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Chris Brooks Floor 2012 Pacific Rim Championships Team Finals

 

After struggling quite a bit with floor due to his ankles over the past two years, Brooks is finally showing what he is capable of again on this event.  The front double pike opener is a super cool move, and he actually does it amazingly easily.  He also makes that 1 ½ to double front look way, way easier than it actually is, demonstrating his true mastery over the forward flipping skills.  Interestingly, there are no major “roll-out” skills in this routine.  This routine scored a 14.85 (out of a possible 16.0).  Remember that with the five-man team, it is doubtful that the USA will have both Legendre and Dalton on the squad for London, so this means it will be critical that the USA can still come up with three 15’s on this event.  A gymnast like Danell Leyva or Chris Brooks will likely need to be used, and Brooks is starting to show he may be up for that challenge.

 

 

Chris Brooks Pommel Horse 2012 Pacific Rim Championships Event Finals

 

Wow…Chris Brooks wins a gold on POMMEL HORSE at a major international event?  I don’t think many saw that coming.  He has always had a pretty good swing on this event, but he’s never shown the same confidence or consistency that he does on his stronger events like p-bars and high bar.  The 14.7 he scored here might have been slightly higher than he would score at some other major meets, but probably not by a lot.  The D-score is 5.9 and it’s very clean.  This doesn’t mean he’s one of the USA’s three best on pommel horse, but it still earns him huge points in his corner because it shows he could be an option – at least for the prelims in London.

 

 

Chris Brooks Rings 2012 Pacific Rim Championships Event Finals

 

This is another area where Chris has shown improvement, and as I mentioned in my blog on Jake Dalton, it’s an event the selection committee will be focusing on very closely when they go to select the final team.  Brooks has been slowly creeping his way up toward the 15-range on this event this year, and he broke that magic 15- mark with this 15.075 in the event finals.  Interestingly, he actually took out an Azarian, which he used during the team finals and had a little trouble with.  The Yamawaki sequence is not only really cool – it’s smart because it yields fewer deductions that many of the stringently judged strength moves.  In a way it helps his execution score to not have too many strength elements in this routine.

 

 

Chris Brooks High Bar 2012 Pacific Rim Championships Team Finals

 

Always love watching him on this event.  Huge 6.8 D-score and 15.65 final score, and well deserved.  He has great body positions on those laid-out Tcatchevs.  This routine has been one of the most reliable high-scoring high bar routines in the country over the past two years, and he’s proving that hasn’t changed one bit.  The USA already has Horton, Orozco, and Leyva to use on high bar, but Brooks could easily fill a spot on this event if any of these three are unable to.

 

 

Overall, I’d say Brooks earned himself quite a few stock points with his performance in this competition, and though I still can’t quite place him in the top 5, I think he has inched his way closer.  Right now, I think he is one of the very best alternate candidates that the USA has, given that he could potentially be used on any of the six events if needed – something that couldn’t truly be said about him in 2010 or 2011 when his ankles weren’t 100%.  The only thing keeping Brooks off the team right now is the fact that his “slam dunk” events are still p-bars and high bar, and these are events where the USA already has three world class scores from Leyva, Orozco, and Horton, all of whom are essentially locks for the team if healthy.  However, the fact that Brooks has clearly improved on all four of the other events won’t go unnoticed, and that’s why I think he is at least an alternate at this point.  If any of the Olympic team members were to go down with injury or not prove readiness when this whole process is said and done – particularly one of the top three guys – I believe that Brooks may well be the first to get the call.  I hope he keeps this up and remains healthy, because he really is having a fantastic year and should remain right in the mix until the very end.

 

 

Next, I’ll focus on Sam Mikulak, one of the Olympic “dark horses” who seems to be rapidly joining the race.