Category Archives: Elite Things

US National Team Camp – July Update

We have finally emerged from the cave. Now that we are graced with rosters from the monthly national camps—like the one that concluded today—this has given birth to a new phenomenon wherein one looks at the roster, recognizes 90% of the people, but then also says, “……Her? What is a…that?”

So, let this be a place to keep track of which characters made a cameo in which of the monthly episodes; what international assignments resulted from those camps; applicable placements in senior (S), junior (J), and physical abilities (PA) standings; national team status; Classic/nationals qualification status; recent results; expected D-scores; and anything else important to know about these friends both familiar and foreign. Continue reading US National Team Camp – July Update

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US National Team Camp – Who Are These People?

We have finally emerged from the cave. Now that we are graced with rosters from the monthly national camps—like the one that concluded today—this has given birth to a new phenomenon wherein one looks at the roster, recognizes 90% of the people, but then also says, “……Her? What is a…that?”

So, let this be a place to keep track of which characters made a cameo in which of the monthly episodes; what international assignments resulted from those camps; applicable placements in senior (S), junior (J), and physical abilities (PA) standings; junior/senior status; results dossiers; most recent D-scores; and anything else important to know about these friends both familiar and foreign. Continue reading US National Team Camp – Who Are These People?

Jesolo Seniors Live Blog

Today, the senior US team rumbles into Jesolo to international-experience up a storm against teams from Russia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, France, and Belgium.

Earlier in the day, all the US juniors scored 199 billion to run away with the competition. BUT NO ONE SAW IT COMING. Perea took the AA with 57.550, followed by O’Keefe with 57.300 and Malabuyo with 56.700. Those would have been really good junior scores in the last code, let alone this one.

The first half of rotation 1 has Italy on vault, France on bars, USA 1 on beam, and Russia on floor. The second half has Brazil on vault, Canada on bars, Mixed Group on beam, and USA 2 on floor. They’ll rotate from there.

Continue reading Jesolo Seniors Live Blog

Elite Skill and Routine Databases

What’s that skill that she performs?

You know…the twisty one, with the flippity-boo?

It’s called what? Named after who?

Remember that weird dismount? That what’s-her-name does? What’s her name?

Who was the one who did that not-ugly skill at the Olympics?

What the mother of crap is an Ono?

Important questions, all. Let this be your opportunity to answer them.

That’s right, it’s time to wake up, elite fans. Though we’re currently ensconced in the glory and wonder of the NCAA season, I have also added a couple new elite-specific features to the site. I’m basically da Vinci. The first is the Elite Skill Database, which contains links to individual pages for 250 skills currently being performed in elite gymnastics. You can check it out here:

eliteskilldatabase1

Each skill has its own dedicated page including its code of points description, value (and recent value changes if applicable), example GIF, various names you’ll hear it called, and a brief biography of the skill regarding its odd naming conventions, current popularity or lack thereof, treatment by judges, tips for identification, or fundamental ugliness. Whatever is most relevant to the skill in question. So, if you’ve ever wondered about my specific feelings toward every single skill that exists in gymnastics (for some reason), you may now read them. For example, the Amanar.

The most exclusive skills will also contain a list of the elite gymnasts currently performing that skill, just in case you wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and need to know who’s doing a Bhardwaj. This is just for the rarer skills, so something like a double tuck on floor won’t have a competitor list because that would just be a list of every living person. Don’t necessarily treat these lists as completely exhaustive, currently including the 150 or so elite gymnasts who have pages in the partner of the skill database, the Elite Routine Database. Continue reading Elite Skill and Routine Databases

On Championships, Both Man and European

Seventeen days. Seventeen whole days of barren desert wasteland until the beginning of the men’s Olympic Trials and women’s nationals, with nothing to quench our thirst but a mirage of Maggie Nichols doing an Amanar that turns out to be a cactus with a snake stuck to it.

What are we supposed to do? Snob out about salto positions during the diving trials by saying things like, “It’s just hard for me to watch diving because of all the cowboy technique…”? I mean, I guess we could do that. But it’s just not the same. IT’S NOT THE SAME I TELL YOU.

Still. One day at a time. One competition at a time. Just need to hit four-for-four. And, because all the competitions in the entire history of the solar system converged upon each other last weekend, several items slipped through the cracks, so it’s time to circle back around and address a couple of them.

EUROPE

For some reason, the women’s senior event finals at the European Championship took place in the middle of the night, almost like they were on a different continent or something. Really inconsiderate.

On vault, Giulia fully Steingrubered all over the place and used the D-score advantage from her rudi to sneak just ahead of Ellie Downie’s superior execution scores and win her first gold of the day. Bronze went to the extremely injured Ksenia Afanasyeva, who was so injured that she had to do two vaults in an event final.

DTY+Lopez is the event-final vaulting regimen of choice for pretty much everyone these days, which is why the rudi remains such a valuable asset for Steingruber. While the three Amanar+Cheng sisters (Biles, Hong, and Paseka) will be the medal favorites in Rio, Steingruber is setting herself up as the next best bet with vaults that will keep her ahead of Team DTY+Lopez and Team Prod Chucker. Continue reading On Championships, Both Man and European

Euros 2016: Meldonium? I don’t know her.

Maybe the meldonium was the problem the whole time. THEORY.

This weekend saw the conclusion of European Championship Episode 1: You Only Want Me For My Chest Muscles, featuring the men’s team and event finals.

-In the team competition, the Russian men began their (allegedly) post-meldonium (allegedly) era (allegedly) in a blaze of wondrous glory as it seems that Nikolai’s morning meldonium was how Valentina had been delivering her witch’s hex potion to the team this whole time. Now free from this heinous curse, the Russians were finally able to throw off their shackles and transform into a nostalgia-inspiring and largely unrecognizable flurry of…like…good. Lots of good. Hitting 18-for-18 good.

-Russia might as well have rolled into the team final wearing those weird masquerade-ball masks with the huge beak because I don’t even know who was waltzing with us this weekend. Nikolai with the good hair hit all his routines, Belyavskiy landed a vault (with his feet no less!), and Abliazin only Abliazined once on floor. (I feel like he also may have stepped out of bounds randomly before one of his passes, but whatever. Abliazin things.) It was remarkable. We’ll never see its equal. Seriously. So I hope you’re proud of using up your hit for the year already, Russia.

-Following qualification, it was clear that Great Britain would have needed a hefty dose of splatty-splatty-bang-bang from Russia to win this thing, and Russia did not acquiesce, leaving Great Britain with a perfectly respectable silver after its own solid performance. All the Brits pretty much hit to their capabilities, improving on the team total from qualification, but GB did not have the difficulty to best a Russian performance that would have made things challenging even for a Whitlocked British team.

-As expected, the battle for third came down to Switzerland and Ukraine, and it appeared that Switzerland had opened the door for Ukraine when the sheer gravitational pull of Pablo Braegger’s earring sent him careering sideways into a brick wall on vault, followed by Oliver Hegi taking a page from Greg Marsden’s book and making a very good case for four-on-the-floor as he dismounted high bar.

-Braegger should take some advice from Belyavskiy, who has worked very hard to adjust his earring technique, and it clearly paid off on his team final vault.

-These Swiss falls would have given Ukraine at least an opportunity to snatch that bronze, but then poor old Igor lurched up to high bar and said, “NO THANK YOU PLEASE,” scoring a handful of loose change and taking Ukraine right out of the medal hunt. There was no coming back from that disaster, and Oleg’s own minor catastrophe on floor simply sealed Switzerland’s ultimately gigantic margin for the bronze.  Continue reading Euros 2016: Meldonium? I don’t know her.

She’ll Never Get Those Scores Internationally

Secret Classic, the most important gymnastics competition of the year until whatever’s next week, will be upon us as fast as you can say, “That connection is stupid, honey.” With it will come a heap of Olympic team predictions and proclamations about how those scores will or will not translate to the Olympics, burying us under a pile of our dear old friend, “She’ll never get those scores internationally.”

But will she?

The answer is…mostly. Sometimes.

Let’s begin in 2012 and work forward from there.

Here, I’ve taken the average execution score each US Olympic team member received at the four major 2012 competitions (Classic, Nationals, Trials, and the Olympics) and plotted them by event to compare the scores received domestically to the scores received internationally. I’ve excluded team members who did not ultimately compete that event at the Olympics—because then there’s no point of international comparison—so vault does not include Ross’s domestic scores and the other events don’t include Maroney’s.

eexecution2012

Domestically, most events saw a slight increase in execution scores toward Trials, with Trials featuring the most enthusiastic judging (or, a nice person could argue, the most perfected routines). That’s something to keep an eye on this year as well, Classic as the most conservative of the US meets.

Once we arrive at the Olympics, the execution scores decrease on some events, but not all events and not for every gymnast. As is well documented, vault execution scores had a prescription drug problem at the 2012 Olympics and were largely off the chain, higher than at any point in the US season. Beam also remained quite constant, falling just slightly for the Olympics (a number which includes mistake routines from Douglas in EF and Raisman in the AA). The execution scores for hit beam routines between Trials and the Olympics were similar.

Of course, D score on beam was a different story, mostly because of Wieber’s walkover hell sandwich that the Olympics judges scraped off the bottom of their shoes with a stick and wiped on the curb. That’s where we can point to US judges doing a disservice by propping up unrealistic D expectations, but in execution, what we saw early was what we saw later. Continue reading She’ll Never Get Those Scores Internationally