The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Women’s Day 2 Live Blog: Watchful Eyes Are Watchful

The men’s trials probably should have been the culmination of this competition since nothing will match the tension and anticipation of last night, what with the women still in the larval stage of selecting a team and having an overall less controversial and fraught process than the men.

In further knife-made-of-lemon-juice news, the men’s alternates have been announced as Whittenburg, Leyva, and Modi, while Paul Ruggeri was given a sack of old rags and Mattie Larson’s phone number. It’s probably the right choice for alternates because someone needed to be pommel horse. Otherwise, if Naddour goes down…what would you even do? Put a basket of wishes first up in the team final? Because of pommel horse, Modi may actually be the most likely to go in if there’s an injury in a Sasha Artemev-type situation. Whittenburg is the backup for Dalton and Leyva is the backup for Brooks, but if anyone else goes down, horse may be the biggest worry.

The junior women also finished up competition today with Maile O’Keefe remaining the one who hits her routines for the win. McCusker held on for second in spite of a bars hrmmm, and Perea improved on her day 1 beam to claim third. Morgan Hurd had a bad one on beam and floor to drop to fifth, but impressing were both of the Buckeyes, Shania Adams on bars and Shilese Jones on vault and floor, and Trinity Thomas, who is going to be a thing in a couple years. Watching Thomas in this meet felt like watching the part of the fluff piece where they show old footage of the star gymnast back when she was young. This is the meet they’ll use.

Now, it’s time for the senior women. There’s not a ton of urgency in today’s performances. There’s the continuing Koclear battle of course, and Douglas probably needs a comeback score just to get the vultures off her back (though I maintain she didn’t really do anything to jeopardize her place on night one), but Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez look right on track and Nichols’ routines of consequence will be vault and floor at trials, not bars and beam here.

Still, national championship. Olympic year. Crazy-ass Trautwig comments. There’s a lot to play for. Get ready.

Planning! First up in the first rotation are Douglas on bars, Nichols on beam, and Raisman on floor! All at the same time! Dear USAGym, no one would mind if you unprofessionally fudged the rotation order to be conducive to TV. Better than forcing people to hold for 805 minutes.

THERE IS NO NEXT YEAR.

One of the side stories I’m interested in is Hundley Alternate Watch. She’s in 6th heading into today, and while she’s on the outside compared to people like Smith and Skinner getting that other alternate spot, it could happen.

“Simone Biles is next.” Welcome to 2016. It’s going to be like this a lot.

I’m so disappointed in the lack of fluff in this national championship. Like NONE.

These colors are better for everyone. Also, Simone’s four in a row is not unprecedented. NBC cares zero.

WATCHFUL EYES. WATCHFUL CHIN. WATCHFUL FINGER NECK PINCH.

Aly’s leo = no me gusta. Grandmother’s rosewater.

“Gabby sucks, Nastia. Tell me how much she sucks. Is she the suckiest?” Go barf in a ditch, Al.

“Some people were starting to question things.” You TIM. YOU were starting to question things.

WATCHFUL EYES #2.

Douglas – UB – inbar full to piked tkatchev to pak, small leg break on pak and one minorly short hs – GAH – wonkifies her endo, leg drops, corrects – DAMN – DLO is a little piked but fine – the vultures with gather. Nastia is SO not giving her credit for that endo.

Kittia comes over to Gabby to say, “Arms. Arms. Arms. Arms.”

Nichols – BB – 2.5 wolf – walkover to a lovely sissone and split – secure side somi – heinous wolf to front tuck, please get rid of that – larger check on side aerial, bend and sway – low front leg on switch ring but ring position was fine – bend correction on loso series – switch – step back on double pike, improvement.

Martha’s Maggie answer is E) Not enough information provided to solve the problem.

14.500 for Douglas on bars. NOT HELPFUL.

They are just RAVENOUS to show that old Raisman parent footage. In other news, Lynn Raisman is my spirit animal.

Raisman – FX – solid first pass, stuck layout, not close to OOB, very good – rushes through double L but will probably get credit – Dos Santos to a fake horizontal stag – small hop on DLO – these switch leaps are rushed and quite quite short – small hop on double pike –

They were SOOO waiting for the Raisman parents to do something. They had a camera and everything. And then it was just sort of normal. Al is PISSSSSSED at them.

15.700 for Raisman with a 9.100 E. Oh, nationals.

Kocian – UB – inabrs full to inbar shap connected – into pak to shap half – her best rhythm of the summer so far – slightly bent elbows catching jaeger – stalder full to stuck tuck full. Very good. That will help her case a lot. BIG Laurent hug. Full strength Laurent hug.

15.700 for Kocian. Same as Classic, though this one was better.

Hernandez – VT – DTY – not much distance, a little leg break, step back. Fine, not amazing. 14.800.

OH THANK GOD THE GREEN TRIANGLES. HOW ELSE WOULD I HAVE UNDERSTOOD???

Sinner goes 14.900 on floor for the routine that shall not be seen.

How many times Alyssa? Sadly, once. One hit bars routine.

OHHHH, they’re trying to correct themselves about Joan Moore. Like a shred national championship doesn’t count now? Sure. Sure. Whatever.

Biles – FX – DLO full no trouble – Biles to sissone, secure and easy – a bit of a hop forward on her double double, unlike the usual stick – this music is still in no way interesting to me (it’s very “on hold music for a travel agency offering deals to Hawaii”- hop back on full in. Will probably just be a casual 16.

Everyone can’t wait to congratulate Simone. “I’M THE ONE WHO’S HER BEST FRIEND GUYS. I’M LIKE SECOND SIMONE.”

16.050 for Simone. Average.

Schild 12.700 on floor. She was borderline for a trials spot for a while, but she hasn’t had a great meet and is making it easy to cut her.

I feel like there are way too many question marks on this team-building page. I don’t have that many question marks. Like, you know, Laurie. BUT SHOULD SHE DO BEAMMM??? (Yes.)

Skimmer – VT – starting with Cheng – IT WAS TIM’S IDEA YOU GUYS – one-armed Mykky – a little low, lunge back, a bit of piking and knee bend – 15.250

Second vault – Amanar with smallish hop to the side. Now, that will score better than the Cheng.

Al got some feedback on the beads. inbars, falls on Ricna.

Al is really pissy about the BEADSSSSSSS. BUT WHERE DID ANDREA GET THE BEADSSSS? Chris is making sure she knows what a disappointment she is. Kim is like, “Crap, 2020 here we come.”

But does Simone have any BEADDDDDDDDSSS???

Biles – VT – small hop forward on 2.5. Slacking. Must do better. 16.200. 9.900 E score.  Cheng follows with a larger hop back – 15.800 for the Cheng it looks like.

Baumann – BB – excellent arabian – walkover to sissone, pretty – one loso in her series – switch and switch 1/2 have nice position, loses her toes on the switch half, but she hits 180, check on switch ring again with minor hip bend – onodi to wolf is quite nice – strong side aerial to split – chest down double pike .3 step back. Half Laurent hug.

Hernandez – UB – stalder full – legs and late – shap to tkatchev – piked ricna – ricna to pak, pulling it back together after a little shakiness early – hop back on tuck full. Not her strongest, but fine.

I like that Nastia is fact-checking some of Tim’s fangirling tonight and identifying the deductions. That’s a good duty for her and will make her less worthless.

15.150 for Hernandez. 14.700 for Baumann. Not memorable for either.

Raisman – VT – off to the side on 2.5 with a lunge forward this time, usual legs. A few more deductions than the last couple times, what with being off to the side more than she should be. Aly thinks it’s good. Mihai’s like, “OK…”

15.500 for Raisman. The whiskey is out tonight. Still, it was a good one. She’s staying comfortably better than Skinner.

Apparently I’m way behind everyone. And missed Dougie’s beam entirely thanks to commercials. Awesome. I’m thrilled. This is super great in every way. Apparently it was magical. At least, I hear Spanny screaming from here, so that’s usually a clue.

15.050 for Douglas. No trouble there. The Raisman and Hernandez beam comparisons will be more interesting today.

“Orozco cried! YES YES YES YES YES! We’re not emotion vultures!!!!!!!!!!! We’re not reveling with joy in the fact that John Orozco’s mom died because it makes for drama and emotions and tears!!!!!! You won’t BELIEVE how much he cried about his mom. Delicious. PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL DEAD MOM.”

“The women are going to announce their team just the same way. IS SOMEONE GOING TO DEAD MOM CRY PLEASEEEEEE?” – Al.

Locklear – UB – inbar full to inbar shap to pak to shap to bail – very well connected, great leg form – very clean jaeger – didn’t stick, small step forward, will be another big score. This routine is more reliably executed than Kocian’s. Kocian has the higher D and four events.

15.700 for Locklear. Same as Kocian. We get to see Locklear gripping instead of Kocian on floor YAY FUN.

Hernandez – BB – “She’s actually very good on this event.” Actually? It’s literally her event. Step forward on front pike – lovely leaps – very secure two loso series – check on sheep, a bit shakier than the first day, not doing all her connections? – front tuck and side aerial are both strong – another check on switch 1/2 – loverly switch ring – check down double pike hop forward. Still fine.

Kocian got a 14.600 on floor. SO GLAD WE DIDN’T SEE IT.

Biles – UB – small pause weiler half – break rhythm a little but everything else is her usual – sticks tuck full – fine.

Hernandez still gets 15.300 on beam. It was weaker than her other 15.300s, though. BUT DOESN’T SHE GET UNDERSCORED???

14.750 for Biles, her weakest score of the year.

Looks like Baumann had a big floor OOB for 13.850.

Dowell gets 12.500 on beam. Will she make trials?

Douglas – FX – “People have been saying.” You. You have been saying. double arabian to fake stag, solid – yikers, does a fine full in but tries to do the connection into back tuck and back tucks OOB – at least the Ferrari leap is gone? – Double Y was fine – heel drops on double L again, as on night 1 and PT – fine double pike, small hop back. double tuck to a lowly low split jump – should have just left out the back tuck out of the full –

Raisman – UB – toe full – shap to tkatchev – jaeger – bail to stalkder full to shoot, a little close on the shoot – hop in place on double front – nothing that wasn’t built in.

14.450 for Douglas. Just the .1 for OOB, one foot, not landing OOB.

Smith – BB – double wolf – strong switch to straddle – quite nice on the bhs layout – check and hip on back with a full but stays together – front tuck to sissone, a little bouncy – walkover to pike jump, great – secure sheep – near stick on the Patterson, small slide –

“A strange trip around the floor for her.” She went out of bounds. OMG SO STRANGE.

Yes, I accidentally wrote strip instead of trip. Don’t worry about it.

Why are the Andre Agassi/Steffi Graf Longines commercials always vaguely kidnappy?

Shawn interview. She got married and wrote a book. “Great memories right Nastia.” “Snapping 50 pencils.”

HJernandez – FX – hop back on DLO – double arabian to stag, very secure – a little bouncy on split 1.5 – front lay to front 2/1 to front tuck – good position on switch ring – sticks double tuck. That works.

Tim just threw his panties. As did everyone. 14.800. Same as the first day. Nastia also telling the same story as the first day.

Douglas – VT – DTY, strong form, hop back, will score well, pretty excellent other than the hop. “Alright…big hop back.” They really have the spikes in their pants about Gabby this weekend.

Biles – BB – Oh yeah, just a Simone beam too – almost does that accidental triple wolf she does sometimes but holds it – check on the barani again (still hate it) – larger break on two loso series, leg up – punch front to sissone – switch to switch 1/2, breaks connection into back pike – walkover to wolf is better – very short on tuck full with a larger lunge forward. She’ll be pissed about that. Not a good one for her. “My legs are just so dead.” “That’s OK.” “No it’s not. That was like the worst routine all week.” YES LOVE.

Well, Simone. You’re going to have to do this in qualification, TF, AA, and EF at the Olympics coming off a month-long hell camp, so work that out.

15.100 for Simone. Not good.

Nichols – UB – toe shap to pak is good but catches her foot and misses her connection to shap half, very very short hs out of hit – catches chap 1/2 – jaeger is fine – stuck DLO. Not good. No devastating for her because it’s not vault or trials.

Raisman – BB – front pike to wolf – front pike was a little low, worked well out of it to connect – secure on that layout – nice switch to back tuck – sissone to pike jump, legs apart – strong side aerial – switch 1/2 is usual – punch front to split – L tun to full turn, a little tight but fine – Patterson, completed easily but hop forward this time.

Aly: “I think we should tie again.” BUT WE WANT BLOOD.

15.300 for Raisman.

Laurie Hernandez is getting HUG REPLAYS now.

Skinner falls on front tuck mount on beam. Huge break on her back with a full, splits the beam in vag slam for .2 CV. split to wolf, the only skills she pauses before, the hardest ones for her. I feel like this routine is the CURE A BOOB sequel to STAB A BOOB. Hands down on tuck full dismount. Well, that was terrible.

Hugs for Skinner. Did Brenna just come up to her and say, “It’s OK, I had a horrible meet.” Oh, womp womp womp.

Locklear – BB – bhs loso is good – punch front solid – L turn is pretty but ended a little early, connects into full turn – large, large, large break with a big swim on side somi, just does stay on. Side aerial to splits – great leaps to back tuck – step back on tuck full.

Kocian gained a little by tying Locklear on bars this time and not almost dying on beam (we think). 14.150 for Locklear still. Kocian higher by .1. BUT SHAME ON ME FOR PRETENDING THESE ROUTINES MATTER FOR THEM. Neither would even do it in prelims.

Simone didn’t even win by 4 points. DISASTER.

Raisman is second over Hernandez. Not getting the tenths on bars hurt Hernandez in that race. Aly was just a steady little engine the whole time. Douglas comfortably 4th but not close to the others. Kocian stays 5th and Hundley stays 6th.

AUTO TRIALS:
Biles
Raisman
Hernandez
Douglas
Kocian
Hundley
Baumann
Smith

Andrea Douglas. Oh Al.

Laurie Hernandez interview. “She’s a beauty, by the way.” NO STOP AL NO STOP.

Are we waiting on the final trials qualifiers, or will it be later?

The remaining trials qualifiers are Desiderio, Dowell, Gowey, Locklear, Nichols, Schild and Skinner. So Schild did get in, as did Desiderio, which is a bit of a surprise but comes with help from the Key and Foberg withdrawals.

So, top 13 AA plus Nichols and Locklear.

15 is the same as 2012 trials, when only 14 ended up competing because of Sloan’s withdrawal.

%d bloggers like this: