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Chris Brooks was an unrecognized star of this meet.  I was disappointed and surprised they didn’t show one routine of his, and in fact didn’t even seem to mention the fact (unless I missed it) that he hit six for six and placed 3rd as a “non-competitor” in the meet.  He was actually just 0.7 away from doing exactly what Gabby Douglas did on the women’s side – winning the meet despite not being officially entered.  Highlights for Brooks included the highest floor score he has shown in as long as I can remember (14.9), a hit pommel horse routine (13.933), another rings score close to 15 (14.833), and the 2nd highest scores on vault (15.833) and high bar (15.533).  HUGE, HUGE success for him.  Although it’s still unclear where he’ll fit into the Olympic mix, I’d say there’s no question he raised his stock this weekend.  It’s such a shame he didn’t even get a courtesy shout out.

 

I was so happy for Danell Leyva.  After a disappointing all-around at worlds and another off-performance at the Winter Cup where John Orozco dominated, Leyva’s status as America’s best all-around gymnast has been in question recently.  But with his exciting comeback in the last two events and resulting American Cup crown, he now has a very impressive new credential to add to his resume in this Olympic year.  This big international win will give him a huge surge in confidence as the pre-Olympic season continues to unfold, and it felt to be long overdue.  Good for him.

 

Some of the parallel bars scores were completely ludicrous!  Did you notice that Danell Leyva’s routine (6.2, 14.966) was not only outscored by the young Oleg Vernyayev from Ukraine (6.7, 15.2), but scored almost identically to two routines that weren’t even in the SAME LEAGUE – Daniel Purvis (6.4, 14.9) and Mykola Kuksenkov (6.3, 14.866)???  First of all, I’m not sure what the D-score confusion with Leyva’s routine was about, but it certainly didn’t appear he should have had one of the lowest in the meet with a 6.2.  Secondly, he received over 1.2 in deductions, which seemed unexplainable.  I know he intended to pirouette back in after the giant diamidov 1 ¼, but he covered just fine and shouldn’t have lost much.  The opening peach sequence was phenomenal, and the routine was very clean. Thirdly, Daniel Purvis bent his arms and broke form in some of his peach skills, took multiple steps in a handstand with an arch and legs apart, had a couple struggles on his upper arm sequence, took a hop on the landing, AND bends his knees way too early on his giant skills.  Kuksenkov’s routine was quite average, and he has multiple slight knee bends throughout, and a couple breaks on his peach half.  WHAT THE????

 

John Orozco’s parallel bars routine was one of the highlights of the entire meet and seemed underscored as well.  I felt it was the most perfectly executed men’s routine of the day, and yet he still received 1.1 in deductions (6.6, 15.5)???   Just as at the world championships, I have no idea where they find so many deductions to take from this exquisite and nearly flawless appearing routine.

 

I think this meet result might be a good thing for Orozco.  He’s had so much success lately that I think a fall like the one he had on pommel horse can help keep him grounded and motivated – and can help him learn how to prevent it from happening at the Olympic Games.  He really did rebound extremely well, hitting solidly on his next four events.  An 89.331 with a fall certainly isn’t too much to be upset about.  He will need to improve his floor and vault a bit if he wants to be in medal contention in London.  I don’t think this meet changes his status for London at all, and I agree with Tim Daggett that he is essentially a lock at this point.  It’s interesting how similar his strengths are to Chris Brooks’…with the only major difference being pommel horse, where Orozco really clinches his spot on this team.

 

Mykola Kuksenkov really is amazingly consistent.  Just as he did last year, he hit six for six here and scored very predictably – between 14.866 and 15.533 on every event.  His Kolman on high bar was very nice, but overall I think we all overemphasize his “cleanliness.”  He has a nice slender look with good body line and is very consistent, but he does have plenty of form breaks, and his toepoint leaves quite a bit to be desired.  He’s a very good gymnast though, and he has done extremely well over the past two years.

 

The top six gymnasts on the men’s side all scored between 88.132 and 90.664 – indicating a very impressive field.