Worlds 2018 – US Women’s Podium Training

Welcome to the moment in your life that makes you a true gym nerd—spending a perfectly good Tuesday watching podium training.

Most importantly, you can expect to use this PT session to learn about lineup decisions and alternates based on what order everyone competes.

We’re doing in-front-of-the-screen introductions this year again, but it’s like a tiny baby screen compared to Glasgow and Montreal.

US starts on bars with the touch warmup. McCusker far off on a Ricna but it’s just the early touch.

Right now it looks like the order people are warming up is Hurd, McCallum, McCusker, Biles, Smith, Eaker. (Typically assume first four are the intended competition lineup.

Taking their full warmup turns now. Pleased that Smith seems to be hitting her releases. Hurd also very crisp. Biles being Biles.

Hurd UB – inbar Shap to stalder full to tkatchev, solid – Ricna to Pak, good legs – stalder shoot – inbar 1/2 – inbar 1/1 to full in, hop in place. Another crisp set. Good. Very assured Worry about the lateness of the inbar 1/1, though. That’s 5 tenths.

McCallum UB – Weiler 1/2 – Stalder Shap to tkatchev – Pak with big leg break directly to Shap 1/2 – toe full super late – FTDT, stuck. Fine. More foot and leg issues than Hurd, which will lead to more deductions, also quite late on a full piro.

McCusker UB – stalder full to Shap to Tkatchev – Ricna to Pak to Shap 1/2 – all hit – toe on – step back on dismount – Good hit. A little tighter than she is sometimes, like she was being careful, especially on the Ricna, but good. Careful worked.

Biles UB – Wieler 1/2 to Shap to Tkatchev, good – toe full to piked tkatchev to excellent Pak – toe Shap 1/2, good legs – double double, too easy. Awesome set. Accidentally leaves Laurent hanging on the high five, though, so full point off.

Smith UB – inbar – Stalder full with a huge arch and has to come off the bar. I jinxed her, definitely. Sorry about that. Inbar 1/2 to jaeger – piked Ricna, hit – Ricna to Pak, good – stalder shoot – FTDT, short with lunge forward. It’s always something isn’t it?

Eaker UB – Toe SHap to clear hip to giant Ray – to Pak – arch on low bar and has to recast – and has to recast again – and falls on Shap 1/2. clear hip 1/1 – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger, falls again. Oh Kara. DLO.

Well, the first four are definitely the four. That’s what we’re learning from this podium training rotation.

McCallum redores her second 1/2 – the toe full is way better.

McCusker doing a million stalders in a row and they’re all beautiful obviously.

Smith tries her stalder 1/1 again, and it’s good.

US done on bars. Biles looked excellent. McCusker, Hurd, and to a slightly lesser extent McCallum went through with clean sets. Smith did look improved, but did have a pirouette fall on her actual competition set.

Moving on to beam. Methinks we’ll learn a lot based on this lineup order. Can’t wait.

Order of first touch warming up is Hurd, McCusker, Eaker, Biles, Smith, McCallum. These first two lineup orders seem to indicate to me that Smith is the alternate right now.

Hurd BB – small arm wave on tuck full, good – side aerial, hit – bhs loso, no trouble – aerial to split to straddle, very good positions – switch – transverse split jump 1/2 – full turn with a check, of course her biggest wobble of the whole thing – switch ring, small adjustment – double pike, lunge back. Really good set. She looks on so far.

McCusker BB – nice wolf triple and wolf double – aerial to split to straddle – bhs loso loso, smallest lean – switch to an abbreviated switch 1/2 position to Korbut – large break on side aerial – double tuck dismount, a little short with a hop. One large break in there but otherwise quite good.

Eaker BB – switch mount to split ring leap, still her most questionable ring position – check on Y spin – aerial to split ring jump – side aerial to loso to loso, small arm wave – split leap to side somi – switch ring to bhs keeps moving through choreo to switch 1/2 (perfect) to Korbut – ooooh I’m dead at that whole series – switch to switch side, nice – 2/5 with a hop. She looked like she was rushing in the first 1/2 of that routine, but it’s a good sign how she steadied herself for a very solid second half.

Biles BB – easy wolf triple – split to wolf – barani with a check – bhs loso loso, switch to switch 1/2, breaks connection into back tuck – front pike a little deep with a check – aerial with an arm wave – split jump – full-in dismount with a bounce back. Not her strongest beam set but also hit and Simone and whatever.

Smith BB – wolf triple, pretty good, not too wobbly – bhs layout, a hair short with an adjustment step – tuck full, solid – aerial to split to straddle – nice position on front tuck, step – large wobble on side split 1/2 – straight jump 1/1 from side with a lean – double pike, good, small hop. Some balance errors but an acceptable hit.

McCallum BB – back dive mount – wolf triple to wolf double, deliberate but confident – straddle 1/2 from side – side aerial to loso with small hesitation but no check – front tuck, a little deep with arm wave – switch to aerial – sissone – full turn – double tuck, nearly stuck with a lean.

Well, that was a very good group of beam routines. No falls.

Hurd back up for another go – tuck full, nailed – side aerial aerial with a check to split jump straddle jump. Nice.

McCusker second turn – aerial to split to straddle, lovely – bhs loso, solid – switch to switch 1/2 to Korbut, switch 1/2 better this time – side aerial

Eaker second turn – Y spin, lovely – aerial to split ring, a little short on ring split –

Biles second turn – barani – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, redoing that combo that she missed in the turn, good this time – front pike – aerial to split to straddle – no troubles this time

Smith is working her side jumps – also much better this time – aerial to split to straddle, good

McCallum still a little deep on her front – everything else solid

With the assumption that the first four are the lineup on each event, that looks correct based on what we’ve seen so far.

Moving on to floor for warmup now.

Simone just literally tiptoed out of a Biles. The warmup double Arabian Smith just did is the best that skill has looked in a while.

McCallum sits a combo pass in the touch and has a very “this floor is a fart” facial expression. Better on second try.

Hurd FX – double double tucked, pretty much perfect on landing – double layout, a little bounce back, a little pike down – switch ring to split 1.5, some leg but looked to get it around – front lay to front 2/1, a little hop back – Ferrari – split jump full, good – double pike, strong.

Hurd is looking excellent today. No shades of the iffy performance from selection. Interesting that she’s up first in these lineups.

McCallum FX – super high double double but a struggle bounce-up landing – front lay to front 2/1, good – leaps look good – 3/1, stagger landing but solid – split leap 1/1, good – double tuck good. Solid after that first landing, which snuck up on her it looked like.

McCusker FX – piked full in, a little short with a hop – nice split leap 1/1 – front 2/1 to lay to stag, some knees in the front 2/1 still but looked better from this angle at least – wolf double – double pike, shuffle back – switch ring – double tuck, no problem. This routine is looking more sure. Interesting lineup position for qualification.

Biles FX – double double layout, bounce back, too high and easy, needs to add 7 more twists – Biles to stag, super solid – switch to split 1.5, a little borderline in landing position – front through to full-in, bounces out for her obligatory OOB – hilarious wolf double that she has to whip around and kind of gets away from her – double double, strong, small bounce.

Smith FX – DLO, not bad, some legs apart, secure landing – 1.5 through to 3/1 attempt, a little too short for credit, probably – small hop forward on double Arabian but fine – wolf triple – double pike, some knees, small hop back. Pretty solid set.

Eaker FX – 2.5 to front 1/1, good – front lay to front 2/1 with a lunge forward – double Y to full turn, a little off balance – 3/1, a little under with a hop back – switch ring and switch 1/1 – double pike, chest down but solid.

No troubles really for the US in their floor routines. Doesn’t seem like they’re having trouble with the floor.

McCallum redoes the double double that wasn’t great in the routine, no problems this time.

US decides it’s done on floor with two minutes left in the rotation.

So, now we move to US on the bye rotation, so I get to complain about that for a whole rotation.

Two full teams, one team of three, and six individual gymnasts in this subdivision. But by all means, we need a bye rotation. I can’t possibly see how you could fit them into four groups instead of five.

So, as we wait and watch New Zealand and Slovakia and whatnot, let’s talk about the US lineups.

It seems pretty clear right now that Smith is the alternate, that Eaker will be off everything but beam, and McCallum will be off beam. That means Biles, McCusker, and Hurd will all do the AA and we’ll watch with bated breath to see who makes the AA final.

Was that Simona Castro busting out a DTY?

What’s going to be interesting for the US is that they seem to be going with a “Hurd is our leadoff” in qualification, but she’ll need to be in the final three on most of these events in the team final, especially based on what we’ve seen today.

Can also imagine some controversy about lineup order and score building if it ends up being close for the AA final and she doesn’t make it.

Teams are not spending more time than necessary on this floor.

US back out and the coaches are prepping vault.

Morgan jamming to the rotation song. As one does.

McCallum the first to go to real vaults. Secure DTY. Next attempt is pretty short with a lunge to the side.

Simone does a Cheng, which I think is like a timer for her now?

Simone with an easy Amanar that she basically dances out of. STAHHHPPP.

Hurd moving up to DTYs now, step to the side.

Smith pretty deep in a DTY with a lunge forward.

Eaker with a secure 1.5 but tucked at the end.

McCallum also showing a round-off 1/2 on, tuck 1/2 second vault.

McCusker a little short on her DTY with a hop forward.

McCallum VT – DTY, pretty solid, just a little crunched at the end with a hop back. Small hop.

McCallum VT 2 – round off 1/2 on, tuck 1/2 – quite good, just a small hop in place. Looks very easy for her. That’s a 4.6 D.

McCusker VT – falls forward on a DTY. Eeep. Well short.

Hurd VT – medium hop back on her DTY. Good.

Biles VT 1 – just goes with the Cheng, after all. Interesting. Hop back.

Biles VT 2 – Casual best Amanar ever, almost. Huge and just a small step.

Smith VT – way off to the side on her DTY, both feet landing outside the area, but just a small hop.

Eaker VT – sticks her 1.5, still with the rather large tucking at the end.

McCallum does another DTY, really short with hands down.

Vault is the US’s weakest event in this podium training session. Several don’t look comfortable.

Ahhhhh, now we get to see the Biles from Simone. Very good. Small hop. Definitely worth doing if she keeps doing it like that.

Some times from McCusker and Smith as Simone poses for pictures with the volunteers.

McCusker – better on the DTY, still short but landed it. It would be enough to keep her in the AA race against Hurd.

That will do it for the US in podium training.

It will be tough to get used to the idea that vault isn’t this team’s best event. There are some struggles there. Biles and Hurd looked good.

If you’re just skipping to the end here…the lineups.

VAULT: McCallum, McCusker, Hurd, Biles
BARS: Hurd, McCallum, McCusker, Biles
BEAM: Hurd, McCusker, Eaker, Biles
FLOOR: Hurd, McCallum, McCusker, Biles

No qualms with those four being the four on each event. It’s correct. Interesting floor order. Interesting Hurd order in general because based on today, I’d have her on either three or four pieces in TF.

Some things to work on for the US, but not too many. Some of those DTYs, basically. McCallum had a struggle moment or two, a floor landing, a couple of her vault attempts. I had stopped being worried about McCusker’s DTY, but now I am again. Hurd had a very good day. Simone is Simone.

Smith has continued to improve. She looks better than selection camp and worlds better than nationals, but her as alternate is the right decision. She’s not necessarily adding a score to any event right now. Her best-looking one is beam, and the US is already stacked there. Eaker will just do beam, as expected. The race for the top-2 on beam will be fascinating because all four who are competing there are very capable of making the event final.

94 thoughts on “Worlds 2018 – US Women’s Podium Training”

  1. I’m going into a boring meeting at 11am ET and can’t watch live. Thank you BBS for this valuable service! 🙂

    1. I’m watching live yet I still tune in for the snark! Live streams wouldn’t be the same without him!

  2. Does Kara Eaker not have a coach with her? Don’t see Al Fong’s gloves haha

    1. Laurent looked to be very attentive to all of the gymnasts. It looked like at the end there, he was trying to calm her down after all her struggles.

      1. Laurent and Cecile always seem like really good, supportive coaches. Their gymnasts do break a lot but they seem to get the fragile types anyway, so maybe it’s a miracle that they don’t get injured more.

  3. I am slightly sad to see we’re back to white/very pale bottom leos. I know it’s a small thing to complain about in the big scheme, but it means a lot to some people and I’m one of them.

    1. I think white leos can be beautiful if done correctly. Ohio State has a gorgeous white leo they sometimes wear. It caught my attention a couple years ago and it’s honestly the reason I started paying more attention to OSU gymnastics. I’m typically an SEC fan.

      1. I don’t mind them *quite* as much in college. But I competed in them as a teen, and let me tell you, if you have any amount of normal teenage body insecurity – growing boobs, growing butt, inconsistent period – that you’re still trying to come to terms with/manage appropriately, they are absolutely miserable and make everything so much worse.

    2. I don’t remember where I read it, but back in 96 when the Mag6 was picking out leos for the tour, Dominique Dawes was like “NO WHITE LEOS!” I totally understood the sentiment, and I’m likewise not a fan.

  4. Are they doing something weird with the PT lineups or was Hurd a disaster all week until now? Because based on today (and everything ever with the exception of selection camp) I would not in a million years use McCallum over Hurd in TF on UB or BB, or possibly even FX.

      1. Carina – McCallum. Not McCusker. The implied assumption is first up would be up in quals but not TF – so Hurd so far wouldn’t compete anything in TF. Of COURE McCusker should do UB in TF. That’s not the question.

      2. Yeah I meant Grace, not Riley. Riley looks good. I personally hope Morgan can beat her to take the second AA spot, but I think it’ll be really tough.

        With my armchair expertise (lol) I’d do:
        VT: McCallum, Hurd, Biles (McCusker)
        UB: McCusker, Hurd, Biles (McCallum)
        BB: McCusker, Eaker, Biles (Hurd) – could switch Morgan and Riley
        FX: McCallum, Hurd, Biles (McCusker)

        I’d especially save McCusker from FX in team finals if she wins the second AA spot – she’s not the sturdiest gymnast and I think she’d benefit from the break.

      3. Maybe Hurd is a stabilizing influence going up first. Then again maybe I just watch too much NCAA gymnastics. 🙂

        I’d say the one most “in danger” of losing her spot is McCallum, especially as Smith continues to improve to her former glory. If both of them are performing at equal levels wouldn’t Smith outscore McCallum based on reputation and, perhaps earn a sympathy point or two from judges who realize only an injury tore the 2017 World Champion title away from her… not that judges have big hearts but they are still human (sort of) so they may let that affect their scoring.

    1. I wouldn’t assume Morgan is out of TF because of being first up. Sometimes the strategy is to have a strong, confident leadoff. It doesn’t mean that person is expected to get the worst score of the four.

      1. Traditionally, the first up in PT is the one left out of TF. That’s what we’re basing this conjecture on. But maybe USAG coaching is mixing it up this time!

  5. Poor Smith. She looks SO IMPROVED. I really wish she’d get a chance to compete. But everyone else there deserves the chance as well. It’s just heartbreaking that she missed out last year due to the a last minute injury and it appears she’ll just barely miss out this year as well.

    1. Improved but still injured. Wrong signal to athletes even taking her. But Kim and Tom are BFFs so there’s that.

      1. I didn’t know she was still injured?

        After 3 I feel it’s pretty close to her earning it over Kara, but then…where would you put her? She’s strongest on FX, but not stronger than McCallum, and Hurd & McCusker seem to be the AAers. So she’d end up just doing BB (and maybe VT) – in which case, you’re back with Eaker I suppose. I’m very curious how Eaker scores compared to Smith on BB at this worlds, but we’re highly unlikely ever to know.

      2. Man, I agree. I like Regan but taking an injured athlete as an alternate when we have many other options…

      3. If they thought she was injured and wanted her to actually take time off to heal, then they shouldn’t have even sent her to camp.

      4. Oh stop. Your posting that all around youtube. She isnt still injured she is 90% healed spoken from Kims mouth. Her first event at nationals where she landed short inflamed her condition, causing her issues – it wasnt like she was freshly injured – Thats why she is looking stronger and stronger… Stop with your arm chair semantics of diagnosing gymnasts as you sit on your fat cheeto covered ass. Their coaches etc KNOW BETTER!

      5. Sure, Yomama. Whatever the state of her injury, even with drastic improvement she looks entirely incapable of her current routines, and seconds away from major injury every time she attempts anything on floor or vault (while bars is it’s own mess). She’s improved since nationals, but she’s clearly either still injured (and shouldn’t be competing) or not yet ready (and shouldn’t be competing).

  6. shoutout to the beam girl in baggy shorts redoing tour jete halfs like a thousand times

  7. OMG I want Smith to go 4th on VT just to prove to us how little we know about anything…though it would probably be a board settings thing.

  8. why was vault not shown. I am curious as to who they will use on Vault. I assume Biles, McCallum, Hurd, McCusker in Prelims and Biles, Hurd, and McCaullum in Team Finals.

  9. Do several of the athletes seem more crunched on the table than usual (McCusker, McCallum, Smith)?

  10. Makes sense for Simone just to Cheng in the qualification round and team finals. Save the new Biles for event finals.

  11. I think on vault they have to have different flights on their two vaults for finals. The Biles and the Amanar both have the same flight – 2-1/2 twists. So I am thinking Simone may do the Cheng+Amanar in qualifications and vault finals, and then her new vault in team finals and the aa.

    1. The Biles vault’s flight is only 2 twists, since the half turn onto the board is the entry and doesn’t count as flight, no?

    2. wrong. have to have different entries, not flights. which amanar and the new biles have.

      1. Is it possible it’s both? They definitely have to have different entries, but I think they may have to have different flights too. (e.g. you can’t do a tsuk 1/1 and a Yurchenko 1/1).

        Either way, I would think a Biles and an Amanar would be ok.

      2. + on top of that, the Biles is a forward double, and the Amanar is a backward 2.5. They have a roundoff and a landing direction in common, but that’s it.

      3. They have to be different flights as well so you can’t do a Rudi & Cheng or you’ll incur a 2 point deduction on the second vault IIRC

      4. If it was flight + entry you wouldn’t be able to throw a DTY and a Cheng, which surely we have seen.

      5. Vaults have to be from separate groups and have different flights off the table (2nd flight). There are 5 defined groups. Group 4 is defined as “Round-off (yurchenko) with or without 3/4 turn in 1st flight phast – salto bwd with or without LA turn in 2nd flight phase.” – A DTY or Amanar fit in this group. Group 5 is “round-off with 1/2 turn in 1st flight phase – salto fwd or bwd with or without LA turn in 2nd flight phase.” A Cheng or the soon-to-be Biles are part of this group. An Amanar has 2 1/2 turn in the 2nd flight phase. A Cheng has a 1 1/2 turn, and a Biles has a double turn, making either of those acceptable pairings with the Amanar.

        See section 10.3 and 10.4 of the FIG WAG 2017-2020 code.

      6. The 5 groups are determined by the entry onto the table and the existence of a salto during second flight, so in effect the two vaults are required to have both a different entry and a different flight off the table.

      7. Halie – thanks! Two questions:
        1. Does a layout double twist backwards (DTY) count as a different second flight from a layout double twist forwards (Biles)?
        2. What on earth does “with or without 3/4 turn in 1st flight phase” mean? A roundoff half on is group 5 but a round off 3/4 on is group 4? I must be reading that wrong.

      8. AnnieA:
        1. I have that question too, actually. The code doesn’t actually define what makes a 2nd flight distinct. My best guess is that either the body position (layout, tuck, pike) or the number of rotations needs to be different, though.
        2. You’re reading that correctly. I suspect the reasoning is that if you over-turn on the entry past a 3/4 turn then you effectively are going to leave the table doing a backwards salto like in a straightforwards yurchenko entry. Whereas if you do a half turn onto the table you leave the table doing a front salto.

      9. hawarre:
        1) My reasoning would be the other way, since if you did a front double full and a back double full in the same floor routine, they would be certainly be considered different skills and both count – but that’s definitely the more liberal interpretation.
        2) I know that Tsuks are allowed to have anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 twist – are Yurchenko 1/2 ons not the same? If they are, then a 1/4 twist would be group 5 but a 3/4 would be a group 4. This bothers me, but I do get the point that if you do a 1/4 you are continuing towards a 1/2 (and starting more or less as a back flip) in most cases, and if you do a 3/4 you are continuing towards a front, momentum-wise.

        You’d think the rules would be clearer.

      10. AnnieA you may well be right. I won’t pretend to know more than the plain-text code says. It includes enough to make it clear than an Amanar (group 4, 2.5 twists) doesn’t conflict with a Lopez, Cheng, or “Biles” (group 5, 1, 1.5, 2 twists) so she can compete any of the latter three interchangeably, so that clears up the original conversation. Perhaps a judge or someone more knowledgeable can help out with something more than my guesses, or supply an exampleof someone competing a combo that answers it for us. I can’t think of a vaulter off the top of my head with a pairing that would answer the question – those that don’t vault an Amanar tend to have a combo like a rudi + kas 1/1 (so they’re pairing a 1.5 rotation with a full). It definitely wouldn’t surprise me though if you could do a double front (“Biles”) and a double back (DTY).

    3. Forwards and backwards count as different flights. So yes a DTY & Biles would be acceptable. So would a Tsuk 1/1 & Mustafina.

      Different body shapes count as different flights as well, so a Rudi & Khorkina are acceptable.

      Not acceptable combos: Rudi & Cheng (same flight), Tsuk 1/1 & Kas 1/1 (same pre-flight), Kas 1/1 & DTY (same flight), Tsuk 1/1 & FTY (same flight).

      1. An example of this is the 2015 vault final where Giulia Steingruber did a Rudi (handspring front layout with 1.5 twist) and meant to do a DTY but only landed 1.5Y (round-off back layout with 1.5 twist). She didn’t get the deduction because even though both vaults had 1.5 twist, the Rudi is a front salto and the 1.5Y is a back salto.

  12. seems to me like they want hurd to start off on bars to have a good lead off for the competition as grace seems to struggle there sometimes and starting the rotation off with a potential fall wouldn’t be ideal. for me the rest of the line ups seem appropriate apart from floor. really, mccusker should be the lead off but they seem to be pushing her as the second AA behind simone and potentially want to boost her score there

  13. It honestly looked to me like they should just use Hurd, McCusker, McCallum and Biles on all four events. I did not thing Eaker looked confident today and her beam missed many of its connections. It seems better to let those 4 duke it out for the top all around positions just in case McCusker has another diaster on vault or Hurd misses on Beam or bars.

    1. I would agree in general, but I’m pretty sure that a miss by McCusker or Hurd would still be AA final worthy (just at the risk of 2 per country).

      1. I agree but it some ways McCallum looked more poised than McCusker for sure. Plus her AA at the last few events was right up there so she could pull an Allie and sneak in as the 2nd spot given a shot.

      2. Oh yeah, I would love to see them go with just the 4 AAers. That would be my preference, and then Smith or Eaker is the effective alternate (on the floor, warming up with them, etc.) – I don’t think it will make a difference in the total medals the U.S. gets (honestly Eaker feels like a long shot for beam at this point), and I think it will make a much more interesting competition overall.

        I also don’t think it will happen.

  14. My lineups for quals are the four all arounders unless Riley or Simone fall on beam and are unlikely to make finals, and only then should they put in Kara as the anchor. Otherwise, McCallum anchors beam and has a shot at the AA.

  15. Y’all are crazy. Grace is fine, but you’d rather see her beam routine than Kara’s?!

    1. yeah because if the judges judge like last year, Kara will not be even making the final..

  16. Kara deserves to be in the beam lineup. She has the 2nd highest beam score this year, right behind Biles. She is beautiful when she hits and I think it is the right choice.

  17. I just wish Grace had a chance for the AA but she already has had 2 big wins this year, Pac Rims and Pan American Championships. She is a new senior and I hope to see more upgrades from her in the future. Do you think she will do 2 vaults and try to get into the Vault finals? I think she has a shot.

  18. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the TF lineups should be:

    VT – Hurd, McCallum, Biles (McCusker)
    UB – Hurd, Biles, McCusker (McCallum)
    BB – Hurd, Eaker, Biles (McCusker) [could switch Hurd and McCusker]
    FX – Hurd, McCallum, Biles (McCusker)

    Morgan looked great – confident and aggressive across all events. I’m really pulling for her to take that second AA spot with her new BFF Simone (loving that so much!). But Riley also looked lovely, especially on UB and BB. It’ll be close. Grace also seemed to be sharp and composed, as usual, but I wouldn’t have her in the AA in quals over any of the other three.

    Kara looked very nervous to me. She settled well on beam in the end, but she seemed to be the most tense out of the presumed five team members. I just wanted to give her a hug. Let’s hope she smashes it in quals like she did at camp. Ragan also looked tense and rather withdrawn, though her routines have improved a lot. Not sure if she’s in pain or just bummed to be in the alternate position.

    Overall, the team looks strong and ready to win, though you can tell that the US really would have liked to have Jade Carey… they miss her on vault especially. So weird to see a US team with only one power gymnast (Simone) rather than two!

    1. that’s the careys problem to deal with…. they shouldn’t have tried to do the events worlds cup… given usag will only send her to 3, she’s gonna have to be perfect with both an amanar and cheng to get it……. she will also do well on fx but it’s not a guarantee either. overall, i think it’s a bad decision…

      she should have been here in doha… the team could use her

  19. The only reason I could think of for Grace doing bars over Morgan in TF is if Morgan is sick or injured in some way and they are wanting to rest her. Bars has been an extremely consistent event for her her entire senior career and Grace does not have that same consistency yet.

    1. I’m sure Morgan will do bars in TF. She’s probably only leading off because they want someone experienced to start the event, and the whole competition off, for the U.S.

  20. This is the first year the US is not going to count an Amanar since…2010? Certainly the first year we haven’t counted two vaults higher than a DTY since 2010. Very ominous…

    1. It should be the first year we’ve ever counted a Cheng or a Biles in a team score though(depending on which one Simone does)! And both are worth more than the Amanar.
      Think about it this way. If Simone does “The Biles” and Morgan does a DTY, their total Start Values will be more than if 2 gymnasts did Amanars. The Amanar is worth 5.8, so 2 Amanars are worth 11.6. “The Biles” is worth 6.4 and a DTY is worth 5.4, so the total Start Value of those two vaults is 11.8.
      In other words, thanks to Biles, the USA will have a higher D-score on vault than before, even though everyone else is only doing DTYs.

      1. So you’re saying Simone Biles basically owns USAG. Why not decertify USAG and start the Simone Biles Gymnastics Association for USA gymnasts. 🙂

      2. Think about the Amanars we had last quad. Skinner had one but she wasn’t consistent on it. She usually downgraded to a DTY. (Technically we didn’t have 2 Amanars in 2014 either since Skinner didn’t do hers. She did her Cheng). Maggie and Aly had an Amanar but their form was pretty ragged. Aly got a couple decent ones in by the Olympics but it took her until then. That’s all I can remember. 3 non-Simone Amanars and none of them that great. Today’s vaulters aren’t too bad compared to last quad. Now the 2012 team did have an exceptional vault performance but that’s what it was- the Exception. Gabby cleaned hers up and Maroney and Wieber had 2 of the best, prettiest, cleanest Amanars ever. But they were special (Maroney obv. on a different level from any). That doesn’t come around all the time. It’s still early in the quad. I’d wait until 2020 and see what we have then. Some of the gymnasts may have one by then.

    2. Ominous…?
      If you think the US is getting worse relative to the rest of the international field based on vault you are looking at some VERY selective data (and IMO misinterpreting it.)
      I hope you’re right though, I’d love to see a closer competition in team finals and I dearly hope that Russia, Japan and China all hit to their highest ability to put (a little) pressure on the US.

    3. I think the decrease in the value of an Amanar has probably been a part of this. If I recall correctly, for the 2008 and 2012 quad, it had a .7 difficulty advantage over a DTY. For 2016 it decreased to .5. Now it’s only .4. The odds of a gymnast being better off competing a cleaner, more consistent DTY with less chance of injury rather than upgrading to an Amanar are increasing. And it’s less of an obvious choice for where to devote the time and energy into upgrading when a gymnasts’s complete program is considered,

    4. Well, the best US vaulter other than Simone, Jade Carey, isn’t at Worlds. If she were we’d likely have an Amanar to go with Simone’s Cheng. She and Simone would have been an amazing 1-2 punch to have on the power events mid-quad…

      I’m not worried at all about vault. It’s true that the pool of Amanar-ers was shallow this year, but there are several up-and-comers – Shilese Jones’ coach has already said that they will be training an Amanar for next year, which I’m sure she will perform beautifully, and Leanne Wong already has one, she just hasn’t competed it yet (you can watch it on Instagram). Those are just two off the top of my head… I have no doubt we will be seeing more, especially from the top AAers as we get closer to the Olympics.

  21. To whoever said Biles should just do the Cheng in qualification… that makes no sense. She could fall on both vaults in quals and still make vault finals. She NEEDS to do the Biles in quals and go for that risk because it won’t hurt her in quals if she falls–she’ll still make AA and VT finals. If anything, she should stop going for the Biles as soon she lands it bc she’s guaranteed gold every time she does her Cheng through the rest of the competition.

      1. I wonder if that will help bring back touch warm up for EF. 🙂

        I like this world where Simone gets to stand up for sane decisions that benefit the gymnasts and actually have enough sway to make some of them happen.

  22. Wouldn’t the US want to make sure their bases are covered in the event that (knock wood this doesn’t happen) one of their top AA-ers gets injured after competing in quals? Say something happened to Simone (again, biting tongue) … wouldn’t it be safer to have Ragan in the mix instead of Kara, since Ragan can lend solid scores to any event? Especially since the US is equally likely to get two into the beam EF no matter who competes?

    1. I think the reason Ragan is the alternate instead of Kara is that the US has a “built-in alternate” on the team already – Grace. As we saw in PT today, Grace can go up anywhere and hit a competitive routine. If, hypothetically, Simone were hurt and couldn’t do all her events, I assume Grace would just step up and fill that spot (or Riley, depending on the apparatus). So, while Ragan is wonderful, adding her to the team feels a bit redundant. That leaves an extra spot open for a specialist, and at the moment Kara is the best specialist the US has. That’s why she made the team!

      1. All true! It’s just that in such a case, the team would really be relying on three solid hits from Morgan, Riley, and Grace. Which isn’t a bad bet, actually, but things do happen. I guess the US is not really in danger of being dethroned unless things go horribly wrong. If something happened to one of the floor or bars lineup, though, I’d think it would be a better bet to have Ragan in the lineup than Kara?

        (Don’t get me wrong — I am actually thrilled that Kara got to go to Doha! And that Ragan got to go to Doha! Lol. I hereby vote for five-up-four-count.)

      2. I agree, let’s do 5-up 4-count! Basically, there should just be more spots on the team. The problem for the US is that there are always more athletes who deserve to go than there are spots available!

  23. Yep I 2nd that… best time for biles vt is qual…. its the time with the lowest risk if she falls… I mean there is no 100% guarantee in vt…. see maroney…. but the best time is obviously qual since even a failed biles wont change anything. ..

    1. Seeing how tom thought out about the whole event cup rules, I fully expect that they thought about this already….and will have the biles done in qual…. you dont want to do the biles for the first time in tf or aa or ef

    1. but she will change it again to whatever she feels like in the mid of the routine again!lol

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