November 25, 2013

Floor Exercise Champions Showdown

Floor exercise showdown.

Six NCAA champions enter.

One leaves.

You decide.

2013 NCAA Floor Champion – Joanna Sampson

2012 NCAA Floor Champion – Kat Ding

2011 NCAA Floor Champion – Geralen Stack-Eaton

2010 NCAA Floor Champion – Brittani McCullough

2009 NCAA Floor Co-Champion – Courtney Kupets

2009 NCAA Floor Co-Champion – Ashleigh Clare-Kearney

Who is your winner? Be sure to show your work in the comments.

Who is your FX Showdown winner?


  1. I tried to do this as objectively as possible and I came up with an answer I wasn't expecting: Brittani McCullough. When you ask who the best Floor Champion of the past 5 years is the criteria change from simply the best at a meet. These are all gold medalists so I was looking for the extra spark in a routine that set it apart.

    I judged based solely on these videos, not hype, name, reputation, team finish, etc. These routines were all out of a 10.0 so there would be no separation there. The criteria I looked for were best dance, most movement (not stand and pose routines), big tumbling and leaps, and a less tangible "IT" factor that makes the routine iconic.

    Going for best dance you can automatically eliminate Joanna, Kat, & Geralen. 3 down, 3 to go. Not bad. Each of the 3 remaining routines is stellar, so you have to distinguish them somehow. I next eliminated ACK. It's a great routine, no doubt, but the routine didn't have enough dance in it. It had sass and it was fun, but I thought Kupets & McCullough were better.

    Last elimination: Honestly it came down to the immense height on every leap and tumble from Brittani. Kupets is a legend and she commanded this routine. It's weird and funky and nobody else can pull it off like she can. Iconic music and dance, including the shattering glass at the end. Awesome. This was actually the routine I thought I would choose when I started. But I was just overwhelmed by the huge tumbling passes, giant leaps, and nonstop movement from McCullough. A few iconic moves, nonstop movement, huge tumbling, huge leaps, best stuck dismount of the group - give it up for McCullough. (And turns out a plurality of voters agree with me.)

    1. I love your detailed reasoning, and I'm right there with you.

      But, it's interesting that you mention all the routines starting from a 10.0 because there was a controversy about the McCullough routine winning at the time. Gymnasts are required to show two different shapes in their leaps or receive a 0.1 compositional deduction. McCullough shows a split shape and a stag shape, which are considered the same shape in the code instead of two different shapes (which I didn't notice myself but I remember being pointed out on aunt joyce).

      Now, I think that's a stupid rule, so I'm fine with counting the split and the stag as different shapes (since they are), but it does complicate the issue depending on whether you think she should have received a 0.1 compositional deduction or not.

  2. I didn't know that, thanks for the insight. I thought about saying something about how the winner couldn't be mired in controversy (cough cough EHH deserved it over Kat Ding...) but the dance requirement knocked Ding out of my contention, so I honestly forget to even consider that. Point is well made though. I remember Stephanie McAllister having a similar issue at Utah.

    Not that you spend your entire day thinking and blogging about gymnastics (who does that?) but if you wanted you could do this for the floor silvers and bronzes too (and see if any of those would potentially beat out a gold from another year) and do this for the other events as well.

  3. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney

    good choreo
    great musicality
    awesome landings
    camera angles don't really help you appreciate her tumbling
    florida team is going crazy cheering for her and rhonda faehn is beaming!
    powerful!! and does the best job owning her routine.

    Courtney Kupets

    camera angles again do not help
    technical difficulties (video cuts out for me at 59 seconds)
    landings seem less secure than ACK
    trying not to be biased by her over selling -- I was a big CK fan, but this routine doesn't seem to be her best -- am I way off base here, people who know actual technical stuff?
    I would give ACK the win for 2009

    Brittani McCullough

    love the UCLA music and choreo
    tumbling is sky high! (or is that just the improved camera angles?)
    I still think ACK has more secure landings -- both for the tumbling and dance
    but still beautiful tumbling and choreo

    Geralen Stack-Eaton

    not blown away by her musicality or choreo
    but seriously, this is nitpicking some lovely gymnastics
    but in the spirit of nitpicking, she cowboy'd her first pass, and took a big step out of her second pass
    I wasn't as blown away as the announcer
    still ACK for the win
    with BMcC as runner up.. so far..,

    Kat Ding

    couldn't hear the music too well, and no strong opinion about the choreo
    but she looked so pretty!
    her landings seemed secure, but I thought I saw some minor leg separation during her tumbling passes
    please, people who actually know what good form looks like, don't yell at me!
    but yeah, pretty.
    I'm not watching Ashanee Dickerson right now...

    Joanna Sampson

    obviously michigan for the win, because of bias!!
    objectively, her form seems good, her landings solid (last pass was the weakest of the bunch, imo)
    I feel wrong trying to compare amplitude between videos, because my perception of it is so dependent on the wildly varying camera angles between these vids (no disrespect!)
    the obvious downfall to me, is that her routine isn't pretty... she comes at it like a work horse, so it's solid and powerful, but it's not light and dainty
    and her musicality is fine, but she's no Janessa Grieco (who is, really?)
    ps, you see the UCLA influence on her choreo, but it's not the same as watching kate richardson et al.
    having said all that, I think I like power over pretty on floor (I'm lookin at you ACK and Lomencia Hall)

    --> In conclusion: I voted my conscience (Go Blue!) but if michigan were out of the picture, I see ACK as the clear winner, with an honorable mention to BMcC for the UCLA choreography.


  4. I would give it to McCullough. The tumbling and leaps are strong, and the dance in that routine is on a different level than the others. I have ACK, Kupets, and Stack-Eaton clustered together, but I would put them in order as ACK/Kupets (I agree with the tie), then Stack-Eaton. I think the dance is good, not spectacular, but good in all of three but Kupets and ACK show more originality and presence than Stack-Eaton. I would have Sampson in the 5th position. Her routine arguably had the strongest tumbling of the group, but looking at total package of dance, tumbling, and leaps, I think the other four routines are stronger. In the sixth spot is Kat Ding.