Thoughts on Classic

While apparently there was some gymnastics performed on Saturday, focus is solely on this month’s USAG Lifetime Original Movie called The Denial of Chellsie Memmel. You’ll probably cry. While I feel bad for Chellsie because she should have Qualifier Emeritus status at this point and there’s no legitimate reason to prevent her from going, I also live for all of the commotion this has caused. That part of me now wants to see Shawn Johnson skip Nationals and be granted a petition to Trials just to see what would happen.

Most of the controversy of the petition denial has centered around the arbitrary 14.000 one-event qualifying score that Martha apparently established without telling anyone. She has said that Chellsie could not be granted a petition because she did not meet that score. This is a red herring. The entire point of the petition is that it can be granted to a gymnast who doesn’t meet the qualifying criterion and yet deserves to go anyway. So the argument that a petition cannot be granted to a gymnast who failed to reach a qualifying standard is ridiculous. That’s why petitions exist, and it certainly could have been granted if they wanted to do it. They didn’t want to.

Chellsie Memmel was never going to make this Olympic team, but neither is Brianna Brown, so let’s not pretend that advancing to Nationals is all about who is in contention to make the Olympic team.

In the rest of the competition, we learned little from our top competitors. Aly Raisman is sturdy and will not fall. We already knew this. Martha loves her consistency. She will be on the team to do probably three events in Team Finals, so we should all just get used to it. Gabby Douglas will make the team because of bars, and beam is still scary. This we also already knew.

Jordyn Wieber’s bars issues won’t become a problem until Trials, but keep an eye on them. While Jordyn will be on the team regardless, if she proves unusable on bars in Team Finals, that will inform the selection of the rest of the team. If they can’t use Jordyn on bars, Raisman and Maroney can’t both be on the team. Maroney desperately needs Wieber to prove solid on bars, while Kyla Ross would be fine with it if she doesn’t.

Nastia Liukin stole the show with an adequate beam routine. Like I mentioned in the Classic preview, if she makes the team for bars, she can also be used on beam in TF with little loss of score compared to the rest of the team. But now we turn our attention to bars. At Nationals, I need to see a hit 6.7+ routine. That’s asking a lot, but it needs to happen for her to be anything but a “what if.”

Rebecca Bross hit her best bars routine of the year. As Martha mentioned after the meet, this is meaningless without a beam routine. Her Patterson dismount wasn’t close again, and she can’t hope to make the team until she figures out a consistent dismount. I’m not hopeful.

Sarah Finnegan and Elizabeth Price are the dark horses du jour. Price has an Amanar and inconsistency, and if anyone makes the team just to do an Amanar, it will be Maroney. I don’t know what to make of Finnegan. She is very pleasant to watch and potentially useful on a couple events. It seems like she should have more of a chance than she does. Beam and floor stand out, while she’s not so useful on bars, so she’s like the bizzaro Aly Raisman. There’s only room for one on this planet.

Anna Li fell again on bars, and Kennedy Baker has a 6.4 D-Score. Sit with these things.

Sabrina Vega and the rest are here on Gilligan’s Isle.

One thought on “Thoughts on Classic”

  1. My picks to make the Olympic team are:
    Jordyn Wieber
    Aly Raisman
    Gaby Douglas
    McKayla Maroney
    Nastia Liukin

    Of course nothing is set in stone until they're doing the routines in the Olympics, but I think these girls have the best chance to make it on the team. I like Kyla Ross but I don't see her as Olympic material – not yet, anyway. Maybe in 2016. I have McKayla on the team in her place because she was part of the gold medal winning team last year, she is in great shape, she makes vault exciting to watch and she is easily the best vaulter in the world right now (what's up with the sudden dominance of American vaulters over the past 5 years?) A 16+ score on vault is huge (it's what helped the U.S. win gold last year) and I think you have to reward McKayla for being consistent and consistently good. She probably has the best, most consistent routine in the country right now on vault and she has a great floor routine and could put up a usable beam routine if necessary, so she's not just a one-routine gymnast. Here's what I think will happen in London:
    Vault: Aly, Jordyn, McKayla
    Bars: Jordyn, Gaby, Nastia
    Beam: Nastia, Aly, Jordyn
    Floor: Gaby, Jordyn, Aly

    Regardless of who makes the team, I think we're going to see the second team gold medal for the U.S. Can't wait for London!


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