Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This and That

A new Yu-Na Kim documentary surfaced.  Like many of you, I check Blazing Blades religiously.  I don't know a lick of Korean, but I was still captivated by this gem.  As expected, any scene of Yu-Na working with David Wilson is a total gem.

The nominative team for the US World Team was released:

Mackenzie Caquatto
Anna Li
McKayla Maroney
Aly Raisman
Alicia Sacramone
Jordyn Wieber

Alt: Sabrina Vega

Word is that Chellsie Memmel isn't training much at camp.  It could be the Memmels trying to play it safe after the bars debacle at Nationals.  One always has to wonder how long it will be before Chellsie rips a shoulder or injures an ankle again.  The nominative team is surprisingly well-rounded, which means that Martha and Kathy Kelly are likely sending a message that Memmel needs to get a bar routine if she wants to make the team.  Given Chellsie's driven nature, it may be a battle of head and heart over the court of the next three weeks.  If Shawn continues to plug away and the other girls go down with an injury, anything is possible.  Martha may also be playing games by naming Macko to the nominative roster.  Macko recently returned to Gainesville.  Given the Gators' history of peaking during the preseason, Martha may not realize that she could be in the perfect place.  Whether or not Macko finishes this semester is anyone's guess, but it would not be above Martha to name her to the squad to keep her in Illinois for another year.  It is important to note that Anna Li isn't even an official member of the national team.    Nastia Liukin is at camp on the selection committee and looking thinner since Nationals. As one of my friends put up, "it's just a tad fucked up that she is on the committee, eh?"  Recent photos of Nastia show that she's ditched the weave and is looking less and less like a country singer. With veterans returning and the Olympics around the corner, things are about the get very interesting.

Steve Disson is planning another tribute show.  This year's edition is for the US Ladies over the years.  It will be difficult for them to look toward an optimistic future at the end of the show, but that is another story.  These shows are notorious for skimping on appearance fees.  Last year's show paid every skater exactly the same fee, which really didn't work for most champions with bank accounts.  Notice that many high-profile former greats attended and didn't skate.  Michelle Kwan was able to use school as an excuse, yet she has found time to fly to Singapore to skate on fake ice for the right price.  Kristi Yamaguchi's titles simply aren't worth the same as Kimmie Meissner's or an appearance by Naomi Lang.  Unless they decide to pay up for the names, Sarah Hughes and Nancy Kerrigan may be the only names who actually participate in the event.

Stars on Ice hasn't announced its tour dates or cast list yet.  With Sasha Cohen in NYC and Evan Lysacek returning, one has to wonder who the draws on the tour will be.

There are plenty of videos of Jana Bieger and the boring US Men's team from Evolution, yet no one seems to have uploaded any clips of Hollie Vise yet.  That is just bad taste.

Yasmin Siraj's SP from the Cranberry Open.  Yasmin looks to be showing hints of maturity and looks to be smoothing out her limbs and growing into her body.  If she doesn't grow to be too tall, Yasmin may grow into a successful skater.    She has a nice marriage of technical ability, talent and appears to care about the artistic aspect of the sport.

Peng Peng Lee performed a floor routine choreographed by Val Kondos at Canadian World Trials.  It appears to have potential and is 'good' for a current elite routine, but it does make us yearn for the gymnastics of years past.

As always, there is drama on the Canadian World Team front.  When they named the team, it was not clear who the alternate would be.  Canadian politics are complex, as a certain percentage of the team needs to be from Quebec given the powers that be are from the province.  When one looks back at past teams, it is clear that being from Quebec has helped several girls.  Mikaela Gerber performed better than anticipated at Trials (winning and being the only gymnast to hit eight for eight.)  It is rumored that the powers that be still want to designate her the alternate.  With the murky provincial politics in Canada, it begins to become clearer that success just isn't always the primary concern.  This team actually looks capable of pulling out a surprise trip to London, but much will be determined on how the team comes together and prepares.  A fractious effort will not help a country on the bubble of qualifying a full team for 2012.

Caroline Zhang won Golden West with a 127.80 total.  It is impressive that she is still plugging away, but the commentators are going to have to be fake nice more than ever when trying to find areas of improvement.  Richard Dornbush edged out Patrick Chan by about three tenths in the long. Details are available at Unseen Figure Skaters.


  1. I thought Zhang and Dornbush won Golden West.

  2. where was this world team released to? Its not on IG or USA-gymnastics ?

  3. Apologies for the typo, I figure you get it was Golden West. The nominative team is for the FIG and always changes, but it does influence the games Martha plays with the potential team members. Gymnastike did post the list of nominative entries for all teams---which is from the FIG.

  4. Totally agree AJ, the USA World Team nomitive listis a total mine f*ck for all girls. Anna Li on the team? Ya right. She's not even a national team member BUT more importantly, she blew it royally at Nationals on BARS (her supposed ticket to Worlds). Moreover, putting her ahead of Memmel when Li is ONLY useful on 1 event is laughable. Leaving Memmel and SJ completely out while including Vega as an alternative (who also happens to have low starts scores) as does Macko on all evens minus bars... ya a total mind game. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top. Though to be honest, if I were Memmel and even SJ, I'd hold back from Worlds and maybe even PanAms and focus on upgrading and staying healthy (eg the Sloan/Sharp approach). They have only 6 months to perfect before they need to start sharpening up and then peaking for next year.

  5. I'm curious to see how far along Sloan is in her training. With Bross out, I could see her making the world team.

  6. I think also Marta may be mind F*cking with the other countries with that lineup...Romanian motivation is to play with people and hold them back when things aren't important. Make Macko think she has a shot at 2012 so she stays out of FL for a year....this year is almost as meaningless as world championships in 2013...

  7. Anna Li was sick and in the hospital before Nationals. Her performances at camp will be more indicative of her ability, but they are do-or-die. Memmel injured her shoulder on bars and hasn't shown a routine that is worth taking...yet. Chellsie may likely be injured and retired by Olympic Trials given her track record and other bar workers will likely be in the mix. It may be the perfect opportunity for Memmel to close out her career at a big meet. The Olympics aren't always everything...unless the real goal is fame is money. The 2013 Worlds will matter for Ohashi, Priessman and the rest of the world.

  8. Anna Li was a shitty elite when she was in her peak. Now she has become an excuse maker for every time she messes up.

    She isn't that much of an upgrade on Macko and Macko can actually hit.

    I am so sick of seeing Anna Li's name. How many times does she have to fuck up before people stop mentioning her name?

    Damn Miss Val love is blinding your fools.

  9. As always, somebody will post a English-subbed version of the YNK documentary on Youtube soon.

  10. lol, I think it's hilarious that people think this nominative roster is an attempt to pay mind games with the girls. It's literally the top finishers from Nationals on each event that made it out of the competition healthy. That's it. No mental mind games, just the best available team we have right now. And unless Memmel and Sloan are routine ready in time, this will be the team. And I imagine we'll win anyway, just because the rest of the world won't actually look good until 2012.

  11. Typo, sorry.

    I think it's hilarious that people think this nominative roster is an attempt to PLAY mind games with the girls

  12. Also, I have to say I'm shocked Macko actually bothered going to Florida instead of staying home the two or so weeks and training. Obviously, she's in a good position to make the World team, and you would think she would feel more comfortable training at home rather than with college girls who are still in pre-season. I'm also surprised she feels like being distracted by schoolwork right now. It's quite an unusual way to prepare, but hey, if it ends up working, then who am I to question it.

  13. Yasmin Siraj has wonderful potential. There are times when she seems a bit, hm, stiff, with her arms, but I really enjoyed her skate.

  14. I'm a fan of Yasmin. I agree about the stiff arms but she's not as bad as Kimmie Meissner (Thank God). She has well put together programs and really seems to listen and skate to the music rather than just skate through it. That's a rare trait to find in a junior level skater...hell, in a senior level skater!

  15. Who is Yasmin's choreographer? I am pleased to see a skater with her musicality, but I must also give props to whoever created her program. It was refreshing to see compared to most other ladies' programs out there.

  16. Yasmin Siraj looks promising. And good for Ricky Dornbush for beating "fixed-score king" Chan, even if barely *snicker* I kid... except Chan -is- overrated. There I said it.

  17. @ Anonymous- If you remember correctly the Visa Championships wasn't too pretty for most of the girls except for Jordyn. When it comes to bars regardless if she hit or didn't hit up to her ability, Anna won the first night on bars with a 15.05, and finished 4th on night 2 with a 14.4(which included the extra switch kip, broken connection and a .5 deduction for hitting her foot on the bar on her shusoshanova). Now lets take the rest of the current for FIG List.

    Maroney- Fall on bars 1st day 13.45, hit 2nd day 14.1

    Raisman- Hit both days Day 1- 13.45, Day 2- 13.95

    Vega- Day 1 miss- 11.85, Day 2 hit 13.8

    Chellsie (14.4 night 1)/Shawn(14.35, 14.25) are ? at this point

    Regardless if she is only going to compete on bars ,Anna is needed in the 3 up 3 count format as we don't have a 3rd strong bar workers that when they hit can beat Anna even when she has a mistake.

    If Chellsie or Shawn are ready to compete then either would be a viable choice as they can contribute scores on bars and on other events as well. However Shawn wont be able to put up higher then a mid 14 with her current routine and same for Chellsie unless she upgrades to her hindorff pak.

    We are strong on vault pretty strong on beam (if everyone can hit solidly) and floor is good (toughest scoring event across the board) but we need to execute and stay in bounds.

    The decision will come down to do we have a strong enough bar squad for 3 up 3 count.

  18. I find it interesting that you think Nastia was looking like a country music star. I thought she looked more like she was getting ready for her Desperate Housewife of Dallas audition. When did she start looking so old?

  19. Dornbush didn't just beat Patrick Chan. He landed a beautiful quad toe.

    Gymcoach. Douglas though actually finished ahead of Anna Li on bars. Now this being said Douglas was quite the scary competitor herself everywhere else and I can see why Karolyi sees shades of Larson. But Li isn't our only option there.

    To be frank Macko at this point is on the team. And it is going to have to be another bar worker. The US may have no choice but to take Li.

  20. Macko and Jordyn based on that FIG listed team would be 2 scores but where does the 3rd come in. I know that Gabby finished higher then Anna but I don't think based on her two day performance at Visa's that Gabby will be considered for the world team, maybe Pan Ams but who knows we will see but we need a third bar worker no matter how you look at it and Raisman, and Maroney aren't really strong and consistent routines for our 3rd routine.

    I do agree that due to her consistency Macko will be on the world team.

  21. It would take a million people to break before they'd trust Gabby Douglas again this year. They don't want a repeat of the Mattie Larson situation. Gabby needs to go to Pan Ams, hit, and then hit at camps and at meets like Pac Rim and Jesolo to have a prayer of making the Olympics.

  22. You must admit though, Gabby has a lot of talent and high D-scores. If she can hit at the meets this coming year, she will be needed on the Olympic team. But I think her chances at this world championships are shot, and it will take a lot for her to prove herself to Martha for the Olympics next year. It will be a shame if she can't get it together.

  23. Has she ditched the tacky outfits and out of place heels as well?

  24. If Québec would be the country it is supposed to be (aka if Canada hadn't buy the last referendum), this would not happen.

    Canada is paying now for not letting us be free.

  25. Reeeach! Reeeach! Do it for Michelle Kwan!

    Oh David Wilson, I love you.

  26. USAG should just take all current registered WAG members, from levels 1 through elite, put their names in a hat and draw the nominative team that way. Maybe it would send a message to the trolls to STFU.

  27. What the f@#$ is your problem with the Canadian team selection? 6 of the 10 who tried out and 6 of the 7 selected are from Ontario. The selection was done in Ontario, because of the women's team has no money to hold it anywhere else, and to have to truck in Gymnova equipment. Oakville has no space for spectators, so that's probably why it was not publicized. Unlike in the USA, Gymnastics Canada has to pay for TV coverage. It's more than $25,000 for a 1-hour show like at Nationals. What happened in Oakville was not called a "Trials" because it was not the only criteria for selecting the team. It was for evaluating the current readiness of the national team members. Peng Peng Lee, Kristina Vaculik, Mikaela Gerber, and Emma Willis didn't compete at Nationals. Their routines had not been seen in months. Willis withdrew. Silvia Colussi-Pelaez and Jessica Dowling never made the national team, never competed for Canada, and they already left Canada to try to compete for their mom's countries. Why do you think Mikaela Gerber should not be the alternate? When did she last compete for Canada outside of the country? What kind of international experience has she had? How much difficulty has she added since she was junior? Would she have hit 8-8 if she wasn't in her own gym on her familiar equipment? Who do you think should be the alternate instead? Coralie Leblond-Chartrand? She was just on the Japan Cup team that beat Australia. She competed 4 events in Rotterdam even though she wasn't supposed to (because Dominique Pegg broke her foot). There, she had the best-scoring Yurchenko full, and the next events were on a broken thumb (or whatever fluky thing happened on bars). It's not because she's from Quebec. It's because she has proven her value on the team. She doesn't even have to compete on Gymnova equipment. You need to get over this thing about the 2008 Olympic selection of Nansy Damianova. As much as we love the gymnastics of Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs and Kristina Vaculik, everyone forgets that they were the ones who actually blew it for Canada in Stuttgart. On paper, this year's team might look like they have the potential to make top 8 in Tokyo... if they hit. In reality, the odds are against that. It was just as well that people outside the gym in Oakville didn't get to see them falling all over the place and making other embarrassing technical blunders. When was the last time a Canadian team of 5 ever hit at Worlds? One can only hope that this team stays healthy enough to survive through the London test event and that the weakest can be replaced by a strong 1996 junior-senior like Victoria Moors or Natalie Vaculik.

    Now, for the Americans, I don't get what all the fuss is about here either. This is the only country that is naming a team of gymnasts who can potentially win everything. Team, AA (Wieber), vault (Sacramone/Maroney), bars (Li), beam (Wieber, Sacramone), floor (Wieber, Sacramone, Raisman). This is a typical American team --- determined to dominate. This is why they won't put Johnson & Memmel on the team -- they are not ready to dominate anything. Russia, Romania, China are all leaving off very experienced gymnasts (Kurbatova, Semenova, Pavlova, Yang, Huang, Cheng, Ponor) to give their younger ones experience. They are confident in qualifying and winning some medals, but there is no intention to dominate like USA. A story of USA dominating Worlds will be nothing but glorious for NBC going into the Olympics. A happy NBC makes a happy USAG.

    If you believe that Quebec runs Canadian gymnastics, then believing that NBC runs USA gymnastics should not a stretch for you.

  28. A English subbed version of Kim's documentary is up on Youtube: