US Nationals Podium Training

Simone’s Upgrades

OK, so we have to talk about this little nobody and her boring gymnastics. At the very end of podium training today, Biles busted out a double double beam dismount (she did it twice, actually). Which is kind of a big deal.

But this is a website for nerds, so we can skip past all the “WOW. LEGEND. HOW. NOT HUMAN” (yes, yes, we know) and get right to the fun stuff: D-scores. It’s going to be interesting to see how this element is evaluated because we don’t truly have a gauge for its rating since no beam skill has ever received more than a G before. And the full-in is already a G.

Only on floor has the WTC previously broken out of the G-cap and rated elements higher than that, adding H and I skills. It would seem that Simone is forcing them to break out of this mold on beam as well since it would be crazy to artificially cap this element at G.

But how much breaking out of the mold will happen? My instinct is that they might only be willing to go to H at this point, but you can certainly justify higher. The full-in beam dismount is worth three tenths more than the double tuck dismount. On floor, the double double tucked is worth three tenths more than the full twist. So basically, the code’s own precedent says that this dismount should be a J element (which has never happened before on any event), but when has the code ever cared about its own precedent?

We’ll just have to wait and see what these D scores look like. Even before submitting a skill for naming at worlds, you submit it for a provisional rating so that the judges at a competition like nationals are on the same page and know what to do with it.

“And, frankly, if you had asked me 10 years ago if it was even POSSIBLE for a HUMAN BEING to do this on a balance beam, I would have said NO WAY.” – Tim Daggett, two days from now. Mark it down.

Meanwhile, Simone also included the triple double as her opening floor pass (actually in the routine itself this time, not separate), which totally got overshadowed because we had already seen her do that skill at Classic podium training, so yawn.

The pass arrangement in her Nationals PT routine went as follows, compared to her US Classic routine:

Simone Biles – Floor
US Nationals PT
US Classic
Triple double –
I (presumably)
Double layout full + Split jump
H + A – 0.1 CV
Double layout 1/2 + Stag jump – G + A – 0.1 CV Double layout 1/2 + Front layout – G + B – 0.2 CV
Switch leap full – D Switch leap full – D
Wolf turn double – D Wolf turn double – D
Front full through to full-twisting double tuck
C + E – 0.2 CV
Front full through to full-twisting double tuck
C + E – 0.2 CV
Switch leap – B Switch leap – B
Split leap 1.5 – D Split leap 1.5 – D
Double-twisting double tuck – H Double double tucked – H
CR – 2.0 CR – 2.0
Acro – IHGEC – 3.2 Acro – HHGEC – 3.1
Dance – DDD – 1.2 Dance – DDD – 1.2
CV – 0.3 CV – 0.5
Total D – 6.7
Total D – 6.8

She did a stag out of the Biles in podium training instead of the front layout, which would put her a tenth lower than her Classic routine, but that may also just be a placeholder. With the layout back in, she’d be at the same value as her Classic routine.

That Damn Barani was still gone from her beam routine. HOORAY!

You mean there were other people there?

  • We saw Jade Carey training both the Cheng and the Amanar, and hitting each at least once (she also over-rotated an Amanar at one point and fell forward on it). USAG uploaded video of her doing a Lopez as her second vault, but that was basically a timer that she followed with a Cheng. You kind of worry that they don’t have anyone left at USAG who can name a skill. They also uploaded Finnegan’s Omelianchik as her sole vault, but she did DTYs as well. You know, the main one.
  • Carey also added back the front tuck through to full-in as her final pass. She did it with a double tuck instead at Classic.
  • Skinner did not train Amanars. We saw her vaulting Chengs and DTYs. She actually struggled more with the DTY than the Cheng in terms of landing, though the form on the DTY is better than the Cheng. On floor, it looks like she’s planning to finish with a 2.5 now instead of the 1.5 through to something that we saw her start to attempt at Classic.
  • Morgan Hurd added the double double tucked back to her floor passes, so it looks like the intent is to go back to her 2018 worlds composition, which was a 5.5 routine. She got 5.1 at Classic and 5.2 at Pan Ams, so this is the kind of upgrade we’re looking for. She did not attempt to connect jumps out of her back full this time, so I guess Daggett wins.
  • Leanne Wong’s status on vault and floor was a question after she didn’t do them at Pan Ams, but her DTY looked as clean as usual and she was hitting her Dos Santos to stag on floor. I did not see the 3.5, but it may have been there.
  • Sunisa Lee did train the all-around. Early in the vault rotation she was really struggling with her DTY, but her last couple were hit a little bit more comfortably.
  • Grace McCallum is trying to connect a straddle jump 1/2 from side position into straight jump 1/1 from side position.


43 thoughts on “US Nationals Podium Training”

  1. Also, from what I caught (admittedly very little), looked like Riley was struggling on her bars dismount. Hope she’s getting those messy ones out of her system.

    Is Skinner doing bars? I saw her practicing, but wasn’t sure if she qualified given she did not do UB at Classics.

    1. Honestly do you think any of that had to do with her Leo? It just seemed to be very ill fitting. We all know comfort while competing can be a game changer!

      1. I am asking myself who allowed Riley to wear that leo. I mean don’t get me wrong I love her gymnastics and that leo is absolutely stunning, but since she needs to pull it up after each of her routines it doesn’t seem to be very comfortable. Still waiting what MG Elite will be wearing after the new leotard-rule is applied next year…

  2. I’m surprised Skinner is struggling with her DTY, seeing as she’s had a flawless hit record with it through 3 NCAA seasons. Must be nerves?

    1. I’d say it’s endurance remember her NCAA routines are far easier than these and she’s been putting in a lot more hours of training. I’ll give her props though but it’s too bad her skill set is the same as jade and Simone

    2. I’d bet that trying to get that Amanar back has messed with her technique and mental game some. Some days in gymnastics you just can’t do anything for whatever reason.

  3. The world is ending!!! How in the hell can a Simone routine with a freaking triple double have a D-score LOWER that that at Classics!? Give it a freaking J value and ALL THE BONUS POINTS!!

  4. Unless Suni’s ankle is looking better, seems all the bar hype all these years from the gymternet, isn’t going to save her. She needs the AA to go well and not just bars.

    1. You’re right that Sunisa has, at this point, been overhyped by fans, but it’s so weird that you have to pop in on every single post and say so. Half the time she isn’t even being discussed.

    2. No one is saying that she is going to make Worlds with the gymnastics from Classics. Literally everyone agrees with you that she needs other events to go well to get assignments. It’s a fact of gymnastics that talent and physical health don’t always go hand in hand. We can still get excited over a cool routine of hers.

      1. I saw her do bars in person at Classic, and it honestly made me gasp it was so beautiful. Worth all the hype.

  5. One of Simone’s many gifts to gymnastics: Breaking the Code. The Code is really stupid in many ways (stating the obvious)… the foremost being that it may cap the difficulty gymnasts attempt. If the most difficult beam skills are rated a G, then it discourages anyone from raising the difficulty on G skills because there is no guarantee more points will be forthcoming.

    Thank goodness Simone doesn’t care about the Code and scores and such things. I think she’d do a triple double even if got her no points at this point. She’s way too good for the Code.

    1. There are a lot of issues with the Code and the way it values individual skills. The full-twisting double is appropriately valued at an E and the double layout is appropriately valued at an F. Each additional half-turn for each of these skills should award an extra 0.1 in difficulty, but there is no consistency to the way it’s applied. A double double should be 0.2 more (G) than a full-in/out and a triple double should be 0.2 more than that (I). A Chusovitina is appropriately valued at an H (0.2 more), but the Moors should be a J (0.2 more on top of that).

      It’s also fair to argue that an extreme number of half-twists or forward landings should get an extra difficulty boost. For example, it’s justified giving the triple double a J, the Biles an H, the back 3.5 a G, double Arabian piked a G, etc.

      The double double is the only skill on floor that I would argue is unequivocally overvalued. There are a number of skills however, some of which I mentioned above, that are undervalued.

  6. Has she said anything about her intent re the chuso vs. moors passed? I mean, the chuso looks SO lit esp with the jump but wow, Simone’s moors, you know?

    1. Wonder if eventually the plan will be to do the Biles to front layout and replace the layout full to full in but the Chuso-Split Jump?

  7. Guys is something wrong with me that I just cannot enjoy or get into Jade Careys gymnastics even though she does amazing skills very well? Can a Carey fan give me their perception of what they see, because maybe I am missing it?! Why am I just like – MEH? She is doing some of the hardest skills, done very well. And yet I feel this way?

    And I’m not talking about her dance etc. It’s the actual skills. Yet she does them well. But it’s like nothing is stylized. Ugh hard to explain. It’s all just standard well done border line. But nothing above that. No attention to the fine details. Yet they are super hard skills done well. But it’s like no style. Ugh. Cant explain.

    1. A lot of it is her feet and hands, sticking out like tags someone forgot to clip off a shirt. It ruins the experience of her otherwise amazing laid-out passes. You can’t enjoy them because you just want to reach in mid-air with a pair of scissors and clip them off.
      Watch just her last 2 passes and it’s easier to appreciate her skill- the great height and ease of them- because those last 2 passes are tucked so the foot and wrist form errors don’t jar so much against the brain.
      It’s really too bad someone can’t give her some arm choreography, because she spends almost the entire routine with both her arms held out straight 7 degrees above her shoulders. Because she’s not horribly messy in choreography at all. And she doesn’t need to do anything complicated or original in dance. She just needs someone to plan out some shapes for her.

      1. aah yes Jade’s floor choreo… I really wish someone would step in and give her some doable-for-her good-looking floor movements. She has improved so much over the last year and I just wish they’d step that part up!

    2. The issue is actually Simone. Jade’s tumbling is amazing difficult, has great amplitude and the form is actually not that bad. But she does the same exact skills as Simone whose gymnastics are much cleaner so the comparison is inevitable.

  8. They better rate the double-double beam dismount higher than an H. There’s so many downsides to the open-ended code. The one pure positive thing about it is that athletes are appropriately awarded for their different levels of difficulty. If they’re not going to rate the difficult skills accurately, we might as well go back to the time when athletes with FTYs won vault titles over good DTYs and Gogeans win beam over Kuis.

  9. I personally (from my couch lol) don’t think Simone should compete the double-double, at least not the first day. She prepped for her dismount for a loooooooong time in the posted routine. I’ve never seen her look the least bit physically nervous for any skill, so this gives me some pause. It was completed and landed safely and everything, but I really don’t think she’s mentally quite ready to throw it. Just me.

    1. In the other videos she was fine. Relax grandma 🙂 Its a double double off beam! I would wait a good minute during podium training myself. Release the pearls.

      1. She landed really short in the video I saw, so I will probably keep a tight grip on my metaphorical rosary. Still excited to see it in competition though.

    2. @Ally, I agree. I’d be (pleasantly) surprised to see her perform the double double off beam this weekend. As someone alluded to below, Simone expects her skills to be no less than perfect when she performs them, and in podium training she was coming up a little short. There probably is a mental component to that. I would expect to start seeing this at Worlds selection camp.

    3. I am split on this one. Part of me tends to agree with you in that, one thing I have always enjoyed with Simone’s gymnastics is how in control she always seemed. I found her to look a bit… tired in podium training (but could be the slow feed.) Then again, I would like to think that she would like to throw those skills at Nationals before throwing them at Worlds.

    1. i doubt it….lol… she just wanted to show it like once or twice. then on to the next things like double double on beam, triple double, maybe tty also?

      she knows that even her water down routine can win by multiple points. she doesn’t have any need to compete all the highest all together.

      Of all the hardest Biles moves so far, the triple double seems like the most sure thing? i think we will see the triple double stick around in more than just two routines.

    2. Simone does *not* like struggling, and that vault was a little unpredictable in Doha. My gut says she probably sticks with the Cheng/Amanar this year. What’s the point if it gives her grief?

    3. I hope she brings it bak for the Olympic AA. If she brings all her upgrades then, it would be even more of an unforgettable virtuoso performance than we saw in Rio.

  10. Simone Biles, the originator of the hardest rated skill on three different apparatuses.

  11. TRUTH: “And, frankly, if you had asked me 10 years ago if it was even POSSIBLE for a HUMAN BEING to do this on a balance beam, I would have said NO WAY.” – Tim Daggett, two days from now. Mark it down.

  12. Just a thought, but maybe if you did use pure AA standings to determine a team, athletes would learn to hit when it counted. It’s not a terrible procedure, it just doesn’t work when you have 3-up, 3-count and specialists to work into a puzzle. But the base concept of using the scores of the athletes that actually hit in a qualifying meet that has been named a qualifying meet is totally fine. It’s useful for your conscious and subconscious to learn you need to hit at a certain time on a certain day, and to get experience of what that feels like. Because you need to at the Olympics, on that day. Maybe there wouldn’t have been all these falls if the World team was decided by today.
    Other sports do it. They have qualifying meets and you have to hit on that day to advance. I mean, it’s not a wacky concept. It’s a quite fair one, I think.

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