Monday, March 7, 2011

Nastia Liukin Cup: Live Commentary

(Pretend that this is live, because I am.)

This year, we celebrate the second annual holiday honoring the marvel of genetic engineering that is Anastasia Valeryevna Liukina.  Since Mother Russia is now owning the sport, it is time for our queen to go back to representing a winning team.  We know she belongs at Round Lake, not on Happy Meals with Shawn Johnson.

In case you were unaware, Nastia owns the trademark of the color pink.  Her crafty Jewish Power Agent figured out that no one held that trademark and decided that together, they were christen the world in shades of Razzle Dazzle Rose.

For those who are unaware, The Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup is a modified version of the old podium meet.  We should thank Nastia for not subjecting us to the gymnastics of Diane Grey.

Sadly, Nastia is joined in the commentary booth by Tim Dagget and John Roethlisberger.  NBC just won't let us get rid of John R, no matter how hard we wish they would.  It is amazing how he has transformed himself into the most cringeworthy lovechild of Tim Dagget and Al Trautwig.  Note how the Three-Time Olympian pretends to not know anything about gymnastics or competition.

Year Two means more to Nastia because she has made more money from meet registration fees than during the inaugural year for her Nastia Liukin Foundation for under-privlileged gymnasts.  It helps Nastia feel charitable and is right up there with curing cancer.

"Tim Dagget didn't even have television when he competed."- Note that it took less than five minutes for Tim and John to begin flirting in a way that has us all raising eyebrows about stories from their college years.

Kaitlyn Hall's mother wanted her to be a figure skater, but she chose gymnastics.  Given her performance, her mother may have been right.  I always find it amazing that people are actually paid to choreograph some of this shit.  This girl doesn't even have the excuse of performing elite-level tumbling passes.

"You're 12 ?!?!"- Never a good question in gymnastics where puberty is the enemy.

Georgia Dabritz rocked a Yurchenko 1 1/2 that would score well in the NCAA.  Unfortunately, rumor has it that she is having difficulty with the NCAA clearing house.

Nastia is comparing the two vault runs in level 10 to qualifying for the event finals.  She seemed to not understand that one gets two attempts in level 10, but she only ever competed level 10 in one meet and certainly never qualified for any vault event finals.

Kiersten Wang is looking more and more like a Florida Gator: huge amplitude with some iffy form.  Her Yurchenko Full is enormous, but it doesn't look as clean as it did last year.  They mention that she was ''coached'' by Jaycie.  She'll probably be in the vault lineup next year.  Her form is unlikely to improve.

Kassandra Lopez- finished second AA last year and yet I don't remember her.  She'll be representing Blahtah, another reason to forget her. BHS+Loso least we won't have to worry about her watering down in college.  Punch front.  The interior of this routine is quite solid.  Solid round off+double full dismount.'

Kayla Williams is back down to level 10...where she belongs.  Note how Mary Lee never coaches level 10s, but it working with Kayla in order to get her name on TV.  While numerous CGA elites have had histories of eating disorders, we can only worry about what will happen to Kayla in the future.

"Classy lady. " John R on MLT (Not touching that one.)

Kayla stuck the Yurchenko 1 1/2 like a true beast.  MLT is inspired by her integrity.

Mack Brannan...this intense girl reminds me of Lindsay Wing.  Her form is decent, but KJC would say that she isn't fully extended.  Nastia spotted her from a distance at the WOGA Classic.  She didn't pay too much attention, as she is unlikely to ever make a World or Olympic Team and isn't someone WOGA would ever want to transfer.

Some girl I don't care about performed a floor routine and we found out she is from John R's old gym.  Figures.

Note that MLT now loves Amelia Hundley.  A year ago, she spoke to her like she was Alyssa Beckerman.  "MLT tends to be tough on her gymnasts."  (God Bless her youtube channel.)

Amelia is capable of doing a harder vault, but almost killed herself last year.  Decent Yurchenko Full...bent knees, leg sep and didn't go for the stick. If a gymnast can't do a clean Yurchenko Full, there is no hope.  Tim asks himself if it is a stick, as though he doesn't know.  Amelia sticks another average Yurchenko Full.

Mykayla Skinner- 'Won' the training sessions.  They've already described her as being world class.  Sadly, I've seen her form on vault before. Stuck back full.  Love 150-degree split.  Straddle jump with a 140 degree amplitude.  Double Tuck with a hop.  They made comparisons to Shawn Johnson.  They certainly do share an aesthetic sensibility.

Alexandra McMurtry was invited to the Ranch.  She is 14 and only just going to the Ranch.  Huge 1/2 in 1/2 out.  2 1/2 Twist+Front Layout 1/2.  Front Full+Front Rudi. Considering that this girl has potential, Martha will have her switch gyms in no time.  Alexandra really tried to stick her passes like in elite.  Triple Full to her knees.  She will learn that Martha doesn't give a shit what skill she was doing...falls are not acceptable.

Rachel Spicer- She looks in better shape than she was about a month ago.  Was slightly worried she was going to take after Liz Green is more ways than just verbaling to the University of Florida.  It is good that she is such a stable competitor, as beam has never been UF's best event.  Stuck double full dismount.

Tim and John flirt about sticking... No one really cares to question whether or not John was bad at sticking.  We've blocked out his gymnastics career from our memories.

Valeri and Martha continue their love affair.  It is good that they communicate so well, as he will inevitably have her job.

That was one LONG first rotation.  At least this year's field is better than last year.  I actually never made it through the entire broadcast last year, as it was just too painful.

Nastia could never be giddy after beam because it was her easiest event.

It is a bit sad that Orlando Metro is considered a 'powerhouse in the world of gymnastics.'  Talk about a hyperbolic statement.  Oh, if only Shayla had left that gym after Jeff scorpioned her back.

Lauren Marinez- Front Aerial (pause)+BHS+LOSO (fall.)  You can tell she is one of the few girls Jeff actually pays attention to in his gym.  Actually has nice style, which is a rarity at this meet.  Side somi (wobble.)  Nastia notes that level 10 rules are even harder than elite...note that none of the good girls from WOGA ever compete level 10.  HUGE double tuck dismount.  A better gym would have a field day with her natural ability.

Kudos to Nastia for being real about her father never telling her good job after she fell.  We don't need a translator to verify that statement.

Kiersten Wang- her body shape is oddly (and unfortunately) reminiscent of Kiersten Maloney.  Her body is never fully extended on bars.  Sadly, that doesn't mean she'll be kept out of the lineup at UF.  The double layout lacks amplitude.  It is a solid routine, but is on par with Nicole Ellis.

Kayla Williams on bars.  John asks "what can we expect from her here?"  Props to Nastia for being fake nice with her response.  The entire routine was muscled.  Sadly, it is a vast improvement over her previous bar routines.  I say 'sadly' because the rest of us had to witness those routines.

Amelia Hundley is really improving on bars.  She is responding well to Mary Lee correcting her all the time.  Note that she really went for the execution of the routine.  The girl is going to make a great NCAA gymnast one day.  It remains to be seen if she has enough skills to make this year's National Team.

Ashley Lambert---fast forward.

Mykayla Skinner- digging the mole on her face.  She'll be happy about that when she becomes old enough to be a diva.  Nice double double mount.  1 1/2 stepout through to a sloppy 2 1/2 twist with an iffy landing.  Front Handspring+Rudi (pikey),  The dance is uninspiring and has nothing to do with the techno version of La Cumparsita.  Stuck full in to dismount.  Acrobatically gifted, but there are issues with basics that needed to be learned correctly to begin with.  Notice how Nastia knows Shawn Johnson's routines like the back of her hand.  Nastia and Valeri dissected those routines to ensure victory. (9.650)

Nastia reminds us that she too had a bad birthday.  John makes a corny one-liner about changing the rules and faking passports.  Remember that the 2008 Chinese Team was cleared of all allegations (eye roll.)

Alexandra McMurtry- BIG Yurchenko Full with a stretched body.

Grace Williams- she may be competing well at this meet, but her body already looks 'mature.'  Numerous short handstands and a ghastly squat-on transition to high bar.

Rachel Spicer- Stuck Piked Full In.  Unfortunate choreography.  Front Full+Front Pike.  Double Pike...good landing.  It is unfortunate that she has another year of high school left, as she looks beyond ready to compete in college.  It is a miracle that she hasn't burned out due to sheer boredom.

Georgia Dabritz hit her bar routine without grips.  Her routine didn't have great amplitude, but it was solid and very Blahtah (even her comaneci didn't seem particularly spectacular.)  Georgia's parents make sure she doesn't wear grips...they don't want to worry about her holding hands or going on any dates before she signs with a University.

Alicia Sacramone interview---she is back to training.  She says she needs to upgrade beam and vault, while getting floor back.  It will be tough for her to stay healthy, but at least she knows it.  At least Nastia is self-aware about interviewers asking the same questions and gymnasts giving standard responses.  She is working on hard landings and getting a routine in order and her endurance back.

Mack Brannan- Double Arabian with FLEXED feet.  Front Double Full with chucked technique.  She is Morgan White minus whatever redeeming qualities she had.  2 1/2 twist+double stag jump.  Hard worker, but she needs a coach who will make you focus on the important details.

Amelia Hundley-beam.   MLT is going to go OCD on her split leaps and switch splits.  She is not yet at 180.  Broke a connection.  BHS+Loso...balance check.  Note that Nastia never missed her Aerial+BHS+Loso besides 2009---a year she'd like to forget.  She pretends to know what it is like to miss the connection in competition.  Switch side.  2 1/2...not quite around early enough to have a good landing.  Amelia looks like she'd be better suited doing a double back off beam.

Mykayla Skinner- DTY- huge hop back.  "Wasn't probably as clean as it could've been."- well said Nastia.   Amanar- Around.  Impressive that she did it, but the form is gross.  (9.350.)  I support that score.

Martha would love an Amanar from a Mykayla ( in Maroney.)

A shot of Chellsie talking to Martha.  Chellsie wore black in order to appear as slim as possible when in Martha's presence.

Rachel Spicer- 1.5 TY...clean, small hop.  She is going to be very useful to the Gators if she stays in this shape.  Second attempt not quite as good.

Grace Williams- There is something very American Motors about Geddert's Twistars.  Gross switch 1/2...very Geddert.  Side aerial (small wobble.)  Double Pike with one step.  I love when Geddert talks about refining the details.  We've all seen his gymnasts.

Nastia is talking about designing her own leotards.  Diva always made sure never to wear the same one as her club mates.

Kaitlyn Hall's bar routine makes me question how she ever qualified for this meet.

Georgia Dabritz...fall on beam.  The form and technique are some of the best we've seen at this meet.

Lauren Marinez--Front layout+rudi (hot hot hot mess.)  2 1/2...messy landing.  Double Tuck...had a ton of height but landed short...odd technique.  Unfortunate routine.  It is amazing that she finished given how she stung her knee on her first tumbling pass.

Kiersten Wang on beam: switch ''ring'', BHS+LOSO, Full turn with a small check.  (I could be a bitch and say it wasn't around 360 degrees.)  Very average front aerial.  Side somi (check), cartwheel+gross gainer full.  Every time they mention her car accident, I feel badly about not loving her aesthetics...  Screw NBC for always making us keep abreast of every freakin human interest story.

This is the meet that won't end.

Mykayla Skinner- sloppy bar routine.  Full turn was nowhere near handstand.  Low tkatchev.  Full in dismount with flexed feet.

McMurtry- the only interesting thing is that we learn that Nastia hates ending on beam.  She also hates ending on bars because it is the event that gives her the biggest advantage, so it makes her the most nervous.

Grace Williams- this long pause is making me wish this wasn't a live broadcast.  Double Arabian with a late twist.  Double Pike.  Yet another floor routine to forget in terms of choreography.  She does a lame half-assed attempt at looking remotely like a step dancer.  Double Tuck.  Decent landings.  She wins by default.  She makes me wish Lexie Priessman was allowed to compete despite being a National Team Member.

Nastia interviews Grace Williams.  She says she'll be eligible for the 2012 Olympics...not that she has a shot in hell at making it.

Kiersten Wang- Double Layout--- landed out of bounds.  1 1/2+Front Layout (broke body shape slightly).  I want to know who was paid for choreographing this routine.  I hope she just gave fifteen bucks to Bridget Sloan.  Double Pike...steps out of bounds.  I'm a bit concerned that she was UF's #1 recruit.

Amelia Hundley- Decent Piked Full In.  How sad is it that Amelia consider's her smile on floor to be a unique attribute?!  1 1/2+Front Layout Full.  2 1/2 twist (sloppy)+Front Layout.  Stuck Double Tuck.

1. Grace Williams
2. Amelia Hundley
3. Rachel Spicer
4. Kayla Williams
5. Mykayla Skinner

And it ends.  Next year, they need to allow Junior National Team Members to compete and impose a BMI restriction.


  1. Want to know the most amazing fact about the NLSC? The fact that Kayla Williams squeezed herself into an Adult Small leotard... woah.
    Oh, and that despite being a beam world champion and reigning Olympic silver medalist on the same apparatus, Nastia can't walk in her hooker heels and tripped quite a few times Friday night.

  2. It was kind of weird to see some of these college-bound mature looking girls (Kayla Williams and others) alongside some 14-15 year olds that still look young and like stick figures. IDK. I can see the positive of having them compete with older girls but still... I predict that Nastia's coming back in 2011 as a bar/beam specialist. She's keeping mum on her day-tod-ay training to throw people off but trust me, she's going to appear out of nowhere at Cover Girls and show why she is indeed a pure bred Russian diva.

  3. I fell asleep while waiting for coverage to start on Universal Sports. I woke up in time to see a few girls stumble out of their yurchenko full vaults. I feel back to sleep after that and could not wake back up.

  4. Idk, it seems like Nastia doesn't really want to comeback. She seemed to be back in the gym full time for a while but now shes always jetting off somewhere for something. It's just such a commitment. I think she will continue to go back and then pull out for other things after two or three months until 2012.

  5. Thank heavens i wasnt the only one who noticed Kayla Williams size. I mean, I know she took some time off while switching gyms but geez, what did you do during those few months?! Trends support gymnasts gaining weight during college... good luck being able to complete your skills in a few years Wiliams. And the flashback video to her world champion vault? Just depressing as they showed her slim frame and then cut back to her, a year and a half and 20 lbs later. If I were her I would have pleaded not to remind people of what used to be...

  6. Yeah, I usually don't comment on a gymnast's size, but Kayla looks completely out of shape. I don't expect her to still have her World Championship figure, but she really needs to shape up before college. Otherwise, I would be surprised to consistently see her on anything other than vault, and I say this as someone who likes Kayla and wants her to have a great NCAA career.

  7. As always, your meet commentary is wonderful. Keep up the good work.

  8. Fantastic commentary. Watching it "live" with you was better than actually watching it live.

  9. Love this commentary. How is MLT so tough on her gymnasts if she can let them out on a mat representing her gym in that kind of shape? Is Kayla unfit or is it just her body type? Regardless, in gymnastics people dont care. Kudos to Kayla though for ignoring the negative & getting back out there I guess.

    Was it me or did Nastia seem alittle bit like she could care less about this meet any longer? Who knows as I only had the broadcast to go by but her hair & thicker than thick make up job really annoys me. And she spoke to Grace Williams post meet like Grace was 5. Seriously..

  10. that picture of Nastia is awesome. love.

  11. Great review! I managed to get through the entire meet even though with live TV, I thought it was moving painfully slow. I don't know why they kept showing us Wang, as she wasn't top 10 until the very end.

    Poor Kayla Williams. Even for a regular kid, she doesn't seem to be at a healthy weight. She is obviously very gifted to be doing the skills she does even while not in the best shape. And 4th place here was pretty good.

    I like Amelia a lot. She'll need to upgrade a lot, but she's young.

  12. Anonymous at 7:01 AM, I just don't think Nastia is great at interviewing, period. She gets paid to do it because she's a famous face, but I doubt she's getting hired because she has a knack for it.

  13. Nastia really avoided that comeback question. She says she's in the gym, but still sounds unsure. The early parts of a comeback are the toughest/most frustrating, so if she can push through that, I bet her skeptical attitude will change. She needs to cut down on the travel now though... Not so much for the travel itself, but because it's healthier to be preparing one's own meals, getting on a regular sleep schedule, etc.

  14. Didn't see the other girls as well. Too much Kiersten, too much Grace Williams (I don't need to see her cheering on other gymnasts), and really too much Mykayla. How about showing at least one routine from each of the girls?


  16. Utah is no more blah to me than anywhere else, really.

    I love this review. I was fine with them showing Mykayla, as she actually was at the top for the whole meet (and will test elite and has a chance to make a National team)... But NBC could have planned better and figured out how to show more routines... We didn't need to watch Grace clapping forever or Kiersten Wang on every event.

    Do these girls know how poor their choreography is though? If you are doing double backs and 1.5-front layouts, the LEAST you could do is commit yourself to the performance aspect of your routine and sell it.

  17. I couldn't believe they had Nastia ask Grace about the 2012 Olympics. They should have focused on her winning the Nastia Cup and how she's planning on trying to make the Junior National team this year. That is enough of a challenge for her without trying to make it seem like she should be thinking about Olympic aspirations at the moment! Look at her start values before you comment, NBC! Geez.

  18. The commentators goofed when they said Mykayla isn't eligible for 2012. She actually is turning 16 in 2012. Daggett and friends cannot do math.

  19. Hahaha at the tripping. She always struck me as someone who desperately wants to appear as though she would never dream of wearing anything else other than 5 inch heels. Maybe she should consider it. There's a time and place for everything.

  20. I have some definate issues with nastia and her commentary. 1. she told grace the olypics OBVIOUSLY were a goal. when holy shit the 2012 olympics are a maybe for her teamate who won the american cup...its safe to say that grace shouldnt have an olympic goal. 2. why does she have to talk about herself every 5 seconds and compare herself to these level 10 gymnasts? I guess roethlesberger doesnt help by asking nastia to comment on every single thing and helps her to bask in the glory of being nastia. and 3. i honestly dont think nastia is going to be able to come back with all of the traveling/strutting around in heels and talking about fashion that shes doing. gymnastics is not really on her mind it seems

  21. being brutally honest, i think the competetor in nastia is making her hold on to this comeback..because she had such a rivalry with shawn...she cant stand the idea of shawn going to another olympics when she isnt. meanwhile, if i were nastia i would just bow out. you are past you're prime and youve won 1st aa on the biggest possible stage...u already beat shawn..let it go...the poor girl has unfinished business and needs another olympic experience because the last was tarnished by the expectation of aa gold and the loss. i honestly think she just cant let her rivalry go.

  22. i cant wait for your american cup coverage!!! :D

  23. Agree with anon @4:07. Though I wouldn't be surprised if Nastia thinks another trip to the Olympics may be another way to Evan L's heart, he is a media whore after all and that would be a perfect opportunity to get his attention ;) *disclaimer* I LOVE Nastia (& her rivalry with SJ).

  24. Seriously, anon. 4:07 and 8:29? If Nastia makes a comeback, it's going to be for her and not anyone else. Also, Nastia should hang it up because "poor" Shawn has unfinished business? A lot of people had less than stellar olympics. That shouldn't effect Nastia's thoughts toward 2012.

  25. I think Nastia is motivated by wanting to win. I bet she was embarrassed by how she competed in 2009. And upping her medal count and increasing her endorsement deals can't hurt.

  26. I don't think Nastia is that motivated by anything right now since she isn't back in the gym full time yet.

  27. Shawn had a tarnished olympics? poor shawn only got 3 silver and 1 gold medal. alicia sacramone had a tarnished olympics. sam peszeck hada tarnished olympics. shawn did just fine. if she has unfinished business because she didnt get aa gold, then nastia should have unfinished business because she didnt get ub gold.

  28. first commentor is full of shit. nastia has worn super high heals to every event for the past two and a half years. if she couldnt walk in them i doubt she would. we all saw her walk up the stairs and across the stage to accept her espy, no tripping there. she did a local show in chigaco last summer where they actually had her up on a balance beam in heals, no tripping there either. IF you saw her trip at all, it was probably on a loose peice of carpet or something.

  29. Gut feeling: Nastia's isn't coming back. Since John R didn't nag her this time about a comeback, something tells me she's done. I suppose she got other priorities, much more important than another run for the Olympics. Valeri doesn't seem too sad about her non-return. He's too busy anyway with his new crop of elites.

  30. Oh yeah? She's going to camp? She doesn't look toned. I could see a tummy bulge just underneath her pink blouse in this picture:

    But I'll stay optimistic....

  31. anon 11:06 that's kind of a loose fitting shirt to see a bulge in, i think it could just be a wrinkle.

  32. There are so many things wrong with that picture.

  33. No need to get your panties in a bunch about Nastia not being able to walk in those heels. It just tickled me b.c when I saw her Thursday in those ghastly black booties she just shuffled by because she couldn't appear to walk in them. Then she tripped a bunch at NLSC. I don't doubt that she can walk in heels, but maybe she needs a little bit lower.
    Also, in the shape she's in now I don't see her competing anytime soon. I wish she would either say, "I'm in the gym but not seriously training" or fully commit to training.
    Re: loose fitting pink top - not a wrinkle. Home-skillet has been eating a few too many $5 foot-longs. Just saying.

  34. She trips on flip-flops too (see video from her homecoming after Beijing). She just can't walk without tripping. Don't worry, happens to me all the time. Even runway models trip on occasions.

    it's an odd looking wrinkle on her loose top - shapes like a belly, if you ask me. no big deal.

    Is there Nastia Liukin cup next year?

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