Catty Comments here! Official team workouts have started in Tokyo, so let's talk about the ladies.
The biggest news (via The All-Around) is that 2008 FX Olympic champion Sandra Izbasa has withdrawn because of a foot injury that limited her training this summer and to only 2 events at Romanian Nationals. Their Tokyo WAG team is now:
Alt - Diana Bulimar
The good news for Team Romania is that Ponor has finally been officially added to the team, now that her 6 month drug testing anniversary has been reached. Do drug tests screen for vampirism?
Beth Tweddle is officially ready to rock and defend her bars title. She connects the hell out of everything to make this rather quick, efficient non-stop routine reach an amazing 7.1 D value. This video is courtesy of Anne from Gymnastike, who has a lot of Tokyo practice routines already uploaded.
There are no videos yet of Team China, but according to Blythe of Gym Examiner, Tim Daggett says their beam is "unbelievable."
Of the big 4 teams, Team Russia is always the head-casiest in practice, and the first workout was no exception. Komova, perhaps the only AA challenger for Jordyn Wieber, did some glorious bar work and then had an emotional meltdown on beam. After this video was taken, she went to the wall and was seen crying.
If you experience temporary blindness watching the Russians work out, it's not your eyes. It's the hella to the bright silver team workout leos they wore.
Ksenia Afanaseva (aka "Afan") is looking more solid than ever before, and is the sentimental favorite to win floor. Bitch came with bitchface and newly blonde hair. Here's her floor runthrough.
Team USA had an interesting workout. Clubfoot the Raisman, Douglas, Vega & Wieber are gunning on all cylinders. Clubfoot may be the co-favorite with defending champion Lauren "Awkward Aussie" Mitchell for fx gold - her fx is that good. Note the effortless insanely difficult first 2 passes - 1.5 through to double Arabian punch front, and dos Santos immediate sissone.
Gabby Douglas was the big headcase question mark on Team USA, and she seems to be responding well to the extra Marta attention from 2 camps and a spot on Team USA. She's on track to become the 2010 Raisman of this year's team. Here is her fx run-through, complete with techno music to prepare her to become a true Rhonda Gator after the Olympics. Note the opening music change since Visas.
Maroney had an up & down workout. Her last pass has been changed from double Arabian to double pike. Her beam & fx runthroughs had errors. However the Amanar still looks solid, her newish 3.5 on floor looks fabulous and she has time to peak before qualifications. Hopefully her back will hold up.
Sacramone's fx run-through was solid and without OOBs. We'll see what happens on the bouncier podium fx. She only did vault timers and didn't throw the rudi.
Anna Li did not work out on the equipment. There is still no mention on her blog and no inside word as to why. It could be injury, jetlag or illness. If Shawn Johnson, the non-traveling alternate starts tweeting excitedly, we'll know Anna's injured and she's been flown to Tokyo to become the alternate.
Sabrina Vega, initially assumed to be the alternate, now may be competing if there are issues with Anna Li. She is a solid AAer and could really do well for herself if she does actually compete in Tokyo.
The action starts Friday with Day 1 of Women's Qualifications, which is late Thursday for North America. The Universal Sports coverage starts with early am Oct. 11 live stream of the Women's Team Final. The webcasts will be $14.99 (instead of $19.99) using the discount code usagym. Hopefully some international channels will carry the competition starting with qualifications.