Olympics Lineup Women's TF

5:23 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Team Italy

Asterisk indicates where they are starting. My main reason for pointing out who is doing the AA is so that we can compare scores between qualifications and finals, and also maybe anticipate what's to come in event finals. The teams are in the order they finished during qualifications. USA, China, Great Britain, and Italy will go first on their starting event. They will then alternate with the team listed below them (e.g. USA will start for VT and BB, Russia will start for UB and FX).

*VT: Wieber, Douglas, Maroney
UB: Wieber, Ross, Douglas
BB: Ross, Douglas, Raisman
FX: Douglas, Wieber, Raisman
Comment: The only thing that really changed is that Wieber is out of BB. At trials, she was credited with a 6.3 during Trials but was only was credited with a 6.0 D-score during qualification. Douglas will be doing AA again.

*VT: Mustafina, Komova, Paseka
UB: Grishina, Mustafina, Komova
BB: Mustafina, Komova, Afanaseva
FX: Mustafina, Grishina, Afanaseva
Comment: Mustafina. Vault. I am scared. [Mustafina tore her ACL doing an Amanar, the 2.5 twisting Yurchenko, ending her 2011 season. She just did a double twist in prelims but Alexandrov, Russia's head coach says that she has to do it in order for them to contest with the Americans for gold.] Mustafina is doing the all-around which I find interesting. You'd think they'd want to preserve her knee for the all-around but she scored well and Russia wants team gold.

VT: Deng Linlin, Huang Qiushuang, Yao Jinnan
*UB: Huang Qiushuang, He Kexin, Yao Jinnan
BB: Deng Linlin, Sui Lu, Huang Qiushuang
FX:  Deng Linlin, Huang Qiushuang, Sui Lu
Comment: Interesting that Yao is after He on UB. Thankfully, Yao isn't doing too many leg events. Vault will be tough for her thigh injury but hopefully she's OK. Huang Qiushuang is doing AA.

VT: Iordache, Ponor, Izbasa
*UB: Bulimar, Chelaru, Iordache
BB: Bulimar, Iordache, Ponor
FX: Bulimar, Ponor, Izbasa
Comment: Glad they're using Bulimar on BB and FX! She needs her time to shine. Part of me is wondering why Iordache is doing vault but maybe it's time for the Amanar to come to fruition!

Great Britain
VT: Cairns, Pinches, Tunney
UB: Whelan, Tunney, Tweddle
*BB: Cairns, Pinches, Whelan
FX: Pinches, Whelan, Tweddle
Comment: No one's doing AA! Also, Cairns has proved to be more useful than just on BB.

VT: Tsurumi, Tanaka, Teramoto
UB: Teramoto, Tanaka Tsurumi
*BB: Shintake, Minobe, Teramoto
FX: Shintake, Tanaka, Teramoto
Comment: Teramoto will be doing AA again. Tsurumi will only do VT and UB.

VT: Ferlito, Ferrari, Fasana
UB: Fasana, Ferrari, Campana
BB: Preziosa, Ferrari, Ferlito
*FX: Ferlito, Ferrari, Fasana
Comment: Again, don't understand why Ferrari, who qualified to floor event finals, is before Fasana on that event. Fasana does have a lovely floor, though, so maybe they're hoping Ferrari will increase Fasana's score. Or, perhaps their getting the judges ready for an Italian who could be very important in the next quad. I am, however, excited to see Preziosa on beam again! Ferrari will be doing AA.

Canada [first time qualifying to team finals!]
VT: Pegg, Rogers, Black
UB: Moors, Vaculik, Rogers
BB:  Black, Pegg, Vaculik
*FX: Black, Pegg, Moors
Comment: No one doing AA. Moors will get a chance for redemption and show that she belonged in the floor finals. Vaculik will get to anchor on beam again hopefully getting a high performance and finishing her Olympics on a positive note.


Subdivision 3 - Aly and Gabby to AA Final

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Defending World Champion, Jordyn Wieber, won't have the chance to go for gold in the All-Around. Wieber had errors on uneven bars in that same area - the clear hip full. She also had a .1 OOB deduction. With scoring being what it was, Jo wasn't able to pass Gabby in the all around. Gabby had a 60.265 to Jo's 60.032. Aly Raisman was up last on floor and gave the performance of her life. Let's not forget the Aly is the United States best floor worker and she proved it today! She scored a 15.326 for a 60.391 all round score, beating Gabby in the process.

Canada started off exceedingly well on UB. They were anchored by Kristina Vaculik (8th-14.366) and Brittany Rogers (6th-14.5). After that, however, Canada had problems on BB. Tori Moors had errors and Vaculik, meant to be the anchor, fell twice losing her chance at BB EF. Moors will not qualify to the all around final nor will she advance to the floor final (14.1). Britt Rogers (14.483) and Ellie Black (14.336) are currently in 3rd and 4th for the vault finals. Vaculik is currently in 19th place with Russia and Romania still to come. Canada is currently in 4th place.

I didn't get to see much of France but Youna Dufournet fell on the uneven bars losing her chance at event finals and an uneven bar medal for France. France is in 7th place. Aurelie Malaussena is in 13th with a 54.399 and Anne Kujm is in 16th with a 54.098 for the all around final.

Great Britain pleased the home crowd!They are in 2nd place to the US (170.656). Hannah Whelan had a floor on the balance beam and will not make event finals. Rebecca Tunney had an excellent all around performance. She's currently in 5th on UB (4th with the 2 per country rule) with a 14.825.


Notes on Subdivision 2

7:52 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Italy defeated Australia for 1st place with 168.397. Australia had a few falls and major balance checks on beam for 2nd with 166.721. Brazil has a 161.295.

Italy performed pretty well. Preziosa had a fall on her dismount. Ferrari connected her full in to back tuck. Ferlito had an overall good performance. Erika Fasana really impressed me everywhere (but BB where she had a major error). Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito are currently 1st and 3rd in the AA. Ferrari is in 1st on FX with a 14.9 (6.2/8.7). Ferrari and Ferlito are also 1-2 on BB.

Australia had quite a few troubles. Lauren Mitchell, however, was able to keep calm and ignore what injuries she may or may not have for an excellent floor routine. She's currently in 2nd with a 14.833 (6.3/8.533) and 5th on the balance beam. Emily Little and Ashleigh Brennan are currently 5th and 7th in the AA.

Maksiuta of ISR did not have the best meet. Her best chance of EF was probably on vault but she fell on her first vault. She also had a chance on beam but appeared to injure herself there. She only scored in the 10s.

Giulia Steingruber had an excellent Rudi (front handspring 1.5 twist) but had trouble with her Tsuk. She was piked down and almost had to put her elbow down. She's currently in 2nd with a 13.924 after Yamilet Pena (14.699).

Rina Erceg and Marta Pihan-Kulesza both had pretty good meets but both have one event with scores in the 12s. Pihan-Kulesza of Poland is currently 6th in the all around. She wore a black leo with yellow accents. Her hair had black and yellow braids today and she gave a stunning performance.

Nataliya Kononenko had a chance of qualifying for UB event finals but fell on her Tkatchev 1/2-Jaeger combination. She's currently in 16th and likely will not make the all around finals.

Some notes below


Notes on Subdivision One

4:28 AM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Tried to do a live blog but it was an epic fail. I'll just do recaps afterwards.

Of note
Elsa Garcia injured her fingers so she only competed on beam and floor. She did her double Arabian dismount on beam (landed in a low squat) and a double layout on floor but took a big step to the side.

Vasiliki Millousi is currently 1st on BB (14.336)! She was strong throughout with 2 small wobbles and 2 steps back on her double pike dismount.
Kristyna Palesova had an excellent UB performance and is currently 1st on UB with a 14.133.

Ana Sofia Gomez (GUA) stayed calm throughout and did well in the all around. She has a score of 56.132. She's in 2nd on BB, behind Millousi,  with a 14.333.

Daiane dos Santos is currently 1st on FX with a 14.166. She had a 5.8 D-score I believe and I would be very pleased if she snuck into the FX final.

Daniele Hypolito had a fall on her last pass on floor exercise. She just barely made it to being Brazil's 2nd AAer, provided her score holds. She is currently in 5th with a 52.732.

Yamilet Pena sat her double front but definitely landed feet first. She was given credit for the skill. Pena has also upgraded her 2nd vault to a DTY and it was very nice! Most countries would love to have a clean DTY like hers. It was a little piked down in the end and she had a step to the side, but she was straight throughout and had a controlled landing.

Leos: Dorina Boczogo wore Ana Porgras' 2011 Worlds leo. Brazil looked lovely in a blue long sleeve, with mesh at the top, and a blue and green swirl going from one shoulder. So well done! Yamilet Pena wore a leo I think we've seen her in but in Dominican Republic's colors - blue and red. It was a blue leo with a red ribbon and had the flag on her sleeve.

My notes on the subdivision are below.


Olympic Lineups!

1:40 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments


The lineups have been posted HERE. Below are lineups of the top 5 teams as well as AAers for the other countries. I tried to do this based on order from Worlds and the Test Event.

United States of America
VT: Raisman, Douglas, Wieber, Maroney
UB: Raisman, Wieber, Ross, Douglas
BB: Ross, Douglas, Wieber, Raisman
FX: Ross, Douglas, Wieber, Raisman
AA: Raisman, Douglas, Wieber
Comment: I do think that it's strange that Ross is going up first on BB but Martha probably doesn't want a wobbly Douglas to set the moot.

VT: Grishina, Komova, Mustafina, Paseka
UB: Grishina, Mustafina, Komova, Paseka
BB: Mustafina, Grishina, Komova, Afanasyeva
FX: Mustafina, Komova, Grishina, Afanasyeva
AA: Grishina, Komova, Mustafina
Comment: Paseka anchoring UB? Maybe Alexandrov is worried Paseka would ruin Grishy's chances which isn't unreasonable. Her score won't count so why bother? Afanasyeva anchoring BB is weird. I'm also surprised Mustafina is up first on BB and FX.

VT: He, Deng, Huang, Yao
UB: Huang, He, Yao, Deng
BB: Deng, Sui, Huang, Yao
FX: Deng, Sui, Huang, Yao 
AA: Huang, Yao, Deng
Comment: WTF is going on? I don't understand the UB order, I would flip it actually. I don't understand why Sui isn't last on BB and FX or why Deng isn't later in the lineup on BB. I'm wondering if China is relying a lot more on individual medals - get Yao and Huang Quishuang into AA finals.

VT: Chelaru, Ponor, Izbasa, Iordache
UB: Bulimar, Chelaru, Iordache, Izbasa
BB: Bulimar, Izbasa, Iordache, Ponor
FX: Chelaru, Ponor, Izbasa, Iordache
AA: Iordache, Izbasa
Comment: I thought that with Iordache's current injury and Izbasa's track record (missing Worlds for an injury), that Chelaru would be doing the all around as well. I'm also not happy that Bulimar is not doing FX.

Great Britain - Jenni Pinches, Rebecca Tunney, and Hannah Whelan are all doing AA. Tunney's up last on VT and BB. Tweddle's only doing UB and FX and is last on both events. Cairns is doing VT and BB.

Germany - Nadine Jarosh and Elisabeth Seitz are doing AA. Seitz is up last on all but UB where Janine Berger is up last. VT: Jarosh, Berger, Chusovitna, Seitz. Seems like GER is focusing on getting Seitz to AA final.

Japan - Koko Tsurumi is NOT doing AA! Instead, Rie Tanaka and Asuka Teramoto are. Tsurumi will only compete VT and UB.

Australia - Ashleigh Brennan and Emily Little will do the AA. Mitchell will be 3rd on vault, and last on BB and FX.

Italy - Erika Fasana, Carlotta Ferlito, and Vanessa Ferrari will do AA. Interesting lineup:
VT: Elisabetta Preziosa, Ferrari, Ferlito, Fasana
UB: Ferlito, Fasana, Ferrari, Giorgia Campana
BB: Fasana, Ferrari, Preziosa, Ferlito
FX: Preziosa, Ferrari, Ferlito, Fasana
Curious that Ferrari isn't last on FX. And, personally, I would put Preziosa up last but Ferlito has the difficulty to enter the BB EF.

Canada - Moors and Vaculik will do AA. Black up last on VT, Rogers up last on UB, Vaculik up last on BB, Moors up last on FX. :)

France - Anner Kuhm and Aurelie Malaussena will do all around. Dufournet is up last on her 3 events - vault, uneven bars, and balance beam.

Brazil - Ethiene Franco, Bruna Leal, and Daniele Hypolito will do all around. Daiane dos Santos will do all but BB, and is up 3rd on FX where Hypolito is 4th.

What are your thoughts?


Favorite Olympic Montage

6:30 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

My Favorite Olympic Montage. "Have A Little Faith - 2008 Olympic Team"

Watch here or below:

My favorite montage. Of all time. This is probably the montage that inspired me to do (or attempt) "Montage Mondays." It brought me to tears because I smiled with the athletes and cried with them. I felt every emotion just as I had felt it throughout competition. The video editor does an excellent job of matching the clips to the song, and matching the emotion in the clip to the rising emotion in the song. Hence why I was so emotional! After the part with Beijing's Opening Ceremonies (around 2:10), I had chills and goosebumps for the remainder of the video.  It ends with a preview of the next quad and it's interesting to see how things panned out now that the 2012 quad is coming to a close.

Either way, excellent job to our 2008 Olympians and good luck to our 2012 Olympians (all countries, all sports)!

What do you think? What's your favorite Olympic montage?


The Big 3 - Part 3

12:54 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Sandra Izbasa

Romania could not be more loaded on floor. I'll never get over this, their Olympic lineup:
Catalina Ponor - 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist on Floor
Sandra Izbasa - 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist on Floor
Larisa Iordache - 2012 European Gold Medalist on Floor
Diana Chelaru - 2010 World Silver Medalist on Floor
Diana Bulimar - 2010 Youth Olympic Games Silver Medalist on Floor

The first 3 listed above - Ponor, Izbasa, and Iordache - are probably the 3 that will be used in team finals and also the 3 who will battle it out for the 2 spots in the floor exercise final. Romania recently had a friendly meet where they revealed new music as well as some new choreography done by Adriana Pop. In my opinion, one is fast and energizing while the other two are slow and more expressive. Here they are and you decide for yourself. There's a very good chance one of these 3 will be our new Olympic Floor Champion.

Personally, I'd be fine with any of the 3 choices. I'm leaning towards Iordache + Ponor though as my selection to make it to finals. It will be interesting to see if the defending floor exercise champion, Sandra Izbasa, can even make it into the finals!

Of note, Larisa Iordache appears to have a sore heel. From what I could find, she has plantar fasciitis (based on unconfirmed tweets) which is "just" inflammation in her heel. She's been training lightly and didn't do any vault or floor today (via gymnastike). She is Romania's best chance for a medal so I imagine they will do what they can to make sure she can perform.

Vote below videos!

Watch Sandra Izbasa's FX to Pink Floyd here or below. 6.5 D-score:

Watch Catalina Ponor's routine to "Fever" here or below:

Watch Larisa Iodache [pronouced your-DOCK-ee] here or below:

There are two polls again!


The Big 3 - Part 2

10:16 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

Perhaps one of the biggest Big 3 rivalry exists in Russia between 2010 World Champion Aliya Mustafina, 2011 World Vice Champion Viktoria Komova, and new senior Anastasia Grishina.

Uneven Bars
The Russians are known for having impeccable form and a breathtaking fluidity on the uneven bars. Both Mustafina and Komova have 7.0 SV while Grishina has a 6.8, although Russia seems to have a few tricks up her sleeves. Barring error, it is entirely possible for these 3 gymnasts to be the best in the world after qualifications. Sadly, only 2 of these athletes can make it to UB final. I have my own personal bias towards Komova and Grishina. Mustafina tore her ACL and has been working on bars since she was allowed to train, albeit modestly. She is training fully now and has recovered her entire UB routine including her breathtaking high bar to low bar and back to high bar transition. However, Mustafina is aggressive in her bar work. She still has the fluidity but, in my eyes, Komova and Grishina have something extra. They are both able to fly.

Watch Aliya's bar routine here or below

Watch Vika's routine here or below

Watch Grishina's routine here or below:

Two polls this time


The Big 3 - Part 1

5:24 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments


I wish I could say that I came up with "The Big 3" but I can't. US Olympic Trials were going on at the same time as the NBA Playoffs. In the picture above are the Big 3 from the Top 2 teams in the USA - the Miami Heat (right) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (left).

"The Big 3" seems to pop up in gymnastics as well - 3 crucial athletes that seem to carry the team. The USA has Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, and Gabby Douglas. Russia has Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova, and Anastasia Grishina. Romania has Catalina Ponor, Sandra Izbasa, and Larisa Iordache (I want to add Bulimar, the quiet achiever). It's great to have 3 strong athletes but in event finals, three's a crowd. At the Olympics, only 2 gymnasts are allowed per country in any final. Let's look at it event by event and see where this rule becomes a problem for some gymnasts.

USA: USA has 3 all arounders in Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas. In prelims at 2011 Worlds, they placed 2nd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Jo is very consistent and should have no problem qualifying. Douglas has higher D-scores when compared to Raisman and better execution but Raisman is a rock. Should Gabby faulter, Aly may be close enough to steal the spot. Gabby's done well in the all-around, flip flopping with Jordyn for first place, even after some errors. It will be interesting to see who gets the 2 spots in the AA and who comes out on top in the all-around finals. If Gabby continues to compete as she has been, Gabby and Jordyn should get the 2 spots.

[Not necessarily gold, but just 1st of the 2 Americans.]

RUS: Russia also has 3 athletes that could be all around contenders - Viktoria Komova, Aliya Mustafina, and Anastasia Grishina. Grishina, the youngest of the 3, has less international experience and a lower D-score. I believe that, if consistent, Komova and Mustafina will continue to the all around final.

ROU: Romania doesn't really have a Battle of the Big 3 for the AA. Larisa Iordache is the clear Romanian favorite for a medal. Sandra Izbasa started training bars again so she could help her country that is known for it's struggle on bars and can now also compete in the all around. As many of you know, I was rooting for Raluca Haidu. The only reason that it makes some sense to take Diana Chelaru over Haidu was to have a better all arounder. Haidu is much more of a natural bars worker than anyone else on the team but is not consistent. Chelaru is more consistent and can probably be used in the all-around should Izbasa fall (multiple times) or sustain a slight injury. Let's not forget that Izbasa did not compete at World's due to an injury. She doesn't really have a chance at a medal in the AA so they may choose to rest her for team finals, vault event finals, or any other finals she might make and use Chelaru instead.

Vault (VT)
I don't think any country has 3 contenders for vault finals. For Russia, Maria Paseka and Anastasia Grishina have 2 vaults but it's unlikely that Grishina will do 2 vaults if she is still recovering from her injury and Paseka's 2 vaults aren't threatening to the best in the world (she has an Amanar, 6.5 SV, and a round off, 1/2 on, 1/2 off, 5.2 SV). There are 2 Germans, Oksana Chusovitna and Janine Berger, who have two vaults. For these 2 athletes, it could come down to qualifying to event finals, not necessarily a matter of beating out your teammates. Chusovitna has the reputation and years of experience. Berger has the difficulty but doesn't have the finesse of other vaulters and consistency could prove to be a problem. But who is to know if she could upset her teammate in her final Olympics? Chusovitna and Berger both vault a Rudi - front handspring 1.5 twist - a 6.3 SV.  As a 2nd vault, Chusovitna vaults a Tsukahara 1.5 twist with a 5.5 SV. Berger adds an extra half twist for a Tsukahara double twist that has a 6.0 SV. If Berger is clean, she could potentially take her teammate out of medal contention.

Watch Chusovitna here or below:

Watch Berger here or below:

Do you think Chusovitna will medal again with Maroney and Izbasa leading the vaulting pack and athletes like Jana Berger, Yamilet Pena, and Giulia Steingruber in hot pursuit?

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Arabian Punch Front's Olympic Wishlist

11:12 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

I was going to make this my banner (click to enlarge) but
1. Raluca Haidu wasn't chosen for the team (bottom left)
2. It's too big
3. I'm just not sure I like it anymore.

Either way, these are my Olympic favorites and I'll base Part 1 of my wishlist off of these guys.
1. First and foremost, I hope we have an injury free meet!

2. I hope judging is fair.


Olympic Prep Part 9: Mixed Group 8

11:34 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

Heem Wei Lim

We've made it to the end! This is Mixed Group 8 featuring Heem Wei Lim, the 1st WAG to qualify to the Olympics from Singapore, Maria Vargas of Spain who earned her spot after her team failed to qualify at the Test event. It also features Laura Svilapite of Lithuania, Ralitsa Mileva of Bulgaria, and Sherine El Zeiny, Egypt's 2nd gymnast to qualify to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Watch for! Ana Maria Izurieta in the AA and maybe she can sneak into UB or BB EF.

Laura Svilpaite, Lithuania (LTU)
Laura Svilpaite was 56th at the Test Event. She vaults a front handspring front pike. On bars, she does a stalder full Tkatchev, has a Pak salto, an endo, and dismounts with a double pike. On beam, she does a front aerial-back handspring-layout step out, punch front, and a sheep jump, and dismounts with a double twist. On floor, Svilpaite does an excellent job of staying on her toes and keeping her toes pointed. She does a double pike, a double twist, and dismounts with a double tuck.

D-Scores: VT - 4.6, UB - 4.9, BB - 5.0, FX - 4.9
Routine: Watch her UB routine from 2012 European Championships here or below:


Olympic Prep Part 8: Mixed Group 7

11:46 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Jessica Lopez

Mixed Group 7 features two favorites from South America. One is my personal favorite, Jessica Gil Ortiz of Colombia, and the other is fan favorite Jessica Lopez of Venezuela. Joining them are athletes representing Austria, Belarus, and Uzbekistan.

Watch for! Jessica Lopez making AA final and potentially sneaking into UB final.

Barbara Gasser, Austria (AUT)
Barbara Gasser placed 35th at the Test Event and will be in London at the age of 22. Gasser vaults a full twisting Yurchenko. On bars, she does a straddled Jaeger. Gasser does a nice leap mount to scale on beam. The rest of her routine has a front tuck-back handspring, front tuck (off 1 leg) to immediate back tuck, L turn, and a Gainer back pike dismount. On floor, she mounts with a double pike, has an L turn, and a double turn with nice choreography and presentation.

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.1, BB - 4.8, FX - 4.4
Routine:Watch her UB routine from the Test Event here or below:


Olympic Prep Part 7: Mixed Group 6

12:42 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Vasiliki Millousi
source, photo belongs to Vasiliki Millousi

Mixed Group 6 contains an exciting group of gymnasts. We have a gymnast from each of Sweden, Greece, Argentina, Finland, and (South) Korea. The gymnast from Greece could make a very significant dent in the balance beam finals and could potentially upset someone from the Big 4 countries (USA, Russia, Romania, China) for a medal. Let's learn more about Mixed Group 6.

Watch for! Vasiliki Millousi making BB EF and potentially getting a medal!

Jonna Adlerteg, Sweden (SWE)
Jonna Adlerteg placed 42nd at the Test Event. Her best event is UB. She had a significant error on bars at the 2012 European Championships otherwise she could have made the event finals. Adlerteg was in 18th place after earning a 13.765 (5.8/7.875) while a 14.266 made it to the event finals. Adlerteg was Sweden's rising junior as she was present at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics where fellow young stars like Viktoria Komova, Tan Sixin, and Carlotta Ferlito competed. At the YOG, she placed 10th in the all around and placed 3rd in the uneven bars final with the highest execution score of that final (8.45). On bars, she does a toe-on full to Tkatchev, has a Jaeger in her routine, and dismounts with a double layout. On beam, she does a front pike to back handspring - layout step out, front aerial-sheep jump, and dismounts with a double tuck. On floor, she has a 2.5 twist to stag jump.

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.9, BB - 5.0, FX - 5.0
Routine: Watch her routine from the 2011 Ghent World Cup here or below


Olympic Prep Part 6: Mixed Group 5

6:16 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Phan Thi Ha Thanh

Mixed Group 5 contains a gymnast from Vietnam who qualified based on her 3rd place vault finish at the 2011 World Championships. It also contains gymnasts from Slovenia, the Netherlands, another gymnast from Egypt, and Chile

Watch for! Phan Thi Ha Thanh sneaking into VT finals again
Celine van Gerner making AA final and sneaking into event finals for UB or BB

Phan Thi Ha Thanh, Vietnam (VIE)
Phan was 99th at Worlds but placed nearly 5 points ahead of compatriot, Do, who will also be at the Olympics. Phan did not need to go to the Test Event since she received her qualification at Worlds. At the 2011 World Championships, Phan executed 2 clean vaults to receive the bronze medal. Any gymnast who placed Top 3 at Worlds and was not already qualified to the Olympics via the Team competition, was invited to go to the Olympics. This was exciting for Vietnam's first women's artistic gymnastics World Champion bronze medallist.  Thanh vaults a front handspring piked 1.5 (5.9) and a double twisting yurchenko (5.8). On beam, she has a switch split full, an L turn. On floor, she has lovely lines on all her leaps and even throughout her tumbling passes. She mounts with a triple twist and dismounts with a double pike.[Fun fact: Thanh qualified in 8th place, almost missing the final. She upgraded her 2nd vault from a 5.3 in prelims to a 5.8 and was able to earn the bronze medal.]

D-Scores: VT - 5.9/5.8, UB - 4.0, BB - 4.8, FX - 5.0
Routine: Watch her bronze medal routine here or below:


Olympic Prep Part 5: Mixed Group 4

11:07 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

Valeria Maksiuta

Mixed Group 4 contains the Tripartite. The other gymnasts are from Ukraine, Portugal, and Israel. [I apologize if this order is incorrect. Information about the tripartite and wild card is contradictory. Since there are 2 gymnasts from Egypt and 2 from Vietnam, I'm not sure if the Olympic Committee will decide to put them in the same rotation and make a new draw.]

Watch for! Valeria Maksiuta on UB. She could make it to EF but if she successfully competes her double front full dismount, it will be named after her!

Do Thi Ngan Thuong, Vietnam (VIE)
Do Thi Ngan Thuong was the first Vietnamese gymnast to compete at the Olympics in 2008 where she placed 59th in the All-Around. However, her athlete accrediation was revoked after the games when she tested positive for furosemide, a banned substance. Do placed 72nd in the all around at the Test Event and was the last gymnast to qualify to the Olympics. She has had 2 vaults but not sure if she will compete them as she competed 2 at the Olympics but only 1 at Worlds and at the Test Event. Her best event seems to be beam where she competed a lovely switch split-back tuck-sheep jump combination at the Test Event. Do has a full in pike and a double pike on floor and a lovely switch ring. She was injured at the Test Event and performed a very basic routine with a 2.9 SV. Let's hope she's healed for the Olympics!

D-Scores: VT - 4.6, UB - 4.2, BB - 4.6, FX - 4.8
Routine: Watch her floor from 2010 Asian Games here or below (13.45).


Olympic Prep Part 4: Mixed Group 3

10:11 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Giulia Steingruber

Mixed Group 3 contains quite a few names that we already now as well as 2 fresh faces. In this group is an athlete from Sweden who has an excellent chance of not only making Vault Event Finals but also medaling. Mixed Group 3 has athletes from Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, and 2 fresh faces from Puerto Rico, and Slovakia.

Watch for! Giulia Steingruber making the AA and VT EF and potentially medalling in VT. She's definitely a threat to the vaulting trio - Maroney, Izbasa, Chusovitna.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Poland (POL)
Marta Pihan-Kulesza is a well known athlete in Europe. Pihan-Kulesza is often sporting braids with colored glitter matching her leotard. She finished 30th at the test event, after an error on balance beam, to earn her Olympic spot. Pihan-Kulesza attended the 2008 Olympics and was 46th in qualification for the all-around and failed to make it to the final. At the recent 2012 European Championships, she placed 7th in the unofficial all-around and earned a 14.166 on balance beam where she does a standing arabian. On uneven bars, she does a clear hip Shaposh transition from low to high bar and a very nice and interesting 1.5 pirouette right before she dismounts with a double front. [Fun Fact: Her last name is hyphenated because she is married to fellow Polish MAG Olympian Roman Kulesza!]

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.7, BB - 5.4, FX - 5.5
Routine: Watch her UB from 2012 European Championships event finals here or below


Interview with Video Editor AshleyakaFlipper2

5:21 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

There's nothing like finding a montage that fits your feelings about an event, fits your love for a gymnast, or takes you on an emotional roller coaster in the same way a competition does. Ashley is one of those amazing editors who can evoke so much emotion in me in a 4 minute video. Since Classics in May, Ashley has already made more than 12 montages! I had the chance to learn a little bit more about her and here's what she said. Links to Ashley's accounts/twitter are at the end of the article as well as some info on her latest hit video Team USA. YOU VERSUS...

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ashley, I'm 20 years old and a rising junior in college. My hobbies include coaching, going on dates with the love of my life, running, working out, shopping, listening to music, editing (of course), reading, boating, swimming… pretty much anything.

**I did gymnastics for 6 months when I was 16. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun. I was training up to level 8 on floor, level 7 on beam and vault, and level 5 on bars…I never competed so I was training different levels on each event. I obviously trained all the level 5 routines in case I was going to compete but I never did. I’ve been tumbling since I was 7 and a cheerleader since I was 10. A career ending injury ended my cheerleading career last year (age 19) so I’m not an athlete anymore.


Olympic Prep Part 3: Mixed Group 2

1:49 AM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Gaelle Mys
Grace Chiu for Gym Examiner

In Mixed Group 2 we have Mexico, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Guatemala.

DISCLAIMER: D scores may change at the Olympics. These are the D-scores that I was able to find for each gymnast.

Watch for! Elsa Garcia making AA final and maybe sneaking into any (but VT) EF.
Gaelle Mys on BB
Ana Sofia Gomez Porras making AA final and maybe making BB EF

Elsa Garcia, Mexico (MEX)
Elsa Garcia was chosen to represent Mexico at the 2012 Olympic Games, beating teammate Ana Lagos for the spot. She placed a disappointing 63rd in Tokyo but had a much better performance at the Test Event to finish in 17th place. Garcia is just an all around beautiful gymnast. She does a very clean 1.5 twisting Yurchenko and also does a Lopez - a round off, 1/2 onto the horse, half off with a 5.2 SV (seen here). Her bar routine has a 1.5 pirouette to piked Jaeger, a Ray (toe-on Tkatchev), and a double front dismount. Garcia recently added a stalder full on the low bar to her routine (seen here). On beam, she has also upgraded to a double Arabian (Patterson) dismount seen here. She has a new floor routine with a double layout, tucked full in, 2.5 twist punch front, and a double arabian to finish. Elsa Garcia would make a very exciting addition to the AA final.

D-score: VT - 5.3, UB - 5.8, BB - 5.6, FX - 5.7 (Tokyo)
Routine: Watch her new floor routine here or below:

Gaelle Mys, Belgium (BEL)
Gaelle Mys was nominated after countrywomen Julie Croket was injured. She was present at 2011 Worlds as well as the 2012 Test Event where Belgium finished 5th, just missing the right to qualify a team to the Olympics. As an individual, Gaelle placed 37th in the All Around.  Mys comes with a lot of experience - she represented Belgium at the 2008 Olympics. She made it to the All Around Finals where she finished in 24th position after some costly mistakes. Mys was also present for the 2012 European Championships where she earned a 14.433 on BB in the team qualifying competition (5.9/8.533).
D-score: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.3, BB - 5.9, FX - 5.2
Routine: Watch her TF BB from the Test Event below (14.3).


Olympic Prep Part 2: Mixed Group 1

6:41 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments


There's lots of hype going around for US Trials and the numerous team announcements that we've had in the past week. I'd like to take a moment to recognize the athletes that will be competing as individuals. There are lots of exciting athletes going to the Olympic Games as individuals like Vasiliki Millousi, Celine van Gerner, and Giulia Steingruber just to name a few. In this post, I'll introduce you to the gymnasts that will be in Mixed Group 1.

As a disclaimer, some of these gymnasts are not very well known so I put the D scores I could find. This may not be representative of the D score they plan to compete at the Olympics. Do NOT assume that these are the highest D scores the gymnasts are capable of.

Watch for! Palesova sneaking into UB final, hoping to make AA final.
Yamilet Pena making VT EF and potentially medalling if she lands her Prod.
Angel Wong and Dorina Boczogo potentially making VT EF

Krystyna Palesova, Czech Republic (CZE)
Palesova attended the 2008 Olympics and qualified to the AA final after a 26th place finish. She made an error, however, on her last pass on floor (scored a 12.9), and landed in 21st. Krystyna Palesova earned her ticket to London by placing 31st in the all-around at the Test Event in January 2012. Her best events are bars and beam. Like too many gymnasts, Palesova had to have surgery on her knee due to an ACL injury. Even after this injury, Palesova has continued to compete and prepare for the Olympics. She is rumoured to have a back handspring - arabian in her beam routine but we are waiting for that to be competed. She has competed Onodi - split leap - back tuck, and also a switch leap - back tuck - sheep jump - scissone - wolf jump. We'll have to wait and see what routine she competes at the Olympics!

D-scores: VT - 4.4, UB - 5.9, BB - 5.4, FX - 4.7
Routine: Watch her UB from Cottbus 2011


US Olympic Trials: What Does It Mean

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Credit: USA Gymnastics

The US Olympic Team was named right after trials night. Your Olympians are: Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber. The alternates are: Elizabeth Price, Sarah Finnegan, and Anna Li.

Olympic Lineup
VT: (Aly) Gabby, Jordyn, McKayla
UB: (Aly), Kyla, Jordyn, Gabby
BB: (Gabby), Kyla, Jordyn, Aly
FX: (Maroney), Gabby, Jordyn, Aly

I tried to put some thought into the order but it's harder then I originally thought. Take UB for example, I was initially thinking of putting Kyla after Jordyn, which will probably be the way it goes in TF, but in prelims, you would want Kyla in front to help boost Jordyn's score. On the flip side, maybe you're sacrificing Kyla's chances in EF if you put her right after Aly.

I kept thinking Gabby and Kyla would battle it out for BB in TF but Gabby hasn't shown her consistency. Alternatively, Gabby was a mess at 2011 Nationals and was able to perform well at Worlds. Maybe having the team selected earlier will help Gabby do the numbers to get her consistency back to 2012 pre-Nationals standards. Based on 3 consecutive missed routines, I wouldn't put Gabby up in TF, as of this moment.

FX seems pretty set. Gabby's shown more consistency on floor recently. She messed up her last leap on her last pass but those things can be fixed. We will have to wait to see how the judges view her routine and all of it's party-beat glory compared to McKayla's more subdued piece.

Benefit of this lineup? Aly still gets to try for an AA spot in prelims.


Aly's AA Chances
The nice thing about this lineup is that Aly gets to compete in the all around. However, I think her chances of being the top 2 is pretty slim. Gabby has had errors on both days and had enough difficulty and willpower to beat out Jordyn. We keep talking about Gabby v. Jordyn but we forget that Aly is lurking in the background, ready for either one of them to falter. The issue is that they need to falter enough. Aly got 3rd at Trials by 2.5 points over 2 days of competition. Nationals was actually a lot closer - she was .95 behind Jordyn and .75 behind Gabby. I think either Gabby or Jordyn will have to fall or have significant errors in order for Aly to get the 2nd AA spot. Who would have thought that the 4th ranked AA gymnast at Worlds for 2 years in a row, might not even get the chance to fight for an individual AA Olympic medal?

United States of Amanar
I don't know about you guys, but I'm back to hating Amanars. I feel like only Maroney and Ebee should legally be allowed to do Amanars. No one else seems to get the same amount of height to get it all the way over. Kyla was having trouble with hers. There's a video from podium training that was amazing. On Night 2, however, she decided to downgrade again. She doesn't need the Amanar anymore, especially with the gymnasts we have, so I'm glad she, Martha and her coaches decided to go the safe route. Both Jordyn and Aly have had landed lock-legged on their Amanars. It's not necessarily career ending (Sami Shapiro at Nationals) but it's definitely not something you want, especially as a leg, power gymnast. Other than Pacific Rim, Gabby's Amanar has been fine in competition but I still worry and hold my breath, praying that this one isn't the one. I hope that Russia doesn't try for Amanars anymore. Other than McKayla and Gabby, the US' Amanar's aren't all that pretty. With Russia having three bar routines worth ~7.0 they quickly make up the deficit created on vault. I just hope no one gets hurt attempting this vault at the Olympic Games. I'm curious to see where we stack up in D-scores compared to the Russians.


I'm glad the alternates were named as they were. Elizabeth (Ebee) Price's performances at Olympic Trials were phenomenal! Had Maroney messed up on floor, there would be a good chance that Price would have made the team. Price is a very strong all arounder coming in 5th at trials after the Big 3 and Kyla Ross. Finnegan has a stellar beam and floor set so, depending on who goes down, she'd be a great choice for some high scores. I was sentimental when coming up with my 3rd alternate - torn between Alicia Sacramone and Anna Li.  I didn't realize that ASac had the 2nd highest scores on beam for the 2 days. However, we had spent the last few months talking about the need for an uneven bar worker. Kyla is now considered our specialist but should she go down, it's nice to have Anna Li (and Ebee) as back up. Anna Li was 3rd on bars to 1st place finishers Gabby Douglas and Kyla Ross.

I'm happy with the choices for alternates, thrilled that Anna Li, "made" the Olympic Team but I do feel sorry for ASac. She's worked so hard to recover from her Achilles injury. I think of all the comeback in recent years, I have to admire ASac the most. She missed out on making the team in 2004. In 2008, she fell 3 times at the Olympics and placed 4th on vault, just missing an individual medal. She made her comeback in 2010, just getting a feel for things again, and ended the year as World Champion on vault. In 2011, she injured her Achilles. In 2012, she recovered, in 8 months, from her Achilles injury and had 2 strong vaults, regain her US National Vault title, and be one of our most solid beam workers of the year. Pretty amazing and I hope she realizes how much we admire her!

All the girls had such great performances. I'm proud to be an American and excited to see what happens come the Olympics!