# 2017 versus 2016: A Beam Comparison Part Deux

Welcome to the second edition of 2017 beam treatments. Following up on the first post, here are a few more comparisons of beam D scores to see how the intended 2016 D measures up to what the routine would be given under the 2017-2020 code, featuring a few gymnasts that you asked for and a few others that I think are interesting.

Let’s start with Ragan Smith. I’ll use the Patterson version of her routine since I assume that perfecting it will be the aim for 2017.

 Ragan Smith 2016 2017 Double wolf turn – D Double wolf turn – D Switch + straddle – C+A Switch + straddle – C+A Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Bhs + layout – B+E = 0.1 CV Full twisting back tuck – F Full twisting back tuck – F Punch front + sissone – D+A = 0.1 CV Punch front + sissone – D+A Aerial + pike jump – D+A = 0.1 CV Aerial + pike jump – D+A Sheep – D Sheep – C Bhs + bhs + Patterson – B+B+G = 0.1 CV Bhs + bhs + Patterson – B+B+G = 0.3 CV CR – 2.5 CR – 2.0 Acro – GFEDD – 2.6 Acro – GFEDD – 2.6 Dance – DDC – 1.1 Dance – DCC – 1.0 CV – 0.4 CV – 0.4 Total D – 6.6 Total D – 6.0

The value of the Patterson combination is quite critical in making up for the lost CV from those D+A connections. With the Patterson, the only real hit Smith’s routine takes is from the downgrade of the sheep jump. Without the Patterson, however, her 2017 D score would be just 5.6, which won’t be all that competitive.

Based on what I’m seeing in these D scores, a difficulty in the lowish 6s is about what the top beam gymnasts should be aiming for in 2017. (Later in the quad, expect scores to go higher as coaches learn how to work the new CV/copy the more inventive countries.) A lot of top beamers are looking at 5.8s for their current routines, but most of those 5.8s can be reorganized with minimal pain to get another couple tenths. Continue reading 2017 versus 2016: A Beam Comparison Part Deux

# 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.

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

# 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

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

# Pacific Rim Live Blog

Because why not?

In a weekend without NCAA gymnastics, we must find some way to occupy our time, so USAG has charitably provided the Pacific Rim Championship, the Pacific Northwest’s most important geographically arbitrary biennial international gymnastics competition. It’s kind of a big deal, you guys.

It’s the precursor to next week’s Countries That Share a Border With Another Country That Has a Name Ending in Y Championship. Prestigious. Sorry, Brazil, I can’t invite you because…I think you might border the Atlantic.

It’s also the chance for Simone Biles to square off against Canada, Australia, and a bunch of gymnasts who are dismounting bars with a Nastia flyaway and then go, “Oh, did I win?” Yes, Simone. You won.

I love that Russia and China don’t even bother sending women’s teams anymore. For a while they would fake it by sending some C Teamers and Maria Kharenkova, but now they can’t even bring themselves to throw a random junior at us. The Russians are far too busy fulfilling drug tests with a piece of notebook paper that says “NO MELDONIUM HERE.” Done and done.

Also, in case you thought the rules of this competition dictated that teams had to send three seniors and three juniors…nope. Not anymore. Because it was really important that the US send an impossibly strong team of seniors to make sure to win this competition by 78 points. Winning by 5 points would have been so embarrassing. What is the expression, taking a gun to a knife fight? The team the US has sent to this competition is like taking a gun to a sewing circle. Put away that gun, Louisa.

To the gymnastics? Shall we?

They’ve “journeyed to Everett, Washington.” Like they took the Oregon Trail.

This national anthem is a little elementary school dodgeball tournament, isn’t it? Oh, Sue.

Macready’s dream in life is to be the 24th member of Jay-Z’s entourage.

Our PA guy’s pronunciation of Allana Slater like her name is Spanish is my new favorite thing.

Tim has already given Simone five Olympic medals.
I’m watching both the NBC nu-trio and Evan and Sam. But I’m probably going to listen to NBC only because it’s way more fun to make fun of. Evan and Sam are…just enjoyable.

“HIS LIGHT DIDN’T COME ON.”

We’re already going Brenna time on floor. Almost goes OOB on her double front – nailed front double pike – “you’re looking at a real veteran, Brenna Dowell.” “You’re looking at an old hag, Brenna Dowell.”

A couple slightly short landings and the big lunge out of the opening pass for Brenna. Otherwise solid enough. Oklahoma hasn’t really missed a beat without her, but it’s exciting to think about Dowell and Nichols adding themselves to the mix next year.

Sam is not happy with Kuwajima’s handstand speed.

Ragan Smith on floor now -with her “Hi, I’m 11” Addam’s family routine – just to let us know that she’s a pixie. Short on DLO – large stumble, triple full is better. A little short on double arabian – secure landing on double pike, chest down. How very NCAA of her.

Sam and Evan could not be less enthusiastic about having to pretend to know about trampoline. But they are totally making fun of the NBC trio, and I couldn’t be happier. You go, guys.

McGregor of NZL is heading to Boise State soon. We won’t see her vault because Laurie Hernandez is up on floor. OK DLO, it’s a little low and worrying, but she got it this time. Her second pass is a double arabian, near stuck, very strong – instead of a third pass, Miss Val actually just drops into the arena on a hot air balloon and steals her and takes her to UCLA, which is a shame because it means she won’t be able to finish the competition.

In the race to see which new senior is going to steal Maggie Nichols’ rightful place, it’s Hernandez 1, Smith 0.
McGregor did a DTY. Low, but that’s going to be a useful full or 1.5 for BSU next year.
Second vault is a 1/2 on pike 1/2, quite messy to I’d guess keeping her with the yurchenko entry for NCAA next year.

Peterman has fallen on beam. Off the Olympic team!

Raisman time – 1.5 to double arabian to layout, and stays comfortable in bounds this time. Double L is short and falls out of it, strong Dos Santos to stag, the best pass in her routine usually. High and comfortable DLO as well – we’re pretending these leaps don’t exist because it’s just better for everyone, we won’t pretend like they’re close to 180 – hit routine, what she needed to do to make sure she stays ahead of the other floor options. She’s still a more important floor score, which can get her on the team.

Roberts for Canada had a bit of a wobble burger on beam.

Biles time now – fab DLO 1/1, of course, bounces back, but excellent height and form obviously – do I even need to quick hit it? It’s good. I’m disturbed by these little unfortunate squeak screams in the music here. It feels…inappropriate? Like…is that woman OK? Casual sticks on the double double and the full in. You know. Whatever.

You get the feeling that this music was chosen for her by a focus group. What will be the most marketable and Rio-themed music for Simone to be used during highlight reels during the Olympics to make her the star we need her to be?

Bali, Mali, Chile, Malawi. It’s back. It will never leave us. We will never survive.

Don’t worry, the US is ahead by 765 points after one rotation.

Extended team ass closeup as they walk to the next event? Necessary?

Simone breaks 16 on floor. Obviously.

NBC showing highlights of the men’s competition. It includes two routines. That pretty much sums it up.

Smith does a DTY – crazy legs on her block and chest down, but secure landing.

Sullivan of NZ with a tkatchev/bail type bars routine – short on the bail, dismounts double pike with bounce forward.

Hernandez – VT – DTY – better chest position than Smith but a large bounce back – exactly one centimeter of distance from the table.

Rousseau hands down on a double pike on floor. What is the Brittany Rogers situation?

Dowell – VT – DTY – good block and height, same bounce back as Hernandez.

McGregor – was working well through the shap – very close on her shoot back to high and struggles after that – has the compulsory Boise State gienger but the leg form will need to be revised.

Raisman – VT – bounces A THOUSAND miles out of her 2.5. She’ll obviously be pissed because they were much better in training. That does not help her case because that will score below a strong DTY. The team needs her 2.5 because of questions around people like Nichols. This isn’t the 2.5 the team needs.

Copiak is going to be a big deal for Washington next year to replace Northey’s scores.

Simone also flies forward out of her 2.5. What is happening? Large lunge.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHENG? CHENG CHENG CHENG.

Cheng is much better than her Amanar suddenly today. Small hop, gets it around pretty well, low chest, hop back. It’ll be fine for the Olympics. NBC is already licking its USA VS. NORTH KOREA narrative chops for the vault final at the Olympics. Can you imagine? I can imagine.

Shallon Olsen has a double double. That will help, also a really tight tuck position on her double back, like an actual circle.

Evan tells us we won’t be seeing Brittany Rogers until vault. BUT I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG.

This meet is going at SEC pace, and I like it. The US is going to be done in like an hour.

NZL had a disaster bail. Roberts from Canada shows a Dos Santos – and the Charleston -there is some solid floor difficulty in the next group of the Canadian national team, so they don’t just have to rely on Ellie forever.

Those US vaults were better than any other country’s but not so awesome with the landings this time. Martha is going to have to put quite a few people at the punishment table tonight. No watermelon slices for you.

The trendy hot take after Jesolo was that Aly’s stock is PLUMMETING. It isn’t. That 2.5 is still…no me gusta, but I think it will get close enough, and her floor routine continues getting her on the team.

Some really unfortunate thing happened where a little girl had a cry for help and then Macready just made her hug a sad hershey’s kiss. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Raisman to bars. Aly’s same bars routine as always. There was a really popular claim that Aly had IMPROVED HER BARS FORM since London. Uh……a little….?

Hernandez is next. she has a leg crazy on her stradle full every time, but she has some tremendous toe point and form usually, not so much this time with a ragged pak, hop on tuck full. Some iffier moments than she usually shows in training, on an event that should be quite strong for her, which is becoming a bit of a trend. Her bars training routines are better than her competition routines this year.

I lied about following the NBC commentators. The NBC stream is behind, and I’m a slave to live. Also, Sam and Evan are delightful to listen to.

Nice DTY from Olsen. High, small hop back. Very usable in an Olympic/Worlds context.

Biles on bars – her new name is Simone AHHHHH according to the crowd – Good hit, excellent form throughout. It always looks like she wants to connect the pak out of her tkatchev but has to wait until the piked tkatchev. Sticks tuck full dismount like nothing. Very controlled and composed form throughout.

Olsen’s second vault is a Khorkina with signature Khorkina legs.

Brittany Rogers – VT -Excellent DTY, lunge back – but clear that she should be doing the 1.5 for UGA, not the DTY like I wanted. second vault is half on layout 1/2.

OK. Dowell bars. Here we go. Martha has prepared the pitchfork just in case.

Dowell – UB – toe full to shapto tkatchev, high for a tkatchev out of a shap – hit jaeger – Church to pak – shap 1/2 – presice final hs – hop forward on DLO 1/1. SHE HIT A ROUTINE. Much more boring and smart composition, and a competitive D score.

Did Sam accidentally just tell us that Brenna is coming out? No?

Important hit for Brenna. She might get a crust of bread for that.

Locklear – UB – same composition that we’ve seen from her – nice line and handstands throughout – very high tkatchev, the problem for her is that her spot has been taken by Kocian, and she doesn’t have anything upgraded that is going to knock out Kocian if Kocian comes back health……AH HAHAHAHAHA.

“Spot the tramp.” I play that game too.

Ragan Smith is charitably getting to go on bars even though she was not selected as one of the five.
Simith – jumping to the high bar is the hardest skill for her in this routine – it’s not a natural event for her or a big routine, but she has the composition, clean line, small hop on tuck full.

Sullivan has some wobbles on beam, but this is a higher-level NZL showing than we have seen a bigger international meets.

USAG stream goes to commercial over Macready. Bregman gets us.

Final rotation beam times now. Ooohh, Locklear got a real beam spot over Dowell? Damn.
Evan and Sam pointing out those seriously wonky knees on her loso series. Nice punch front – pretty comfortable and controlled position on L turn as well – switch and switch 1/2 are solid 180, loses her tow point on her switch 1/2 – double tuck with step back. This routine has become more consistent, which is a big deal for her, but it’s not a TF routine.

Smith coming up on beam. My preferred event for her.
Smith – BB – wolfathon early – solid on layout 2ft series, secure on tuck full as well – this is the one event where she could potentially be a TFer, but others are ahead of her. Chest pretty well up on the double pike, small hop back.

Roberts just did a pak into her appendix. And another fall. Oh, Canada. Our home and native land.

Raisman – BB – check on front pike – she has been more nervous on beam this quad than last, not quite the same level of sturdy German-neess – “layout” to two feet – very secure – switch star jump 1/2 to back pike is very secure – I kid – I kid because her form is poor. It’s a credit to her that I still really like her in spite of all these things. It’s not necessarily explicable. I just do. Strong upright Patterson, but a step to the side this time, which she wasn’t doing in training.

Hernandez – BB – fantastic walkover to split and sissone – lovely – extended legs on her three series as well – slightly obsessed, don’t worry about it – not a wobble on any of this acro – one check on switch half. Excellent switch ring, how it’s supposed to look – double pike, chest down with a step. Will be a high score. This is the trouble for Smith in trying to squeeze her way onto the team. She’s being out-touched by Hernandez.

Rogers on bars. We know this game. And she fell on a jaeger. We also know this game. Oh, Brittany. But…from a stalder full to reverse? You go. Ricna to pak is close, which she has done a few times at Georgia. Nice shap 1/2, DLO with a hop. She made the mistake now, and won’t next weekend…is what I’m going to tell myself.

Aly Raisman finished a tenth ahead of Laurie Hernandez, as was agreed.

We go to Simone on beam to finish things off – hits her wolf 2.5 in a not terrible way – that barani, it’s just a little not-perfect for Simone, isn’t it? It’s fine, but chest down, and everything else is ideal. Losos are strong, as is punch front, a check or two here but this is not the tentative non-important early-season beam routine we sometimes see from Simone. Just sticks her tuck full.

I feel like maybe Simone won.

Brenna – BB – front tuck mount, yes you do – solid – walkover – bhs full, small check on loso series – short on a switch split – this is the routine she wasn’t doing for Oklahoma, but she has been OK so far, the form isn’t quite Oklahomay, but I can see her getting a spot next season. Step back on double pike.

62.450 for Biles. And that’s our quick little meet done and dusted. Event finals tomorrow!

Brenna is 4th AA for a 58.850. It helps. Not Olympic Team helps, but it keeps her in the Trials mix. It’s going to be damn hard to make Trials this year, and there are people in the Hundley category who will get Memmeled after nationals.