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).

DiCello can also pick up some tenths on beam but will aim more toward getting her floor back into the 14s, where it was at nationals, and using a higher bars score to try to move up in the AA. DiCello has struggled on bars since the switch over to Senoh for nationals and trials, but she got a 14.600 on bars at Classic, and bringing back something close to that would be a game changer for her AA score.

Given the current state of the all-around standings, those three seem to be generally accepted as the ones in the race here. I will gladly die on the “but the team score with Leanne Wong is right there too” hill because the reason she’s way back in the all-around is her disastrous day 1 beam. If you’re using Biles, Lee, Chiles on beam, that doesn’t matter, but I don’t actually think she has a real-life shot at this point because of her current all-around placement.

For me, McCusker remains the frontrunner for the +1, but I also have exactly no idea how they’re going to interpret that spot, or what they’re going to value, or if they’re just going to cop out and pick the next person in the all-around. McCusker goes on bars right away today, so that will be a thing.

Also in the first rotation, McCallum and DiCello will both be on vault, a relatively risk-free event, but they will be eager to blunt the advantage that Skinner has in any possible way by improving on their 14.633 and 14.600 scores respectively from day 1. Skinner is on bars, which is a pretty much insignificant event for potential team contribution, but surviving it for another mid-13 will be critical for her ultimate placement.

Let’s get going.

Mike Tirico here to tell Tim how to pronounce “exclamation point.”

Nastia what. She’s going to just…flap away. Inspired by her old beam choreography.

The trio taking us through the team format. Sweating through the possibilities.

Rotation 1

Biles – VT 1 – Chengs with no problem – just a little foot cross, largeish bounce back. 15.400

Eaker through bars with a pretty piked jaeger.

Biles – VT 2 – Amanar – strong one of course, but also a large-ish bounce back.

“Sucks.:

McCusker – UB – h crap a fall on her opening toe full – resumes with toe full to maloney to tkatchev – Ricna to Pak to stalder Shapo 1/2 is good – hits dismount but a BIG OL DEAL. Will they take her for a +1 with a 1/2 performance at nationals? Who else do you even take?

Sunisa Lee with pretty good control for her on her DTY today. 14.600 for Lee. Puts potentially more emphasis on the floor scores today.

Chiles – VT – excellent DTY, great height, small hop. 14.933

Just 13.566 for Riley. The +1 is going to be chaos.

Skinner – UB – weiler 1/2 to maloney to tkatchev, hit, a little close – Ray, some elbows, connects fine into pak – crazy legs on van leeuwen but hit – full to Fabrichnova – chest a bit lower but a solid hit.

DiCello with a REALLY nice DTY landing, small hop in place. Should be a big number, close to Chiles. Yeah 14.833.

“Morgan Horde.”

Long wait on Skinner’s score. 13.500, about on track from day 1.

Malabuyo went 14.333 for a DTY.

Done with part 1 of the first rotation, the big news is the Riley fall, also Lee and DiCello improving on vault is significant.

Wong – UB – toe full, a bit late but connects into maloney to pak to van leeuwen, good legs together – stalder 1/2 to jaeger – cast 1/2 – stalder – DLO, lands deep with a lunge forward.

McCallum – VT – also a stronger DTY from her – small hop in place – some ragged legs but will be close to DiCello on that one. 14.766

Jones falls on bars and I hate everything.

McCallum and DiCello both move ahead of Skinner as expected because they were on vault and she was on bars, but because they both improved their numbers on those events more than Skinner did, they’ve tightened up the race even more.

Andrea, what is a “gymnastics don’t ever give up” campaign?

Carey – UB – hits Church to gienger – yezhova with some legs – maloney to bhardwaj, again som legs – toe shap 1/2, legs together – FTDT, small hop

We’re looking back at Skinner on bars. I love that they have no comments about her form whatsoever.

13.733 for Carey on bars. Higher than Riley’s score. Ouch.

So rotation 1 is done. I mean I’m still picking McCuskerr as my +1, but will they?

Laurie even giving us a standings update. She’s perfect.

Rotation 2

Chiles and Skinner will both be up to start this rotation.

Chiles – UB – piked jaerger, hit – toe full to tkatcehv – piked tkatchev to pak – a bit short on cast hs on low – maloney to gienger is clean – FTDT, stuck with a stagger. Solid.

Skinner held for TV.

Skinner – BB – rolls out of it a little quickly on candle mount but fine – bhs full, leg check but hit – side aerial – small pause before jumps – switch to switch 1/2, little pause before back tuck – straddle 1/2 from side with a larger leg uip break – hits straight full – L turn with a check to full turn – round off full in, chest well down with her head nearly on the mat with a lunge forward.

I counted about 7 tenths more in E deductions than the first day.

DiCello – UB – short first hs – talder full to stalder shap to tkatchev and falls. Devastating. Reumes with piked jaeger, piked tkatchev to pak to toe shap 1/2 – FTDT, hop.

13.400 for Skinner. Down 0.733 from the first day. I might be a seer.

Just 12.800 for Dicello. Skinner and DiCello both opening the door for McCallum if she can walk through it.

Malabuyo – UB – stalder full with legs – maloney to tkatchev, a bit low but hit – hesitation on cast hs – hits jaeger – pak – van leeuwen with legs apart – DLO 1/1, hop forward. A hit but a little off.

Wong – BB – switch to straddle, pretty – side aerial to loso, clean – L turn to full turn, slight teeter in L turn – switch ring, arm wave correction – aerial to split ring jump, pause in between – wolf jump 1/1, great – side somi, pauses before split jump 1/2 but good individual elements – 3/1 dismount, hop forward but a huge improvement.

McCallum – UB – a big one – stalder full, a bit late but connects into maloney to pak to stalder shap 1/2 – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger, a hair close – Ricna – cast 1/2 – FTDT, hop back. Some moments, not her cleanest, but a hit that will keep her in position.

14.000 for Wong on beam. Man, if she had hit beam on day 1, she would be right in this.

Also an even 14.000 for McCallum on bars, which is another improvement for her over the first day. She’s the one of the “contending 3” who is up on her day 1 scores at this point.

Carey – BB – full turn – aerial to split jump to straddle jump, hit – bhs loso loso with a lean correction – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, will get credit for that combo – split leap to side aerial – switch side – split jump 1/2 from side – bhs bhs double tuck, chest forward, small hop – a good one for her.

Clean bars for Drayton, but just a double tuck dismount. Nice work in the bars.

A look back at Shilese on beam – sissone to full turn, fab – arabian, hits it, just a bit deep – front tuck, solid – bhs loso series – side aerial, good – switch 1/2, short of split the normal amount – split jump 1/2 from side, hit – straddle 1/2 from side, really nice straddle position shown – bhs bhs double pike

Fatta finishes beam with a bounce back on her 2/1.

Biles – UB – weiler error, large pauses but works into the 1/2 with a leg break – maloney to tkatchev, hit – toe full to piked tkatchev to pak, no trouble – van leeuwen, hit – Fabrichnova with a bounce back – not a good one but doesn’t matter

Eaker opens beam with a very large wobble on her switch side – y turn – aerial to split to straddle is pretty – side aerial to loso, loso, pulls it out – switch to switch 1/2 to korbut – switch ring, pause – does korbut after – so that two korbut thing is by design.

Lee – UB – Nabieva to bhardwaj, does not do the combo today – van leeuwen – hit – piked jaeger to pak to maloney to gienger – hits – FTDT, small hop – really good execution though, even though not full D.

13.833 for Simone on bars. Could actually be significant for the highest-scoring team for today at least because McCallum did better than Simone on bars in that rotation.

McCallum has 4th place by about 1.3 now, which is…not a small margin. DiCello remains 5th and Skinner 6th. Skinner will pick up around a point in the final rotation.

14.900 for S Lee

Rotation 3

Malabuyo on beam – hits arabian this time with a check – nice triple series – front tuck is very solid split ring jump –

Wong – FX – double L, looked around – silivas, pretty solid, slide back, chest -nice whip to 3/1, very good landing – L hop full – switch ring – 2.5 to front full, gets the skill this time, short with a bounce back – double pike, very strong landing –

Good 14.200 for Malabuyo on beam.

E Lee – BB – full turn, nice – side aerial to loso to loso, hit – bhs bhs layout, high, large break, leg-up check – aerial to split to straddle – her side somi is nice – hits bhs bhs double pike dismount

14.233 for Wong on floor. HUGE number.

Jones went OOB on her 1.5 double tuck.

McCallum – BB – hits her wolf triple and wolf double – straddle jump 1/2 from side – split leap, pauses before side aerial to loso, loses a couple bonus tenths there – aerial, hit – sissone to full turn and a lARGE break on the full turn – A FULL TURN – round off and a stuck double pike. She stayed on to keep herself in good stead, but won’t be the big score she wanted.

NBC looking back at Eaker’s 14.566, which I felt was VERY high.

13.800 for McCallum, a little lower than the first day.

Emily Lee’s beam makes the broadcast on replay.

Oh Nastia, you’ve never been to a recess.

OH NEVER MIND NO IT DIDN’T the video cut out.

On NBC, Grace’s full turn on beam got an “oh boy” from Tim.

McCallum will remain up on her yesterday scores after three events. Skinner and DiCello are way down, and a big floor coming up for Skinner.

I really like the height Zoe Miller gets on her straight jump full from side position. Like it’s a real skill or something.

Checking in on Operation Leanne Wong on floor, where she got that 14.233.

Quite possible that Wong ends up in 4th place on her day 2 score.

Biles – BB – wolf triple, fine – aerial to split to straddle – bhs loso loso, solid – switch to switch 1/2 to back pike, good connection – side aerial and falls – very werid day from Simone – almost saved it for the most preposterous save ever, and no I kind of wish she had – bhs bhs FTDT, hop back.

We haven’t seen her this off on a day that often. I kind of can’t wait for the post-meet interviews.

13.700 for Simone beam

S Lee – BB – wolf triple, good, wolf double, hit – aerial to split to bhs, clean – switch ring, small hesitation to split leap – switch to switch 1/2 to split ring jump, very secure – side aerial to loso loso, nailed – bhs bhs 2/1, she’s ON tonight.

Skinner – FX – split leap 1.5, short of split but clearly around – Moors, lands OOB, possible both feet, a shuffle on landing, interesting – double double tucked is very strong – wolf turn double – full-in, good, small hop back – leg-up full and switch 1/2 – front to 2.5, and a large lunge forward and another OOB.

Apparently they didn’t put the flag up for the second OOB, which is incorrect. Closeup of the Moors, both feet did go out.

Chiles – BB –

Lee 14.733

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso, solid – chest after aerial to break connection into split to bhs – side somi, solid – switch to switch 1/2 straddle 1/2 froms ide, lean forward – sissone to wolf is good – FTDT, hits it, chest down but only a small hop. Another good one.

Skinner goes 13.500 on floor. I thought it would be a bit lower. But that’s .733 lower than Wong, and she won’t pick that up on vault.

Eaker has moved ahead of Skinner in the AA, but that will be revised after vault.

Skinner would need McCallum to fall at this point for her AA hopes.

DiCello – BB – hits candle mount – wolf triple and wolf double are good – side aeerial, comfortable – switch to sissone, small lean – bhs loso loso, solid landing – aerial to straddle to split jump – straddle jump 1/2 – bhs bhs double tuck, very short but landed, hop forward. A good hit overall, but after that bars…

She needs a Wong score on floor now. But basically so does McCallum to amke her team case.

13.800 for DiCello’s beam. Same as McCallum there. That will keep her 5th AA. Behind McCallum.

Rotation 4

Carey will not vault either, which was basically my trials strategy for her: Do nothing.

Awesome DTY from Fatta. Great landing.

McCallum – FX – Stnading there forever, being held a long time for TV – OH NOOOO – tries her Silivas, lands all the way OOB with a huge bounce back – fromt lay to front 21, lunge forward, stays in – switch ring – split leap full – wolf triple to wolf double, good – full in is very short, large lunge forward again – double back, survives it.

I thought she had it before that routine.

She needs to survive that with a 13.

She still gets a 13.500. That’s EXTREMELY high. Will be controversial.

Skinner – VT – does the Cheng first this time, higher start – lunge back, fairly large for her, the rest was her usual.

15.266, also very high, not enough to pass McCallum in the AA, behind her by three tenths.

Amanr was a bit better than the Cheng, small step forward.

Interesting that she just said “last meet”. Like, you might make the Olympics, girl.

McCallum getting the same score as Skinner on floor. I’m sure we won’t talk about that forever.

Biles – FX – triple double, lunge back OOB, won’t be happy with this one either – Biles, lunge forward, no combination, OOB – swtich full – wolf turn triple was not around, will only get credit for double, or should I mean – front alyout full to full in, switch to split leap 1.5 – double double, very solid

14.600, just a 57.533 r Biles.

Lee – FX – Silivas is strong – double L is a 2.5 – 1.5 to front full with a hop forward – wolf triple around – wolf double, a littel off balance to start – double tuck, small hop – that will be a good number and will reduce the significance of floor a bit in today’s evaluation.

13.933 is a huge score for Lee. Bad news for Wong as it reduces the influence of her 14.233.

58.166 for Lee, which beats Biles on the day. Chiles cannot pass Lee for the second automatic spot.

Chiles – FX – wolf triple, some stumble on landing – DLO 1/1 is solid today, small hop – DLO, bounce back – switch to split leap 1,5, maybe a hair under – 2.5 to front full, small hop – double pike, bounce – great day for her, definitely on the team

Wong – VT – good DTY, small hop back. 14.700 gives her 56.733. Will be 4th AA on the day, but that day 1…

Jones – VT -a a hugely high DTY as always, little hop back. 14.900

DiCello – FX – double double tucked, bounces back OOB, not as large as McCallum’s but still significant – DLO, small slide – wolf triple is good – wolf double, solid – 1.5 to front full, somewhat short, lots of leg crossing – split leap full – double pike, bounce back

We still have Malabuyo and Emily Lee on floor, but I’m going to start crunching some numbers.

WELL FUCK MY LIFE. Trials ends with Emily Lee crunchung her ankle on her Silivas and having to stop.

Anyway, based on day 2 alone:

Biles, Lee, Chiles, Eaker: 174.064
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Wong: 173.898
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Skinner: 173.864
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Malabuyo: 173.698
Biles, Lee, Chiles, McCallum: 173.631
Biles, Lee, Chiles, DiCello: 173.531

However, using both average score and best score over the two days, you end up with the Skinner team as the highest-scoring team.

I feel like it’s probably down to Skinner and McCallum. if you’re doing a 3-up, 3-count permutation, you’re going with Skinner. If you’re taking the AA score, you’re going with McCallum.

I could see Eaker for the +1, but really I think McCusker’s Olympic-score peak is higher. Though I don’t think they will reward that fall.

NBC actually helpfully giving us the nationals + trials numbers, where Wong provides the most contribution. Let’s hope.

SHOT OF TOM WALKING. SHOT OF TOM WALKING.

And we have a team. McCallum takes the 4th spot, and Skinner is an individual with Carey.

Putting Skinner in the individual spot with Carey is actively the stupidest possible thing you could have done. Just the worst possible use of that spot. If you’re trying to waste it, you did the right thing.

They named 4 alterantes, DiCello, Eaker, Malabuyo, and Wong. The next in AA rank order.

No strategy employed here at all. Just going down the list.

Was that a try?

I get the argument that Skinner works as a built-in alternate, but that’s a total waste of a spot, then. You get a +1 and you just use that person as an alternate? If you’re concerned abou tthat person doing the AA as needed as a backup, then Eaker is right there, who wouldn’t have been my choice but at least gives you a different look for an EF, rather than overlapping with Carey.

It’s why McCusker was the best choice, because she gave you a potential bars finalist that you didn’t have on the team (Simone could of course make the bars final too, but you know). To me, that one fall should not have erased what she offered.

86 thoughts on “Women’s Olympic Trials – Day 2 Live Blog”

    1. I would say both Wong and McCallum are also very artistic. Unfortunately, Wong pretty much took herself out of the running on day one. McCallum still has a chance though and I’d love to see her get the 4th spot. I think she completes the Biles/Lee/Chiles team the best since her floor and bar routines score higher than either Skinner or DiCello.

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      1. McCallum is not artistic. Wong yes, to the degree that she’s allowed. McCusker is overrated artistically, but anyway there’s barely any artistry in the sport now. Beam and especially Floor need to have a built-in artistic component that actually counts for something. Until that happens the competitors won’t take it very seriously and the whole sport will be less interesting.

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    2. I’ve been in dance for awhile so I can identify straight legs and pointed toes. Chiles, Biles, and S. Lee absolutely have good form. You are mistaking a lack of hyperextension and extreme foot flexibility for a lack of form. Not everyone’s legs have that inward bend that Riley’s have. Yes, it looks gorgeous, but it’s technically not any cleaner than a standard toe point and straight leg.

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    3. I don’t understand why the judges score a floor routine with a middle pass of a 1 1/2 to front full higher than a routine with a moors, a double double, a full-in, and a 2 1/2. It seems completely unfair to me. I’m not trying to be mean but a lot of level 9 and 10 and high school gymnasts can do a 1 1/2 to front full but not many people can do a moors. I couldn’t even watch the last Olympics bc they put people with double layouts on the team ahead if ppl with double twisting double layouts. An Olympics should have the highest level skills in my opinion.

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      1. Because the “moors” is so tucked it’s on the verge of being downgraded, none of the dance elements are properly done – eg no split ever hit 180 – and she went out of bounds multiple times? High difficulty is great, but if it can’t be done cleanly the E score is going to get slammed and it’s not going to score well.

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      2. This is also a valid argument people. If y’all can bitch about shitty form, others can bitch about shitty difficulty. Did you know that gymnastics has two scores??? So you can go either way. And yeah, difficulty means that it’s harder to do that skill cleanly. Don’t hate the players, hate the game.
        And if you hate the game, maybe consider watching something else, like gymnastics before the open code, or ballet if you need to see pointed feet.
        Sports are literally a social construct. They only make sense because there are rules. You don’t go to watch a triathlon and say that the person who had the best swim time should win.
        And yes, you can have your opinion but berating athletes based on your preference for hyperextension is not a way to go.

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    1. And with the Kayla fall and Grace’s hit, I think this is Grace’s to lose. But she HAS to make it through bean and floor without falls. MyKayla still hasn’t fallen.

      The 5th spot is going to be a controversial decision regardless of who is selected. Riley being chosen with a fall will incite riots as will taking the 5th in the AA for fairness’ sake.

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    1. With Mckayla in 5th and Jade having a minor injury, they may very well end up taking her in the #1. It would not surprise me in the slightest. Although, I’d personally still take Riley since I’m sure Jade will be ready to her full difficulty by Tokyo and they don’t need 3 potential vault finalists with 2 per country rules.

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  1. Okay unpopular opinion but tired of the 5 minutes of damage control after Simone’s rough bar routine. I want to like her but you make me not want to like her when you spend so much time on her and how Amazing she is. Let her be human

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    1. It seems worth noting that Suni Lee beat Simone’s score tonight. If this happens at the Olympics Simone loses. It goes to show that nothing is a sure thing. Don’t crown her before she gets to Tokyo. As much as I want everyone to do their best, it was somewhat refreshing to see some humanity among all the hype. Having said that, I’m hoping it only happens at trials and she does do her best at Tokyo.

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    2. The NBC is a circus. The constant praises and she-can-do-no-wrong and “look at this amazing skill a gymnast does, BUT HER TEAMMATE SIMONE BILES DOES SOMETHING EVEN MORE DIFFICULT AND SHE’LL GET ALL THE MEDALS” only gives her haters. Anyone with two eyes can see that Simone is extraordinary, no need to spend 30 minutes of every broadcast trying to convert nonexistent nonbelievers.

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    1. right??? that was a clear oob, her cheng and bars were also overscored and this might be the difference

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  2. I’m thinking it’s going to be between Grace and Leanne. Leanne is either fantastic or a meltdown. Grace is mostly solid but makes some medium size errors. So which do they go with? I think Mckayla was too messy tonight to make the team, but could see her in the 5th spot and let her and Jade fight it out.

    Of course, Kayla could still get back in it with a great floor and. It’s going to be interesting. Wouldn’t surprise me if they go with the top 5 AA and call it a day though.

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  3. No matter who they go with – and I would be fine with Grace, Leanne or Mckayla here – the US is almost certainly winning gold, so there isn’t really a wrong decision. It’s going to be quibbling over a couple 10ths here and there.

    But that’s not going to stop gym nerds from bitterly arguing about it for the next 20 years, will it? The Gabby vs. Mckayla fight of 2016 are going to seem like cake.

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  4. I would love to see Wong on this team, but she’s such a head case. You can’t really count on her hitting when you need her to hit.

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  5. The 3 way tie for floor between MyKayla, Grace, and Kayla throws things into a complete mess. Wong made a massive last statement with that floor routine but then Sunisa Lee threw yet another wrench in things with a mega floor score.

    Despite Wong’s score, she truly scares the hell out of me. She hasn’t had a single clean meet this whole process even if she does have the highest peak scores.

    I’m going on a limb and saying it’s Skinner. DTYs will not score that highly in Tokyo and she’s a vault final replacement/contender if Jade doesn’t pulls through.

    Grace and Kayla didn’t do enough tonight on floor.

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  6. I could see them giving the +1 position to Wong though. She truly shines when she hits. It all depends on what they do with McCusker, Skinner, and McCallum.

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  7. Other than Biles, Lee, and Chiles, they all scare me and none of them has done enough in this Trials to have reached any sort of clear advantage. If McCusker loses the +1 spot, she has only herself to blame–and that pretty much goes for McCallum, Wong, and Skinner as well. Wonder how USA Gym feels now about Carey? LMAO!

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  8. I just don’t think Skinner is going to score well with international judges. They tend to favor the McCallum/Wong type gymnasts more.

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  9. If they don’t put Wong on the team of 4, I think they’ll give her the +1 specialist spot. She could seriously medal on floor.

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  10. Aaaaand Forster yet again does the stupidest thing he could possibly have done. Skinner and Carey as the two individuals? Mind-numbingly imbecilic.

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  11. Not sure I would’ve gone with two vault/floor specialists for the individual spots. Would’ve made more sense to put Wong there or even McCallum and put Skinner on the team if you were insistent on taking Skinner to Tokyo.

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    1. Agree. I’m fine with McCallum (I think she’s cool under pressure and is going to improve as her injury heals) and Skinner because she really earned it…but at least put Skinner on the team for the “ highest scoring team” like they said.

      This isn’t about winning medals. It’s about rewarding the top all arounders- which is fine!- just don’t say it’s about the most medals lol.

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      1. I cannot believe they overscored Skinner on virtually every event, frequently outrageously, apparently ignored an OOB from her– and you think ‘she really earned it.’

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      2. Tempus- don’t be mad at me lol. I didn’t select them. But the scores were the scores. How do you not take Skinner? She’s on the highest scoring team for her vault score, which is a legitimate vault. And no one else exactly stepped up to the plate.

        Now I don’t know why she isn’t actually on the team in that case and I’m not saying I’d necessarily do it the same way but…the argument is there for them to take her and Grace. And actually probably explains why they just went down the order after that- so no one is asking “hey dummies, why did you take two vault specialists?” I’m not gonna get mad about it.

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  12. I cannot believe they put Grace on that team and MyKayla as the specialist. Grace was consistently overscored and the math still didn’t even have her up for FX/VT, by a large margin. It should have gone to Leanne or MyKayla. I’m okay with MyKayla being the specialist, but I believe it should have gone to Riley. Oh well.

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    1. Tom has proven once again he lies. He said they would pick the mathematically highest team which included Skinner. Instead, he went by rank order.

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    2. I can’t say enough good things about Grace and her gymnastics, but she just did not make sense for this team based on what was needed.

      You don’t even have to go beyond Simone, Suni, and Jordan to see why AA rank order is an awful way to pick teams. Suni clearly has the edge in the AA over Jordan yet this whole months long conversation has been about who can provide a replacement vault and floor for Suni. Notice the conversation NEVER centers around needing to supplement Jordan’s scores even though she scores lower in the AA than Suni time after time. That’s because pure AA rank order almost never maximizes team score. Yes, Grace placed higher in the AA than MyKayla, Kayla, Leeann, and everyone else, yet based on the numbers, she was one of the poorer picks to maximize team score.

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      1. I keep saying Tom has always had a soft spot for Grace always. People on Twitter that his wife was saying Grace’s name before the team was even selected. Mykayla has a right to be pissed. In 2019, she came in 4th at worlds trials but was placed as alternate as she wasn’t on the highest score team. In 2020, she was not placed on the team because she didn’t come in 4th. Even though she is on the highest-scoring team. If grace only vaults in the team final it is a huge slap in the face to Mykayla. Especially since Mykayla wanted to go the specialist route to begin with and Tom told her she had to train all around.

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      2. It’s going to be a terrible look for USA gymnastics if Grace’s only contribution in the team final is a DTY. I really hope for Grace’s sake that she can redevelop a very solid and consistent floor that provides a clear scoring advantage for the team. The problem with this line of thinking is that Suni has the same amount of time to prepare her floor too. If she gets her double layout back, her scores will be hard to beat even with Grace at her peak.

        MyKayla is (quite ironically) in a very similar position as Gabby in 2016 where she had one event with an undeniable advantage. Grace doesn’t have that advantage anywhere.

        And for what it’s worth, I actually though Suni’s vault looked better than Grace’s last night…

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  13. I would have put Skinner in the +1 position, too (and I’ve not been a fan). Let her & Jade fight it out for a spot in the VT final. I don’t really care if that fails to maximize medals.

    Maybe I’m being a holdover from the era where everyone had to be an AAer, so I’m happy with them going by AA scores, at least when you could really make an argument for any of them. It feels more fair when the team medal is not really at stake and nobody is a huge standout compared to the others. Let overall results decide (also best if there’s a late injury).

    I’d have liked to see an extra alternate for the +1 position, though, for Riley. The men took an alternate for the +1 spot, so why not the women? I know Jade sort of functions as an extra emergency alternate, but still – would have been nice.

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    1. To add to this – many don’t like seeing athletes 2-per-ed out of event finals (I don’t have a problem with it). I guess I’m applying the same logic and saying why 2-per someone ourselves, before the Games even begin? If someone might be 3d in the world on vault, I think it’s reasonable to give her a chance to vie for a medal at the Olympics.

      Or maybe I just didn’t want to hear Skinner fans complain about unfairness going forward.

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      1. If I were Skinner, I would drop bars and beam entirely and put 100% of my focus on vault and floor. She has zero incentive now to try to be a backup on all events and she’s in it now purely for herself. Biles’, Chiles’, and Lee’s AA is untouchable so Skinner should work her ass off to make the vault and floor final.

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      2. I don’t mind people being 2-per’ed, but I mind leaving medals behind. The US has a solid shot at 2 vault medals without Skinner, now they have all but a gaurantee. They are likely looking at only one bars medal without McCusker though. And I’m not entirely sure what McCallum adds.

        I don’t mind the outcome, but my personal preference would have been Skinner on the team and McCusker in the +1. I think that maximizes literally everything they purport to care about (team score, medal potential, and built-in AA alternate in Carey, who would be absolutely usable).

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  14. Not criticizing Simone at all by saying this; she had a rough night where she showed she was human. But is she okay? I don’t recall her ever seeming so emotional at a meet. I hope she doesn’t have some sort of injury because she didn’t seem like herself at all tonight.

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    1. Even just watching the competition on TV, something seemed off about her demeanor even before the competition began. You could see it on her face; that spark was missing she had on night one. Then, the way Laurent coached her before she started bars seemed weird too. I had this gut feeling that something happened outside of the arena before the competition or even today really. But speaking of vault, does she normally warm up her Cheng with a 12 inch mat?

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    2. Remember, Simone had a very rough day 2 at trials in 2016 where she also fell off beam. There is extreme pressure and stress on all athletes and that doesn’t exclude Simone.

      Simone looked injury free tonight. Just very frustrated that she missed on elements that are normally solid for her.

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  15. Tom has been a detriment to the women’s team since Day 1. He’s nothing but a useless figurehead who has shown no skill or competence since he started.

    The 2 spots in question could not have been more poorly selected. Skinner is the LAST person who should have gone in the individual spot because at that point you lose the massive vault advantage she brings and relegate her to a vault battle with Carey and nothing more. Skinner is going to beat herself up over her beam and floor tonight because she could have sealed the deal for herself instead of putting it in the worthless and spineless hands of Tom Forester. McKayla absolutely does a case for being robbed this time around.

    And Riley not even being a alternate is shameful… that is pure negligence and a complete lack of awareness for what is needed on a team. I hope Li Li Leung is looking around the USA Gymnastics headquarters for where they keep the pink slips. Tom needs to go.

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    1. Why on earth would you take McCusker? She only showed one event at trials and fell half the time. If you’re going to hinge your Olympic argument on one event, you need to make the event count. You can’t fall and then say you should still go. I think it was a mistake to give the +1 to Skinner only because you’re setting up a battle between your own gymnasts which is stupid. Wong would’ve been a better choice for the +1 and then decide between Skinner and McCallum who should be on the team and who should be an alternate (I would’ve put McCallum on the team and Skinner in as the alternate based on who could score higher on more events).

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      1. McCusker brings the most medal potential to the USA, there isn’t anyone else who can realistically win a 2nd Bars medal, nobody has shown the ability on Beam, and Floor is potentially already covered. I do think Leanne Wong’s floor is easily the 2nd best and ideally deserves to be at the Olympics (Jordan was overscored on Night 2 and should not match Leanne’s score), but it’s not absolutely needed in the USA lineup for another medal, unlike McCusker’s potential on Bars.

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    2. I never was a fan of Tom. I did not dislike him, but I feel like he wasn’t the best to take over the program. He strikes me as someone who wants everyone to sit around and sing kumbaya at camp and wants everything to be rainbows and unicorns.

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  16. I’m worried about her too. Last time I saw her perform this poorly was at 2018 Worlds, and she had a kidney stone. Poor thing, I desperately wanted to give her a hug and remind her that we all still love her even though she is a human person. Of course, she was a human person this whole time.

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    1. It might be kidney stones, they tend to be recurrent. I had one and ouch, i wasn’t able to walk straight, I can’t imagine doing gymnastics on that. Also I do blame Tom, cause if he wasn’t a lover of the AA then she probably could have sat out the second day knowing she’d be 100% on the team. But I wouldn’t put it past Tom to not call freaking Simone Biles and just take 4 AA.

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  17. With regards to the Riley debate, I don’t think it made sense to take her as the +1 because:
    1. She fell. Not a good look for a bars specialist.
    2. She’s kind of inconsistent and gets into her own head. Also not good when you’re going for one event.
    3. Let’s be real, did she really have a shot at a bars medal? She could’ve made the final, sure, but I really don’t think she could’ve made the podium. Not with Nina Derwael, Suni, and a handful of Russians and Chinese gymnasts ahead of her.

    While sending three vault specialist is kind of an asinine move, Mykayla really does have vault medal potential. It’s all up to them now- who can hit during qualifications?

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  18. I hope Spencer and Jessica can use their collective influence and position to actually push Tom Forester to explain his reasoning. His answers tonight are approaching the point of being full-on lies. It’s either sheer incompetence or sheer dishonesty at this point. And neither is in any way acceptable.

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  19. Just have to say that Malabayu’s floor routine absolutely blew me away. Everything gymnastics should be: engaging, polished, and big tumbling to match. Highlight of the Trials for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I never was a fan of Tom. I did not dislike him, but I feel like he wasn’t the best to take over the program. He strikes me as someone who wants everyone to sit around and sing kumbaya at camp and wants everything to be rainbows and unicorns.

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    1. I only see two reasons as to why Tom did this:
      1. He’s so scared of making a decision and maybe a mistake that he doesn’t even try. At least if the team folds it’s not his fault, right?
      2. He is so against Jade having qualified as an individual that he doesn’t “claim her” as team USA. He’ll be happy if Myk 2pers Jade, because he “picked her.”

      Look, I gave Tom the benefit of the doubt when he took over the shitshow that was women’s program. He may be good as a coach, but he’s not even a decent leader. Someone please explain to him that when people said they want transparency, they meant transparency about the process. So that gymnasts, coaches and fans know what are expectations, regulations, what to expect and prepare for basically. Transparency doesn’t mean to do whatever, disregarding your own rules, and then half heatedly explain why you did whatever you felt like in the moment. So far he misled gymnasts about taking part in individual qualifiers, couldn’t decide what to do with Jade until like two weeks to Nationals, didn’t set requirements about trials qualification, fumbled about specialists having to do AA to have a shot, lied about the selection procedure. Doesn’t look like transparency to me, how about you?

      And this is my personal opinion, judging simply from that one Myk vlog, that he is a self-absorbed and self-important person. Rude, unprofessional. He came to see Myk’s progress, but spent half of time bragging about his “inventions” which when asked by coaches if they can use it he said that these are not available. And it made me sick to see everyone there nodding and flattering him and how he basked in his own glory. I don’t blame Myk and her team, what can you do if your fate depends on a guy who only answers to worship and praise?

      Anyhow, this is how I came to hate Tom.

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  21. Why the logic for picking Grace makes sense: I’m thinking they know Grace can step in on any event and post a competitive score when she hits and she’s shown it at international competitions before posting high 13s/14s on every event at one point or another despite inconsistency. I don’t think they have that faith in Skinner because they know her execution is low and will get hit harder internationally. And Leanne and Kayla didn’t show consistency either AND don’t have the international experience to base anything else off of, despite scoring higher than her sometimes. I’m thinking they want that built in alternate who can go up anywhere if needed and post a competitive international score (high 13s/14). That’s why she’s on the team and Skinner isn’t. Grace also finished 4th at trials and in most other Olympic sports you make the team from only trials so that is a thing too.

    The problem with that logic, however: what Tom said about taking the highest scoring team or shooting for medals or whatever he said prior to trials doesn’t match it. Let’s be careful though- what Tom said isn’t the selection procedure. The selection procedure is that top two AAers automatically go and the others are up to the committee. Tom has shown over and over he talks out of his little bum in an attempt for transparency but doesn’t think. Had he not opened his mouth we’d all be complaining but with no evidence of idiocy but the committee could have justified picking who they picked.

    Conclusion: Tom’s in a tough spot because we want medals but we also want as anti-Martha a regime as possible. The issue is Tom seems to believe that honesty and transparency are different things though. It’s sport- people are gonna lose and be unhappy and hard decisions need to be made- just make them FAIR decisions. And I do think the decisions were fair but hes so afraid to make a wrong step that he keeps making wrong steps. It would have probably behooved Tom and the committee to just explain their real logic (which is valid IMO for Grace on the team- I wanted her on the team too) and not have said it was about winning medals in the first place without thinking to get the media off his back. That would also work for explaining Mykayla’s spot: “we are rewarding her for her consistency and improvement.”

    Honestly, because there’s no clear procedure, it’s probably best to just take the top people at trials until the selection committee figures their lives out and comes up with an actual mathematical procedure. Makes Japan seem smart with their system. *shrug*

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  22. Seriously USAG. A member of the selection committee was a member of Grace’s gym. The second she was close to making it, that person should have excused themselves from the selection committee. All that does is give people more fuel against Grace.

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  23. Said this before about Tom’s selection procedures and will say it again… I think they represent an overcorrection. Selection during the Martha era has been criticized for being hyper political, based basically on whatever Martha felt like on a given day — in essence, unfair. Tom’s job is to distance USAG as much as possible from that culture, and that’s what he’s done. In my opinion he’s gone too far — it’s not unfair to pick Skinner over McCallum for the team because she adds a few more tenths on vault to the team final score. That’s a totally valid metric. The other issue is that it’s not clear athletes like Riley McCusker, who only competed one apparatus, understood that they never had a shot at the team. Frustrated as I am by the rank order selection process, this bothers me more, because it puts people through hell for nothing.

    As for the team itself — there’s nothing wrong with it. I myself would have chosen Skinner for that fourth spot over Grace, but Grace is a solid gymnast who can pitch in anywhere and take some of the pressure off Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles. Not a bad person to have with you. Meanwhile, Skinner has fulfilled her dream of becoming an Olympian and has a real shot at a vault medal. Yes, it’s redundant to have her as a specialist along with Jade, but it is what we’ve got — and frankly, I don’t know who else would have made sense for that spot.

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    1. No one will deny that we need reform from the Martha era, but team selections, especially in 2012 and 2016, were pretty much spot on. In 2012, Elizabeth Price was 4th in the AA but Kyla Ross provided the bigger bars and beam advantage and was selected instead. In 2016, Skinner was 4th in the AA but Gabby Douglas’s bars and AA potential made more sense for the team.

      We have an identical situation again where the gymnast who got 4th place in the AA doesn’t mathematically make sense on the team. However, the logic that was used the past 2 Olympic cycles was thrown out in favor of pure rank order.

      There really isn’t anything controversial about the 2012 and 2016 selections and are widely considered the correct decisions. Discarding an actual team selection in favor of rank order is not somehow distancing yourself or improving from the broken system of the Martha years.

      Instead, we now have legitimate questions about whether Riley had any chance at all even if she had two 15+ days on bars. It would appear from Tom’s “selection” that final AA order was already decided as the method for selecting individuals. Even NBC kept showing their flawed floor and vault totals because literally EVERYONE was led to believe that a maximized team final score was the main goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Not important but really cool that the entire U.S. women’s contingent is composed of actual 18+ adults – presumably for the first time ever?

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    1. It has been a verrrrrryyy long time since there was no first year senior on the team so probably yes

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      1. There were no first-year seniors on the 2008 team, though some of them were still minors.

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    2. Yes, very cool that 2/3 of the team members have an age starting with a 2, and two of those are 24, aka the same age that Martha basically told Chellsie Memmel that she was too old. (And she’s giving a big figurative middle finger to that idea now!) Really glad to see more longevity and room for older gymnasts in the sport.

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  25. Glad Mky will get the chance to do AA at the Olympics if she chooses, sad that she won’t get to have a team gold medal. Hope she makes individual finals and and medals. Tom needs to quit stating criteria that he can’t later prove was used. And, anyone connected with a gymnast should be recused from being on the committee.

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  26. I was initially a bit surprised by the selections but I think the logic is this:

    1: Grace and Mykayla both showed that they deserved to compete at the Olympics and were a cut above everyone else vying for the last spots. So it was right to get them both on the team in some fashion.
    2: With no clear frontrunner for the specialist spot, and wanting to find room for both Mykayla and Grace, Mykayla made as much sense for the specialist spot as anyone, and has a much better shot at event finals than Grace.
    3: Grace is a better AA and is good insurance for a 2008 type of scenario, whereas Mykayla would be a bit sketchy there.

    So all in all I think they made the best choices they could have. After all, Riley was only in the mix for a specialist spot because she got injured; it wasn’t like she had been seen as a definite medal contender on bars this whole time. Plus if you want a specialist spot you have to hit on the event in question, and she didn’t do that.

    I think the specialist spot might work out for Mykayla. She doesn’t have to worry about possibly needing to help the team on her weaker events, so she can just go all out on vault and floor. In a perfect world Mykayla would make vault final and Jade would make floor final so that they both have a medal shot, but we’ll see what happens.

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  27. I am a huge fan of McCallum. However, this is very weird.

    Heres why it is stupid:

    Why why WHY would you ever put Skinner in the individual? like, no, don’t put her in to be a “built in safety” for Carey. Let Carey be.

    Obviously there was Biles, Lee, and Chiles. They need help on vault and floor. Skinner is good enough on vault, although the E will be lower at the olympics. I would count on her to a c t u a l l y definitely help the team at the olympics. Her bad days are the DTY girls’ best scores of their lives, just because her cheng is worth so much more than a DTY, and the DTYs are going to do next to nothing in tokyo.

    However, her floor is gross. skinners floor does not deliver when in needs to. McCallum’s does, or does it? Her AA is good.

    Wong is good at floor, but Lee doing good on floor messes with everything. It makes Wong’s contribution smaller than Skinners. Both are larger than McCallum’s, though.

    For everyone saying that it wouldn’t be fair to make McCallum lose to a girl she just beat, y’all are forgetting that in 2016 Skinner got 4th in the AA, but did not get the fourth OR FIFTH team spot.

    Lee putting up a good floor score means that vault matters more and more and Skinner adds the most to vault. A DTY from McCallum is marginal at best, points-wise.

    As for the individual, I am not sure that mccusker should get it after her fall. If you are truly putting all your eggs into one basket, do not FALL ON THE BASKET.

    I might have picked eaker for beam, but her wobbles are BIG. She had a big wobble on each night, and I might not bargain on a wobble.

    The reason that these two girls are the only contenders, though, is because we a l r e a d y have two individuals on the team who would final on floor and vault, but not bars or beam. Biles and Carey. And maybe Skinner if she was picked for the team not for the indie. Biles will medal on beam and floor and vault. Wong cannot earn a floor medal. A final, maybe, but not a medal. Do not put her in the indie. Same with McCallum. Eaker could MAYBE JUST MAYBE win a beam medal. Riley could MAYBE JUST MAYBE earn a bars medal. But DiCello, McCallum, and Wong aren’t going to earn event medals.

    Basically Tom is a scam and skinner should be an alternate before she is an individual, and if all mccallum adds to the team final is a DTY ima lose it.

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