US Men’s Selection – Day 2 Live Blog

I should start this live blog by talking through where we stand now in terms of a likely worlds team following the events of day 1, but…‾\_(ツ)_/‾????

The highest-scoring team from day 1 had neither Moldauer nor van Wicklen on it (to my mind, the #2 and #3 most likely people to make the worlds team heading into selection camp), and I don’t really know what to do with that. Is that a real possibility? Or do we just say…come on, it’s Yul…and revert back to where we were pre-Thursday?

Obviously, Moldauer was not close to 100% on the first day. He will have more leeway than others to be not at his best, but I’d still say there’s more riding on his day 2 performance than I would have thought coming into this meet. If he has another “everything hurts and I’m dying” day, he’s going to have to rely on pedigree, ability, and past accomplishments to make the team. And those arguments are compelling for him, but you never want to have to rely on just that.

Moldauer does, however, have his 2nd-place performance at nationals going for him still. The best-scoring team using peak scores on each event across nationals and the first day of selection camp would still include Moldauer (Mikulak, Moldauer, Bower, Wiskus, and Howard).

Interestingly, that group does not include Modi, but I’d still say Modi is in good shape following day 1. Modi and Bower had the most encouraging competitions on the first day (besides Mikulak, but he’s a given), so they’re largely going to want to keep that up, Modi making a HB argument and an “almost any event” argument for himself, and Bower delivering as the best non-Mikulak on vault and horse.

After the first day, I’d say the one who ranks 8th is Whittenburg after not recording a big floor number—and continuing to vault the double front. He had a good rings score, but nothing else to make his case. Without a HUGE performance today, I don’t see it for him.

Van Wicklen is an interesting case because he ostensibly did his job on the first day, hitting his Dragulescu and staying on HB, but the HB score wasn’t very high and his vault score only matched Trevor Howard’s, which meant that Howard became the more compelling option for a highest-scoring team because he had the same vault score but also brings a big rings routine, while Van Wicklen’s only argument was vault. CVW needs to create some separation on vault today, as well as outscore people like Wiskus on HB, to state his claim to a team spot. Because right now, his day 1 scores didn’t make the case, and he doesn’t have nationals scores to lean back on.

At the same time, does the US really want to show up to worlds with nothing more than a 5.2 on vault?

As a group, these 8 athletes went 47-for-48 on the first day, which was a damn miracle, but there’s nonetheless some obvious room for improvement today. In particular, the landings on floor and vault need to get better. Floor should be an asset for this US team at worlds, but not with the landings we saw on Thursday.

Today, the gang will begin on horse and rotate from there, finishing on floor.

We get started at 2:30pm MT with streaming on USAG’s YT.

We’ve definitely got nearly a baker’s dozen in the audience today.

Howard listed first on the start list for horse but isn’t doing the touch, so maybe we have a limited-event approach today rather than AA?

HORSE

#1 Van Wicklen – Similar to day 1, a smoothly worked through routine with foot form and knees and whatnot, but he did the job, minimized leg breaks and just the one hesitation up to dismount.

1 routine, 1 judging delay.

12.550 is well down from the first day for him, looks like they were less happy with that hesitation up to handstand on dismount, which I didn’t think was too bad. He also lost 0.2 D compared to day 1.

#2 – Modi – an early knee crazy didn’t result in too many issues as he pulled it back together – another leg break on a travel, but otherwise kept it going comfortably. I’d classify that as normal Akash.

13.650 and a 7.550 E score, so a little down on what I expected, but he had two obvious leg things so it should have been a bit down on day 1’s score in the higher 13s.

Whittenburg also passing on PH.

#3 – Mikulak – nailed that routine. An exceptionally clean one for him, didn’t break momentum or incur leg issue deductions. Super smooth. 14.700.

#4 – Moldauer – beautiful flare work – really struggles on one pommel, losing his speed and having to muscle himself around, but he kept it going – hips drop trying to go up for handstand in his dismount. Still looking like a struggle for him today. 12.900. Yikers.

#5 – Bower – nice job keeping his ankles together, which he really has to do to show the position because he has a natural bow leg like me – good fight on one pommel through a knee break, made it very minimal – a couple more small leg breaks today than the first day but none of them significant. 14.050. Higher than day 1. I thought it would be a touch lower.

#6 – Wiskus – lovely toe point, a little sluggish on scissor elements – good speed, a bit less height and more hip angle than Bower, which will hurt the E – but really composed routine. Good hit. 13.050. He doesn’t have the D, so breaking 13 is solid for him, though it was a little better than that to me.

HORSE
Mikulak – 14.700
Bower – 14.050
Modi – 13.650
Wiskus – 13.050
Moldauer – 12.900
Van Wicklen – 12.550

Bower continues to make his case as an essential pommel horse routine.

RINGS

#1 – Van Wicklen – very good maltese to cross at the beginning – every time I see him do that I’m like, “why isn’t he better on rings?” but the rest doesn’t reach the same level – still, a good hit, small step back on 1.5-twisting double tuck

13.850 is a big rings score for CVW.

Does Sam know that “get juiced” means “take steroids”?

#2 – Modi – just a bit high in L cross – good flat maltese – cross, these also look high – up to an L sit – pretty secure handstands without a lot of movement – double double, a little short with a small hop.

13.750 with 5.9. Down on his first day score.

#3 – Whittenburg – being all Whittenburg – excellent cross position – a bit of shake in handstand – maltese is crisp, rises up to planche, super tough, would like to see a little more separation in those two positions – swing up to planche is great – more shudders in handstand – double double layout dismount, but short with a large lunge forward. That will hurt a score he desperately needed.

14.050 for Whttenburg. He needed at least a half point more than that.

#4 – Mikulak – another very clean routine for him – smooth cross and maltese positions (just lowers a little into his second cross out of the tucks) – small hesitation in some handstands as the rings start to twist – double double tucked, stuck. Good. 14.400. Including upping his D two tenths compared to day 1, accounting for the score increase.

#5 – Moldauer – nice initial cross position today, smoother than his routine yesterday – pikes to cross, a tad low – some hesitation in straddle planche, a little fast but fine – double double tuck, small hop. That was stronger rings than day 1 for me.

Much stronger. 14.150. Is Yul back?

#6 – Bower – lowers to a smooth horizontal cross – struggles a bit to hold a straddle planche in there, droops a little, but secure handstand, holds the stick on his double double tuck with a lean. Not the content in there but a fine showing. 13.850. Big score for him as well there. Rings scores really soaring here.

#7 – Wiskus – really secure strength positions throughout – just one hesitation in a final handstand, but a stick on his 1.5-twisting double tuck. Excellent routine.13.900 for Wiskus, same as day 1, which seems a little inconsistent to me with the rising rings scores.

#8 – Howard – looked like he was doing his job with another incredibly strong rings set – but final swing up to handstand wasn’t his strongest and he had a stagger landing on dismount with a lunge forward. Just 14.200 there. Still a good score, but he needed a great one.

RINGS
Mikulak – 14.400
Howard – 14.200
Moldauer – 14.150
Whittenburg – 14.050
Wiskus – 13.900
Bower – 13.850
Van Wicklen – 13.850
Modi – 13.750

Howard loses some ground in his rings case there, as his score was not separate enough from the rings rabble to matter.

VAULT

#1 – Modi – strong Kas 1.5, improvement over yesterday, hop to the side, good distance, just some knees. 14.400

#2 – Whittenburg – double front, really good double front, just a small hop back, great distance, but of course it’s still just a 5.2 start that everyone will be doing. 14.500.

#3 – Mikulak – Kas 1.5, a bit more under control than the first day, medium hop forward – strong form and direction. 14.450

#4 – Moldauer – Kas 1.5 – steps to the side and out of the area again today, probably not as large on the step this time, but still not the landing he needs. 14.350.

#5 – Bower – Kas 1.5 – great distance on his vault but not the control of yesterday, large lunge to the side and out of bounds. 14.250

Judges here reflecting the FIG reality that all vaults are the same so whatever.

#6 – Wiskus – Kas 1.5 – ohhhh NEARLY had the stick, held it for a second but had to take a little hop – some knees there but the best Kas 1.5 of the day so far for me. 14.500

#7 – Howard – double front – nails the landing on his double front again – great stick – doesn’t have the distance so there are still things to take, but an excellent performance. 14.600, no different from his 14.700 vault from the first day, though.

#8 – Van Wicklen – Drag – hits it again – similar to the first day in that he had the chest down and the step back and to the side, perhaps a little more awkward on the step than last time. 14.600. Vaults the same score as Howard again.

VAULT
Howard – 14.600
Van Wicklen – 14.600
Wiskus – 14.500
Whittenburg – 14.500
Mikulak – 14.450
Modi – 14.400
Moldauer – 14.350
Bower – 14.250

Van Wicklen once again didn’t get the separation he needed, but otherwise those vault scores are pretty inconclusive since everyone is so similar.

PBARS

#1 – Whittenburg – small hesitation in front toss up to handstand but small – good peach 1/2 – double back to arms, solid – stutz – high front straddle with crazy feet – tuck 1/2, good – double fornt 1/2 out, bounce back. A bit better than day 1 I’d say.

14.250. Up two tenths on day 1.

#2 – Mikulak – healy, good – peach 12, solid, just a little back looseness – catches tuck 1/2 into huge front straddle, – Bhavsar good – tippelt, crisp handstand, same on the stutz – double front 1/2 out, little hop. 15.500. AH. That’s a tad overenthusiastic for that routine to me.

#3 – Moldauer – smooth peach, just a little hesitation in peach 1/2 but nice hs position – diam is good – hitting his tuck 1/2 elements – double front 1/2 out is short, chest down with a hop forward. Still an improvement on day 1.

14.300.

#4 – Bower – some muscling up to handstand out of a peach – good salto elements – a bit late on a full pirouette – tutz has a back arch but avoids walking to save it – double pike, clean, stuck. 14.000 is a tad enthusiastic for that routine for me, but it was a solid hit.

#5 – Wiskus – good front toss to hs – peach – good height on tuck 1/2 – diam pretty good finish position – high front straddle – bhavsar, hit – tippelt, comfortably up to handstand – double front, bounce forward, but still a very strong routine.

14.650, also well up on his score from day 1.

#6 – Howard – peach to one and healy down, works it out this time – had an arch and a little walk on hs positions – tuck 1/2 elements are good, nice height – double front got a little low, hop back

14.250. Everyone has been good on PBars so far, which sort of means it’s helpful to no one.

#7 – Van Wicklen – double tuck to arms, good – small hesitation in peach 1/2 but fine – some knees and feet – front straddle – double pike, chest a bit down, small hop back. Once again, some things but nothing major. His big routine of the day is coming up next.

14.100.

#8 – Modi – good diam and bhavasar – tippelt, solidly up to handstand – nice hold on diam – pretty large arch on a stutz but pulls it back – double back full, fairly significant bounce backward.

Important score for Modi to get through with 14.450. Thought it was going to be lower than that.

PBARS
Mikulak – 15.500
Wiskus – 14.650
Modi – 14.450
Moldauer – 14.300
Howard – 14.250
Whittenburg – 14.250
Van Wicklen – 14.100
Bower – 14.000

HIGH BAR

#1 – Mikulak – big Cassina and a fingertip Kolman – does the Liukin and hits it – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 and it’s crazzzzzzzy awakrd catch and then his body goes 17 different directions swinging out of it – but it counts as a hit, so his hit streak is still on – double double layout, short with a hop.

Not going into the hall of fame, but it doesn;t matter for him at this point. 14.000

#2 – Moldauer – Yam, toes came very close to that bar but fine – tka 1/1, very late – tak 1/2, solid vertical but a back arch – Kovacs and falls. Well drat. finishes with a perfect and stuck DLO 1/1 of course.

12.500.

#3 – Bower – Yam, some body pike – Kovacs, caught – layout tkatchev, some feet – tkatchev, hit – tak 1/1, quite late – tak 1/2 also quite late – DLO 1/1, a bit of pike but similarly stuck. 13.550 is a big score for him on HB, with a D increase over day 1.

#4 – Wiskus – Cassina, caught – Kolman a little close with some muscle swing out of it – the legs on both –  high Kovacs – hop full – “keep it crispy” – DLO double, some mushy legs in there – step back. 13.650 with a  5.7 D score.

#5 – Howard – tak 1/1 and a pretty solid finishing position – tak 1/2, pretty close to vertical as well – layout tkatchev – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2, smoothly swinging through – giant with hop release flair – DLO 1/1, some knees with a hop back. On the bar, that’s about as well as he can do a routine.

13.100

#6 – Van Wicklen – Yam – 1/2 turn is pretty awkward – attempts a Kolman and it’s not close – fall – oof – he’s not going to have the scores from this camp to get himself on the team. Layout tkatchev to tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2, all well hit – tak 1/2 – DLO 1/1, pretty and stuck. Great finish, but that fall was significant.

12.750

#7 – Modi – Yam, nice height, legs on catch – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 – tak 1/2, nice vertical – tkatchev – layout tkatchev 1/2 – healy, some back position and lateness – DLO double, bounce back. The knees things, but really nice amplitude on all those releases and an important routine.

13.950. HUGE score for him. The way this is going, how can you not take that routine?

If things continue, he’s going to come really close to getting an automatic spot for himself (2nd AA combined nats/camp and top 3 on 3 events), but not quite. I think he’ll be 2nd AA and top 3 on 2 events, and 4th on another couple events.

#8 – Whittenburg – tak 1/2, good finish position – hop full – layout tkatchev 1/2, catches with some crazy feet – layout tkatchev, hit – Yam 1/2, super super huge – Yam, similar amplitude – doubel double layout, hop back. Knees and hip angles aplenty, but that was a good hit for him.

13.550 for Whittenburg. Well now.

HIGH BAR
Mikulak – 14.000
Modi – 13.950
Wiskus – 13.650
Whittenburg – 13.550
Bower – 13.550
Howard – 13.100
Van Wicklen – 12.750
Moldauer – 12.500

FLOOR

#1 – Moldauer – punch randi, fantastic, stuck – front 2/1 to front full, short with a hop back – double arabian 1/2 out, holds the stick with a swim – 2.5 to 1/2, stuck – 2/1 side pass, stuck – 3/1, just a little short, small adjustment. Much better.

14.500. Huge floor number.

#2 – Bower – double front pike, stuck – double double tucked, a little short with a hop – front 2/1 to front tuck 1/1, stuck – 2.5 to 1/2, holds the stick – 2/1 with a swim to hold the stick – 3/1 short with a hop forward. Not quite as strong as day 1 to me but still a good hit.

14.150, so actually a better score than the first day. I felt like the landings were not as strong, still super routine.

#3 – Wiskus – double front 1/2, some knees, little slide back – double double tucked, bounce back – 2.5 to front tuck 1/1, hop forward, looked like he was close to sticking again – does stick his next pass, but a little low with some knees – 2/1, stuck – 3/1, stuck. Nice. No large errors, more hops than he would have wanted at the beginning, but good. He’s at least earned traveling alternate for me.

14.150 for Wiskus as well, big number.

#4 – Howard – double front pike, solid – front lay to double front 1/2 out, small adjustment – 1.5 double tuck, nailed it – 2.5 to front full, stuck, took that front full way out horizontally but kept it in bounds – stuck 2/1 – double arabian, nearly stuck, small hop. Another good one. 14.050.

That was an excellent first four floor routines, much better than day 1.

#5 – Van Wicklen – double front pike 1/2, just a touch short with a hop, small – front 2/1 to full, another little hop – 2.5 to 1/2, holds the stick there – 2/1, good – 1.5 to front full, hop – double arabian, hop

14.150 for him as well. Wow, everyone is 14ing.

#6 – Modi – front double pike, hop – another slide back on his second pass – sticks the third, though – russians, good control – v sit up to handstand, well held – randi, smallest adjustment – 2/1, stuck – 3/1, small hop. Good control overall, another improvement on the first day.

14.200

#7 – Whittenburg – front full to double front pike, near stick – front lay to double front 1/2 out, short with hop – double double lay – small bounce – 2.5, hop – all these hops are small, but they all exist – double double tuck, step back and OOB – double tuck full, hop.

That’s going to be all she wrote for Whittenburg’s worlds hopes, but pre-nationals I would not have expected he would get even this far.

Remember back during the first rotation when I thought scores were going to be tighter today than yesterday? LOLOLOL.

13.800. That would have counted as a good score yesterday.

#8 – Mikulak – double front pike, hop – 2.5 to double front, giant bound forward out of it – front 2/1 to front tuck full, well short with a large bounce back – it’s catching up to him in these final two routines, but the hit streak is still on – good stick on second-to-last pass though – finishes 3/1, hop back.

So it counts as 24-for-24 across nationals and selection.

And now we wait for the team?

FLOOR
Moldauer – 14.500
Modi – 14.200
Van Wicklen – 14.150
Wiskus – 14.150
Bower – 14.150
Howard – 14.050
Mikulak – 13.900
Whittenburg – 13.800

ALL-AROUND
Mikulak – 174.300
Modi – 168.000
Wiskus – 166.900
Bower – 166.150
Moldauer – 165.350
Van Wicklen – 164.550

Howard and Whittenburg did not compete horse the second day.

Let’s start crunching some numbers.

LOL. Never mind about that Whittenburg note I just wrote. Forgot to update the floor numbers from today. Kind of makes a difference. Although he’s still pretty close.

Using the peak score recorded on each event across the two days of  selection camp, your highest-scoring team would be Mikulak, Moldauer, Modi, Wiskus, and Howard.

Just using the scores from selection camp day 2, the team would be Mikulak, Moldauer, Modi, Wiskus, Bower, with Bower replacing Howard since Howard wasn’t so much with the rings score on day 2. It’s really Moldauer’s big floor score on day 2 that got him back into the mix with these peak score selection camp teams, so really there should be no issue putting him on the team at this point. Selection camp average is really the only measure that doesn’t make Moldauer look convincing at this point.

If you use peak score across the four days, the team would be Mikulak, Moldauer, Bower, Wiskus, Howard.

What we’re seeing in these groups is the absence of Van Wicklen and Whittenburg, and I really do think it’s now tough to justify Van Wicklen on the team because the only event here where he showed a TF necessary score was vault, and it was only a couple tenths higher than what everyone was scoring, and that’s not enough to make a dent. That’s the big surprise of selection to me, that Van Wicklen’s argument now looks as unconvincing as it does.

Depending on what you prioritize, average or peak score or whatever, you’re going to come out with a different arrangement of the remaining 6, who is on the team and who is the alternate. If it were Martha, we would just be hearing the naming of a six, with the alternate to be decided 24 hours and 1 minute before qualification.

THE TEAM

Popping back in for a moment to say that we have a worlds team—Sam Mikulak, Yul Moldauer, Akash Modi, Shane Wiskus, and Trevor Howard, with Allan Bower as the traveling alternate.

Honestly, this was also my team. Sorry Kensley. This is the team you get by using peak score recorded across the two days of selection camp, and I like using that as the standard because selection camp scores are the most recent data points you have (it’s not about who was good a few weeks ago, it’s about who is good right now), and peak score is a particularly useful metric for the US men to use. Why?

The US men are in an in-between state as a team where they’re basically guaranteed to qualify a team to the Olympics—so that’s not really a concern because duh—but they’re currently not favored to win a medal at worlds when compared to China, Russia, and Japan. So picking the safest team (i.e., the team that does best by average score) is not really relevant because putting up safer, lower difficulty routines that hit compared to riskier, higher difficulty routines that fall would maybe mean the difference between finishing 4th and finishing 5th…and what does that even matter? That’s nothing.

If the goal is to win a medal, then you need to go all out with team selection, picking the team with the highest possible score if everything goes amazingly. Because maybe, just maybe, that team with riskier, higher difficulty routines might hit.

I think it was an impossibly tough and close call for who would be the alternate among those six, with no obvious team separating itself from the others and no compelling argument for one group over another because…it’s like a tenth difference either way. To me, Bower and Wiskus looked the most likely to be relegated to that alternate spot.

IMoldauer not being at his peak on pommel horse at selection camp made Bower look super necessary, but if you bank on Yul being at full strength by worlds on pommel horse, then Wiskus providing a counting score on Pbars and HB (I’d also use him on VT in team final) adds more to the team than Bower’s pommel horse score.

But honestly, these six are so close that I have no problem with using training, even up to podium training, to finalize that team. If others are suddenly disastrous and Bower isn’t, I’d have no problem with switching things around.

50 thoughts on “US Men’s Selection – Day 2 Live Blog”

  1. Worlds Team configuration for top 3 between yesterday and championships is nearly nothing (0.4 or less) for any reasonable combination from the camp here, Sam being the only one necessary.

    Sam is the only person that has a chance at any medal with AA and HB. The team will qualify at Worlds for Tokyo and has no chance at a medal at Worlds. So, this is really about the athletes. Yul needs to recover, his scores aren’t needed. Donnell’s execution is horrendous.

    All this leaves Sam and Trevor as the only absolutes on the team. Akash, Shane, Allan and Colin just have to make their strongest cases today with one of them being the unlucky one left off.

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  2. This vault judging is terrible. No differentiation. Also, I agree with the person who commented on the Day 1 blog about Howard’s vault. It might be stuck but he is getting half the distance of the other guys and that should be reflected in the E score.

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  3. I’m admittedly a Donnell stan, and it breaks my heart that he’s still not looking 100%, but I still think there’s a case for putting the headband on the world’s team.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Was that PB score for Sam legit? That’s 3rd best score this year world wide. He usually just barely misses medals on this event, but if he can duplicate that, it’d be huge.

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    1. His total AA score has been the same almost every single competition as Akash for the past 4 years. Yul gets more international meets because his execution makes him a cleaner looking gymnast. If Akash got his execution up or Yul got his difficulty up, both would be there with Sam as all arounders.

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  5. 10000% agree that CVW looks like he should be great at rings. He should work on that…rings, HB, and vault? They need all those things. Like, don’t even train all around…just do those three things over and over.

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  6. Donnell and Colin both lost their cases for Worlds team.

    Sam is looking good for medals, but any combination of the rest would place the team far out of medal range, far within qualification for Tokyo at with almost the same team score.

    I’d make Yul the alternate, he needs to recover more, get his difficulty back up and work in more upgrades for Tokyo.

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    1. Making him the alternate doesn’t help him recover. He has to keep training then as though he is a full member of the team. If he is going to be allowed to recover, he needs to be completely left off the team.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s mikulak, howard, I think they’ll take moldauer, and then it’s a fight between wiskus/bower/modi. Ugh I wish it was a team of 6. 6 events, 6 gymnasts. Stupid to reduce the mens team size..

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      1. His best events, rings and vault, are weak spots for the U.S. men. And he can put up good numbers for both. They won’t make him do AA because he’s not a good AA-er, but they can certainly put him up for those two and maybe one other to boost team scores, which is what the U.S. men need.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Howard’s rings and vault scores are enough to get him on the team, no one else’s events make up enough of a gain as Howard on those two events for the team final, other than Sam, obviously.

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      3. I don’t really feel like he did enough on his best events to separate him from the pack to make him such a shoo-in but that’s just me. To me the two who did themselves the most good here were Modi and Bower.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d love to see Wiskus, Howard, and Bower get more experience with Sam and Akash.

    And realisitically, I’d take Bower over Moldauer as it stands now. I don’t know what he’ll look like in a month, but he’s putting up comparable numbers to Bower right now and Bower has the PH score. Yul only stood out as “needed” on floor but only by a few tenths. All of the other events where he placed, the scores are so close it doesn’t matter whose there.

    Let Moldauer heal.

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  9. News release says combined Championships and Selection Camp results, the top AA and 2nd top AA (if top 3 in 3 events) is guaranteed a spot to Worlds. Unfortunately for Akash, he was 2nd AA, but was only top 3 on 2 events when combined, so just Sam is guaranteed a spot.

    If you take the average of the top 3 scores for each gymnast with 3 up on each apparatus, the team would be:
    Sam (AA), Akash, Yul, Shane and Trevor.

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  10. Feel kind of bad for Allan Bower, who keeps getting stuck as the alternate. Especially this year, when there’s a totally justifiable case for putting him on the team over Wiskus, for example. I kind of prefer the system of selecting 6 guys and choosing the alternate in Stuttgart.

    Also bummed that Whittenburg isn’t at 100%, but he’s been to Worlds multiple times and at this point it’s really about peaking for the Olympics.

    I am pleased that Howard got on the team. He’s not a flashy gymnast but he’s consistent and delivers. Nice to see that rewarded.

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    1. Allan would have literally been chosen for his PH score alone, which, we have two PH specialist on our national team, Stephen and Alec (Alec is injured at the moment though.) So if you take out Shane, you’d been better off with Stephen on the team than Allan, who would give a 15+ on a good day and about the same as Allan’s average if he fell off.

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      1. Bower would also have competed a bunch of events in TQ. Stephen Nedoroscik literally competes PH and that is it. You cannot take a one event specialist on a 5 person team. That is insanity to even suggest so.

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      2. “Bower would also have competed a bunch of events in TQ.”

        What events? The difference between him and any one else on the team for a 3 up on event would have been negligible if you’re using peak or average scores. His only argument was for PH. Do the math, if you switched out Shane for Allan or Stephen, Stephen would give more than Allan with just going on the one event.

        TBH if you only look at peak scores, Stephen would be on the team instead of Shane.

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      3. Bower could go on FX or VT in TF, and any event in TQ and in a worst case scenario, do any event in TF… options that Nedoroscik doesn’t have, since he only competes PH. What happens if there is an injury to someone during team qualifications? Also using Nedoroscik now puts the TQ at using 3 AAers, Nedoroscik on PH, and the 5th athlete doing AA minus PH. Get out of your french vanilla fantasy and get real.

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      4. It’s a very sad day if you don’t think they could get past TQ with Sam, Akash, Yul as AA, Stephen on PH, Trevor on the other 5.

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      5. Taking a one event athlete on a team of five is a piss poor strategy…and clearly the Men’s National Team coaches and Brett McClure agree since Nedoroscik was not invited to camp. It’s a sad day indeed when you believe your own delusions. The team you listed would have Howard or Moldeaur doing HB in TF. That would negate anything Steve would have to offer.

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      6. Actually the team I would have picked is the one they did pick, I was just stating if they were going on peak scores, mathematically Stephen would be a stronger choice than Allan for the team, which is what you were having blowouts about to begin with.

        Either way, there is no team medal, but the team will qualify for Tokyo. With Stephen there would have potentially been another person making an event final, or a medal, which is supposedly part of their criteria. But anyway, I’m happy with who they named.

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  11. Generic question: It’s very clear that the US men have weak execution (ie: toe point, etc). Why isn’t there more of a focus on this? The Japanese, Chinese, Russians, and Brits all figured it out. Why can’t they? Can’t they see that it’s a huge issue?

    Similarly, if I was trying to be on the men’s national team or stand out, I would be working rings, high bar, and pommel like my life depended on it to get better.

    Maybe they need to bring in some international coaches and/or do many more trips to train internationally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Each event leans towards a certain physique and more developed muscle groups. PH and HB is typically easiest for lean bodies; SR more compact without being too heavy in the legs — it’s the last bit about SR that makes it a rare strength worldwide (most send specialists).

      Typically, a gymnast is better at PH, HB, PB or SR, VT, FX.

      If the US could get down PH like the Brits, they’d medal. I think PH and HB are huge training opportunities. There’s no reason for the US national team to not always have ww top 20 — 3 AA, 3 specialists to pick from.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Who said there isn’t a focus on that? Gymnasts don’t have toe point or leg form issues because they don’t know better or don’t think it’s important, they have those issues because they’re just trying to complete the skill. Form generally breaks down when difficulty goes up (with that difficulty level being relative to each gymnast), so it’s a balance game, trying to find the most advantageous combination of high difficulty before execution issues outweigh the D-score advantage. Stronger gymnasts and teams will be able to compete higher difficulty with less breakdown in form.

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      1. That’s true up to a point, but isn’t it also a matter of emphasizing it early, so that you default to good form without thinking about it except at the edges of your ability? (& even then toes may stay pointed or knees straight, depending on the skill & which things you need to sacrifice to get it done.)

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      2. Original Anon to this thread here- To be an elite gymnast there was obviously some sort of focus on execution, but “execution goes down as difficulty goes up” doesn’t take into account all the international gymnasts for which that ISN’T true. And the reality is that the US has generally lower difficulty AND lower execution. I’m not pointing out singular gymnasts, I’m pointing out the US men’s gymnastics community as a whole.

        The US is a big place- to not produce top quality gymnasts while smaller nations do is what is confusing to me. The pool is huge- is it the coaching, the training, the stigma against men being “graceful” or having to focus on toe point and the balletic side of things?

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      3. It’s just that as far as boys’ sports in the U.S. go, everyone wants to play football or soccer or baseball or basketball and stuff like that. Not so much gymnastics. Because boys go into other sports, the mens’ gymnastics program lacks depth. The lack of depth means they don’t do well internationally. And because they don’t do well internationally, boys aren’t incentivised to go into gymnastics. It’s kind of a vicious cycle that will be difficult to break. And since only the women do really well, it’s seen more as a girls’ sport in the U.S.

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  12. Jr Worlds Championships this year, the men’s team finished 7th (1pt between 6th and 11th), big break in points after 5th and 11th, and we walked away with no individual medals, while 12 other countries did.

    With the likelihood that everyone at this camp except Shane will be retiring from Elite next Summer, it’s going to be interesting times for MAG next quad.

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    1. Is it that likely that Yul will be retiring from elite next summer? He is still pretty young. I would also like to see what he can do while he is not doing NCAA. Given how many injuries Yul has had, not competing as much might be good for his body.

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      1. He’s 23 with several injuries. He’d be pushing to a month short of his 28th birthday for 2024 Olympics.

        Guys typically peak 22-25. And if you’ve been watching worldwide juniors and Yul’s career the past two years, he’s losing ground every year in rankings. It’s possible he’ll keep going, but that’d be a lot of hurt without much money or international medal potential to show for it.

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    1. Bower is passable on all the events but he doesn’t really have a standout aside from maybe pommels. Howard’s top events are rings and vault though, which are weak spots for the U.S. so as far as a team score goes, it makes more sense to put Howard in because he can fill legitimate holes with strong scores. Bower is a good backup but across the board his scores are decent but not amazing except on one event, which is risky.

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    2. The U.S. men aren’t likely to medal no matter who they bring, but they’re also strong enough to qualify for the Olympics no matter who they bring. So bringing people that might be less consistent but have big scoring POTENTIAL on certain events (like Trevor on rings and to a lesser extent vault) makes more sense than bringing someone who can hit, but has meh D-scores like Allan. Allan’s not a top AA-er like Sam and Yul, and he’s not an event specialist like Trevor. He’s in a bit of an awkward place, so making teams seems to be tough for him.

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      1. As someone pointed out in an earlier thread, there’s no one strategy that “makes sense” here. I am inclined to agree with you that it’s better to go with the riskier gymnasts who have higher D scores in case they happen to hit and sneak into a final or a medal. But I think you can make a strong case for bringing your top performing gymnasts to reward them for their good performances (a longer-term approach to incentivize the development of a strong and consistent team), and for trying to bring the best team possible because it is still better to be 4th than 6th place, even if you’re not getting a medal for it. Again, I wouldn’t go for it as team coordinator and I like the team selected, but you can argue that Bower earned a spot and, especially given that a team medal isn’t really on the line, he deserves to be rewarded for actually showing up at nationals and camp.

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      2. Bower and Wiskus are in the same position in that they have no standout event yet could go up on anything and deliver a usable score. Looking back at the scores, they appear to be neck-to-neck, but I think Wiskus was selected because he brings stronger rings, vault, p-bars, and high bar, while Bower’s only clear advantage is on pommel horse (which doesn’t provide as much of an advantage on a team with Mikulak, Modi, and Moldauer).

        I agree with Howard’s selection, but from now until worlds he needs to dedicate 90% of his time to rings and vault to ensure that he provides the maximum value on those events.

        I don’t believe that van Wicklen was ever as much in contention as a lot of people thought. His vault was under rotated and roughly landed both days and his high bar wasn’t close to being where it was needed. If he was approaching 15.0 on his vault every time, then he would have made a stronger case. Unfortunately he just wasn’t at that level.

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      3. Re van Wicklen not being in as much contention as people thought. The problem was that no one had seen him. If he was in the shape he was in at Winter Cup and scoring like he did there, he probably would have made the team and Wiskus would have been the alternate. We didn’t know he was going to fall on high bar and underrotate his vault though. I agree that he wasn’t based on what he did here, but I can see why people thought he might be based on what he was capable of. He may have lost some training time with the concussion unfortunately.

        The nominative roster for the US had Whittenburg and van Wicklen on it and Wiskus in what looks like the alternate spot. I can see where that would be the team you would want if everyone were at the top of their game. But since Whittenburg and van Wicklen didn’t show that here, I think the team that was named is the right one. Even if I wish Bower had made the team finally.

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      4. I wrote the post above and didn’t clarify that I thought he was not really in contention even at his peak. His vault has historically averaged around the 14.7 mark which doesn’t really provide much advantage and getting to a 14 on high bar was always a struggle. A vault specialist who has only one other significant event needs 15s or higher every time to make a good case.

        Howard’s advantage comes from his rings hits being close to a full point above anyone else and I think his consistent vaults really helped. However, the pressure is really on him to produce his peak rings routines at worlds. He needs to be approaching 15.0.

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      5. Howard isn’t “close to a point” better than others on rings. He maxed out at .5 better. And the idea that they picked him based on a stuck vault, that has the same Start Value as every other member of the team, only is more risky, is really pretty sad. Isn’t the whole point of having a SELECTION to see where the scores don’t necessarily tell the whole story. It’s highly likely that Howard will do just one event, total, at Worlds, and score, at best, .2-.3 higher than his teammates on that one, where as Bower bettered the next-best pommel score by at least .4 every single time AND was also third-best score on floor 3 days out of 4. Swap Bower for Howard, and Bower would likely compete on 3-4 events in prelims, and least 2 in team finals.

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  13. We’re at the point where the men’s team isn’t a shoe in for the team final (top 8) in world championships. Not that it matters since there’s a near 0 chance for a team medal, but that reflects poorly on USAG. With the Juniors coming in, it looks like it’ll get worse before it gets better.

    I hope this is a wake up call.

    Like

    1. Progressively worse isn’t really a wake up call until something pretty embarrassing happens. Like if Yul flops badly in qualifications, because he is still injured and the team doesn’t make the final as it lacks depth for several big mistakes.

      A big problem is NCAA is so different than elite and guys are usually doing both at the same time. They need to fix NCAA scoring, otherwise we’re shooting ourselves in the foot having men train for different skills that benefit one system and are useless in another.

      Also there are no male gymnast media *stars* in America. Imagine if someone like Niles Wilson was American? It’s not trendy here, because there are no big personality athletes around to hype it. No money, no fame, it’s more often than not, a free college trip for short boys and that’s it.

      Like

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