The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Scores, Post-Classic

It’s time for a little score check-in. Now that we have a few more numbers for everyone, it’s a little easier to see where we are now and what people need to do at nationals in a week’s time (!) to save their team-selection narratives.

These scores take into account every meet so far in 2021 for those who have qualified to nationals, along with the associated/presumed petition people. (I think. We’ll know whenever USAG announces the roster.)

I’ll start with what happens when taking everyone’s best score on each event from any competition in 2021.

Best Score All-Around

So, no surprise that Simone is on top with two falls. The thing I didn’t expect before hitting “sort” was Leanne Wong up there tied with DiCello in third place. That’s largely thanks to her vault and floor scores from the March camp, which were quite a bit higher than we saw from her at the Classic meets on those events. Whether that’s a realistic representation of what we might see at nationals/trials, who can say, but it’s worth keeping in mind that her apparent peak is right up there for now.

Next, the same thing but by average of all 2021 scores instead of peak.

Best Score Average

Less surprising numbers here, pretty much reflecting and reinforcing the hierarchy we saw at Classic, with Wong dropping back down because she has more misses and 12s on her record this year.

Now to do the same thing on the events.

Best Score VTAverage Score VT

Biles, Skinner, and Chiles make up the top three vaulters for the US so far this year, though there are also tons of the DTYies who are quite close.

Jade Carey’s one vault showing early this year put her at 14.800, right in there but also potentially significant in the “JADE CAREY FOR TEAM INSTEADDD?” flight of fancy in that her vault has not separated itself from a Jordan Chiles DTY in the scores.

Best Score UBAverage Score UB

Sunisa Lee enjoys a major lead in the top bars score standings—though her fall at US Classic sees her drop a smidge behind McCusker’s one routine on the average score standings. The edge that Lee’s 15.200 provides over everyone else on the best scores shows what a team-score advantage that routine can provide if she shows consistent hits over the next few competitions.

One surprise for me is how high Chiles sits on the bars leaderboards. Like bars, though. She has gone over 14 on bars in all three of her attempts this year.

For those trying to make a case for this team for their bars routine specifically, we’re going to need to see better than a mid-14.

Best Score BBAverage Score BB

Emily Lee’s 15.100 from the March camp is the top US beam score for the year, eclipsing Biles’ hit from Classic, and could be a big deal if she’s able to replicate it. Though if I were Emily Lee, I would be somewhat concerned that my pretty-wobbly-but-stayed-on beam routine from Classic went just 13.700 without a fall or beam grab.

Again, Chiles’ every-routine-over-14 solidity has her in the top three on beam based on average, and this remains the event where Blakely is breaking in with that 14.600 she got that one time.

Significant so far is that we’re not seeing Eaker break the top three yet on either measure. For someone who’s Olympic argument is theoretically as a beam specialist, she’d need to get out of the low 14s.

Best Score FXAverage Score FX

Biles is still so far ahead with a fall. Chiles has the second-best floor score of the year so far, just ahead of Wong’s from camp, but does fall down the list on average thanks to miss from WOGA Classic, which was very early in the year.

I expect a lot of shaking things up on floor at championships as more people start…errrr…trying there. But also look at Emily Lee sitting in the top 3 by average on two separate events.

We’re not trying to make teams yet (ppppppssssh yes we are) because it’s so early (ppppppssssh I don’t care), but if you take either set of numbers for this year—the best scores or the average scores—you end up with the same top-scoring team in a 3-count scenario: Biles, Chiles, S Lee, and DiCello, on 176.000 by best scores and 172.7872 by average scores.

I’ll do this again after nationals to see where we are.

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