2012 Olympic Team…

My team has been the same for 2 months. The team will consist of Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, and Madison Kocian.  The alternates should be Maggie Nichols, Regan Smith, and Ashton Locklear. I do think that Makayla Skinner could surprise us though!

One hour until we know who is on the 2016 Olympic team.  I feel like this process has been going on my entire life.  The sleepless nights, the twitter fights, the “I know what’s best moments” will be done and the team of 3 girls in the entire universe will be picked. As long as Aly Raisman makes the team I can sleep tonight.

Aly Raisman and Mihai need their own reality show starting now.  Every time she does a routine I wait for her to cry.  It will happen on floor and that’s next.  I have my Kleenex ready to cry with her.  What a great weekend for her.  I feel in terms of getting back into shape she wins!  She has a few weeks to figure out her amanar and straighten it out. Beam connections were solid, and if she can get her legs together on bars she should get that chance to be in the all around.

NBC should have saved some money and let Lifetime film the “Douglas Family Gold”. The entire meet was about Gabby except for a few routines where other gymnasts were shown. That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but you all saw it…come on now. Is she going, is she not, which coach will be on the floor, did she fall on beam…again. She has not performed in the last two meets. I wish we were back in 1996 and the ones who are ready now are the ones who make the team.  I wonder if all of sponsors and her huge following makes Steve Penny want to take her-fans=viewers=more money. Ugh the ugly side of gymnastics. Carly Patterson fell in the Trials on both nights we have been reminded of this all weekend. She did fall and she did not do a great job for the TEAM in the Olympics. The ones who are “supposed to go” don’t always live up to their potential… Cough cough Jordyn Weiber.

Makayla Skinner, Brenna Dowell, and Amelia Hundley may not be going to the Olympics, but they were able to finish their routines with pride! They went all out and finished the season so well.  It might have been a little late but they were spectacular to watch.

Makayla Skinner has looked better than she has ever! She could get a medal on vault, she could place on floor, but is she too late? She needed to fix her leaps and execution, and I definitely think she did that this weekend. She has a world medal is she going to add the Olympic one next?

I’m so happy to see Simone struggle a little bit in these trials. She has been so perfect for so long, she is getting all the “jitters” and “wobbles” out now so she can go all out in Rio. Her vault, wow! One tenth on the hop and she would have been as perfect as you can get using this code. You just can’t say it enough, that she really is the best in the world right now. The gold medal is hers to win in Rio.  She will surely become the most decorated gymnast in history!

Madison Kocian, what can you even say! World champion and if you are going to hit your highest score tonight was definitely the one to get it on. She got her spot at Worlds but she solidified it tonight… until she fell on her beam routine. Ashton Locklear fell the first night; Madison gets a better score on night 2. I am so glad I didn’t have to make the decision.

Ashton is the consistent one when it comes down to scores on the uneven bars, but she is not the World Champion. I think the lack of high pressure meets will keep her off the team. One fall on beam on night one but comes back to stick it on night two. Is Ashton going to make the team?

Lauren Hernandez had an incredible first night so far she has been a little rocky tonight. Will she be the break out senior or the dreaded “Vanessa Atler” of 2016? She missed a release on bars and stepped out of bounds on the floor. Scored well on the vault she just needs to stay on the beam. She does! Nails it and does the routine of her life! 15.7 she might as well put the gold medal around her neck for the event finals in Rio.

Maggie Nichols is on the cusp. I feel like three months ago she would have been the number 2 spot on the team. Tonight I am wondering if she will be an alternate. I want her to make it- I am also from Minnesota. Her scores have been pretty low except on night ones floor routine. She had a fall on beam but tonight is ending on the event and finishes her trials with a stuck routine! If she went we would get awesome snaps from her and Simone!

Regan Smith just did not have the experience for these Olympic games. I would put her in the same category as Sarah Finnigan. I have no doubt that she will go as an alternate. She did have one of the best moments in trials! Being called over from Bela himself to get a hug would make just about anyone faint! Good job Kim, try not to injure this one and she could be on the top of podium come 2020.

These trials did not disappoint They are walking into the room! We will know the team in a moment! Here it is…

The 2016 Olympic Team…

Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Lauren Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian!

The alternates are… Makayla Skinner, Regan Smith, and Ashton Locklear!!

Now I try to breath as we wait for August 8th!

Your Olympic Team for 2016 is…

The Olympic year, anything can happen. Dreams are made and dreams are crushed. Everyone has their “perfect” team, but one woman is clearly in charge of naming those five gymnasts who will represent our country in the biggest games ever.  Hmmm……Welcome to the hunger games.

If we look back on teams before this one, it is safe to say, the gymnasts who represented the United States at the World Championships just a year before are likely to make up most of the Olympic team. With the fourth and fifth spots always fluctuating a little bit, there’s so many different scenarios that could come out of these trials.  Remember, no one is a sure thing!  Except Simone Biles…..she wins at life period.

13506991_1024068527631147_6439600504260667697_n

Looking back at Martha’s reign, every four years she has slowly taken the World Championships as a huge stepping stone in announcing her final Olympic team.  In 2004, four of the six Olympians competed at Worlds the year before the Olympics.  In 2008 this was the same scenario again with four out the six making the Olympic team.  In 2012 the World team almost mirrored the Olympic team, with the breakout first year senior Kyla Ross taking the last spot.  This was also the year that brought us the biggest disappointment of Alicia Sacramone not going!  The Worlds seems to be one of the major competitions that Martha picks her team from.  Yes, she does look at training camps and the other meets, but if history repeats itself, the team would consist of Simone, Maggie, Gabby, Aly, and Madison.  Oh, but this time there is so much more to consider with injuries, surprise missed routines, and inconsistencies.  All of this is making this team one of the hardest to choose and being her last year Martha is probably not going to take any chances.  Let’s see who and where the gymnasts are.

Lauren is proving that being a first year senior is no reason to be left behind.  She is peaking at the right time and is full of energy and consistency.  She could help the team on beam and vault, but she can put up a decent bar routine, and actually placed third on floor at the recent P&Gs.  She is capable of getting low 15’s on vault, middle 15’s on beam, and high 14’s on floor.  I think she has that international gymnastics package and the judges will probably love her.  She is my pick for the 2016 “Kyla Ross” spot.

Six months ago it appeared that Maggie Nichols was right on track to help the Olympic team on floor and vault.  Another knee injury has unfortunately held her back on the two events she could help the team on the most.  I think if we don’t see her do an Amanar vault and a high difficulty floor routine she probably won’t be on the team.  I do question why she would not have tried to upgrade her bars a bit more during her recuperation period?

Aly Raisman, my favorite gymnast out there right now.  She is humble and realistic and sounds like she sleeps as much as me so she gets a spot for that alone.   In reality, consistency is her ticket, along with       high vault, beam, and floor scores.  She ranks right behind Simone.  Fingers crossed and all goes well… she will be on the team.  She posted a huge 15.6/15.7 on day 1 and 2 at the P&G’s.  Reigning Olympic champion on floor and bronze on the beam- she will be fighting to do the same this summer.

13533203_1024068494297817_903266339584079559_n

At the recent P&G’s Gabby looked lack-luster at best and her fans were asking the question, what’s wrong with Gabby?”  There were few smiles, little comradery with other athletes, and very few words from the athlete herself.  I found this disheartening.  At a meet where every score counts she appeared unconcerned about her routines.  In 2012, Gabby put up huge scores to help the team win and individually she did even better.  Now, we would not have to use her on beam since she has only scored above 15 in 2 meets.  Her bar routine has not been rewarded the way it was in 2012. (15.733)  She has also taken out a big release element and combination leaving her with a consistent 15.1 to 15.3.  We needed to use her in 2012 and even at the worlds in 2015, but her score now, would be ranked around 4-5th place.  If her chance for the Olympics is based on the last competition, on her overall consistency, and based on the international competition she would not go.

I do not want to leave out the huge debate of “Team Ashton”/”Team Madison”

Ashton has won bars in the last four competitions she’s participated in.  Her difficulty score is 6.4/6.5 and the majority of her execution scores are in the 9’s.  Madison has scored behind Ashton in the two competitions they were in together this year.  Madison did tie for first place on bars with a 15.366 at the 2015 Worlds.  Her difficulty score is higher than Ashton’s at 6.600/6.700.  But her execution scores at P&G were lower.

They both can be used for beam if needed although neither scores very high.  Again, Ashton does score a little higher than Madison.  They both have execution scores in the 8’s.

Madison does top off the debate by doing all around at the P&G.

Ashton—- (bars) 15.25 Jeselo, 15.625 Pacific Rim, 15.850 Secret Classic, 15.600/15.700  P&G with difficulty 6.4/6.5 with execution scores ranging from 8.75-9.45                                    (beam) 14.450 Pacific Rim, 14.750 Secret Classic, 14.450/14.150 P&G with difficulty of 5.800 with execution scores ranging from 8.350- 8.950

Madison—- (bars) 15.700 Secret Classic, 15.450/15.700 P&G with difficulty of 6.6/67 and execution scores of 9.000 and 8.850/9.000                                                                                               (beam) 13.650 Secret Classic, 14.400/14.250 P&G with execution scores ranging from 7.650- 8.600

Let’s include Gabby into this debate.                                                                                                           (bars) 15.05 Jeselo, 15.266 AT&T Cup, 15.650 Secret Classic, 15.100/14.500 P&G  with difficulty ranging from 6.1-6.6 with execution scores in the 8’s.  Her beam scores are comparable to Madison’s and Ashton’s.

If you think about Lauren again, her last three bar scores have been in the low 15’s.  Her difficulty scores are in the low 6’s and her execution scores are in the 8’s also.  She has higher beam scores than the other three.  And her floor score is equal or higher than Gabby’s.

What about McKayla Skinner?  Could we use her on vault and floor— absolutely?  We know that bars is our weakness.  If necessary, we can always capitalize on the events that we are strongest on.  If we are up five tenths higher on vault that would help the team gain a little cushion going into bars.  McKayla can also pull a 14.7/14.8 on floor exercise giving us an edge on an event that is very hard to come up with high difficulty.

There are still other gymnasts to consider.  We have Brenna Dowell, Regan Smith, and Amelia Hundley.   I think these three are going to be considered as our alternates.  Again, don’t count them out- anything can happen.

13521858_1024068590964474_907177885664398306_n

 

If we look at our opponents we are not a sure thing.  I still would like to believe that we are going to be able to see a solid and strong competitive event and not a huge blow out.  I have watched some of the Chinese routines during their recent National Championships.  They excel on the uneven bars and the balance beam, but I don’t think they’re strong on vault.  Russia, again, has some big scores but I haven’t seen them really come together and as a team.  I think the event finals will be the highlight of these games.

This weekend is about watching the best gymnastics in the country.  These girls have sacrificed so much to get here.  And, they all say it’s worth it.  People have said that we have so much talent within our program that we could take three teams that could compete for a medal.  However, we only take five.  Martha can only choose five, just five gymnasts looking to make history.  There are so many choices, so many scenarios, and so many combinations to get the maximum scores.  There’s the all arounders, bar specialists, and vault, beam, and floor combinations.  To me, Gabby, McKayla, Ashton, and Madison are in contention for the last two spots behind Simone, Aly, and Lauren.  Who would you choose?

Is Martha going to take the gymnasts who have peaked right now, or is she looking at scores back from last year to this year?

Will it be the 2015 gold winning team from the World Championships?

Who is going to make the cut?

Does she take Gabby?

Is Maggie in or out?

Who is going on the uneven bars?

Final thought’s while we wait for the competition?  Feel free to comment, ask questions, or just give your team.  I would love to hear from you.

 

Minneapolis Regional Championship

Bridget

I was at the Minneapolis Regional Championship this past weekend.  The teams participating were: Minnesota, Florida, BYU, Ohio State, Denver, Missouri. I was prepared for Florida to wow the crowd with huge scores. What we got were less than grand scores from any of the teams.  Any one of the top four teams could have come out on top. Each of these teams gave away points through bobbles on beam and extra steps on floor and very few sticks.  It was fun watching the Missouri fans cheering as their team came up with scores that put them in 3rd place.

Results:

Florida  196.725

Minnesota  196.175

Missouri  195.850

Denver  195.700

Ohio  194.775

BYU  194.075

Going into this meet, had  Florida was the only team that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Championships.   The team’s rankings prior to this meet were: Florida in 2nd, Denver was 11th, and Minnesota was 16th.  I was waiting for a “coming down to the last routine” finish between Minnesota and Denver.  However, both teams had to count falls, and deal with low scores.

Now, the scoring at this meet was lack-luster at best.  The highest all around was a 39.375, only one gymnast scored a 9.90 on floor, and not one gymnast scored above a 9.875 on bars.  Do I think the teams could have been better…yes.  However, the judges were coming up with different start values, and the range of scores among the four judges were at times more than four tenths apart.  I ask myself, if this was low scoring, normal scoring that was not inflated, or judging that was just too harsh or inconsistent?  You can decide for yourself by watching a few of the videos from the meet.

Feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below.

Nastia Liukin Recap

is

 

The Nastia Cup was a fight to the finish for the senior athletes tonight.  There was lots of excitement where the first place was not decided until the final event.

Stand out performers

5th place Kimberly Tessen from All American Gymnastics received a 9.7 for a high flying Yuerchenko 1 ½.  Just a small step forward kept her from 2nd place on vault.  On bars she had a 9.45 with a Mahoney to the high bar to cast handstand hop to straddle Jaeger.  She had nice tight legs on her bail to handstand and added a blind full before her giant into full twisting double back.  She struggled on beam with a 9.375, but made up for it with a 9.55 floor routine.  Her first pass was a double layout, landing a little short, but her second pass was a round off 1 ½ into a 2/1. (same pass that Bridget Sloan actually starts with for the Florida Gators).  Her final pass was a Rudi which she completed with her chest upright.

Here is her 9.7 vault

Natalie Wojcik, from Berks Gymnastics academy, was actually in first place at the beginning of the final rotation.  She scored a 9.6 that was called out by John Rothlesberger for being too low of a score.  She stuck it cold!  On bars she started her routine on the low bar to hop up to kip to handstand, toe on handstand ½ pirouette to a Jaeger in the pike position.  Nice bail to handstand with a slight leg separation and she ended with a double layout taking a step forward.  The highlight of this meet was her gorgeous beam routine.  She smiled through the whole routine, starting with the stunning front aerial to beat jump.  Her back handspring into a back layout was flawless.  She performed a side aerial, had a minor check after her jumps, but finished with a stuck 1 ½ dismount.  She finished with a 9.6.  On floor she scored a 9.775 with her first pass being a high double pike.  She showed a unique full turn in the attitude position, always nice to see some variety.  Her second pass was a front handspring front full to punch layout and ended with Rudi into a straddle jump.

Here is her first place beam routine…

Finishing in 3rd place was Rachel Flam from Stars Gymnastics Training Center in Houston. She placed first at Nastia Cup in 2014 as well as winning the uneven bars title.  She had a 9.7 on vault competing a Yurchenko ½ on front pike off.  On the uneven bars she wowed the crowd with full twisting double layout dismount.  This elite level routine earned her a 9.4.  On beam she showed a solid back handspring into a back layout landing on two feet.  A stuck front tuck into a high switch side finishing with a double pike.  This earned her a 9.55 for second place.  On floor she scored a 9.725 for fifth place.

Here is her unique vault…

Second and first place finishers were only .075 away from each other and were competing together from the same gym.  Both come from North Stars Gymnastics Academy.  In second place was Missy Reinstadtler.  On vault she competed the Yurchenko layout 1 ½ which she  had trouble on, locking out her knee, scoring only a 9.575.  She scored a 9.5 on bars.  On beam she received a 9.55 with a stuck routine.  She performed a beautiful side Somi and ended with a high double full dismount.  On floor she started with a rare double Arabian. Her second pass was front pike through to a back double pike.  With high energy she ended with a double pike which helped her receive a 2nd place finish with a 9.825.

Missy Reinstadtler Floor:

The final competitor of the night was Rachel Lukacs on her best event.  2 time Junior Olympic champion stuck the only double Yurchenko of the night earning her the vault title with a 9.9 and all around title with a 38.40!  On bars she did a kip to handstand , toe on handstand to Tkachev, with a pak salto down to low bar.  She finished with a double layout and a score of 9.3.  On the balance beam she was a little shaky.  She had a nice front toss and stuck her back handspring layout stepout.  She had a slight wobble on her side aerial and landed short on her double pike.  On floor she showed what power house she can be by placing first with a 9.85.  Her first pass a double layout, her second pass was a whip to 1 1/2 to front layout. She finished with huge double pike.

Here is her vault…

Another jam packed Nastia Cup in the books. I can’t wait to see who stars in it next year!

 

A Little Nostalgia

EDIT

On the above date I wrote one of my first articles on TCT gymnastics. I thought I would bring back a little nostalgia as we prepare to watch Maggie Nichols compete at the AT&T Cup this weekend.

160415

The Midwest’s Best Kept Secret…

Region 4 gymnastics is made up of the midwestern states Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Region 4 currently has the infamous Shawn Johnson on the Senior National Team. They also have 1 on the Junior national team, Keely McNeer (from Chows Gymnastics).

Last year Region 4 made a splash in the Junior Olympic scene and since then they have been proving they are just as good, if not better than the other regions in the country.  One  team specifically is slowly creeping up the ranks and starting to make spectators take a second glance.

Twin City Twisters Gymnastics is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and currently has the unstoppable coaching duo of Mike Hunger and Sami Wozney. The two have been creating great gymnasts for years and were awarded the “JO coaches of the year” last year for their achievements. Their gym helped region 4 win the level 10 Junior A, Junior D, and Senior C team awards in 2010. Individually TCT gymnasts took home awards in every session they competed in, including a National Champion title in Jessie Deziel. Here is her first place bar routine in the Senior A competition.

This year has started out no different. They have placed first at each of the 3 meets they have competed in so far. At the Minnesota Gopher Invite they scored a 114, managing not to count a score under a 9.35.  They competed in the Sand Dollar Meet hosted by Orlando Metro where they scored a 115.35 beating out IGI by 2 full points.

Their best meet so far has been at the “Worlds Largest Gymnastics Meet” the Chicago Style. During the Level 10/Elite session they scored a 114.25 finishing ahead of Cinncinati Gymnastics Club (home of World Champion vaulter Kayla Williams). They also won the 10 meet with a 111.325 beating out Tampa Bay Turners and UCLA assistant coach, Chris Wallers GymJam team.  During the Chicago Style Meet, upcoming star Maggie Nichols earned the covenant achievement of qualifying for the Nastia Luikin Cup. (http://usagym.org/pages/events/nlc/) Maggie placed 1st beam and floor and 3rd in the all around.

Maggie Nichols just competed at the WOGA Elite Qualifier where she tied for 1st in the all around and placed 1st on the uneven bars. Here is her beam routine from that qualifier.

Not only are they producing national competitors they are also a huge contributor to the NCAA gymnastics programs, both the men’s and women’s. Brie Olson is representing Oklahoma, Lucy Ennis, Amber Hammerschmidt, Michael Paulus, and Nicoli Bettin at University of Minnesota, Lucy Meyers at Stanford, Bailee Zumwalde at Arkansas, and Kassandra Nathe at Nebraska.

Here are just a few of the Twin City Twisters gymnasts past and present.

This year alone they have made three verbal commitments in Hannah Nordquist (U of M), Breanna Hughes (Utah), and Hollie Blankse (Nebraska). Jessie DeZiel has already committed to a full Scholarship at Nebraska.

Twin City Twisters has an Elite gymnast, multiple National team members, and a level 10 team that seems to be unstoppable so what next?

They will be hosting the Northern Lights Classic Gymnastics meet March 4th, 5th , and 6th. Where over 1000 gymnasts are expecting to compete, including 2 level 10 sessions, and individual event finals. The level 10 Twisters will be competing against gyms from Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Texas trying to stay undefeated before the Minnesota State Meet. For information visit http://team-twincitytwisters.flowebsite.com/

I wish them all the luck during the rest of the season!

If you would like to get more information on Twin City Twisters Gymnastics Club visit them at http://www.twincitytwisters.com/