Tag Archives: Alyssa Baumann

Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

A. The Greatest Uneven Bars Routine You Will Ever See

Step aside, Nabz. There’s a new sheriff in town.

I love Russian Cup soooooooo much. It’s difficult to quantify the amount Mustafina is over this routine. I would say she’s having none of it, but she’s actually having negative numbers of it. She gets about halfway through and is like, “Mission complete! Bye bye now.”

This is a COMPETITION routine.

I would rather watch this than a gold medal routine any day. I basically haven’t stopped laughing. Praise be to Aliya.

B. Russian Cup

Did other routines happen? Because it doesn’t even matter at this point. I’m set.

Afanasyeva did not participate because of her case of chronic Russia, but she is theoretically still in the running for Rio. They’re pretty much just planning to cover her in healing spells and wheel her out on a gurney for qualification, hoping for the best. I figured it would be Mustafina who would have to be carried around the Rio competition floor by four strapping German nurses, but it looks like it will be Afan instead. #cantpredictgymnastics. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

Checking Out Some D – Post-Classic Edition

Secret Classic is just Secret Classic. It’s the first step, not the decisive step. It’s never truly going to ruin anyone’s chances all by itself (which is code for “don’t write off Madison Kocian just because of that”), but this year’s competition did reveal a couple key changes in the D-score rankings as well as reinforcing the viability of several contenders on specific events, gymnasts who were closer to question-mark territory before the meet (which is code for “Aly Raisman had an important meet in spite of bars”).

So, as before, I have taken the current difficulty scores for the senior elites advancing to nationals and arranged the Ds by size, now updated to include the routines performed at Secret Classic if they reflected an upgrade (or change in composition—for instance, I put Rachel Gowey’s bars D back down to 6.3 from 6.5 as it appears she’s no longer doing inbar skills).

Once again, I removed the stick bonuses from the D scores because stick bonuses are the work of a multi-headed demon creature from below the sea and serve only to make the US scores even more misleading and unrealistic than they might be otherwise. Yurchenko fulls for seniors are also awarded just 4.7 instead of 5.0 at US competitions (because only stupid foreign jerks who are totally untalented do Yurchenko fulls), so I restored those to their actual 5.0 D level as well.



Among the Timmy D comments heard ’round the gymternet during the competition was the categorical statement that Aly Raisman will not be doing bars in qualification at the Olympics. …OK?

Now, will Aly Raisman have the weakest bars routine on the Olympic team? Yes. But that didn’t stop Martha from holding Nichols out of the AA at worlds last year to give Raisman a shot at qualifying, only to have Nichols return to the lineup to perform her first bars routine of the competition in the team final (a conventional-wisdom no-no, but a decision that worked out well).

I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it happened again at the Olympics. Though imagine the hell that will be raised if, say, Laurie Hernandez gets held off of bars in qualification so that Raisman can do the all-around instead of her.  Continue reading Checking Out Some D – Post-Classic Edition

Secret Classic Podium Training

I haven’t been obsessively refreshing the USAGym youtube page all day. You’ve been obsessively refreshing the USAGym youtube page all day. What is obviously the most important day of your life, Secret Classic podium training, is finally here and the videos are flooding in for our intense dissection needs, providing us with…WAIT.

Has Skinner gotten rid of both tomato-armpit AND stab-a-boob???

THIS WILL NOT STAND. This better just be a podium training acro-through, and she’s saving the difficult and important parts of the routine for competition. Otherwise, I don’t know what I’ll do. Shut up with that full-in dismount whatever, I WANT TOMATO ARMPIT. I mean, we do get “rigor mortis pottery” at the beginning of this video, and then “I’m nervous about my upcoming hip replacement surgery” toward the end, but THAT’S IT. Not good enough. She also appears to have added in her own homage to Ol’ Flappy. Derivative.

In important upgrade news, Laurie Hernandez showed up like a monster to upset the bars cart with this upgraded 6.4 bars routine.

Serious team final implications with this, as it potentially gives Hernandez a second event to help make her case (along with beam). This separates her from the pack of 6.1 bars options (like Biles and Nichols) and helps turn the attention away from vault (and who has an Amanar) and onto what Hernandez can potentially add on bars and beam, which could total more than an Amanar adds anyway. The execution is fine, though not ideal (those damn stalder full legs), so we’ll need to see how this is evaluated to see how much she’s really gaining here. To be a viable bars option, you have to beat Biles by at least a couple tenths since the team could always just put up Biles and be fine. Continue reading Secret Classic Podium Training

Splatfest 2015

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of splatfests. It is my calling. And the first day of women’s competition at the national championships last night was a truly lovely vintage. It wasn’t quite 2000 Trials level (that’s an unrealistic standard to which to hold other competitions—we can’t all be 2000 Trials), but Aly Raisman did fall on a split jump, so it was pretty competitive. During the meet, I may or may not have started singing “Car Wash” but with “splatfest” instead of “car wash.”

Now, except for Maggie Nichols continuing to be a Solid Sandy and confirming her place in the new world order, and Simone Biles just casually throwing out the best E score of all time (have we confirmed that? I think it is, beating Nastia’s beam 9.800 at 2008 Pacific Rims, but has anyone scoured the records to make sure?), this meet will probably end up counting as an incomplete. For the rest of you, we’ll pretend it never happened and just start over tomorrow.

But, what I love about this splatfest most of all (other than how PISSSSSSED Aly and Simone looked the whole time—heartwarming) is that it throws some serious doubt onto that pre-summer presumptive team of Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Key, Ross. Primarily because of bars. (And also maybe because of Alyssa Baumann…pleeeeeassse?)

There are still a million things that can change between now and the selection camp. Kupets will make a comeback. The Worlds team will be reduced to 2 and a half members (2 AAers and then whatever is left of Madison Kocian’s legs after this weekend). But, as we stand right now, that presumptive team has some pretty large cracks in it. Let’s talk about that to make this summer of selection a lot more interesting than it has been so far. At least until tomorrow, when everything will change again. I fully own the flippant and mercurial attitude I bring to team selection.

How do you solve a problem like Kyla? That’s not really the Sound of Music reference I would have expected to need to use about Kyla. She’s supposed to be the Edelweiss of USA Gymnastics. But her bars are turning into an issue. Partly because of the falling (this routine doesn’t make me feel warm and safe like a sweater the way her 2012 routine did), but mostly because of the potential score even when she does hit. Give her back a point for the fall yesterday, and she’s still in 7th on bars, well behind several of the bars specialists contending for a spot. Her difficulty is down to 6.0 from the more competitive 6.3 she was planning, and that’s not a good sign. She needs a selection camp step-up in that regard.

For now, it appears that if Kyla does makes the Worlds team, it will be because she’s a known and trusted entity who can hit in major situations (regardless of these recent performances). Which is not an unimportant consideration. Even though her beam scores have been lower, I would still trust her on beam in TF more than some other options who have been scoring higher. (Though I would also be perfectly happy with three of Biles/Raisman/Douglas/Baumann on beam, which is part of the problem for her.)

But a team with Kyla wouldn’t be the team with the highest scoring potential at this point. If you’re bringing Kyla for bars, why not bring Kocian or Locklear instead? If you’re bringing her for bars and beam, why not bring Gowey, who had an under-the-radar pretty awesome day yesterday, getting top five on both her events and stepping up that bars difficulty?

I’m still not sure how she managed to get a 6.6 D score for that routine since I have it as a 6.5 and she didn’t stick (maybe just because Gowey?), but she’s back on my radar for now because I’m obsessed with her. But also because that bars routine can score quite well, and she’s more usable on beam than Kocian or Locklear. Though bars is the real factor, so she would need to be able to score right with those other two, not a couple tenths below, to be considered. Watch that space. Also decisive will be whether Locklear can get all her skills back by Worlds. This is a downgraded routine that still got a 15.400. If she’s able to get her D score back, it’s hard to say no to the insane cleanliness of this bars work.

Or, you could combine two people to do the job and bring Kocian for bars and Baumann for beam. (If you feel you need another beamer, which I don’t really think the team does.) Or both Kocian and Locklear for bars again. That would put Bailie Key under pressure. Several weeks ago, she was in the same boat as Nichols, and I do think that if everything goes to plan, they have pretty similar scoring potential in the AA. The difference is Nichols’ Amanar, which is essential right now, leaving Key much lower in the pecking order.

In that pre-summer presumptive team, you would have Key doing bars in TF, but maybe only bars now that Nichols is scoring equivalently on floor. Key on floor is not the MUST routine it seemed like it would be. So that puts her almost in the same boat as Kyla. If she’s only there in TF to do bars, why not use Kocian/Locklear? Kocian/Locklear/Douglas is the best option for the US on bars, and with Biles, Raisman, and Nichols nailing the power events right now, that’s a legitimate team that didn’t seem as realistic pre-Classic.

If yesterday’s competition were the women’s team final at Worlds, here’s how a few different combinations of teams would have scored (using the team’s three highest scores on each event). Yes, I know it’s silly to use one day of competition to make sweeping conclusions about teams and scoring potential, especially because so many people fell and got unusable scores. That’s not the point. It’s just a fun exercise to clarify how much people are actually adding.

Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Key, Ross – 181.600
VT – 47.300: Biles 16.250, Nichols 15.800, Key 15.250 
UB – 45.650: Douglas 15.300, Key 15.200, Biles 15.150
BB – 43.650: Biles 14.800, Douglas 14.450, Nichols 14.400
FX – 45.000: Raisman 15.550, Biles 14.900, Nichols 14.550

(Why Kyla really could have helped her argument with a normal Kyla beam set last night. It would have brought this team total way up instead of being a point behind other options.)

Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Key, Kocian – 181.950
VT – 47.300: Biles 16.250, Nichols 15.800, Key 15.250 
UB – 46.000: Kocian 15.500, Douglas 15.300, Key 15.200,
BB – 43.650: Biles 14.800, Douglas 14.450, Nichols 14.400
FX – 45.000: Raisman 15.550, Biles 14.900, Nichols 14.550

Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Kocian, Locklear – 182.100
VT – 47.250: Biles 16.250, Nichols 15.800, Raisman 15.200
UB – 46.200: Kocian 15.500, Locklear 15.400, Douglas 15.300
BB – 43.650: Biles 14.800, Douglas 14.450, Nichols 14.400
FX – 45.000: Raisman 15.550, Biles 14.900, Nichols 14.550

Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Kocian, Baumann – 182.600
VT – 47.250: Biles 16.250, Nichols 15.800, Raisman 15.200
UB – 45.950: Kocian 15.500, Douglas 15.300, Biles 15.150
BB – 44.400: Baumann, 15.150, Biles 14.800, Douglas 14.450
FX – 45.000: Raisman 15.550, Biles 14.900, Nichols 14.550

That Baumann beam score would add a lot in this scenario, but it’s mostly because Raisman had a fall and Douglas had a wobbler. Her routine wouldn’t normally add that much to the team compared to other options. And actually, if you take that last scenario and put Locklear in for Douglas, you get to a 182.650 total, though Biles, Raisman, Nichols, Kocian, Locklear, Baumann is not going to be the team. That more highlights the problem of using one day of competition to make judgments more than anything else and that some of the big names who aren’t in that group have some work to do tomorrow to get back into it.