One Big Cup of America – Live Blog

The Olympic year is officially here. You will be able to note immediately the change in tone from our broadcasters, who will spend their time talking about legacy and honor and glory (even more than usual). Obviously, I live for it. Last night, Nastia was very diligent about mentioning that the college scholarship is the real, achievable goal for so many gymnasts. Starting today, that’s out the window. It’s the Olympics, or you’re a failure. There is no next year.

The broadcast will begin at 11:30 ET / 8:30 PT on Universal Sports (with the men’s competition), then will change to NBC at 1:00 ET / 10:00 PT, because nothing says “fan-friendly” like switching networks in the middle of a live broadcast. But I’m glad at least some of it is on NBC because Universal doesn’t broadcast in HD. What are we, Amish? Every Universal Sports broadcast looks like someone spilled coffee on a WNBA game.

For those without our gracious American networks, you can watch the broadcast HERE.

What you won’t be seeing today:
Gabby Douglas was the talk of podium training because of how much she has improved since last year. I love reading Blythe at the Examiner when she gets excited about things because she actually sounds like she’s about to spill over in the press area. Unfortunately, Douglas is just an exhibition competitor, so we will have to focus on the rest of the field. Hopefully we still get to see Douglas’s scores from somewhere, because they could get very high. 
Aly Raisman has also upgraded to what looked to be a pretty solid Amanar, and Jordyn Wieber was training a bunch of strange connections on beam that shouldn’t really ever get credit. Wieber had the weakest podium training of the three Americans but should still run away with the competition.
Oodles of chatter after the jump. 

Remember that the men will begin before the women. Start list is here.

Rotation 1: Men on floor

We’re starting. The most famous knitting circle in gymnastics (Elfi!) has already mentioned the Olympics 163 times. This is going to be a long, hilarious day.

I will say this for the Germans, they know how to make gymnasts. Russia, take note. Your team always look like they just survived 15 weeks in the tundra taking an emotive acting workshop from Hilary Swank.

I feel a bit bad for Jon Horton every time I watch Danell Leyva. Jon has been around for so long, but everyone immediately likes Danell better after two seconds of international competition. Clean floor routine from Danell, gorgeous as always.

Daggett just mispronounced stoic. He said “stoyk.” All we can do is sigh. Elfi, Bart Connor, and KJC, please.

Fine routine from Orozco, not his best event. Messy on a couple of passes. Adorable little Jackson Payne from Canada has an unfortunately messy floor routine.

The national bird of Scotland, Daniel Purvis, is now up on floor. A few awkward landings, but mostly fine. Questions about an OOB . . . maybe. Al is right on top of it because it’s the rule he knows.

Tim is pretending that the Russians aren’t here because Mustafina lost last year, not because it’s a terrible time of year and they already are sending teams to Pac Rims, Euros, etc. Uh . . . sure, Tim. Whatever you say.

Awkward routine from Sejima with several mistakes, but an excellent clean line and strong tumbling from Kuksenkov. Al is harping on OOB again, like it even matters with this code. Mostly clean from Verniaiev on the tumbling, expect for one bad pass with an out of bounds.

Something insufferable happened with Retton. I can’t talk about it. They should have brought in some Soviets and asked them to tell the truth about the American team.

Rotation 2: Men on Horse

Some huge form breaks from Danell on horse. So disappointing, but he did VERY well not to fall off midway through. Will be a low score, though. (14.433 – I’m not familiar enough with the men’s code, but doesn’t that seem super high?)

Oh, America. Orozco falls. Remember when it seemed like this team had figured out the horse?

Anyone watching on USN who just saw the bladder sling commercial will never be the same.

Purvis has a pretty sizable form break, but for this competition so far that was a definite hit. Scores are going American Cup high, so it’s a good result.  Sejima has a lot of potential with his swing on horse but has to take a fall.

Elfi and Tim are being extremely irritating by not understanding what a bad time of year this is for a competition. They say that’s just an excuse. It isn’t. They are pretending this is a prestigious event to the rest of the world. It isn’t.

Nice routine from Kuksenkov with one major form break, similar to Purvis. Fall from Verniaiev – this has been a very poor horse competition for all. Not Nguyen’s best event, but he is competing better than anyone else today.

“Some people in the US call it a Roethlisberger.” They make it so hard to be a nice person. I blame them.

Purvis leads just over Kuksenkov after 2 rotations.

Rotation 3: Women on Vault, Men on Rings

A bit surprised that they are showing Brooks on rings. Hopefully that means we will see some Douglas as well. Extremely clean routine. Same from Orozco until the dismount, with a big squat and lunge back.

On vault, Rebecca Tunney starts, rocking excellent Becky Wing hair. I approve. Just a Yfull with a pike down – British vaulting. Al likes her ugly leotard because it has the flag in it. That narrative is really exhausting.

Pretty good from Victoria Moors – DTY with a little direction and low chest, but strong. Elfi compares her to Podkopaeva. (14.733)

Word is that Douglas nailed her Yurchenko 2.5, but we didn’t see it on the broadcast. Huge progress for her. Let’s watch her exhibition scores compared to Wieber’s totals.

Purvis hits rings very well, and Chelaru has the most horrifying legs on her block. I didn’t see anything after that. I blacked out. She wishes she could improve to Nabieva quality. Can we credit that as a straddled Yurchenko? Group 6?

Daggett: “Elena Mustafina.” Just to make sure we never forget what happens here.

Important that Iordache has a DTY. Not a great landing, but it can get better. She can go on 3 events (at least) for Romania in team finals. (14.866)

Great rings from Kuksenkov’s Eastern European haircut.

Wieber definitely has improved some little things about her Amanar. She’s getting closer to deserving to score as close to Maroney as she has been. Very small hop forward. (16.100 – so 9.600 on execution)

Andrea Joyce has Bela. They’re both talking over each other. Awesome. Don’t you think they should have Bela just anchor the broadcast? Andrea pretends that the US came into the last two Olympics as overwhelming favorites . . . OK . . .

Broadcast is now switching to NBC. They better show us Raisman’s vault, as she also received a 9.600 on execution to score level with Wieber.  I’m going to need to SEE that. They both have 16.100 after one event.

For the men, Kuksenkov leads Purvis slightly at the halfway point.

Rotation 4: Women on Bars, Men on Vault

The Trautwig is taking us through the champions to the tune of dramatic NBC music. Everyone is smiling except Nastia and Nadia. This is why they are the best champions.

Now that the NBC broadcast is starting, Tim has obliged by going into “That Right There” mode. Tim is also pretending that Komova can’t do a Y2.5 and doesn’t know what ironic means. He’s in rare form today.

They’re not showing us Aly’s vault. Are you kidding me?

Chelaru is extremely sloppy in the legs and so low on amplitude, flings out a DLO dismount with a big lunge. Underlining the need for Izbasa to get a bar routine together.

Iordache hits a strong bar set that will earn her spot on the Olympic team. A few missed handstands, a leg separation on the pak, and a late pirouette, but it’s so much better than her teammates.

Wieber’s bar routine has not changed from 2011, including the sluggish beginning and the questionable composition out of the shaposh. That being said, she did exceptionally well to hold on to her handstand. Still, it highlights how inconsistent this routine still is for her. That’s the risk of relying on awkward combinations to get the full difficulty score.

Wieber scores .500 higher than Iordache on execution. American Cup.

Fluff about John Orozco. Yay fluff! You’ll probably cry. Welcome to the Olympic year.

Aly Raisman onto bars, usual Aly form, big break on the tkatchev. As much as they’ve tried to improve her on bars, it’s just not her event  and it’s never going to happen. HA! She got a 8.433 on execution. This competition is so fun and insane.

Absolutely glorious form in the air for Leyva on vault, easy vault for him and it shows. Low landing from Orozco with a big step forward.

Moors goes over on a handstand, but I had her pegged as more of a Raisman type on bars – but she proved she has much better form than that. A shame about the mistake because she has some OK skills and quality.

Kuksenkov still leads Purvis by a touch in the mens, Wieber leads Raisman by .500 at the halfway point for the women.

Rotation 5: Women on beam, Men on PBars

Andrea is talking to Nastia, who clearly just saw that bar rotation and booked her tickets to London.

One of the treats of this competition, Iordache on beam. Really a lot to love in this routine, just a few wobbles on some acro and the double turn – and the triple full dismount was not up to her usual level. Still fun to watch.

Purvis has a bit of a struggle on Pbars on the men’s side.

Wieber goes up on beam. Holds on after a nervy layout stepout. Tries to do her weird back full, back handspring sandwich but shouldn’t get credit for either connection. She’s become more solid as the routine goes on. Hits the routine, but I have to admit that I actually agree with Tim (gasp!) that those connections are just begging for extra deductions. Still gets a 14.966.

Depending on how these judges feel about Aly’s legs (I assume they’ll feel pretty good about them, given that it’s American Cup), she could make up ground here. After two rotations, Gabby Douglas in exhibition had a lead on Wieber, but it didn’t count.

She was looking good, but had to touch the beam on her split full. Very unexpected mistake there. Hits the rest of her routine pretty well, but it was certainly not her best. Actually didn’t touch the beam on replay – good presence of mind to avoid doing that. Mihai is not happy with her performance. Neither am I. She can’t give away wobbles on acro because she gives away those tenths on dance.

Looks like Gabby Douglas will still have the unofficial lead going into the last rotation. Wieber will still have her .500 lead on Raisman going into floor, which is probably unmanageable without a mistake from Wieber. Iordache is within .900 of Raisman, but she too would need a mistake to move up.

I think Tim Daggett just referred to Madison Square Garden as the most famous building in the world. Don’t accuse the NBC team of hyperbole.  Rebecca Tunney is having a disaster on beam, and Nguyen had a sloppy performance on PBars.

Leyva has to cover a mistake and had a poor dismount. Not what he is capable of – disappointing for him – making it harder to move up during the last rotation. Very clean from Orozco, though. He should be pleased with the comeback on these later events.

Rotation 6: Women on Floor, Men on HBar

Where did this narrative about winning the American Cup = Winning the Olympic All-Around come from? I love when we just decide what history is to fit the story. Why weren’t there interviews with Olympic champions Elena Produnova, Kerri Strug, and Kim Zmeskal? Oh wait…

Tim Daggett has said “Gabby Davis” twice in the span of a minute.

NBC has decided to mention that Douglas is, in fact, winning this competition. I hope it keeps up. That would be a fun story and would complicate the Olympic picture in an exciting way.

Unfortunately we’re only seeing floor for Douglas, which is my least favorite of her events. Out of bounds with a stumble on the mount and again in the corner. Love the rebound into some of these dance elements – that’s how you do it. Take note, others. Not a great routine, but will certainly be enough to stay ahead of Wieber. All of the sudden, this is a big moment in the Olympic process.

OK, why did that ad have Bross saying, “It’s the little things that matter” when they showed her tearing her ACL? That’s not a little thing. “It’s the torn ACLs that matter.”

Strong bar routine from Orozco with a pretty low dismount. Good handstands and difficulty, though.

Nice to see that Tunney recovered on floor with a solid 14.166. We’re getting our first look at Georgia Simpson – very low landings on all this tumbling. Not her strong event. But it’s followed by a pretty strong bar routine from Verniaiev.

We’re missing Iordache’s floor so we can talk about Danell’s tooth. Purvis is seriously missing these handstands. A fine meet for him overall, but it probably won’t win the title as things look now.

Wieber about to go on floor (Gabby is really practicing her game face – she’s learning so fast), good double double but short on the triple full, fine routine overall for her but she will be disappointed in the second pass. (15.133)

Really nice bar routine from Leyva. A couple slight moments of sloppiness and a hop on the landing, but a great way to finish. (15.933)

Raisman – I respect the difficulty of the mount, but I don’t love the leg separation on the layout. I preferred last year’s mount. Just a little off – minor deductions – on her final two passes, so it’s a strong meet overall for Aly, but not her best performance on any of the events that we saw. We’ve have to look for vault later.

Kuksenkov is very clean on bars with a few missed handstands, but the NBC trio is unfortunately dismissive of it because he is not American. (15.200)

Too many errors in Nguyen’s routine – Tim Daggett is not trying to conceal his glee.

Raisman finished just behind Wieber – a testament to her quality on three events that she can challenge Wieber with her unfortunate bar routine – but Gabby Douglas records the highest score. This will be fun to talk about later because for me, Gabby Douglas is our American Cup champion. This performance does bode well for the US team this year, but bars is still a major concern. Martha should not be counting on Wieber to be reliable enough to go in TF.

Leyva is our champion for the men, just edging out Kuksenkov because of HBar.

1. Leyva – 90.664
2. Kuksenkov – 90.498
3. Nguyen – 89.925
4. Purvis – 89.766
5. Orozco – 89.331
6. Verniaiev – 88.132
7. Payne – 84.198
8. Sejima – 79.632

1. Wieber – 61.032
2. Raisman – 60.832
3. Iordache – 59.332
4. Moors – 56.365
5. Chelaru – 56.100
6. Hill – 55.599
7. Simpson – 54.566
8. Tunney – 52.132

6 thoughts on “One Big Cup of America – Live Blog”

  1. I think that with the vault abundance the USA can afford to take two bar specialists as long as one of them has a suitable back up vault. 2 bar workers + Gabby = great bar set for USA.

  2. I love this blog! You're a fab writer, and so much fun. Who the heck are you? 🙂

  3. Agree! This person is talented…extremely knowledgeable about the sport of gymnastics, great sense of humor, and great writer. This is my new favorite blog!

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