The Scores: Post-Nationals Edition

Now that the US national championship has provided a lovely, juicy, delicious (can you tell I’m hungry) chunk of new numbers to bolster and clarify Spreadsheet Nation, let’s take a new look at the updated scoring hierarchy and what it could mean for potential worlds team selection.

First, the athletes are ranked by peak score recorded on each event so far in 2019, with the top 3 on each apparatus highlighted.

Using those numbers, the highest-scoring team in a 3-count scenario would be as follows:

That team would be “burn down the world” good on bars and beam, though I do think the peak scores somewhat misrepresent vault because this group of 5 is far from the strongest vault team the US could come up with. It would be perfectly reasonable for the US to object to heading into worlds with McCusker, Lee, and Eaker on the same team knowing that one of them would have to vault in the team final.

Now, you could counter that argument with “but the other events are so good they make up for it” or “they’re going to win the team final anyway, so why not maximize event medal possibilities” in support of this team of five. Your choice.

Basically, counting the McCusker vault is the only non-amazing part of that team (should everyone hit), and there’s no other permutation of gymnasts that comes very close at all to matching this peak team score.

What the peak team doesn’t take into account, of course, is consistency, so it doesn’t mind if you fall 80 times as long as you hit once and that hit was an amazing score.

This kind of best-case-score team approach is my preference for the US women specifically because they have so much leeway to count falls, but if that kind of potential risk isn’t your jam, may I instead interest you in the gymnasts arranged by average score on each event in 2019, with once again the top 3 on each apparatus highlighted.

I’ll be spending much more more time on this one, because if you value average instead of peak for team selection, things get a lot more complicated and interesting.

Compared to the peak-score group, the top 7 remain the top 7, but only Simone remains in the same spot on the list. That’s why I feel pretty comfortable saying that a compelling group of 8 gymnasts has separated itself from the pack, that group being the top 7 in these breakdowns—Biles, McCallum, Lee, Wong, McCusker, Hurd, Eaker—along with Jade Carey.

If the US women were constrained to the same standards as the US men and able to bring only 8 athletes to selection, those are the 8 I would have chosen (with Chiles, Skinner, and Thomas as the next-closest replacement athletes).

If you try to narrow things down beyond that 8, however, we’re talking about margins of a tenth here and there, especially when it comes to the last couple spots. Still, the highest-scoring team in a 3-count scenario using average scores would be this one:

Compared to the top-score team, the only change is Wong replacing McCusker, which highlights what will be a key dynamic when narrowing that 8 down to 5—peak ability versus consistency. We have seen McCusker miss recently. Her bars average is no longer compellingly high, and when she doesn’t have a bars score to rely on, it undermines her team argument dramatically.

Instead, McCusker’s team argument is that when she hits, she’s easily on your best-scoring team for those bars and beam routines.

Wong, meanwhile, has displayed the ability to hover around 14 on both bars and beam throughout the year, with no bars scores lower than 13.750 and no beam scores lower than 13.650, which helps the average argument. But most critically, it’s the DTY score that gets her into this group of five, providing her a couple tenths over Hurd and more than half a point over McCusker. Especially on a potential team containing both Lee and Eaker, you really want a third high-scoring and reliable vault, and Wong’s DTY fits the bill.

A couple more interesting things going on with this potential team: 1) Kara Eaker is on it. We have seen Eaker fall on beam twice recently (Pan Ams AA, Day 1 Nationals), and yet her beam average for 2019 is still 14.600 and she’s still part of the highest-scoring US team in the average-score table exclusively because of that beam number. That’s a pretty good “worth the risk” argument, when your average beam score with two falls is still almost the highest in the country.

2) Grace McCallum’s average event scores put her 2nd overall among everyone—even after nationals night 1—yet she’s still not on the highest-scoring team because she can’t break in on any individual piece. Looking at that prospective team of five, there’s no place where you’d categorically say, “I’d rather have McCallum’s routine counting on this event.” McCallum has indicated that she wants to put the Amanar into her repertoire at selection camp, and she may need that to make an event argument.

McCallum would, however, benefit from any all-around-standings-based method of team selection, as we see from her 2nd-place position on the average-score table and her performance on night 2 of nationals. If you’re just going down the list, naming five people, and heading out to lunch, she’s probably on the list.

Hurd is in a slightly different position from McCallum because she does have the #1 position on bars by average, which is a useful individual event argument. It makes her essentially interchangeable with Wong in terms of overall team total (the team above with Wong in it goes 174.272, while a team with Hurd replacing Wong goes 174.204—so it’s basically the same).

In other ways, Hurd’s position is similar to McCallum’s in that she doesn’t currently have the numbers to get into that peak-score team of five because she can’t use bars to break in among Lee, McCusker, and Biles. That means Hurd is going to have to make her worlds team argument on all-around placement and consistency shown at selection camp.

Also some notes on Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee, who appear in both the peak-score team and the average-score team, which makes them start to look like very convincing choices.

If we focus affairs solely on the average score chart, the best team you could come up with that doesn’t include Jade Carey would have Grace McCallum in her place and would be at 173.707, five tenths lower than the peak team. No non-Jade Carey team breaks the 174 barrier at all. So yes, you can come up with a very reasonable worlds team that doesn’t include Carey—that has Biles, McCallum, Wong on vault and Biles, Lee, McCallum on floor—but it noticeably doesn’t score as well.

Going through the same process with Sunisa Lee, you can get closer to the peak team score for a group without her—Biles, Carey, McCallum, Hurd, Eaker would be at 174.048, just about two tenths away—but once again, options with Lee in them score a little better.

The other argument in Lee’s favor is that she gets a spot on average-score team even though her current bars average understates her usefulness there by including that 11.650 from American Classic. Overall, Lee is 5 for 6 on bars this year and in a similar situation to Kara Eaker on beam where, even with a bad number factored into average, she’s still part of the most useful team there. Having also gone 5 for 6 on beam this year and having scored no lower than 13.950 on floor, the breadth of Lee’s team contribution argument is quite compelling.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering about the other athletes I haven’t mentioned as part of the core 8, the best average-score team that includes any of them would have Jordan Chiles on it and would be at 173.837, so not quite there with all the various Hurd, McCusker, McCallum, Wong options in the 174s, but not abysmally far away.

So, what have we learned?

We’ve learned that many and various team compositions of about 8 gymnasts all make fairly logical sense, and much of ultimate selection depends on what qualities are valued. If peak possible score is valued, you have what honestly looks (right now) to be a clear team of five—the one from the first table. You look at that team and say, “Well you can’t afford to be without McCusker’s bars and beam, or Lee’s bars, or Eaker’s beam, so duh, this is the team.”

But I don’t think that is what’s valued right now.

Based on all of our observational experiences over the last year, it seems like all-around standings at selection camp are going to be considered far more significant than who has shown the ability to score a 15 at some point in the year. And if that’s the case, it bodes well for athletes like Hurd and McCallum, who appear in neither of the best-scoring teams above currently but can absolutely finish 2nd AA among this collective on any given day. And for Hurd, that given day is usually selection camp—if the last two years are any indication.

When going by average, then your second most necessary gymnast for the worlds team (behind Biles, obviously) is not going to be Riley McCusker, which is what it would seem like if you were going by peak score. Instead, it’s going to be Jade Carey, the only thing getting in her way being a potential too-heavy reliance on all-around finish. It’s unusual to consider a 2-event-contributing gymnast the 2nd most necessary member of the team, but no one else is replicating those vault and floor scores, and certainly not with the same consistency.

After Carey, average tells us that it’s Lee and Eaker as the next most necessary athletes, but teams with them are so close to teams with McCusker, Hurd, McCallum, and Wong in place of them that it’s acceptable to say, “INCONCLUSIVE RESULTS!” and determine that selection camp is the tiebreaker, using the best-scoring team—note “best-scoring team” is not the same as “all-around standings”—from that event to decide the worlds five.

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143 thoughts on “The Scores: Post-Nationals Edition”

  1. Sunisa Lee’s vault when she is healthy is going to be strong. Hopefully she will heal and peak for world’s but the goal will obviously be for peaking for Tokyo

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    1. Sunisa Lee looks like she is capable of scoring the closest to Simone then anyone else in the US or the World has in the last six years (when she’s healthy). I’m not saying Lee could beat Simone but she might be able to make the AA more competitive then recently and force Simone to break a sweat for the title. 🙂

      I would take Lee over Eaker to the 2019 Worlds since she has three strong events and the possibility of an upgraded vault. Plus she could use the added international experience before the Olympics.

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    2. What makes you say this? I might have forgotten something, but I’ve never seen any competition vaults from Lee that looked very strong or promising.

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    3. in my opinion the team will be simone, suni, hurd, carey, (these 4 are the locks), leanne/kara (leanne upgrades to amanar and cleans her floor) or kara hits and improves her beam. Leanne, Kara, Grace are competing for the same spot, they put up fairly similar aa scores, who has the most medal potential is the question. Kara makes a strong case but we need her consistency to be proved, leanne could challenge for the 2nd UB spot but i dont know where she could upgrade and morgi puts up near identical scores with room for plenty upgrades. grace has been talking about these upgrades for a while (will she be consistent with them is the question) she has similiar difficulty to leanne and far worse execution. Grace has no medal worthy event even with the upgrades so has the weakest case for the team but strongest for a reliable alternate. It also depends on Tom’s willingness to take Jade since she has secured a spot at Tokyo/

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    1. If Tom just go strictly by AA score, jade probably won’t make it unless a lot of people falls a lot of time during selection. but i have a feeling they will include her to clinch the two silver medals anyway.

      So the answer is no. carey going for individual spot won’t be a factor for 2019 worlds.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes to all of this! The “elite 8” (lol) are really the only ones with a real chance to make it onto the team. After Simone, you can really argue anyone else on or off the team, its just that close.

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  3. Well Tom did go with the highest scoring team last year I think. Ragan placed 5th and Kara placed 6th, but he took Kara instead. Morgan placed 4th last year at selection, which wasn’t a big deal then, but she’ll probably want to place higher this year to secure her spot.

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  4. I think Kara will also make it again. Her beam score and potentials for a possible medal with a hit is just too much to leave back home since there’s not really anyone else to replace her for another event medal.

    So to maximize your medals, your 3 three must have is biles, eaker, carey. then you just need 2 more great AAers (when does US not ever have 3 AAers?). and that’s the team that would got everything covered.

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  5. I maintain that Kara Eaker doesn’t really have a place on a prudent worlds team. One TF-able event, having her and Sunisa on the same team probably forces the team to use a weaker DTY in TF, Simone can just as easily win the EF beam gold and then other Americans can contend for a second beam medal, Kara has not been consistent with her routine which might not matter for TF but matters for EF – I’d rather have a better team player.

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      1. In that team, though, Leanne/Grace has to do UB in TF, which loses the team tenths compared to having Riley or Morgan. I just would never be able to put all my eggs in the basket of Kara’s extra beam tenths, specially with the danger of losing them to worlds judges. Now, if that hasn’t happened yet I don’t think it ever will, but the downgrades on all three of her rings are there to be applied, as well as more deductions on all the elements that don’t even count. If her routine was more smartly constructed I’d be more comfortable with her on the team for just one event. Counting on the kindness of the judges is dangerous.

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  6. There is nothing Kara can do that Simone, Riley or Sunisa couldn’t do. Any one of them could win gold on beam. Giving Kara a spot takes away a chance to see how someone else could do at worlds or for Morgan to redeem herself. Plus Morgan has the new spot on an Olympic Channel reality show so they’ve basically endorsed her and I think that adds pressure to have her on the team.

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    1. if they actually put morgan on a team because of olympic channel pressure……. (she can 100% be on this team and i wouldnt be surprised either way, but there are a ton of teams that do well without her, especially with 3 people pushing for spots who werent on the team last year).

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    2. lol… so are we saying morgan has the potential to become like gabby douglas of last quad? i mean i do see a little similarity in their scoring, etc. Obviously the persona is far from the same but as far as the scoring and trend does have some resemblance?

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      1. I‘d be surprised… Hurd was so underscored (on execution) relative to other gymnasts at both classic and nationals that I felt someone was either protecting themselves against having to take her or sending a message to her that she would not make the team with low difficulty routines not matter how clean.

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      2. Douglas was a whole other level of “lock for the team for non-performance reasons”. A web series pales in comparison to multiple sponsors, reigning Olympic champion status, a relentless stage mom, and a USAG CEO possibly getting a cut of your earnings.

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      3. I was going to comment the same thing!! Of course not to the degree of Gabby’s endorsements or anything but I could see Morgan being piked over Wong or McCallum because of PR reasons. And it is so close that you could justify it either way.

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    3. They’re not going to leave Kara off the team to give someone else a chance and definitely not so Morgan can redeem herself (I’m not even sure what she’s supposed to be getting redemption for.) What Kara brings is a score none of the others can match. You can definitely make an argument that they don’t need that score and that routine’s too risky, but whoever gets that spot, it will be based on the gymnastics that athlete has done this summer (and fall once we get to selection camp.)

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      1. Kara’s beam score really isn’t that important of a number in the team final and there’s other girls who could win gold on beam.
        Morgan redeeming herself would obviously mean proving she’s capable of handling the pressure when she’s on major world stages being worthy of an Olympic spot. Not that hard to understand.

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      2. I’m on the anti-Kara train right now… she hasn’t been hitting very reliably lately and she fell at worlds last year. She isn’t our only hope for a beam gold – she’s just the one with the highest D score. We don’t need to bring her to beat Simone, for example – Simone is also on our team. Seems unfair and unstrategic to rearrange an entire team for an event specialist so we can get (maaaaybe) one extra beam medal when we are about as likely to get the gold without Kara there.

        You could put her on FX in team finals but she’s definitely not in my top five choices there, again due to consistency.

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      3. “What Kara brings is a score none of the others can match.”

        But Simone can match it now – she has that 6.6 on beam and scored higher for her hit routine than Kara did at nationals. Plus Simone hits her routine more often.

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      4. so if you leave kara out, then you are counting on someone else that can also take another beam spot with potential to medal in beam? which person would that be aside from simone who’s already on the team?

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      5. “Morgan redeeming herself would obviously mean proving she’s capable of handling the pressure when she’s on major world stages being worthy of an Olympic spot. Not that hard to understand.”
        Morgan has already hit in major international competition pressure before, and if she hadn’t hit that would be a mark against her, not an argument to bring her. Her dependability is the reason she’ll be on the team if she makes it. We already know where she is. I’m still not really seeing the argument, or how redemption comes into it at all.

        Also, more generally, I’m not trying to argue that Kara is essential (in general, I think most people here have staked their flags too eagerly.) But the argument for her is clearly her high-scoring beam routine, and she has received high scores for it internationally. You can make an argument for or against that, the same as all the rest of the eight other than Simone.

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      6. You’re blind if you don’t see USA can easily go 1-2 in a beam final without Kara. And have you not seen Morgan the past few competitions? We know what she’s capable in the past but she does have some redeeming to do so people can put their trust in her again and rely on her. You seem quite silly in your statements. None of this is rocket science.

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      7. @WP seems absurd to build a team around one super high BB score that isn’t even the highest on the team. If Kara had a decent UB or VT or FX she’d be an obvious choice, but she doesn’t. And Lee or McCusker could both get into a beam final easily, McCallum too, and Hurd has actually been in one so… there’s plenty of backups.
        It might be an easier choice too if Kara was rock solid and never fell, but she isn’t.

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      8. “sunisa has an average of 14.1 from both days at nationals, enough for silver at last year’s worlds”

        How many times do people need to be told that you can’t compare scores across meets ESPECIALLY domestic versus national meets?!

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    4. Don’t you think it would make a great story for that Olympic channel series to have a gymnast shown that ultimately doesn’t make their national team for the Olympics??

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      1. It might be great “drama” to have her left off the team and have to fight harder for it as well. Either way the TV story would be good.

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      2. Sure.
        This is more a response to the people above, but guys, Morgan isn’t getting put on any teams in order to provide material for her tv show. One, modern USAG can’t get away with that anymore. Two, Morgan’s show is not a very big deal outside of gymnastics nerds. It’s not that influential.

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      1. Stranger things have happened in the sport of gymnastics than Riley hitting a beam routine in a beam final.

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    5. This is funny stuff. First of all, Kara’s beam is the only routine by anyone other than Simone, who can have a major error and still walk away with a medal. She’s also top 5 in AA and can offer more than just a beam routine.

      Either way, Morgan isn’t top 3 on any apparatus, nor AA so far this year. The good things I can say about Morgan is that she appears to be gaining ground overall with other AA’rs and is more consistent on UB than the 3 with superior routines, which only Sunisa and Simone have a small chance of medaling on at Worlds anyway. If Riley is out, then I’d suspect Grace would be next in line as a non-event medalist team support, potential AA’r, not Morgan.

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      1. No one said Morgan had to be AA or top 3 on any event. Someone going up first in a 3 up 3 count scoring system being consistent is sometimes more important than someone who can get higher scores here and there but isn’t consistent.

        And I don’t know why you’re staying so hard on Kara like her inconsistent beam routine is God’s gift to the world. She’s already proven she has no team spirit and poor sportsmanship. She’s not a USA gymnast.

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  7. I would be a fan of taking the highest scoring team based on an average of camp performances plus the best 2 scores the gymnast has received since June 1. I don’t think you can just go off one peak score but I also think you have to strike a balance between peak potential and consistency.

    To me the team should be Simone, Jade, Kara, and Sunisa. The fifth member should be whoever hits between Riley, Leanne, Morgan, and Grace. If Grace does get a reliable Amanar, she wins.

    Looking forward to the Olympics, I would put Simone, Jade, Sunisa, and Morgan/Grace/Leanne on the team. Again if Grace gets a reliable Amanar then she gets it. I would give Kara the specialist spot for her beam. I would send McKayla to the World Cup to take the vault spot Jade will forfeit, or I would just give up the spot. Jade is too important to the team score not to take.

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    1. you are making it too unecessarily complicated by having jade giving up her spot and skinner trying to take her spot. They are both about the same anyway. Right now jade scores higher than skinner in vt and fx but i am willing to bet you that skinner vt and fx will get to be as good as jade by 2020 if that is becomes true then if you really need someone with vt and fx in the 4 person team then just use skinner in that case since she has pretty much the same strength and weakness as jade anyway….

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      1. and honestly, jade probably won’t be able to make the 4 person team anyway since she doesn’t have a high AA score relative to others when they hit. Given how AA emphasized the 4 person team is (even tom has alluded to this), they are likely gonna select the top 4 AAers likely anyway (maybe top 5 or 6 if they can find the 5 or 6th persons that will have ub/bb and vt/fx complement) but they are not gonna go lower in AA scores than that..

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      2. Skinner as good as Carey on VT and FX ? I don’t think so. Skinner may have the difficulty, but her execution is nowhere near Carey’s level.

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      3. Why are you willing to bet that Skinner will bring her VT and FX up to Jade’s level? Skinner has had issues with both – the same execution issues – for her entire, long elite career. We saw relatively little improvement from Skinner on her E during 2012-2016, so why would you think she’s suddenly going to start fixing those flaws? Without fixing them, the only way she can catch up to Jade is to upgrade and that basically cannot happen on vault.

        I’d think it’s more likely that Jade will widen the gap between the two of them.

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    2. I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to state that the team “needs” either of Jade Carey’s scores in Tokyo – the women won by 9 points in Doha without her. No other nation is suddenly finding 5 points between now and 2020, let alone almost 10.

      I personally think that Jade made her bed as far as the Olympics is concerned by pursuing the Apparatus World Cups. Someone pointed this out somewhere, but I agree with them and wonder if all the talk from Tim during the broadcast was word vomit, or hinting at buyer’s remorse from Jade – maybe she (or her dad) have realized that the nominative individual spot guarantees a trip to the Olympics, but not necessarily a medal. The US are the heaviest of favorites for the team final obviously, but stellar hits from other gymnasts (US and others) could keep Jade off an EF podium altogether, and she could leave Tokyo empty-handed. That being said, I think she needs to decide if she wants to compete as an individual or be considered for the 4-person team – if the latter, then she should ‘be a team player’ and withdraw from the World Cup circuit so the US can compete for the 2 additional non-nominative spots, giving 2 additional US women a chance to represent their country and maximize the US medal potential.

      By all means, have her on the Worlds team for a “probable” vault silver (as I type this I’m realizing there’s Paseka, Olsen, Seo-jeong, etc.) and the floor silver isn’t a guarantee either – look at both the peak and average charts, Suni and Grace are within tenths of Jade’s floor scores (and Suni is way cleaner when she hits, actually moves to her floor music and is a joy to watch, which, like it or not, matters to international judges). Furthering this point, Murakami won’t be at Worlds and Sunisa outscores all of the 2018 floor finalists, including Morgan. Not to even mention bars potential…

      Anyways, I’m rambling, but the whole “Carey’s + Ted Stevens Act” thing left a sour taste in my mouth, as did USAG clearly writing their Apparatus Cup rules so ONLY Jade could do it. Pick a lane – Jade opted out of 2018 Worlds because of Olympic team qual rules, she should live with her choice.

      Last thing, it’s also waaaaaaay too early to be considering an Olympic team without factoring in 2020 new seniors, wild cards like Skinner who have a YEAR of training ahead, and importantly, injuries (which is ANOTHER reason the US should have avoided the Apparatus World Cup circuit like the plague!)

      Last thing (for real this time), I mean no ill will to “Anonymous” or any other commenter on the board – it is nice to have people to talk gymnastics to and share opinions, have a fantasy Worlds draft, etc.

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    3. If Jade decides to forfeit the spot before the options for a non-nominative spot, USAG will rejoice and pick up the two spots they can do whatever the heck they want with. They definitely have no attachment to a nominative spot. If Jade doesn’t decide to ditch the nominative spot before the non-nominative spots are awarded (and honestly, why would she?) then I would expect USAG’s position to be that they won’t choose her for the team.

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      1. @Mary, that is what I am thinking too re: Jade. The only reason I could possibly entertain for ditching a nominative spot just before it is awarded would be what I said above, the realization that a ‘guaranteed’ team gold and ‘one or two maybe medals’ are very different things. I also think that if they can handle a bit of negative press, USAG is perfectly within their right to disqualify Jade from Trials if you achieves a nominative spot, given that they paid for her to go to (at least) 3 Apparatus World Cups (negative press coming from the media and those who maybe don’t fully understand the whole qualifying situation).

        Thought experiment: say Jade withdraws from Apparatus WC BEFORE spots are awarded, meaning the US will earn 2x non-nominative spots… do you think USAG will feel indebted to Jade and/or compelled to send her to Tokyo (either on the team or in one of the two specialist spots)? At least with a non-nom, the US is protected from Jade (or anyone) busting an ankle 3 weeks before opening ceremonies, but if all is well she will likely still have a compelling case for a specialist spot.

        There is also the possibility, that with a year of training between now and Tokyo, Skinner could serve Carey’s role in a team situation (which would make qualifying for EF super interesting for Carey and Skinner!)

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      2. @Firebird, the FIG Olympic Qualification Rules do not foresee a possibility that a NOC could refuse a spot before it has been offered. Meaning, Carey may withdraw from upcoming World Cup competitions and the USOC may even request the FIG to not offer them the spot, should Carey win the spot with 85 points she already has, but there is no rule that allows FIG to accept such request. If they do, they risk to be taken to the Court of Arbitration of Sports by the NOCs of Canada and Brasil, as such out-of-rules decision by the FIG would mean that one of those countries would lose a non-nominative spot from 2020 Pan Ams, which can be considered legitimately theirs, should the US win, in addition to Carey’s spot, also one non-nominative spot from the AA World Cup (which they 99% will).
        There is no way a NOC can “play” with the spots in a manner maybe I want this or maybe I want that, because it affects other countries. The spots will be offered to you (and to all countries) when the rules say they will – after all qualifying competitions are over – and you can withdraw only after that, and then you will just lose the spots you are withdrawing from.
        You have already made your decision to go for nominative spot when you entered Carey and you cannot just re-think at the expense of other countries.
        The real life may be different though. The FIG has demonstrated that they make decisions however they like, but they have also had their decisions overruled by the CAS, the last time over the city of World Championships 2023 (iirc).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s a possibility i thought about too. But i think there is a high chance that FIG will respect jade’s decision to give up that spot if she does (for whatever unlikely crazy moments decides on that).

        It’s officially her spot with her name to it so she can do whatever she wants with it on paper. It’s not officially belong to USAG so there is no contesting about a federation screwing other federations out there on paper.

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    4. It looks like the major separating factor here in the Hurd/Wong/McCallum/McCusker group is who will ultimately be able to come up with a usable Amanar for Stuttgart and obviously Tokyo. Based on training video progress, Leanne and Grace appear to be the closest there and if either of them get it in time for camps, they’re locks for the Worlds team. Between the two, I am admittedly very biased in favor of Leanne—she is just so much more polished and clean than Grace, and I just do not understand how their E-scores are so comparable given Grace’s form issues (flexed feet, more labored movements etc.). Grace’s team has done a remarkable job working with the Code to maximize her potential, but I don’t find her gymnastics to be memorable or simply “pretty” in the same way I find Leanne’s work to be (Grace’s aerial cartwheel loso loso on beam in particular sticks out to me as a prime example of this).

      I like Riley’s gymnastics, but her inconsistency will continue to dog her and I’m not sure if there’s anything she can do about that at this stage (also there is no way she gets an Amanar any time soon). Morgan is clearly pacing herself for 2020, but she will need major upgrades to factor into a 4-person team.

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  8. I wish the “Morgan peaks at selection camp” myth would stop. Morgan had a really rough selection camp last year that had everyone really freaking out. She ended up fourth so it wasn’t an issue in terms of whether she would make the team or not but if she performs that way this year with Carey in the mix and Wong and Lee both senior, I think she is in a lot more trouble than she was last year.

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    1. I’m starting to worry we’re getting a bit of Gabby Douglas vibes from Morgan. I know many people are stanning her “peak later strategy” but peaking later also means you peak at (closed) camps vs public competitions. With so much attention on the athletes right now (hello fellow 100 commenters!), it would be better for Morgi to make a really solid case for herself a bit earlier in the season.
      I think she’s great, her floor is magic and she’s really well spoken and smart, so I’m 100% rooting for her!

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  9. Appreciate you putting that together.
    So Hurd = 7th AA if peak and 6th in average, isn’t on either team. People been giving me grief every time I say she has one of the weakest arguments for a world’s team when you look at the numbers. But, hey, she’ll peak seconds before team selection and magically get a spot, despite being least likely to medal on any event or AA in either scenario – Alohomora!

    I personally like the team setup on average scores, because it rewards consistent excellence and 3 members who weren’t in 2018 worlds, still netting the same amount of medal likeliness of the peak set up.

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    1. What Morgan has in her advantage is that on a team of girls who you want back ups for she can go anywhere. Every single one of her routines is TF worthy which no one but Simone can say right now.

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      1. Exactly. I think everyone taking a definite position on Morgan at this point is being premature. You can definitely argue that the team doesn’t NEED that kind of position this year, but it’s also hard to argue that that’s a bad reason to take someone. She’s very much in the group of eight who will be fighting for spots and that’s anyone’s game at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @L I argue that McCallum and Wong both have “TF Worthy routines” on all events and can score higher than Hurd. Wong is equally as consistent while McCallum has shown she can handle pressure. I mean, Kara Eaker made floor and all around finals over Morgan at Pan Ams. Her beam scores lower internationally (and I would argue is NOT team finals worthy- she went sub 13 even when she won worlds), her floor isn’t in the top 3 even with a hit, her vault has been off, and her bars ARE consistent.

        I don’t know how they’ll pick but if it comes down to a McCallum/Wong/Hurd debate, I’d probably pick Wong unless they really need a floor routine, in which case I’d pick McCallum.

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      3. “Every single one of her routines is TF worthy”. By that you mean, 1 routine is top 3 sometimes, never medal worthy, and somewhere between 4 and 7th on all the other routines? Yeah, USAG desperately needs that…

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    2. Sorry the Morgan fans (myself included) have been giving you grief. Unfortunately I agree that she’s got a lot tougher road to the Worlds team than the past two years.

      Despite the overblown claims about Morgan magically emerging from a cocoon with high D scores at selection camp, though, I still think it’s worth noting that if you only took scores from nationals, Morgan would be on the team, either taking day 1 or day 2. She actually has been improving steadily over the course of the year, while Kara, Grace and Riley’s averages have dropped.

      So I don’t think a season-long perspective on consistency makes sense for selecting the strongest possible Worlds team – I’d rather take someone whose late summer shows an upward trajectory than someone whose Classic scores are propping up their season average. Later meets should be weighted more heavily. For that reason, I think Morgan has about as much of a chance of making the team as any of the Grace/Riley/Leanne group. That’s still a tough crowd to beat, of course, but I don’t think she’s much weaker than her peers there.

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      1. Yup, I’m with you on this. I’m a big fan of Morgan’s, but assessing her chances is tricky because she typically performs better IRL than on paper. She never LOOKS like she should beat her competitors, but beat them she does. Frankly, her resume alone makes her a compelling option for the Worlds team, and IMO gives her an edge over other athletes who may score similarly in the AA but don’t have the same track record of international success.

        All that said, Morgan is definitely not a lock for the Worlds team, mainly because she lacks the D. She will need to upgrade at least a little bit at selection camp, and I think realistically she can work a couple more tenths into her FX routine and possibly BB.

        I’m sure she and Slava also have upgrades in mind for trials next year. No doubt they will be necessary. I imagine also they aren’t pushing too hard on the upgrades now in the interest of keeping her healthy – that is my worry for some of the others, Suni Lee in particular.

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      2. I can see why that makes sense. I just would take Wong’s beam and vault over Morgans floor and bars. But if we’re going to argue floor, then I’d take McCallum over Hurd any day.

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  10. If McCallum gets an Amanar then she’s a near lock for worlds and Tokyo. International judging is very lenient on the most difficult vaults and a decent Amanar or Cheng can easily get a 15 or higher. We saw Aly getting mid 9 execution scores on her Amanars at the Rio Olympics and I can see similar scoring creep happening again.

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    1. She has to stay healthy, too. I like McCallum’s DTY, but it is not very powerful or dynamic, so adding that extra 0.5 twist better be very solid to make sure she doesn’t injure herself.

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      1. I think McCallum does have a pretty powerful DTY, but I agree on the importance of staying healthy and that was reiterated on the broadcast this weekend that Jantzi didn’t want to see a repeat of what happened with Maggie go down with Grace. So it sounds like she is being extra cautious when it comes to keeping her healthy.

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      2. You can literally measure that McCallum gets significantly less distance on her DTY than Wong or Hurd, and similar height. It’s not a matter of opinion.

        Again it’s a good vault and I’d put it up in TF over Hurd any day, but no matter how much we like it, it’s a fact that she hasn’t have tons of space to fit in extra twists on that vault when she’s competed it. Glad to hear Jantzi is being careful. The training video I saw of McCallum’s Amanar looked much better than Nichols’s but it was a training video.

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      3. Yeah based on what we’ve seen and heard, it sounds like she’s being paced to avoid a Nichols-like injury. If anything though, I think she should work on bars too and make herself a little more valuable there. There’s connections you can see she’s going to be trying to connect in the next year. I’m a huge fan of hers but I know she has a hard road to a worlds spot this year. Olympics actually looks more hopeful for her because Jade most likely won’t take that floor/vault position and she can slot in with some upgrades.

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      1. i think we need to give him a little more credit. there are a lot of things we fans don’t know about behind the scene that are not as obvious.

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      2. I am making that comment based on his public statements like, “I was surprised to learn that dance elements are worth just as much as tumbling” at Junior Worlds. No shit, Sherlock.

        I don’t want a return to the days of abusive coaches leading the team. But I wish USAG could hire someone who is both strategic and not abusive. Any chance they could entice Chow back from China?

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      3. Not to be drastic but he’s been mostly dumb as a bag of hammers so far and it has already resulted in losses (they probably never had a chance at beating Russia at J-Worlds but losing the silver to China was too much for the level they could perform at). Team USA needs someone else quickly.

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  11. The whole Jade story was written last year. She’s not on the Tokyo team, regardless of who gets injured or how much more improved she becomes. It’s just boredom or fantasy to suggest otherwise.

    Simone, Sunisa and Kara are Worlds and Tokyo locks barring injury in my opinion and that’s been the obvious prediction since fall 2018. Leanne is highest on my list, then Riley, Grace, Morgan, Mykayla and Kayla as most likely to grab the last 2 remaining spaces for Tokyo – on the team or like Jade, off representing USA.

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    1. Except Jade’s story isn’t written yet. She hasn’t locked a nominative spot yet, and her coach/dad has been quoted multiple times saying the Apparatus WC is a ‘backup’ in case she doesn’t get named to the team. Until we get a statement from Tom/USAG that Jade is a) locked into her earned nominative spot (which won’t be till next year) and therefore b) is no longer in the running for Team Trials, I think her value as a 2-event specialist with passable UB/BB in an absolute emergency shouldn’t be overlooked. The irony with all of this is that I don’t think Jade or her dad thought she’d make the AA progress she has, back when they (presumably) fought to go the Apparatus WC route.

      Anyway, on to the “locks for Tokyo” not named Simone. I don’t think Kara Eaker is even a lock for Worlds, let alone the Olympic team (unless you meant in a specialist spot via the non-nominative). She is extremely inconsistent, and has demonstrated multiple times that she is unreliable when the chips are down, and given this track record and the nature of the 4-person team, I can’t see Tom bringing a one-event gymnast on the 4-person team. The fact that Trials qual rules are giving guaranteed spots to the top TWO AA (on a team of FOUR!), suggests that the other two team members must be at least 2-event gymnasts (if not also AA so the team is covered just in case).

      Kara is also not guaranteed a beam medal when the entire world is at the competition. You could easily get a believable podium from a group of Nina, Ana, Tingting, Sanne, Jin, Li Qi and Simone…

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      1. If that’s true, that is just breathtakingly obnoxious on Brian Carey’s part. I mean obviously he’d trade a sixth Olympic slot in favor of a guarantee for his kid, but he could at least pretend to be a team player.

        If Jade earns a nominative spot she should be disqualified from trying to make the team. Period. Full stop.

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      2. i am pretty sure usag won’t let their 6th spot go to waste. they are gonna make jade decides one way or another for sure before march/april 2020. And unless someone knows some other “rules”, there is not a “ted steven act” thing that will prevent usag from putting the hammer down on jade on this “back up” scheme.

        obviously, untimely injury is always a bitch and that can make usag loses the 6th spot if jade is injured and can’t compete after april 2020. But the most likely outcome of all of this is that carey will stick to her 2020 cup spot.

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      3. USAG is not going to guarantee Jade a spot prior to World Apparatus series events conclusion, not by a LONG SHOT. In what world do you think that would happen? And in what world do you think Jade won’t pursue it as backup without it? They’re also not going to let one she’s earned go to waste for a possible 1 or 2 point team score advantage with the massive lead team USA has on the rest of the world.

        If USAG has MyKayla go try to get qualified on Vault through the same route and advise Jade to not go to anymore, while hinting she’s got a spot on the team is the only insane scenario that plausibly would result in Jade getting on the team. Keep in mind, all the work and bad publicity towards USAG from Jade and her coach to circumvent the very favoritism they would then be giving her. Sorry, but no — pure fantasy.

        And Kara is as much in AA contention as any of the top 8 girls, but she is the only person not named Simone or Jade that is guaranteed a medal on an event outside of AA if she hits on beam. Sunisa has a good shot on UB, but it will be close with Belgium and China. So whether Kara’s on the team or in that 6th spot, she is solidly going, because USA sends athletes to gain as many medals possible, not pad cushions for gold medals already guaranteed.

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    1. I think Trinity has so much untapped talent and ability but I don’t really think it’s a priority for her? She really seems like an athlete who is competing because she can and because she loves it. She has turned down a camp for a potential assignment for PanAms so I’m not sure what her goals are. I think if she went full tilt, she’d be in the mix, but for some reason it doesn’t seem like she is.

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      1. Trinity has been extremely slow in upgrading routines and even then, is still leaving tons of potential D-score on the table. The result is beautiful, easy-looking gymnastics that she executes with consistency. At the same time, her potential is evident and it’s frustrating to see the hesitancy in upgrading. Things like her connection-destroying free hip circle after her Shaposh on bars, her reluctance to pull out H-level skills on floor, and her stagnant progression on vault are tough to watch.

        However, we all have to remember that she is still one of the best gymnasts in the world. Being in the middle of the US pack means you are among the very best. It’s possible that qualifying for and competing at the national championships was her aim and that anything beyond that is a bonus. She’s also preserved her health impressively well and always appears to enjoy herself at competitions.

        She also could be pacing herself for a major 2020 breakout where she unveils everything we’ve seen in training videos and more.

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  12. Will camp be streamed so all you annoying know it alls will see why they chose who and all your theories and thesis in the end -meant CACA POO POO! 🙂 Asking for a friend.

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    1. First of all, if it’s more than one, it’s ‘theses’. If you are going to call names and be snarky, I suggest you proofread.

      More important though, speculating this is fun and entertaining though! If you find it so annoying, why are you even here, other than to make garbage comments? If you just want to get Spencer’s takes and not enjoy the debates/conversations, then read his work and not the comments 🙂

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      1. @Firebird, I’m the anonymous at 7:12…I was directing my comment at the original poster, not you. I was agreeing with you…

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      2. To ‘Anonymous at 11:44a’… oops, my bad 😛 But it’s easy to see how that mistake could be made 😉

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    2. I think the know-it-alls are the probably the ones who can answer your question…may want to be less sarcastic when asking for help…

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  13. The third factor to consider for team-building, after AA and peak score, is the potential medal count, which doesn’t precisely correlate with peak scores because the rest of the field comes into play. Medal favorites among the “elite 8” are Simone (obviously), Carey (VT and FX), and Eaker (BB, though it depends on a hit and she’s less consistent than the other two). Lee is certainly also in contention for medals (AA, UB, prob also FX and B.B.), though we haven’t seen enough of her yet on the international stage to be sure. I’m leaving McCusker off the list because she is just so inconsistent.

    Given that Lee is also a crazy good AAer, I’d put her on my team for sure, and Carey has the resume on FX and VT to convince anyone that she is a strong medal prospect (her VT would also be very attractive for TF). So, assuming that everyone stays healthy and Suni repeats her Nationals performance at selection camp, those three – Biles, Lee, and Carey – are my strongest contenders for the Worlds team.

    That leaves you with two other spots to fill. I suspect Kara will get one because of that fab beam routine (her FX could also be used in a pinch), a real medal prospect. The final slot would I think be used to beef up TF scores. I think Morgan is an attractive option because she can contribute on UB, and also has demonstrated that she can win medals just about everywhere if given the opportunity (VT excepted). That said, Grace has similar AA scoring potential and can do just about any event (there’s also the promised Amanar to consider). I’d take them both and make one the alternate based on how they are performing in Stuttgart.

    Wong would be my third choice in that final spot; I just don’t think she’s quite as strong an AAer as McCallum and Hurd (yet), and her strengths are a bit redundant on a team of Biles, Carey, Lee, and Eaker – she brings the VT, but not the bars score that group wants (Morgan brings both, even if her VT is not quite as strong as Wong’s). As for McCusker, I’m kind of over her TBH – not that she isn’t lovely and talented and all those things, but you just can’t rely on her to consistently bring in the big scores. Unfortunately.

    Pending the results of selection camp, I’d probably go with a team of Biles, Lee, Carey, Eaker, and Hurd, with McCallum your alternate, and use the following lineups:

    VT: (Lee), Hurd, Carey, Biles
    UB: (Eaker?), Biles, Hurd, Lee
    BB: (Hurd), Lee, Eaker, Biles
    FX: (Hurd/Lee), Hurd/Lee, Carey, Biles

    For me, this team has the best balance of scoring potential, medal potential, and consistency.

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      1. I don’t think that’s true… Agree that she has shown some consistency issues but not to the same degree as McCusker. Also, Eaker’s hit beam brings in a higher score than McCusker’s beam or bars, always… She’s more of a medal contender see there than Riley is on either of those events. I think that unless she’s looking really shaky at camp she should go.

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      2. Riley in international competition:
        2017 American Cup – 2 falls
        2018 Worlds – fall in qual, hit TF
        2019 Birmingham World Cup – 2 falls
        2019 Pan Ams – hit in quals, falls in AA and EF

        Kara in international comp:
        2018 Worlds – hit in quals, TF, fall in EF
        2018 Pan Ams – hit quals, hit TF, hit EF
        2019 Gymnix – Hit AA, EF
        2019 Pan Ams – hit in TF, falls in AA, hit in EF

        So neither has been perfect. But Riley”s hit bars score can be replicated by Morgan, Leanne or Grace. Kara’s hit beam can’t be replicated by anyone but maybe Simone.

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    1. If you go for pure medal potential, your team is Biles, Carey, Eaker, Lee, McCusker, no question. Obviously, that’s not the only factor though, and you have a lot of overlap in AA/BB potential.

      I like the setup of Biles, Carey, Lee, Eaker/McCusker specialist, Hurd/McCallum/Wong solid AAer.

      Like

  14. Spencer I’m curious if taking median instead of mean changes the permutations at all? The average is an arbitrary number that the gymnasts may or may not have actually scored IRL so IMO a median gives a more realistic picture.

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  15. First, for worlds, I think she may be on the team (even though I dont know if I like it).

    But for the Olympics: We also have to remember she doesn’t have a perfect 90 on either vault or floor for world cups and USAG said they would only pay for her to go 3 times. She has an 85 of vault, which, yes she can easily get a 90, but I think Paseka can too and I don’t know if her scores are high enough to break that tie.

    She only has a 76 on floor (16,30,30) but I DO think this is how she can and should qualify. Even if Vanessa Ferrarri gets a 90 too, there is no way Jade wouldn’t beat her out on higher score differential.

    But she needs to compete again and USAG realistically can solve their own problem and should say “we’ll pay for you to go one or two more times but this is the route you are taking, so just know that you wont be part of selection for the 4 person team.” They need to back her 100% at this point, otherwise there’s that wishy washy chance of throwing another wrench in by her declining.

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    1. if tim’s words of mouth is true, it’s jade who’s wishy washy…lol…. i haven’t heard of anything about usag saying jade should be on the 4 person team….

      as far as paying for that 4th cup, it could go either way. but money for that trip is the furthest thing that’s a concern. The most pressing concern is that usag and jade and her dad needs to decide once and for all a definitive route well before march/april 2020. but i guess we won’t know until feb 2020 since that is her last one she decides to go to?

      jade and her dad knows fully well the pros and cons… and in this case, usag has every right to make them decide one way or the other without “looking” like usag is somehow at fault. There is no ted steven act kind of thing on this matter of decision..

      Jade just can’t have it both ways once march/april 2020 comes….

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      1. @WP Yeah I think I’m agreeing with you here? I meant Jade is the one being wishy washy and maybe by saying that if they’ll pay for her to guarantee the individual spot, they can have that conversation and have leverage.

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      2. even if usag refuses to pay for the 4th cup, she would still go by her own way I am willing to bet.

        if she doesn’t go to 4th cup because usag doesn’t pay: 1) small chance that both vt and fx are lost to someone else, then she would have to now directly compete to qualify hope to make one of the the non nominative non team spot (same position basically as now with uncertainty to even make it to tokyo added). As far as getting on the 4 person team, that’s a uphill battle. She just doesn’t have the ub/bb that will get her there unless a bunch of the other top AA falls. 2) doesn’t go but still win a 2020 spot (probably more likely) when march/april 2020 comes, then usag will just take her out of the equation for Trial all together. And there is nothing that she can sue usag for taking her out of the consideration for team at that time since she has already got a 2020 spot.

        Now if she immediately decline the spot right after FIG names her (and therefore cause a loss of one spot to usa immediately) and says i want to now be consider for team….usag could immediately says that you got yr olympics spot but refuse to go and it’s not our problem and we don’t have to consider you for trial at all. i am pretty sure no jury will side with her in that case. it does suck for US if that were going to happen and they might actually have ground to sue her for it.

        So if even if carey has some 2nd thought right now, in the end, it will play out with her taking for individual nominative spot

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      3. Say Jade declines her spot the day after the nominative spots are named (I would assume she’d be able to do that–there has to be a way in which people can withdraw, if only for the possibility of injury) and the non-nominative spots haven’t been assigned yet. Wouldn’t the US be eligible for two non-nominative spots?

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      4. Mary: No. Once Jade is officially named by FIG for a nominative spot, USA is down to just the 4 team spots and one non-nominative spot (either AA or continental).. If she declines the spot, US pretty much forfeit 1/6 possible spots.

        That’s why it’s a big deal if jade changes her mind or get injured after march 2020. Any changes need to be done asap before then. Not after the FIG announcement in march 2020

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    2. It’s possible that I missed this.. But did Jade indicate in any way that she wants to give up qualifying through the world-cup series for a nominative spot? That would make the picking-game for the team and individual (non-nominative) spots much more fun.. well and complicated 😉

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      1. Flow: no official words obviously from jade or usag… Just rumors and word vomits.. But you what they say: theres half truth to every rumor.

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  16. I just can’t with the Riley hype. Yes, her form is gorgeous. But her D is not that high on any event but beam. And it’s connection-heavy like Kara’s making it risky. Her bars is not even close to being EF worthy in the current international field. Morgan outscores her consistently, and Grace and Leanne score similar. Sorry, I am not taking her to Worlds for potential with her track record. I suspect Tom will though unless she implodes at camp.

    I think you have to take Jade.Saying you don’t take her to worlds because of her Olympic path is silly. Her vault and floor scores ARE that good and that much better than anyone else’s. And she is a realistic backup on bars and beam.

    Kara goes for beam and a floor backup. Everyone saying she is inconsistent – she has always come through in team finals, which is the most important.

    I love Morgi-boo, but she is borderline IMO. Bars is her only TF worthy event, and others are so close, I think this year is MUCH harder for her than the past,. You don’t take her because past world AA champ and medalist.

    My big struggle is Grace and Leanne are almost interchangeable. If Grace has an Amanar that score 15, she wins for sure. I’d also love to give Leanne some AA international experience, but you could do that at AA world cups next year.

    My team at this point

    VT: Grace, Jade, Simone (Lee)
    UB: Grace, Simone, Lee (Kara)
    BB: Lee, Simone, Kara (Grace)
    FX: Lee, Jade, Simone (Grace)

    Leanne and Morgan as alternates.

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    1. I am so with you on Riley. The unfortunate reality is that Riley, talented though she is, has serious consistency issues and for me that keeps you off the team. Also, she tends to get her peak scores when it matters the least (at PanAm quals, or Classic), then kind of slide backwards as the stakes are elevated. She’s not really in the conversation for me for that reason, especially because Suni Lee basically does everything she can do better (and Morgan often outscores her on UB as well). For me, the only way Riley goes to Worlds is if Lee has a meltdown at selection camp, which I don’t see happening. I feel awful for being so harsh, but there you go.

      Re: Kara, she doesn’t have the consistency issues that Riley does – she hit in TF at Worlds last year, and put up a spectacular routine in event finals at PanAms recently to win BB gold. If she looks consistent at selection camp she should go… Her beam is just one of those routines that is so far beyond the rest of the field that that one event can get her on teams. Her FX is also handy, but there aren’t many iterations of a Worlds team I can think of where it would be needed.

      Agree that Grace and Leanne are basically going for the same spot, i.e. AAer with a compelling VT. I think Grace is a bit better overall at the moment, but their attractiveness to a Worlds team probably has a lot to do with what the team needs – for example, Leanne is a bit better on BB while Grace is better on FX. Which event is weaker for the team?

      I agree with everything you said about Morgi-boo but I still think she’ll make the team, at least as an alternate. She just kind beats the odds like that. And if it’s close with Grace and Leanne, as it surely will be, I still lean towards Morgan because a team of Simone, Lee, Carey and Eaker really wants that bars score.

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      1. I completely agree with you on why to take each person but a team of Simone, Lee, Carey, and Eaker is weak on vault AND bars (and potentially beam if Lee’s routine isn’t rewarded). Wong could slot in to fill that void better than Hurd IMO (since they score similarly internationally on bars…it’s hard for me to count national scores because they’re crazy.)

        I personally think Simone, Lee, and Carey are probably locks but I’d still love to see McCusker (to see if she can hit under pressure and also see what her vault and bars get if she hits), Wong (because she’s so solid AA and needs experience), or McCallum (because she’s such a good vault/floor fit and she’s just personally one of my favorites).

        I’m off the Morgan train for this year and want to see her upgrades. She’s known for consistency and execution but I want to see those to things stay the same AND have the D to back it up.

        My ideal team for sentiment only (and not reason or logic) would be Biles, Lee, McCusker, Wong, McCallum but I recognize there are deficiencies.

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      2. If you’ve got a team with Simone and Jade, I don’t really see the third vault as a place they’re going to get too worried over. Both the peak and the average teams have these four, and their vault numbers are well over a point higher than the second-highest vault score from the Doha TF and the US’s own number. I think any of the Hurd/McCallum/Wong group’s DTY would be considered fine.

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    2. I think Grace is way more likely to go on a team with Riley than a team with Kara. I would want not to put her up on bars in TF more than I would want her vault over Morgan’s. I’d put Leanne over her for VT/UB too.

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    3. This I agree with:

      “My team at this point

      VT: Grace, Jade, Simone (Lee)
      UB: Grace, Simone, Lee (Kara)
      BB: Lee, Simone, Kara (Grace)
      FX: Lee, Jade, Simone (Grace)

      Leanne and Morgan as alternates.”

      Like

  17. I think based on how everyone is looking now, we can lock in Biles, Carey, and Lee for these TF events at worlds:

    VT: Biles, Carey
    UB: Lee, Biles
    BB: Biles, Lee
    FX: Biles, Carey, Lee

    This team already has two major EF contenders in AA plus on each event, so what we really need is a TF score for VT, UB, and BB.
    I would choose McCusker for the UB and BB scores (plus additional EF potential equal to Biles/Lee on both) and then either Wong or McCallum (with an Amanar?) for the last spot who would only vault in TF but could serve as an AA backup better than someone like Chiles or Skinner. Either Wong, McCallum, or Hurd for alternate.

    That gives us:

    VT: Wong, Carey, Biles
    UB: McCusker, Lee, Biles
    BB: McCusker, Lee, Biles
    FX: Lee, Carey, Biles

    I like this team because you really could have any of them try for the other two AA spots after Biles in qualification based on how they’re doing. It also avoids forcing McCusker to vault in TF like the peak scoring team while still having a tremendous beam crew even without Eaker. I am really sad to leave both Hurd and Eaker at home, but I think both would actually have a better shot at making Tokyo then most of this group!

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    1. After rigorous analysis of the numbers and evaluation of the field I submit the following:

      The size of the Worlds and Olympic teams should be bigger.

      Seriously, if the Olympic teams were still 7 members, you could send the entire “elite 8” group, using one as an alternate. THAT is my ideal team!

      Like

  18. I disagree that Carey is a lock for Worlds at this point.

    We know that Tom is not the best strategic thinker and he prefers to go by AA when selecting teams. As Spencer stated, Carey can be left off the World team and it would be only a difference of .5 to the team score.

    The only argument for Carey would be for individual medals, but even those are not locked in. Carey could easily be 2 per’d off of FX. Vault is likely her best chance at a medal, but I don’t think silver or bronze is a guarantee. There are several gymnasts that can challenge for a medal on VT. All it takes is a large lunge out of her Amanar (which we have seen) or staggered landing on the Cheng (which we have seen) to take her out of the VT medals completely.

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    1. To be fair, she practically did a split leap out of her Amanar at finals in 2017, and still won silver (missing out to Paseka’s gold by the slimmest of margins). Field included Steingruber and Olsen.

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      1. Olsen has gotten better since then and there are also much stronger vaulters that will be in Stuttgart. Plus Biles was not in Montreal. A vault medal is not a “guarantee” like Biles.

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    2. I’d say Carey is a surer thing to win an event medal than any of the non-Simones, and it’s not like she wouldn’t be useful for the team score, so I’m not sure I’d say that’s her only argument either

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      1. I agree with this; she’s consistent and VT rewards difficulty. Who besides Biles and Paseka will be bringing an equivalent or higher D? Does Olsen have an Amanar yet?

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  19. But you know they will include someone like carey. the potential is just too great to leave out. sure, anything can happen in gymnastics (see maroney) and we know that a lot of people even argue that maroney shouldn’t even have been on 2012 but you know deep down that they will likely get included….lol…

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  20. You just BLOW ME AWAY! Thanks for this analysis. Just one non orthodox point to consider- dropping Jade Carey just for the sake of that fact that she won’t be on the 4 team for the Olympics and maybe she’s taking a spot for an athlete that could gain worlds experience as a preparation for Tokyo.

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    1. Why wouldn’t someone like McCusker, Eaker, or Hurd who has solid international experience but may go to the Olympics on the team wouldn’t be subject to the same argument? Why do you need less experience going as an individual?

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      1. It’s not that you need less experience as an individual, it’s that Carey has gained experience- both on worlds 2017 and the World Cup circuit. Considering the decision is what is best for the team- maybe dropping Carey to allow others to gain that experience as a prep for Tokyo might be a factor.

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      2. Because the team medal is the priority for USAG. Not the individual ones. That’s why.

        Also, like the person above points out, the individual (Carey) gets experience from going to the World Cups.

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  21. I had some fun looking at the low scores from Nationals. I did a bit of a rush job but here are some findings. (Note: I ignored 0s/scratches).

    1. All athletes but 3 were in the bottom 3 on at least one event on at least one day. Those 3 are Biles, McCusker, and Chiles.

    2. I *think* our lowest-scoring team of 5 is Perea, Eaker, Thomas, Torrez, and Carey. (I included everyone that competed at nationals, not just those who made the national team). If you named that as your team, put everyone up on their weaker/less consistent events, and they scored as they did their weaker day at Nationals (all domestic bonuses and penalties included), the team score is 152.55. They would have placed 13th at Worlds last year and would not have made the finals.

    3. If you restrict to only athletes named to the national team, I *think* our lowest-scoring team is Thomas, Eaker, Lee, Hurd, Carey, and the team score is 155.65. This team also places 13th at last year’s worlds.

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      1. I think it’d be more interesting to see who the lowest-scoring team is without falls. Wouldn’t your 13th-place team be counting 10-12 falls? That seems like outlier data.

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      2. It’s definitely outlier data. I did this because scores felt fairly clustered to me and I think I’ve gotten it into my head a bit too much that the U.S. women will win no matter what. That worrying about having inconsistencies or weak 4th routines (that a minor injury/illness can put into TF) was beside the point. That any set of athletes on our national team could win worlds on any given day. It’s useful to me to have a numerical reminder that this isn’t true. That there are team configurations that on a bad day won’t even make TF.

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      3. Yes, but my point is that that would be not just a bad day, but the actual worst possible day. Even Romania has less falls in TF than that.

        I think Perea-Torrez-Eaker-Thomas-Carey would still be a pretty competitive team if you took their average hit rates. Even if you had them on their weak events. Probably not podium, but definitely into the final.

        Oh man actually we should’ve done fantasy gym for nationals, building Worlds teams. Simone excluded from the draft, of course.

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  22. This is probably a stupid question, but if Carey has the nominative spot – does she not count as a US medal if she wins something? Does she not count as part of the 2 country rule? ie could the US have 3 people qualify for floor and vault? Isn’t she still representing the US? If she counts for US medals, then the only reason to put her on the 4 person team is to make her eligible for an AA spot and to boost the US team score. From what I see, she isn’t needed for either, so while I can see sending her to Worlds, why would she even been considered for Olympics unless she doesn’t win the nominative spot? Am I missing something?

    Since she wouldn’t be considered for the team, I personally would pay for her to go to another World Cup to solidify her chance of winning that spot and send someone to Worlds I think by be in contention to the team.

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    1. They will likely send her to worlds to get the silver vt (unless you want to send skinner but given the new usag being “public and transparent” they won’t do that unless skinner beats jade in vt and fx and probably AA at the selection camp.

      At this points, yr only realistic US vt possible medal contenders are biles, carey and skinner. No one else had shown any upgrade to change that.

      sure, several other people score a few tenths away from carey on fx and they do have a shot at fx medals but carey still have a pretty consistent record at getting the 2nd best non simone fx score.

      she does count as US in any 2 per country finals.

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      1. So in theory, she could get 2 per out of all event finals and end up with a trip to the Olympics, but not get a shot at any medals due to the 2 per rule. I can see the old USAG regime positioning to maximize that possibility to discourage future gymnasts wanting to go that route. Of course, we don’t know if this is going to be a thing next quad and we are into the “transparency” thing. Will be interesting to watch.

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      2. I agree with you that USAG will want to ensure two vault medals. Bringing Carey gives you the extra bonus of a great shot at two floor medals. Those are 4 medals that are as close to locks as you can get and I would prioritize those over less-certain bars and beam medals.

        If for some crazy reason USAG doesn’t want to send Jade because “she’s already a lock for the Olympics” or some other nonsense, then I guess you would send Skinner for your next best shot at a medal on vault.

        The US team is completely capable of two medals each on bars and beam and I suspect will get at least one of those. However, none are as likely as the vault and floor medals.

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      3. To the Anonymous at 11:13, this format for qualifying has already been proposed to be ditched for 2024. Back to 5 person teams. No additional qualifiers (either nominative or non-nominative) for countries that already have teams. Two spots from World Cups instead of one but only from countries that don’t already have teams. Those are the main changes I believe.

        So the US doesn’t really need to discourage people from going this route.

        Jade is unlikely to be two-per-countried on vault. I don’t see anyone but Simone beating her there. And no, don’t say Skinner.

        I think she probably already has some buyer’s remorse and will continue to have it because being part of the team would have meant a guaranteed OGM. I think she will miss out on a lot as an individual.

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    2. Yes, the individual competitors still count as far as 2-per country rules. Jade would still be representing the USA. But she would not receive the team medal, just any she earns individually.

      I think people are making a big deal of this because of what Timmy D said on the broadcast. There is NO WAY USAG is going to let her earn a spot via world cups and then allow her to go, nope, not doing that and the US lose a spot. Not a chance in heck. Jade can’t have it both ways. The likelihood of her being one of the top 4 all-arounders and being considered for a 4-person team is small anyway. This quad is SO deep. Of course she can want to be on the team. But calling the world cup route a “back up plan” is ridiculous. Next spring when the world cup winners spots are finalized, that’s it for her.

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  23. So what is the likelihood, based on where we are now, that Jade doesn’t earn the nominative spot? No idea where other athletes stand. And is her position at risk if she doesn’t attend any more world cups?

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  24. The nominative spots only allow the gymnast to qualify for a specific event, correct? So the gymnasts in AA and individual event finals are those individuals who got nominative spots for those events specifically and then those that qualified through their scores during the team competition, correct? If both of these statements are true, could Carey still qualify AA if she went to additional events next spring?

    I know the process has been discussed ad nauseam, but it never seems to be crystal clear about who gets on the floor at the Olympics for what.

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    1. Gymnasts who get the nominative spots through the World Cup can compete on all events. Once you qualify to get there, you can compete AA.

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      1. Her chance of winning a slot in 2020 from either vt or fx cup is still very high even without going to anymore cups. Significantly better than a coin toss i would say.

        on vt, pretty much paseka is the only one conceivably beat her by winning all 3 of the next cup.

        on fx, the #2 and #3 i believe are mori and ferrari. so they would have to agree to not compete against each other to have a realistic chance at someone getting all 1st place in the next 3 cups.

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