But Why?: Reflections on the US Olympic Team

We officially have the US women’s Olympic squad. The four-woman team will be Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum, and the two individual competitors are Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner.

Which makes total sense and is logically sound at every turn.

Just kidding, it’s a clown fire, obviously.

So let’s get into it. We always knew it was going to be extremely close for the fourth spot on this team, and it ended up being even closer than that. But if we dive into the actual numbers from Olympic Trials, this is what we see.

Based on each athlete’s best score from trials on each event, we end up with these 3-count team scores

Biles, Lee, Chiles, Skinner: 177.662
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Wong: 177.396
Biles, Lee, Chiles, McCallum: 177.395
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Eaker: 177.329
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Jones: 177.296
Biles, Lee, Chiles, DiCello: 177.262

And based on each athlete’s average score from the two days of trials, we end up with these 3-count team scores

Biles, Lee, Chiles, Skinner: 175.080
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Wong: 174.981
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Eaker: 174.831
Biles, Lee, Chiles, McCallum: 174.730
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Jones: 174.681
Biles, Lee, Chiles, DiCello: 174.647

In both methods, the team with MyKayla Skinner comes out on top, followed by the team with Leanne Wong. The team with McCallum is in third and fourth place respectively.

What we saw at trials was a team of Biles, Lee, and Chiles that didn’t really need any help, but the routine that provided the biggest boost to the score was Skinner’s vault, thanks to her difficulty. That’s why I would have selected Skinner for for the fourth spot. She earned it with her results at trials more than the other contenders.

Now, it is very close and there are absolutely valid reasons to want someone like McCallum (though this argument also extends to Wong and DiCello) on that team instead of Skinner despite Skinner making up the highest-scoring group. Most significantly, McCallum provides more realistic routines on all four pieces. She would be a better Swiss army knife to slot into any and every role should someone get super injured, or someone get “I’m kind of injured but you don’t want to remove me from the team because I can still do bars,” or if you simply want to rest someone in the team final because it’s a long event and you’re going to win anyway.

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Women’s Olympic Trials – Day 2 Live Blog

One last day of this whole situation. 8:00 ET/5:00 PT.

So where are we?

Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, and Jordan Chiles were on the default team before trials and all did what they needed to do on day 1. Chiles’ buffer over the contending group is not a full fall, so she will be eager to hit floor closer to her capabilities today in order to keep herself in the top group should something go wrong on beam or whatever. But really it’s about the 4th spot. As it was, as it always will be.

MyKayla Skinner is currently in 4th place and would make up the highest-scoring team based on the situation on day 1. In terms of team-score permutations, she’s in control right now because her difficulty on vault and floor is the highest and she’s very, very likely to come up with the best vault score among the contenders.

But, Skinner had the beam routine of her elite life on the first day to end up exactly 1 tenth ahead of McCallum and 3 tenths ahead of DiCello. Can she keep up that all-around placement on day 2? And if she doesn’t, will her vault and maybe-floor be enough to get her on a team?

McCallum and DiCello both did well on the first day, but will be aiming for a few more tenths across the board on each event. McCallum will be eager to pick up that beam score and do what she did at nationals. McCallum outscoring Chiles on beam, even if it’s by a tenth, would be significant for her because it would give her another area to add tenths as a 4th member (and would make it harder for Skinner to beat her in the AA).

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Men’s Olympic Trials – Day 2 Live Blog

Decision day!

Heading into today’s competition, the default team must be considered Malone, Mikulak, Wiskus, and Moldauer, with it taking some real issues today to shake that up.

For the +1, the Nedoroscik miss on the first day has put Yoder in the driver’s seat, though I don’t think I’m quite as “IF YODER HITS HE HAS IT” as Tim sounds like he is. If Nedoroscik hits and scores higher than Yoder today, I think he’ll still be considered, which is fine by me because the US men don’t have the luxury of selecting for consistency. They must select for peak scoring ability if going for actual medals. Also, let’s all hope Whittenburg pulls out the Dragulescu today and hits both vaults to act as the chaos agent we need.

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Women’s Olympic Trials – Day 1 Live Blog

Good gravy, we have arrived. 7:30ET/4:30PT. Trials.

All eyes will be on WHO IS NUMBER 4 today, though I do think it’s also still incumbent upon Chiles and Sunisa Lee to hit most of their routines. I sure wouldn’t feel safe if I were them in an “oh I fell a couple times and now I’m 5th” kind of scenario.

As for the 4th spot, I’m still inclined to believe it’s most likely going to whoever else finishes in the top 4 in the AA, but we don’t know that for sure. Keeping track of who ends up actually adding the most to the team score will be the big assignment of the day.

Event stream.

News of the day thus far is that McCusker is no longer slated for beam either, so she’ll just be on bars, which is the only event she did in PT. Meanwhile, Jade Carey is off the list for floor after dealing with some sort of leg issue herself in PT.

So I guess we don’t have to think about WHAT IF JADE MAKES THE TEAM TEAM anymore.

Is one event going to be enough for McCusker to still get a +1? It should be as long as she’s still getting 15s. But will it, if she’s not even presenting options for other events and neither of your prospective +1s/alternates present backup floor at trials?

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