June 24, 2012

Olympic Trials: The Wishers and the Hopers

One of my concerns over limiting the teams to five members was that it would make the Trials process anticlimactic if a clear five had already emerged. This appears to be the case this year. However, sitting back and accepting the preordained Olympic team of Douglas, Wieber, Raisman, Ross, and Maroney would be no fun. So here's a look at the three things that anyone with a conceivable shot at the team (besides the total locks) needs to do next weekend to stay on the current "team"/make the actual team/get into the conversation.

McKayla Maroney

1) Be less concussion-y.
2) Start getting rid of that .3 step on vault. She won't score a 16 at the Olympics otherwise.
3) Keep that double tuck in bounds. There's no hope now that they will change the pass, so she just needs to keep it traveling forward and not land 15 feet OOB like she should. She's way to talented to be a 1.25 event gymnast.

Kyla Ross

1) No falls. With her lack of senior experience, she will be dealt the "can she handle the pressure?" card at Trials. She has to prove that she can. Her position is the most susceptible to crumbling with a  poor performance.  
2) Outscore the other 15ers on beam. There's a bushel of Sacramones and Finnegans and Liukins who can also score 15 on beam. Ross needs to beat them to maintain the status quo.
3) Send Martha some flowers with a card reading, "International look. Love, Kyla."

Rebecca Bross

1) Obviously, fix the Splatterson. Imagine if she were hitting that dismount like she did in 2010. It would legitimately be a close contest between her and Kyla for that UB/BB spot. We should all root for that beam routine to come together because it will make Trials more fun.
2) Perfect execution on bars. If she's going to knock off Ross, she has to match her for execution. She's at a legs disadvantage, so everything else has to be pristine.
3) Repair broken brain. Thinking about the dismount has taken a toll on the rest of her beam routine as it looks more tentative than it ever has before. Watch for the connection between the walkover and the bhs+layout. Performing that fluidly is a good indicator of her confidence.

Elizabeth Price 

1) Prove herself a legitimate bars alternative. She's the best bar worker of the vault and floor girls, which will certainly work in her favor come 2013+, but she needs to get credit for her iffy bail handstand and somehow outscore Wieber to make herself necessary. 
2) Work that Amanar landing. She has the potential to be the #2 scoring vaulter, but she has to nail a landing closer to Night 1 of Nationals, otherwise she can't make the vault argument because Douglas and Wieber are more valuable.
3) See above but make it about floor. Right now Douglas and Wieber do everything just a bit better, making Price the ideal alternate. If she's going to make the team, she has to prove superiority.

Sarah Finnegan

1) Prove impossible to ignore on beam. No one can match her potential score, but she's not setting herself apart from the 15ers.
2) Um...suddenly learn an Amanar? She doesn't fit well with the rest of the group because Raisman and Maroney already take the "bad at bars" spots on the team. She can't compete with Maroney's vault or Raisman's floor.
3) Develop a time machine or some sort of Bruno Grandi/Nellie Kim mind control device.

Alicia Sacramone

1) Upgrade to a handspring double full on vault.
2) Perform a 5.7+ floor routine.
3) Convince McKayla Maroney that it would be really fun to spin around in chairs for a few hours.
(Easy as pie, right?)

Bridget Sloan

1) A 6.6 UB routine? There were some reports that she mentioned this at Championships. It's quite possible she was just mistaken, but if she wasn't we need to see it hit and outscoring Ross.
2) Get competitive floor landings back. Her best shot is to somehow make Sloan/Sacramone the new Ross/Maroney. She would do that by being usable on bars and floor with Alicia usable on vault and beam. They complement each other well.
3) Wear a shirt that says, "This isn't 2004. Don't Schwikert me."

Anna Li

1) Win bars.
2) Win bars.
3) Win bars, and steal Sarah Finnegan's time machine to remove her history of inconsistency.

Nastia Liukin

1) Obviously, win bars with a real dismount.
2) Beat all the other 15ers on beam.
3) Have a little heart-to-heart with Martha at one of their sleepovers (they have sleepovers, right?), and by "heart-to-heart" I mean "friendly hypnosis session."

Kennedy Baker, Sabrina Vega, and Brenna Dowell will be able to put "2012 Olympic Trials Competitor" on their NCAA bios.

1 comment:

  1. HAHA! I think your gymnastics blog is my favorite blog right now. Feel free to post more updates whenever you want :) My favorite part is the NCAA bio section. I basically agree with your analysis. Some people are saying that the team isn't really set, but I wonder who honestly believes that. Raisman, Douglas and Wieber are locks for the team. Maroney is the best vaulter in the world and has a usable FX so she could also be considered a lock. And because they don't want anybody to steal the spotlight from the Magnificent Seven they turned it into the Fab Five and the only girl who is a viable all-arounder at this stage of the game who could be relied on to hit a routine at a moment's notice. I hope we have a 2004-Kupets-to-Bhardwaj situation to make the 5-member team more exciting. Because the way I see it right now is just fewer gymnasts achieving their dream.