The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

American Cup – Women’s Live Blog

It appears we’ve gone and American Cupped again.

The original competition start time was listed as 11:00am CT, but it looks like we’re not starting until 11:30 CT now. IT WAS ALL A VICIOUS LIE.

Athletes are competing in two rotation groups (one of 7 athletes and one of 5) (I know…), which will effectively maximize “showing Morgan sitting there while Hitomi Hatakeda goes on bars” time.

And to whoever needs to know this — Italian Federation YouTube stream.

My Situation Room will have the TV broadcast, the NBC web broadcast, and the Italian YT feed, but with audio on the NBC web broadcast in case we get another “we don’t need the Korean” moment. You know, the important stuff.

We’ve still got some time because they haven’t even done the Dance of the Flags yet.

Kind of enjoying this “1080 on N64” soundtrack for the judges walking out. It was really “Ricky Winterborn versus Akari Hiyami.”


Dude, we’ve been over this. Don’t try to do real Chinese pronunciation. Just try to get close enough. When you try to do it real when you don’t speak Chinese it gets….iffy.

Also why is there a show on my NBC affiliate right now about how to do dishes?

Intros and anthem done, marching to events.


Nastia’s post-polo shirt life is truly popping off.

Nastia and Tim commentate together with a very “Dad, I swear you’ll like him, just give him a chance!” vibe.

Rotation 1

Di Cello – UB – toe to maloney to tkatchev with some feet – piked jaeger, hit – good handstand, loses her legs in pak but OK – van leeuwen, nice legs together – short handstands here and there – FTDT, stuck chest down.

Some form things, but strong and solid opening, normal.

Zhang – VT – Tsuk double full, hits it better than some we saw in training, no amplitude, lunge back – chest down, staggered. 14.133

LOL even the Italians are subjected to the NBC shapes on the international feed.

Voss – UB – stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger, nice and high – Church to Pak, good legs together – van leeuwen, good legs together, gienger hit – does her delladio fake-out dismount and stumbles back 150 thousand times on it.

Charpy – VT – Yfull, some piking down, medium bounce back. NCAA 9.750 unless you’re famous, then 9.850.

Nastia fully laughing at how easy a full is? Girl…

Godwin – UB – weiler and weiler 1/2 – maloney to pak to toe on to van leeuwen, a bit of legs at the end not bad – piked jaeger, good – slight muscle in a handstand – sticks her double pike with a lean. Fine.

Black – VT – she goes for the handspring layout full after all, after missing most of them in podium training – she hits it but a very deep landing with a large lunge to the side

We actually saw 6 of 7 routines in the first group of the first rotation, which by American Cup standards is amazing.

ANDREA IS YOUR CORONAVIRUS CORRESPONDENT. “Health and travel concerns” well, that summarized things efficiently.

Oh, Giorgia doesn’t feel like anyone is treating her any different. Mmhmm. How about Jin? How is she being treated.

Varianska – UB – stalder Shap to pak to maloney, gorgeous but then tries a full out of her maloney and is nowehre near handstand and has to come off – of course she would fall on a full and actually hit her tkatchev 1/2 to jaeger. Then gets caught in a toe full, goes halfway and hops off again.

“That’s a little shocking.” Hard disagree, Tim. That is the opposite of shocking.

And no dismount. Just over it.

Hurd – VT – nice landing on her DTY, small hop back, a bit of chest, one of her better ones.

We didn’t get to see Gadirova’s vault, but she got a 14.533 for it. COOL COOL COOL THAT’S FINE.

Villa – VT – huge amplitude on her DTY, small hop back, nice

You had five routines to show, and you managed three of them. That’s the NBC we know.

Guys, Villa got a lower score than Hurd on her DTY. Scam is that you???? Villa has more crossed legs but better amplitude.

Terry giving us the lowdown on the settlement offer, reading the Simone and Aly tweets and multiple word salads from USOPC and USAG at us.

Cool, we didn’t see the routine from the leader of the competition after one rotation. Good. It’s Gadirova, then Hurd, then Villa. You know they’ll show Gadirova’s bars and nothing else and be like, “WHO IS THIS GHOUL???”

Rotation 2

“We’re so sorry Gadirova is in first and not Morgan” – Terry, basically.

Let’s spend this waiting time for Sarah Voss talking about Kayla DiCello

Voss – BB – candle mount, Tim thinks her stag position wasn’t intention, dude it was and it was better than the normal ones – side aerial to loso, very nice – double turn, grabs the beam and can’t save it, fall – back on with a switch to switch 1/2 – aerial, nice and high – 2.5, step

Remember how Voss hadn’t fallen in 85 hundred beam routines and this was a lock event for her to hit? AHHAHAHAHA gymnastics is fun.

Chapry – UB – shap 1/2, solid – ouuuuuchhh slams her feet into the bar on a toe half, those bars looked very shaky and not sturdy when she was swining down. That was too loose.

She should be allowed a redo. And she will. Good. The bars were not correct.

Zhang Jin is like…what about that 10 I got????

Terry just asked Tim if he’s ever hit his foot on the low bar. Tim’s like…

We got to see her full re-spraying the bars instead of Godwin’s beam.

Charpy redo – shap 1/2 – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger, no broblem this time – Ricna to pak, hit – van leeuwen, some legs – short cast – a little loose back on a toe full but ends up in good handstand position – double tuck, small hop. Nice.

Varinska – BB – bhs bhs layout 2 feet, leg-up check, possible too much pike down – switch ring, hit – switch to sissone, nicely done – full turn with a check – aerial to split ring jump, a little slow in comb – side somi, solid – split leap to side aerial, hit – 2/1, large bounce.

A hit routine!

Black – UB – maloney to hindorff close but hit – very close on Shang but hits it again – piked jaeger to pak with a large leg break – hits van leeuwen – full to toe tuck 1/2, hop back. A messy one but stayed on the devil bars.

Ellie’s magical American Cup bars scores strike again with 13.800 for that.

Gadirova – UB – van leeuwen, hit with a leg break – blind to piked jaeger and falls. Sigh. We knew this one was going to be a struggle. Redoes the element and hits it – pak, good legs togehter – toe shoot, hit – giant full – blind to double front, step back. Just the one fall, which is kind of a victory…?

A little interruption with the Olympic Channel AA series, which…you know…you should definitely watch.

11.366 for Gadirova…

“Speaking of reading…MORGAN HURD KNOWS HOW”

Hurd – UB – stalder shap to stalder full to piked tkatchev, hit – Downie to pak, clean – perfect 1/2 turn on low bar NOTE – finishes toe full, a little late to FTDT, small hop. Good one. #ButHerInbars. But a pretty routine.

14.100 for Hurd. I have some comments about her E score on bars being only .2 better than Black.

Villa – UB – stalder Shap to tkatchev to pak, hit, some legs on pak – crazy short hs – shap to bhardwaj – hit – van leeuwen – another really short cast hs – tries her front giant full, can’t get it back to handstand and comes off –

GIORGIA. skadfjasl;kdfj;laskdf/

Di Cello – BB – hits candle mount – wolf triple, smooth – wolf double, also hit – side aerial to split to sissone – switch, nice, good toes – bhs loso loso, right on – aerial to split ring – really tentative split position on split 1/2 from side, but secure – bhs bhs double tuck, strong landing, chest well down.

Nearly her “here’s my beamer! *smack* next beamer! *pinch*” moment.

Petisco was going well on the devil bars but then just couldn’t cast up to handstand and had to rest against the bars.

13.466 for DiCello on beam. Best so far.

Rotation 3

Charpy – BB – large break on loso mount but keeps it on – solid amplitude on bhs loso series – wolf triple, hits – wolf double was a little shakier but also hit – side aerial – switch to split leap to korbut, connected smoothly enough – split jump 1/2 from side, tentative with a lean – aerial to split jump to bhs, some short split positions in here – double pike, chest well down, step, but a survival.

Godwin – FX – wolf triple, smoothly hit – front lay to double front, hands down and OOB, LIFE WHY – double tuck, large bounce back – hits double Y spin – switch to split leap full – front full – double pike, super deep knees on landing. Oh Georgia this is supposed to be a good one.

Black – BB – switch mount is hit – double turn with a lean but holds it – bhs lay 2 feet, solid work – switch to switch 1/2 to bhs, pretty tentative in those switches – side somi, solid – front layout full dismount, stuck. One larger break but pretty much great. Ellie is on track. 13.166

Varinska – FX – double tuck first pass, bounce back – double L? attempted triple I think but nowhere near the third one – 2.5 to front tuck, some crossed legs – split leap full – switch ring to split ring leap – falls out of triple Y attempt but much closer – 2/1, stuck.

More Gadirova erasure as we don’t see her beam routine on NBC, but at least we do on the world feed.

Gadirova – BB – candle mount – switch to switch 1/2, pause before back tuck, some feet on the switch 1/2 – switch ring, hits with a check – bhs loso loso, such smplitude, leg-up check – aerial to split jump to straddle – has some leg position on the dance elements and some checks but staying on well – HUGGGEEEE full in and hit with chest up very well, step back

Hatakeda – FX – high full in, lunge back – held leg double turn – 2.5 to front tuck, small bounce up in place – switch full, pretty good 180 there – wolf double was a little short of second rotation – double y spin also drops a tad early, so watch the D – double pike, hop back. Good tumbling work. She’s having a strong down – split leap full, well under 180 there.

13.933 for Gadirova on beam and up into 2nd currently. GET IT.

Hurd – BB – back full, very strong – side aerial to loso, hit, small lean adjustment – aerial to split jump to split ring jump, super solid – switch to straddle – switch ring is tentative, no credit for the element, and a check on it – full in dismount, goes for it and hits it – hop back. The switch ring was a problem and probably won’t get a couple combos, but strong work.

Morgan’s recomposing her routines right now and she’s my hero. That conversation she just had with Slava is my spirit animal.

13.733 beam for Hurd, she has nearly a half point on Black. DiCello still to go on the high-scoring ones.

Villa – BB – loso mount, slight wobble – tuck full, no chance, way off line and falls. Well, everything is terrible, there’s the update.

DiCello – FX – solid landing in DLO 1/1, quite a bit of shape but solid – double pike second pass, hop back – wolf truple was a little wobblier than her usual – hits double as well – back 1.5 to front full, legs but solid landing – split leap full, good – no correlation of music to movement, especially before last pass – double tuck is quite short with a lunge. Not her biggest or strongest. Fine but not huggeeeee. 13.400

Did we know about DiCello to Florida? If not, Terry just poiled it.

Petisco with a large break on her loso mount on beam but keep sit on – some lovely positions on dance elements but wobblies – bhs bhs loso, leg-up check – switch to switch 1/2, some small checks and back leg split jump 1/2, solid – side aerial, check – double tuck, lunge back. Stayed on.

Tom doing his best to tell you that Trials will be the top 4 AA without saying it. JUST SAY IT.

Voss – FX – back 1.5 to front full with a hop – 3/1 is pretty nice, good position, small step to the side with some chest position – double pike, well short wihth a lunge – 2.5 and falls. I thought she was going to be more solid today.

Zhang – BB – switch ring to split ring jump to korbut, gorgeous and smooth – bhs bhs layout 2 feet, small check, best 2 foot layout of the competition, easily – aerial to split jump to straddle – switch to sheep with a check, a couple short legs on the easily split elements – split jump 1/2 from side looked fine, small lean afterward – no one moved the springboard and it’s killing me – double full, step back. Good comeback hit.

It’s Hurd then Black then DiCello after 3, but DiCello is close enough that going to vault means she’s right in it to win.

Rotation 4

Black – FX – front full through to double pike, bounce back – front 2/1 to to front tuck, hit well, some legs in twisting – straight jump full through to a switch full, short of split there – 2/1, small hop –

She came through with a good hit day. Ellie Black. We shouldn’t have doubted.

Gadirova – FX – FINALLY! – hugeeee double double, small hop – switch ring and split leap full, very high and well done – front full through to double tuck, strong – split jump full, some knee but again great height on all these leaps – 2.5, nailed it – Excellent routine.

Hatakeda, just a FTY on vault, not a lot of amplitude or distance, good lay out, hop back.

13.700 for Gadirova! She goes ahead of Black. Wow.

That moment when she realizes she’s really good.

13.600 for Hatakeda, goes ahead of Gadirova. Going to see weird but we didn’t see her good events.

DiCello – VT – another solid DTY, some chest, hop back, good.

Hurd – FX – double double a little short with a small hop – beginning of the floor music is representative of how Chinese gymnastics team performances make you feel inside – front 2/1, hit – switch ring and split leap full are beautiful – full in with a slide back – double pike, good, small hop.

Really important, very solid competition for Hurd.

Hurd will win the competition with 55.832, Di Cello will go 2nd with 55.132.

“That was my actual start!” Lol.

Giorgia Villa falls on her opening full in. This is significant for Italy’s Olympic spot chances because if Villa had performed to her capability, they were legitimately in this. But now it’s a hole to get out of.

We’ve ended up with a very odd rotation order where all the currently top-ranked athletes have already competed in the last rotation, but we have another warmup group still to come. Usually they do that thing where the best-ranked athletes after 3 events go at the end of the final rotation, but maybe they can’t with two rotation groups.

Petisco – FX – full in, nice height, small slide – double arabian and well short, sits it down – whip double tuck, well short and a stumble forward – double pike was stronger

Zhang – FX – falls out of quad turn attempt, I’d say triple – whip 3/1 to punch front, lands it, short landing on her front with a step back – lovely switch ring position – 2.5 to front tuck, short and sits it down – double Y – double pike, large stumble back, OOB. Not getting back into China’s first tier with this meet.

Godwin – VT – really solid landing on her Tsuk full, nearly stuck it, small lean. Definite NCAA 9.9

Chapry – FX – finishing it out, NBC is like “we’re done with this meet bye never mind” – and for good reason – double front, huge stumble forward, down on her hands and knees and somehow continues lunging OOB.

Andrea: “Morgan this is the best we’ve ever seen you.”

Morgan: “DUH BITCH.”

1. Hurd – 55.832
2. DiCello – 55.132
3. Hatakeda – 53.799


Big competition for Hurd. She looked strong on four pieces and more comfortable with her routines than pretty much any point last year. The score will still need to keep improving over the year because 55.832 is expected from the top US all-arounders, but it’s a strong showing.

DiCello was good, but she also could have won this competition. Didn’t show a huge lift in difficulty compared to last year, and had that problem landing on floor.

Hatakeda was presumably excellent on the routines we didn’t see. Big podium result for her, and an equally significant 4th place for Gadirova despite a fall on bars. She won vault and floor and proved our hype right.

Black not bad coming back from injury, but somewhat surprising to see her down in fifth. The difficulty isn’t quite there yet and she’s not comfortable with the vault landing.

Disappointing for Villa, who is basically in “WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU” territory. Did you know you had a chance to win this competition? The remaining Italians are going to have to work out of this. 7th place with three falls. Hit those routines and it’s at least third place, if not second.

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