Chris Brooks vs. Jonathan Horton

I’ve taken all of the D-scores that Brooks and Horton received at the recent Winter Cup (using the highest one given between the two days), and compared the two gymnasts’ scoring potential on paper.  Here were the results:

Brooks Horton
FX 6.1 6.2
PH 5.2 5.2
SR 5.8 6.6
V 6.6 6.6
PB 6.0 6.2
HB 6.9 6.9
Total 36.6 37.7

I highlighted the rings D-scores because this is really where the biggest difference lies.  Notice that on the five other events, their scoring potential is almost identical.  However, the 0.8 difference on rings is pretty substantial, and thus Horton has the overall advantage in terms of start value by 1.1.  Now of course, this is assuming they were given credit for everything, and that their routines remain unchanged for the American Cup.  It did appear that Brooks probably didn’t get credit for one of his skills on pommel horse (at least during Day 1), and I actually calculated his rings D-score to be a 5.9 instead of 5.8, so I’m not sure if they didn’t give full credit for one of his first maltese skills or what happened there.  I also think Brooks could certainly add a couple tenths on high bar by connecting the laid-out Tcatchev to straddled Tcatchev and also doing the stalder-half-Higgins to elgrip instead of mixed grip.  Although Horton is capable of a more difficult high bar routine, I seriously doubt he will do it at this meet.

Remember that even though Horton has about a full point advantage in start value, this is equivalent to just one fall. Interestingly, both gymnasts have very similar strengths and weaknesses…very strong high bar and p-bar routines, good power on floor and vault (both have strong double fronts), and both are weak on pommel horse.  The difference, as I said earlier, is rings, where Horton has much more difficulty.  I’m sure Brooks is working on adding some cross skills in addition to his malteses (Azarian, Nakayama, etc.)

Let’s take a look at the routines from both of these guys at the Winter Cup.  Unfortunately I don’t have Brooks’ floor, so I’ll just show the other five events. Below I have the best scoring routine that each gymnast had on each event between the two days at Winter Cup…it will give us a good idea what they look like side by side just weeks before the American Cup:

Chris Brooks PH 2010 Winter Cup

Jonathan Horton PH 2010 Winter Cup

Chris Brooks SR 2010 Winter Cup

Jonathan Horton SR 2010 Winter Cup

Chris Brooks Vault 2010 Winter Cup

Jonathan Horton Vault 2010 Winter Cup

Chris Brooks PB 2010 Winter Cup

Jonathan Horton PB 2010 Winter Cup

Chris Brooks HB 2010 Winter Cu

Jonathan Horton HB 2010 Winter Cup

The more I’ve watched Chris Brooks, the more I like him.  He’s got some big skills, but also a smoothness about his gymnastics that you don’t typically see from a gymnast with his bulkier body type.  Maybe not the best toe point, but he seems to have a great competitive ability that could really put him right in the mix for our U.S. team.  His high bar is fantastic…the Yamawaki to Gienger is very refreshing, and it definitely looks like he could connect the two Tcatchevs.  I absolutely love his peach skills on p-bars (nice straight arms), and the routine has a great rhythm and flow.  I would love to see his floor, and I’d love to see him add some difficulty on rings.  Horton’s p-bars was definitely a bit slugglish, and he could do slightly better on rings and high bar.  The best sign for him, though, was that he hit pommel horse BOTH DAYS at this competition…probably a huge boost for his confidence.  He’ll definitely need to do that at the American Cup if he hopes to hold off Hambuechen (and the others as well).

We’ve definitely been missing a rivalry in U.S. men’s gymnastics for a long time, so this is really cool to see.  Look at what a rivalry did for Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson.