Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Could Chellsie Memmel Be One of the Top Two U.S. AA'ers

Above: Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, and Chellsie Memmel are all capable of being an Olympic AA medalist at top form. But only two of these three gymnasts can even qualify to AA finals, and Chellsie Memmel is looking to close in on the hold Shawn and Nastia have on the two U.S. Olympic AA spots.

This question poked into my head when I saw an article about Memmel in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzing her routines and physical condition in preparation for this week's U.S. Nationals. In it I saw some very promising upgrades on Memmel's part that if done successfully will most certainly get her on the Olympic team. But if everything goes right you could see Memmel not only qualifying to Olympic AA finals but also contending for an AA medal. I will go ahead and compare potential start values and execution scores with you all between Chellsie Memmel, Nastia Liukin, and Shawn Johnson.


Johnson: Yurchenko 2.5 twist (6.5 A)

Liukin: Potential Yurchenko double (5.8 A)

Memmel: Yurchenko double (5.8 A)-Note: Does not plan on using this vault until Olympic Trials

Johnson will likely be landing her Amanar vault with consistency, and thus I will give her about a 15.95 for that. Memmel and Liukin are question marks on this event, with Liukin apparently having problems with her yurchenko 1.5 meet at the recent camp meet and thus making a DTY questionable. Memmel admitted that vault is currently her hardest event to master consistency but still does intend on getting her DTY ready for Trials. I will give 14.9 to both Liukin and Memmel here if they are capable of hitting this vault.

Uneven Bars

Johnson: 6.3 A-score

Liukin: 7.7 A-score

Memmel: Potential 7.2 A-score (6.9 thus far)

Johnson will fall behind Memmel and Liukin especially on this event. Johnson's consistency and good execution, however, will keep her in there with an estimated 15.45. Memmel will likely stick with her 6.9 routine at these championships and wait to bump it up to 7.2 at the trials. A hit routine with a 7.2 A-score should give Memmel around a 16.3. Liukin has had some trouble with her 7.7 A-score this year, but has had time to get more consistency here and a clean routine here should garner her around a 16.9.

Balance Beam

Johnson: 7.0 A-score

Liukin: 6.6 A-score (6.8 with triple twist dismount)

Memmel: Potentially 6.9 A-score (6.7 at the camp meet)

Johnson earned execution marks in the 9.4 range on beam at the World Championship prelims even with a few wobbles (the execution scores were generous throughout the entire preliminary competition on this event), so with a 7.0 A-score I would give her a 16.4 here. Liukin has been looking excellent on this event this year, but I find it unlikely that we will see both the DTY and triple twist in her repertoire. Because I gave her a score for a DTY earlier, I will give her a 16.1 here assuming it is out of a 6.6 start value. Memmel is definitely the wild card here. Her maximum difficulty in the past was a 6.7, but a .2 upgrade here will further add potential to the beam line-up at the Olympics and will further put pressure on the Fab 3 (Shawn, Nastia, and A-Sac) to prove that they deserve spots in beam finals and being the three girls competing beam in team finals. Relatively poor form and artistry has hurt Memmel's scores here a bit in the past, so I will give her a 15.9 with a cleanly hit routine with that start value.

Floor Exercise

Johnson: 6.4/6.5 A-score depending on whether she includes full-in at end of routine

Liukin: 6.2 A-score

Memmel: 6.2 A-score (with piked double Arabian)

Johnson has the biggest potential for a high score on this event, and should mark around a 15.65 with a clean routine with the upgrades in her routine. Liukin has form issues on some of her tumbling and is inconsistent, but has the potential to score around 15 here. Memmel's artistry is lacking on this event, but the international judges have scored Memmel very favorably here in the past. With a piked double Arabian here, she should have about a 15.35 on this event.

A-score totals (With what we know gymnasts are planning)

Shawn Johnson: 26.2 (6.5, 6.3, 7.0, 6.4)

Nastia Liukin: 26.0 (5.5, 7.7, 6.6, 6.2)

Chellsie Memmel: 25.5 (5.5, 6.9, 6.9, 6.2)

With Possible Upgrades

Shawn Johnson: 26.3 (6.5 on FX)

Nastia Liukin: 26.5 (5.8 on VT, 6.8 on BB)

Chellsie Memmel: 26.1 (5.8 on VT, 7.2 on UB)

Scores that I predicted

Shawn Johnson: 15.95, 15.45, 16.4, 15.65= 63.45

Nastia Liukin: 14.9, 16.9, 16.1, 15.0= 62.9

Chellsie Memmel: 14.9, 16.3, 15.9, 15.35=62.45

Though Memmel lags behind Johnson and Liukin in terms of these scores, the scores I put in are those that the gymnasts could get if they hit everything perfectly. Memmel is a more experienced and reliable gymnast than both Johnson and Liukin, so don't be super surprised if she gets into AA finals. All three of these girls have good reputations and should all be given favorable scores when competing. Chellsie's upgrades on bars, beam, and floor and her competitive nature should get her on the Olympic team provided she will peak at the right time. However, the major question will be if Martha K. allows Chellsie to compete AA in prelims or if Chellsie will be encouraged on polishing up her other three events for the good of the team. Answers to these questions and more will begin to be found at the U.S. Nationals beginning this Thursday.

What Memmel's Upgrades Potentially Mean for the Remainder of the U.S. Bubble Girls

Chellsie Memmel having a potential 7.2 A-score on bars, 6.9 A-score on beam, and 6.2 on floor almost make her a lock for the team in my opinion (providing she HITS these routines at these Nationals). Chellsie's strength on UB, BB, and FX will put particularly added emphasis on the fight for 3rd place on bars between Shayla Worley (good international reputation/scoring potential), Ashley Priess (good execution/consistency), Bridget Sloan (upgrades/cool competitor), and Jana Bieger (aggressive worker/internationally seasoned). With Johnson, Liukin, Sacramone, and possibly Memmel being locks and a need for a bars specialist, this leaves just one more spot. Samantha Peszek is the likely candidate with potential for high A-scores on vault and floor and improved confidence and consistency, but don't be shocked if another girl sneaks into the mix because of a needed strength for the team.

I still believe that Shawn and Nastia will be the two U.S. AA finalists at the Games, but what I was trying to convey in my post was that Chellsie could end up peaking at the right time and could quietly sneak into AA finals if either Shawn or Nastia has a major error.

That is all.

1 comment:

dave said...

i agree with you. With no pressure and all the experience and talent she has chellsie can sneak her way right up to the top and surprise a lot of people. you never know what can happen. i love to root for the underdog and she's always be a favorite of mine. I wonder if her floor start is even higher since it used to be 6.2 (at times) and with the piked arabian and assuming she hits her double turn in Y (which i think she was rarely credited for) her start score could be even higher. we'll have to see i guess. btw i love seeing all the comments from other people its nice to see all these blogs and others talking about it. i really have no one to talk to about gymnastics. so thanks :)