The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Women’s Olympic Podium Training

It’s kind of strange going into a US women’s podium training without the looming specter of the reveal as to whether Laurie Hernandez will get to do the all-around in qualification or not.

But there’s still plenty to wonder about. Here’s what I’m pondering before we start, aka the main issues I’m watching for today.

Floor: Will Carey try the triple double? What passes is Lee going for, and has she decided to add more D? Where is McCallum placed in the order? I imagine the US will want McCallum to be able to go on floor in the team final—if for no other reason than as justification for this team selection because if McCallum only does vault in TF it’s going to look baaaaaaad. But also as a way of resting Lee so that she doesn’t have to do too much, especially if she ends up making the all-around final.

Vault: Who looks like she’s going to make the vault final, Carey or Skinner? We haven’t seen Carey’s Cheng since February, which will be the most critical vault to watch. Simone’s Yurchenko double pike. Is she going for it, and does her podium training performance encourage her to do it at other points in the competition?

Bars and Beam: How often/comfortably is Lee getting her 6.8 D score on bars? Will it be Chiles or McCallum for the third team final spot on beam? Does it look like Carey and Skinner will elect to do all four events in qualification?

LOL at how Skinner and Carey have to walk all behind the four team members.

Team members are in black. It’s subdued and stylish in a way we don’t normally see from the US women.

“Do we walk up? Where are the judges?” Simone with the important questions.

Everything is a Simone closeup. The camera is literally just following Simone and not showing anyone else’s warmup passes fun fun. Just zoom out buddiessssss

Everyone working individual passes.

Sunisa Lee DLO alert. Carey with an easy DLO 1/1.

Simone does a triple double easily completed, but a lunge to the side on landing.

Too many closeups, just let us see everything that’s happening.

McCallum – FX – up first in the order – good double double, hop back – front layout to front 2/1, short with a shuffle, similar to domestic meets -switch ring to split leap full – wolf triple and double, fine – FTDT with a stick, very good – double tuck, bounce back, keeps it in bounds.

That’s a 5.7 D score, good, a bit more control than nationals/trials most of the time.

Lee – FX – double double tuck, bounce back – DLO is here and solid, hop back – switch ring and split leap full, nice on both – falls out of double L turn attempt – back 2.5 to front full, pretty flat, steps OOB – wolf triple and wolf double – double tuck, pulls it around.

That’s a 5.8 D for her now.

Chiles – FX – does not get around her initial wolf triple attempt – DLO /1 is very strong – DLO, excellent rise – switch and split leap 1.5 – front 2/1 to front 1/1, a tad short with a slide back – switch side 1/2 – double pike, just a tad short.

That would be a 6.0 D if she got credit for everything.

Biles – FX – triple double is finished even higher than usual – Biles to stag is comfortable – switch full is around, good elevation – just a wolf double – front full through to full in, bounce back – switch to split leap 1.5, closer to credit than at trials, nice to see – double double tuck, bounce back.

Good, normal, no trouble at all for Biles. If she does the triple wolf and gets everything, that one would be at 6.9.

Skinner – FX – split leap 1.5, around, somewhat crazy on landing – lands short on Moors with a hop forward – Silivas, bounce back – crazy wolf double turn but around – solid full in, shuffle back – L hop full and switch 1/2 – front tuck through to back 2.5 with a step forward.

Not bad control overall. 6.0 if she gets everything. The short Moors would be a big deduction if recreated in comp.

Carey – FX – Moors to open, small hop, pretty solid chest up, scraggly in the second salto – double L turn – front lay through to double double OK NOW, good -L hop full – switch leap 1/1 – DLO 1/1 third pass – split leap full ish? – full in final pass. Huge difficulty and comfortable for her.

I think I have that at 6.6, but you know, I was also typing. She’ll get her usual execution deductions, but the control was there for this to be the #2 score for the US.

This is the most team coordinating we’ve ever seen Tom do.

Like, I know he wanted everyone to get into the circle so that the coaches could hear, and that’s totally fine and good, but you don’t have to be such a pill about it with the grumpy staring.

Chiles is going back to redo her triple wolf. Everything looked perfectly fine in that rotation, but a number of people did turns that would be downgraded. Chiles later wolf attempts look a lot better.

NBC prepping their side-by-side of Biles triple double and Lee’s double double. Well that’s not really fair.

On to vault! Timer times.

Carey’s timer is a DTY I guess.

Simone is doing Amanars.

Skinner opens with a DTY.

None of the men’s vault trouble so far, but we’ve heard of fewer problems for the women today. Also they’re doing Yurchenkos, which is a different beat.

Carey does a 1/2 on layout 1/2.

Lee does her first DTY, chest down and a bit crunched over.

McCallum’s first DTY landing is slightly awkward, with a lunge back.

Chiles gives a very strong DTY.

Biles is now starting to work 1/2 ons.

Skinner does a 1/2 on tuck 1/2 timer.

I like the part where we froze on stills of Lee’s block instead of seeing her vault. Dudes, work on your replays on your own time. This is our time.

Very solid DTY from McCallum now. We’re into the “competition” vaults.

Chiles a little deeper on her next DTY but still solid.

Biles VT1 – does a massive Cheng, small hop, very nice.

Biles VT2 is a nearly stuck Amanar, small step back. So no double pikes today. At the least, that tells me she won’t try it in qualification.

Skinner VT1 – somehow does her Cheng really well, chest up, only a small hop, despite not getting much of a block.

Skinner VT2 – a bit lock legged on her Amanar landing but fine, step to the side

Carey VT1 – starts with a very well controlled Cheng, small rebound – large leg break on the table, some pike and angle.

Carey VT2 – hits the Amanar, a fairly large lunge to the side and out of the area.

Oooooh this one is going to be close on the day.

Biles is going more Yurchenko timers now. Might we see a….double pike?

Lee is getting her DTYs around, but they’re crunched. We won’t see her vault in TF based on this, which is not news.

Good control from McCallum.

We missed Chiles’s vault because it was more important to see McCallum talking, but she yelled “THAT WAS WORSE” about it.

Carey back to doing DTYs.

There’s our double pike! Doesn’t try to land it for real, intention roll back out of it.

Now a real attempt at the double pike – very strong, huge, lunge back. It’s there and she got through it without hurting herself.

The composition here on vault tells me Simone intends to do the Amanar in qualification but is prepping the double pike for later in the competition.

No verdict on Skinner vs. Carey. Landing control day of will be the whole thing.

Replays of the YDP. We won’t see enough of those.

US moves to bars now. Starting with bits and pieces and flyaways. Carey and Skinner both doing bars.

McCallum first to do a full set, Ricna instead of Downie, good hit. Chiles follows her, looking as smooth and comfortable as she did at nationals/trials. Full spot from Laurent on the Gienger.

Simone is next and pulls around her toe full, the hardest skill in her routine now. huge Fabrichnova, lunge back.

Lee shows full difficulty in her first full set, connecting all four at the beginning. It was a fingertip moment, but she did it for a strong routine.

Carey hits her first one, though she does not attempt the Gienger out of the Church this time.

Skinner up last – arches a Weiler 1/2 but pulls it back – falls on Tkatchev – first fall of PT for the US here in the third rotation. Now arches over a handstand after that. This is the first routine we’ve seen where anyone is having any actual trouble.

We’re hearing Eythora singing in the background.

Starting the “counting” routines now.

McCallum – UB – stalder full to maloney to pak to stalder Shap 1/2, all connected – toe 1/2 to piked jaeger – small hestiation in handstand – Ricna – cast 1/2 is quite late – FTDT, control. Good.

Closeup of Simone instead of Chiles routine is fun! But anyway she does a good piked jaeger, looked like the might go over on toe full but ended up right in handstand – tkatchev, piked tkatchev, pak, gienger, all great – FTDT. Same very time.

Biles – UB – weiler 1/2 to maloney to tkatchev, solid – toe full, hit to piked tkatchev to pak – van leeuwen – Fabrichnova, solid, small hop. Good one again.

You can tell by the way everyone calls out when Simone is doing her toe full that it has remained a problem for her.

Lee – UB – Nabieva to bhardwaj to maloney to gienger, nice connection, more comfortable than her first attempt – piaked jaeger to pak to toe shap 1/2 – giant full – FTDT, stuck with a stagger. Very strong. That’s the one she wants. Bottle that one. 6.8

Carey – UB – does the Church to gienger this time, hit – yezhova, solid – maloney to bhardwaj – van leeuwen, hip angle in the handstands – full – attempts a double double tucked it looked like? I love that this is a 6.0 D.

Skinner – UB – weiler 1/2 to maloney to tkatchev, catches this time, safe and close – stalder taktchev to pak, hit – van leeuwen, legs – giant full – FTDT, solid landing. Much better.

Chiles gets up again to do a dismount. Biles does the same. Lee doe sher giant full and FTDT, stuck.

Carey gets up and does double double again, looks good.

Skinner does second half, hit comfortably.

To beam! Final rotation!

So looks like McCallum is up first everywhere but vault, where she’s up second.

McCallum – BB – candle mount, good – wolf triple and wolf double are secure – straddle 1/2 from side, hit – split leap to side aerial to loso, some feet, secure – aerial, knes – sissone to full turn is still her intended dance combination, which concerns me enourmously – double pike, nearly sutkc, small step. Good and solid. 5.7 D score.

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso, she has often landed that loso short this year and had to control, which she did here as well – aerial to straddle back handspring is well conntected – side somi – switch and switch 1/2, low back leg – straddle 1/2 from side – sissone to wolf – FTDT dismount, chest a bit down, step forward, good hit overall though. 6.0 D score for that if she gets everything.

Lee – BB – wolf triple, small lean, wolf double, hit – aerial to split to bhs, comfortable – switch ring was a little rough on closeure and a scheck – switch to switch 1/2, another larger lean – split ring, unconnected – side aerial to loso to loso stays on, another larger check. Bhs bhs 2/1. So she stayed on, a tentative one. Will need to be more comfortable in competition to make the beam final. 6.1 for what she did there. Can go 6.4 for all connections.

Biles – BB – wolf triple, no trouble – aerial to split to straddle – bhs loso loso, right on – switch to switch 1/2, pause before back pike – side aerial – connects her side jumps pretty switftly – bhs bhs and goes for the double double tucked dismount! Short with a lunge forward. Not worth it, but, you know, fun. 6.6, 6.7 if she gets the back pike connection.

Closeup of Simone instead of Carey’s beam? COOL COOL.

So we don’t get to see Carey’s attempt, but it happened.

But we see Skinner.

Skinner – BB – candle mount, hit, rolls through a bit too fast – back handspring to tuck full, solid – side aerial to split to straddle – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, I’d say too long on the pause between all of those – straddle 1/2 from side – straight full from side with a break – L turn, possible no credit there for low front leg – FTDT dismoutn, lunge back. I had that at 6.3, 6.6 if she connects everything.

Chiles gets back up to work side aerial to loso several times, getting more comfortable. Looks like the second loso in that combination has been scratched because she’s not attempting it.

Lee redoes several skills, looking more solid.

Simone does another Biles, it’s also short.

Charitably, we see Carey practice one dance element.

So that’s the end of podium training. Now time for the class photo. Why is what’s-her-name in it?

OK so the US is good, obviously. No problems really except for one Skinner bars before the main routine, and Lee looking quite wobbly on her main beam routine. But you know.

So to my questions from the beginning.

Will Carey try the triple double? No.

What passes is Lee going for, and has she decided to add more D? Yes, she added back the DLO to gain 0.3 more D than at Trials for a 5.8.

Where is McCallum placed in the order? McCallum was first everywhere but vault. But her floor was very interchangeable for the TF, and pretty much same for beam. Though interesting that the current order would seem to indicate she’s only doing those events in Q. Decision still to be made, I’m sure.

Who looks like she’s going to make the vault final, Carey or Skinner? Incomplete. They would score VERY similarly based on today.

Simone’s Yurchenko double pike. She did it, and it looked good, but she didn’t do it during the “real” runthrough to practice for qualification.

How often/comfortably is Lee getting her 6.8 D score on bars? She did two fall bars routines and got the 6.8 on both. It looked very strong the second time.

Will it be Chiles or McCallum for the third team final spot on beam? Chiles for now. She was after McCallum in the order.

Does it look like Carey and Skinner will elect to do all four events in qualification? Yes.

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