The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Men’s Olympic Trials Day 1 – Live Blog

Trials. It’s happening.

For the first day of men’s competition, I’d say the most important performance belongs to Shane Wiskus. He was on all the prospective teams before nationals, but his performance at that meet left other options looking at least as viable. A real hit on high bar as well as improvements on vault would do wonders for his chances.

So in the first rotation, seeing if Wiskus can come up with better vault landings than he had at nationals will be significant, as will Brody Malone on high bar, who needs to produce another hit there to be like, “I’m obviously on the team.”

Leading off the first rotation will be Donnell Whittenburg attempting a Ri Se Gwang I, so…it won’t be boring.

Also we’re starting with the three rotation groups on vault, PBars, and HBar for some reason. You know, like the order you have. And then on day 2, they’re starting on floor, rings, and Pbars. There must be a reason for this madness…but what?

NBCSN is the TV broadcast, and the apparatus stream is here.

Oooh, Nedoroscik got the coveted “third person we cut to” role, following Malone and Mikulak. Big upset.

Nastia is going as Rita Skeeter for men’s.

Colin Van Wicklen will not compete. And then there were 19.

Sam interviewed by Andrea. Chill and love and good and love.

Rotation 1

Whittenburg – VT 1 – Tsuk double tuck 1/1 – actually successfully lands it, which is a big deal for him, hops back, but, you know, not a fall. 15.050, huge.

Modi – HB – german giants, struggles working out of them and scrapes his leg – hit the rest. 13.600 and a 7.7 E score, about exactly what he was doing at nationals.

Whittenburg hits his double front second vault but actually a weaker landing than the first vault, large lunge forward.

Mikulak – VT – very solid Kas 1.5, small hop forward, a bit of knees. Good. 14.350

Briones has a really nice finishing position on his tak 1/1 on HB, but then the tak 1/2 was basically horizontal. Finishes with DLO 1/1, stuck.

Really nice Kas 1.5 from Wiskus, what he needed, but a bit of knees and a small hop. Strong.

Bock clipped his foot on a front straddle on PBars. He follows 13.450 from Bower there.

Just 13.300 for Briones on HB.

Loos – HB – Yam, good – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2, clean catches – tak 1/2 somewhat crooked, not as late as Briones – DLO 1/1, stuck landing, a bit of piking throughout. Good start. 13.200, just a 4.9 D score.

14.600 on vault for Wiskus. Giant score.

Malone – HB – “we’ll talk more about the rodeo as we go along” MUST WE? – Cassina, just does get his hands around, a little leg break – Kolman is good – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2, hit – layout tkatchev 1/2, comfortable – tak 1/1, nearly went over the wrong way but pulled it back well – DLO 2/1, somewhat short, hop forward. Some errors but will still be a solid score.

14.450 with a 6.5 D score. Quite a bit lower than he was getting at nationals, but still a useful HB score in the US.

Tim trying to make something out of Yul taking a long time to chalk the PBs. Like, he’s obviously in a scoring delay, just like always?

Moldauer – PB – good front straddle 1 1/14 – diam is nicely done – small hesitation out of peach – hits makuts cleanly – front tuck 1/2 – double front 1/2 out, chest pretty well down but he holds the stick with a lean. Solid start.

14.4 from Moldauer, down a bit on his nationals scores.

BUT HE WAS FIRED UP, SO HOW CAN LOW SCORE?

I actually was surprised by that score, but I’m sure they weren’t pleased by that chest position on landing.

Vaulters, Malone, and Mooldauer lead the AA after 1.

Rotation 2

Briones – FX – double front pike, hop – double double is clean, small hop – front 2/1 just a little short – really solid work overall

Bower – HB – yam, some pike – Kovacs is hit – layout tkatchev, some shape but hit – tak 1/1, nice vertical – stalder – DLO 1/1, hop back. Through it. 12.950.

Mikulak – PB – front toss, clean – healy, good – disastrous 1/2 turn attempt out of peach, loses his legs and doesn’t get to handstand – front straddle to long swing is good, bhavsar also solid – tippelt extremely clean – stutz, nice – double front dismount, holds stick with a lean. Most of it was great, but a large error in there.

13.900 for Briones on floor, OK but he can get 14s. Loss matches him with a 13.900 as well.

13.950 for Mikulak. Rough days.

Malone – FX – front full to double pike, hop – 2.5 to front 2/1, small hop – double double, nearly finds stick – 1.5 to front 1.5, hit – 3/1, step back. Better than nationals.

Yoder finishes PBars with a double front 1/2 that’s so high. 13.900 there.

13.750 for Bock on HB, scoring much better than at Pan Ams.

14.600 for Malone with an 8.6 E score. Hugely up on his nationals numbers.

Wiskus – PB – healy, clean – peach to giant to front tuck 1/2, lands it well, slight hestiation on catch and missed a hand but covered it well – good handstand on diam, front straddle – good swing through bhavsar – tippelt, solid – double front, small hop. Pretty work.

Moldauer – HB – tak 1/1, late and some tucking – yam, quite low and some piking – tkatchev – tak 1/2, tucks it, very late that time – DLO 1/1 is clean and stuck. Survived?

Whitteburg – PB – healy, leg break but gets to handstand – peach 1/2 with some walking – double back to arms is nice but all over the place on some of these handstand control moments – double front onto the bars – front pike – great flight elements – double front 1/2 out, saves the stick with a swim. OK.

Modi went 14.150 on floor, which is a really strong result for him.

OUCH. Yul just 12.450 on HB. I’m not sure he was expecting thattt low, Tim. You can’t put Bower on a team with him the way they both got 12s on HB today.

That means Wiskus will have the lead after 2 rotations.

After 2:
Wiskus 29.100
Malone 29.050
Mikulak – 28.300
Whittenburg – 28.250
Neff – 28.150

Moldauer down in 11th after that HB. Bower is 13th. They’ll move up now that HB is done, but no mistakes allowed.

Saying that Nedoroscik was “on track” to win an apparatus spot is quite a statement. There was a lot of hitting a winning between where he was and winning PH.

Rotation 3

Loos is starting us off on PH – has a lot of hip angle moments and does not come up to handstand on dismount.

The high bar apparatus stream has this cool feature where it freezes during every release.

Just 12.400 for Loos. 13.300 for Bock on floor.

Malone on horse now – his work is pretty low to the pommel and there are a number of little leg breaks in here, so I don’t expect a high execution score.

Tim has done even more analysis of the MAG gymnast butt situation than I have.

We’ve got a dueling Wiskus HB and Nedoroscik PH situation right now, which is fun.

Immediate fall for Nedoroscik. This is why we can’t have nice things. I don’t want to do this meet anymore.

What a jewel he is.

Looking back on Wiskus on HB – no Cassina today – hits Kolamn with some legs – Kovacs is hit – tak 1/1, pulls it around to handstand pretty well – tak 1/2 is later, which has been a theme – DLO 1/1, stuck landing, some knees throughout. Solid work.

13.800 for Wiskus. He’d really have wanted a 14, but getting 13.800 without the Cassina…

Moldauer – FX – punch randi si short, hop forward – better landing on second pass, stuck – front 2/1 to front full, stuck – 2.5 to rudi, a pretty large bounce back – 3/1, holds the stick. 14.250. Gets away with a pretty solid number there.

Modi has a hesitation up to handstand on horse and the usual things, but through it.

Dyer – FX – double front pike 1/2 out, solid – double double layout, small hop – a couple small hops, nothing large – double front tuck 1/2 out, same – 2/1, clean – Tong Dei gets a yell – 2.5 to 1/2, very clean and stuck – double dobule tuck with a stagger back, chest down.

Mikulak – HB – Cassina is hit – Kolman, also gets it – layout tkatchev – tkatchev – tkatchev 1/2 is a problem, muscles out of itwith a hesitation – tak 1/2, gets vertical but a clear leg break there – DLO 2/1, hop back. OK, not super clean. I’m surprised by 13.850 a bit.

Why are they pretending to be surprised by Yul’s floor score? That was not a good one for him, and he got away with a good number.

Bower – FX – double front pike, large bounce forward – double double tuck, stuck landing, good – front 2/1 to front full – holds a couple sticks, has a few moments of slightly ragged legs in twisting – 3/1, a bit short. OK, not ideal. Still gets 14.400.

We’re halfway done and Wiskus is retaining the lead.

After 3:
Wiskus – 42.900
Malone – 42.450
Mikulak – 42.150
Nedd – 41.500
Moldauer/Whittenburg 41.100

Whittenburg managed to stay in the top 5 after a 12.850 on HB, to illustrate how today is going.

Andrea with a special report on Paul Juda.

Diab is up on rings, and if Nedoroscik and Yoder can’t get their PH together. A small hesitation in an inverted cross, but ottherwise quite good – double double tuck, hop back.

“One of the best routines of your life.” So the HYPERBOLE IS OUT tonight.

Juda is a little stuttery on his scissors at the beginning on PH, but a really solid routine after that, lovely flare work.

14.500 for Diab isn’t going to get that spot.

Wiskus – FX – double front pike, bound forward, possible OOB – double front 1/2 out, secure landing, some legs apart – double double tuck is clean, small hop – 2.5 to front full, holds it well – very low 1/2 turn in combination, comes out totally horizontal and has to save it – 3/1, holds it with a lean. One large error though.

Malone 14.200 on rings, again a little lower for him but a useful score.

Neff 13.600 on floor, another solid number for him.

Wiskus gets to 14.000 for floor.

Whittenburg – FX – front full to double front pike, short, stumble back – double double layout, hop, chest forward – double front pike 1/2 out is apretty solid, but another fairly large hop – double double tuck, chest forward, hop – nice stick on final pass.

Moldauer through PH with a hit, which is important for him.

Mikulak – FX – punch rudi, stuck, good – back 2.5 to double front, well short, just does save it with a squat – double front pike, great stick – front 2/1 to front full, hit – 2/1, stuck – 3/1, holds the stick with quite a lean that will get deducted. Had the deep squat, but I expect a real score.

Moldauer will certainly take a 14.100 for his PH.

14.600 on floor for Mikulak. That will work. He’ll be ahead of Malone and close to Wiskus now.

Bower is through PH with a good hit, though the mistakes he needed other people to have today aren’t really happening, with Wiskus hitting HB and Moldauer hitting PH.

After 4:
Wiskus 56.900
Mikulak 56.750
Malone 56.650
Moldauer 55.200
Neff 55.100

So…it’s exciting for the top 3 spots right now. Though I think what we’ve learned so far tonight is that the top 4, aka your team before any of this started, is looking pretty good.

Yoder to PH in this rotation.

Rotation 5

Malone – VT – nearly finds the stick on his Kas 1.5, small hop back

14.500 for him there.

An upset: The Gunther Cam.

Wiskus gets through PH with a 13.500. Whittenburg will have to get through it now.

Whittenburg nearly survived PH, looked like he was going to, but came off at the end right before dismount.

Moldauer sticks double double tuck after rings.

Mikulak up now on horse – he’s ALL OVER THE PLACE in the legs department throughout that thing. But…he stayed on?

Mikulak just 13.150 on horse. No better than nationals despite staying on.

Critical PH from Yoder now. Big hit for him. Very nicely done.

Loos with a Kas 2/1 and hit with a bounce back.

15.050 for Yoder.

Neff loses his swing toward the end on PH, which will drop him out of the top 5.

I feel like Tim is overpromising in the Yoder regard. If Nedoroscik hits his full difficulty on day 2, I could still see it being him.

After 5
Malone – 71.150
Wiskus – 70.400
Mikulak – 69.900
Moldauer – 69.250
Briones – 68.750

So, still seeing no reason for that four not to be the four, even though pommel horse.

And now the USOPTC group gets to end on…RINGS. What a climax.

Rotation 6

Nastia is like, “Brody Malone has already won, all he needs to do is 7 more routines perfectly.”

We’ve got a hit Kas 1.5 from Moldauer for 14.400, a solid number today. Two small steps.

Dyer goes for Kas 2/1, comes up short, chest down and a bit of a stagger. Second vault is an excellent handspring double front, stuck.

14.100 on rings for Whittenburg, which is one of the better rings scores of the day, but not a specialist score.

Mikulak on rings, some low angle on a planche – mostly fine, one handstand hesitation – double double tuck and a large bounce back.

Eeesssh 13.300 on rings for Mikulak.

Modi 13.950 on PB, finishes up on 82.550. Mikulak will finish behind Moldauer now.

Bower VT – Kas 1.5, nice stick, very much his usual, some leg form. Still goes 14.500.

Wiskus finishes on rings – only bursts a couple of forehead arteries, so a successful day for him – good handstands – double double tuck dismount, lunge back

The 13.900 for Wiskus on rings, which is solid for him and puts him well ahead of Moldauer and Mikulak.

Malone finishes on PB – slightly short on hs to start – Makuts very nice – bit of angle getting up to hs on peach – tippelt, clean – healy, good – diam, a little bit of travel – stutz is clean, double pike, a little short with a hop.

FINAL:
Malone – 85.250
Wiskus – 84.300
Moldauer – 83.650
Mikulak – 83.200
Briones – 82.700
Modi – 82.550
Bower – 82.500
Juda – 82.200

So now let’s work with some numbers.

No surprise, but the Malone, Wiskus, Moldauer, and Mikulak team is the best-scoring group by a clear margin.

The next-best would have Bower in place of Mikulak, of which there is a 0% chance of that happening.

Will be interesting to see what happens with PH on day 2, and whether Whittenburg upgrades his second vault to try to get in there as a specialist. Though will be tough if Yoder gets another 15 on PH or Nedoroscik goes huge because that’s kind of where their mind has been.

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