The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

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.


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