Thursday, July 17, 2008

Karolyi Camp Rumor Roundup+ Analysis

Anyway, it appears as though the 12 girls that advanced to the final selection camp meet at the Karolyi Ranch arrived safe and sound yesterday and began their training sessions today. Below is a list of the rumors and insider info that I have picked up from various message boards and other sources.

  • Apparently is doing some coverage of the camp meet, but specifically what coverage we will be getting is unknown. Tomorrow there will be an AA competition around 12:30 P.M., and Saturday and EF competition around 5:30-6:00ish in which all of the girls compete two events. The official announcement has been said to be between 7:00 and 8:00 Central Time on Saturday evening, and it appears as though will be the first source to officially leak out the info of the team selection to the public.
  • There has been an abundance of varying reports that have suggested in the EF competition that either the gymnasts decide which events they will compete in (like they did at the Karolyi International Friendly meet back in May) or that Martha K. will be choosing the events for the gymnasts. It has also been said that Martha K. may even demand some of the gymnasts to compete on their weaker/weakest events in this meet to better analyze which bubble gymnasts can deal with the pressure and which ones cannot. However, Shawn Johnson's blog entry said that the gymnasts do choose the events they will compete in, so I would say that is what is most likely to happen.
  • According to a message from USAG, only the families of the gymnasts will be allowed to see the meet, in addition to the selection committee and what not. However, no word yet if the Karolyi summer campers will get to see the meet like they did in 2004.
  • Overall, most of the gymnasts have looked at least somewhat shaky in training sessions.
  • Chellsie Memmel has been falling on her piked barani on beam.
  • Samantha Peszek looks all-around shaky, though it is important to remember that Peszek looked lackluster in training at Nationals and Olympic Trials and in both cases turned in pretty solid performances.
  • Shayla is looking especially solid and her good UB work looks like it definitely could get her the last spot on the team.
  • Jana Bieger looks no different than usual; uninspiring, awful form, yet consistent.
  • Bela is giving glowing reports on how tough Nastia is; Bela loves Nastia and Shawn to death so this isn't surprising. It has also been reported that Martha K. and USAG want Bela away from the girls as much as possible.
  • Ivana Hong may be (gasp) injured. Apparently she has a knee injury, and as she was dismounting beam and subsequently grabbed her knee in pain. Nothing official if she has pulled out or anything like that, but I would say if she does have a major knee issue she is either going to brave it and compete sloppily (knowing Al Fong that would seem likely) or just withdraw. Either option would make her chances of even an being named an alternate slim to nill, but again no word yet if this rumor is totally legit and if Hong is indeed planning to bow out of the race.
  • Sloan's knee is still giving her issues, Martha K. and Co. aren't interested in her any longer for the last spot.
  • Johnson's put on a few pounds since Trials and Martha K. isn't happy. (Note: I find this one to be especially ludicrous, and if it is true it is probably just because Johnson is resting a tad bit in order to peak at the right time for the Games)
  • A-Sac was seen icing her knee, though still appears to be fine.
  • That is all the info I have to provide, and my final thought is this: If Peszek is looking shaky (and continues to look that way, though honestly I think she will get it together) and if Hong is injured, Mattie Larson HAS to be named as an alternate. Being an actual team member is still a bit of a stretch, but Larson is consistent, polished and it would be a tremendous experience for her to travel to Beijing with the team that would only benefit her future career as a potentially great gymnast for the United States.
Predictions for Events Gymnasts Will Compete in EF Competition

Shawn Johnson: UB, FX
Reasoning: Martha K. and Co. need to know that Johnson's 6.4 A-score UB routine can be competed consistently (she missed a combination on trials night two which lowered her A-score back down to a 6.2), especially when it comes down to whether the selection committee feels that Bieger's unspectacular but consistent UB work is enough for the last spot on the team. As for FX, Johnson getting her whip+triple twist around will be another crucial test for her.

Nastia Liukin: UB, FX
Reasoning: Improvement on vault and being a rock solid beamer all year make bars and floor the key areas for Liukin to focus on. Liukin's 7.7 A-score UB routine has been inconsistent all year and Liukin needs another chance to prove herself and get her confidence level a boost on that event prior to the Games. Liukin could potentially compete FX in team finals with her recent improvement of consistency there, and Martha K. and Co. will look to see if that consistency is still going strong.

Chellsie Memmel: VT, FX
Reasoning: Floor Exercise is a relative no-brainer, simply because Memmel is planning a double arabian upgrade which could get her A-score to a potential of 6.5. Memmel is the ideal candidate for a floor performer in team finals (besides Johnson and Sacramone) at the Olympics, even more so than Liukin and Peszek, and this upgrade could make for a high-scoring routine if done successfully. However, the other event in which she would compete is sketchy, but vault seemed like the best option because she is scheduled to bring back her DTY here and she has been superbly consistent on bars and beam throughout Nationals and Olympic Trials.

Alicia Sacramone: VT, FX
Reasoning: This is a pretty obvious decision, especially since Alicia has been said to be unveiling her Amanar vault and triple twist on floor here at the ranch. Alicia's calf issue is perhaps the most dangerous threat of an injury to the Fab Four (Shawn, Nast, Sac, and Chellsie) at this point in time, however knowing Alicia's immense experience and confidence she should be able to come to the Games armed with fire and determination to lead her team to a gold medal, and to bag some individual glory as well.

Samantha Peszek: BB, FX
Reasoning: Sam P.'s has made improvements on floor, and while not spectacular on that event at trials, she would be an ideal back-up on that event assuming Johnson, Sacramone, and Memmel are to compete that event in team finals. Peszek has the potential for a 6.5 A-score on that event if she brings back the 1.5 twist + double pike combo she did at Nationals. However, she may end up doing beam if she brings her double arabian dismount to the camp, as landing a DTY for her is not a problem and will still have the opportunity to do so at the AA competition.

Shayla Worley: UB, BB
Reasoning: This is an obvious choice, but if Martha K. were to slap some sense into Shayla's coach, Jeff Wood, than it would be very reasonable, and intelligent, for Worley to say farewell to the other events and just come to the camp competing bars and nothing else. USA has five excellent beam workers and that is more than enough depth the U.S. needs on that event, though if Worley really has an excellent routine there than she might as well show it. However, competing vault at trials=exceptionally poor decision making. And if she dare steps onto a floor exercise mat Martha K. should hide her music immediately, as Worley would be only building upon her gigantic kingdom of back injuries. If Worley comes to the camp with that 7.0 A-score routine on bars, I feel she is a worthy risk to take for the last spot, even if injuries are to come along for the ride.

Jana Bieger: UB, FX
Reasoning: Martha K.'s rumored tactics of having gymnasts compete on their weakest events are of no use to the ever consistent and predictable gymnastics of Bieger. Bars will really make the decision for her, and if she can outscore Johnson than her case for getting the last spot on the team would be very strong. However, as I have said Bieger's scoring potential doesn't really compare to that of Worley or Sloan on this event, and if Bieger and Johnson's scores are right in line with one another there really is no sense in taking Bieger in my opinion. As for floor exercise, Bieger has been shaky there but does have a 6.4 A-score there so she could be used on that event in an extreme emergency. But it is bars, once considered Jana's weakest event, that is either her ticket to compete in the Olympics, or to watch from the stands.

Bridget Sloan: UB, FX
Reasoning: Sloan's problems on both of these events at trials, and her two major events to possibly contribute to the team (obviously more so bars) look to be her key focus at the camp. However, a clean floor routine in the AA competition may persuade her and/or Martha K. for her to compete beam, as this is the most mental event of all and while not Sloan's strength, and will test her determination in a pressure-packed situation. Sloan's decision to compete FX at trials looked to be premature with her knee injury and all, and possibly detracted from her focus on the other events. Bridget was wise enough to know Martha K. likes her AAers and if Sloan were to be one she would have herself a ticket to Beijing, but perhaps not wise enough to know when to peak at the right time and what events she most needs to qualify for the Olympic team. The bottom line is that Sloan needs to nail her UB sets at the camp like her life depended on it to get on that team, and while her chances may not be overly great now they certainly haven't vanished.

Ivana Hong: VT, UB
Reasoning: Assuming Hong is ready to go, these are really the only events we would need her on in an emergency. Bars, though maybe not her strongest event, has improved and did score very well (15.55) on day two of trials. Vault is also very important, especially if Hong looks to hold off Mattie Larson for one of the alternate positions. Traveling alternate looks to be the best-case scenario for Ivana at this point, being the final team member would require stunning performances on uneven bars that we have yet to see.

Mattie Larson: VT/BB/FX
Reasoning: Martha K. may want Larson to compete on a weaker event of hers, beam, to see if she is mentally ready to be at least an alternate. Larson makes for an ideal back-up athlete on vault and floor and will look to outscore Hong and Memmel (possibly Peszek, though unlikely) on vault and Sloan, Peszek, and possibly a few others on floor to solidify her status as a possible alternate to the team.

Chelsea Davis: VT/UB
Reasoning: I have failed to recognize this young lady as a potential hopeful even for an alternate spot, though I do feel she deserves to be at the camp with her good performance at the trials. A rumored DTY upgrade and unspectacular yet consistent UB work could, if everything goes Davis' way, make her the 3rd alternate to the team. A long shot for sure, but if Davis delivers on those two events in particular there will certainly be more than a few important eyes looking at her, and it also doesn't hurt to have a former Karolyi star, Kim Zmeskal, as your coach.

Corrie Lothrop: VT/FX
Reasoning: This second event is of irrelevance to Lothrop's chances, but vault is probably one of the only reasons she is at the final camp and of course has said she might do an Amanar if its ready. However "if its ready" is not going to cut it for even an alternate position, let alone a spot on the team, and if Lothrop is really gunning to snatch Sam P.'s vault specialist spot this Amanar is going to have to be Cheng Fei good at the very least. Assuming Sam P. delivers another strong meet at the camp, she really has earned her spot and considering the fact that she is (at the very least) a back-up gymnast on any event, Martha K. and Co. will feel very safe using Peszek if any emergencies are to arise. One-event luxuries are not going to be considered for the team (unless if its bars, which Lothrop won't be contributing) unless of course they are a luxury that cannot be refused, and an "if its ready" Amanar simply won't qualify as one in the grand scheme of things. Lothrop is far too risky to send and can generate a far bigger consequence than it can a reward, though if this Amanar is proved to be reliable enough she could find herself as an alternate.

That is all.


Christi9103 said...

i personally would make alicia and chellsie do beam for EF and battle it out so they can decide who deserves to be the lead-off girl on bb in team finals. esp. since chellsie's been having trouble with beam, it'll be interesting to see how she handles the pressure

i think nastia should do bars and beam in EF. i dont think it's a good idea for her to do floor because it's really tough to do two floor routines back to back and we already know she has endurance issues. (it's not like trials where you have one day in between to rest (in beijing i think she'll have 4 days between prelims and AA finals to be rested for floor)

i would also make sloan do vault because supposedly she has a good DTY

September_cake said...

Wow, great entry! This gossip is priceless!
LOL at the Shawn weight gain thing! True or not its pretty funny, what is this obsession coaches (especially the Karolyi's) have with weight? I hardly think she turned obese overnight haha!
Its looking like Shayla could be closer to earning her spot which is good!
And according

September_cake said...

Sorry, missed a bit...
.....and according to gymnicetics, Sam P is no longer lock status, which could be good since Marta may consider someone like Mattie for VT/FX (ok its unlikely to happen, but I can hope lol)
I just hope that Bridget can perform to her best, along with Mattie, Shayla and Ivana (please be ok and not hurt)because this is the only way the most boring gymnast alive (aka Jana) will be OFF the team!

Amina said...

I think Mattie is an amazing gymnast with great potential and I admit that I can't stop watching her FX from Olympic Trials but... I hate how everyone keeps romanticizing her chances so unrealistically and wanting her to make the team right now. She's not ready and, quite frankly, except for floor, she's still not good enough. Mattie making the team if Sam doesn't? That sounds like a joke. She has neither the experience, nor really the skills needed, except maybe for floor and, possibly vault. But is it worth gambling on her extreme inexperience in major international competition? I don't think so. I know everybody likes her but wait. Her time will come and she WILL be brilliant. But just not yet.

Christi9103 said...

i think mattie has to be an alternate. i think she's the next best vt/fx specialist after sam

Nicole said...

Live commentary is on right now on NBC's olympics page...

Nicole said...

Ohhh noooo. Shayla is not competing. She has a problem with her "right lower leg."

She's my fave... this is terrible for her

Nicole said...

Ok sorry, they are on floor currently and it may be that she is not competing floor. She did warm up beam.

I will stop spamming your blog now! Im just super-excited!!!

Nicole said...

Last comment:
"Shayla Worley just left the gym on crutches and her right leg in a boot. She was followed by her coach and doctor, as well as USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny. She's visibly upset and in tears. "

The website is:


totekramer said...

I was looking around the internet trying to find somewhere to get coverage of the Selection Weekend and I came across A guy named Steve McCain is reporting from there and keeping a running analysis after each gymnast finishes her routine. The link is below if any of you are interest.


Giulyx14 said...

Shayla worley has broken his leg!

lkr said...

I think it would be a good idea if Marta chose the events for the girls. This really tests their capabilities and shows what they can/cannot do under pressure. Of course, if she's really looking for a specialty slot, then this wouldn't work because she would only want those girls who are great on those events. Maybe, she will do a bit of both. It's hard to know what she has in store.