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).
Heading into today’s competition, the default team must be considered Malone, Mikulak, Wiskus, and Moldauer, with it taking some real issues today to shake that up.
For the +1, the Nedoroscik miss on the first day has put Yoder in the driver’s seat, though I don’t think I’m quite as “IF YODER HITS HE HAS IT” as Tim sounds like he is. If Nedoroscik hits and scores higher than Yoder today, I think he’ll still be considered, which is fine by me because the US men don’t have the luxury of selecting for consistency. They must select for peak scoring ability if going for actual medals. Also, let’s all hope Whittenburg pulls out the Dragulescu today and hits both vaults to act as the chaos agent we need.
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.
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?
For the first day of men’s competition, I’d say the most important performance belongs to Shane Wiskus. He was on all the prospective teams before nationals, but his performance at that meet left other options looking at least as viable. A real hit on high bar as well as improvements on vault would do wonders for his chances.
So in the first rotation, seeing if Wiskus can come up with better vault landings than he had at nationals will be significant, as will Brody Malone on high bar, who needs to produce another hit there to be like, “I’m obviously on the team.”
Leading off the first rotation will be Donnell Whittenburg attempting a Ri Se Gwang I, so…it won’t be boring.
Also we’re starting with the three rotation groups on vault, PBars, and HBar for some reason. You know, like the order you have. And then on day 2, they’re starting on floor, rings, and Pbars. There must be a reason for this madness…but what?
NBCSN is the TV broadcast, and the apparatus stream is here.
Oooh, Nedoroscik got the coveted “third person we cut to” role, following Malone and Mikulak. Big upset.
By way of a preview of the Olympic Trials—which start tomorrow, as in actually tomorrow—I’m dispensing with some of the headlines we’ve played into the ground and instead running through what I view as the actual most important routines in the competition for defining what the Olympic squads will look like.
So, no, Simone’s routines aren’t that important. She could vape right into a baby’s crib as her beam mount and still make the team.
1. Grace McCallum’s Bars
Much attention will be on Grace McCallum at trials because she has recently found herself only a few tenths shy of a place on the highest-scoring potential teams—all while competing below the level we’ve seen from her in the past. Progressing back up to her 2019 quality could very well get McCallum a top-4 all-around placement and a spot on the team.
I was tempted to say floor is the most important for McCallum because that’s somewhere she could add a tenth or so to the team score by stepping up some of the tumbling and give herself another compelling event, but the real appeal of McCallum is her “all-arounder you could use anywhere” status. Her best Olympic case is that she gives you anything and everything. A tenth over here, a tenth over there, a backup routine over there.