to say Morgan will be on the team, too, providin he keeps his strength up on floor and vault and further improves his pommel horse and high bar sets.
  • A Chinese newspaper "revealed" that bars sensation He Kexin is 14, thus age-ineligible to go to the games. The article had several flaws, however, like Nastia Liukin winning three world beam titles (she's won two) and that an Olympic gymnastics team has five members (a team has six members). This provides further evidence that He Kexin is too young, but no hard proof. You would think China would be doing everything in their right mind to keep her supposed age-falsification a secret, so the fact that an admittedly unknowledgable writer let this slip is most surprising. Obviously, there is no mention of what age gymnasts must be to go the Olympic games in the article, but if this was indeed a careless error the author probably has no clue what kind of stir the number "14" is creating.
  • Daria Joura easily leads the women's AA prelims at the Australian Nationals with an excellent 61.6 score. These scores look to be a tad inflated, but that score would've gotten Daria silver at last year's Worlds. The top AA podium threats appear to be (as of now) Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, and Jiang Yuyuan. However, Daria is improving and could end up peaking at the best possible time. Joura was especially superb on floor, where she marked a 15.75 and stuck her new double layout cold. Lauren Mitchell had a disastrous routine on bars and a shaky beam routine to drop to 5th. Finals are still to come, where Mitchell will look to redeem herself and Dasha will look to blow away the field.
  • The Moscow World Cup will take place next week, and this is the last major international gymnastics meet prior to the Olympics. This will be an opportunity for Russia to showcase top-level gymnastics in hopes of gaining political ground on Romania for a bronze medal.
  • Speaking of Olympic bronze medal, Peggy Liddick the Australian equivalent of Martha Karolyi, said that the Australian team is in it to win the bronze medal. This is an entirely biased and unrealistic statement; Romania and Russia have greatly improved since last year's worlds and the judges will have a hard time favoring a team that finished 11th last year and has lost potential assets like Hollie Dykes and Chloe Sims. If there is going to be an upset team for the medals, I would bet my money on Italy assuming Vanessa Ferrari is in peak form for the Games.
  • I will be in attendance for the U.S. Classic Senior Women's competition tonight and the Senior Men's Championships Finals tomorrow evening. I will provide commentary for both events the day following each competition.

That is all.

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