August 22, 2012

Problems for Gym Fans with Eyes

Buried in the hoopla of the Olympics was some not so pleasant news for gymnastics fans who may have an interest in, you know, actually watching the sport that they follow.

First, in vile and disastrous news for elite fans, Universal Sports announced that live streaming of events on their website will henceforth be available only to subscribers of DirecTV and Dish Network who already have the super expensive sports plan of which Universal Sports is a part. So, um, no one.

Universal Sports distributed the following letter from the CEO:

Dear Fans of Universal Sports,

With more than 30 different sports and 25 world championships, Universal Sports Network is your destination to watch your favorite Olympic sports and athletes year-round including exclusive and live event coverage of the Vuelta a EspaƱa, Giro d’Italia, Diamond League track and field, Kona Ironman, Alpine Skiing World Cup and world marathon majors each year.

This Friday, July 27th, our website will become fully authenticated which is a necessary measure in our efforts to continue to provide, and expand upon, the world-class sports content you have come to expect from Universal Sports.  Authentication, or verification, is the ability to login to our website using your current satellite or cable provider account to access live streaming content and online video on demand.

Effective Friday, all online live events and replays on demand will be available exclusively to DIRECTV, DISH and cable customers who have Universal Sports as part of their television package. Individual long-form events and sport packages will no longer be offered for sale online, but will be free to users who verify their subscriptions on our website.  There is no additional charge for this service and a customer’s subscription will not be affected. As always, anyone who visits our website can enjoy video highlights, photos and breaking news for free without authentication.

Thank you for your loyalty.
David Sternberg
CEO, Universal Sports Network

Coverage of Secret Classic? BYE.
Coverage of the first day of Nationals? BYE.
Live coverage of Worlds before NBC decides to broadcast it? BYE.

Not good news. 

Also in NCAA coverage news, many cable providers (including mine) are not currently carrying the Pac-12 network. People are in a huff about that right now because college football season is coming up, but I don't so much care about that.

However, the Pac-12 Network is purportedly going to have some excellent coverage of gymnastics come the springtime, so if they don't have a deal worked out by then, they will have some (at least one) very cranky gymnastics fans on their hands. What we lack in numbers, we make up for with mammoth levels of acute judgment and sarcasm. If the situation doesn't improve, we may have to organize an extremely public and angry group reenactment of Anna Li's 2010 routine as a protest. And if all else fails, we'll just make fun of your hair.

August 12, 2012

A Team Sport

Here's a rule: In gymnastics, you're allowed to have the attention span of a hummingbird.

So while the Olympics aren't even cold yet, and we haven't had time to fully process both the winners and those who will spend the next four years resenting the winners through creative use of dartboards and poppets, it's okay if you already want to put a lid on elite until next summer. I know I do.

But before I turn back to the main purpose of this blog, NCAA women's gymnastics, where the schedules are currently coming out but there will be little else to discuss for months, I have a few thoughts on the concept of team in gymnastics.

August 7, 2012

Event Finals Day 3

End of the line, everybody off. Four more event finals to finish off our Olympic Games.

Men's Parallel Bars:
 Women's Beam:
 Men's High Bar:
 Women's Floor:

August 6, 2012

Event Finals Day 2

We already learned during yesterday's finals that Christmas has been cancelled and there is no Northwest Passage, so it's hard to muster enough enthusiasm for today's results to make predictions (also, I haven't the foggiest). Let's just all try to pretend that we're not getting just a little Olympics-ed out so we can bravely push through to the end.

Men's Rings:
 Women's Bars:
 Men's Vault:

Comments forthcoming.

August 5, 2012

Event Finals Day 1

Our first day of the slow descent toward the end of the competition includes men's floor, men's horse featuring Louis Smith (champion if he hits), and women's vault featuring McKayla Maroney (champion even if she doesn't hit). [buhhhhhhhhhhh]

Men's floor:

 Women's vault:

 Men's horse:

Notes when we begin from 9:00 ET/6:00 PT

August 2, 2012

Women's All-Around

This is supposed to be Komova's time. Whether it will be depends entirely on her. If she goes clean (you know, the way she hasn't done yet), no one should be able to touch her.

If we crunch the presumed numbers, I give Douglas a .1-.2 edge on vault, and I give Komova .5-.6 on bars. Then it gets tricky. We get to the events where Komova should have a smooth path to outscoring Douglas, especially on beam, but we don't have the evidence that will happen based on previous performances at these Olympics. And there must have been a reason the coaches put up Grishina instead of Komova on floor in Team Finals, right? Stay on the beam and stay in bounds on floor and the gold should be Komova's.

As for our other contenders, expect Aly Raisman's execution scores to be lower than they were in qualifications. In qualifications, I said "Keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is Aly Raisman." Today, it's "Keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is Aliya Mustafina." She will hit all her routines out of pure spite, so if Komova and Douglas have mistakes, expect Mustafina to sweep in there. Larisa Iordache's DTY and lack of bars will keep her out. Who else is in this competition?

Competition begins at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT as always.