Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tomorrow, the women begin the much-anticipated push to the Olympic Games. Classics were a mere dress rehearsal, but tomorrow absolutely counts. This is not time for speculation or what ifs. Time is running out and with fifty days to go, the bitches have come to play. It is time to take a look at the girls Martha will be watching.
Jordyn Wieber is the reigning World Champion. She is all but a lock for the team, yet Wieber did struggle on bars at Classics and the American Cup. With so many vault specialists, the team needs Wieber to do bars in team finals. It is a lot of pressure for someone who muscles bars under pressure. While hitting six or seven routines should be enough to win these championships for her, Jordyn needs to get her routines, confidence and mental game in order heading into Trials. While she and her coach may say they are merely aiming to make the team, the quality of her performance matters due to her aspirations for Olympic All-Around gold. Judges, opponents, other coaches and officials are watching her routines and looking for any weaknesses. Wieber has matured and is a bit slower on beam than last year, but with fifty days to go until the opening ceremonies, her body is not quite in peak form. As for an 'it girl,' she is as dull as they come.
Gabby Douglas is the girl everyone is watching and rooting for. Phenomenal on bars, Gabby needs to put together hit routines and build confidence. While she has the gymnastics to challenge for multiple individual medals in London, there are questions about whether she has the mental fortitude to nail her routines under Olympic pressure when she is expected to do well. Look for Gabby to be spectacular on bars and solid on floor. If she can go eight for eight, it may be impossible for Jordyn to catch her. She is somewhat inconsistent with her Amanar. A good meet here will do wonders for her confidence heading into trials.
Aly Raisman is a steady rock. That rock may be fugly as sin in parts, but she is going to stay on the beam and get a good score on floor. It is amazing that the international judges have not raked her over the coals, but there is always London for that. Look for Aly to do three events in team finals at the Olympics given the inconsistency of others. I personally can't wait for her rambling interviews. Remember Aly, just keep talking. Keeeeeep talking.
McKayla Maroney is the best vaulter in the world. Lovely, but inconsistent on floor, she needs to bring her A-game. With the team being named at Trials, Maroney cannot afford to have a meet like she did at Day 1 of Nationals last summer. She needs to stand out and really be useful on all events with so many girls peaking right now.
Kyla Ross would be on the team if it was chosen after Classics, but her consistency is matched with an unremarkable nature to her gymnastics. Her routines are clean, but nothing is truly special. If Ross hits all events and Maroney does not, things will become very interesting when it comes time to name the name. There are no camps to hide behind. With the media present at Trials, it will be hard to deny those who can hit.
Alicia Sacramone is going balls to the wall in her comeback attempt. She will make the team or she will die trying--perhaps literally. ASac is now training floor and claiming she will try her handspring layout front double full at Trials. While she can do it in the pit, the vault never looked close to competition lady. May desperate times be causing her to actually upgrade? Her fitness level is looking good but it remains to be seen whether she is even useful to the team. We need a floor girl and she hasn't been one for five years. It is pretty cute that Alicia is still training all of those beam connections that she'll leave out in competition this weekend.
Nastia Liukin is on track to surprise and prove the doubters wrong. Her bars look much improved since Classics. Her switch ring does as well. Nastia's new beam connection continues to be an eye roller. If she gets nervous, she wobbles on the switch half and misses the connection entirely. Even if it is slow, she needs to do it this weekend. Her dismount continues to be a white knuckler off beam. Frankly, her bar dismount looks better than her beam dismount. For our diva, her confidence looks to be key. Now that she got through an event, it looks like she is feeling a bit closer to her usual self. The positive reinforcement from Classics looks to be helping her. It appears that she still needs to add in her piked stalder to her big combination on bars, but her eagle stalder (which hurt her shoulder the most) is in and looking strong. I expect her to be on point by Trials or close to it.
Bridget Sloan, the goddess of procrastination, is looking tough to ignore. Originally out of the picture, she is making herself look like one of the ones who will be an alternate at the very least. Though she isn't a top vaulter, her strength on bars and floor keeps her in contention. Rhonda Faehn has to be loving how fit and motivated Sloan is. Girl looks ready to make quite the 1-2 punch with Kytra Hunter this upcoming NCAA season.
Rebecca Bross' Olympic aspirations continue to fall apart. Though she is solid on bars, her execution and confidence are just not where they were. It is amazing that she is back, but there is something in Bross' demeanor that makes her appear to be the Atler of 2012. It is all coming apart at the seams and it is heartbreaking to watch a fighter struggle in such a way.
Elizabeth Price continues to surprise. With an Amanar and solid routines on bars and floor, her name continues to be passed around as a potential alternate. Ultimately, I believe Martha may go with Sloan instead, but Price is certainly one who is impressing. She cannot afford to miss floor again.
Anna Li continues to be a joy to watch, but she has to hit bars. Anna says she never misses that routine. She did struggle connecting the jaegar to the pak at times in training, but she did not have any major misses on the event this week. As for beam, her routine is not ready for team finals. I have so much respect for her continuing to improve at this age. Let's hope she can nail a bar routine or else Martha may leave her out of Trials.
Sarah Finnegan is primed to be an alternate. Quickly becoming a fan favorite, Sarah is someone who'd be on the team if she had a bit more experience and a coach who knew how to code whore. While she is gorgeous everywhere, her bar routine is simply not difficult enough at this point. It would be an utter waste if she quit elite after this season.
Brandie Jay's mother may be telling people she has a ninety percent chance of making the team, yet Martha likely feels otherwise. I must say, hearing about her delusional mother makes her infinitely more interesting.
McKenzie Wofford continues to be a lovely girl overshadowed at times. Her gymnastics has come a long way over the last four years and she is someone that everyone just wants to do well. Whatever actually happened at the camp that led her to leave WOGA, we may never know, but it certainly if fun to joke about.
Who are your predictions for the top five? And top three on each event?