A. Get it together, Canada
Breaking a bottle of champagne over the hull of controversial worlds team announcements, Canada went and named Ellie Black, Isabela Onyshko, Shallon Olsen, and Brooklyn Moors to its world team yesterday, leaving out Brittany Rogers.
It’s a bit of a weird one—not in terms of event-final implications since it probably doesn’t change anything—but mostly because it makes for a fairly lopsided squad. For the all-around spots, Black and Onyshko were always going to be the favorites because, well, they’re the two best AAers Canada has right now. Onyshko was not ready yet at the Canadian Championship, but in form, she’s the obvious choice to go along with Black.
As for Shallon Olsen, if she has her Amanar back, she’s the most likely of any of the Canadians to make an event final. (If not, this situation is even more fraught, so let’s just assume she does.) That leaves us with the final spot, which went to Brooklyn Moors, presumably for floor since that’s her most internationally competitive event. By default, that means Olsen can’t compete floor, her second-best event and the one where she typically has the highest D of all the Canadians (form form form, I know, but still).
This is what I mean by lopsided. For your two specialists, you’ve basically taken VT/FX and FX. Beam was never going to be much of a consideration for the specialists because Black and Onyshko are their two most likely event finalists anyway, but then Brittany Rogers seemed like a logical gymnast to pair with Olsen, Olsen doing VT/FX and Rogers doing UB and throwing in BB because whatever.
Instead, they’ll have Olsen to do VT and Moors to do FX. (And presumably throwing in UB and BB because whatever. Moors is a treat on beam, but she’s not going to get a big score there.) Watching Moors on floor is an objectively delightful experience, and we’ll all be better off for having her floor routine in the rotation at worlds instead, though I do wonder if there’s a little Blinded by the Pretty and Blinded by the Pod syndrome going on here. Moors has a fantabulous Podkopayeva on floor but at Canadian Champs was still awarded D scores of 5.2 and 5.1. Making an event final on floor is a lot to ask of someone with a 5.2 D score if she hasn’t upgraded, even in the current score-scape. She’d basically need a Simone-level E score to keep pace.
On Moors’ side, however, is that Rogers isn’t exactly a favorite to make the bars final either, particularly with bars being a deeper event this year than floor is. With Russians, Chinese, Americans, Brits, and Germans, it’s tough to get into a bars final, whereas there aren’t as many relevant countries on floor. Still Rogers does intend a 6.0-6.1 D score on bars, which is in a competitive county with the favorites.
A more compelling argument in Moors’ favor was likely the exceptionally gorgeous floor routine she did on the first day of Canadian champs, which scored 13.867, setting her apart from the 13.4s and 13.5s we’ll expect from the rest of this worlds team. It was the prettiest, cleanest, and best floor routine we’ve seen from a Canadian this year. It may, however, be a bit of confirmation bias to highlight that particular score over others, since it has been the outlier. Moors’ average on floor this year is 12.958, and for a normal hit, she has more frequently been at 13.500. Consistency is an issue for her, but that doesn’t really factor in this decision because…well…we’ve all lived through Brittany Rogers. One isn’t more likely to hit than the other.
The real issue may be that you have several people on this team who can/will score around where Moors is likely going to score on floor, whereas Rogers provides the potential for something no one else on the team has.
Another factor in selecting Moors was probably the idea of gaining major competition experience for future teams (whereas this would be Rogers’ last competition), which…meh. My position on using “gaining international experience”/”she has international experience” as an argument is that it’s too ambiguous a concept to be considered in making team selections. While having been there before seems like it would make things easier, there isn’t actual evidence to support the idea that people who’ve been to worlds/Olympics before perform any better than people who haven’t. You pick the best team in any given year and just trust the preparation. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 21, 2017