The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Classic Podium Training

The routines are here! The routines are here!

Item 1: Miss Simone. Simone began on floor, and we’re first of all absolutely going to need to talk about how her routine ends with her blowing a kiss to the crowd, obviously an important throwback to Khorkina in the 2004 team final when she was wearing the candy-cane-grams leotard, but this one comes complete with an aggressive kissy-sound inserted into the end of music. You know how that thrills me.

Like her past floor routines, this one is also pretty much just a vehicle for tumbling. So let’s get to that. Outside of the dance-through, Simone showed the double double layout, which is more laid out than any other attempt we’ve ever seen, and is planning to connect jumps out of both the front full + full-in and the Biles.

A comparison:

Simone Biles – Floor
2016 2018
Double layout 1/1 – H Double double layout – I
Straddle jump 1/1 + Stag jump – C+A Front 1/1 +(i) Full-in + Split jump – C + E + A = 0.3 CV
Double layout 1/2 (Biles) + Sissone – G + A = 0.1 CV Switch leap – B
Front aerial – A Split leap 1.5 – D
Wolf turn double – D Double layout 1/2 (Biles) + Stag – G + A = 0.1 CV
** (see comment from Chris)
Switch leap – B Wolf turn double – D
Split leap 1.5 – D Switch leap 1/1 – D
Double-twisting double tuck – H Double-twisting double tuck – H
Switch leap 1/1 – D
Full-twisting double tuck – E
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – HHGE – 2.8 Acro – IHGEC – 3.2
Dance – DDDC – 1.5 Dance – DDD – 1.2
CV – 0.1 CV – 0.4
Total D – 6.9 Total D – 6.8

So she’s basically already back to the 2016 difficulty even without the extra 0.5 in CR from last quad. This will be a theme of the routines Simone showed today.

On vault, she performed her Cheng, as promised.

It will be interesting to see if they stay with this as her primary vault. It is worth 0.2 more than the Amanar this quad, which makes the Cheng the obvious choice if they’re both executed at the same level, but Simone’s Amanar is Simone’s Amanar.

On bars, we’re seeing some big changes at the end of the routine, including the Van Leeuwen and Fabrichnova. The video below was the stronger of her two full bars routines form-wise, the first being pretty ragged in a first-routine kind of way. But…the earliness of the completion of those two twists in the dismount, you guys. That header image for this post is of the second twist. And the tight tucked shape. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Simone Biles – Bars
2016 2018
Weiler 1/2 + Toe-on Shaposhnikova – D + D = 0.1 CV Weiler 1/2 + Maloney + Tkatchev – D + D + D = 0.3 CV
Toe-on 1/1 + Tkatchev – D + D = 0.1 CV Toe-on 1/1 + Tkatchev piked + Pak – D + E + D = 0.3 CV
Tkatchev piked + Pak – E + D = 0.2 CV Van Leeuwen – E
Cast 1/2 + Toe shoot – B + B Fabrichnova – F
Toe-on + Full-twisting double tuck – C + D
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
CV – 0.4 CV – 0.6
Total D – 6.1 Total D – 6.2

So, her intended D score on bars is even higher than it was last quad. At worlds in 2017, the medalists on bars had D scores ranging from 6.3 to 6.5.

USAG hasn’t put up a video of Simone’s beam on YouTube yet, presumably because she was the most podium-training-y there, not really killing herself to save skills when she was a little off, and didn’t get through a full hit set. She did struggle with that damn barani on her later bits and pieces, falling about three times. If you were sick of me complaining about that damn barani in 2016, just get ready for this quad. That damn barani.

Simone Biles – Beam
2016 2018
Wolf turn 2.5 – E Wolf turn triple – E
Barani – E Straddle jump + Pike jump – B+A
Back handspring + Layout stepout + Layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV Barani – E
Front tuck + Sissone – D+A = 0.1 CV Back handspring + Layout stepout + Layout stepout – B+C+C = 0.2 CV
Switch leap + Switch leap 1/2 + Back pike – C+D+C = 0.2 CV Switch leap + Switch leap 1/2 + Back pike – C+D+C = 0.3 CV
Front aerial + Wolf jump – D+A = 0.1 CV Front pike – E
Back handspring + Back handspring + Full-twisting double tuck – B+B+G = 0.1 CV Front aerial + Split jump – D+B = 0.1 CV
Back handspring + Back handspring + Full-twisting double tuck – B+B+G = 0.3 CV
CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0
Acro – GEDDC – 2.3 Acro – GEEDC – 2.4
Dance – EDC – 1.2 Dance – EDC – 1.2
CV – 0.7 CV – 0.9
Total D – 6.7 Total D – 6.5

Simone has added the triple wolf and front pike on beam as promised, which means she’s right in line with her past D score here as well. The code switch benefits Simone’s beam quite a lot because it rewards those difficult dismount combinations much more, as well as her mixed series.

If she were to get credit for everything she showed today, Simone would have a combined four-event D score of 25.6. As a reminder, Morgan Hurd won worlds last year with a combined D score of 22.1.

But let’s talk about Hurd because Team Moors doesn’t just include Simone. Morgan Hurd brought one out as well:

In the race for the Aly Award (best of the non-Simones), Hurd having a Moors on floor could be quite significant as that difficulty would help her get closer to that coveted 14 zone more consistently.

On beam, I saw Hurd going with the double pike dismount, which is probably a solid choice for all of us and our mental health after what occurred at Pac Rims.

Let’s see, what else happened? I saw a couple DTYs each from Chiles and Carey. Chiles is supposed to add a Patterson to her beam routine but I haven’t seen it yet. Somethimes you miss things. Or she’s really saving it for the competition.

Also, did I spy with my little eye Emma Malabuyo with an inbar Shaposh? It was far away on the stream, and you never know with those US inbars sometimes, but that’s what it looked like. Ragan Smith did her expected composition on bars and beam. I didn’t see anything new there. She too dismounted beam with a double pike. Apparently, she’s holding off on upgrades until nationals.

Riley McCusker trained all four pieces, including getting a pretty solid DTY around, which was notable because that has been a struggle skill for her at times in the past. The bars dismount situation turned out to be a little fraught. She missed her first three attempts at it (hands down), but hit the subsequent three with lunges forward. Yeah, she did a lot of bars dismounts. Maybe it was because we didn’t see her bars routine from American Classic. She’s like, “You want bars? Here’s your stupid bars.”

In other news, it seems some USAG coaches have trouble with reading comprehension.

This is wrong and nothing. The only way the Olympic individual-qualification rule influences the US women is that the members of the 2018 worlds team (should the US qualify an Olympic spot this year) won’t be able to compete at the 2020 Pan American Championships. Which…who cares? Saying you don’t want your athlete considered for worlds 2018 because of 2020 Pan Ams would actually be the stupidest…

Competing at 2018 worlds won’t impact any US gymnast’s chances of competing at the Olympics in any way.

You can read up on the whole process here.

Also, Emily Lee has pulled out of the senior competition and Vika Smirnov and Annie Beard have pulled out of the junior competition, according to the latest start list.

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