The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

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?

In the first half of the first rotation, we’ll see some vital bars routines with McCallum and Malabuyo both there. For everyone whose potential argument is “I finished 4th,” every hit will be critical. Jade Carey will also be on vault, and given that she’s not doing floor, I’m eager to see what difficulty she pulls out on vault. She was downgraded at nationals, and the expectation was that she would upgrade back to her usual for trials.

Quite a possible scenario that Skinner looks like the obviously superior vault specialist at trials but doesn’t get selected because Jade already has the vault spot. Exactly the concern (for USAG, not for Jade) presented in 2018 when she was picked to be able to go for that spot. What if someone else looks better when the time actually comes?

Word is that Jade warmed up the Amanar, which isn’t important for her at present because she already has an Olympic spot, but would help her position on the team look more like the ideal scenario.

Broadcast begins. SIMONE. HISTORY. OLYMPICS.

We’re confirming that Jade Carey is set in the individual spot, not doing the AA, and not going to be named to the team. So that’s done.

Nastia’s in “Golden Globes dress, saving the best one for the Oscars” tonight.

Rotation 1

Showing us that Skye Blakely tripped on her vault run and hurt herself. Yeouch and weird.

Miller – UB – she’s getting her look in the broadcast – toe full – no connection to Shap to Pak to stalder shap 1/2, just a little leg break – inbar 1/2 to jaeger, higggh, nice – late 1/2 turn on high – DLO, step back. Hit. 13.766

Fatta – VT – Blakely off vault – hits a DTY, pretty nice chest up, bounce back. 14.366

Carey – VT 1 – opens with a very nice Amanar. Questions answered there. Small step, some knees. Good.

Oh interesting just one vault for her though. But really nice Amanar. 15.200. 9.400 E score a bit high for me.

Drayton finishes up bars with a double tuck.

Jones – VT – DTY – awesome, small shuffle back, great height of course. 14.900

Jones WILL do a second vault though.

McCallum – UB – stalder full to maloney to pak to stalder shap 1/2 is very nice – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger, catches just a bit close but fine – downgrades the Downie to a Ricna – FTDT, step back. Important hit for her and should be a 5.8 D score.

GRACE’S BALL OF TAPE CLOSE UP.

13.833. A hit for her but not an overwhelming score by any means.

E Lee – UB – toe fiull to maloney to tkatchev, nicely connected – pak is clean – toe shap 1/2, leg break but caught – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger and takes it insanely close to the bar and hits basically her calves – DLO is good. Not helping her alternate quest.

Malabuyo – UB – stalder full, hangs on well to not go over – stalder shap to tkatchev, hit – piked jaeger is nice and high – some leg break on pak – stalder shap 1/2, again some legs – DLO 1/1, hop.

13.900 for Malaubyo on bars, same as her average from nationals.

DiCello – UB – stalder full to stalder shap to tkatchev is solid – Piked jaeger little close but fine – Church, hit – pak, broken connection into van leeuwen – FTDT, small hop. Should also be on 5.8 D score, like McCallum and Malabuyo.

Wong – VT – very pretty DTY, comfortably around, small movement. Good work. 9.3 E score and 14.700 total. Justice for Leanne.

13.966 for Dicello, so just slightly ahead of the other AAers.

Tim inverted the Courtneys identities again.

Chiles – UB – piked haegfer is hit – toe full to tkatchev to giant to piked tkatchev to pak, clean – maloney to gienger, a bit close but fine – FTDT, flung out but finds the stick. Good one.

Skinner – VT 1 – Hits an Amanar well, good distance, pace forward.

14.300 for Chiles, useful advantage there for her.

S Lee – UB – Nabieva to bharwaj to maooney to gienger, excellent – giant 1/2 to piked jaeger, fingertips but fine into pak and van leeuwen – giant full – FTDT, hop forward, just a little short on dismount but nailed it.

Skinner even stronger with her Cheng second vault. And 15.133 for her Amanar. Big deal for her.

15.300 for Lee on bars.

Eaker hit her Y1.5 with a hop forward. Continuing to get it a little more laid out.

Biles – UB – weiler 1/2 to maloney to tkatchev, good – toe full is fine into piked tkatchev to pak – van leeuwen – Fabrichnova and makes it look like a FTDT. Honestly one of her cleaner bars routines we’ve seen.

Well, a pretty successful rotation for all the contenders there.

Rotation 2

And we start with a fall from Carey on her Church. So there’s that.

McCallum – BB – hits candle mount – wolf triple to wolf double, clean – straddle 1/2 from side, hit – split leap, short of split to side aerial loso, large break, leg-up wobble but keeps it on – aerial to sissone to full turn to split to make sure to get her dance combo – double pike dismount is good. One large break won’t be the end of the world, but won’t match her nationals scores.

Just 11.300 for Carey on bars. But will she finishes second AA?

Jones – UB – Stalder full to maloney to tkatchev is strong – huge Downie to Pak but hits her feet on the mat swinging through on her pak, well that sucks. Double front excellent.

E Lee – BB – side aerial to loso to loso, excellent – switch to switch 1/2, check – bhs bhs layout, hits it, medium sized leg-up check – aerial to split to straddle – straddle jump 1/2 from side, hits split well – side somi, has to lean forward to save it, no connection into split jump 1/2 from side – bhs bhs double pike, bounce back. Good hit. Some checks but pretty solid.

13.866 for McCallum beam. Down .333 on nationals.

Wong – UB – toe full, a bit late but connects to maloney to pak to van leeuwen, lots of tuck to catch the VL – stalder 1/2 to jaeger – stalder – DLO is pretty, good landing. Won’t be a huge score, coutning a B element I think, but through it.

13.833 for Emily Lee. They haven’t been here for her.

Malabuyo – BB – wolf triple and wolf double are nice – arabian and falls – the first flinch of the day – bhs loso loso, hit with a small check – punch front, very deep but saves it – aerial to split to straddle is good – switch ring, flexed foot moment – bhs bhs double pike, deep chest, landed it.

13.666 for Wong on bars, so it’s an improvement from her nationals average at least.

Skinner – UB – weiler 1/2 to maloney is hit to tkatchev, solid – short cast hs – A bit close on Ray to pak, connects it – legs on van leeuwen – giant full, very late into Fabrichnova, but the Fabrichnova is strong. She’s here today.

Malabuyo still gets away with 13.000 on beam.

DiCello – BB – candle mount is fine – wolf triple to wolf double, no issue – side aerial – switch tp sissone – bhs loso loso is good – aerial to split and straddle – has a leg-up break on her side jump – bhs bhs double tuck, double tuck had to be PULLLLED around because it looked low, but she hit it, chest down.

Skinner 13.466 on bars.

13.766 for Dicello, one tenth shy of McCallum’s beam score. DiCello hopes to get her on floor.

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso, no second loso, but solid – aerial to straddle to bhs, hit – full turn – side somi, a bit of a lean and an arm wave – switch to switch 1/2, wobble – straddle jump 1/2, secure – sissone to wolf – round off to FTDT and STUCK. OK Jordan.

14.233 for Chiles on beam. She’s through both bars and beam with more 14s. No sign of a break yet.

Simone is not having these flickering in-arena lighting. Someone get fired.

McCusker – UB – toe full, pulls it around to shapo to tkatchev, good – Downie is hit – Ricna to pak, nicely done into stalder shap 1/2, solid – higgins to double front 1/2 out, hop back. Hit. Not quittte as strong as her 1.51 from nationals day 2, but very good.

S Lee – BB – wolf triple is good, wolf double is clean – aerial to split to bhs, connected cleanly – switch ring to split leap, good back leg on switch ring, high – switch to switch 1/2 to split ring jump, a little short on switch 1/2, should get the combo – side aerial to loso loso, great – bhs bhs 2/1, that was the only problem, short of rotation with a bounce back, but amazing on the beam.

14.800 for McCusker. Good score.

Eaker – UB – piked tkatchev to pak is clean – gets loose on shap 1/2 -0 clear hip full, a bit late – 1/2 to piked jaeger – cast 1/2, good vertical – DLO is clean.

Biles – BB – wolf triple causes slight problems, lean – aerial to split to straddle, small check – bhs loso loso, hit – switch to switch 1/2 to back pike, connected and secure – side aerial, small lean – split jump 1/2 from side to straddle 1/2, close to actual combo, we’ll see – bhs bhs double double, does the Biles dismount, and it looks quite good.

Lee went 14.733 on beam.

SIMONE ANKLE TAPE CAM.

15.133 for Simone, even with the checks. Same E score as Lee.

Nice double pike beam dismount from Drayton.

After 2:
Lee – 30.033
Biles – 29.733
Skinner – 28.599
Chiles – 28.533
Wong – 28.366

Skinner has kept herself in solid AA position right now,e but DiCello and McCallum have floor and vault left and Skinner has already done vault and still has to do beam.

Rotation 3

We’re back during the rotation change to see Lee’s beam routine, which they didn’t immediately show during the TV broadcast. Probably not important.

Eeesh Leanne Wong just dove into lava on her beam dismount. Whole thing:
Wong – BB – switch to straddle was lovely – aside aerial to loso and falls – oh dear dear – L turn is good to full turn – switch ring, small arm wave – aerial, arm wave – split ring jump, arm wave – wolf jump full – and then a million lunges on her 3/1 attempt. NOT GREAT>

Really pretty floor from Malabuyo for 13.566. If she hadn’t missed on beam…

DiCello – BB – double double tuck is really solid – DLO, nice, small slide – wolf triple, hit, at least some choreo between the triple and the double? Some? – 1.5 to front full, some knees, good – switch ring to split leap full, hit – double pike, lunge back. But the first three landings were strong and it should remain a good number.

And now the TV broadcast having it’s “Oh crap Leanne” moment. Just 11.500, which is devastating.

Skinner – BB – bhs tuck full is pretty solid, small arm wave – side aerial, check – split and straddle, hit – switch to switch 1/2, small pause before back pike – may not get credit for straddle 1/2 from side, well short of split – L turn to full turn – round off and goes for the FTDT and hits it, somewhat deep.

Chiles – FX – wolf triple, hit – DLO 1/1, lands it OOB with both feet, nice in the air – DLO, small slide – switch – split leap 1.5 – solid third pass – double pike, bounce back but keeps this one in bounds.

Wow, 14.133 for Skinner on beam to 13.966 for DiCello on floor.

Skinner got nearly all her D credited on beam.

Eaker – BB – side aerial loso loso is nice – switch to switch 1/2 to korbut, beautiful – switch ring with a large leg up check – to another swingdown? – split leap to side somi is good – bhs bhs 2.5, small hop

S Lee – FX – double double tucked, nice, hop back – switch ring – double L turn definitely around, more like 2.5 – 1.5 to front full, bounce forward has to really work to get her wolf triple around, followed by the double – double back, forward and a hop, not her strongest but fine.

14.400 is better for Eaker these despite the errors.

Biles – FX – casual triple double – Biles to stag, a little low on the stag position but fine – switch full, super high – wolf triple gets it around – front full to FTDT, small bounce back, keeps it in bounds – split leap 1.5, definitely around – double double, a larger bounce back but looks like she stayed in.

Just 13.233 for Sunisa Lee on floor, which will have implications for who ends up being the highest-scoring team because you’ll want them to deliver floor.

15.366 for Simone.

A look back in on the Skinner beam routine now, which was one of her strongest hits.

A hit beam from Carey, some checks but comes back from bars.

Jones – BB – sissone to full turn is lovely – Arabian, hits it, a little deep with a check but kept it on – front tuck, step forward and some movement – hits loso series – side aerial, good – switch 1/2, not too bad on the position – hits her side leaps – bhs bhs double pike, a little close but fine, step back. MUCH improved on beam.

McCallum – FX – double double tucked, hop back but solid – front lay to front 2/1, a little short, shuffle back – switch ring and split leap full – wolf triple and wolf double, good – full in, another smaller step – doiuble tuck, chest up, shuffle back. Some steps but good. Improved on nationals.

NBC is back to Eaker on beam. Great save on that ring, but year she definitely did two swingdowns.

Big 14.166 on floor for McCallum, exactly the kind of floor score she needed. That gets her up to 5th with vault still to come, which will help her.

E Lee – FX – double double tucked, hit – 2.5 to front full, controls the landing with a lean forward to keep herself from going OOB – switch ring to switch 1.2 – double tuck, stuck landing – L turn double, leg may have dropped a bit too low – double pike, hop back.

After 3:
Biles – 45.099
S Lee – 43.266
Skinner – 42.732
Chiles – 42.166
McCallum – 41.865
Eaker – 41.832
DiCello – 41.698
Jones – 41.599

Rotation 4

Chiles opens the rotation with a casually fantastic DTY. 14.966

Skinner – FX – Moors, chest down, some clear tucking, control – double double tucked is very strong, chest just down a bit – stands up out of her wolf double attempt, so some credit risk there – full in, hit, hop back – L hop full – switch 1/2 – front tuck through to 2.5, fairly lunge lunge but that will be on the good side of the scores for her. Will give her a shotat staying top 4 today.

Biles – VT 1 -starts with Cheng, large bounce back today, super clean of course. 15.466 you know.

13.866 for Skinner on floor. Big deal for her. That probably also puts her on the highest-scoring team based on today’s scores.

Amanar second vault for Simone, huge of course, medium hop.

NBC is so pissed that she’s not doing the double pike, they hav to show the replay from Classic.

13.633 for Eaker on floor will get her up to a very respectable 55.465 AA score.

Onto the touch before the final half of the last rotation. So far it has been a big day for Skinner, and McCallum and DiCello are doing what they need to do to keep themselves in it. It may be too late for Wong, but a huge floor score here could help.

If McCallum and DiCello do normal DTYs, they’ll be a few tenths back of Skinner heading to day 2.

Interesting that Carey warmed up floor. She was removed from the start list on that event.

McCallum – VT – DTY, large-ish bounce back

Carey – FX – DLO 1/1, bounce back and OOB – L turn double, heel drops a little – full in second pass is solid – L hop full – DLO, bounce back. Easy double tuck. Normal, solid, not her D score.

14.633 for McCallum and she’s one tenth behind Skinner.

Malabuyo solid DTY with a hop back. Good day on 3 events.

Thought McCallum’s vault score was prettttty high for that large bounce.

DiCello – VT – DTY good height, a little bit of leg crossing, bounce, not quite as large as McCallum’s

Jones – FX – 1.5 twisting double tuck, hit it, large lunge forward – DLO, chest forward, little hop – double L turn is around, pretty work – double arabian, bounce forward, just does keep that in bounds – double tuck, solid landing. Much improved today on beam and floor, shame about the bars error.

So Skinner will have 1 tenth on McCallum and 3 tenths on DiCello. Tomorrow’s going to be A DAY.

13.400 gets Jones a solid AA result.

NBC has gone all Leanne Wong doesn’t exist after her beam miss, but her floor could still be significant.

Wong – FX – L turn is around – double double tucked, very secure landing but chest well down – bouncy on her popa landing – whip to triple full, slide back – L hop full and switch ring look nice – 2.5 to just a half? Weird error, hops it around to show the full twist but she didn’t do a full – double pike, bounce back –

Great first half but the second half won’t do it.

13.933 for wong on floor still, but it could have been the 14 she needed. She’ll still be close to the highest-scoring team based on today if anyone cares.

Day 1
1. Biles – 60.565
2. S Lee – 57.666
3. Chiles – 57.132
4. Skinner – 56.598
5. McCallum – 56.498
6. DiCello – 56.298

Tomorrow is going to be intense for that 4th spot. Nothing decided yet.

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