Tag Archives: Gabby Douglas

Bars Scores: Pretty Cracky, Right?

Right. Let’s get into it.

If, upon subjecting yourself to some of the bars execution scores from the Olympics, you began formulating questions like, “Huh?” “What?” and “How’s your crack addiction?” you were not alone.

To me, the most unexpected scoring-related development at the Olympics was those massive bars scores (high vault scores and beam taking forever were both way too predictable), especially compared to previous years.

This table lists the average execution scores awarded this quad during all world/Olympic finals (team, AA, and event) on each apparatus.

Year VT Execution UB Execution BB Execution FX Execution
2016 9.027 8.549 8.267 8.324
2015 9.097 8.259 7.906 8.338
2014 8.933 8.150 8.179 8.058
2013 8.962 7.848 7.716 8.117

We have some degree of Land of the Rising Scores happening on all the events compared to 2013, which is consistent with the 2012 quad when the execution scores were alarmingly low in 2009 and rose progressively from there. Continue reading Bars Scores: Pretty Cracky, Right?

Olympic Preview — Team USA

I feel like I’ve been missing something in these previews. It’s nagging at me. Some fun underdog I’m ignoring, some minor outside medal contender that probably doesn’t have a shot but deserves at least a pity mention.

Oh that’s right. The US.

Previewing the US is an altogether different prospect than previewing the other teams because, in addressing the US medal prospects, it’s no longer about “potentially maybe could.” The US will win the team final, and Biles will win the all-around. Trying to create a scenario where either of those things doesn’t happen requires so many “what if” contortions and imagined mistakes that it’s not even worth going into. It’s still sports and anything can happen, but come on. It’s all about likelihood, and the likelihood of both these wins is offensively high.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still things to talk about. Like, say, the qualification lineups. Buckle up.

Team
Simone Biles – Reigning Simone Biles 2013-2015
Gabby Douglas – Probably hasn’t accomplished anything, at least that I can remember, who is she?
Laurie Hernandez – Nicknamed “the human Shakira,” really needs to work on her shyness
Madison Kocian – Like…bars?, her leg fell off in February but she’s fine
Aly Raisman – Team great-grandmother, apparently turning 98, wheeled around the nursing home under a quilt because Nana gets cold

Projected Olympic Lineups Continue reading Olympic Preview — Team USA

2016 Olympic Trials Part 2: Martha’s a Little Teapot

And we’re back. It’s the final night of Olympic Trials, and in just a few short hours, Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Hernandez, and Kocian I mean, five definitely-not-already-decided athletes will learn that they have made the Olympic team.

As is only traditional, the final night of the most significant US gymnastics competition in four years begins with a deferential acknowledgement of the biggest star in all of gymnastics.

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I, of course, am referring to Bela Karolyi. Who is here because of reasons.

He touched Simone on the shoulder. OMG THAT’S HOW SHE DOES IT. BELA HAS ANOTHER ONE.

“Just about everything you’re going to see tonight matters,” Al says. But not everything, he adds, as Maggie Nichols falls through the trap door and into the piranha dungeon. Another one bites the dust.

OK, can we please discuss the HEART OF THE OCEAN that Trautwig is wearing on his finger? Damn, that thing makes Nastia’s rock look like an idiot.

rock1

So, Princess Al of Monaco welcomes us to the competition, at which point we learn what an utter shitstorm Gabby Douglas has been, and there are probably other people in the meet too I guess. Anyway, she has to hit 4-for-4 tonight, otherwise she should basically go compete for Belarus and will never make the team ever. Continue reading 2016 Olympic Trials Part 2: Martha’s a Little Teapot

2016 Olympic Trials Part 1: The Night of Uber Important Water Cups

The competition may be over, but NBC’s coverage is forever. Chilling. The hard truths.

As I wallowed in the stands in San Jose, painfully cut off from the sage judgment of Trautwig and his merry band of colored shapes, I felt lost, bereft, confused. Entirely powerless to interpret the events unfolding before me. Was that disaster “ginormous” or “of epic proportions”? Is Laurie Hernandez “hot stuff” or “one fun kid”? I JUST DON’T KNOW. I could only sit and imagine what eloquent turns of phrase were being inflicted upon the audience at that very moment.

Now, through the magic of the internet, I am in the dark no longer. Won’t you join me for day 1? Once more, into the flames.

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Christ the Redeemer Statue: 1, Brenna Dowell: 0

As the broadcast begins, Trautwig the Redeemer transforms back into his human form to welcome us to San Jose, the Jan Brady of California, and introduce the only three gymnasts competing for spots on the five-woman Olympic team. LOCKS!

He presents Simone Biles, who is good, Gabby Douglas, who is literal trash, and Aly Raisman, who failed like a rotten failure in the all-around in 2012. Because that’s her defining career moment. Continue reading 2016 Olympic Trials Part 1: The Night of Uber Important Water Cups

Olympic Trials in Review

Back from Olympic Trials!

If you want all the details on what went down on the floor, in the arena, in the mixed zone, and on various random street corners outside the venue at trials, be sure to listen to our GymCastic recaps of night one and night two, featuring a full breakdown of that time John Macready blindfolded those girls and made them crawl on their hands and knees to find his treats, along with a very heated, very confusing argument about whether Aly Raisman should do the AA at the Olympics.

If you weren’t at the meet, you missed out on……like not that much. You’re fine. Although you were denied a lot of marching, and waving, and hugging, and more marching, and more hugging, and Amelia Hundley, and more Amelia Hundley, and Christina Desiderio almost dying on bars while Bill Strauss was like, “I can’t,” and John Orozco’s falsetto, and Aly Raisman nearly falling backwards off the podium and landing on her head right before beam. Plus, you missed out on your complimentary post-competition trash bag full of cereal, presented by Kellogg’s. Kellogg’s: Here’s a trash bag.

The absolute highlight of the whole competition was seeing thousands of little kids excitedly grab their free bags of mystery swag after the meet only to realize that it was just cereal. It was like watching MyKayla Skinner walk out for the team announcement all over again, but a thousand times in a row.

MyKayla was not happy with her cereal, you guys.

But then again, you got Trautwig instead, so you entire life is a nightmare. I can’t wait to watch and recap the NBC broadcasts. Don’t worry. It’s coming. Continue reading Olympic Trials in Review

Post-Championships Olympic Prospects

So…what happened at nationals? Nothing? Probably nothing.

A. YAWNSVILLE

Simone did Simone things and was brilliant in spite of taking up arms for World War III about her day 2 wobblefest beam routine. This is the major problem with NBC basically bestowing her with five automatic gold medals. Beam is still beam. “Oh, you only won four gold medals at the Olympics? Loser disappointment.”

Aly Raisman also received 5 out of 5 brick houses for bringing back Steady Aly to a degree we haven’t seen since 2012. Her eight routines were all exact duplicates of each other, just like we expect from her. It may be a hologram-fraud situation. MIHAI IS A CHARLATAN.

B. ???

Mostly, we need to talk about NBC’s team graphic, which made every human go, “But really?” and featured a wildly haphazard and truly offensive number of superfluous question marks. A) Three question marks is always too many question marks in a non-ironic context. One question mark will suffice. B) I definitely don’t have that many question marks about this team.

Laurie Hernandez came to nationals with a chance to confirm her spot on the Olympic team by hitting her normal routines, which she did. Tying Raisman on the first day and finishing third overall simply reinforced that she has become an integral part of the team at the level of Raisman and Douglas. She’s not Plan B. She’s Plan A.

C. OMG DOUGLAS IS HORRIBLE GARBAGE AND SHOULD BE NOTHING AND THE ALTERNATE Continue reading Post-Championships Olympic Prospects

Women’s P&G Championship Preview

Onward we travel to Women Part 2: The One That’s Slightly More Meaningful Than the Last One. It’s nationals, which means everyone needs to start trying now, doing the all-around, and maybe showing an Amanar or something. At the classic, we didn’t get any desperately chucked Amanars. I mean, come on. What is wrong with you people?

Classic did provide partial answers to a few pressing Olympic questions, but for the most part, I gave it a C- because of how many people didn’t compete events I wanted them to. (The most frequently competed floor skill at Secret Classic was nothing.) One routine? What are we even supposed to do with that? Nationals will be better.

While it’s not the final step in the Martha-brick road—we’ll hear a lot about how everyone is supposed to be at 90% this weekend (Oh no! I was competing at 92%! What will I do?!?!)—nationals will be the first legitimate opportunity to compare everyone on all the events at the same time and will provide our most viable glimpse so far of what a top three on each event might be.

But until then, we still have a number of wispy, ghostlike issues that hopefully will look a good deal more corporeal by this time next week.

1. Minnesota Maygie

The Queen in the North’s meniscus is easily one of the top-five most famous cartilaginous clumps in US gymnastics history. It has single-handedly provided us with nearly all the uncertainty and meritless speculation we could have ever wanted from an Olympic selection process. Maggie Nichols’ level of competitiveness will be the single most important piece of new information we get from nationals.

Expectations should be tempered. Not only is it unrealistic to think that she’ll be all 2015 Worlds coming right off knee surgery, but this is also more or less her classic. She’s on a displaced timetable and won’t necessarily be expected to roll into St. Louis and perform at exactly 91.3% like the others. Nichols’ true competition of consequence will be Olympic Trials.

At the same time, we did learn an important lesson in 2012 from Nastia, who taught us that Sprawling Hair Shanty Town is the new bun. Also that even though we might say, “It’s just nationals. There’s still time to put together a bars dismount before trials,” mmmm…not that much time.

It’s unrealistic to expect a massive change in level in just two weeks. People don’t tend to upgrade between nationals and trials. I have to think that Nichols needs to show all her intended difficulty (*cough* Amanar *cough*) at least in podium training at nationals, especially while living in Martha’s Funhouse of Verification and Proving Yourself.

2. Koclear – How important is D? Continue reading Women’s P&G Championship Preview

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.

All-Around

pcaa

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

Secret Classic Preview

It’s happening. No turning back now.

Secret Classic. This Saturday. The biggest little competition in gymnastics. I say that because classic isn’t really…important. It doesn’t matter who wins. If you screw it up royally, you can still become world champion later that year. And the popular kids totally only do bars and beam, anyway.

For reference, if we look back to 2012 Secret Classic, Douglas did three events and messed up beam, Wieber did two events and messed up bars, Anna Li fell on bars, and Ebee had several natural disasters on both beam and floor, all of which we remembered exactly zero percent once we got to nationals and trials when it was ALTERNATE SPOTS FOR EVERYONE. So, I would caution against reading too much into the inevitable falls we’ll see at classic. People can (and do) come back from them later in the summer.

At the same time, this competition will set the tone for the composition choices we’ll see this year (if you have an upgrade, it needs to be shown yesterday), which will better separate realistic from unrealistic team permutations and clarify who are the favorites versus the challengers.

It’s also just plain exciting because OLYMPIC SEASON YOU GUYS. Classic is the beginning of the end of this journey…

Oh no. No. I feel a fluff piece coming on. Can’t stop it. Run. Save yourself.

“It begins [PAUSE] as a dream. [CHALK BUCKET. ADJUSTING GRIPS TO INDICATE HARD WORK.] But for five young women [PAUSE] what was once no more than a fleeting fantasy [BLURRY BLACK-AND-WHITE FILTER OVER THE CHEERING CROWDS OF GABBY’S 2012 WIN], is just a few short weeks from reality. [COLOR AND RESOLUTION RESTORED. COPACABANA BEACH.] Rio de Janeiro. [CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE.] All those long nights, spent bathed in golden dreams of a land called Rio, come down to this. [TIME LAPSE OF ARENA FILLING UP. WATCHFUL EYES OF MARTHA KAROLYI] A vault. [MARONEY’S 2012] A stick. [SIMONE STICKING THE BILES] …A lifetime. [BACK TO THE GYM. SOLITARY FIGURE REMOVES TAPE IN THE CORNER AS THE LIGHTS TURN OFF.]”

OK, now that we’ve got that out of my system, for the hour at least, here are a few of the routines and people I’m most interested by and will have the keenest vulture eyes on during Saturday’s Secret Classic.

1. The Gabbanar and the Raismanar

So much of the team composition (whether Hernandez or Nichols is better suited to help the team, whether a bars specialist is required to up the D score), will be decided by how many people have viable Amanars. Nothing that occurs this weekend will be more critical than the State of the Amanars Address.

There’s no guarantee that everyone will do every event, especially the leg events, but I have to think that Proof of Amanar is among the top priorities for all the top non-Simones. Nichols isn’t competing, meaning we’ll have to wait to see where she is on her vault journey (it begins as a dream…), but Raisman and Douglas can set the vaulting tone. Continue reading Secret Classic Preview