The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Women’s Selection Camp – Day 2

We arrive at the final day of the US women’s world selection with perhaps the clearest picture of what the worlds team should be…ever? Shilese Jones, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, Skye Blakely, and Leanne Wong were the only athletes to place top 3 on an event yesterday, and those five also happened to make up the highest-scoring team heading into the competition. (What that says about the dwindling depth of the US women’s program is another issue.)

So, what are today’s supplementary 2-event performances even about?

-Leanne Wong. While Wong did place in the top 3 on bars yesterday, she ended up only a half tenth ahead of Lexi Zeiss in the all-around because of a rough floor routine (and a beam score that wasn’t particularly high). She’ll be looking for a beam hit that scores comfortably into the 13s today just to say, “…but we’re good, right?” Watch the D score there. She got 5.2 yesterday. Full credit for what she tried would have been 5.5. You could have gone down to like 4.7 yesterday if you wanted to be a total dick about it.

-Skye Blakely. Even though Blakely grabbed the beam on her most important routine yesterday, the fact that she still recorded a top-3 beam score with a major error spoke well of her ability to contribute a usable score on that event. But she’ll be looking to erase any doubt with a full hit today.

-Traveling alternate. Lexi Zeiss and Addison Fatta were neck-and-neck most of yesterday until Fatta’s fall on floor dropped her behind Zeiss in the AA and made Zeiss look like the clear frontrunner for a plane ticket. Today, Fatta is one of the few athletes competing FX as one of her two events, hoping to show that she can hit a floor routine and that her overall AA scoring potential is higher than Zeiss’s.

Only Fatta and Disidore are going for BB/FX today. Everyone else is UB/BB. No vaults.

The random milling about is ON FIRE today.

Looks like we’ve got the two people who are doing floor today (Fatta and Disidore) warming up first. And they each get 900 minutes? Seems like we have a delayed warmup and not-ready-to-start timing. Maybe they were looking at the wrong clock.

Disidore – FX – double double is hit, chest down, slide back – FTDT, pretty secure landing, again chest down – split leap full – wolf double around – switch 1/2 – 1.5 to front full, step, some knees – popa – the rebound she does after each dance element makes it look like they were all intended to be a 1/2 turn more and were dramatically under – double pike, larger bounce back.

Fatta – FX – 2.5 to double tuck, bounce back, keeps it in bounds – DLO, hit today, low element but around with a small slide back – wolf double – split jump full – front 2/1, a little under rotated, crossover step. Hit today. We’ll see how the score compares to Zeiss’s FX from yesterday (13.2). If we get scores. Who can say.

12.950 for Disidore.

13.700 for Fatta and 8.300 execution score. HAPPY HOUR STARTS AT 5. That’s a big score for her in terms of putting her ahead of Zeiss right now in the better-of-two-days standings. Fatta’s previous best floor score this year was 13.150.

Rotation 2

Jones – UB – stalder full to stalder shap to tkatchev is nice, a bit of elbows on tkatchev catch – toe full, solid finish position to stalder tkatchev piked to pak – van leeuwen, a bit of legs – toe 1/2 to front giant to double front, step back. Good one. 14.600

Blakely – UB – stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger, hit – Ricna to pak, leg separation, hit – toe full with leg separation to van leeuwen, hit – double front 1/2 out, good stick. Nice one. 14.200

Meanwhile Jade Carey had a larger lean correction on a side aerial on beam but was otherwise solid. Her split jump 1/2 from side is back in the routine and closer to the required technique than at nationals – double pike, step back. 13.000

Matthews – UB – toe full, late but connected into stalder shap, only barely and she can’t really get her hand around on the shap and peels off – resumes with stalder shap to stalder tkatchev, nice – jaeger, clean – pak, good amplitude – van leeuwen, clean – toe on – DLO, chest down, hop. Pretty after the fall.

That Blakely bars score is significant because it beats Wong’s from day 1.

Neal – BB – switch to split jump 1/2, a bit short on split – bhs bhs loso, lots of knees on the bhs, secure – side aerial to split jump, secure – L turn, around – aerial, solid control – side somi, small lean – double pike, super deep and sits it down. 12.400

Chiles – UB – toe full to piked tkatchev to pak, high and clean – maloney to gianger, just a tad close – a ltitle short on hs on high – piked jaeger, hit – bail to toe shoot – strong final cast hs – FTDT, small rebound. Overall stronger cast handstand positions than her last couple routines. 14.25. Which is lower than yesterday, though I thought this one was better.

Zeiss – BB – bhs mount, hit – bhs loso loso, feet, secure – wolf double, smooth – side aerial, feet, hit – split jump to sissone, rushed somewhat in position – switch 1/2, check – aerial, knees, arm wave correction – double tuck, step back. Good one. 13.400

Wong – BB – switch to wolf jump full, connected today, turn mostly around – bhs loso, smooth – L turn, and does it to full turn today – switch ring, small rebound – aerial, well done to hold it without a check since she was a little under – side aerial, small movement – side somi, hit – 2.5 dismount some leg crossing, step to the side. That was the hit she needed. 13.750

Disidore – BB – falls on loso mount – bhs loso series, lots of leg form and a second fall – switch, pause before switch 1/2, under, check before korbut – side somi, holds onto it – side aerial with a check – full turn – switch side – double pike, bounce back. 10.500

Wong helped herself with that 13.750 on beam, tying for the highest beam score of the camp. Blakely also showed a usable bars score. And Zeiss and Fatta both doing what they need to do.

Carey’s beam score adjusted down from 13 to 12.9. But she remains just ahead of Wong on 2-day beam average.

For having 1.3 routines in it, this competition is sure taking a long time.

Rotation 3

Neal – UB – toe full, somewhat late – maloney to pak, legs together, some feet – van leeuwen, legs – short cast hs – clear hit,goes over the wrong way, falls on jaeger

9.850

Blakely – BB – wolf triple is around well – back tuck full, solid – bhs to front tuck, hit today with small step forward – swtich to switch 1/2, OK split position – aerial to split, just a bit of knee in aerial, small check – side aerial, feet, secure – double tuck, solid. That was the one.

Blakely with a really strong 2-event day. 14.550. Gigantic number.

Zeiss – UB – toe full to pak, hit – maloney, legs to gienger, low but caught – ywzhova, some crazy legs – van leeuwen, foot separation – FTDT, step back. 13.700

Matthews – BB – nice bhs mount – side aerial to loso, holds onto it today with a lean – wolf triple hit with arm wave – switch to split, short of position, into bhs – aerial, knee, arm wave correction – double tuck, hop back.

Wong – UB – stalder 1/2 to jaeger, nice – toe full to bhardwaj, hit just a bit of form – maloney to pak, solid – van leeuwen, small leg break – DLO, holds the stick. Another strong routine today. She did what she could do.

Carey – UB – Ray, hit – 1/2 to yezhova, solid – shap to high bhardwaj – shap 1/2 – giant full – FTDT, stuck. Good.

Chiles on beam had a little check on side somi, but otherwise strong start, very secure bhs loso loso – switch side with an arm wave and leg up – just a little hop in place on double pike.

Wong goes 14.100 on bars which is under Blakely’s score today but will keep her top 3 on bars by average.

13.650 bars for Carey.

Fatta – BB – wolf double, hit – switch to split, some loose legs in split – bhs loso, chest a bit down, holds it small check – aerialm knee, holds it but breaks combo into straddle to korbut – side aerial, solid – switch 1/4? – bhs bhs 2/1, bounce back.

Just one routine left today, which is beam from Jones, who is already locked onto the team from yesterday.

But basically the headline is that Blakely and Wong both improved noticeably on their day 1 performances on both events, not letting anyone else in.

Fatta at 12.750 on beam.

Jones is off on her Arabian today, off line and landed about half a foot on the beam – switch to sissone – bhs loso, step back – swtich side to staddle jump, good elevation – split jump 1/2 from side, nice – side aerial, secure – bhs bhs double pike, chest down, step forward.

Not a super significant miss for team purposes because Jones was already on the team and beam is the one event you would rest her in TF anyway. But significant for consistency questions.

Basically, I felt like it was already done with Jones, Chiles, Carey, Wong, and Blakely before today, and nothing changed my mind. Blakely had a great day to solidify her spot, and Wong improved on both her events. I also imagine Zeiss stays ahead in the race for alternate by hitting both her events today, though Fatta gave it a good run with that floor score.

But Blakely’s performance today made who goes in qualification on which events a much harder convo. Bars today made Carey look like your 5th-best bars worker. But also Jones looked like your 5th-best beam worker, but you have to put her in the AA because she’s the best one.

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