Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nationals: A Reflection



So much of today's coverage of Nationals on other sites has focused on the injury to Rebecca Bross.  It is devastating indeed.  Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner (and now Universal Sports) has gone on to blame Valeri Liukin for having Rebecca perform the vault.  Rebecca was injured earlier this year and struggled on the vault in training.  I'm not going to blame Valeri and I find it to be a rather easy excuse on Blythe's part.  It is true that Blythe attends a lot of meets, but I must say that I question her knowledge of the intricacies of preparation (physical and mental), as well as her gung-ho attitude toward a sport that is coming apart at the seams.



When Aliya Mustafina tore her ACL earlier this year, Blythe Lawerence blamed Alexandrov for having the Reigning World Champion for perform her signature vault at the second biggest competition of the year.  Gymnastics is a sport about confidence.  Without successful repetitions in the gym and in competition, a gymnast will not have the confidence to nail their skills.  One could make a compelling argument that gymnastics has pushed for difficulty in its quest to make the sport 'objective' to such an extreme that the demands of the sport are no longer manageable in order to keep gymnastics a marketable sport.  Rivalries and names are the key to any sport.  When stars may only have a scant few meets at the top, it is terrible for sustaining recognizable interest in the sport.  I may not watch baseball often, but I know who Derek Jeter is when I turn on my TV and am more likely to keep on the game to see what Derek is up to due to his recognizability.  By causing gymnasts to burn out and injure themselves, the sport is doing a disservice.  Mind you, the sorry excuse for artistry and choreography on all events is noticeable to anyone who has an ounce of aesthetic sensibility (which I question if Blythe has given her lauding of routines by Alicia, Shawn and Jordyn on floor---but it pays to be glib if you want to keep your press pass.)

It is important to note that Rebecca Bross' abnormal frame has been discussed for years.  Her knock-knees have been dissected and debated by many (and not just because they're eyesores when one expects a top gymnast to attain a beautiful line.)  We've all said that Rebecca Bross would blow out her knee for good one day and it looks like it happened.  Rebecca has a bum knee from an injury in '08 and a bad ankle from last season.  The combination of the two can be deadly for a body that needs to handle the torque of gymnastics.  The injury was going to happen at some point.  It had already appeared that Rebecca's body and mind were not nearly as sharp as in years past.

Martha Karolyi didn't have an issue with Rebecca performing the Double Twisting Yurchenko, as she is a champion who landed the vault on night one and has performed the vault successfully countless times.  With Worlds just eight weeks away, Valeri was doing his job by getting his protege back on track in terms of her preparation.  After an unexpected withdrawal from Classics due to not having her shit together, Rebecca needed to get going on all events in order to have a prayer of getting back to the form of the top three gymnast in the World she pays her coach to prepare her to be.  One thing about training with Valeri Liukin (like Bela Karolyi), is that he pushes his gymnasts to the edge of their ability.  WOGA is not Amanda's Alternate Academy or some place where Amanda Jetter hopes to sneak her way onto a team.  WOGA's goal is to train champions.  Parents pay Valeri to make their kids champions and accept that pushing as a way of life, the way dozens of parents did at Karolyi's whose children retired long before a college scholarship was ever an option.  Had Rebecca Bross' aim been to go to Alabama, eat and enjoy life, she could've gone to Texas Dreams, claimed the last spot on the National Team, rehabbed eight months a year and had a fulfilling life.  Bross is a gymnast who aims for the top and in order to do that, constant pushing is necessary. There is nothing easy or gradual about Bross' or Ohashi's preparation.  When it goes well, we applaud the coach.  When there are injuries, we need to blame someone and go back to them.  In many ways, the injury is a mere reality of the danger of the sport coupled with Bross' body's deficiencies and the harsh consequences of being an elite gymnast under the current code.

Other thoughts:


Jordyn Wieber's win should do wonders for her confidence.  A few missed Nationals, a sloppy win at the American Cup and trouble in Italy may have left her mental game a bit rusty.  Wieber will be tough to beat at Worlds with her Romanian-style physical condition.  It will take every ounce of Viktoria's technical and artistic superiority to beat the assembly-line-style robot from Michigan.

Shawn Johnson is rediscovering the competition inside her.  The skills need to come next.  I'd definitely send Shawn to the Pan Am Games in order to see how far her mental and physical game can return.  Now that the fear of failure seems to be dissipating, her confidence is returning.  While Shawn is not a slim and trim gymnast, her added inches are greatly helping her to finally achieve a semblance of the natural line that was missing on her previous frame.  It remains to be seen if she can hang with the best in the world, but she may give it more of a college try at camp and get away from the chalk bowl now that she has belief in what her body and mind are capable of.

Gabby Douglas may be worse off than Rebecca Bross after balking her dismount twice on day two.  Her disastrous Nationals will not be forgotten or forgiven by Martha Karolyi.  Her only hope at resurrecting her career is every other girl dropping like flies.

Alicia Sacramone's body looks to be deteriorating once again.  Months back, we heard that she was feeling sore all over after training floor again.  The rest of her gymnastics just isn't sharp like it used to be and her floor routine lacks the impressive spark it once had.  Needless to say, mounting with a triple full is something wannabe elites did at Parkettes circa 1999.  Alicia has been passed on vault by McKayla Maroney and it is quite possible that she will be the lowest scorer on vault for Team USA during team finals.  Her stock beam routine's only value is its consistency.  Frankly, Alicia is looking far more like a place holder until juniors develop and other veterans return to top form.  Her famed 'leadership' didn't enable her to get her own shit together when things went south in Beijing.  Then again, she failed to do a complete floor routine during the training camps and even lost her position in the lineup before the games began due to a body that simply gave out.  History could be repeating itself.

Aly Raisman is a solid Oregon-Trail ox who looks to be on track for another team.  Try not to die of laughter every time Mihai, Aly or Tim Daggett act like she is actually paying attention to the finer details of her bar routine.

Chellsie Memmel looks on track to get in the best shape of her life and injure herself for yet another big meet.  It is important to note how sharp she is actually looking.  Chellsie's mental fortitude on beam alone should warrant a trip to Worlds.  Unfortunately, she may not be able to push her sore shoulder to get her full bar routine in order for Worlds.  It all depends on how injured Chellsie actually is.  Her personal injury history would cause anyone serious pause before they had her going for broke.

Sabrina Vega is still the front-runner for the alternate position.  One of the girls from Legacy Elite should be named to the World squad, unless Martha wills Bridget Sloan to pull another rabbit out of her ass.  Remember, Bridget Sloan was actually the World Champion... how very random indeed.  Anna Li should be added to the National Team within a few days and on her way to camp.  Martha will likely keep all of the veterans training and on the starvation diet for as long as possible.  The new generation just isn't cut from the same cloth.

Nastia Liukin played coy with Andrea Joyce before cutting her off when discussing her comeback.  The inner diva is returning after her weeks at St. Vincent's boot camp and one can only wonder how far she will go now that she is guaranteed to have her father's full attention.  The combined desires of Valeri and Nastia may be tough to beat for anyone other than Beth Tweddle.

38 comments:

  1. Rebecca Bross: A reflection...

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  2. I think it's debatable whether or not she should have been doing the DTY on vault. Considering she willed Day 1's DTY to her feet, I'm sure Valeri figured it was fine for her to throw it Day 2- she's a fighter. I also wonder if she even has a backup vault like a FTY. I'm not sure what watering-down options she had besides a timer, so that would be another reason to just go for the DTY.

    At the same time, if she's crashing them all, one might have to step back and realize this is only Nationals, and that gymnastics has become a sport where pretty much no other competitions are very important besides Worlds/Olys. It may have been best to just save her a little.

    I'm not going to blame Valeri though just because Bross got hurt. If she had gotten through the rest of the meet, she would have moved up to 2nd, gained a little All Around confidence heading into Worlds, and nobody would have questioned the decision for her to compete all her difficulty. Even if she had crashed the vault in competition, she was crashing them all in warmups, so what's one more crash? Nobody could predict that she would land that low with her leg crunched under her. Anyway, let's just hope it's only her knee cap so that nobody involved in this has to feel super bad about it.

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  3. I'm devastated for Rebecca. This Nationals has been a near washout for me with very few exceptions in the Senior division.

    That being said-I wonder why Rebecca's parents never got her knock kneed corrected when she was a young child? Braces might have corrected this physical anomaly.

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  4. I can see your argument, as well as Blythe's argument. Part of being a world top elite coach is to push an athlete to their breaking point...but hopefully without them breaking, just getting stronger. Coaches must also calculate risks. I too wonder if Valerie should have realized that after 3 solid routines there was no point in making a very haggard Bross do a vault she was having trouble with. Its a given that she's one of the worlds top gymnast in terms of consistency, mental grit, and scoring potential. Did she truly need do finish AA? She's proven herself enough, no?

    Then again, this may not be too horrible in terms of timing. She's out of competition until 2012, has time to rehab, refocus, rest (from the elite grind, traveling to camp, Worlds), and train.

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  5. The curious case of Shawn Johnson. Every hit routine you could see a layer of the "new" shawn johnson being peeled off and the "old" Shawn Johnson returning. Definitely interesting to watch her confidence grow as the competition go on, something she was definitely lacking in all aspects of her gymnastics.
    Now, what she does with this new found confidence will be something to follow. With upgrades supposedly ready for camp, I wonder if maybe she can fight for an alternate spot for worlds, or at least Pan Ams. It depends what and where those upgrades are, but it was nice to see some life back in that girl. It will also probably benefit her to go on the Karolyi diet for a few weeks, especially since she looks a few pounds lighter just from Classics.

    I agree with you on Alicia and Chellsie. I'm getting rather bored with both of them this competition because its the same story. Alicia wobbles, falls on skills shes been doing for 8 years. Just silly mental errors. Chellsie looking "great"(for Chellsie) and inevitably falling apart again. Same shit, different quad. Even though Shawn sucks in comparison this time around, her struggles are obvious and a compelling so its a different story with her and semi-interesting. Chellsie and Alica are really starting to bore me.

    Jordyn impressed me, but blah. I'd rather watch the afformentioned Chellsie and Alicia for 4 more quads than anything she does on any event.

    And I think we ALL know Sloan is somehow making it onto this worlds team.

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  6. For someone who claims to know how to write and wants to educate the children of America, some of your errors are abysmal. "Indeed" and "in deed" have two entirely different meanings, and the sport of gymnastics is coming apart at the SEAMS, not the SEEMS. You can pretend those errors were typos or that you simply weren't paying attention, but every time you hit "publish" on a blog post, just think - if the kids in your future classroom (heaven forbid) handed in papers with careless errors like these, you would be forced to mark them down, wouldn't you?

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  7. " In many ways, the injury is a mere reality of the danger of the sport coupled with Bross' body's deficiencies and the harsh consequences of being an elite gymnast under the current code. "

    I agree with you up until you say "under the current code." Listen, I'm not the biggest fan of the code either, but I'm QUITE done with everyone and their mother blaming it for everything in this sport. Are you truly saying that this code was a contributing factor to pushing Becca to vault? That's absurd. Certain gymnasts and coaches will always throw big skills instead of watering down during a period of rebuilding, and Becca is one of them regardless of whether she's under this code or the 10.0.

    On another note, AJ, I generally love your catty comments and sharp wit. But saying that gymnastics is "coming apart at the seams" is also absurd. The whole "death of artistry" thing has been beaten to DEATH. Can we please remember that less than a quad ago, artistry queen Nastia Liukin won AA gold at the Olympics. So just because some little pixy like Ohashi isn't going to do the same in 2012 does not mean that gymnastics is dying. Let's stop with the alarmist bullshiz, shall we?

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  8. Does anyone have a link to watch Gabby balk on her beam dismount? People keep talking about it and now I want to see it...

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  9. I agree 100% w you on the Bross and blame, I can't help but wonder if the knee was actually tweaked on her dismount on beam...she had it locked out and on floor she was not all with it (it appeared to me at times) and from watching the landing in slow-mo the knee that was injured (the locked out one on her beam landing) was the second leg to touch and it was behind the lead landing leg.

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  10. Rebecca's injury was so excruciatingly sad. I question Universal Sports for archiving the clip (pining for higher ratings, most likely).

    The Caquatto siblings possibly making the Olympics together is not compelling to me, whatsoever. If a college elite is going to make it to London, i'd like to see Anna Li redeem her elite career. Her physique looks so much more streamlined, compared to when she was receiving perfect scores in college. Li's longevity and "comeback" is reminiscent of Mohini Bhardwaj.

    Team Finals List und start order on each event, if Germany, i mean, US@ makes final flight (ever since Kelly Garrison-Steves, i've always been wary of college elites; this quad is eerily reminiscent of 1985-1988 fiasco):

    v: Alicia Sacramone, McKayla Maroney, Jordan Wieber (alt. shawn johnson; introduce terror to competitors by featuring former World and Olympic champions during podium)
    ub: Chellsie Memmel, Jordan Wieber, Anna Li
    bb: Alexandra Raisman, Chellsie Memmel, Jordan Wieber (alt. Shawn Johnson; was impressed by her set and solid landings on day 2)
    f: Chellsie Memmel, Alexandra Raisman, Jordan Wieber

    With Jordan forecast to anchor 3 of 4 events, she may be in danger of burnout or injury. I wish Sabrina Vega would establish herself more. Her floor routine is so underrated.

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  11. Anon at 10:11-- That you'd call Nastia Liukin an artistry queen only makes it obvious that you've never watched a gymnastics meet that took place prior to 2005. There's nothing wrong with being a new fan, but Youtube is full of gymnastics footage from decades past, when the sport truly deserved its name. Do yourself a favor and learn something about the history of the sport before you go pontificating about what is and isn't "bullshiz".

    And the Ohashi comment shows that you haven't been paying very close attention even to current gymnastics. Any fan with even a modicum of appreciation for artistry would be thrilled to see Ohashi "do the same in 2012." She has that combination of daring, artistry and virtuosity that was de rigeur in gymnastics as recently as 11 years ago, but is now all too rare. But Ohashi won't be age-eligible for the 2012 Olympics. It's the robotic stylings of Jordyn Wieber (who could hardly be called a pixie much past 2007) and others that we don't want to see rewarded any longer.

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  12. Can we take a second to note just how incredibly awkward it was to watch the NBC coverage when Becca Bross went down?

    Rebecca falls, She screams, everyone in the audience behind her cringes in pain at her scream, she wails in pain, cut to SJ drinking water obliviously from the cooler. Cut to Alicia staring in disbelief, Cut to Nastia's fake devastation for the cameras, cut to Martha thinking "F*** this World team just got even shittier!", cut to Memmel shaking her head as if to say, "Ill be damned if Im finishing ANY routine where I'm not 100% comfortable today" (The injury gods wont get me again!), cut to Shawn STILL not realizing what's going on. Cut to Carly looking pretty concerned, cut to selection committee posing concerned for the camera, cut to Tasha Schwikert discussing the injury, cut to Shawn... untaping her knee... cut to Jordyn stretching for her final domination of the night, cut to Nastia and that damned pink lipstick, cut back to Becca knowing she'll have to make a Nasita-like comeback to get onto this Olympic Team a year from now. Cut to Bela, Cut to Alicia finally explaining to Shawn what happened to RB.

    I mean... how many close-ups can we get at one time?? The cameras, although they have zoom features, are literally right up on these people. Was I really the only one who was thinking the whole time, "Sheesh this is awkward!"?

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  13. Oh yes, and Chellsie saying, my shoulder is fine, itll just be a little sore for a few days, translates into, "I flubbed the same skill twice in a row and needed an excuse for why that happened so I scratched the event feigning cautiousness. My shoulder is fine, nothing was ever wrong with it, stop worrying, you're blowing my cover".

    Before I get attacked, I could be wrong, but it just seems all-too convenient and it was a very smart move on her part to come up with that excuse instead of actually looking the least bit inconsistent. She has no room for errors as an "older girl" in the selection committees eyes. Touche' Chells. Touche'.

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  14. I think Chellsie would be better off looking inconsistent than breakable.

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  15. It is just a theory, but it's hard to say. I mean... looking at the shitshow that was nats, I just think of the value in a gymnast that can mentally hit her routines when 99% of her competitors cannot

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  16. LOL, Yo Mamma. It was very awkward.

    I disagree about Chellsie though. No way would she have done a GIANT FULL that horribly retarded TWICE had her shoulder not been popping out or whatever else. My huge concern is that if she cannot get through a simple giant full when her shoulder pops out, how the hell would she survive the rest of the routine, including the sequence before her dismount, which is ALL shoulder, in Team Finals at Worlds where she HAS to get through the routine or we get last place automatically? Scary.

    What is up with Nastia doing the St Vincent's boot camp? I'm not an idiot and know she's not coming back, but what was up with her working her ass off at that camp?

    Can someone expect Gabby's beam problems on the second day? I hear she balked twice during her routine, but what does that mean exactly?

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  17. I feel awful for Becca Bross and hope that her injury is nothing more than a dislocated knee cap. Forget her knock knees and a knee injury from three years ago that has long been healed... This injury would not have happened had she not been trying to do a vault that she really needed a spot on this week. Now, I completely understand reasons why she may wanted to have chucked the vault here... After being out all year, I'm sure she was chomping at the bit to get back to competing all her skills, but they may have just rushed things a bit with her. Becca has done a double on vault for five years now, and it's never looked like a deadly skill. It seems obvious that she just needed a little more training time and probably rushed to do the AA.

    Hopefully as she is healing, they can work on that floor routine, and fix some of the parts where she just flails her arms, and also make sure there is time left in the music for to have an ending pose. The rest of the routine is workable. And of course, more time on bars is only a good thing for an already very strong bar worker.

    I'm sure between her previous injury and the emergence of Wieber (not unbeatable, but a lot more of a challenge than, say, Sloan), Becca's confidence has been knocked around a bit this year, and I wish her a speedy recovery and better times ahead in 2012. Maybe this downtime will help take off some of the pressure. And from a technical standpoint, aside from vault, I didn't think she looked far off from where she needed to be right now. Hopefully things will come back quickly for her after she's recovered. Becca is tough. Hang in there kid!

    The Seniors are in such a sad state right now, I'd rather discuss the injury to Bross over anything that the others were doing. lol. Wieber is talented, but makes me fall asleep. And her Senior career so far is eerily similar to Shawn's "everything is perfect!" beginning of her Sr career. Yawn.

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  18. I won't mind if Wieber wins AA gold in Tokyo as much knowing what happened to Khorkina in 03 and Shawn in 07, and what happened in the olympics afterwards. This gives me hope. Though I would like it if komova gets on the podium maybe for silver or bronze

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  19. Call me melodramatic if you must, but Becca's scream sounded more out of despair and frustration. So sad. Hope she can recover for 2012. Talk about shit for luck.

    Am I the only one, btw, that thinks Chellsie should've won the beam title instead of Alicia? The girl was a damn ROCK! Alicia wobbled both nights and nearly fell while Chellsie stuck like glue. Not to mention that gangster Barani to back handspring walkover connection. Awesome!

    Speaking of Chellsie, I am still rooting for her. I sincerely hope her biff on bars was a fluke. She probably pulled something funny in her shoulder and most likely would've finished ok, but I'm thinking she just didn't want to fuck with that. She hit seven out of eight routines unlike the rest of the field.

    Props for Ali for getting up on beam just minutes after Bross's injury. Poor thing was a little rattled. I don't think she gave a shit. She was like, "fuck it, just get me off this thing."

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  20. So, a couple of things.

    1) Mustafina v. Bross - not the same scenario. Mustafina is defiant to the "t" in the gym, as has been reported by multiple people. If anyone was pushing her to do the Amanar at Euros, it was herself. Yes, Alexandrov allowed her to compete a vault that was NOT floor-ready, so there is a degree of coach responsibility there. However, MANY U.S. coaches, such as Liukin, are guilty of this kind of risk, but we don't hear them getting called out (*cough*Brestyan*cough*Chow*cough*). I think it's fair to say the blame goes both ways most of the time. In Bross's case, we know that she has been severely pressured by her father and Liukin to succeed, which translates into her being terribly difficult on herself. I think her injury is a much greater case of "this could have been avoided" than was Mustafina's injury. Aly Raisman could be right there if she keeps training that ridiculous "Amanar" that is wildly out of control.

    2) I agree that artistry is not what it used to be in the sport, and that FIG is responsible for that. Period. Liukin was great in her artistic expression, but she pales in comparison to those before her (Boginskaya, Lysenko, Onodi, Dobre, Yang, Omelianchik, etc.). The other thing that is critical to note is that Liukin is the EXCEPTION. There is a lot of shit out there that scores higher than it should because you don't HAVE to be artistic/expressive to excel at this sport anymore. It's very sad.

    3) Anti-Chellsie people always amuse me. They always say that she's a risk, etc., but she gets the job done... even when she's broken. If anything, we should be demanding more from the new seniors. Put the pressure on them. And if a veteran can be on the team and provide some stability, great. The major difficulty shouldn't be coming from the grannies.

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  21. Yo Mamma: you're a real fucking cunt. Nastia and Becca have been friends for a very long time, and it's very much a big sister/little sister relationship. Nastia's reaction was as genuine as it comes. Way to be a complete bitch.

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  22. @Anon - Well, Gee. While I don't doubt that she's concerned about the injury A LOT of what Nastia does/says is for the cameras. She knows they are around and it is obvious that she is conscious of that fact and puts on a show whether it be an interview, a conversation, a 'pat on the back' to an athlete. Whatever.

    That being said... a cunt though? Really? A complete bitch? LOL. Well... seeing as I didn't resort to name calling and just posted what I saw on a REALLY awkward broadcast, I'd say those are harsh words and you may want to rethink who the real cunty bitch is for message-board name-calling. Relax. It's a blog. Worse things have been said for a much larger audience my dear.

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  23. Nastia is actually a nice girl. I just wouldn't want to compete against her and unlock the beast within.

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  24. I feel bad for Rebecca and I hope she can recover in time for 2012. It's very likely her 2011 season is over. One of the worst parts of that video was you can hear the crunching noise of her knee cap. I really wish Universal wouldn't archive that....

    I wouldn't completely lay the blame with Valeri. He and Rebecca share it. By all reports she was struggling with that vault all week. Let's be honest, there was no way coming back from an injury that she'd place super high in the standings. She should've stuck with a less risky vault. It's only Nationals.

    The seniors are just so bad this year (or maybe there was some kind of "curse" at Nationals to make it seem that way). I hope with all my might that Komova or Dementyeva will be able to beat Wieber. I will cry if she wins the AA in Tokyo.

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  25. I know gymnasts are supposed to hide their emotions and all that while on the floor, but Bross looked 100 percent MISERABLE the entire meet. It was like she was going to her own execution. I've heard her father is some kind of tyrant, so I wonder how much of her gymnastics is actually for herself at this point, or if she is being pushed. And maybe it was editing, but it was odd that the crowd showed more emotion over the injury than her own friends (if you believe the crap about everyone on the National team being like 'sisters'). Other than Memmel and her mom, everybody else looked like they could have been watching paint dry. Disturbing, no?

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  26. "√Had Rebecca Bross' aim been to go to Alabama, eat and enjoy life, she could've gone to Texas Dreams, claimed the last spot on the National Team, rehabbed eight months a year and had a fulfilling life. Bross is a gymnast who aims for the top and in order to do that, constant pushing is necessary.√"

    Her aim, or her dad's aim? I agree with the poster who said Bross looked 100% miserable. My impression of Bross is she's counting the seconds until she can retire.

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  27. Yea, I think its almost comical when you read the reactions on message boards about all the girls being so concerned for Becca. I'm sure on some level they feel bad, but they just watched a girl that was ahead in line of all probably be unable to compete for Worlds and made her Olympic bid that much tougher. Gymnastics is a cut throat sport and these girls didn't make it to the top by wallowing in their competitions despair.

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  28. Bross looked miserable and exhausted. Why? Was she sick prior to competition? I know she's been out of competition for a long time but this being her first meet back I would think she'd look a little "fresh". What kind of training did she have up until Nationals?

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  29. @ Mister I don't remember Brestyan or Chow ever pushing a gymnast too far. On second thought, when has Valeri ever done this either? Valeri seems to be one of the toughest coaches out there, but he knows the limits of his gymnasts. Bross's injury, however terrible and ill timed it is, was an accident.

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  30. Bross always looks miserable. Valeri has been known to be a jerk. Just as Wofford.

    Bross is lucky to still be the it girl. Both her AA medals were a joke and would have been gone in any other code. She is overrated and I for one am sad she got hurt but will be thrilled if she just goes away. She already has a treasure chest full of gift medals by the judges. Now they can move on and overscore someone else.

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  31. Agree with all your notes except Bross. Bross getting hurt on the DTY was predicted by several people. She was tired, struggling on the skill, still has a bad ankle, etc. The risk/reward was not worth it. Nationals is no longer an important meet. Look at Shawn not going for broke, Chelsie not going for broke, etc.

    This is like a powerlifter trainer having a bodybuilder do heavy singles. Just not worth the risk/reward for that athlete. And when you tweak a pec...then I say I told you so.

    The Musty thing is a little different (even worse) in that athlete and gymnast had decided to keep throwing a consistently fugly and even more dangerous vault, whereas Brossie had regressed but at one time had a decent DTY.

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  32. @Drama Queen - Johnson was training an Amanar that she was *constantly* twisting into the mat. She had no business competing that vault. Brestyan had Raisman doing the same right before Nats. Thankfully, they pulled Aly back.

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  33. Agree about the WOGA Champion comments- your absolutely right. WOGA may push hard but kids are there for a reason. They can choose to go to the 8000 other gyms in Texas. I dont think the injury was Valeri's fault. We dont know enough to place blame but I think having an opinion is fine and we dont need to tear Blythe down either. 10 years ago we had noone repoting on gym online (although we had Atlers diary so...) so Im personally thankful you all blog and take the time to do this. However, I dont think Blythe is an expert either so I hear ya for your opinion.

    I love Chellsie & her toughness- she is amazing. Will she be able to compete with the best in the world? Who knows. I agree about Alicia- i feel there is way more hype than there should be and I dont look at her as a rock for the team. She made a great come back but isnt sticking landings and we need that. I am not in love with Raisman either but she is consistent. I really miss the artistry of years past. I love Luikin & Komova for that reason. As a high level gymnast from the 90's (I know..), we had to be artistic. I really wish Vega had alittle more of an it factor as I love this kid and want to see her get her chance to shine. Maroney is a shining star IMO & Weiber is just so fit its impressive.
    Sorry for the rant but like most of you I want to pull for the US but its really hard to be super excited at this point.

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  34. Mister- Yeah Shawn may have torn her ACL while skiing but a history of poor amanar technique made them so weak.

    Yo Mamma- you bring up a good point that NBC had no freaking clue how to handle the coverage of Bross's injury. Terribly awkward night of tv. ALthough I think Nastia covering her face made it seem like it was too painful for her to watch.

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  35. They way Shawn lands on the Amanar though, it seems all the pressure is on the right knee and she tore her left ACL. I don't think her left ACL was weakened so much from the Amarnar. MsJess might have a point if she had torn her right ACL.

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  36. I don't want to necessary 'pull' for the US if they're not the best team.

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  37. It was weird seeing Bross have an emotion.

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  38. Oh and the better Caquatto giggling as cameras pan to Bross' "devastated" competitors is the Mean Girls moment of the meet!

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