The big story of the day is the injury to Larisa Iordache’s foot. Basically, Iordache’s foot heard about Maroney’s foot and was all like, “Pssssh, I can beat that.” Iordache trained very minimally on vault and floor and looks like she will not compete them in Qualification. There is still hope that she will be back for Team Finals. Romania can certainly manage on floor without her, but they need her vault to help offset bars. Izbasa threw a Cheng on vault, and there are reports about Chelaru upgrading, but I have so many problems with her block that I’m not thinking about that yet.
The United States looks to be on track. I don’t say the team looked good because I thought it was a sluggish day overall, but they looked fine enough for right now. It’s interesting that this team gets discussed as being among the most talented the US has produced because they clearly lack the flair of most of their predecessors. What they mean is that this team is more consistent and uses the code better than others. It’s a smarter, safer team, but not a more talented one.
On the issue of the American’s safety, I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles this team has to overcome. Martha is a huge worrywart and won’t let people compete skills that they haven’t proven at numerous camps over numerous months. So while we see other contenders putting forward late upgrades and adding connections, the US stays the same and allows others to catch them. The US wins the Olympics in April and then lets everyone catch them by July/August.
There were a few issues in PT with Gabby Douglas’s Amanar and Kyla Ross taking a fall on beam, but all the other problems looked normal and minor. The decision as to who will be first up on vault and beam in TF will be an interesting storyline to watch during Qualification.
Russia was largely Russian during training. Mustafina seemed in control, Komova seemed a little out of control, and Grishina was somewhere in between. Komova had some issues with falling, and usually that’s not a problem for Russia in training, but for someone with such a tenuous brain history, I’d like to see a little bit more hitting. She’s the runaway AA favorite if she does.
Maria Paseka was not a happy Amanar camper and Mustafina trained only DTYs. Paseka will certainly attempt the vault in Qualification, but if she can’t hit it, does she go for it in Team Finals? These are the questions. I think she has to if they want a shot at gold. I’m not a big fan of going that far to play it safe.
I don’t know what to make of China right now. They showed no vaults over 5.8, which puts them in such a significant hole. They have been destroyed for execution on bars over the last few years, so it seems like they may be a little too reliant on beam to dig them out of the vault hole. If Yao is not at full strength in a few days, this team will struggle. If Huang looks like the solid one, it’s a problem.
I have absolutely no time for the connection of a back tuck out of a tumbling pass on floor. If you connect it as if you were on the beam with no rebound, it should not receive CV. Judges, you have your instructions.