The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Classic Podium Training

Podium training has concluded for the senior women, so now it’s important (highly important, most important, national security) to break down what we saw and the prospective D scores emerging from all of that seeing.

The Simone

So yeah, Simone did floor. The Biles + layout was there (easy). The triple double was there (and she had too much power for it). A DLO 1/1 + split jump was there. We need to talk about that and what Simone’s floor composition might potentially be this year.

If you add in those upgrades to last year’s routine, we end up with something like this as a very baseline composition option (with comparison to last year included).

Simone Biles – Floor
2019 2018
Triple double – I (presumably) Double double layout – I
Biles + Front layout – G + B = 0.2 CV Biles + Stag – G + A = 0.1 CV
Switch leap – B Switch leap – B
Split leap 1.5 – D Split leap 1.5 – D
Double layout 1/1 + Split jump – H + A = 0.1 CV Front full through to full-in – C + E = 0.2 CV
Wolf turn double – D Wolf turn double – D
Switch leap 1/1 – D Switch leap 1/1 – D
Double-twisting double tuck – H Double-twisting double tuck – H
CR – 2.0 CR – 2.0
Acro – IHHGB – 3.4 Acro – IHGEC – 3.2
Dance – DDD – 1.2 Dance – DDD – 1.2
CV – 0.3 CV – 0.3
Total D – 6.9
Total D – 6.7

Now, the idea of Simone counting a B element on floor is…come on. It’s Simone. She could add in any number of C dance elements at minimum to get to 7.0—or we could see even more, like the front full from last year coming back, connected to a double double to get her up to 7.2. There’s been no indication that she’s doing that, but…she could.

I’ve just assumed that the triple double will be an I-rated skill because the WTC never gone higher than that and it seems to fit in the logical progression of how other elements have risen in value (DLO 2/1 being worth 0.1 more than the DLO 1/1), but you can certainly justify inventing the concept of a J element for this skill. Because triple double.

We also saw a not-full-difficulty beam set from Simone that did not include That Damn Barani (chorus of angels) or a front pike, so that composition will be interesting to watch tomorrow as well. It’s PT.

Other Notes

Hurd: The beam upgrades from Morgan Hurd were fascinating, as we saw a back full + split jump + sissone as well as the aerial + split ring combination that she attempted at the Tokyo WC but didn’t get.  If she gets those combinations, that would give her a minimum 0.3 upgrade over the 5.7 routine she attempted at Tokyo. Morgan is coming for your 14s on beam.

Skinner: We were eager to see what Skinner would bring out to play, and it’s a lot. I saw her attempt 4 Amanars in the PT rotation, hitting 2 and putting her hand down on 2. The 4th one was the best one. The other three had stumbles that would take away any advantage from doing that instead of a DTY. The Moors is also back on floor. On bars, Skinner attempted all of the difficulty. All of it. Adding back elite elements on bars has, as expected, immediately brought back some of the form issues that were gradually resolved at Utah (Tom Farden’s like, “My masterpiece! It’s ruined!”), but she’s going all out with composition, including I believe a double double dismount.

Thomas: Trinity Thomas is doing a switch side to split 1/2 to straddle 1/2 on beam. End of lesson. No one else is allowed to do it. She’s planning to do only bars and beam here, though we did see her work some passes on floor. Bars was a struggle in terms of getting through her Weiler 1/2 at the beginning, but it looks like she’s planning to retain her opening series from her 2018 routine, or something close to it.

Bars was overall…VERY podium training. For a LOT of people.

Carey: I saw Carey hit her Bhardwaj a couple times but looked to struggle on the subsequent Shap 1/2 each time I saw it. Also, you guys. Jade Carey is trying to connect a Bahrdwaj to a Shap 1/2. Jade Carey. On bars. She and Skinner are just like, “Bars isn’t our thing, so let’s make up for it with a 94 D score.”

I saw one missed Amanar from Carey but didn’t see a lot of her vault attempts.

McCallum: McCallum was working the Downie quite a bit on bars (saw a couple falls there), though we didn’t see all the potential social media upgrades thrown in. There was one moment when she missed a hand on her Pak and did an inadvertent hip-circle (more like rib circle) dismount like it was 1977, which was hilarious because she’s fine.

Lee: Sunisa Lee looks like she is changing around bars a little bit. She did not attempt the Nabieva to Bhardwaj, but she did add in a giant 1.5 to piked Jaeger for some olde-tyme realness. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a giant 1.5 from anyone because of fear of those past-vertical deductions, but if she keeps doing it the way she did on her final attempt here…

Some acro challenges for the GAGE gymnasts stood out, with Wong missing a piked double Arabian on floor, which she attempted in her actual run through—when most people just elect to do dance-throughs and warm up their tumbling separately. Beam was a dream, obviously, the highlight rotation of the day for GAGE.

McCuscker: She looked quite nice on bars and beam, and her bars dismount was the least terrifying I’ve seen it look in a podium training session in…ever. She usually goes through several couples-therapy sessions with it throughout the day, but not this time.

Faith Torrez looked tremendous on beam. We saw her attempt a couple DLO 1/1s on floor, and it didn’t look ready. The regular DLO was great an American Classic.

I saw no sign of Emma Malabuyo, so…

And…Malabuyo is off the start list on the myusagym page.


I’ll update this post throughout the day as I go back through more of the developments once the archive of PT is uploaded, or individual videos are uploaded so I can be like, “OK, this is the D score…”

Or, I won’t update because I won’t be able to rewatch PT routines beyond my initial notes because YouTube is blocking the replay of podium training. LOL. Oh USAG. When you’re not being the Bowser of gymnastics, you are the Charlie Brown.

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