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My thoughts on the American Cup…Part 2

  • Aly Raisman’s beam score was LUDICROUS.  I’m surprised the commentators didn’t make a bigger deal about that routine.  She did one of the most perfectly executed routines I have seen from ANYONE in a really long time, all as a virtual rookie on live television.  Not even a hint of a wobble on a single skill, and a NAILED a brand new double Arabian dismount.  I would say that was probably the most impressive “rookie” routine I have ever seen before, and the judges rewarded her with a whopping 9.15 E-Score.  What in the world were they watching?  Then, Rebecca Bross, whom everyone knew was going to win anyway, nearly falls on her full turn, has a couple of jittery bobbles in between her skills and minor checks on the side somi and front tuck, and then takes a huge lunge forward on her dismount, and receives a 9.1 E-Score.  It really is unbelievable.  If Bross’s routine was a 9.1, then Raisman’s was a 9.85, not a 9.15.  It’s a perfect example of the biggest problem in judging today…an absolute REFUSAL to reward perfect routines with high execution scores, particularly on the women’s side.  Those judges should be fired.
  • I do love Bross’s bars.  That was probably the best routine she’s ever done in competition.  It’s so cool to see her be so aggressive on every single skill.  I disagree with Tim…I think bars is definitely her best event.
  • Bross’s floor choreography was certainly better than in her previous routine, but it seemed extremely artificial to me.  She looked like an actress playing someone else’s part.  I applaud the effort to give her some actual movements to work with rather than the series of awkward poses she showed before, but she’s going to have to let loose and perhaps even smile if she’s going to perform a routine that’s lively like that.  Keep working on it, Rebecca!
  • I swear it seems like girls just don’t tumble like they used to.  What happened to huge double layouts and full-in dismounts?  The only really impressive tumbling passes were Bross’s first two passes and Raisman’s 1 ½ to double Arabian.  The rest wouldn’t have even been that impressive in the 1980’s.  It is 2010.  The men, on the other hand, are doing MIND-BLOWING tumbling all over the place, and they have SIX events to train.  What is going on here?
  • Elsa Garcia gets the award for the worst floor music of the competition…possibly in history.  It reminded me of the American Idol contestants who choose to sing slow, boring, and even depressing songs instead of lively, energetic, uplifting, and fun songs.  They don’t work on American Idol, and they don’t work in gymnastics.  How she actually tumbles to that music is beyond me!
  • Although Bross’s first two passes are difficult, I still don’t like her choices in tumbling.  The last two passes just have too much twisting…especially considering they look a bit sloppy on her.   I really think she needs to show another flipping skill. I would much rather see a big back tumbling pass from her rather than all three combinations.  I’d also love to see her add a half twist to that double front (why does no one still do that?).  And would it kill one of these powerful girls to dismount with a full-in (or perhaps even the full-out she used to do)?
  • Aly Raisman’s first pass is great, but I don’t like the choices for the other three passes.  A gymnast as powerful as she is should NOT be doing a double tuck in the middle of her floor routine, nor should she be doing that triple full as the second pass.  Raisman landed on her BACK on that same triple full in her second pass at nationals last year, and it cost her a chance for the junior title.   When you can do a triple full as easily as she can, it’s better suited as thedismount. Or perhaps she could keep it there but make it a Myzdrikova-type pass – a triple full to a back tuck, or even better – to a layout step out! (How cool would THAT be?).  And of course she could turn the double tuck into a full-in.  Another option would be to do a 3 ½ twist into a front skill, and then use the triple full as the dismount.  Sacramone used to do the same thing and it drove me crazy…the routine never worked when she did her triple full early.  When Alicia dismounted with the triple full in 2005, it worked perfectly and she won the world floor title.
  • That was the best beam competition I’ve seen in a long time…not a single girl fell!  I was pleasantly surprised to see this, considering how weak everyone thought the women’s field was.  Those were some really strong beam routines, despite the tough judging.  Bars was a different story, though.
  • I thought Yuko Shintake’s bars was very underscored…8.1 E-Score???  I thought it was very nice and clean and showed great handstands.  I didn’t get that one at all.
  • Elsa Garcia looked pretty decent on beam and floor, but she really has NEVER regained the form she showed in 2007.  I do really like her elegance, smile, and personality, but I’ve been waiting and waiting for her to live up to the hype that’s been created about her.  Still haven’t seen it yet.
  • Jessica Lopez was the surprise of the women’s meet.  I was so impressed with how confident and pretty her gymnastics was, especially after watching her last year.  Few would have predicted she would end up in third place.
  • Andrea Joyce’s comment about Nastia being like a politician by avoiding the question about 2012 was funny, and quite true.  On another note, I think Andrea interrupts the gymnasts WAY too much when they’re talking.   They have little enough to say as it is! It’s like as soon as they start to actually say something of substance, she immediately cuts them off…kind of defeats the purpose of an interview.
  • I think they should make the American Cup part of the World Cup Circuit (one of the qualifying meets for the final World Cup), but have an all-around and event finals.  Instead of being “invitation only,” I think it should be open to any international competitors who want to come.  With such a lack of great all-arounders in the world today (at least on the women’s side), having just 8 competitors has made the meet lose its luster.  Bring it back by making it a bigger event!