Disappointingly, this year we have no broadcast of men’s and women’s podium training, which we had in Beijing, so instead we have to rely on our bevy of reporters embedded in the Pink Nightmare Arena.
Men’s podium training (we need to stop for a minute and talk about how I recently heard someone refer to it as “Po Tray” after which I died a thousand deaths, and now that’s all I can think of when talking about podium training) is notoriously unrepresentative of competition performance, similar to what we see from the Russian women. Unlike the situation with American women, a fall in podium training is not some kind of red flag that will get you taken out of the competition lineup. You know if Gabby Douglas falls on her Amanar in podium training tomorrow that Aly Raisman will become the #3 vaulter.
So what have we learned?
- Kohei Uchimura is better than you. And by “you” I mean everyone who has ever lived. The Japanese men are totally charming, and I’d like to see them smile their way to gold. Normally, for the sake of argument, more people would be trying to come up with the scenarios where Japan doesn’t win, but everyone just likes them the best. Even super patriotic Americans go, “Ohhh, the Japanese…”
- OMG you guys, The US men just had a totally public breakup with the vault right in the middle of the competition hall and EVERYONE was watching. If you’re going to fall that many times on vault, the least you can do is go full Morgan White and start crying and saying, “Oh God! Oh God!” I don’t ask for a lot. The US is in an odd situation where they may have to sit a superior, Team-Finals worthy vaulter in Qualification so that Orozco and Leyva can muddle their way through the event to get into the AA.
- Jon Horton had a little bit of a cranky-pants day with the vault and the high bar. He’s not at his best level, just as he wasn’t at Trials, but I expect him to pull it together for competition. High bar is not much of a problem because the US has more than three capable workers, but vault might become a quagmire. If Horton continues to struggle, we may start looking back at that potential Leyva, Orozco, Mikulak, Dalton, and Legendre team. Then again, it’s not like Legendre is an exemplar of consistency even though he can score well. (Is it just me, or does it seem like men fall on vault at US competitions all the time and still break 9.000 on execution? I don’t understand.)
- I was going to try to do a little thing like “broken China” but it was just too painful, so. . . China has injuries. Teng Haibin is out, and they had a wonky PT (Po Tray. . . ) overall. Expect them to still contend with Japan and still be amazing, but the men’s team, like the women’s, is suffering from putting all their eggs in 2008 baskets.
- I need GBR to make the Team Final, so it’s important that Daniel Purvis, the national bird of Scotland, convert on his good events. It appears he did so in training. I miss Daniel Keatings, and GBR isn’t quite forgiven yet. We’ll see. . .
- I’m really trying to become at least somewhat fluent with the men’s code before Qualification, but it’s not going that well. I’ve just given up pommel horse and am focusing on the other five events. I am American after all. . .