Wednesday, August 6, 2008

USA Women Podium Training Commentary


















Here is my commentary of podium training session #2 that will feature team USA. Chellsie has been confirmed that she won't be doing any events besides uneven bars. The girls were wearing dreadful pink leos that Nastia Liukin is shown wearing above. Italy, Great Britain, and Japan are the other nations performing in this podium training session alongside the U.S. girls.



FX

Warm-ups: Everyone looked pretty good in warm-up, good double-double from Shawn and nice double arabian from Sam P. Nastia is looking solid on all of her tumbling passes shown thus far.

Sam P: Replaced her opening double-double with a piked full in which is a .2 downgrade, she also opened up with a piked full-in at last year's Worlds and at the Italy Grand Prix meet, very odd that she never does it in international competition. Nice 2.5+front layout full and triple turn. Very uncharacteristic fall on her double arabian, she looks like she might be injured. Layout 1.5 twist and double pike were kept as separate passes, like she did at trials. The routine she did here would only come out to a 6.2 with everything credited. Martha was not happy with this routine.

Bridget: Very nice 1.5 twist through to triple full. Two steps out of her piked full in, didn't go OOB however. Excellent front double twist, legs ever so slightly crossed in the air. Good triple turn. Tiny hop on her finishing double pike but this was an excellent routine, could legitimately compete here during team finals.

Alicia: Interesting that they are putting her before Nastia. Downgraded leg-up double turn to a regular double turn, she usually got that skill around so this is an odd decision. Nice full-in, step backward on landing. Split jump 1.5 that shock horror, actually makes it around! Double arabian, step OOB. 2.5 twist+front layout, looked like she landed OOB. OOB again on her double pike, a set like that in prelims would definitely keep her out of event finals, especially considering that she has no upgrades (where did that triple twist go?) to show for.


Nastia: Small step back on her layout front full+layout front double full combo pass. Good double front, cowboyed as usual. Foot touched the line on 1.5 twist+Rudi but that wouldn't be considered OOB. Leg-up double turn looked a little short. Step forward on her 2.5 twist pass, overall a very nice routine and much improved now that her ankle isn't giving her issues.

Shawn: Nice double-double but looked like she might've been OOB. Whip+triple full, looked all the way around! Replaced double turn with leg-up full turn. Front full+Rudi, short of rotation and low landing. Vanessa Ferrari just did a nice double pike off BB. Full-in, definitely OOB. Good routine, not her best though. However, rotating the whip+triple full is a lot more important than her Rudi. With the whip+triple downgrade she would lose .2 CV (no CV awarded to A+D combos, only A+E) and .1 for the skill being downgraded to a 2.5 twist. However, a Rudi being downgraded would lose nothing for CV (CV is still awarded, even for repeated skills) and would count the double turn, a B, instead of the Rudi. That would only be a .1 difference in A-score, whereas underotating her triple full would be a .3 difference.
Shawn did another attempt of her front full+rudi afterward and it was much improved. However, she tried it a third time and fell, she looks frustrated but Chow is still calm and smiling. Did it one more time and landed it without error.


VT

Liukin: Really nice Yurchenko 1.5, tiny hop on landing.

Sloan: DTY, bent legs but a very nice landing, Martha liked it. She is looking very sharp and confident thus far.


Peszek: Superior form than Sloan, however looked a tad underotated but I think they would still credit her with a DTY. Big step backward but stayed inside the lines, overall a decent vault and Martha liked it.


Johnson: Took a big step on her Amanar but the 2.5 twists looked complete. I think she is very aware of her possible downgrades on some skills, especially considering that after she underotated her Rudi she practiced that skill three more times before the U.S. moved to vault.

Sacramone: Very solid Rudi, little piked down and close to the table but a very clean vault.

2nd Round of Vaults

Liukin: Nice yurchenko 1.5, small step but her vaulting is looking very secure and confident.

Peszek: DTY, better height and rotation, small step on the landing. Definitely an improved vault from her 1st attempt.


Sloan: Took a step forward but a good vault, her landings are cleaner than Sam P. here so I would pick her to lead-off in team finals on this event.


Johnson: Took two steps on the landing of her Amanar, Martha exclaimed "that's the one" but this vault looked underotated.

Sacramone: Even better handspring Rudi, just a slight hop back. Superb DTY for the second vault, but where is the Amanar? With Hong Su Jong out it's possible that Sacramone has bowed out of doing that vault for event finals to prevent further injury and to stick with the two vaults she has done for years to medal.



UB


Peszek: NBC only showed her dismount, a full-twisting double layout with a small step.

Sloan: Handstands were a little short on stalder-full and in-bar stalder, awkward step forward on full-twisting double layout dismount.


Johnson: Gienger was very closely caught and Valeri Liukin had to touch her when re-grasping the bar. Missed bail to handstand and had to stop routine, I've never seen her make that error before. Good toe-on full, however, and some of her handstands were better.


Memmel: Jam to handstand was very short and had a couple form breaks, otherwise a good routine but not her best. Double front looked fine, Valeri touched her on the landing but she stuck it.


Liukin: Did routine up to pak salto, everything looked great except for a late handstand on her Ono 1.5 pirouette.



2nd Round of Bar Routines

Peszek: Caught jaeger a little close to the bar, giant full was short of handstand and layout full-in dismount had a step on the landing. A good routine but is unlikely to be doing this event in team finals.

Sloan: Two steps forward on the landing and slightly short on her in-bar stalder but everything else looked great, definitely an improvement from her first bar routine.


Johnson: Sizable step on her laidout double-double but a very nice routine from her


Memmel: Only showed 2nd half of routine, much improved jam to handstand and nearly stuck a double front. By the looks of her double front her ankle appears to be doing fine. I wonder if in the event where USA would have a bad beam rotation in prelims whether Martha would want her to tough it out and compete that event in team finals, she looks to be capable even though she has said she will only do bars for the competition.


Liukin: Very nice routine, had a little push from Valeri on her dismount and took a step back on it, but landed with her chest upright which is an improvement. Ono 1.5 pirouette was again late, but a very nice set indeed.

Afterwards: Bridget Sloan later did the last section of her bar routine and nearly stuck her layout full-in dismount. Shawn Johnson had a small step afterwards on her laidout double-double dismount. Excellent jam to handstand to double front dismount with a stuck landing from Chellsie Memmel. Liukin's double front 1/2 dismount had the tiniest of hops on the landing. Martha is very happy with the bars rotation. Later on we saw a double tuck dismount off beam by Imogen Cairns, which was stuck.



BB


Peszek: Very nice set, a small step forward on her double pike and a little wobble at the end of her acro series. Her issues on floor were very uncharacteristic but Sam was solid everywhere else.

Sloan: Fall on her back handspring-layout acro series, first big mistake she has made in this training session. Otherwise solid, but missed the connection on her switch leap+back tuck.

Sacramone: One of the best beam sets I have seen from her; connected both her front pike+back tuck combo on the mount and her front pike+layout step out. Looks ready to be the beam lead-off girl in team finals.

Liukin: Excellent set apart from a very unusual wobble on her side somi, which likely would've been a .3 deduction had it been done in competition. Stuck dismount and front somi to scale looked like it was held long enough to recieve full credit.

Johnson: Full turn didn't make it all the way around, and low chest and a slight foot adjustment on the landing of her standing full twist. Everything else was spot on, complete with a stuck full-in dismount!


Second Round of BB Routines


Peszek: Fall backwards on double pike dismount, small wobble on sheep jump but everything else was solid.

Sloan: Nice set! Stuck cold double pike and hit her back handspring+layout step-out series from earlier perfectly. Had wobbles on the front aerial+side aerial combo (front aerial in particular) and wavered ever so slightly on her front aerial to scale. Big improvement from her first set and very strong work overall during podium training.

Sacramone: NBC didn't show mount but rest of the routine was very solid minus a slight wobble after her leg-up full turn and a hop on her double pike dismount.

Liukin: Slight hop on dismount, legs still a little crossed in the air. Had a wobble on her side somi, that element never gives her issues. Front somi scale didn't look like it was held long enough, but still a great set from Nastia. By far the most consistent gymnast out on the floor for USA in the podium training.

Johnson: Very low chest on standing full, was off on her layout step out+back pike series yet saved it very well. I think they would've given her the credit for the leg-up full turn in this set, she held it pretty well. Little step on full-in, very nice routine but first set was superior.


Thoughts on Each of the Girls


Shawn Johnson: Not her usual self in this podium training session, that's for sure. However, she didn't look that bad and for all of you out there going OMG the world is over because Shawn blew podium training, I beg to differ. Shawn has never had issues on bars with the skills she had yesterday, and she can do the front full+Rudi very well even though it was inconsistent. Her Amanar rotation and whip+triple full rotation has improved, and remember with the whip+triple she would lose .2 more than what she would lose with a downgraded Rudi. Beam was excellent as always and her second bars routine was very good as well, and I think right now she is just getting adjusted to the equipment and the atmosphere. If her Olympics turns into a Zmeskal Olympics I would be sorely disappointed.


Nastia Liukin: Looked very confident on each piece of apparatus, just some minor issues here and there but strong nonetheless. Vault and floor, the two power events that Liukin regressed considerably on during her ankle injury are looking the strongest they have in a long time. Uneven bars was excellent as well and showed an improved dismount on top of that, and her balance beam was Pacific Rim TF worthy minus those uncharacteristic wobbles on her side somi.


Alicia Sacramone: She looks pretty tired if you ask me, but at least she has stepped it up on beam now that Memmel is not doing that apparatus. However, floor? We were supposed to be getting a triple twist upgrade, which she apparently did at the selection camp, and now she has stuck with her old routine. With the way she performed on that event today, I can honestly say there is no need for her in team finals on this event with Johnson, Liukin, and Sloan outperforming her. Of course, Sacramone is still capable of much better and barring something unusual should still do that event in team finals given her experience. However, I would say FX finals are out of reach unless if she can magically hit all of her landings to her capability come prelims. Though one mustn't forget that Sacramone had the highest execution mark on floor in the qualifying at last year's Worlds even with a big step on her last pass that went OOB, so it is the B-score where she really has the potential to capitalize on.


Chellsie Memmel: While Memmel is not doing that 7.2 UB set she said she had in the works, her bars looked event final worthy and her ankle looked perfectly fine on her double front dismount. However, Martha K. and Co. know how valuable Chellsie's bars there and while Memmel could probably tough it out and do beam, they can trust Sacramone for that apparatus and let Memmel just focus on bars and not risk further injury. It is such a shame she won't be doing the all-around because she really deserved to do it, she was peaking at the right time and was being extremely intelligent with the pacing of her comeback. However, she appears to be doing fine and will look to not only do bars to her full potential, but will also be lending off her immense experience to some of her younger teammates.


Samantha Peszek: Peszek could really be a further asset to the team if she could hit her floor exercise to her potential, but now that she has downgraded on that event yet again I don't think we will see her in team finals there. There have been several instances where Sam has looked disastrous in podium training but delivers excellent competition routines, so hopefully her FX, and her BB dismount on her 2nd routine, were merely additional cases of that. Her vault looked pretty strong, however, and while she is unlikely to be doing bars or beam in team finals she is a decent back-up option on both of those events if another emergency is to arise. She will be doing AA in prelims, and while she did look solid on three events she really needs to step it up on floor to make a further contribution to the team. With Chellsie's injury, Samantha is confirmed to do AA in prelims.


Bridget Sloan: Sloan's fall of beam in the last rotation was unfortunate because she looked more than on her game throughout the entire training. Her second bars routine was TF worthy in my opinion, as was her floor exercise. Vault is still a question mark because of her bent legs, however her landings were consistently solid so she may indeed be picked over Peszek to be the lead-off girl in team finals. Had a good second BB routine but Sloan has the lowest scoring potential of all the USA girls on that apparatus. Chellsie's injury meant that holes were needed to be filled on the power events, and I am glad to see that Bridget has stepped it up and looks like she will be making a very necessary contribution to the team.


Overall: Some inconsistencies here and there and that is of course expected for a podium training session. Chellsie's injury won't impact the team too badly, provided that Alicia maintains the solidity of her beam work and all of the girls score to their potential on floor. Liukin, Memmel, and Sloan looked solid and ready to go. Peszek had issues on floor which need to be fixed if she looks to compete in team finals there, and will obviously look to keep improving her DTY vault. Alicia has work to do on floor, especially when it comes to staying in bounds and controlling landings. With a lower start value on that event she has absolutely no room for error if she wants to get into FX finals and medal there. Johnson looks rough around the edges, but did show all of her skills and will hopefully bring her A-game when the competition begins on August 10th, 2008. Team USA will certainly need everyone to bring their A-game if they want to hold off China for team gold, and that concept will hold true for every player.


That is all.





21 comments:

TCO said...

Great wrapup. I agree with 98% of your comments. You did slack off a bit on the BB discussion. They did multiple routines and warmup and such. For instance, Pesz over-rotated a double pike dismount to her butt.

Net/net: Girls looked strong, focused, ready for battle. MUCH better than the men in concentration. Also really seemed better in health. Spring, Horton, AND Hamm all seemed to have messed up ankles for the men.

Johnson seemed rather intent. I think that's how she is (maybe plus a little stressing). Her whip trip was great. Amanar looked like improved. Trying to make sure it gets credit. Was some variation on the skill. I think she gets this (I never bought into the whole conspiracy theory stuff from the Who. When challenged on the WTC ruling, it was pretty flimsy...and Denn has talked about how the Cheng Fei 2006 d-qual got a reprimand. In any case, she's obviosly going to sacrifice some stepping and bent leg to get that thing twisted. Rudi is fucked--if she pulls it off, it'll be luck. I'm not worried about the bail fallout. She's still a better bet than Bridge at this point. Net/net: she's looking a lot better than I thought from hearing other reports before watching the vid. She'll be fine.

Nastia looked in good spirits and with more energy and better health than I've seen in a while. Her ankle seems recovered and double front on floor and UB seem higher (cowboyed, but not deep squatted). Otherwise, she's all fine. I don't care about the balence check on BB. Net/net: looks to be peaking at the right time. Rosy outlook.

Chelse: Seemed fine walking and working with the springboard. Saw her limping after some of the UB dismounts. They should resist the temptation to have her try for another 2006 football player style heroic and just keep that thing intact and work UB. That's where we need her. ASAC will be equal on BB and Liukin seems to be stepping up on FX so only a little loss there. She's not getting that handstand on the jam, but maybe she'll oomph it in competition.

Sac's legs looked better than I expected. Better than what we saw in California warmup. She'll get the job done. Was worried she was running on fumes, but she seemed recovered. FX EF or even medal might happen, especially considering issues of other gymnasts, but I'm not blown away by her routines lately. Rudi VT is close to the horse. Seems consistently close. DTY looked very strong.

Pesz and Sloan are what they are. Strong bubble/prelim girls. They'll get that job done fine. But there's no wow from them. The US love for them is unlikely to transfer to scores in international comp. In terms of their single TF contribution, each of them had issues with the DTY (Sloan bent knees, Peszek questionable rotation. Probably Sloan better for now....wait for prelim result of course...)

I still think some work with Beiger (getting her a different coach) over the last year could have given us another A-Sac/Memmel type strong older girl with international prescence and big tricks. But that's not what happened and at this point, even with Mems specializing, we really only need one bubble girl anyhow. Sloan is better than Pesz, but both arguably better than Biegs.

MRR said...

Updated the BB rotation on the post.

Anonymous said...

i screen caped shawn's vault and it was definitely underrotated. i'll try to post it tomorrow

Anonymous said...

hong un jong, however, will compete the cheng and the amanar. so she is basically replacing her sister's medal

jade also did a really good amanar and has shown a cheng earlier in the year so she is getting the bronze IMO

Anonymous said...

this is her first vault
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j80/Christi9103/shawn1.jpg?t=1218179041

these are of the second one

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j80/Christi9103/shawn2.jpg?t=1218179126

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j80/Christi9103/shawn3.jpg?t=1218179186

nicky said...

There is no way Chellsie should do beam... she was definately limping after the bars set and was landing with weight mostly on one leg on her dismounts. Dont forget her beam set has a lot of heavy landings. I think she's toughing it up to show she's on her game but she's probably hurting on the inside a LOT.

Giulyx14 said...

Shawn underotaed her Amanar....

Jennie said...

I really enjoy your comments and analysis. It's been too long since you've posted! :)

amy said...

Are you not going to update anymore now that the Olympics are over?

To be fair there's not much going on right now but still...I miss the updates!

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