Well it might have been the ugliest day in U.S. women’s gymnastics history, but it certainly wasn’t all bad. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highs and lows of the night, gymnast-for-gymnast:
Jordyn Wieber. I was surprised to see her so nervous on beam, but she did come roaring back on floor and vault before struggling through an “off” bar routine. I do think her floor music and choreography are better than her 2010 routine. This is definitely her national title to lose, and I expect we’ll see a more solid four-for-four effort in the finals. Definitely still a contender for the world all-around title.
Aly Raisman. Certainly one of the highlights of the evening, and I believe she just officially landed herself a spot on the world team with her rock solid performances amidst such a mistake-infested competition. The Amanar would have helped boost her status, but I think at this point her floor routine is what the U.S. team needs the most, and she’s a solid backup for beam.
Chellsie Memmel. Absolutely blew me away again, and she really was the star of the meet. Her bars had some incredible topped off handstands, and her beam carried that signature crisp confidence of Chellsie Memmel at her absolute best. I’d like to see her throw the Hindorff-Pak on bars in the finals, as a 15 from her on bars would make her world team spot official. Great to see the double layout back on floor.
Rebecca Bross. Obviously not in peak form, but I think she’ll be ready for worlds. She did look a bit sluggish and tired, but some of that may have been just wind taken out of her sails after her fluke fall on bars. Her upgraded bar routine is fantastic and still showcases those awesome locked out handstands, and her longer body actually gives her a slightly more elegant look. I hate to say that her floor choreography is her worst yet, and I’m not sure why she would pick music that’s already being used by a popular international star (Jessica Lopez of Venezuela).
McKayla Maroney. I was a bit shocked to see her miss three out of four events, as she has never seemed to be the nervous type. She hit her vault though, and that’s where she brings the most points. If she hits it again I’m not sure her other events matter too much.
Mackenzie Caquatto. Didn’t even realize she was going to compet all-around, but I’m glad she did as she was somewhat of a bright spot in the competition. Bars was strong, although slightly conservative as she didn’t connect the toe-on Tcatchev to Pak but easily could have. She’s still got an outside shot for the world team.
Bridgette Caquatto. I’m afraid she needed to hit bars tonight and didn’t, and thus I’d say her chances for Tokyo are likely gone. I’d love to see her hit that packed set in the finals and finish this meet on a great note.
Sabrina Vega. Complete disaster on bars, and she does have some technical errors on those Tcatchevs (leading with the chest). Great to see her come back very nicely on beam and floor, though I’m afraid an alternate spot is all she can hope for.
Gabrielle Douglas. Biggest disappointment of the meet. I really like this gymnast, but she let the adrenaline completely take over, with super high tumbling she couldn’t control and a beam routine that ended any chance of her being named to the world team. Loads of potential that will have to wait until next year or beyond.
Alicia Sacramone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gymnast have so much trouble with going out bounds on floor before, and for such a silly reason – she simply runs too far for every tumbling pass. Until she changes this habit I don’t see why we would ever use her again on floor at worlds. Her vault actually showed the most rotation I’ve seen from her and looked to have the potential for a double twist, and her sizzling beam routine all but cemented her spot on another world team.
Shawn Johnson. What a huge step forward for Shawn, hitting three for three and scoring quite strongly on all of them. I’m not expecting a world team spot this year, but this is exactly what she needed to make next year seem like a possibility. She actually beat Rebecca Bross on all three events she did, and could have easily placed third all-around with a decent floor routine.
Anna Li. She kept herself in the hunt with the top bars score of the night, even without connecting the Yaeger to Pak. I love the Stalder full to Tcatchev full. Chellsie Memmel may want to think about upgrading to avoid being outscored by Li again.
My picks for the world team at this point:
(team finals performances in parentheses)
Rebecca Bross UB, FX
Jordyn Wieber V, UB, BB, FX
Alicia Sacramone V, BB
Chellsie Memmel UB, BB
McKayla Maroney V
Aly Raisman FX
Alternates: Mackenzie Caquatto and Anna Li