Another Take on Olympic Teams

1:27 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

My current vote for Team USA is Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross. My main reason for picking Maroney is her gold medal worthy vaults. Yes, Marta wants team gold but I don't think that she can simply ignore a chance at a vault medal. Honestly, we have very few routines that are almost guaranteed to medal in the same way Maroney is. I do believe that the other 4 could make event finals and will but I don't think we have such an amazing shot at gold on any event other than vault.

As we all know, Maroney suffered from a "mild concussion" and nasal fracture during warm ups for Day 2 of Visa Championships. I sincerely hope that she recovers in time but I'm not optimistic. I hope McKayla proves me wrong! Concussions are nothing to play around with. I've had too many friends out with concussions to count. One friend, a volleyball player, had a concussion and is still dealing with the medical problems 3 years later. Another friend, a soccer player, was often seen in the training room easing back into exercise slowly. I would go get ice for my shoulder after swim practice and she was usually on the bike. She was finally happy when the trainers let her work out for 30 mins and get her heart rate high enough that she started to sweat. This took her months to get to that point. Another friend had to stop playing ice hockey because of her concussions. While all of these people are different and none of them are trying out for the US Olympic Team in a few days, my experience with concussions is what scares me for Maroney.

I recently asked people on Twitter who they thought would be on the team if you had to take the Big 3 (Jordyn, Gabby, and Aly) and Nastia. I took Maroney out because I fear she will not be ready in time for Trials. Why Nastia? I guess "Nastia" can be replaced with "UB specialist" but Team USA needs her bars badly. Nastia has two factors in her favor over someone like Anna Li: she has a team final worthy beam routine and she is well known internationally and will be judged as such. I'm genuinely curious what position we'd be in if Nastia hits 2 >6.5 bar routines at Trials. Again, don't want to start the hype and speculation but the Selection Committee clearly wants her to prove herself. What position will we be in if she does?

Anyway, assuming the team is Big 3 + UB/Nast, who would you take in the 5th spot?

Kyla Ross
As we all know, Ross has a weak FX but the Big 3 can cover the US on floor. She adds an event final and team final worthy bars routine. She is also an AA gymnast that is able to substitute anywhere should we need it. Marta has said that the position of the Big 3 is secure, it's the last 2 spots that are questionable. Kyla is pretty close to a rock since she is consistent and can be used anywhere. Also, she can serve as our UB specialist and also has a strong BB.
VT - (Kyla/Gabby) Aly, Jordyn
UB - (Jordyn) Kyla, UB, Gabby
BB - (UB/Gabby/Kyla) Aly, Jordyn
FX - (Kyla) Gabby, Jordyn, Aly

Sarah Finnegan
Finnegan has the FX that Ross does not. She also has an incredible start value on BB (6.9) that, should she execute it well, is event finals worthy. The nice thing about this lineup is that both Gabby and Aly would get to do AA in prelims. Is that a reason to take Finnegan? Who knows.
VT - (Sarah) Gabby, Aly, Jordyn
UB - (Aly) Gabby, UB, Jordyn
BB - (Gabby/UB) Aly, Finnegan, Jordyn
FX - Sarah, Gabby, Jordyn, Aly

So amazed when she did that!

Alicia Sacramone
This potential addition made me the happiest. If Maroney is gone, we are down a good vaulter. Like Nastia, Alicia has an international presence and we know how she'll be judged. Using her on VT is necessary. She also said that she is working on floor but just needs to the endurance to compete a routine. Will she have it ready by Nationals? Who knows!? Would the US use her on BB given her past Olympic history? Probably not, but it's nice to know that she could be used if needed. Someone also mentioned that Aly's vault is not that reliable since it's practically tucked. Ross has downgraded back to a DTY. Gabby's is good ... when it's good. Alicia will hit her Rudi (front handspring on, 1.5 twist off) in the same way McKayla can hit her Amanar. Like Maroney, she also has event finals potential. Is this enough to get her on the team? The problem would come on FX so as long as Alicia shows something at Trials, she could be used in prelims, much the same way Ross would be used. Again, the nice thing about this lineup is that both Gabby and Aly will get to do AA.
VT - Gabby/Aly, Alicia, Jordyn
UB - (Aly) Jordyn, UB, Gabby
BB - (UB/Alicia) Aly, Gabby, Jordyn
FX - (Alicia) Aly, Gabby, Jordyn

Those abs :O

Elizabeth Price
The next gymnast that probably comes into play is Elizabeth Price or Ebee. Everyone's been hopping on the Ebee train lately and it makes me incredibly happy.  Ebee has had some trouble on beam which is why she hasn't sparked our interest until Nationals where she was able to hit 8 for 8 and land in 5th, just behind the Big 3 and Kyla Ross. I think consistency at Trials will be her deciding factor of making the team or an alternate position. The nice thing about Ebee is her vault. Her vault is up there with Jordyn's, in my opinion. She doesn't have quite the block of Maroney but she gets the height and twists so quickly. There's almost no doubt that she's right round and she definitely isn't tucked throughout. She also has an UB routine that we could use in the case that we don't take an UB specialist (Big 3, Ross, Price). Price also has some amazing passes on floor - she practically does a laid out double double! Ebee's bars can score better than Aly's and her floor is stronger than Ross'. Is her boost on vault enough to make the team? Bonus: Big 3 get to do AA.
VT - Gabby/Aly, Ebee, Jordyn
UB - (Aly/Ebee) Jordyn, Gabby, UB
BB - (UB/Ebee) Gabby, Jordyn, Aly
FX - (Ebee) Gabby, Jordyn, Aly

Of the 4 gymnasts, Sacramone has the most international experience. However, this is the Olympics where 4 years prior she had 2 errors. On the other hand, she has fought long and hard to make this comeback successful - twice. The nice thing about Ross is that she could be our UB specialist allowing for a team of Big 3 + Ross + Sac. Finnegan brings the BB and FX difficulty like no one else so she makes a strong case. Price finished 4th in the all around at Nationals. Who will get these last 2 spots?

If you had to make a team without Maroney, who would it be? I do hope she gets well soon and still vies for that spot!

Credit: Heather Maynez for GymExaminer


Olympic Prep Part 1: Country Codes

7:45 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Every now and then, I get confused with the Olympic code abbreviations and the country that it actually represents. Here’s a cheat sheet to keep with you til the Olympics.

One thing to keep in mind is that the abbreviation of some countries works with the way we say the name in English, like Russia being RUS and Germany being GER, but some don't follow that, like Spain being ESP (Espana) and Romania being ROU. I put the most popular ones, based on Worlds/Test Event performance followed by the confusing ones.

CountryCountry Code
Top 8
Great BritainGBR
Common Confusing Ones

If you were ever confused about gymnasts of Spanish origin and the changes made to their last names, here's what's going on. An athlete, like Jessica Gil Ortiz, is sometimes simply Jessica Gil. In the US, it seems like she's taking out her father's name but she's not! In Spanish/Hispanic names, it goes First Dad Mom. This means that when you drop the "last name," you're still keeping the "family name" (traditional definition) attached.

Jessica Gil OrtizJessica GilCOL
Simona Castro LazoSimona CastroCHI
Yamilet Pena AbreuYamilet PenaDOM
Elsa Garcia Rodriguez Blancas    Elsa GarciaMEX

Check out the others in the series here:
Mixed Group 8 - Laura Svilpaite (LTU), Heem Wei Lim (SIN), Maria Paula Vargas (ESP), Ralitsa Mileva (BUL), Sherine Ahmed El Zeiny (EGY)

Mixed Group 7 - Barbara Gasser (AUT), Jessica Gil Ortiz (COL), Nastassia Marachkouskaya (BLR), Jessica Lopez (VEN), Luiza Galiulina (UZB)

Mixed Group 6 - Jonna Adlerteg (SWE), Vasiliki Millousi (GRE), Valeria Pereyra (ARG), Annika Urvikko (FIN), Heo Seon Mi (KOR)

Mixed Group 5 - Phan Thi Ha Thanh (VIE), Sasa Golob (SLO), Celine Van Gerner (NED), Simona Castro Lazo (CHI), Salma Mahmoud El Said Mohamed (EGY)

Mixed Group 4 - Do Thi Ngan Thuong (VIE), Nataliya Kononenko (UKR), Zoi Mafalda Marques de Lima (POR), Valeriia Maksyuta (ISR)

Mixed Group 3 - Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL), Tina Erceg (CRO), Giulia Steingruber (SUI), Lorena Quinones Moreno (PUR), Maria Homolova (SVK)

Mixed Group 2 - Elsa Garcia (MEX), Julie Croket Gaelle Mys (BEL), Moldir Azimbay (KAZ), Goksu Uctas (TUR), Ana Sofia Gomez Porras (GUA)

Mixed Group 1 - Kristyna Palesova (CZE), Yamilet Pena Abreu (DOM), Hiu Ying Angel Wong (HKG), Dorina Boczogo (HUN)

[Confusing] Country Codes


Media Monday

12:52 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Kyla Ross
This might just win leo of the quad for me
Heather Maynez for gymexaminer

There will be talk about Nationals after my last final on Wednesday (pray for me!) but here's just a collection of some great photos from the exciting weekend in St. Louis for U.S. Nationals. I tried to do it by day. After the jump, there are also some cute pictures from twitter that the gymnasts/gyms posted. Make sure to check them out too!

June 5th - Closed Podium Training
USAGym via facebook

June 6th - Podium Training
USAGym via facebook
Inside Gymnastics
Heather Maynez for GymExaminer

USAGym via facebook

June 7th - MAG Prelims
USAGym via facebook
Jessica Frankl via GymExaminer

Heather Maynez for GymExaminer (lots of shirtless men!)

June 8th - WAG Day 1
Heather Maynez, Part 2 - a few of Laurie Hernandez!
Melissa Perenson for Gymnastike

NBCO.comWomen: Behind The Scenes Night 1
Heather Maynez

June 9th - MAG Day 2
Heather Maynez via GymExaminer


June 10th - WAG Day 2

Heather Maynez (where the above Kyla Ross photo is from)


1:51 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

[This is not meant as an actual post. This is here for Lauren
Follow TCG Live Blog here:
and GymExaminer here:]

Welcome to the Live Blog for 2012 USA Visa Championships in St. Louis. Live Blogging for you is by Lauren for The Couch Gymnast

The competition for the juniors will begin at 1pm CT/2pm ET. There is NO live stream available.

The competition for the seniors will be tonight at 7pm CT/8PM ET. Live stream will be available via universal sports found here: Secret Classic was available for international viewers so this should be available as well.

Scores for Day 1 and Day 2 (on Sunday, 6/10) combine to crown a new US National Champion.

Follow live scores here:

Also, check out USAGym on youtube ( and gymnastike ( for quick video uploads.

Please keep comments short so Lauren will be able to bring the best information to all of us.



Montage Monday - Tough Times in Gymnastics

7:51 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Last week was a rough week in gymnastics.

Christine Peng Peng Lee
The worst thing for me, as a gym fan, was news from Peng Peng Lee. She sustained a knee injury a little while ago that was believed to be a knee dislocation. Recently, PPL revealed that she actually has an ACL tear and is withdrawing from her run to represent Canada at the Olympics. You can find her official statement here. This is a true loss for the sport since she has become one of our shining, smiling stars.

Peng Peng Lee came on to the scene as a junior in the last quad at Pacific Rims but disappeared due to a back injury, spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis in the L5 vertebrae. She recently re-emerged and has taken Canada and the world by storm. Easily Canada's best all-around gymnast, Lee has a certain amount of spark and personality when she performs. She's one of the few who actually performs while doing floor exercise and she had a fun and interesting beam mount, flares, in an era when most people just jump onto the beam. Lately, Lee had been showing quite a few upgrades making herself more and more of a contender for a top 8 finish in the all around at the Olympics. Sadly, this has ended.

Thankfully, Peng Peng Lee has already been accepted to UCLA. She is expected to enter next year's matriculating class but we'll see. I'm secretly hoping she sticks around in elite and goes for a World All Around title but perhaps I'm being selfish. Either way, Peng Peng Lee's smile, flower in her hair, and expression in artistic gymnastics will be greatly missed at the Olympics.

A few of her videos for your education pleasure: vault, bars (she does a move called a Bhardwaj down to the low bar. As far as I know, there is only one other competitive gymnast, Ruby Harrold of GBR, that is competing this move), beam, floor

Watch on youtube here

More on Memmel, Johnson and Liukin after the jump.


Live Blog Salamunov Memorial/Maribor Cup

12:46 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Qualification results for the Maribor Cup that took place in Maribor, Slovenia can be found here: Gymmin' Miel. Live feed can be found here (Sat) and here on Sunday.

In proper order, UB, BB, FX.

Uneven Bars

Celine van Gerner (NED) - in bar stalder, in bar stalder 1/2, straddled jaeger, in-bar stalder full, bail to low bar, shoot to high, stalder full, full twisting double back. Good routine! 6.2/8.250 = 14.450 (1st)

Adrian Nunes Gomes (BRA) - jump to high, clear hip a little past handstand but pulls it over, bail, toe-on shoot to high, backward giant full, tkatchev, giant 1/2, giant, double front. a little cowboyed but she survived. 5.0/8.150=13.150 (5)

Valeria Pereyra (ARG) (image left)- giant full, giant 1/2, straddled jaeger, hop change, piked jaeger, toe on giant, bail, shoot to high, full twisting double back. made it through the routine well and big hug from coach. Some bent arms but overall pretty good. 5.3/8.3=13.6 (3rd)

Lisa Top (NED) (image right)- CVG is there to help move the springboard. jump to high, toe-on, toe-on full, piked gienger, kip cast to handstand to change grips but she bends her legs in her straddle, straddled jaeger, bail, shoot to high, giants, double pike - stuck or tiniest shuffle. She's super adorable sitting in the kiss and cry. 5.2/7.8=13.0 (6)

Dorina Boczogo (HUN) - kip cast to handstand on low bar, toe on, straddle shoot to high, gienger, tries to change grip and misses handstand, falls off. ad popped up but I saw that she fell again. double pike dismount. I don't have the exact wording of what she did because of the ad but she did a jaeger, to kch pak, immediate stalder 1/2, very mustafina-esque. 5.0/5.9=10.9 (8)

Marta Pihan-Kuleza (POL) - kch, clear hip to high, bail to low, straddled shoot to high, clear hip, clear hip 1/2, straddled jaeger, kch 1/2, giants, giant 1.5 (turns 1/2 than full turn the other way), double front - cowboyed with a step. 5.7/8.3=14.0 (2nd). Just realized that might be the Yamilet Pena leo in pink and white instead of blue and yellow.

Elisa Haemmerle (AUT) - usual leo but in red and white. kinda like it. giant 1/2, forward giant (had to muscle up in straddled position) to jaeger, bail, shoot to high, giant full, giants, double layout a little wild - her legs were open. 4.8/8.075 = 12.875 (7)

Ana Filipa Martins (POR) - in the Ana Porgras leo I believe with a different cut. low bar - clear hip, clear hip shaposh, bail, stalder shoot loses swing a little, giant 1/2, pike jaeger a little close to bar, giant 1/2, giant full, giants, double pike. she's happy. 5.1/8.175=13.275 (4)

Well, maybe the rest will be on tomorrow. Have a good weekend!

Balance Beam
Teja Belak (SLO) - switch split- switch leap (sissone?), front aerial-bhs, side aerial - leg up on landing, side somi, L turn (controlled and then a small wobble at the end of it), running punch front, switch split 1/2, ro-double tuck. she seemed very steady and easy in her routine. 5.5/8.1=13.6 3rd

Yevheniya Cherniy (UKR) - roll on mount, ro-back layout, comes off. switch split-unsteady landing. wolf jump-split jump, front aerial wobbles and comes off quickly. side aerial, full turn? did 1 1/4but straight into choreo, not sure if that was intentional, side somi, ro double pike dismount. In the replay, you see she was almost off the beam on the front aerial. 5.2/6.125=11.325 8th

Ana Filipa Martins (POR) - front aerial, leg comes up and breaks connection, bhs, loso; full turn-Y turn, switch split full?, side-aerial to direct side somi, leans back and comes off, switch split - wobbles, wolf - split leap, ro-double twist. When she does all her aerial skills it looks like she's about to put her hands down. 5.1/6.750=11.850. Don't know why it was so low.. 7th

Adrian Geovana Nunes Gomes (BRA) - front aerial - wobbles and breaks connection - bhs, loso, split leap-wolf, Y turn - little wobble, switch split, pauses, side somi and chest is low bends forward but doesnt come off, sheep jump - ugly, switch straddle 1/2?, ro-double pike, deep landing and small step back. 5.3/7.9=13.2 5th

Katarzyna Jurkowska (POL) - sissone-wolf, side aerial - her legs look really long, switch ring, small check, front-aerial-side somi not sure if they'll count it as connected, L turn - slightly flexed feet at first, front pike with leg held-back layout step out, sheep jump-step back, some wiggly leg choreo, gainer back full dismount. 5.4/8.325=13.725 2nd

The last two leos have made me think it's possible for mesh to look ok as long as the bra strap situation is dealth with...

Celine Van Gerner (NED) - Shawn/Mitchell-esque mount, split leap - switch split - back tuck, almost came off and saved it; ro-back layout, small check, switch split full - not really 180, front aerial-bhs-loso - small balance check, full turn leg at knee, small check, side aerial, switch split 1/2, stuck double tuck dismount! She's very aggressive in a Romanian kind of way. 5.9/7.960=13.850 1st

Dorina Boczogo (HUN) - sky blue velour leo hmmmm.... press handstand - to one hand balance in straddle position, to down on beam, impressive! front aerial-front tuck-back tuck puts hands down, side aerial, side somi, switch split-split, full wolf - not sure it was all the way around and it wasn't very pretty either, L-turn, switch ring - very nice, double tuck dismount, small step back. 5.7/7.475=13.175 6th

Nastassia Marachkouskaya (BLR) - front aerial-bhs step out, side aerial, very tall gymnast, side somi, balance check, L turn, tries to stay on toes and goes a little past 360, front pike off one foot down on two, switch side, almost comes off, split-switch split?, double pike. She gets around quickly and she has to, she's so tall! 5.3/7.9=13.2 4th

Elisa Haemmerle (AUT) - guess she withdrew and Katarzyna performed in her place

Very tough beam judging. Highest e-score was 8.325 to Katarzyna. Dorina Boczogo could have won had she not put her hands down!

Floor Exercise
Merlina Galera (ARG) - I should know this song. switch split full, whip, double pike, double? twist 2nd pass. L-turn hops at last minute. switch split, split full? 3rd pass - double tuck, switch straddle full? Clearly I have some leap learning to do... 4.8/8.075=12.875

Lisa Top (NED) - in the national leo they have become known for, choreo into her position, double arabian almost sticks, tiniest step back. full in tucked, kisses the line but didn't see a flag. 2.5 punch front (tucket), split leap-split full, switch split full, double tuck to finish.  Nice tumbling, Top is very aggressive, but something to be desired in choreo. If she were competing in the Olympics this year, I'd have faith that she could stick every pass. Hopefully, we see more of her! 5.4/8.0=13.4 3rd

Tina Erceg (CRO)- the tiger ice skater leo - nice triple twist! high and airy. 1.5 punch front full. switch split full, turn with leg at knee, another turn, jazzy beat starts. double pike for her 3rd pass, step back. switch ring-switch 1/2, stag leap just because. techno beat. 2.5 twist almost stuck, small step back! Darn good routine I think. Coach is clapping and blows her a kiss as Tina heads over to the kiss and cry. 5.4/8.225=13.625 1st

 Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL) - red, white, and blue in her hair today. For some reason, I don't mind the mesh. Full twist to 2.5. 2nd pass - double arabian, deep landing but stands. Triple turn with leg at knee but falls out of it a little early. switch split full, switch split 1/2. Another switch split full? fhs-double full. There might be a few errors in this one. 5.5/8=13.5 2nd

Sasa Golob (SLO) - purple leo - Remember the name - switch split 360, double pike, hop back. switch ring - switch split full. front tuck - triple twist, not sure if she wanted to leap out of it or what. switch split 1/2. L-turn. Her music goes silent for a second and people thought she was done. 2.5 twist another unsure leap attempt. I can't tell if she's trying to leap out or if she's just not finishing properly. 4.9/8.050=12.950 6th

Adela Sajn (SLO) - lacey leo, very mature looking, might go in the ice skater category. Double pike - tiniest hop. Triple turn - Canadian style. switch ring, switch split full.  1.5 punch front layout. Classical piece. Another triple turn, maybe a quad? Falls out a little early. 2.5 twist. switch split 1/2. Cute ending, the music slows down, as does she, and then she does her final pose. 5.0/8.075=13.075 5th

Daiane dos Santos (BRA) - sleeveless leo with jewels - smile is on :) - music starts with clapping beat and she claps along - Dos Santos I (piked double arabian) - step back. double layout - step back. hop full turn. switch straddle full. 1.5 to double tuck, maybe OOB. switch split-split full, L-turn,-turn leg at knee, double pike. Yayyy!!!!! Her landings are better but she still hops out of all of them. 5.8/7.450/-.1=13.350. I don't get it!!! Guess that many .3 landing deductions leads to a full point, and since they start at 9 and randomly deduct, 7.45 seems accurate. 4th

Angelina Kysla (UKR) - the white leo with green swirl, 1.5 through to double tuck, falls forward, hands down. Full-in pike, legs a little separated, step. switch ring-switch split full. aerial. 2.5 twist, falls. Y turn. switch split 1/2. In the corner for a minute - double pike - 2 steps forward. She looked like she just didn't care for that last pass. I think her coaches are over at the judges desk. 5.4/5.575=10.975 8th